H20 is one of the few chemical formulas I remember from my schooldays. How easily we take water for granted but it really is the most amazing substance. It’s what keeps us alive but it can also kill us. Consisting of one part oxygen and two parts hydrogen it freezes solid and becomes ice below a certain temperature. Originating from the sky it mostly falls as rain but also forms into snow, fog, dew and clouds. Water covers 71% of the earth’s surface, 96% of which is in the form of salt water in seas and oceans. Only 2:5% is fresh water in lakes and rivers but most is ice. Water boils at 100C (212F) but this is only at sea level; there is a wide discrepancy in temperatures according to elevation for instance at the top of Mount Everest it boils at 68C (154F). We always think of drinking water as being the most important use but for countless centuries it was also a vital means of travel and transportation both across oceans and along inland waterways. In the 18th and early 19th centuries a network of canals was constructed but unfortunately no sooner had they been built than railways came along and took over much of the trade. Ways of harnessing power to work mills from fast flowing water were invented and the Victorians made great use of the combination of fire and water to make steam for powering a variety of enormous machines. Water is used as a coolant and conversely for heating, much of it in industry. We dilute or dissolve various substances in it, we use it for cooking and washing and we put fires out with it. But it can also be the carrier of many diseases. In normal conditions we are unlikely to survive more than five days without water. Not so long ago household water in this country was wound up by hand in buckets from wells or collected from streams. In Victorian times water towers were built in towns to provide a constant, safe supply of water. Some were solid square buildings while others were huge elevated bowls. There is an excellent example of one on the south-west side of Swaffham where the waterworks opened in September 1867. Reservoirs are the principal method of storing surface water collected from a large catchment area; it may also be pumped from underground aquifers. A lot is used for irrigating crops grown in the sandy Breckland soil. Locally water is extracted from the river Nar at Marham and river Wissey at Stoke Ferry. Because it has permeated through limestone it is ‘hard’ but it is ‘soft’ in areas of solid rock such as Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands. Now we are spoilt because it is piped straight into our houses and we rarely give it a thought. When you next turn on a tap or flush the loo just think for a moment how incredible and vital water is.

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Westminster Diary


Last month I joined representatives from Stoke Ferry Parish Council and Downham Market Town in a meeting with the Managing Director of British Sugar, Paul Kenward. Discussions focused on the strong smells that have been noted in the local area. Concerns have been raised with me that a possible source might be the British Sugar operation at Cornerways Nursery near Wissington. In 2016 a decision was made by British Sugar to move from the production of tomatoes to producing plants for the pharmaceutical sector. The plant grown is a member of the cannabis family and is used in Epidiolex. It is reported to have shown very positive results in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. Harvesting of the first crop took place during the month of June and this appears to coincide with the reporting of the smells. An environmental specialist and odour consultant have been engaged to investigate the issues raised and if necessary, investment will be made in appropriate odour control equipment. I think everyone recognises the importance of the work done at the factory but it should not adversely impact on the surrounding towns and villages, subsequently I have asked British Sugar to keep me updated on developments.
The Weeting Steam Engine Rally and Country Show once again delivered a three day extravaganza of classic and historic vehicles – all shapes and sizes! Nearly 600 classic cars and vintage tractors, from the tiny steam engines operating fair-ground carousels to the giant work horses hauling passengers and equipment. I was granted the rare privilege of touring the Rally in a 1910 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce. Quite spectacular, just recently returned from a trip to the Swiss Alps and now supporting the classic engines in Weeting. With over 20,000 visitors expected to attend during the three-day extravaganza, this is definitely worth putting in the diary for 2018 – 20, 21, 22 July. Next year will be the 50th anniversary, so the Weeting Rally will be sure to put on a fantastic celebration.

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Wereham News – September

Wereham Church Festival

Church and Community came together in February to plan our 2017 Festival. Five months later, it all came to fruition .
Sunday 16th July dawned with mixed weather forecast but the day was a great success with lots of people coming to enjoy a traditional village occasion.
A myriad of stalls including Horse Shoes, Hoop-bowls, Hoop-la, Sand in a cup, Bean bags, Ear-phones, Tombola, Plants ,
Water or wine? Shove-halfpenny, Play your cards, Cakes and Produce, BBQ and drinks and a comprehensive raffle .
A new departure this year was Barry and Marcus Hawkins who spent a very busy day valuing antiques and collectables .
Inside the Church were displays by Wereham Tots, Messy Church and Wereham Heritage Group together with beautiful
flowers and organ music . A P/A system had been kindly loaned and behind the scenes, a financial structure was in place .
Members of Wereham PCC are extremely grateful and wish to thank all the people who made the festival such a success –
the stall holders, planners, those who donated goods and items, flowers and plants and those who made generous donations.
Grateful thanks go also for fuel and meat for the BBQ, to Barry and Marcus Hawkins, to all contributors to the displays and
to the team who set up the infrastructure and cleared up at the end .
This was a real Community and Church Festival to which many people devoted much time and energy and it resulted in a
magnificent total of £1,898.23.

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At 9.30am on August 9th, 23 members & guests left Stoke Ferry on a Harrods mystery coach tour.
Our driver, Adam, took a devious route to keep us guessing, until we arrived at our first stop, the market town of Saffron Walden. Although it was raining lightly, we all managed to explore the many little lanes & individual shops. However, on leaving our chosen lunch venues, the heavens had opened, and most of us got extremely wet walking back to the coach.
After a short journey, our spirits were lifted when we arrived at our 2nd stop, a farmhouse in Steeple Bumpstead which displayed a sign saying “The Chocolate lady”. We were shown into a large room, where “The Lady” in question, Julie Sherry, gave an interesting talk & demonstration on chocolate-making. We were given tasters of the different sorts, & one special hazelnut cup that she had made for each of us. Julie explained that chocolate is graded by the %age of cocoa solids it contains, & that the legal limit for it to be labelled chocolate is a minimum of 39%.
We were then each served with tea or coffee & a jam & fresh cream scone. Handmade chocolates & truffles were available for us to buy if we wished.
The coach then returned to Stoke Ferry, arriving home at 6pm.
Members thanked Mrs Gillian Smith for organising the day, which was enjoyed in spite of the monsoon!
The next meeting will take place on Sept 6th, and will be a talk on bee keeping by Fred Lucas.
Claire Lankfer
( secretary )

Is the Church Irrelevant?

I am sure you have heard of the many folk in and around our area who have been burgled either their homes or their garages or shops and even a doctors surgery. Some time ago our All Saints Church had may items stolen, including a mangy old coconut mat, an extension lead and three wall gas heaters. It is not a pleasant feeling.
Who are these people who think it is their right to take what many of us have saved up for, worked hard for or cherish as gifts/ bequests that cannot be replaced.
You and I know that many in today’s society consider the church and what it stands for as irrelevant if not down right fantasy. I do not agree . The church is not a building it is the people who gather together to give thanks, worship and praise God. That same God who created us and the same God who gave us the template for living –
The Ten Commandments.
In fact, our legal system was founded on Christian principles of justice and fairness. What a shame that these values are not taught in every school in the country just as they are in our church schools- just as they are in our own All Saints Academy in Stoke Ferry.
Thou shalt not steal is one of the commandments given to Moses on a slab of stone, the other commandments are just as simple. If only everyone knew what they were and had the common decency to follow them. I pray that those who commit such despicable crimes come to realise it is more than ‘things’ they steal, it is also their own self respect.

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