The musings of GERALD - December 2015
The rain stopped just long enough for us for the Remembrance service at the war memorial. We do right to remember those men who lost their lives so we can enjoy the life they never knew. The choral service that night was a wonderful experience - beautiful unaccompanied voices in a lovely setting just proved how good the acoustics of Whittington Church are.
i am informed that now the company developing the solar farm on Saddler Nook Lane have got their plans passed by the local authority they no longer feel obliged to give any money to local good causes. I had thought of all kinds of wonderful projects to spend it on. What a pity. We should be very wary of strangers offering gifts.
I am so pleased to hear that a few volunteers have come forward to help wind the church clock. That venerable piece of Victorian engineering is 140 years old this year, and when properly maintained, still keeps wonderful time. Long may it continue.
What is it about religion that turns sane rational people into wild murdering terrorists? Why do the worlds religious leaders not get together and start a UN-type peace forum to teach all their followers that other religions are just as devout as theirs, and that we should tolerate other people's rational views?
We all have special memories of Dick Haston who died last month. The local boy, born at Lane Foot farm, went to Whittington School, and was such a popular member of our local community. Farm worker, truck driver, farmer, market gardener and Whittington race course chief steward - Dick did all these jobs, took them in his stride, always with a smile and a cheery word for everyone who crossed his path. Dick will be sadly missed by his family and friends and all who knew him, a wonderful character with a fount of local knowledge and always willing to give a helping hand.
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The musings of GERALD - November 2015
What a wonderful autumn we have had. The begonias and geraniums are still flowering outside, not a touch of frost yet, the ash trees are turning a lovely pale yellow and the beech, sycamore and chestnut trees are going a beautiful golden shade. Almost November and the grass is still growing. We have been so lucky - it will be Christmas before we know where we are at.
Keith Bateson who died last month was, I believe, the last pupil to attend Whittington school all his school life. He was born at The Malt Kiln where his parents were living with Clara Hodgson. The family moved to Docker Lane when those houses were first built and he has lived there ever since. Keith started work at Whittington Hall as an apprentice gardener after leaving school, first for the Howarth family, then the Greenwoods, and finally for Lord Reay. The gardens were always beautiful, a tribute to all his hard work, and the bedding plants and lawns were always well tended and tidy - a large task for someone working on their own. As Lord Reay said at Keith's funeral, his will be a hard act to follow, and the gardens will be a legacy to Keith's memory.
Has no one any pride in our lovely old village? Our road side verges have never been cut this year. Two parish seats are hidden in the long grass, the antique village sign is still laying at a drunken angle in the hedge side, and the bus shelter is slowly filling up with dead leaves. What on earth will people passing through the village think?
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The musings of GERALD - October 2015
Whatever has happened to the contractors who cut our road side verges? They seem to have got as far as Sunnybank and then given up. I hope if they ever reach Whittington they do not mow through the two parish seats that are now hidden by the long grass. Perhaps someone should make a point of letting them know they are there.
What a colourful show the village front gardens, hanging baskets and tubs have been this year, a tribute to all the dedication and hard work that has been put into them.
The swallows are once again forming flocks ready for their long journey south. Year on year there are fewer birds, and once again there seem to be fewer varieties visiting my garden. No flycatchers or willow warmers in the Churchyard this time - whatever is happening to our lovely song birds?
There are so many sad pictures of migrants on the news. We would all like to help them but the numbers are so enormous. How can any country come to terms with such large numbers of people? Even the clever European Politicians don't seem to have an answer. Whatever will happen to all these people when winter comes? Surety some shelter will have to be found for them somewhere.
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The musings of GERALD - Seeptember 2015
Seventy years ago as an almost 10 year old at Arkholme School I recall the great relief and celebrations when the war against Japan ended. We all thought that was the end of wars but it was not to be and countries are still fighting over disputed territory all over the world. What a pity the United Nations organisation isn't capable or strong enough to put a stop to all these conflicts.
I am told that the planning application for the Solar Energy Farm on Sadler Nook Lane has been submitted to the City Council Planning Department, I understand that Whittington, Hutton Roof and Kirkby Lonsdale Parish Councils have been offered money if the plans are passed. At the moment the offer is verbal rather than in writing so the amount may not be guaranteed, if there are any objections to this planning appilcation they must be at the Planning Office well before the end of August.
Dennis Westmorland is back playing his special brand of Lakeland music on Saturday 5 September in Whittington Village Hall on behalf of Lupton Church, ft will be a great night of music and song plus a very tasty supper during the interval.
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The musings of GERALD - July & August 2015
The Church heritage service was very successful once again. The flower arrangements were beautifully done - they really are a credit to the ladies who do them. The readings and poetry were well chosen and presented, and the collection of Church documents on display were very interesting - that table was busy all afternoon. Once again the food was delicious and the wine finished the afternoon nicely. Many thanks to the people who organised the service I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I am often asked the dates when our village was connected to the main services.
Electricity came to the village in 1934/35, when Lancaster city Council built a coalfired power station near the Aqueduct Bridge, in Lancaster. Docker had to wait until 1949 for their supply when a cable was laid across the fields from the substation at Storrs Hall heading towards Craven View and Snab Green.
Water came in 1938 when the villages in the Lune Valley were connected to the Thirlmere pipe line at Capernwray. Mains water was a great relief to lots of families - not much fun going to the well or pump on a cold dark night.
Mains sewerage came to Whittington in 1969. That was the end of quite a few small dark privies at the bottom of the garden - not a pleasant job for the local dustbin men whose job it was to clean them out. The road through the village was also widened at this time.
Whittington was connected to mains gas in 1986 - even though a gas pipe had come through the village in 1955 when all the small local gas works were shut down and a large new gas works was built at Morecambe. This was later made redundant when North Sea gas came on stream - and now it is broadband that we are getting connected to. I just cannot think of what else will come in the next fifty years.
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The musings of GERALD - June 2015
Would someone please ask the powers that be to please remove the antique Whittington road sign that is lying at a drunken angle in the hedge on Kirkby Lonsdale road, could we please have it repaired and put in a less vulnerable place away from predatory hedge cutter drivers who seem to delight in decapitating road signs and footpath finger posts. Could it possibly be moved before some passing scrap merchant decides it would just top up his load of scrap iron, as that would see it gone forever.
Marie Blackburn saw the first swallow on April 16th but there are a lot fewer birds about this year and I have yet to see the usual ones flying around the Church.
We will be doing a small presentation in Church on May 31st at the Heritage Service at 5 pm there will be some of the Church records on view lots of other interesting material to look at if you are interested in our villages long history.
The Tartan Sound will be back playing music for dancing in Whittington Village Hall on June 6th at 8 pm, well worth a visit.
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The musings of GERALD - May 2015
The sign at Biggins crossroads advising HGV drivers to use the Whittington road has been removed, I have no idea why. Did someone overstep their authority putting it there or has common sense prevailed?
Is it really 70 years since we celebrated VE day? What a relief it was. The ARP and the Home Guard were stood down, the black out curtains removed, church bells were ringing again, most of the evacuees went home, and the army camp at Storrs Hall was abandoned. No more gas mask practices, no need for people to carry their identity cards. Peace was really returning. We celebrated. Arkholme Trinity Sports restarted, a challenge football match between Arkholme and Whittington was arranged, Whittington won if I remember correctly, and we built an enormous bonfire on the island by the viaduct. Some soldiers who had been abroad for long periods returned. Billy Woodend had been defending Malta for almost four years and seen quite a few of his comrades killed whilst manning the anti-aircraft guns. Reg Bateson came home after four years as a prisoner of war and other men and women who had served in the forces returned to their families. What a celebration it was. Food rationing continued for a few more years - bread rationing was yet to start - but oranges and bananas were back on sale and some shops actually sold ice cream, what luxury and what a treat.
The swallows should be returning any day now. Keep watching for them, they are a bit later this year, they must be waiting for the weather to get warmer.
Could our new Parish Council when they take over in May do something with the Parish seats? They are in a bad state of repair and for the last few years they have totally disappeared under the long grass.
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The musings of GERALD - April 2015
Keen observers of traffic signs will no doubt have noticed the new sign that has been put up at Biggins crossroads at Kirkby Lonsdale again advising HGV drivers not to use their road but I suppose use Church Street at Whittington instead. A similar sign was placed there a few years ago but we eventually persuaded Cumbria Council to remove it so perhaps with a little effort we can do the same thing again, I hear the Parish Council have the matter in hand so let us hope they are successful.
That hard working lady Marjorie Dixon from Harrison's Farm is 90 years old this week, best wishes for a happy birthday Mrs Dixon from all your friends in the village. Have you been watching the Rooks rebuilding their nests in that large oak tree at Dobby Lane? They really have worked hard and there must be almost twenty nests in the tree this year. They must have reared a lot of young Rooks last year.
There was a break in at the Village Hall last week but fortunately not a lot of damage was done and nothing much was stolen, no money is ever left on the property so really it was a wasted effort on their part but it is not nice to think that people are wandering the village at night looking for things to steal. A truck was broken into at Low Hall and a quantity of hand tools were stolen on the same night so it pays to be vigilant the whole time.
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The musings of GERALD - March 2015
No need to pay to see a lovely snow drop display this year. Just walk up the road towards Moor Brow - the walk will do you good - look over the fence on the left hand side and you will see a beautiful white carpet of snow drops stretching right across the ghyll, a lovely reminder that spring is really here.
The annual charity dance held in January raised £1,015 divided equally between Cancer Care and the Macmillan Nurses charities.
I had a nice little note from Chris Travers who has been clearing up his late sister Bridget's house. He recalls how the family moved to Arkholme when they bought Cawood View in the nineteen fifties. He was just a schoolboy then, and he loved going for walks with my father when they exercised the dogs at Storrs Hall.
My bird feeders have been very busy this year. They just love the fat balls I have been putting out for them and they are eating two every day at the moment, such a variety of birds and all eating as if there was no tomorrow, so nice to watch them coming and going the whole time.
The next dance in the Village Hall is on Saturday 7 March when Bill Johnston will be providing the music - it will be another good night.
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The musings of GERALD - February 2015
Friend and fellow bowler John Mason is recovering at home after major heart surgery, John was taken ill on a bowling green at Kendal last September and had heart surgery at Blackpool but it is good to know that he is feeling better and managing to have a walk when the weather is nice, so hurry up getting fit again John the bowling season starts in two months time.
David Kenyon tells me he raised £3,767 selling the Lune Valley calendar on behalf of St Johns Hospice and would like to thank everyone who bought one, I thought the photos he collected were very good and a true picture of our villages one hundred years ago.
Congratulations to the ladies who decorated the Church at Christmas it really was beautiful, we spent some time looking at the individual arrangements and wondered at the time and dedication it took to collect and arrange both the flowers and the foliage it really was lovely.
I must inform the Parish Council that the Whittington archives they were discussing do not belong to the Village but are my personal collection that I have put together over the years. 1 want the material to stay in tne village after my time and just wanted to make sure that there is somewhere in the village where it can be kept so that it is available to future generations.
There are two dances this month Dennis Westmorland is playing in Whittington Village Hall on February 7th and the Roe Valley band are here on the 21st.
Also best wishes to Jean Dixon, who is in hospital and also Keith Bateson, who are both recovering from operations.
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