Month: May 2011

Save Our Postman!

A local resident has launched a campaign to try and change plans to relocate a long serving postman to Market Drayton. Angus Taylerson of Wollerton has prepared a petition in the hope of revising Post Office plans to reorganise postal rounds in the area.
Neil Cartwright has delivered letters to residents of Hodnet, Wollerton and Marchamley for 21 years. He is well known to the residents, having built up friendships with many of them. Both Neil and local residents are distressed to hear that due to restructuring, he will be allocated duties elsewhere whilst his round will be split up and the parts attached to other rounds. The general feeling is that the community will very much miss his local knowledge and helpful attitude.
Angus has placed copies of the petition in the Village Store, Bear Hotel and Hodnet Post Office and is hoping that as many people as possible will support his call for Post Office management to reconsider moving Neil from the round he has faithfully served for over two decades. Angus says, “As with everything we need a strong collective voice if we are to get large organizations to stop, listen and hopefully change plans. As such we need your support if we are to have a chance to overturn the proposed plans.”
Angus intends sending the petition to the Post Office management over the weekend of 4/5th June,  so if you want to add your name to this call from the community, please do so by Friday.

Hodnet fun day exceeds expectations.

On Saturday 21st May a ‘Fun Day’ organised by the 2nd Hodnet scout group took place in warm late spring sunshine on Hodnet Recreation Ground. The Event was instigated by a dire need to encourage new members to the Beavers pack, which was on the verge of folding (see, Beavers on the brink of extinction). On the day, eight new Beavers said they would like to give it a go,  seven turned up on Tuesday evening, bringing the pack number up to a more sustainable nine members. More new members, both boys and girls are very welcome.
The afternoons activities, which included an obstacle course, caving and rock climbing, were very well organised and run with the Brownies and the Cubs working very hard.  Around 150 people enjoyed the afternoon in a relaxed family atmosphere. The fun continued on into the evening with a ceilidh held at the Lion Hall, to which around eighty people came. Keri Coates, the new group scout leader, was very pleased with the turnout and delighted with the number of new recruits to the Beaver pack, which included a new leader. Andrew Lockely, the Chair of the scout commitee,  said that ‘the day had gone so well, there were already plans to run another day next year.’
Although the main purpose of the day was not for fund raising, around £200 was raised.
As a footnote, the Hodnet scout group are hoping to restart the scout pack in the near future. Leaders are in place and all that is required are scouts. If you think you might be interested then contact Keri on: 07786 158064.

Beavers on the brink of extinction

Hodnet Beaver Scout colony is currently experiencing unsustainably low numbers.  In recent months numbers have dropped to such a low level that subs are not meeting costs and the colony may have to disband. Once disbanded, starting a colony up again in the future may be difficult.
Beaver Scouts are young people, usually aged between six and eight years old. They belong to the first and youngest section of the Scouting family. Boys and girls can join Beaver Scouts in the three months leading up to their sixth birthday.
Easily recognised by their distinctive turquoise sweatshirts, Beaver Scouts enjoy making friends, playing games, going on visits and helping others.
Beavers meet  every Tuesday (Term Time) at the Scout Hut on Hearne Lane Hodnet,  from 18.15-19.15.

Tel: 07786 158064.
If you would like to have a go at some of the things that the Beavers get up to and  meet some of the people involved, then come along to the Hodnet fun day to be held at Hodnet recreation ground on Saturday 21st May.

Hodnet & Peplow feature in BBC's Domesday Reloaded Project

BBC's Domesday ProjectToday (12 May, 2011) the BBC has relaunched its Domesday Project. Nine hundred years after William the Conqueror’s original Domesday Book, the BBC published the Domesday Project in 1986. The project was probably the most ambitious attempt ever to capture the essence of life in the United Kingdom. Over a million people contributed to this digital snapshot of the country, but it soon floundered on the cost of the technology needed to run it.
Schools and community groups had surveyed over 108,000 square km of the UK and submitted more than 147,819 pages of text articles and 23,225 amateur photos, cataloguing everyday life and what it was like to live, work and play in their community. Unfortunately, the cutting edge technology of the day was soon superseded. The BBC says,

Now 25 years later in our age of the world wide web, digital photography, email and social networking, its time to have a look at those entries again, to bring the project up to date, and perhaps to lay down another layer of local history.
With the help of The National Archives this unique record will be preserved for future generations.

The BBC has now established the Domesday Reloaded website where entries from the 1986 project can be viewed and updated information (photographs, stories and comments) submitted. The deadline for additional material to be added is the end of October this year.

Picture from the BBC's Domesday Project website
A view from the church tower

Two sections (D-Blocks) cover the Parish of Hodnet. There are nineteen reports and three photographs of Hodnet, whilst Peplow has eleven reports with three accompanying pictures. To view the relevant sections click the following links: Hodnet & Peplow.
Items on Hodnet include: Hodnet Village; The Hundred House; Hodnet’s Peal Of 8 Bells; Clubs And Organisations; Hodnet Charities Committee; Commercial – Shops; Garages & Petrol Stations; Inns And Public Houses; Life In A Newsagent’s Shop; Life In A Grocer’s Shop & Group Dwellings. These were compiled by the pupils of Hodnet C.P.School including: Sarah Brookfield age 11, Carol Bennett aged 10, Dietlind Hewitt aged 11, Kathryn Mills age 10, Donna Lea Woollacott age 11, Robert Hopkins age 10, Allen Worrall age 11,  Annabel Ruth Dyson age 11, Louise Ann Fearn age 11, Amanda Davies age 11. The work was done with the help of Mr. A.A.Barnett, Headmaster of the school and Mrs.Barbara Bate, Secretary of the Parish Council.

Image from the BBC's Domesday Project website
Peplow Church in 1986

The accounts of Peplow were collected by the Peplow Ladies and written by Mrs. Elizabeth Downes and Miss Louise Ann Fearn aged 12. They included descriptions of the Area, Dairy Farming, A Day In Life Of A Pig Farmer, Sheep and Arable Farming, Peplow Hall Estate, Our Village Blacksmith and the Working Mens’ Club.
If anything on these items featured on the Domesday Reloaded Project bring back memories for anyone then please tell send your comments to the Hodnet webteam as well as the BBC. We are looking to include accounts of past and present day events around the area in our “Local Life” section. We would especially value hearing from anyone who remembers taking part in the original Domesday project.

In 1986, 900 years after William the Conqueror’s original Domesday Book, the BBC published the Domesday Project. The project was probably the most ambitious attempt ever to capture the essence of life in the United Kingdom. Over a million people contributed to this digital snapshot of the country.

Hodnet Fun Day

Save Our Scouts.

An afternoon of fun activities to promote the Hodnet 2nd Scout Group.
To be held on Saturday 21st May on Hodnet Recreation Ground from 2 – 4 pm.
Admission is free and all are welcome.
The various organised activities include:
a climbing wall and caving.
Refreshments will be available.
The fun continues at 6 pm with a Ceilidh held at the Lyon Hall.
Bar and Jacket Potatoes.
Please come along give it a go, have some fun and show support for your local Scout Group.

Trugg and Barrows Garden Diary May 2011

April and May in the Garden – No Time to be standing still.
We’ve all had a treat this month haven’t we? The glorious sunshine has been a treat and put me in mind of a few lines of Frost’s which might be relevant to gardeners.
Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since Earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)-
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.”
One of the glories of this time of year is to see early flowers against a clear spring sky, particularly when these flowers are borne at the ends of magnolia branches.
Magnolias are the queens of garden flowers, there is such a variety of form and habit from shrubby types such as M. stellata or its pink form ‘Rosea’ to large trees, amongst the finest of which are the Campbellii species as hybrids such as ‘Darjeeling’ or mollicomata which flowers earlier than most. Typically the magnolias we grow in our gardens are precocious, the flowers appearing before the leaves. However there is a magnolia for almost every season if you have the site, soil and situation. Magnolia grandiflora is an evergreen suitable for growing as a large tree. Football sized fragrant white flowers are a vision in summer. As this magnolia comes from the southern U.S.A it is used to higher average summer temperatures and humidity then we get in the U.K so it is better grown against a warm sunny wall, even in full sun. If you have a north facing wall then a good upright growing variety such as ‘Daybreak’ will prove successful, as the lack of strong sunlight protects the buds from being forced into flower early and thus being damaged by frosts.
For fragrance M. ‘Merrill’ which has white flowers and grows 12 or 15 feet high cannot be beaten whilst M. salicifolia has aniseed scented foliage.
Magnolias come from a wide variety of climates and habitats but those we buy from the nurseries will be grafted onto one rootstock or another to control vigour as well as to induce them to flower earlier. They are very amenable. Most will grow in any reasonable, slightly acidic garden soil but they do demand decent humus and organic content. Most magnolias are forest plants and so enjoy companionship and the shelter from strong winds provided by other trees.
Magnolias have a system of shallow feeding roots which, once planted, resent disturbance. When planting, I don’t even tease roots away from the root-ball as I would do with any other shrub or tree. Thorough ground preparation with plenty of leaf-mould or soil conditioner is essential and it is important to plant the top of the root-ball level with the surrounding soil. I have learned to my cost the fatal effects of planting magnolias too deep despite the well intentioned desire to keep as much moisture as possible around a newly planted specimen.
If Magnolias are the queens of garden flowers then Rhododendrons ( including Azaleas) are the kings. April and May are the best months to go to gardens boasting collections of rhododendrons and admire their many forms and flower colours.
Rhododendrons have suffered a fall in popularity over the last few years. Many people have been of the opinion that this was because they could not be accommodated in smaller gardens, but I rather feel that it was the result of nurseries and garden centres failing to offer a variety of plants. When many people think of rhododendrons, they often think of R. ponticum or its hybrids, which line the drives of many a stately home and, after flowering, form an unattractive green lump. When the gardener is looking for a plant that gives interest over more than one season it is understandable that many begrudge giving space to rhododendrons with their short flowering season. However if we look beyond the common hybrids there is a rhodo out there for everyone. Many of the species and cultivars have attractive foliage with either silver backed leaves or leaves marbled with brown hairy indumentum as well as attractive bark. I would rather look at the foliage of many a rhododendron all year than give house room to a camellia. These shrubs seem to have gained popularity at the rhododendron’s expense but, in my opinion, they make a much less attractive shrub when not in flower.
Azaleas, members of the rhododendron family, make excellent garden plants. Many cultivars are deciduous and have the added bonus of scented flowers and autumn colour. They come in a wide range of colours from the pure white of ‘Persil’ to pinks and the bright yellows of R. luteum.
Of course this is only my opinion and you are free to disregard it but in a family as large as rhododendron there is one out there for every size of garden that can provide the right conditions. Indeed rhodos are very accommodating, needing only moist acidic soil with good humus content and some shade. We all want our plants to perform for as long as possible but if we have an eye for the subtle, and the energy to seek out nurseries and growers growing more specialist plants and be adventurous enough to try them, then we can all enhance our gardens.
We all want our plants to give us value, to perform for as long as possible and with as little demand on our time as possible. There is nothing wrong with this view; my argument is simply a blend of the practical and philosophical. Firstly, not every plan is suitable for every garden or situation within a garden so we should all chose plants suitable for what we have, rather than try too hard to change the soil or situation to our advantage. Secondly, imagine the most beautiful magnolia flower you have ever seen then ask yourself if in fact part of the charm is that very ephemeral nature. Would you be as excited or notice it as much if it flowered non-stop?
You might think that I have lost touch with reality with all this talk of Magnolias and Rhododendrons, that I might be thinking like Gertrude Jekyll when she said that however small your garden “always leave a few acres for trees”! There are more things happening. One of the stars of these months are tulips which impart a touch of elegance to any garden. Euphorbias are coming into their own, displaying acid green or yellow bracts. My own favourite is E. palustris which works well in damp soil and has good autumn colour before it dies back. There is a euphorbia for even more gardens than there are rhododendrons!
Finally, my top tip for this time of year is not to cut the foliage of flowering spring flowering bulbs down until they start to die down on their own. This might not appeal to the tidy minded gardener but these bulbs are entering the most critical stage of their growth when they are making food to support new flowers next spring. Look at your snowdrops. Now they have finished flowering, the leaves have elongated and widened to capture as much light as possible. If you have daffodils planted in grass leave it alone, don’t mow. If you don’t like having long grass then you shouldn’t have put the daffodils there in the first place!
A very brief word from the kitchen garden.
Over the last few days a couple of people have mentioned to me about frosts damaging their newly emerged potato haulms. One way of reducing or eliminating this problem is to spray the foliage with cold tap water using a hosepipe. This needs to be done first thing in the morning after the frost has occurred.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.