River Wissey Lovell Fuller


July 2011

Ian discusses the need for fund raising to support local institutions

Afternoon Tea and an acute stress reaction

These articles are written two or three weeks before they appear in the magazine. You may recall that East Anglia was extremely dry between February and June and that a state of Drought was declared by the Government on June 9th. Although it will be OK for householders to use hosepipes and to water their lawns, farmers will be restricted in the amount of water they can use for irrigation of crops.

As you will know, the local churches are medieval buildings which cost a fortune to maintain. That money comes from those who attend church and those villagers who are kind enough to help with fundraising, or by becoming "Friends of the Church", members of the 200 Club, and so on. Fortunately, there are folk who, whilst not of a religious persuasion, do value the ancient buildings and help to keep them going. As about 70% of the church income goes to Ely as "Parish Share" and another £2,500 or so goes on insurance, there is never much left for the maintenance of the fabric.

At Methwold St George, one of our annual fundraising events is the June Afternoon Teas, held in the middle of June. For years, The Teas alternated between Dawn and Nick Guyer's garden and ours. Last year, Diana and Robyn Hood kindly hosted the event at Methwold House and made a lot more money than we ever do! This year, it was our turn. Deannie set to with the baking and the usual 6 month plan for the garden was put into place - lots of plants grown over the winter in the greenhouse and the planting schedule arranged so that there would be lots of colour for the Teas in the Garden, and still plenty for our mega wedding anniversary celebrations in the middle of July. All tools were tidied away, well, most of them, the greenhouse was almost tidied up, the bluebells were finally made to disappear, well, as much as you can make them disappear, and Friday June 10th , the day after drought was declared, saw Head Office continuing the baking and me erecting the marquee (to keep the sun off people) and carting all the tables and chairs from Methwold to our house in Feltwell. The new log cabin was prepared for those who preferred complete shade and, that evening, the weather forecasters talked of severe rain on Sunday. For once, they were right and Sunday 12th June turned into a washout for everyone in the region holding open gardens, Farm Days etc. Management and I stressed, well, I did, she just kept baking and baking and baking, and we moved the event indoors, with lots of small tables, and those who had braved the elements really enjoyed a cafe atmosphere while the marquee, the log cabin and the garden remained unused. Monday 13th was, of course, beautiful and drought conditions were resumed.

Bureaucracy and the septic tank: I have been alerted by Ian Griffen of Methwold. Those of you who have a septic tank are required to register the discharge from the tank with the Environment Agency. The Environment Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 now require all discharges from septic tanks to be authorised by an environmental permit, or to be registered as being exempt from holding one. Most should be able to register an exemption; this can be done online without charge at present. Once you have registered an exemption, you must comply with various conditions, including proper inspection and maintenance and regular removal of excess sludge. You must keep regular records of maintenance and repair and you must not cause any pollution. Unfortunately, this is not a joke and the more cynical amongst us will wonder what they will do once they have all the septic tanks on a database - an effluent charge, perhaps.

Those who tell me they enjoy these articles seem to enjoy hearing about Management, the bluebells (Spanish) and they like the jokes. I don't hear from those who do not like the articles, except one Northwold lady who took grave exception to the Ford Taurus and Renault Clio joke and has since moved away from the area. Friends send me jokes, about 10% of which are printable, for inclusion in the articles. A few follow:

Alan Bristow of Feltwell told me of the Irish pub with a visiting American who simply could not believe that the Irish drank Guinness. He looked at a pint and asked "How much of that horrible-looking stuff do you actually drink?" When told that they drank pints of the stuff every evening, he offered £50 (or the equivalent in Euros) to anyone who could drink 20 pints straight off. There were no takers and no-one noticed Paddy slipping out. An hour later, Paddy came back into the pub, approached the American and accepted his offer. The American was delighted and asked the barman to set up 20 pints of Guinness - no mean feat as it is difficult to prepare - and enquired of Paddy why he had not taken up the offer immediately. Paddy's reply was prompt. "Well, I wasn't sure whether or not I could manage 20 pints all in one go so I went to the pub next door for a practice and I managed it, so here I am".

Colin Williams of Methwold Hythe told me of the two Dubliners who were asked to look after a box for 5 minutes while the owner popped into an off-licence for some whisky. The box started to drip and, after tasting the drips, neither of our friends could work out whether it was leaking brandy or whiskey, or perhaps, rum. Out came the owner "Thanks for looking after my puppy, chaps". Colin's other jokes were unsuitable - ask me about the brothel if you see me (or him) - except, perhaps, for the time Paddy's sandwich tasted horrible. He had made it with crab paste he had found in the local pharmacy.

Best wishes to you all.

Ian G. Nisbet

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.