Category Archives: Magazine Articles

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

The-Mill-Bosham-Quay-July-17-c-Richard-Cooke.jpg

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 jbentallm@yahoo.co.uk or margaretdevitt1@gmail.com.

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A259  HEDGE PROJECT.

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.).

Name………………………………………………………………

 

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.)

 

Names………………………………………………………………….

Address…………………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………………………………

Email…………………………………………………………………….

Chichester Roman Week

novium

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 www.thenovium.org

 

May

 

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

 

June

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 www.thenovium.org/romanweek

Health Fair with FECH

Emsworth_Marina

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

 

Background

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.

FECH

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.

 

 

 

Membership

FECH depends on the support of it’s members. To become a member of FECH please contact Irene Craig at irenecraig71@gmail.com.

 

Grants

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 regharnett1941@btinternet.com

St George’s Day Concert

1280px-Flag_of_England.svg

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 www.eventbrite.co.uk  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 www.eventbrite.co.uk,, 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.

 

THE CAT & RABBIT RESCUE CENTRE

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

Tel: 01243 641409  Reg. Charity no. 1010000

Email: info@crrc.co.uk     www.crrc.co.uk

 

Also find us on facebook www.facebook.com/catandrabbitrescuecentre

 

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.

Bosham Chidham and District Horticultural Society

horticultural society

Our March meeting always feels like the first one of the Spring season and there were plenty of beautiful spring flowers in the competition.  It was great to see so many members at the meeting and it certainly gave me a chance to catch up with them, as I had missed our first meeting of 2017 in February.  I think there is always such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and if you have never been, why not come along to our April Meeting and see for yourself!

Stephanie welcomed the members to the meeting.  She reminded the members that Tuppeny Barn is holding a Family Spring Flower Show on 1st April 2017 at 2pm.  If this magazine gets delivered promptly to you then you have no excuse for not attending!   As well as the floral displays in the competitions, Chichester Community Wildlife Officer, Sarah Hughes (who came to Horti in February!) will be providing activities for children.   Of course no village event would be complete without tea and homemade refreshments,  tombola, raffle and cake stall!  Brian gave us his topical tips – when it is not too boggy sow your broad beans and plant out your shallots.  Lay your potatoes in trays ready for planting out in April – hope you have tidied up your strawberries and fed with blood fish and bone and pruned your raspberries!  A handy tip from Brian is to lay a plank on the vegetable bed where you are working to prevent the soil compacting!

Our speakers, Ian Milton and Mike Bushell of the Chichester Canal Trust, gave us a very informative talk with slides on the history of the Trust and the canal itself.   All the planning and engineering of the canal took so long that by the time it was completed it was hardly needed  as the railway had reached Portsmouth (now does that sound familiar!).  However on the bright side the canal today draws in more tourists than any other attraction in Chichester!   The trips sound like fun.

Dont forget that our Plant Sale is on the 13th May so when you are sorting out your plants in your garden, we would love if it if you could pot up any surplus to requirement and give them to the sale.

Our next Meeting is on the 13th April in the Village Hall at the usual time of 7 for 7.30 when Derrick Donnison-Morgan will be speaking to us about Madeira – Island of Flowers.   Look forward to seeing you then!

 

Rozie Bradley  Secretary.

John Fox’s Guide to Solving Cryptic Crosswords

A number of people have been kind enough to say that they enjoyed doing the cryptic crosswords that I produce for The Village Magazine. However many of them go on to say that they can usually only solve a few of the clues! So I thought it might help if I put down a few notes and suggestions that may help readers solve more (or even all!) of the clues. There are few things more satisfying (to me, at least!) than inserting the final word and seeing the grid complete.

The first thing that must be said is that staring at a clue for a long time wondering what it means is not often the most productive way of solving it. In fact I would recommend that when starting a crossword you should look at each clue for no more than 20 seconds, and if you have no inspiration you should go on to the next clue, and the next, and so on until you come to a clue which lights up that little lightbulb, and you are able to fill in the word. Then once you have a word (or two) filled in you can start to work around those and use crossing letters to help you. It’s surprising how the grid will start to fill if you have a B or P or Q from a crossing word!

But I am getting ahead of myself. Cryptic crossword clues conform to certain rules and patterns, and spotting the nature of the clue will give you the key to solving it. Unlike general knowledge crosswords, with a cryptic crossword it should be possible to definitely derive the solution from the clue, with no ambiguity. Most cryptic clues comprise two distinct parts, the DEFINITION and the CRYPTIC part (sometimes called the WORDPLAY). In the wordplay you will usually find an INDICATOR which will suggest to the solver what kind of clue it is. To make this clearer let’s look at some examples:

 

  1. ANAGRAM

I usually look for the anagrams when I start to solve a crossword – they are comparatively easy to spot and you can be pretty sure you have got the right answer when you unscramble the letters. Take these clues from a recent crossword:

 Liveliness arising from stewed tripes (6). Look at the words in the clue: there is one word of 6 letters –  tripes – and this suggests that the solution could be an anagram of this word. The word stewed in this case is an indicator. There are many indicators for an anagram, all suggesting some kind of turmoil or change. Other examples might be abnormal, agitated, bizarre, change, defective, flawed, oddly, somehow – and in this case stewed. The definition in this clue is the word liveliness. So we are looking for a word which suggests or is a synonym of this word. Re-arrange the letters of tripes and you get esprit, which is the answer.

 Engineer maybe gets lots of memory! (9). In this case the word engineer is the anagram indicator and the wordplay is on the words maybe gets. Re-arranging these two words give you the definition: megabytes – lots of memory!

 

  1. HIDDEN WORD

In this type of clue the solution is hidden within the wordplay. Once again there are many indicators such as comprising, concealed, embracing, incorporating, surrounding etc.

Stuttgart is another home for craftsman (7).  In this example the indicator is home and the solution – artisan – is hidden within “Stuttgart is another”. The definition therefore is ‘craftsman’

A variation on the hidden word is when the wordplay must be read backwards e.g:

‘Schedules in notes a Tory held back’.(5)  ‘Held’ suggests a hidden word, and ‘back’ suggests reversal of the words. The solution is ‘rotas’ – another word for schedules.

This is known as a reversal clue. Other indicator words might be ‘heading west’ in an across clue or travelling north’ in a down clue

 

  1. CHARADE

Just as in the parlour game the solution in a charade clue is made up of two or more words: ”sung” and “lasses” make “sunglasses” and “carp” and “enter” make “carpenter” etc. So:

‘Flog ancient doorway’ (9): The definition is ‘doorway’ and the solution comprises synonyms for ‘Flog’ and ‘ancient’ – i.e. ‘thresh’ and ‘old’ – ‘threshold’

Or one of my favourites: ‘waves round cereal bowls’ ((10).  The solution is ‘brandishes’

You may have noticed that there is no indicator in this sort of clue

4          SOUND-ALIKE

 

In this type of clue the answer sounds like another word, which is indicated in the clue by a sound-alike indicator, such as ‘we hear’, ‘on the radio’, ‘reported’, ‘it’s said’ etc. So:

‘Agree to a perfume, reportedly’ (6).  In this clue the definition is ‘agree’ and the indicator is ‘reportedly’. The solution is ‘assent’ i.e agree.

‘Cold country, we hear’ (5). The answer, of course, is ‘chilly’.

Or: ‘Required to be worked like dough, say? (6)’. ­ You’re probably ahead of me by now: ‘needed’

 

 

  1. DELETIONS

In this sort of clue something has been taken away. The indicator word may suggest that the word has been shortened in length. Words such as ‘shortly’, ‘endless’ (suggesting that the last letter has gone), ‘empty’ (suggesting that the middle letters have gone leaving only the first and last), or the clue will say which bit to delete. So:

‘Cut vegetable, not level’ (4). This one is a bit tricky, as the word ‘cut’ is an indicator for deletion. However in this case the indicator is ‘not’ level. So it’s a vegetable with part of the name meaning ‘level’ deleted, and the definition is ‘cut’. The vegetable is ‘parsnip’, and deleting ‘par’ (i.e. level’) gives you the answer: ‘snip’.

Or: ‘Most ancient, most adventurous, losing head! (6)’. Here the indicator ‘losing head’ suggests that a word for ‘most adventurous’ needs to lost its first letter. So: Boldest’ losing ‘B’ becomes ‘oldest’ which is the solution.

  1. CRYPTIC DEFINITION CLUES (PUNS)

These clues usually end with a question mark. They are the exception to the convention that there should be a definition and an indicator, and are a play on words. So:

‘Ace footballer getting married? (3,2,3,5)’ gives you: ‘man of the match’

Or: ‘A stiff examination (4,6)?’  is a ‘post mortem’

  1. REVERSAL CLUES

These are clues where a word or phrase read backwards reveals another word, e.g ‘dray’ and ‘yard’, ‘trap’ and ‘part’, ‘Tessa’ and ‘asset’. The indicator could be ‘going back’, ‘heading west’ or ‘turned over’ or, in a Down clue, ‘travelling north’ or ‘on the way up’. Sometimes the word will be hidden in a phrase read backwards, such as:

‘Find flavour, all in a vegetable served up’(7). The reversal indicator is ‘served up’ so reading this backwards starting with the ‘v’ of ‘vegetable’ we get the answer: ‘vanilla’,

Or: ‘Post a letter, having defamed? On the contrary’(7). This is a little more tricky, as the word to reverse is not ‘defamed’ but a word which means the same. The word is ‘reviled’ which reversed gives the solution: ‘deliver’.

  1. DOUBLE DEFINITION CLUES

These clues are another exception to the Definition and Indicator, and they simply have two definitions, both suggesting the same thing. These clues tend to be short, e.g

‘Bribe stopper’ (4). The answer is ‘bung’ which is a word for both.

Or: ‘Criticises kitchen implements’ (4). The answer, of course is ‘pans’

 

This list of clue types is not exhaustive; you will find clues which are hybrids of two types of clue and some which defy classification. In all types of clue abbreviations are used often, e.g. B for black, C for cold, E for drug (ecstasy) or east, H  for hospital, L for left or lake, M for motorway, P for parking or page, R for river, T for time, W for west  etc.

The compiler will often try to throw you off the scent (after all, that’s his job in a cryptic crossword) so you may see a word such as number, which may mean 1, 2, 3 etc but may mean more numb, or anaesthetic (because they make you numb!). Or flower which may mean a buttercup, perhaps, or it may mean a river (because rivers flow).

If you are a beginner at cryptic crosswords I hope these notes will help you to solve clues. I hope they don’t put you off altogether! You will get more proficient at solving cryptic crosswords the more you attempt them. You will also hopefully be able to look back on a clue from the answer published subsequently and see why the clue led to that answer.

 

Happy Clueing!

John Fox

The Hedgerow Apothecary Warts and All

warts

I have come across more folk cures for warts in medieval England than for any other ailment. I guess that our ancestors must have been a very ‘warty’ lot!

A child who had developed one of these growths on his hands was said to have handled a toad, with the toad passing one of its bumps to the unsuspecting youngster. Alternatively, he was said to have washed his hands in water that had been used to boil eggs.

Cures: Wart charmers would travel from village to village ‘buying’ warts from unsuspecting sufferers by making the sign of the cross over them, touching them or murmuring a charm over them.

Many cures involved ‘transferring’ the wart onto something else:

‘Rub the wart with raw meat and bury it at a crossroads at midnight’

‘Tie as many knots as there are warts in a piece of string and throw it away’

‘Stealing dry peas or beans and wrapping them up, one for each wart, he carries the parcel to a place where four roads meet and tosses it over his head, not looking behind to see where it falls. He  will lose the warts and whoever picks it up will find them’

You could give warts to the dead by one of three methods: rubbing the afflicted area while watching a funeral procession go past, throwing a stone after the hearse, or applying to the wart mud gathered from the boots of the mourners. Each of the three acts had to be accompanied by a special chant, rhyme, or curse, such as “May these warts and the corpse pass away and never more return” or “Wart, wart, follow the corpse.”

Apparently these cures never fail but secrecy is vital and no one must see or hear what you are doing!

Those lacking a corpse could attempt to pass their warts to the unwholesome by sneakily rubbing their bumps against known adulterers who had fathered children out of wedlock.

Slugs and snails had a pretty hard time in the fight against warts as they would be rubbed onto the wart and then impaled on a Hawthorn or blackthorn tree to shrivel and die along with the wart.

Farming Report – Spring 2017

Roof project BY July 1 15 (3)

February “fill dyke”is certainly living up to its name and our much needed winter rain is replenishing reservoirs and raising the water table to carry us through next summer. Crops are still looking well and, apart from a small amount of pigeon grazing on the oilseed rape and our usual problem with brent geese, there is not too much to worry about at the moment.

We have been lucky in this area with good autumn establishment of crops, but in East Anglia 175,000 acres of rape was wiped out with drought and attack from cabbage stem flea beetle. In parts of Essex and Kent up to 80% of Wheat was resown due to poor germination.

They say what goes round comes round, and that is true, with the latest trend of growing a fast growing crop of mustard or turnips after harvest to be ploughed in before the next crop to provide “green” manure. This was common practice at one time but the swing to autumn planting due to unpredictable springs meant there just wasn’t enough time to establish a crop. Interestingly there is a change back to more spring planting for different reasons. Firstly in some areas grass weeds are becoming resistant to chemical control in the autumn and secondly it is a question of economics.Spring sown corn is cheaper to grow, although it doesn’t yield so well you don’t have to buy your seed, fertiliser and sprays so early and it spreads the autumn work load.Wheat is an expensive crop to grow and in 2015 about 90% of farmers lost money when there was a big global harvest and the price of wheat fell. In that year the average cost of production was £143 per tonne and the average sale was £114 per tonne.

We have a dilemma, our oldest tractor needs to be changed as it has a lot of hours on the clock, its tyres are worn out and generally its technology is getting outdated. We have tried a new model of the same horsepower but, with the modern build and all the latest gadgets, it weighs about one and a half tonnes more . The new low emission engine just does not have the same grunt and pulls the plough about 20% slower. If we go for the next model in the range we go up another one and half tonnes in weight which will cause even more damage to the land and it also costs £20,000 more!

Yesterday MP`s voted to trigger the article 50 exit clause, I am still concerned how this is going to pan out. 72% of all agricultural exports go to Europe, including £290 million worth of lamb and 78% of all Wheat and Barley exports. If they chose to impose an import tax would we still be competitive and if we had to look further for new markets would their economies be able to afford our prices. The food and farming sector is worth £108 billion, that is more than motor cars and aerospace combined.

The dutch are very productive and farm to a very high standard but they have so many cows that the waste they produce is becoming a problem. In order to save their muck spreading derogation from the EU they are planning to cull 175,000 cows. It is a crazy world when we are so obsessed with CO2 emissions, when I studied biology at school many years ago we were told that CO2 was vital for plant food.

A farmer was recently fined £30,000  when a rambler was killed by one of his cows. They can be as dangerous as a bull if they have recently calved and are protecting their offspring or, if someone has a dog on a lead, they may well go for the dog. A farm can be a dangerous place and I lost a good friend a few years ago when he was attacked by his own bull.

A national disaster has arisen! Due to such unseasonal weather in Spain there is a shortage of courgettes and iceberg lettuce. Jeremy Vine spent much of his show this week hearing from listeners who were wondering how they would be able to manage and saying they had been complaining to the supermarkets. What is wrong with these people have they never tried seasonal vegetables ?

We have always had a problem with our electrical supply, we must be one of the few farms in the area that is still single phase, I guess it`s because we are the end of a line and have never had our own grain dryer. When the electrician came to wire up our new shed there just wasn`t enough power so now we are looking at the possibility of upgrading to three phase. At the moment SSE are carrying out a survey to see where they can pick up the supply and how much it is going to cost, I am dreading to think how much that will be.

At this time of year we are busy servicing and repairing our kit ready for the spring work, the sprayer has had its MOT and the fertiliser spreader has been checked and calibrated. In about a month, as soon as the ground has dried sufficiently, we will be back on the land applying fertiliser to encourage new growth and soon after that we will consider sowing the spring crops.

I belong to a small group of farming friends who meet socially once a month. We have been doing this for 35yrs, it started as a study group and we would have talks and visits home and abroad to improve our farming knowledge, but now it`s more of a get together and boys night out. At our last meeting somebody produced a photograph taken on one of our visits in 1985, most of us had full heads of hair and flat stomachs and we looked liked our children do now. Happy days !

Richard Strange.

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