March  2001 Edition of the Linton News    Previous        Next

ArticlesTwo Summer Holidays,   Housing PlansLent,   Church Repairs- Local Post Office,   Pool Vandalised,   Parish Council report,   Bowls Club,   Music Society,   Village College,   Hypnosis,   WI Meeting Romancing the Church K-Club Winners,   Animal Rights,    Monday Gang,   Jazz,   Police,   Ladies Badminton Bush Telegraph,   Gardening Club,   Country Diary,   Aztecs,   Pool Pennies

Articles -Traffic,   Council Tenants 24 hour Hot Line
Readers Write: Stolen Games,   Dog Walker,   Finishing Stone,   Thanks,   One Way High Street,   Bad Parking  


WHO says lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place?
When Tracey Wilson of Linton booked her family’s summer holiday at Going Places in the Grafton Centre, she was told her name would be entered into a weekly draw to win a winter holiday for two people. She thought she would have no chance, but was thrilled to learn the next Friday morning that her name had been pulled out as the winner that week.
When she went back to the Travel Agents two weeks later to book the accommodation she had selected as her prize, she was told that the winner that week was also from Linton, and she was delighted when she found out that it was her best friend Sue Elsom!
Sue said later: "Knowing that Tracey had already won a holiday two weeks before, when Going Places rang me, I was totally shocked!"
Sue and Colin are now looking forward to a week in Fuerteventura at the end of this year, and Tracey and Dave will take their son Steve to Lanzarote at the beginning of 2002.
Sadly, that promotion is now over, so it is too late to see if Linton would have been third time lucky!


IMPORTANT decisions are being taken now which will shape the local authorities’ policies on business and housing growth for the next 15 years. Your chance to have your say will be on Friday 9th March when an exhibition of the planning options under consideration will come to the Social Centre between 4pm and 8pm.
This is important to us. One of the four options for a new settlement of 6,000 houses is Abington. Do you want a town the size of Ely on our doorstep? Do you want more housing developments in Linton? Be warned Linton is one of only seven villages in South Cambs. District considered capable of taking more housing.
Should more companies be allowed to set-up? In our area there is virtually full employment so every new job means a new family looking for a house to live in. What about Haverhill? It is already planned to expand its population by 7,000 in the next few years. It could be much more. This would put yet more pressure on the A1307.
Please come to the exhibition, talk to the officers who will be there and fill in the questionnaire giving your views. It does make a difference. I sit on various committees looking into these matters and I can assure you that surveys of your views carry a lot of weight and directly affect the decisions made. 
If you can’t make it, you can still have your say by asking for the information to be sent to you. The contact points are: % 0800 243916, email or website


LUNCHES in aid of the work of Christian Aid are being started in Linton during Lent this year. The lunches have a four-fold purpose, to remind people of the needs of the hungry world, to do something about it, to gather people together, and to induce just a little "hunger" by the sharing of a simple and frugal meal.
Each Wednesday during Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, 28th February, one home in Linton will be open ready to welcome all those who come. The full list of homes is published in the Parish Magazine and on the board at the back of St Mary’s Church. Lunch, which will be soup, bread and cheese, and coffee, will be available between 12 noon and 2pm. A donation will be asked for towards the work of Christian Aid.
Anyone who shares our common concern for the hungry people of our world will be more than welcome.


PLANS are afoot to begin the first stage of essential repairs, costing some £20,000, at St Mary’s Church later this year. Meanwhile the Friends of St Mary’s are looking forward to the visit of the Cambridge String Orchestra to St Mary’s for a concert at 7.30pm on 31st March which will be in aid of the fabric repairs.
Future events include the Annual Meeting on 21st May with a chance to see and hear about the damage that water does to old buildings and the reason for costly repairs.

Romancing the church, page 4


DID you know that there are some 18,500 Post Offices throughout the United Kingdom today. A network which is visited by half the population every week. The Post Office is not just a shop or a place where you collect your pension or child benefit; it is at the very heart of many communities. A Post Office is far more than just a range of services and products. It is a place you can trust, a place where you are known and feel comfortable and a place which is vital to any vibrant community.
As your Subpostmistress I am committed to maintaining this unique role, but I can only do this with your help and loyalty. As more and more of the Post Office’s traditional business, such as pension payments, are being eroded it is important to realise just how much your Post Office can do for you. Were you aware, for instance, that you can get your traveller's cheques, foreign currency and arrange your travel insurance here?
In recent months and years we have seen the steady decline in local services; how many bank branches and village shops have already closed because of cost? Unfortunately the Post Office is not immune from this commercial pressure. Just like any shop we need to sell and we need you, our customers, to use us. Without your support we cannot survive and our motto needs to be "Use it or lose it".
I have already mentioned some of the products and services you can get from the Post Office and lately we have been working hard to extend this range and provide you with an even better service. We have all seen the press and news stories about bank closures, but how many of you realise that you now have an alternative bank at your Post Office? If you are a customer of any of the following banks you can make deposits and withdrawals at the Post Office:
 Alliance and Leicester Giro

And this is just the beginning.
Much has been said about the threat to community and rural Post Offices and we all know how communities can wither without a local Post Office and shop. But I am optimistic, I believe people do want their Post Office to survive, do want to preserve the unique service we provide and will ensure this by using the Post Office to deal with their everyday business.


ON 29th December, vandals damaged our swimming pool beyond repair. The liner has been ripped and will cost in the region of £2,000 to replace. The police are investigating the matter and school governors will urge prosecution of the intruders. It is such a pity that a few members of the community may have ruined the opportunity for so many children to swim in the summer.
The Local Education Authority has submitted plans to the appropriate bodies for our security fencing. The paperwork should go to a planning meeting on 19th March.
Due to the continuing security problems, we have installed further closed-circuit TV cameras. We have ‘interesting’ video evidence from 16th January at 10.26pm. Do you know the young couple who drove into our playground, parked, got out of the old-style Fiesta and urinated in an area where our children play?
Our hope for the future, with increased security, is that the children of Linton and Bartlow will be able to work and play in a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.

Parish Council’s February Meetings       Top

IT was reported that the work to refurbish Horn Lane ford would commence in March. A hedge has been planted around the Anglian water station with the help of a member of the public. The rights of way officer reported that two bridges had been identified for repair and a number of warning signs need replacing. As reported last month Leadwell Meadows is a water meadow again this month.
The Council agreed to a request for a further £2,500 from LA4Y.
The Rural White Paper ‘Our Countryside’ was discussed and it was felt imperative that there should be an election for the Linton Parish Council in May 2002 and that during the year awareness must be increased so that more candidates come forward.
The Annual Parish Meeting is planned for Friday 11th May.
A member of the public thanked the council for its help in getting Green Lane resurfaced.
The County Councillor reported on the traffic problems on the A1307. The Council agreed to write to the officer concerned and ask if there was any progress. It was also suggested that the parish councils whose parishioners use the junctions onto the A1307, eg Castle Camps and Bartlow should meet to discuss future developments at Haverhill and the impact it will have on access to the A1307. The District Councillor reported that the Pampisford Road is to have speed restrictions of 40 mph.
The Structure Plan Review 2001 exhibition will be on view at the Social Centre on Friday 9th March.
It was reported that it is cheaper to collect fly-tipped garden rubbish than to arrange for a general collection of garden waste.
The Council agreed to set aside £2,000 to set up the proposed Village Warden Scheme. This is to help fund the initial stages of the scheme.
The Social Centre reported that the fence at the front of the building was in desperate need of replacement as there was no barrier to stop trespass. As the Social Centre has insufficient funds to carry out the replacement immediately and due to the security risk the Parish Council agreed to erect the new fence and offset the cost against next year’s rent.
Council agreed to the next stage of a grant application for improvements to the venture playground equipment, tarmac area and footpath.


THIS unusual but very versatile and interesting duo will play classical and folk music on flute, alto flute, piccolo and marimba. The programme will include Chopin’s Variations on a Theme by Rossini, Rodrigo’s theme from the Guitar Concerto as well as folk music from around the world. Nicki and Justin Woodward have performed on Classic F.M. and at festivals throughout the country, and have a most delightful and engaging rapport with their audiences.
Members and non-members are welcome, and tickets are available at the door.
Please note that on this occasion the concert will take place at the United Reformed Church in Horn Lane, and is on Saturday 10th March, beginning at 8pm.
From 3-5pm, and also in Horn Lane, the Duo will hold a Percussion and Flute Workshop for children aged 8 to 14. There will be an opportunity for the children to play together, create, improvise and discover some unusual instruments. It is not necessary for a child to be able to play an instrument, but if they have one, they might like to bring it along.
Admission to the workshop will include a free ticket to the evening concert.
Mrs Jenny Purves  will answer any inquiries, but please book as soon as you can for places will be limited.


THE annual general meeting of the bowls club will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 19th March in the pavilion. All members are earnestly requested to be present to hear what is on offer for the forthcoming season and have a chit-chat and maybe a beer. A nomination list for officers is available. More than one nomination for any office is allowable and would give some spice to the evening to have an election (we have never had one yet!) 


COME to the land "where you can ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon". Come and learn about the taste and nature of the Lebanese cuisine, which is as varied and abundant as the country itself.
You have probably heard of hummus and kofta but that is just the beginning. Lebanese cuisine can be quick, easy and mouthwatering. Ideal for summer parties, barbecues or dinner parties, Lebanese food pleases everybody. Learn how to prepare appetisers that are a meal on their own, how to cook healthy and appealing vegetable dishes, or how to cater for the taste of the whole family.
Join us on Saturday 24th March at Linton Village College. Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment. Contact the Community Education office. Cristina Devecchi


THERE is nothing ‘magical’ about hypnosis. It’s a space in the day where you make time to allow yourself to relax to a profound level. The more you do it, the better you get!
Nobody knows exactly what happens or how during the hypnotic procedure. In the hands of a suitably qualified therapist, however, a client may well effect wanted changes in their lifestyle fairly rapidly.
Once a client ‘learns’ how to experience the hypnotic state self-hypnosis may usefully be taught. This is the beginning of the end of the therapist-client relationship as the client administers self-hypnosis as and when he or she needs it.
Hypnotherapy may prove to be an excellent vehicle for wanted change, however, psychotherapy may prove more suitable in certain cases.
Hypno-psychotherapy offers the best of both words; hypnosis within a psychotherapeutic approach, this approach is (usually) dependent upon the orientation of the client.
What may it be used for? All sorts of conditions including weight loss, smoking reduction or cessation, relief from anxiety, phobia and test anxieties, self-esteem promotion and so on.
If you have been thinking about having hypnotherapy and/or psychotherapy or are just interested I’d be happy for you to phone me on (Sceptics welcome.)
Catherine Pain


ONCE a year, the Committee can take a rest and hand over the organising and running of the meeting to the members. Members Night was held on 6th February. Eileen Impey took the chair for the evening and welcomed three special guests – Ruth Bond, Federation President; Jessie Salter, former Federation President and Githa Challis. Two new members were also welcomed.
Members were asked to comment on a proposal from the Parish Council to replace the railings outside the Social Centre and to resite the wooden seat (which had been presented by the Women’s Institute) inside the fence.
Ruth Bond spoke about the importance of membership and of the resolutions passed at the National Annual Meeting. Membership is growing nationally and now includes Associate Members, who are unable to belong to a specific Institute, but who wish to support the WI. The first Associate Member in the county is Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by Dr Bondini, who showed a number of intriguing tricks, including the placing of a boy, (Dr Bondini’s son), into a box with seven deadly blades. All were relieved to see him emerge unscathed!
The next meeting is at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 6th March at the Social Centre. Janet Whiteside will talk on "Flower Arranging". All are welcome. Anne Parry-Smith


Dear Editor
Thank you for printing in February’s paper about the recent theft that we had at the Club. I thought it only fair to update what has happened since.
I am delighted to say that we have been donated Nintendo games from Game On in Saffron Walden. Their generosity is more than we could have hoped for. The children are delighted to be able to resume play on the Nintendo.
We have also spoken to parents in the village who have recently upgraded their computer. They have been very supportive and we hope to have their older computer at the Club shortly.
Whilst we experienced the shock of last month we must remember and thank those that have really helped us out, they are far more important.
(on behalf of Linton Out Of SchoolClub)


Dear Editor
I would like the village to know that I am still the volunteer dog walker for the national charity The Cinnamon Trust. Any one wanting their dog walked will have to contact the Trust direct on 01736 757900. They will then contact me.
I am also a member of the National Association of Registered Dogsitters; they cover dogsitting and dogwalking. They can be contacted on 01584 711534 or via email:


... because you have lost part of yours? Someone left a weighty finishing stone for a wall or gatepost on my doorstep late one night in mid-February. If you are missing yours, please contact me on call at 70 High Street to collect it.


Dear Editor
Our fourth fundraising dance, held at Linton Infants School on Saturday 13th January, has resulted in £1,127 being sent to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for Breast Cancer Research.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to al l those who helped make the evening such a success and for the generous donations received, including raffle prizes and refreshments.


Dear Editor
I have read all the recent correspondence about the problems of the traffic in the High Street with great interest.
I too was at the meeting held some months ago, and it is my recollection that, after a wide-ranging discussion, there was a vote carried by a large majority in favour of a one-way system. Then someone suggested blocking off the High Street, and with very little further debate this idea was approved by an even larger majority. Whilst superficially attractive, a little thought leads to the conclusion that this would be quite unworkable; apart from anything else it would isolate the Co-op from all but pedestrians and probably lead to its demise.
A one-way system is feasible. It would require widening parts of the verges of Back Road to provide some ‘off-road’ parking for the residents, and probably some land might need to be acquired opposite the Post Office in Balsham Road to provide car parking for its customers. Balsham Road would have to remain two-way, and so priority would have to be given to traffic turning right out of Back Road. This system would eliminate one of the main causes of large vehicles having to mount the pavement in the narrower parts of the High Street, which is on-coming cars etc having to pull in between parked vehicles and not being able to do so far enough to allow the free passage of the large vehicle.
The main objection to this scheme would appear to be that it would encourage speeding through the village. Properly designed speed-humps would stop this. The objection is that they would create noise, but surely no more than that caused by cars accelerating away from between parked vehicles as happens at present.
I can think of no other scheme which would relieve the present congestion and keep large vehicles off the pavements – other than banning all parking in the High Street! (Do I hear a cry of dissent?)
With regard to the dangers of the A1307, especially at the Bartlow Road crossing, I agree that the really effective answer would be a roundabout but it seems that this cannot be afforded at present. A relatively cheap alternative would be to introduce a 50mph speed limit from the end of the dual carriageway to the village. This would need to be enforced by speed cameras which really operate; perhaps the new digital cameras could be employed.


Dear Editor
At approximately 8pm on Saturday 10th February, a coach was bringing home the Theatre Club from Bury St Edmunds (where they had thoroughly enjoyed Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, performed by a narrator and two musicians).
The coach successfully negotiated the High Street and entered Bartlow Road to drop off the last few passengers.
The new Tandoori restaurant was very busy; there were cars parked all along the roadside. This presented no problem but some thoughtless driver had parked his Mercedes on the other side of the road. The gap which remained was too narrow for the coach.
Eventually all the passengers got off the coach and walked home – while the driver reversed into the High Street.


I AM disappointed to report that there are still no concrete plans for improvements to the High Street. The committee met again on 21st February and there wasn’t even a mention of Linton High Street on the agenda.
Has anyone else noticed that the kerbstones between Green Lane and Mill Lane have started to lift and break up again?
The Parish Council Clerk, Gill Barker, assures me that negotiations are currently in progress with both the Co-op and Stagecoach to alleviate the problem of pedestrian safety.
All you locals who are eager to have a ‘buggy blockade’ please wait a bit longer to see what effect our efforts may have already had.


OVER 6,000 tenants in South Cambridgeshire now have access to a 24-hour freephone service for all repair requests, excluding gas heating repairs. The new service will provide tenants with information on the work ordered and how long they need to wait for the work to be done. This will be based on the urgency of the job and availability of labour. Tenants will be sent an acknowledgement card providing a reference number to refer back to and give details of the job and target date. A Customer Satisfaction card will also be provided for tenants to feedback information on the service they receive. An appointment system has also been introduced so tenants can arrange for someone to call at a convenient time.
Response times will vary according to the job. A 24-hour target will be specified, for example, where there is a total loss of electricity or water. A three working day response will include blocked sinks, loose stair banisters and partial loss of water/electricity.
Councillor Edgar Monks, Chairman of the Council’s Housing Committee, explained: "Our questionnaire... provided us with a lot of good ideas on how we could make real and lasting improvements—the 24-hour number is one of those ideas."
The new 24hr freephone number is 0800 0851313.
For further information please contact Sally Carroll 01223 443262 or Kari Greaves 01233 443050.


St MARY’S’s Church will be the venue for a Serenade Concert at 7.30pm on Saturday 31st March, presented by the Friends of St Mary’s in aid of the Church Fabric Fund.
For many years the Barton String Orchestra has given concerts in Linton. The orchestra recently moved to the centre of Cambridge and has re-named itself the Cambridge String Players. Leon Lovett, who has taken over the musical direction of the orchestra, will conduct the concert. This will be their first concert as the Cambridge String Players.
The romantic theme running through the programme includes many well-known pieces: Grieg’s ‘Elegiac Melodies’, Benjamin Britten’s ‘Sentimental Saraband’, Bach’s famous ‘Air on a G string’ and Sibelius’s ‘Romanze’. Three popular English composers (all of whom died in the same year – 1934) will be represented: Sir Edward Elgar , Delius and Holst.
The soloist will be the young Romanian soprano Simona Mihai, who will sing arias from Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and Britten’s ‘Les Illuminations’.
Tickets may be obtained from Friends of St Mary’s.
Leon Lovett 01223 264798


THE result of the February K-Club monthly draw: 1st (£50)  (No. 140); 2nd (£25) (No. 149); 3rd (£10)  (No. 388) .

‘They call us terrorists but that will not stop us’ Top

Campaigner on animal, human and environmental issues explains why she may end up in prison
‘We will not be violent but we will not stop fighting for a fairer world. I just wish we had more people to help us’

"IN my mind, I have this image: it is the dreadful fear of a little primate being strapped onto a table, the same fear that I’ve seen in the eyes of terrified children in the Vietnam war and during the horrors of Rwanda; I hear the laughter as the people around the primate force a plastic bottle into his mouth for a joke – and the jeers at this helpless little creature’s terror."
This, for Sue Hughes, one of the village’s well known campaigners on animal and human issues, is not a nightmare to disappear with the morning. It is real; it happened and was caught on TV film. And that is why she could soon end up in prison branded as a terrorist for no more than peaceful campaigning.
She is one of hundreds of people who demonstrate at the Huntingdon Life Sciences vivisection centre at Huntingdon, which tests household products, agrochemicals and drugs. The protestors have been called terrorists in the big money propaganda war against them. Now, under the Government’s new terrorism laws, they will be liable to arrest and detention for seven days – simply by dragging them into the same category as bombers.
"This will not stop us," said Sue, a retired Linton Infants’ School teacher. "I am against violence, all violence to people and animals, and that includes the dreadful violence done to helpless animals behind the walls of Huntingdon Life Sciences."
Sue’s campaigning began in the 1970s when she returned from several years teaching in Africa. She combined a busy family and working life with helping Amnesty International campaigns, gradually widening it to CND and children’s charities.
"The more I learned, the more aware I became and the more I felt moved to help people first and then this extended to animals as I learned of their suffering," she said. In our region, few people are confronted with harsh realities ranging from starvation and violence abroad to the horrors of the vivisector’s table in our county.
"There is a lack of awareness of what is happening," said Sue. "People do not realise that everything is connected: the animal cruelty in our vast consumption of meat is part of the system that causes hunger in the developing world; the Huntingdon agro-chemical testing is part of a process that is poisoning our land; and the drugs prescribed to your child could be damaging her, like they did my niece, because tests on animals are not safe.
"Most people are wrapped up in the struggle to earn a living and bring up a family – but, I look round at the Huntingdon protestors and see young mothers with their children, people desperately trying to pay off their mortgages, single parents with little money trying to live a vegan life.
"They all share a compassion for people and animals. They have the imagination to put themselves in the place of those animals being used for experiments, those children being terrified in Rwanda. They are ready to put themselves out there to try to stop the dreadful cruelty."
The campaign against HLS began 20 years ago and Sue joined it in 1997 after watching beagles being punched in a TV exposé of how vivisection animals were treated. She was among those who took part in the camp at the site and still tries to go every Thursday when it is this region’s turn to maintain the peaceful protest.
In addition she is the local contact and spokesperson for Compassion in World Farming, which works with the Government to improve the short lives of food animals. And collects for Save The Children. And does what she can for Amnesty International. And talks in schools, visits groups, campaigns on radio and TV. And welcomes the "extras" like entertaining to a vegan meal the Link Africa students who went with Clive Bush, the Linton Village College principal, to South Africa recently.
"Because we care about animals, people and the environment we all live in, we’re being called terrorists," said Sue. "They will have to find a new definition for ‘terrorist’ because we will not be violent but we will not stop fighting for a fairer world. I just wish we had more people to help us.’’ LNT


WHO needs to go to Anglesey Abbey when we have such a lovely display of spring flowers right here on our doorstep? Aconites, snowdrops and daffodils all help to brighten a walk through our lovely churchyard and there is the promise of primroses to come.
It’s nice when people stop to admire the blooms and chat to us as we carry out our tasks, but we really could do with some extra help. Despite our name, we don’t only work on Mondays due to the vagaries of the weather, so if anyone has some time to spare we would welcome you with open arms. You don’t need to have the knowledge of Alan Titchmarsh or the energy of Charlie Dimmock! 
Margaret Cox and Gloria Fidler


"I DIDN’T know Linton had a Jazz Orchestra!" A number of people have said that in the last few weeks. Linton has a large Jazz Orchestra that meets alternate weeks at the Social Centre. We are having our annual Cabaret Evening at 7.30pm at Linton Village College on Saturday 17th March. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are available to buy from any band member or on the door.
Linton Jazz is self-supporting and the money raised from this concert will enable us to buy music and equipment that we need in order to keep going. We are hoping to raise enough money to buy a PA system, which we now need, especially for the outside concerts that we do in the summer.
This concert will also showcase some of the very talented youngsters that we have in Linton.
We will be running a raffle on the night so even if you cannot attend the concert maybe you could provide a raffle prize. If you can help us out please ring Karen and we will arrange for the prize to be collected.
Why not come along and have a fantastic evening listening to a very talented bunch of children, young people and adults.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please ring Karen Sanderson , Stephen Inglis or Linda McNicholas ).
Karen Sanderson


Community Beat Officer Andy Denzey reports on recent changes
SINCE 1st February I have lost West Wickham, Weston Colville, West Wratting and Carlton, and I have inherited Great and Little Abington. I will endeavour to contact all new beat members as soon as I get time.
Linton continues to be the busiest village for crime with 19 crimes reported for the month of January. There was a distraction burglary where the offender claimed to be from the Water Board. I have to stress that you should never let anyone into your home unless you have seen their ID, and then made a phone call to their organisation. Most will be quite happy to wait by the door while you check, the others will leave. If you have someone elderly living next door to you, pop around and let them know this.
Two premises in the High Street had property damage during the hours of darkness. This is probably down to a single person and enquiries are continuing.
Five vehicles were broken into. There have been a lot of adverts on the television about not leaving any belongings on show in cars, but the message does not appear to be getting through.
A robbery occurred at the Post Office at Great Abington on Tuesday 30th January, when two males entered the premises. They asked for phone cards, which are kept in the till, and then snatched the money when the till was opened, pushing past another person on the way out. The first is described as a white male, mid 20s, 6ft tall, dark stubble, wearing a dark blue skiing hat and a large dark blue anorak and stone washed jeans.
The second is described as a white male, also 6ft tall with dark stubble, wearing a cream baseball hat and a blue jumper.
They left the scene in an old style red Ford Fiesta, driven by a blonde haired girl and went towards Fourwentways.
If you saw this vehicle or any of the occupants please ring DC Mick Hunter at Sawston Station  01223 358966.
I have been very busy lately having to cover response, and have been getting only one or two days as a CBO, which as you can imagine is very little time indeed. I still get the same amount of requests for my time, but less time to do it in. I have been informed that as we cannot train the new recruits fast enough, things are not likely to get better until April . I remain committed to my role as a CBO, and hope that you continue to support me in this trying time.
Neighbourhood Watch members and Parish Council members should be aware of new proposals to limit my time spent attending meetings. It has been agreed that I need to maintain contact with various members, but that does not mean attending every meeting. I propose to have four meetings a year and invite all the NHW co-ordinators and a representative from the parish councils. The location for these to be arranged.
I have also just started a degree in Community Policing, which I will be completing mostly in my own time. This will assist me in tackling community based problems and equip me with the knowledge necessary to do this job well. It is 9 months in duration, so if all goes well I will be letting you know that I have passed in November/December 2001.
I have a new mobile phone. The Police have bought me one, so I will be returning the one paid for by Linton Parish Council. I would like to say thank you to Linton Parish Council for buying it for me; it has helped me greatly in the past few months.
The new number is available on request. I have the phone with me on my rest days as well as at work, and if I am unavailable there is a messaging service. I stress again that it is not for emergencies or for reporting a crime or incident. If you are reporting an incident or crime, please ring 01223 358966.


LINTON Ladies Tuesday badminton club would welcome new members to the Linton Sports Hall from 8pm – 10pm. If you would like to play some good friendly badminton without the pressure of any league games then please come along and try. Any interested players should contact me Linda Hemmings

The Bush Telegraph  Top

THE screensaver on my computer is a close up aerial photograph of Kingfisher with 24-year-old Ellen MacArthur staring up at the helicopter as she helms her racehorse of a yacht. I think it’s a good image for a head teacher to see several times a day – the triumph of youth through tenacity, courage and determination would make a pretty good motto over any school gates.
So that is one image that has remained with me (literally). Two things, though not images, are also worth some reflection. One was a major survey showing that Britain is way out in front on the numbers of young people who use illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Binge drinking, underage smoking and the use particularly of cannabis by teenagers are much more common in this country than in our European neighbours. How can this be?
Surveys rarely produce answers, but one finding does seem to be telling. Only in Britain is it common for parents not to know where their children are during the evenings. That starts to sound familiar but how is it that they do know elsewhere?
These findings are generalisations, of course, but it may be worth looking at the social habits we have developed in this country. In France or Italy, for example, the evening meal is usually a pretty significant part of the day and needs a lot of preparing, eating and clearing up. This is a family event and provides some of the cement that all families need to remain close and reinforce the codes of behaviour that are understood as the right ones. It also takes a considerable amount of time.
Contrast this with the late arrival home from work of British parents who get the meal over with as quickly as possible and look forward to a well-deserved evening of relaxation in front of the television. Except that sitting with the family in front of the telly is the last thing that many teenagers want to do – hence the rapid departure out of the door.
So to the second memorable thing. Please forgive the Bush Telegraph for blowing its own trumpet just a little but in November, I wrote about a rather strange speech the PM made about comprehensive schools. It was littered with inaccuracies but the gist of it was that he had decided they were not any good anymore and he had jolly well had enough of them. I had the opportunity to ask the schools minister, Jackie Smith, what it was all about at a conference the following week and she told me she did not know because she had not been briefed. Last week, all was revealed.
It was the beginning of the spin that led to a green paper. In it we are told that the "bog standard comprehensive is dead" and that 50% of secondary schools will be specialist schools by 2006. Extra funding will be available for these specialisms although no additional resources will be awarded for the arguably much harder task of providing a high quality all-round education.
Of course the non-specialist schools will not feel disadvantaged and of course the 50-50 split between the have and have-nots will not lead to a two-tier system.
Who do they think they are kidding? Still, the world of education is never boring in the run up to an election and at least it gives me something to write about! Clive Bush, Principal


MIKE Day of NIAB, the National Institute of Agricultural Bot-any, gave a talk on unusual vegetables for small gardens and certainly some very strange specimens appeared upon the screen. These were mostly oriental, but there were also unusual types of common vegetables and difficult to grow varieties.
We learned that tomatoes are the most ubiquitous vegetables worldwide and that onions in ancient times were considered to be mystical because they cause tears. As stir-fry cooking has become so popular, many oriental vegetables are now grown here, such as edible chrysanthemums and yard-long beans, although these may prove tricky to get through the bean slicer! The tremendous variety of vegetables available nowadays means that greater imagination can be used when planning meals if we are brave enough.
The March meeting will feature Sam Agnew who is an expert on "The Gardens of Homerton College". Hopefully this will inspire members and visitors to greater effort at home because under drab winter vistas there lurks a beautiful garden trying to get out.

LINTON COUNTRY DIARY by Olwen Williams  Top

Sunday 18th February 2001   Illustrated by Maureen Williams

AFTER a month which has alternated between rain and frost, a week of brilliant sunny days and blue skies is most welcome. Water levels have also varied greatly over the last month. After dropping to a low level, the river is suddenly very high again, with flooding in the fields. An afternoon walk on 28th January was calm and full of birdsong. There had been frost on the ground until midday and water melting from the swampy areas was running off into the river. Both song thrush and robin were going strong, though the blackbird was only just warming up and practising a bit. Blue tits, great tits and marsh tits were all calling and a small flock of long-tailed tits went swinging through the willows. Alder catkins high in the tree, outlined in black and brown against the blue of the sky, were being investigated by a party of blue tits, a female chaffinch and a few goldfinches. A flash of blue signalled a kingfisher passing up and then down the river, calling to a mate further up. Then, on the trunk of a large willow, a tree-creeper made its dainty way up the bark and out along the branches. Across the river was the drumming of a woodpecker and the usual small flock of geese had been joined by a black swan, all apparently amicable.
By 9th February, a wren was calling, its spring song long and complicated with a trill in the middle: quite unmistakable and for such a small bird, unexpectedly loud. Birds are now beginning to pair up, with swans, mallards and moorhens all apparently sorted even before St Valentine’s Day.
I hear that the County Council has a policy on the reduction of use of pesticides. One of its objectives is that at least 75% of gardens in the county should be pesticide-free, in the interests of continuing and increasing biodiversity. After all, private gardens are of prime importance for wildlife, now that most of the farmland is so sterile. You have fed your birds through the winter, watched anxiously for frogspawn in the pond and for the hedgehogs to emerge from hibernation. So, before you go off to the garden centre with your spring shopping list, stop and think whether you really need all the chemicals which kill insects and other invertebrates like snails and slugs. They are food for many of the animals and birds which you treasure.


THE Aztecs Junior Football Club Annual Valentine Disco on 17th February made a modest profit for the club, despite the number of other functions in the village that weekend.
The next fundraising evening will be the Summer Dance on July 14th, with a trip back to the 60s and 70s and a tribute by ‘Elvis Presley’. Please watch for details in the Linton News. Peter Belsom


THE application for Charity Status for the Linton Village Pool Project is still being processed by the Charity Commission. The application had to be resubmitted due to the commission tightening up the criteria in the last few years, but by the time of publication of the Linton News, they hope to have got to grips with our paperwork.
In anticipation of this, we are drawing up a donation form to allow benefactors to contribute a regular amount or a one-off donation to the cause. There will be a tax form to accompany this, which will allow us to collect income tax on all donations.
For further information regarding this, please contact Lynda Askew
In the meantime, the Waggon & Horses has kindly set up a pile of pennies to help towards costs, and we hope to have similar piles in the Dog & Duck and Crown in the not too distant future.
Watch this space for more news!