Meet Richard Coates


For the last fourteen years I have lived in Dubai, though Louise and I still have our main home in Bath where we were married. And yet, all these years later, Stoke Ferry is still an important part of my life. I spent my childhood and adolescence in the village and still regard Norfolk as home. While my parents were still alive I visited frequently. Doris, died in 1998 and George in 2002: they are buried in the Cemetery just inside the gate.

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Life is hectic at present, with the move to Worcestershire upon us. The other day, a removal van arrived for the first tranche of the process. I am convinced that the lorry was bigger than our new house. It swallowed up all of our furniture and much of our crockery, etc before spending ten minutes running its engine to “inflate its air” before trundling off. They met us at the new house next day and I was relieved that the contents fitted into the house which is now full of massive boxes of stuff which will need a serious “sort out”. Many people have told me that, when moving, they took all their “stuff”and then threw a lot away after arrival in the new property. Determined not to make this error, we have taken all our stuff and will throw it away after the move! It is 40 years and 5 months since the move to Feltwell to take over the practice and we have been accumulating stuff ever since. In truth, much has been thrown away, but not nearly enough!
We shall be camping in The Old House for a month before we undertake the second and final tranche of the move – all the books, kitchen equipment, garden furniture and the contents of my workshop, etc. This is a time of seriously conflicting emotions – overwhelming sadness at leaving all our patients, most of whom have been great friends along the way, tempered by happy anticipation of being near so many of our children and grandchildren.
Of course, we shall have to change our doctors. It will be a great sadness to say goodbye to our lovely friends and doctors at the surgery, all of whom have been absolutely brilliant, We are apprehensive about throwing ourselves at the mercy of the unknown doctors in Hagley. All the residents of our new estate have set up a WhatsApp communication system so I shall tap into that, asking for opinions about the local practices before we venture into a surgery.

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Minutes of the meeting held on January 3rd 2018
Mrs Armsby welcomed 16 members, and wished everyone a happy new year.
APOLOGIES were received from Mavis Smith, Marjorie Stevens, Audrey Hudson & Gypsie Duncan.
A report from the Christmas meeting was read & signed.
Arising……Members agreed that our meal at the Foldgate Inn was very good, & everyone had an enjoyable evening.
Mrs Horgen had forgotten to bring the birthday cards, so will post them instead. Members decided to continue with the cards rather than posies, and Mrs Horgen said that she will carry on purchasing them.
Mrs Elsey said that she is collecting subs, which will be £15.00 for the year.
Mrs Armsby thanked Janet Cooper for compiling the new programme, and asked her to thank her husband Mike for printing, and making it so colourful and attractive.
Mrs Cooper also said that she will definitely be retiring as programme secretary at the end of the year, which will give members time to think of new ideas & perhaps take on the job.
Feb meeting will be Annette Croote showing us another of her treks in aid of Macmillan.
Teas…Janet Cooper & Anita Horgen
Door & raffle…Yvonne Self & Jean carter
VOT….Gillian Smith
Mrs Armsby then handed over to Yvonne Self, who needed no formal introduction, as she has been a club member for many years. She has been flower arranging for more than 35 years & ran the local flower club in Stoke Ferry. On this occasion Yvonne showed us a lovely table arrangement using just one bunch of yellow roses, & assorted greenery from her garden, showing that you needn’t spend a fortune to create a lovely display. She then donated it as a raffle prize. She was thanked by Mrs Armsby.
Members had all brought a wrapped parcel for the raffle, so everyone won a prize.
The meeting ended at 9pm.
Claire Lankfer ( secretary )

February Gardening

Just like January, take the opportunity to spend time in the garden on the good weather days. This month there are already signs that spring is approaching, with bulbs appearing and buds forming on deciduous shrubs.
If you followed last months article and used up your winter veg from the veg plot, you may find February is a ‘hungry gap’. Why not try sprouting some seeds? ‘Sprouts’ will keep your green fingers busy until it’s warm enough for spring sowings to begin outside. Most veggies produce crunchy, tasty shoots including beetroot, peas, broccoli, cress, alfalfa and mustard however, grow seeds sold specifically for sprouting as seed for sowing outdoors may have been treated with chemicals to aid germination.
Begin by adding one or two heaped tablespoons of seed to a squeaky-clean jam jar, then fill the jar with water. (Don’t be tempted to add more seed as they will swell upto 30 times their original size). Leave the seeds to soak overnight. Cut a square of muslin (or similar free-draining cloth) and cover the mouth of the jar with a tight fitting elastic band. Tip the jar upside down and drain. Tap the muslin to dislodge any attached seeds. Keep your seeds in a warm, dark place to commence germination. Seeds will now need rinsing twice daily. (breakfast and evening meal times are perfect times). Simply fill the jar with water, gently swirl the seeds around and drain off as before. Keep the muslin cap in place between rinsing’s to prevent the seeds from drying out and to reduce the risk of contamination. The sprouts are ready to eat once they have reached 1-5cm (0.5-2in) long (exactly when is a matter of personal preference). Bring them out into the light a day or two before eating so they can take on some colour and improve in flavour. The whole process may take as little as two days and rarely more than a week.
Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts can carry a risk of foodborne illness if they are contaminated. Unlike other fresh produce, the warm, moist conditions required to grow sprouts are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria, therefore people in vulnerable groups are therefore advised to cook all sprouts thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout before eating them.
If the soil is not too frozen or waterlogged then finish digging it over and incorporate garden compost and manure. As you dig look out for ‘volunteer potatoes’ that were missed last season and have begun sprouting. They could spread disease and blight therefore you don’t want them growing amongst your other crops.
Here are my other top tips for February:
• Cut old and congested stems from bamboo plants (a pruning saw will be required!). Save the thickest canes for use as plant supports.
• Trim lawn edges and install lawn edging to create neat, defined borders. (keep off the lawn if it is frozen or wet)
• Hardwood cuttings taken last winter may need potting on into bigger pots. Gently tip them out of their pots to see if they have rooted successfully.
• Net fruit crops to keep hungry birds from stripping buds.
• Plant a container or hanging basket with colourful primroses and place by a doorway.
• Prune late flowering clematis (Group 3). Cut all of the stems of the plant down to a pair of strong buds 20-30cm above ground level.
Whatever February brings I hope you are able to spend some time in your garden.

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