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Last updated 30 November 2010

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GERALD'S MUSINGS
As chronicled in Wagtail, the Parish Magazine in Whittington, Arkholme and Gressingham.
(Most recent first)

December 10 - November 10 - October 10 - September 10 - August 10
June 10 - May 10 - April 10 - March 10 - February 10

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The musings of GERALD - December 2010

We have had a very nice E mail from Victoria Hodgkin to say she is back home in Australia, she says she thoroughly enjoyed her visit and was pleasantly surprised that there were still people around in the village who remembered her great great uncle. Since returning home her family have been viewing the Whittington Village web site and they were quite thrilled to view the pages devoted to John Hodgkin and to see some of the photos he had taken we are so glad to be able to help our far away friends.

Anyone who was in the forces during the second world war must be at least eighty two years old, so it was so nice to see Arthur Tallon at this years remembrance service, Arthur is one of the last survivors of the names that appear on the Roll of Honour posted in the Church he thinks there may be two other veterans still around but is not quite sure.If you know the whereabouts of any other survivors please let me know.

David Ridgeway recently bought an unusual antique at the sale rooms, it is a brass faced cribbage marker board with the inscription ( E Willan Dragons Head Whittington 1909) what a find it must date from the time when Mitchell's Brewery bought the Dragons Head and moved the drinks licence from the Old Rose Tree, a bit more brass to clean Dave do you never get tired of polishing it?

The name Shuttleworth wont mean much to most people in the village but when Harry Shuttleworth was the Landlord of the Dragons Head in the early 1930's he really got things moving, he started the "Whittington Horticultural Society" which ran a very successful flower show for many years the silver cups are still presented for the best gardens and hanging basket competition. He also had a small truck on which he delivered coal around the village from the sidings at Arkholme Station. When the family were invited to take over the Black Bull Hotel at Warton he sold the truck and coal business to Jackson Pelter who was the village joiner he and his sons Jim and Eric expanded the business and in its heyday employed almost forty local people delivering building and road making material around the local area from the site which is now Loyne Park. Harry's son Harold died last month aged 88 he and his sister Peggy both attended Whittington school and though they only lived here a few years they always spoke fondly of growing up in the village.

Happy Christmas everyone

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - October 2010

The Whittington Charities Trustees meet next month to distribute the annual income, as usual part of the income goes to first year full time university or college students living in Whittington Parish. Sally Hall Eric Pelter Stuart Close Alice Mackereth or Gerald Hodgson would like to hear from you or a relative if you qualify, please let us know. Also are there any widows who have recently moved into the Parish as four widows share the rent of Widdowdale a small field down Coneygarth Lane, if you qualify please let us know.

One hundred years ago a group of young men decided they would like to learn to fly so they built a large wooden ramp, (a bit like a modern ski jump) on Sellet Banks the large hill to the west of Sellet Mill they then built a small glider which was placed at the top of the ramp and with the use of heavy weights attached to the glider with long ropes the plane was powered down the ramp, it took quite a few attempts and an increase on the heavy weights before the glider flew for a short distance into the field below they then had to lift it on to a small truck and pull it back up the hill before ;lifting it back onto the ramp. The trials took a few weeks but it was finally decided to abandon the attempt as other people were more successful with powered aeroplanes and nothing ever came of the Whittington experiment.

If you would like to read about the trials and see the photos taken at the time please let me know.

I and my fellow Parish Councillors are disappointed at the support we are getting from our elected representatives on the City and County Councils, to date after over three years on their respective councils they have only attended a total of three Parish Council meetings between them. We get no feed back at either City or County level and no chance to question them or ask for help to solve problems in the Parish, how long is it going to be before an accident is caused by the flood at Low Hall corner it is being constantly reported but never gets repaired no help with the heavy traffic the potholes or the filthy footpaths what do these people discuss in their City and County Halls. We will no doubt have to wait until the next council elections to see them again in the Village unless they read Wagtail and have guilty consciences.

The swallows are heading south once more let us hope they have had a successful breeding season and that all their old nesting sites are occupied next year.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - September 2010

Two men who both had a great love of the village died in July. Bill Tallon who would have been one hundred years old in November and Reg Bateson who was ninety three.

Bill was born in the village, his family name regularly appears in the Church Records from around the year sixteen hundred, they were all involved in the blacksmith trade and most of the smithies in the Lune Valley were manned by the Tallon family at some time. Bill was no exception and on leaving Whittington school aged fourteen he worked for the family business at Whittington Smithy, Bill moved to Ormskirk in 1938 and stayed with that firm until he retired. He had a wonderful memory and would at times help me by recognising the people on John Hodgkin's photos. He was last in the Village for the 50th anniversary of V E Day and still kept up to date with Village news by having a copy of Wagtail delivered each month.

We must never forget the men like Reg Bateson, the men and women who's names appear on the village Roll of Honour board in the Church are getting fewer every year those are the people we have to thank for accepting the challenge and going off to war to defend our country. They had no choice the orders came to join the armed forces and ten or twelve weeks later, after minimum basic training, they could have been anywhere in the world facing powerful enemy forces, no flak jacket then just battle dress and a tin helmet. You may remember how I wrote about the hard times Reg endured as a Prisoner of War he very rarely spoke of them after returning home, I suppose he felt lucky to have returned to enjoy a happy family life a lot of his fellow service men never had the choice. He was a good man and I am glad to have known him.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - August 2010

Two men who both had a great love of the village died in July, Bill Tallon who would have been one hundred years old in November and Reg Bateson who was ninety three. Bill was born in the village his family name regularly appears in the Church Records from around the year sixteen hundred, they were all involved in the blacksmith trade and most of the smithies in the Lune Valley were manned by the Tallon family at some time. Bill was no exception and on leaving Whittington school aged fourteen he worked for the family business at Whittington Smithy, Bill moved to Ormskirk in 1938 and stayed with that firm until he retired, he had a wonderful memory and would at times help me by recognising the people on John Hodgkin's photos he was last in the Village for the 50th anniversary of V E Day and still kept up to date with Village news by having a copy of Wagtail delivered each month.

We must never forget the men like Reg Bateson, the men and women who's names appear on the village Roll of Honour board in the Church are getting fewer every year those are the people we have to thank for accepting the challenge and going off to war to defend our country. They had no choice the orders came to join the armed forces and ten or twelve weeks later after minimum basic training they could have been anywhere in the world facing powerful enemy forces, no flak jacket then just battle dress and a tin helmet. You may remember how I wrote about the hard times Reg endured as a Prisoner of War he very rarely spoke of them after returning home, I suppose he felt lucky to have returned to enjoy a happy family life a lot of his fellow service men never had the choice. He was a good man and I am glad to have known him.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - June 2010

Many happy returns to Alice Mackereth who will be 89 years old on the 27th of July, still busy with her embroidery and tapestry work and keeping us oldies at the pensioners lunch club in order. Keep up the good work Alice we always enjoy your company.

The birds in the Churchyard and around our garden get fewer every year no willow warblers or flycatchers this year no sign of any house martins and we have one solitary swallow that nested in the lean to opposite our house last year he returned last month and sits forlornly on the telephone wire in front of our window waiting in vain for a mate to join him but he has had no luck up till now. Once again we went to Mansergh to hear the cuckoos calling, we don't hear them in the village any longer. We travelled by Nether Hall and Rigmaden so we could view the bluebells in the woods on the road side not quite as good a show as last year but still worth the journey . After turning left at Harprig cross roads we climbed the hill passed Heights Farm and turned left at the next junction which is part of the Old Scotch Road here we parked in a wide field gateway and within a few minutes we could hear the cuckoos calling a wonderful reminder of spring. If songbirds keep declining at the rate they have in my lifetime there will be very few around in a hundred years time.

How many of us risk the odd pound on a lottery ticket or scratch card buy a raffle ticket or have a few premium bonds hoping one day to hit the jackpot so we can take things easy for the rest of our lives, is it any different for Edward and Liz Mackereth and the Wind Farm? If you were in their position wouldn't you want to maximise your income and take life a little easier. I realise the planning decision will have a big impact in the Village if it is passed but there are two sides to every story.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - May 2010 (appeared in the June Wagtail)

The swallows arrived back at Docker Hall on April 10th. The ones that nest around the Church came back on the 24th but not all the birds have returned so there will be a few empty nests this year, maybe they don't like the volcanic dust either. We can only assume that they are a tougher breed at Docker or possibly they feed them better.

Congratulations to John Haston, 93 last month still fit and active and enjoying life what a wonderful couple he and his wife Muriel are.

Old soldier Reg Bateson has recently been in hospital for tests and assessments but is now back home. Best wishes Reg we hope you are soon feeling a lot better.

Paul and Simon have both volunteered to help wind the Church Clock so between us we should manage to keep the village on time.

Once again Anne has spent a morning collecting litter from the roadsides around Saddler Nook and Moor Brow, the majority of the litter she picked up was fast food wrappers and empty drink containers, it always amazes me how these walkers, cyclists and joggers manage to carry the same containers when they are full but immediately they are empty they haven't the strength to carry them home and just throw them down on the road side. It would seem these high energy sports drinks are not what the manufacturers claim and are just a waste of money. Thank you Anne.

I had a phone call from former Whittington resident Hazel Martin earlier this month. Hazel, and her husband Neil, lived at The Maltings and were both involved in various village activities Hazel was Parish Clerk for a short time but she will be best remembered as the Author of the Whittington Millennium book, a task she devoted many hours to, collecting copying and editing an enormous amount of material. The book was a great success and well worth all her hard work, She actually rang to see if I still had the Whittington Hall book but l was sorry to tell her it had already been sold, but I would hunt around the local book fairs to see if I could and another one.

Neil and Hazel now live in Scotland on the shores of Loch Long and spend their leisure time sailing their boat on the Firth of Clyde, they keep in touch with the Whittington news by having the Wagtail posted to them each month.

Whenever I go to the Church to wind the clock I always spend a few minutes reading the visitors book. It never ceases to amaze me where the visitors have come from, Australia| New Zealand, Africa, America and all around Europe, their comments and the reasons they have visited the Church. So many are glad to find the Church open, others say how peaceful it is. Some are looking at the stained glass windows others the old font or the woodwork, each have their own special interest not least an old family tie which they have uncovered researching their family tree. Whatever their reason for visiting, they all seem to appreciate the time they have spent and regularly say how clean and well maintained the Church is.

If you enjoy Scottish music come along on Saturday June 12th at 8pm to hear The Tartan Sound from Lockerbie playing music for dancing in aid of Lupton Church funds.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - April 2010

At the March Parish Council meeting it was decided to send a questionnaire around the village to get the opinion of villagers regarding the proposed ''Wind Farm'' sited on the village border close to Hutton Roof. The leaflets will be quite simple and will be delivered by hand by the Parish Councillors, when you have completed the forms we would like them returned in good time so they can be counted and the results declared at the Annual Parish Meeting, which is being held in the Village Hall on April 27th.

Have you seen the wonderful display of snowdrops in the ghyll at the bottom of Moor Brow they really are a picture and get better every year, they now cover a large area and must be one of the most impressive displays around.

Keep watching out for the first swallows returning this month last year they arrived back in the village on the 18th so it will be interesting to see if the cold weather and late spring has held them up.

I have recently acquired a second copy of the book written by B M Copeland called ''WHITTINGTON" The story of a country estate it was written in 1981 and describes the history of Whittington Hall, the estate and the people who lived there. They were a limited edition when they were first published and i have seen them priced from 40 - 60 at book fairs, this one is for sale at 25.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - March 2010

If you went to the EON wind turbine display in the Village Hall did you get all your questions answered to your satisfaction? According to EON's predictions the only view of the turbines from the village will be from the bedroom windows at No's 7 and 8 Crosslands, but from Nanny Hall and High Biggins they will be an enormous eye sore.

The planning application for the Wind Farm Development is expected to be submitted in mid summer possibly as early as July and your Parish Councillors would like to know just what your feelings are concerning the application. The Annual Parish Meeting is held in early May so then is the time to let your feelings be known - watch out for the time and date of the meeting.

I was told that the route for the construction traffic is via Burton and Dalton so hopefully Church St will not be busy as I first thought. The planners, would also consider a picnic and play area but could not guarantee it, money' would also be available for local community projects, but how much and just what for was not disclosed.

If the Wind Farm does go ahead it will take between three and four years to complete as all the towers, generators and propeller blades have to be imported as no engineering company in this country is able to make them, it makes you wonder just how big the carbon footprint will be by the time the first generator is producing electricity.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - February 2010

The residents of Church Street have David Airey to thank for making it so much easier to get around after the most prolonged icy conditions I can remember since moving to this house thirty five years ago, David came along with some salt in the tractor bucket and spread it in the wheel tracks the length of Church Street and within hours the dangerous ice had turned to slush making travel so much safer. I understand that the milk tanker that collects milk from the farm at West Hall was having difficulty getting there but that small amount of salt spread on our street benefited everyone, Thank You David.

Congratulations to Geoff and Elsie Stone of No1 Church Close who celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary last month.

The planning application for the Wind Farm at Longfield Tarn seems to have speeded up, it is far nearer the village than I at first realised, the entrance to the site would appear to be the field gate on the right hand side of the road to Hutton Roof about 400 metres before the Saw Mill. The turbines will be sited only a few hundred metres from the families who live at Nanny Hall and Windy Hough so their peaceful existence will have gone for ever if the plans are passed.Church Street will probably be the favoured route of the construction traffic thousands of tons of aggregates for making the roads and hundreds of journeys by ready mixed concrete trucks to make the bases for the towers all that before the towers the generators and the enormous propeller blades arrive. If the planning application does succeed is there a chance that the business rates that will be levied on the site would lead to a reduction in our council tax, is it possible to get a discount on the heating and lighting bills for the Church and the Village Hall and what chance the developers providing a picnic area and children's playground with beautiful views overlooking Leck Fell and Ingleborough also the use of the access roads by mountain bikers?

Reg Bateson who I believe is our oldest resident has been suffering from bronchitis over the Christmas period, the harsh conditions he suffered as a prisoner of war probably didn't help, can you imagine what it would have been like marching in weather like we have just had with just an army great coat and a blanket to keep warm a pair of worn out army boots on your feet and carrying all your worldly goods in a sack on your back, it makes today's problems look small get well soon Reg.

I am looking for a deputy Church Clock winder male or female, someone who is reasonably fit and can spare a quarter of an hour once a week either weekends or mid week which ever suits your arrangements, if you are interested or would just like to see the clock working please ring me on 71488.

Gerald Hodgson

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