Category Archives: Magazine Articles

The Silver Birch and The Aspen Tree



‘The lady of the woods’ as Coleridge called this tree, the silver birch is one of our most graceful trees. Yet it is remarkably hardy too. One of the earliest trees to bud it turns a lovely yellow in autumn, but the delicate markings on its trunk & peeling bark attract most attention & give it its folk names – paper tree, white birch, written tree.

Medieval people made little distinction between it & its very close cousin the common birch. From Pre-historic times candles/brands were made of the rolled strips of bark, but its most common use was for brushes & switches for cattle & men. As John Evelyn remarked, …‘its twigs are used for Beesoms & Rods the one for the clenely Huswif to sweep down Cobwebs, the other for the magisterial Paedagogue to drive the Colt out of the Boy’.

But its dedication to Frigg the Viking goddess of mirth also gave it happier associations. Wreaths of silver birch & roses were hung over farmyard gates to celebrate the summer solstice & the white birch was frequently chosen as the Maypole or boughs were used to decorate the church at Rogationtide & Ascension Day. It has few local folk names, as the beorc/birch became a word universally used.



This native broadleaf tree has delicate leaves that are copper-coloured in bud, grey-green in summer & a lovely yellow in autumn. The petioles (stems) are long & flat so the leaves flutter in the least whisper of air.  They tremble even when there is no wind so earnt the folk-name, ‘old wives’ tongues’. In 1597 John Gerard wrote in his Herbal, ‘In England the Aspentree may also be called the Trembletree…it is the matter whereof women’s toongs were made, which seldom cease wagging…’ In the south-west it is called the asp; in Sussex the aps; in the Midlands the quaking ash, snapsen or pipple, the diminutive for poplar.

The timber is light weight so had few uses except as a bark infusion to treat shingles or to make light-weight objects like woven baskets. To some it was a cursed tree as they believed the Cross had been made from it, so that ever after the trees shake with shame & sorrow. A lovely tree indeed, but do not plant it in your garden as the suckers are numerous & can come up as much as 40 feet from the mother tree!

Summer meanderings around Pagham Harbour & Medmerry


It’s summer – the perfect time for a lazy stroll across our reserves of RSPB Pagham Harbour and Medmerry. The hum and buzz of insects fills the air, grasshoppers and crickets chirrup from the undergrowth, skylarks pour out their continuous song high above out of sight and butterflies dance across the fields.


Looking out across the harbour from Church Norton there is a flurry of activity around Tern Island. The sound of chattering terns drifts across the languid waters mingled with the harsher squawks of the black-headed gulls, with which they share nesting rights on the island. The hard work of staff and volunteers, clearing vegetation and preparing the island for the breeding season has paid off. Three species of tern nest on the island – common terns, with red legs and a black-tipped, red bill; sandwich terns, with black legs and yellow-tipped, black bill; and of course little terns, with yellow legs and yellow bill, for whom the harbour is internationally important as a breeding site. After an absence of nearly a decade, little terns returned to breed on our reserve in 2007 and with careful management our little tern colony has slowly grown making Pagham Harbour one of the most successful sites along the south coast. Take a seat by the harbours edge and watch these delightful seabirds fishing, hovering briefly before diving into the water for small fish.


Meanwhile wander around Medmerry and you’re likely to hear the often described ‘little bit of bread and no cheese’ song of the yellowhammer repeated over and over. The depiction portrays the songs’ pace and form of this farmland songbird, with a bright yellow head and breast and brown streaky back. The yellowhammer is a member of the bunting family, two other species of which you may see as you amble along the footpaths. Male reed buntings are often spotted singing from the tops of reed stems and have a sparrow-like body, with a black head and throat and a broad white collar. Less distinct with a streaky brown body is the corn bunting. This farmland bird has declined rapidly but can be spotted across Medmerry reserve and the surrounding agricultural countryside, perched on a post singing with a series of notes likened to the jangling of keys.


For more information about both reserves pop into our Visitor Centre south of Chichester on the B2145 between Selsey and Sidlesham.

Men’s Shed Activity 2017

mens shed

The Third Annual General Meeting of Men’s Shed was held on 4th April. Due to the large number attending the meeting was held in the Age Concern, building. Thanks were given to the retiring Chairman, Geoff Collett for the terrific achievement in getting the Shed to its successful current position. The new Chairman, David Leal, was voted in and two other officers were welcomed to the committee to fill vacated posts.

Still growing, with a number of new members joining each month, the Shed is going from strength to strength offering older men of the area west of Chichester, somewhere to go and something to do on weekday mornings. Since starting up just four short years ago with a few local men attending on one or two mornings it outgrew the small, old primary school changing room at Age Concern which it used for meetings and expanded into the room next door. Now offering well equipped workshops for wood and metalwork, for members who wish to use them, it has a social area where most men sit and enjoy a coffee and biscuits as they chat and ‘put the world to rights’. Some work on their hobbies and other projects individually or as a team. There is always something to do covering all levels of skill and abilities but there is no expectation or requirement for members to do anything. Very many firm friendships have developed as men of all backgrounds gather in the informal, safe clubrooms. Many have found it an excellent alternative to loneliness and isolation as well as a chance to have a change of scenery and company for a few hours a week with men of their own age who are ‘in the same boat’.

Following on from the very successful ‘Race Night’ in February to raise funds for Age Concern, Shedders (as they are called) have joined in village events. The Bargain Trail was a chance to sell some of the duplicate tools acquired from generous donations and raise funds for the upkeep of the building. As the weather was so fine and sunny we had a very good day. Even with a team and a half, we were unable to beat the top teams at the Quiz night in aid of St Wilfrid’s Hospice held at Southbourne Village Hall but we will be ready for them next time.

The recent Village Clean-up saw eleven Shedders in three teams clearing the undergrowth and verges at the north end of Stein Road to fill seven large bags with rubbish. Several people who also ‘Cleaned-up’ Southbourne were rewarded with one of the nest boxes or bat boxes made by Shedders over the winter. We have, for sale, plenty of Bird boxes, Bird tables, Planters, Hedgehog nests and bug hotels and small border fences, well made by those Shedders who enjoy woodworking.

If you are wanting’ Somewhere to go and Something to do’ on weekday mornings (except Wednesday) just call in to Men’s Shed, The Old School, New Road, Southbourne, PO10 8JX or call 07539 103015. You can find us on the Internet at


Cat and Rabbit Rescue

KM157-16 & KM159-16

Hello it’s me again your out and abouter reporter for the Cat and Rabbit Rescue Centre Hulky Bear.  I have been so busy this last month looking for the best places around the centre to catch up with my sun-bathing. I have to make sure I have the most comfortable spots first or my friends will take over. To keep my friends busy I have asked them to put together a photo board with a little bit about each of us so that when you visit us at the centre you can see who we are and why we live here. I put Lewis in charge. Not sure how good his photo skills are as long as I look handsome I don’t mind.

I have a some sad news my old friend Cookie passed away a few weeks ago she had been at the centre for 10 years she liked to relax in the barn with her friend Michael. We are all missing her, it was very sudden and unexpected.

I have a special ‘Save the Date’ message for you. I have come up with an idea to get you all involved and a chance to come and meet the team at the centre for a fun evening. I am arranging a Fashion Show on 15th of July. Planning is still in the early stages we hope to have a ‘Cat and Rabbit Next Top Model’ Yes I know it will be me but I have to pretend to give the others a chance don’t I? Next month I will update you with what is happening but please make a note of the date in your diary and I look forward to giving you details soon.

PS: We have a Viewing Day Saturday 27th May 12-2pm. Viewing days are non-appointment days so people thinking of adopting a cat can pop along.  Otherwise we rehome 7 days a week by appointment only.


This May we would love you to meet 2 special boys KM157-16 a handsome fluffy black cat and KM159-16 gorgeous black and white cat (pictured). They are 7 months old now, arriving when they were only just one month old with their mum and brothers after being found as strays. Mum and the rest of the family have been re-homed but the brothers have been here over 6 months waiting for somebody to choose them. Both are such lovely boys, a little nervous of people. They are slowly growing to trust especially when it’s feeding time. Both are very playful boys and like to interact with us when we play with them. Never having lived in a loving home and not even seen a house we would love them to find someone that has the time to give them the confidence they need.  If you think that you could offer them a loving home, and are willing to be patient whilst they settle in and get to know you then please do consider them. They would be best suited to a calm, quiet home with older or no children. If you think you can offer KM157-16 and KM159-16 the new home they so desperately deserve, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the Centre.

The A259 Hedge Project


There has been great progress in work on planning the hedge project since our last meeting on March 18th. This is the first part of the programme to enhance the area north and south of the A259 as it crosses Bosham. The old field hedge needs regeneration for the advantage of wildlife and the improvement of the area. It runs from the Swan roundabout, along Penwarden Way, Broadbridge Drive and Brooks Lane to Highgrove Farm.

We have now secured sufficient funding to start. We warmly thank the WSCC Communities Fund and Section 106 and Bosham Parish Council, who are planning the erection of a notice-board to carry information about the programme and the donors. The Bosham Association have generously adopted the work as this year’s project for which we are particularly grateful. Come and learn more at St. Nicholas Hall on April 24th. From individuals we have already received a number of pledges of donations to buy a tree or other plants, some in memory of a loved one.

Meanwhile we have been making the necessary preliminary enquiries into the location of underground utility services (we mustn’t hit a water-pipe or electricity cable) and checking health and safety issues. Everyone hopes work will begin in late August/early September after the nesting season, when the WSCC begins the creation of two new paths through the hedge. This is to improve access to the ‘bus stops and shops for mobility-scooter users, parents with pushchairs and other pedestrians.  We also hope there may be the possibility of a short path from the south-east corner of Brooks Lane across the green to the houses at the beginning of Brooks Lane. No more trying to get a wheelchair or toddlers through the muddy grass there we hope.

Then in September the WSCC Amenities Volunteers will come to help us remove the old concrete, wire and rubbish from the hedge, particularly along Broadbridge Drive, so we shall need all hands to the wheelbarrow! Volunteers from ALL parts of Bosham are invited to put September 11th in their diaries to come and give their support for a few hours or days as the work will continue for two weeks.

Then October 14/15th will be our planting weekend. Young and old will be invited to bring a picnic and join in planting trees, bushes and bulbs, so please keep that date free. We hope a film will be made of the various parts of the project, so wear your prettiest wellies and come to be immortalised in the history of the village. Wildflowers, plants and seed, will be introduced along both sides of the hedge next Spring and we shall have a programme of on-going care particularly watering, so if you would like to be put on our list of active volunteers, whether to donate or to wield a shovel, rake or brush or to keep us fortified with tea and buns, please complete the following form and return to or



I/We wish to donate a tree or bushes (the cost will be between £10 & £90 according to what plant you wish to donate. (A list of native trees and bushes is available to choose from and no money is needed until October.).



I/We hope to offer help in September and/or October. (Volunteers will be contacted to attend a preparation meeting in July or August with Mr. Darren Rolfe of the WSCC Amenity Volunteers to plan how we get involved.)






Chichester Roman Week


Chichester Roman Week will be taking place Saturday 27 May to Saturday 3 June and promises a host of activities for children and families.

Chichester was first established as Noviomagnus Reginorum, which translates to ‘New market of the proud people’ after the Roman invasion in AD43. Their legacy can be found across the city, including magnificent features such as the Roman walls surrounding the city centre and
the Roman bathhouse located inside The Novium Museum.

Led by The Novium Museum in partnership with the Chichester BID, the festival will feature talks, heritage trails, guided tours and family activities at cultural venues, shops and restaurants throughout the city centre. For a full programme of events please see our website




Sun 28 – Sat 3 Jun
Roman Objects Treasure Hunt – free


Sat 27 – Sun 4 June

Roman Roots at Fishbourne Roman Palace

All about life in Roman times – normal admission applies


Sun 28 – Sat 3 June

Latin Tree Trail & Roman Maze at Stansted House – normal admission applies


Mon 29, 11am – 3pm
Family Friendly interactive talks and demonstrations – free. (Family event)


Mon 29, 10:00 – 17:00

At Fishbourne Roman Palace

Gardens in Time – Talks, demonstrations, tours & workshops looking at all aspects of ancient gardens


Mon 29, 10:30

Roman Tour at Chichester Harbour Tours – normal admission applies

Tues 30, 11am – 2pm
Themed craft activities, £3 per child, per session

Tues 30, 11am

Bathhouse handling table – free

Tues 30, 2pm

Roman Chichester, guided family heritage walks. £3 per person. (Family event)

Wed 31, 11am – 3pm
Family Friendly interactive talks and demonstrations – free. (Family event).
Wed 31, 7pm – 8pm
The Roman Bath House, evening talk. £2 per person. (Talk)


Wed 31, 10:30

Roman Tour at Chichester Harbour Tours – normal admission applies



Thur 1, 11am

Bathhouse handling table – free

Thur 1, 11am – 2pm
Themed craft activities. £3 per child, per session.

Thur 1, 2pm

Roman Chichester, guided family heritage walks. £3 per person. (Family event).

Fri 2, 11am-3pm
Family Friendly interactive talks and demonstrations – free. (Family event).


Fri 2, 10:30

Roman Tour at Chichester Harbour Tours – normal admission applies


Sat 3, 11:00 – 11:30

Roman storytime session at Chichester Library – free
For more information please call 01243 775888 or see

Health Fair with FECH


The Health Fair organised by Friends of Emsworth Community Health (FECH) comes to the Emsworth Baptist Church on May 5th!



The Friends of Emsworth Community Hospital were formed in 1949. At that time the Hospital had 15 in patient beds, and was the base for a large community team, including District Nurses and Health Visitors, a Child and family therapy team, and a Multidisciplinary Response Team.

There was also accommodation for Physiotherapy, Podiatry and visiting clinics, and the Red Cross equipment loan service had a base there.

The in-patient beds were closed in 2005, and the whole hospital was closed in 2012. The Friends of the Hospital then became the Friends of Emsworth Community Health.

The Emsworth Surgery is too small for an expanding General Practice, and was also unable to offer space to the other community services, which have moved to Havant. Proposals to  re-develop the Hospital site as a GP surgery, with the possibility of accommodation for other services,

have been under discussion for some time.

Emsworth is a strong and growing community with a large elderly population, and a growing number of young families and children. The transport links with Havant, particularly Oak Park where some community services are based, are poor.

The Friends therefore aims to maintain the interest of the public in local services, and to support their development.


The Friends of Emsworth Community Health is a registered charity with a local membership and managed by it’s trustees. It supports organisations that provide services that benefit the health and well being of people in Emsworth by providing funds, and by other means. In the last year we made grants of over £22,000 to 20 local health related organisations.

FECH is involved in the discussions to redevelop the hospital site to provide a new surgery, and to make community health services available to the people of Emsworth.

FECH also owns and maintains the Hospital garden as a public amenity.





FECH depends on the support of it’s members. To become a member of FECH please contact Irene Craig at



FECH makes grants that further it’s objects, which are to support organisations that promote the health and wellbeing of the people of Emsworth. It will consider requests for equipment, amenities and other projects for which there is:

  • A demonstrable need
  • Evidence of effectiveness
  • Good value for money, and
  • Funds cannot normally be obtained from other sources.


For more information about grants please Email our Treasurer Reg Harnett

St George’s Day Concert


Sunday 23rd April 2017 6.30pm – 8.30pm

St Peter’s and St Mary’s Church, Fishbourne PO19 3XT (off the A259)

Tickets: Adults £11.00 (children free) – includes interval light refreshments

An evening of quality entertainment featuring some of England’s finest musical gems, for the whole family. This promises to be a super evening … not to be missed!

Book tickets  or sign up in Church

Contact: Caroline Sheppard 07787943027

In aid of Church funds


Using Eventbrite:

Eventbrite is a large organisation with a website that allows event organisers to plan, promote and sell tickets for events. I have some experience with using this within the NHS to book study days and found it very effective and efficient. I would like to start to introduce this way of booking for some of our Church social events.

Go to,, click search, click category (music) or date (23/4/17), scroll down to the St George’s Day Concert link, click tickets, select ticket type, check out, complete the ticket buyer information, if you don’t not want to pay online choose “other payment options” (cheque or pay on the door) . You will receive your ticket by email. I am happy to help those who are not able to use a computer and there will be a form at the back of Church if you would like me to register you for a ticket.

Please feedback your experience of the booking process to me.

Caroline Sheppard (07787943027)

Cat and Rabbit Rescue

Mazarin & Semla

Mazarin & Semla


This April, we would like to introduce out Pet of the Month as two special Easter Bunnies.  Mazarin and her sister Semla are a year old. They arrived here at the Centre in October 2016 after suffering from neglect and not being fed correctly.  When they arrived they were both very underweight and in poor condition. Since being here they have had lots of love and correct feeding by the staff they are looking much better and ready to find their forever home. At the moment due to the lack of handling we are a little scared and not sure of being picked up but will soon enjoy being handled. . If you think you can offer Mazarin and Semla the new home she so desperately deserves, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the Centre.



Holborow Lodge, Chalder Lane, Sidlesham, W. Sussex PO20 7RJ

Tel: 01243 641409  Reg. Charity no. 1010000



Also find us on facebook


PS: We have a Viewing Day Saturday 22th April 12-2pm. Viewing days are non-appointment days so people thinking of adopting a cat can pop along.  Otherwise we rehome 7 days a week by appointment only.

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