Monday, 31 May 2010

The passing passage of time requires a couple of sad goodbyes

The first of the yellow roses that grow outside my kitchen window has come into bloom. There is an abundance of buds which promise a fine display this summer with the rose bush showing no signs of stress from the harsh winter. Not so the well established ceanothus that has not come into leaf, let alone flower, this year. Just a little over a week ago I discussed, with my neighbour, whether drastic pruning might be the only course of action. It was to be the last of our many chats about gardening and the affects of our climate on our flora. Sadly Mrs. Nancy Holmes, affectionately known as Nan, passed away early last week. I had got into the habit of giving Nan the first and last roses from my garden but, this year, the first is in a vase on the kitchen windowsill in her memory. 

Always welcoming, I initially met Nan the day I came to view the then up for sale Pickenham 20th/acres and was welcomed back, when I came to say that I had purchased the house, with a "Good, I'm glad it was you that bought it". Mrs. Holmes progressively suffered from many debilitating ailments, since the millennium, of which I never heard her curse and, indeed, she was still very active in village life until quite recently. A gentleman never reveals a ladies age but, let's just say, she lived through not just economic recessions but a depression too. Her funeral will take place at 1.45pm on Monday, 14th June at Mintlyn Crematorium, King's Lynn.

I lost another good friend in May. Pickle was my friend's Jack Russell cross Border Terrier who was a bit of a naughty dog, chasing rabbits and, well, anything else she thought she might catch.

A loving dog, if a little high spirited at times for her laid back brother Roger and wimpish friend Bertie, her curiosity finally got the better of her. Dying mercifully quickly and cleanly by a passing blow from a train, her single year of life has left a strong and fondly remembered love in all who knew her.

All photos © J Reed

Turkey Turbines Given Green Light Local Planning Permission

© J Reed

Despite some concerns by the existing turbine owners Enertrag, who fear interference with the eight they run, the two Bernard Matthews' turbines at North Pickenham airfield appear to have been given the green light. Chris Raine, the senior development control officer, will report to Breckland Council this Wednesday with a recommendation to grant planning permission for the 25 year lifespan of the turbines.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Saint Andrew's Primary Web Site

Saint Andrew's Church of England Primary School in North Pickenham has a new web site to match the major extension opened last year. Some information is still to be posted but a great improvement on the old site. Bright, modern and fun - just like the school.

Bazaar Bag Ban

Swaffham's historic Saturday market is to stop the handing out of plastic bags with your purchases, in an initiative from Breckland Council and Advance Swafham, from May 29th 2010. 

Norfolk Tourism

The next step would be to ape Modbury in Devon, the first plastic bag free town, and Aylsham in Norfolk who went plastic free in 2008. Most plastic bags take decades to degrade in land fill sites, although Co-op degradable bags disappear in 3 years, with the supermarkets as keen to save money on free disposable bags as saving the planet.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Green, Green Grass of Home

A picture may well be worth a thousand words, but there is a good reason why East Anglia is green and the rain comes from the likes of the clouds photographed today. Statistically we have one of the driest climates in Britain but there is still enough rain for our flora to flourish.

Today's wood walk in West Acre, behind Narford Hall, can be summed up with one word - green. April showers have come to May and the whole wood was vibrant with green shoots. We did bump into an old friend, a blue grey Great Dane puppy who is now fully grown and stands equal to my waist now. Bertie is a little scared, although our friend is a softy he plays like a Terrier. Too much for the less than brave Lurcher.

The idyll was only slightly tempered by an unseasonal chill and the background soundtrack from nearby RAF Marham.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Sprouting Spring Shoots in the Sun

Good to see that most plants have revived themselves at Pickenham 20th/Acres after the prolonged winter.

All photos © J Reed

Other plants, like this four foot wide Cordyline with its eight foot flower stems, are still in the balance in their state of recovery.

Contrite Communiqué to the Co-op Checkout Cashier Couple

On a quick dash to the Necton Co-op before its 5pm Sunday closing hour, I mistakenly offered consolation to the staff that the sunshine was to last and the temperate climate look set to stay. On my return home, Bertie took me and my camera for a walk.

All was set fair to the south, with warm T-shirt wearing sunshine and light winds. To the north the rain clouds gathered, however.

Beautiful contrast of light and shade.

Chased by the looming rain clouds we raced towards Houghton on the Hill, looking back down towards Houghton Ponds in the Wissey valley.

The sunshine highlights the large amount rapeseed being grown in East Anglia this year, much to the annoyance of hay fever sufferers.

Then a sudden chill as the weather front ushered a cold steady breeze, the darkness from the clouds progressing purposely across the Houghton plateau.

All photos © J Reed

The downhill return to Pickenham was dark and bracing, to say the least. So apologies to the shop staff, I promise to keep my mouth shut next time so as not to put the kibosh on your evening sun worship.

Lord Nelson Post Office Perishes

Gordon Eagling/Geograph 
Sad news that another local pub and its incumbent post office has closed in the nearby village of Bradenham. The 700 hundred inhabitants have lost the historic pub The Lord Nelson, sited opposite the idyllic looking village cricket pitch, which has apparently been struggling to survive for some time.

Gordon Eagling/Geograph 
There is hope that someone will take over the hostelry in due course. Perhaps a parish population profit may placate a pub purchase with a fresh planning application for 14 new homes on land west of the bowling green and south of Nelson Close.

Local builder Chris Tilley, managing director of Clayland Homes, promises a £40,000 grant for village amenities in addition to a recreational grant of £11,000 to be paid to Breckland Council. The planning application details the inclusion of six affordable homes to be let by Hastoe Housing Association.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Will May Blossom?

© J Reed

With the consistency of death and taxes, the weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend was not so good. Just as well, then, that plans were not made for indoor pursuits as the sun shone with sporadic and dramatic cloudscapes.

© J Reed

Not the rain but the onslaught of my first, and hopefully last, runny nose cold of the year kept me at home today. Still, in a manly way as all of my fellow sex deal with a debilitating cold, I ventured into Swaffham for some drugs, fruit juice and a box of balm infused tissues to relieve my reddening nose. 

On the way home, I had the strength to quickly photograph the turbines at the airfield against a lovely sky.

© J Reed

Now, should I join Rudolf with a glass of red wine or will it not mix well with the drugs? Think I'll risk it.