Favor Parker, Wombles, Faith Schools, The Euro and Retired Professionals
Dear Village Pump,
My name is Briony Boykew, I'm twelve years old and here is my opinion on Favour Parkers in Stoke Ferry.
I have lived here for ten years and, in that time, I have had to put up with almost being run over more than once by ridiculous drivers in enormous Favour Parker lorries, on the way back from school or whilst with friends in Stoke Ferry! Stoke Ferry has some amazing old buildings, lands, fields and so much beauty just waiting to be discovered. This can only happen if we can somehow get rid of Favour Parkers. If we could accomplish this then - in Stoke Ferry- people would be even happier. There would be no more danger for the young children whose lives are at risk! And we could maybe build some fantastic new facilities for the old people, young people, parents and the teenagers of our once beautiful village!
Sometimes the foul smell is absolutely unbearable! Every night there is a very annoying buzzing sound coming from deep inside its walls. I can hear it often and I actually live in Wretton! We MUST try and do something about this awful problem!
Thank you for listening to my opinion.
A Very Concerned Briony Boykew
O.K. WE GIVE UP, YOU WIN!
For the last ten years, a group of dog-walking friends have tried to keep Stoke Ferry Common and surrounding area free from litter and rubbish. The Parish Council placed a litter bin on the Common and when the black plastic bag inside it was full, we put it out for collection and a new one was left by the Refuse Collectors.
We have collected all kinds of refuse - glass, plastic bottles, garden rubbish, builders' rubble and items left by fishermen including bait, barb hooks and line - to name but a few; the list is endless. We never wanted money or praise for this, we did it because we enjoy the area and wanted the next generation to get as much pleasure from it as we do.
From now on our efforts stop; there is nothing in which to put the rubbish. When wheelie bins were allocated, one was put on the Common. Knowing it would almost certainly disappear, I bought a lock and chain and secured the bin; also writing 'STOKE FERRY COMMON' on it. Three weeks ago, at 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday, I unlocked the bin and put it at the side for collection. 20 minutes later I returned to re-secure the empty bin only to find that the bin, lock and chain had gone.
So, from now on, our little band of voluntary refuse collectors have resigned. As I said, 'YOU WIN'.
It seems that in our village of Stoke Ferry we have an accident waiting to happen. I wonder how many other people like me, have suffered a near miss on the High Street junction with Wretton Road, because some idiot has either driven straight out from the Wretton Road, or straight across from Lynn Road into Wretton Road, without even considering to that there might be someone else on the road as well as themselves? The other day I was driving up the High Street and was level with the bus shelter, when a Favor Parker lorry drove at some speed out of Wretton Road, the driver only looked in my direction when he was on the main road.
That was bad enough. I was able to slow down to avoid him. What made the situation worse however was the lady in a dark coloured car following the lorry and attempting to do the same. Fortunately she stopped in time, but only just!
I have also seen vehicles, some with children on board, dash across from the Lynn Road into Wretton Road without taking time to check if anything is coming the other way. Please could we have a little more consideration and courtesy at this junction, and others like it, before someone gets hurt or their pride and joy damaged.
May I begin by congratulating you and the "Pump" team on such an excellent and informative village magazine. As relative newcomers to the area (arrived Wretton June 2000), my wife and I are delighted with Norfolk, our neighbours and the many new friends we have made here. We are regular Pump readers but so far have not been bold enough to make our own contribution, until now that is.
What has spurred me into action is the debate on the adoption of the euro. This seems to be a debate reminiscent of one which involved every man and woman in the 17th century; I am referring of course, to that scrap between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers. It is a debate which is dividing brother from brother and even husband from wife, at least it does in our family!
Let me therefore declare the colours in my corner. I am an unashamed europhile and believe that we should adopt the euro at the earliest practical date. My reasons are both selfish and altruistic.
I was born during WWII and therefore I have no recollection of the horrors which Europe suffered in those darks days. At the end of the war, and during the re-building of our civilisation, some far-sighted and wise people thought that the only way to prevent such a thing ever happening again was to make such a thing unthinkable. The way to achieve this would be to accept that there were cultural differences between the peoples of Europe and to put these into a sensible perspective of having to live and work together on the same land mass. The European Iron and Steel Community was one of the first manifestations of this desire to live in peace with one's neighbours, to be followed by the Common Market and now we have the EU. At no point in this history has the cultural heritage of the community members been compromised or ignored, each has its own identity. Over the centuries perhaps borders can become a little blurred, but I guess a Yorkshireman can still identify himself as can a Lancastrian, 500 years after the War of the Roses just as I expect Spaniards and Frenchmen will be able to do in 500 years time. Internecine strife is replaced by cricket matches and everyone is the happier for it. The cultures do not die, they evolve and like all successful organisations they survive.
My selfish reasons for joining the euro-zone are simply based on personal experience. Over the past 34 years I have lived and worked in both the UK and Switzerland which has given me an insight and an appreciation of how other people do things. Currently Switzerland is continually going through crises of identity, the question before them at the moment is whether or not to join the United Nations!
During my association with Switzerland I have seen the famous pound sterling slide from CHF10.5 to CHF1.80 and is now up to CHF2.4. This has nothing to do with Switzerland's special status and everything to do with economic stability. In transferring funds to and from Switzerland I am irritated by the losses incurred at each transfer. In the euro-zone, this is a thing of the past. Euro-zone currency traders are also things of the past, as are companies risking their profit margins on the irrationality of currency fluctuations manipulated by faceless men hidden behind smoked glass screens, Does all this sound a little fanciful? Not when you have been on the receiving end and seen good companies go under as a result. So now even the insular Swiss are couching their quotations in euros, just to ensure that their customers are understanding the value of the quotation. Transparent borders for commercial, financial and cultural exchanges are becoming the norm. So perhaps this is not just a selfish motive after all.
In conclusion I look towards Europe and stronger links within the EU as a brilliant opportunity born out of the miseries of the 20th century - the bloodiest in World history. This is no time to be complacent, as I thought sitting in my Swiss apartment with the War in Bosnia only 500 miles down the road. We must become friends with our neighbours in the EU as Yorkshiremen and Lancastrians are friends today. It is unthinkable for Yorkshire to arm against Lancashire and so should it be across the whole of Europe. So goodbye to francs, marks, lires, pesetas and all the rest and hello to euros and welcome to tomorrow's world.
In last month's 'Letters' Chris Young was clearly unhappy with my attack on 'faith' schools and rushed to the defence of C of E schools. Whilst claiming no indoctrination, however, he does admit that there is a daily assembly in which "the worship element is of a Christian nature". That may only be mild indoctrination but, to my mind, it is indoctrination nonetheless. His numerical analysis of the ratio of parent's time to school's time is also something of a distortion. He regards the school day as 6 hours at school and 18 hours with parents. In reality the school day is more like 7 hours school and parents will have a maximum of 5 hours with their child if they are very lucky. Of course weekends and school holidays do tip the scales heavily on the parents side, assuming that they are not too busy trying to earn a living, but the percentages are not quite so one sided as Chris suggests.
Nevertheless the benign picture of C of E schools that Chris paints is accurate, no doubt, and if they were the only 'faith' schools that we had, or are likely to have, I doubt if many indigenous British would be too worried, but can Chris claim that Catholic, Muslim, Jewish or Hindu schools would be so broadminded in their approach? Even within the C of E schools where, we are told, the other major religions are taught, I doubt if they are taught in such a way as to make it clear that those other religions and the beliefs associated with them are equally as valid as Christian beliefs. If they are not it immediately creates an impression that, where Christian beliefs differ from the others, the others are wrong.
I remain deeply concerned that the spread of 'faith' schools for different religions can be a recipe for future strife and racial conflict. No matter how well intended a C of E school may be its very existence alongside other 'faith' schools is divisive. It has already been demonstrated in Ulster that non-sectarian schools can lead to a reduction in civil tensions, so it is sad to see us moving in the opposite direction, nearer to the situation that has prevailed in Northern Ireland for so many years with such disastrous results. I remain convinced that, we should adopt the same principle as in the USA, (and I quote from the Constitution of Washington State) "All schools maintained or supported wholly or in part by public funds shall be forever free from sectarian control or influence".
Chris tries to dissociate his faith from " the horrific things done in the name of religion" by drawing a distinction between 'faith' and 'religion'. I think I understand that distinction but, bearing in mind that distinction, I regard 'faith' schools as a misnomer. Anglican schools, Catholic schools, Muslim schools, Jewish schools, Hindu schools are all, in my opinion, religious schools.
This letter is about "Moving On".
I thought I would give our Village Pump readers something to read. By the way I still haven't seen Les who contributes to the pump. I moved in the above address on the 19th December 2001, it was what you might call a moonlit flit, but it was the way I wanted it. If for some reason the move was delayed I should still have resided at 8 Fairfield Road, Stoke Ferry, but I must tell you village folks I think it is one of my best decisions yet.
I will tell you the story so far: yes I do like my flat, I still cannot get used to someone living above me, but I guess that will come. They are a young people with a small child. He runs up and down, it is lovely to hear him, and the music well that is another story -it flows out of this hi-fl or whatever you call it. It certainly takes my mind off of some of my little cash flow problems.
I have also joined an exercise class and the Doctor has put me on a diet. I always knew I was eating the wrong things, but we live and learn?
I am doing a course at The Priory Learn Direct Centre. By the way I have lost five pounds in weight in three weeks. I am happy with the food I am eating now and if I do snack I choose the diet food, which does not put one ounce of weight on.
I have been to the Learn Direct Centre today. I made a few errors but the young lady soon came and put me right.
Your friend as always,
Referring to your article in the February edition of The Village Pump concerning the winter of 1946/7 and snowdrifts of 2 metres.
In those days snow depths were recorded in feet and inches, metres only being referred to in precision engineering.
The word metre is a "blind spot" as far as my imagination is concerned. For example, whenever I hear that so and so has just won the 10,000 metre race, I conjure up pictures of a race between Lands End and John O'Groats!
I have no trouble with kilometres, a kilometre equalling five furlongs, thus being 5/8ths of a mile. A quick piece of mental arithmetic and we have the equivalent in miles. The same goes for Centigrade scale for temperatures (or Celsius as it is now called). When the weather forecaster says it's going to be 100 tomorrow, my mind used to go blank, but I have since learned that if you double that figure and add 30, you can get the equivalent reading in Fahrenheit - i.e. 50 degrees, thus not being too cold, nor too warm; about average for the time of year.
But back to the metre. For other readers who may have a blind spot as far as metres are concerned, let me record my experiences during that notorious winter.
I had just completed my "square bashing", having been enlisted into the RAF as a National Serviceman, and was posted to RAF Binbrook in the Lincolnshire Wolds in early February 1 947, prior to going on a Wireless Operator's course. When I arrived, it was like being posted to an Arctic wasteland; deep snow everywhere. My duties for the next 10 days, or so, comprised of loading sacks of coal and other provisions on to sledges and then traversing snow fields to take these essential supplies to outlying cottages and farmsteads, to ensure their inhabitants survival. After more heavy snowfalls, the airbase was completely cut off from the outside world and, despite further supplies being parachuted in, fuel eventually ran out and the CO had no choice but to close the camp and send everyone on indefinite leave. But how to get out?
I joined a small group of airmen who decided to head for the railway station at Cleethorpes. Rather than try to negotiate the unpassable roads, we headed directly as the crow flies. Hedges, walls, fences were no obstacle - you just walked over them. Ditches and streams proved a little more difficult, but balancing precariously on icy logs, we managed to get across. Eventually, we spotted what looked like a row of snow posts as you see in Scotland but on reaching them found they were the tops of telegraph poles! Yes, we were walking over telegraph poles, haystacks and even found ourselves on top of a hay cart at one stage of the journey.
The point I am making is that the snow was anything from 6ft to 20ft in depth. (What's that in metres?).
We eventually arrived at Cleethorpes where there was hardly any snow at all, but before going to the railway station, decided to call in a cafe for a bite to eat. The proprietor asked, "Where are you lads from?" "RAF Binbrook" we replied. "But I heard on the news this morning that you were cut off". "Yes" we said, "but fuel supplies have run out and we have all been sent on indefinite leave. We have walked all the way across country." With that, we each received a plate of steaming Steak and Kidney Pie, potatoes and cabbage, followed by Spotted Dick and custard.
"On the house" said the owner, and he wouldn't take a penny piece from us - what's more his wife cut us each a pack of sandwiches to take with us for the rest of our journey.
Needless to say, that a month later when the thaw set in, snow melt caused the extensive flooding, not only in the fens but huge swathes of low lying countryside throughout the Country. I remember seeing vast seas of water in Lincolnshire, and my wife recalls the River Thames spreading its banks for nearly a mile on the Surrey/Berks borders.
May I inform your readers who have retired from a professional or business career of the existence of Thetford Probus (Probus is a national organisation, primarily for men, which aims to provide an opportunity for like-minded individuals to meet together and socialise).
The Thetford group meets once a month at the Bell Hotel in Thetford with a speaker, where contemporary and historical topics are described and discussed. Also once a month, the group, together with wives, lunch at local hostelries and visit places of local interest, as well as travelling further afield with coach trips.
We are an informal and amiable group, so if you would like to widen your horizons, why not give me a ring?
Geoff Hancock 01366 728488