CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.
HAMSEY: Sing For Hamsey, Saturday September 23. An all-day workshop in Offham Church Hall (sold out) and concert afterwards at Hamsey Church at 4.30pm (all welcome). Details from Julie Nye on 07972 191932. All proceeds to the Hamsey Church Restoration Fund. For those who have booked the workshop is from 10.30am to 5pm, led by Julie Nye, community choir leader and harmony singing enthusiast. Walk to Hamsey Church to sing what has been learned, plus singing for Hamsey Harmony and The Dawn Chorus Community Choirs. Cost £22 in aid of Hamsey Church. For further information contact Julie on 07970 522058. 10.30am coffee, 11am singing, 1pm bring and share lunch, 2pm singing, 3.45pm walk or drive to Hamsey Church, 4.30pm performance. Friends and family very welcome, refreshments available.
SOUTH EAST FARMER: In my August edition of SEF there were many interesting reports to read and one in particular which is headed Senior Agronomist is Now Bishop. It says that many readers will remember Richard Jackson when he was senior Agronomist for Masstock Ltd (formerly Cleanacres) and advised arable farmers on rotations, variety selection, fertiliser and agrochemical use. Richard is now Bishop of Lewes and recently spoke at Ashburnham Chapel.
EXPORT INSPECTIONS: Another report in the SEF is abut the government delegation from Japan who were inspecting beef production controls across the UK which could re-open the market for UK exports. The five visiting officials from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare toured farms, laboratories and abattoirs to learn about the country’s food hygiene controls more than 20 years after the BSE outbreak.
RAGWORT: Was another interesting piece. Saying that Ragwort is no mythical rogue. It says that often on a soggy evening in a remote village pub conversation will turn to the weed, the places where it is growing and how Mr so and so should know better because it is illegal to have the plant growing on your land. As if this were not enough of a crime, ragwort is so dangerous that it kills untold numbers of livestock including horses. These conversations go on and on until someone asks who is policing the ragwort law and how many people are behind bars at her majesty’s pleasure for growing the weed. Aparently is is virtually impossible to find data online or anywhere else giving information. The fact is it’s not illegal to have ragwort on your land and never has been. Ragwort is mentioned in the 1959 Weeds Act which says that the agriculture minister can serve a notice on a landowner to prevent it spreading. Other plants covered by the act are spear thistle, creeping or field thistle and broad leaved dock. It is known that ragwort in conserved hay or silage can make cattle ill but there is no reliable data on this. It finishes by saying that there is another way of looking at the weed. Thirty five insect species rely on ragwort for food, including seven moth and seven beetle species. Another 83 species are recorded as using ragwort often as a significant food source. It is also a significant source of nectar for bee species and many species of butterfly. Of more than 7,000 plant species in Britain, ragwort is the seventh most important nectar producing plant. Having read all of that it certainly makes one think about all of the good points that it has for our environment.
LIVESTOCK APPRECIATION: I have just read that one in eight young adults (aged 18 to 24 years) have never seen a cow, a recent poll has found. A fifth have never left the city they live in.
SHEEP FARMERS: The Lynx Trust has applied to Natural England to release six of the animals in the Kielder Forest.
GOLDEN CELEBRATIONS: A wonderful surprise was waiting for the Rector, Derek Bastide, and his wife Judith one Sunday last month when they celebrated their Golden Wedding. They came back from a few days in France with their son Daniel and his family, to find that the parish had been very busy while they had been away, transforming the church with gold and white flowers. Judith tells me that the flower arrangers, under Caroline Featherstone’s expert guidance, had made it look like an exquisite flower festival. She and Derek were immensely touched at tall the hard work and affection that had gone into it. The next day, at the Parish Communion service, the choir sang a special anthem, there was a presentation of very generous vouchers which they are looking forward to spending, a card signed by every member of the congregation (not forgetting the Champagne they are looking forward to drinking and the beautiful bouquet for Judith). Afterwards in the church hall the congregation enjoyed Champagne and delicious celebration cake made by Ursula Hare. As Derek said, since most clergy have retired by the time they are 70 there are very few who get to enjoy such celebrations, and he and Judith both doubt if any other parish could put on such wonderful ones. They are very touched and want to thank churchwardens Roland and Rachael for all the thought and effort that went into producing such a wonderful and memorable surprise.
OFFHAM GALA WEEKEND: Two wonderful concerts in St Peter’s Church. Saturday September 30 at 7pm, Pippa Dames-Longworth presents Singing Salon. Fifteen singers in a thrilling and enchanting evening of well loved and glorious opera www.singingsalon.co.uk. Sunday October 1, 4pm, John Lggett, organ, Jan Barger Cohen flute and Rachael Brown soprano. Admission £15 weekend/£10 per concert (seniors, under 16s £8, under 12s free). Tickets available on the door, or to book in advance see www.offhamandhamsey.org or ring 07973 187568. Concerts are at St Peter’s Church, refreshments available at both concerts.
AT LAST: I am back on the phone and am able to sit peacefully to write this column without messages keep flashing up on the screen to tell me there is a fault with the broadband. As a last resort I nearly got out my old typewriter. As if by coincidence I then read the following in a magazine entitled, Going Back to Basics, which said the price of vintage typewriters has soared and dozens are now restored in Britain every week, as people avoid constant communication. It finished by saying, so long smartphone thumb.
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