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Last updated 26 November 2011

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

December 11 November 11 - October 11 - September 11 - July/August 11
June 11 - May 11 - April 11 - February 11 - January 11

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The musings of GERALD - November 2011

The Whittington Charities Trustees meet later this month to distribute the annual income. As usual some of this money goes to first year full time university or college students living in Whittington Parish. Sally Hall, Stuart Close, Eric Pelter, 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.

The name Eddie German will not mean anything to a lot of people in the village, but each month for the last fifteen years Eddie has mown three sections of the Church Yard not an easy job on such uneven ground as a lot of people have found after volunteering to cut just one section. Eddie celebrated his eightieth birthday last month and has decided to take things easier he will be very difficult to replace. Thank you Eddie you have done a wonderful job.

There was a flock of migrating swallows flying around the Church tower on the eleventh of October their local cousins had packed their bags and headed south in August I hope they make it to Africa before the cold weather arrives. On the same day two blue tits were laying claim to our nest boxes, is there a housing shortage in the bird world?

A hundred people enjoyed dancing to the music of Dennis Westmorland at the Lupton Church dance, the home baked cream cakes and currant pasties were beautiful, just as good as ever. The next dance is on November 26th come along and enjoy the night.

Albert Greenwood and Arthur Tallon are the two last surviving world war two veterans named on the Honours Board in the Church, I have recently spoken to eighty eight year old ex merchant seaman Albert and will tell you about his adventures next month, how he was torpedoed twice and spent fifteen days drifting in a lifeboat, and he was only nineteen years old at the time, not very nice being left in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in a small wooden boat and wondering if you will ever see home again.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - December 2011

Albert Greenwood was born at Southport in 1922 the family moved to Holker House Whittington when his father started a gents hair dressing business in Main St. at Kirkby Lonsdale, Albert and his sister Joan went to the village school and he has fond memories of Mrs Brown and Mrs Clarke the teachers. One lasting memory was the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1935 when the pupils formed a band and he and Norman Bateson were taught to play the bugle. Albert so enjoyed playing that he joined the Kirkby Lonsdale Band to play the cornet and later took up the French Horn which he has only recently stopped playing. Albert left school aged fourteen and worked for a short time at Lane House Farm, he was then apprenticed to Majors the decorators of Kirkby Lonsdale. Shortly after his eighteenth birthday his enlistment papers arrived for him to join H M forces he tried for the Royal Marines Band but the band was no longer recruiting so he joined the Merchant Navy and was sent to the training ship Vindicatrix stationed at Sharpness on the river Severn near Bristol, after three months training he joined the crew of SS Tenax a Ministry of War transport ship. On only his second voyage returning home from the Bay of Bengal Albert was asleep in his bunk at three o clock in the morning when there was an enormous explosion they had been torpedoed by a German U Boat all the lights went out and he had to find his way up to the deck in the pitch dark the order was given to "Abandon Ship" and Albert was hustled into a lifeboat dressed in his night clothes of vest and shorts. Twenty five survivors watched their ship sink in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean just one crew member was lost and for the next fifteen days they survived on hard tack biscuits, pemican, which is similar to an Oxo cube, and Horlicks tablets plus half a cup of water each day they eventually made landfall at Anguilla on St Kitts in the West Indies from there they were shipped first to New York and then home across the North Atlantic. More next month.

The Lune Valley calendars are selling well but you can still buy one at Arkholme Post Office, a great Christmas gift making money for St Johns Hospice. Watch A Long March To Freedom at 10 pm Thursdays on the Yesterday Channel, it is telling the story of Prisoners of War like the late Reg Bateson who were turned out of their Polish prison camps in January 1945 taking only what they could carry and for the next four months they marched 1000 miles south with no proper food or shelter.

The Tartan Sound are back playing music for dancing in the Village Hall on Saturday December 17th at 8 pm.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - October 2011

My good friend David Kenyon has asked me to help publicise the 2012 calendar he is about to publish to raise funds for The St. Johns Hospice at Lancaster. It is called "The Lune Valley in Times Past" and includes fourteen photographs of Lune Valley Villages in the early twentieth century. The calendar will be available later this month from local post offices and other outlets or from David Kenyon on 015242 21668. The photos chosen for the calendar are first class and well worth saving so please buy the calendar and help us raise lots of money for this wonderful cause.

Dennis Westmorland will be playing his own special brand of Lakeland music on Saturday October 15th in Whittington Village Hall when he plays music for the Dance organised by the supporters of Lupton Church, there will be a bar and chance to buy lots of lovely home baked cakes at supper time, they really are good I can't wait for the night.

What a wonderful season we have had in the garden, nice and dry for early planting no late frosts to spoil the blossom or early potatoes then the rain came along just as things were drying up it couldn't have been better if we had ordered it. Good crops of soft fruit followed by large crops of early potatoes and vegetables and now apple trees loaded down with fruit how lucky we have been, once again those forecasters who warned us of droughts, hose pipe bans and ruined crops got it wrong I wonder why they bother trying, they struggle to get it right for the week ahead in our area.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - September 2011

We all have our special memories of Alice Mackereth She was a wonderful woman who was very proud of the Mackereth name and her family, she was devoted to St Michaels Church and very rarely missed a service. I have happy memories of her dashing up Church street, always at the last minute, with a basket over her arm and just managing to sit down before the service started.

Alice's other great love was the Village Hall and I got to know her very well after she took over the secretary's job on the death of Betty Pinch, very soon she was organizing whist and domino drives concert parties, jumble sales, old time dances and her favourite Scottish Dances when the bands she hired to play traveled all the way from Perth. We even had Pop concerts when Anne Breen the Irish girl singer sang to a packed out Village Hall, at every event Alice could be found in the kitchen serving suppers brewing tea and just making sure everything ran smoothly she was never more happy than at the end of another successful night the dancers would come over to her and thank her for an enjoyable evening and say we will see you next time. Even with all the hours of hard work she put in at the Village Hall it gave her a lot of pleasure to watch the people enjoying the event she helped organise. We had so many wonderful nights, so many happy memories. Alice made so many friends everyone was welcome to call whenever they were passing by and she would proudly show them the beautiful tapestries she had so neatly sewn over the years, she will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

David Kenyon from Wray has been collecting photos of local village street scenes for a calendar he is producing in aid of St Johns Hospice. The Whittington one he has chosen is one of Rev John Hodgkins and shows two young boys pushing a rather wonderful old pram (Follow this link to see photo) which is occupied by two young girls, the photo is taken outside Tebay House with Whittington Farm in the background.

The calendar should be a lovely gift on anyone's Christmas present list.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - July & August 2011

The volunteers who cut the grass in the Churchyard are complaining about the dog mess they come across when using the strimmer it is one of the vilest, most horrible things to find yourself splattered from head to tú in smelly dog mess, so please you guilty dog owners please pick up your pets waste and dispose of it in the proper manner. You have been warned - Gordon is watching out for you!!

Earlier this spring I missed cutting the grass in the Churchyard close to the roadside luckily it has turned into a rather nice colourful wild flower border backed by some tall seeding grass, how clever nature is at filling empty spaces.

How nice it was to walk around the village viewing the different gardens, all rather bonny in their different ways, what a lot of time and effort people had spent preparing for the open day and it was a great pleasure to be able to share the beauty without all the hard work.

We had an Email from a lady in San Diego California who came across the village web site quite by accident, she enjoyed reading about the village so much she wondered if any one would care to correspond with her, if you would like an American pen friend please let me know.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - June 2011

After a lapse of two years the Heritage Society have decided to meet up again and will be displaying some of the collection of photos, books, maps and other interesting items they have collected over the years. The display will probably be in September the same weekend that the PCC are holding a money raising event in the Church so if you are interested in local history and you would like to join us or if you would like to study some of our collected material please ring me on 71488 to arrange it.

Congratulations to John Haston celebrating his 94th birthday last month, John and his wife Muriel still take a keen interest in village life and are two of the best supporters at any fund raising event.

Congratulations also to Dave and Helen Ridgeway from the Dragons Head in raising the magnificent sum of £850 for the North West Air Ambulance on the night of the Royal Wedding, what a wonderful effort from Dave, Helen and their friends well done.

Come dancing on Saturday the 11th of June at the Village Hall when The Tartan Sound Scottish Band will be playing the dance music to raise funds for Lupton Church.

The Flymo has found a new home Dave Ridgeway is now using it to keep the grass tidy behind the Pub.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - May 2011

The swallows have arrived back. We saw two in the Village on the 12th but Marie Blackburn saw two on the 10th they seem to arrive earlier every year maybe there is something in this global warming.

The WI correspondent's husband obviously didn't attend Arkholme School when dancing was compulsory then and if a boy turned up in clogs he was told to take them off and dance in his stocking feet. I still remember dancing The 'Flowers of Edinburgh' and 'Rutty Tuffy', the music provided by an old wind up gramophone.

What ever happened to the Village Maypole? It used to be stored in joiner Jack Williamson's barn and every year about this time it would be placed in the school yard and we would dance around it making patterns with the coloured ribbons we held in our hands, and then on Trinity Sports day we would dance around the Maypole before the sports began "Happy Days".

I think the display of flowers in the Church Yard have been the nicest I can ever remember - how they have been admired by the many walkers passing through, and what a lot of photos those visitors have taken of them. I am sure when they look at their photos in years to come they will recall that lovely walk through our lovely Church Yard. It proves once again that the people cutting the grass are doing a good job as the number and quality of the flowers just gets better and better.

No one has offered to take the Church Flymo off my hands I will store it for another month and then it really will have to head for another home. Gerald Hodgson.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - April 2011 (no March edition)

I am sorry I missed last months edition I caught a nasty viral infection at the same time as I changed to B T broadband I am afraid the two together were more than my system could stand so I hope to get it right this month.

The daffodils are just coming into flower and once again there is a lovely show in the Church yard, so nice to see the grass looking greener a few trees coming into bud and the birds starting to build their nests. Gardening time is just around the corner with all the hard work that needs doing to keep our gardens looking good.

I have decided not to stand again for the Parish Council in the May election I think it is time a younger person with new ideas took over so if you are interested please hurry and get yourself nominated, we haven't had an election for the Parish Council since 1992.

I have had the Church Flymo in my garage for the last eight years and it is taking up to much space, would someone mind taking it off my hands if they have space to keep it.

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - February 2011

Anyone who travels regularly from Whittington to Arkholme will be getting fed up of the hold ups as the Council carry out repairs to The School Bridge, the steel girders supporting the road surface have been taken away for repair and strengthening and then they will be treated with a long life protective coating the only trouble is once one side of the bridge is complete they start on the other side and the work will go on until the end of March. The bridge gets its name from The Old Boys School which was sited on the left hand banking looking up stream it was built with money left in 1761 by William Marginson of Docker who left £820 to build a School and pay for a "Writing Master" to educate the local boys. It wasn't thought necessary for the girls to go to school until many years later when Mrs Dawson Greene of Whittington Hall had no's one and two Church Cottages converted into a girls school which became so popular that as many as seventy girls travelling from a wide area attended the school. The boys and girl's schools were amalgamated when the new one was built on Main Street in 1875.

We had an E mail from Anne Plummer she has in her possession a Bible presented to her grandfather when he left Whittington School in1909. We were able to tell her that in 1756 Elizabeth Redman left £20 to buy Bibles for children leaving the School and this tradition was carried on until the 1960's when the money ran out. The children still get Bibles but they are now paid from the Marginson Charity, how nice to think that the Bible has been cherished for all those years. I still have a book presented to my father by the Head of Gressingham School dating from the 1890's. I wonder if any of today's books will still be around in a hundred years time.

The Trustees of the Whittington Charities this year paid out the following sums Arkholme School £ 250 The Church Sunday School £100 and the Wagtail Playgroup £150, four widows shared the income from the Mary Hardy Charity each receiving £20.

We were slightly mystified when a constant stream of motor cycle riders kept stopping at the Church steps taking photos with cameras and mobile phones and then quickly moving on. It turns out that it is the latest Hi Tech Sci Fi game for people using Sat Navs. The theme was millennium objects and some one had taken the map coordinates of various millennium sites the contestants had to visit each site using their Sat Navs to guide them the winner was the first person to deliver a full set of photos to the organiser. Couldn't they have done it sat in front of a computer using Google Earth?

Gerald Hodgson

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The musings of GERALD - January 2011

I can never remember such a cold Christmas time, the frost has been so severe and lasted for so many days it was more like living in Russia than England let us hope that the worst is now over and we can look forward to some nice spring weather. I must say the Council have gritted our roads more effectively this year than last winter and it has been much easier to travel around. Unfortunately the hard frost appears to have damaged a lot of road surfaces and pot holes are appearing all over I only hope there is enough money left in the Councils coffers for them to buy some tarmac to carry out the repairs.

Thank you the kind person who has spent time sweeping the footpath from the bus shelter to the Rectory Gardens entrance, so much easier walking when the footway is clean and tidy than when it is covered in debris and dead leaves.

Wagtail distribution had a problem last month when Alice extended her Christmas break after being taken ill at her daughter Catherine's house I am glad to say she is now back at home and feeling better, you don't realise how much work goes on behind the scenes until you have to do it yourself. Thank you Alice for all the hard work you have done on our behalf for all these years.

We have had a greater spotted woodpecker visiting our bird feeders all winter it is a beautiful bird but very aggressive if some other birds try to feed when it is on the bird table. Our garden fence is made of oak posts and just one of them is the favourite eating place of the woodpecker it has gouged a long channel the full length of the post almost cutting it in half and spreading wood chips in a large circle at its base. The grubs it finds in the post must be very tasty as it really has worked hard to find them. I only hope that in spring it doesn't come back and steal the baby bluetits from our nest boxes.

Gerald Hodgson

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