Thursday, 22 December 2011

Life saving local

Local First Responder Pete Davis has been spreading his skills wider than the local environs.

In a recent day out in Norwich's shopping centre The Forum, Pete and pals spread their skills in first aid and resuscitation.  Keep up the good work young man!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Holding on to your ill gotten gains

Armed crime is never funny or clever, but some people need custodial sentences to save them from themselves.

Norfolk Constabulary and Home Watch
A man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison after committing two armed robberies in two days in Breckland.
On the evening of Thursday 14 July 2011 Jordan Carr entered the BP petrol station on Norwich Road in Swaffham and demanded money. He threatened staff with a gun and fled with a quantity of cash and cigarettes – some of which he dropped outside along with part of his gun.
Then, on the morning of Friday 15 July Carr, aged 22 and of no fixed address, entered the B & P Newsagents on Stone Road in Dereham with an accomplice, armed with a gun. When they fled with a quantity of cash they were challenged by members of the public and dropped the cash and another part of the gun.

One of the incidents was the site of last year's arson attacks by Hussain Murad, fortunately no one was physically hurt in any of the mercifully rare crimes in this region.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Short break in the fog ...

... allowed for a dog walk in the sunshine.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tesco Targets Three Supermarket Town

News today in the EDP that Tesco has acquired the underdeveloped land at the EcoTech Business Park, next door to Waitrose, from Breckland Council with plans for a fourth supermarket within Swaffham. The land (A) was earmarked for sale two years ago.

Whether there is enough footfall in the area will be seen, it will enable fans of the big T to shop more locally, shops in Dereham and Kings Lynn are 12 and 16 miles away respectfully, although the newly expanded Watton to the east might have expected to pick up this trade.

Tesco stores 15 mile radius of Swaffham

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tiny Turbines Twins

The carefully minded & sighted of you who pass the Pickenhams will have noticed some smaller offspring in the vicinity. Two small turbines, not unlike larger versions of the St Andrew's school windmill, have appeared at Dennis' Kings Row Farm on the high ground off Houghton Lane. 
A rather more leisurely, larger bladed turbine is nearer to the airfield eight, nearby to the Matthews' turkey sheds, at the Blackmore's Daleacres farm in South Pickenham.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Covered Clods

Farmers have for some time covered their fields in shiny man made materials to harvest the most from the prevailing weather conditions. Thankfully plastic mulching is not too prevalent in this part of Norfolk, the materials being not only unsightly but rather unenvironmentally friendly too.

Following last weeks news of an anaerobic digester plant being planned off the A1065 north of Swaffham, another farmer has covered a field with a 30 acre 'sun farm' assembled near North Walsham. The 18,000, 3 meter high photovotaic cells can produce enough energy to feed 1,500 homes. Expected to last 25 years, some of the maintenance is to be provided by grass trimming sheep to keep the 35 degree tilted panels producing their solar powered produce.
Update: These could be the last solar farms for some time as the government has slashed the subsidises, known as FiTs or Feed in Tariffs, for new developments.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Finally succumbing to autumn, albeit unseasonably fine

The morning fog lifted smartly, the windless day welcomingly warm.

All © J Reed 2011

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A fair wind for bio digester?

This part of Norfolk either embraces alternative methods of energy production, such as the turbines at North Pickenham and Swaffham, undecided, such as the proposed turbine in nearby Shipdham, or opposed like the electrical sub station, for the Dudgeon off shore wind farm, in Little Dunham.

Reports today that Dutch business man Teun Smits and Bury St Edmunds based Qualiflex Biproduct Solutions Limited are set to show plans of a recycling and anaerobic digester plant, to be based at West Lexham, at an exhibition to be held at Castle Acre Village Hall, in Pye’s Lane, from 4pm to 7pm on November 10th. The general principle of the plant is that waste organic matter goes in one end and biogas fuel and farm friendly fertiliser comes out the other. Only time will tell whether locals welcome the idea, with 30 direct long term jobs promised, on the positive side, and environmental aromas and increased heavy transport on the other.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Necton Co-Op Closure

Reports in the papers today say that the Necton convenience store is to close with the Co-Operative unwilling to resign a lease with a 30% rent increase. The ever busy 7 day opening store will, no doubt, be sorely missed.

The nearby Post Office will also close leaving the near 2000 Nectonians and surrounding villagers no option but to travel to Swaffham for even the simplest of supplies and services.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Roast Dinners at School

Press reports of nutritious roast dinners, made from very local produce, being served to pupils and staff at St Andrew's School including vegetables from their very own garden.

News of how locals can join in these feasts can be found in November's issue of the Pickenhams' Periodical or by contacting the school direct.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A11 Bat Bridges

Part of the planning permission appeasements, bat bridges are to be built spanning stretches stopping squashing some soaring scavengers. The theory being that the bat's sonar senses the netting as it would the top of hedgerows, guiding the mammals over the dualled danger zone.

£500,000 have been earmarked to protect the six species known to inhabit the vicinity, which seems rather a lot for some posts and a bit of netting. The Highways Agency point out that this is a road safety issue too. As well as an unwelcome coming together with a hurtling motor vehicle for the bat, like the reasons steps are taken to divert deer off dual carriageways, they can be a dangerous distraction for the driver too.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Bradenham Housing

The previously mentioned Hale Road development by local builder cum developer cum RIBA Chartered Practice architects firm Clayland seems to have started with initial groundworkings.
The revised plans from the original 12 homes, including 6 affordable units, are for 6 'open market homes' and 5 'local needs homes', including 1 special needs home, in what looks like the usual well designed, sympathetically landscaped Clayland style.

The adjacent Lord Nelson pub still looks rather forlorn and not open for trade, the former landlord/land owner and prospective publicans submitting representations in support of the development with most objections coming from residents on the opposite side of Hale Road.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A11 dualling

The government has brought forward capital expenditure projects already given the go ahead with preliminary work to start on the Barton Mills to Thetford stretch next Monday.

The works will make the journey on the A11 dual carriageway from the M11, and the main east-west A14 road, to Norwich. Hopefully the widened road will alleviate the traffic jams at the notorious bottlenecks at Fiveways and Elveden .

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Last of the Indian Summer Sunshine

Only the long shadows give away these were taken only last Friday.

© J Reed

© J Reed

© J Reed
No such sunshine this weekend.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cromer Crab Company Crisis

The Seafood Company arm of the Findus Group is 'consulting' on closing down the Cromer Crab Company section of the organisation with the potential direct loss of 230 jobs.

Antony Kelly/NEN24

There is a petition to keep the Cromer Crab Company in, well, Cromer. In 2006 Findus started to ship scampi, to be sold in the freezer departments of European supermarkets, from the langoustine grounds of Scotland to the deshelling hands of Thailand and then 6000 miles back again. The decision isn't set in frozen seas yet, but past decisions don't bode well for sentiment beating cold financial decisions.

Fly tipping, again

Almost a daily sight, new signs of fly-tipping around the Pickenhams' has long been a problem.

© J Reed

© J Reed

The vacuum cleaner was on Houghton Lane on the way to the Ashill Recycling Centre, the burnt out carcass was in fact a loaded rubbish laden trailer, dumped some days before it was burnt with the fire brigade attending the situation, and not a caravan as the press reported.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Breakthrough Broccoli

The Institute of Food Research in Norwich has developed broccoli with higher than usual anti-oxidant producing properties.

Beneforté, to be sold by M&S in the UK, has three times as much glucoraphanin which the body turns into sulphoraphane and is believed have anti cancer properties.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Bartlett Beets to Rainbow Roots

With the sugar beet all but harvested and sweet smelling tractor loads of onions thundering down The Street, this truly is a harvest time to feel festive about. But what of more exotic fare?

Half way between Swaffham and Oxburgh Hall, near Cockley Cley (Cock-lee Kl-eye), they are growing rainbow carrots exclusively for Tesco. Modern GM madness, no. A 15 year old variety that harks back pre William of Orange's edict to promote his house's colours and make the night sight improving vegetable more patriotic. Some or all of these facts may be apocryphal. One of the root's original colurs, purple, seems to run in the roots of grower Alan Bartlett.

A family firm, the Scottish Albert Bartlett branch provides the tasty Rooster potatoes amongst many others, started by boiling beetroots in post war Scotland. The history of the soil syndicate can be seen here.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Beautiful Butterfly Better than a Busy Bee?

Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) photographed on the warmest October day on record.

© J Reed

Friday, 30 September 2011

What season is this?

Seeds are setting, berries are rippening whilst flowers continue to come into bud.

all photos © J Reed 2011

28 centigrade, with a light wind, in Mid Norfolk today - lovely.