April 2003  Edition of the Linton News    Previous        Next


Ron Amsden, Founder of the Linton news, dies, pool campaigners dig A bigger hole, Collect  your cash at the post office, The Parish council, Next time lucky, WANTED: web-wise youngsters,  looking forward to summer gardening, hildersham women at home with Aromatherapy,   Dave's beating the beat with his feet, Start counting Your blessings, How to Succeed as a Parent, Good Friday walk of witness, Wacky races hot up, parish plan progresses, A Scheme by any other name will still be fun, fabulous photo competition, cheers Ron!,  Fun in the sun, Flaxfields fundraising,  Help for young parents,  The beer's here,  busy but still volunteering, walk away winter bluesBanking on helping our schoolsOld tart anyone,  The smell of silver,  Your Paper Needs You and you!,  heavenly music,  fund raisin,  South Cambs Magazine: A Waste of Money, Council backs broadband internet, Round the world in two hours, Council wheels out bins, Make a date with fair trade, Hardships of rural life K-Club winners,  the bush telegraph, Wood it be here without them, Linton country diary


Still sitting on the fence, our thanksTotal village agreement On traffic plans is unrealistic A Heartfelt pleacoffee ensures a good morningappeal successLife bloodbeing neighbourlyunfaltering supportFallen  Leaves,


RON Amsden, the founder of the Linton News, has died at the age of 88 as this month the village newspaper he began enters its 17th consecutive year of publication.
Ron, pictured here on his retirement from the Linton News in 2001, was ceaselessly generous with his time and advice for a succession of editors. He established and maintained rigorous standards of editing and production but was never proprietorial about the paper he started.
The Linton News is only part of his lasting legacy to the village. He will be long and deeply missed.
‘He is, and always will be, the father of the Linton News’

IT is inevitable that the people who work on the Linton News should associate Ron principally with the paper he founded, yet his contribution to our community has been even greater than that.
Last April we celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the first appearance of the Linton News with a full page article in which Ron reviewed some of the most memorable events the paper had recorded. It was his last major contribution to the paper and his enthusiasm was irrepressible: we could have filled many more pages with the material he researched. Writing in that issue, Ron Argent, who joined the Linton News from the start, described how Ron first saw the need for a local paper, gathered the staff, stood in for them as they came and went, wrote articles, packed printed copies and delivered them—and not just in the paper’s early days. Turning a good idea into a lasting and invaluable resource for a whole community is an extraordinary achievement and it was something that Ron did more than once.
Ron’s work took him away from his home and country for considerable periods of time. His expertise was in agriculture, the use of pesticides and crop spraying. He worked all over the world, in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the USA.
As if in response to his international professional life, in retirement Ron turned his energy and determination to very local affairs. He served as a parish councillor in Hadstock and Linton, taught bell ringing in several local villages, and was a member of the Linton Village Action Group, which steered the development of the Cathodeon Centre. He was also a founder member of Granta Grapevine, and its first president. For many years Ron campaigned indefatigably for a swimming pool for the village and, when National Lottery funding was refused, launched the Linton Area Pool Project, with the purpose of building a pool using local initiative and skills. All the signs are that this scheme too will be successful but will sadly be a posthumous triumph for Ron.
It was Ron Argent who called Ron ‘the father of the Linton News’ and that is how he will be remembered by the committee and the network of people associated with the production and distribution of the paper. Sally Simmons

THE first issue of the Linton News, April 1987. It consisted of one and a half sheets of newsprint and was typed on a daisy-wheel typewriter and pasted up manually. Readers with sharp eyes will spot a perennial front page story. A bound copy of all issues of the Linton News is available at the Library.

pool campaigners dig A bigger hole        Top

A SCHOOL for pupils with special needs is to be built at Linton Village College in the next couple of years. It will include a small pool. At last this gives the village a realistic chance of achieving the community swimming pool it has long wanted. Basically all we need is to persuade the-powers-that-be to make it larger and allow the community to use it. The Village College and the Sports Centre would welcome the addition to their available facilities but they will have neither time nor resources to contribute to it.
So we (LAPP) are restarting our campaign to make it happen under the slogan of ‘Digga Bigga Hole’. First we need the village to reaffirm its wish for a pool in its replies to the village survey (knowing it is now a practical proposition) and then to get stuck in to show support by helping with and responding to fund raising. So volunteers please ring the telephone number below.
The preliminary work has already been done. LAPP, the Linton Action for a Pool Project, is now a registered charity. Also we have plans for a community pool well thought out as to design and for economical construction thanks to Ron Amsden who died recently. This was his last village project into which he had put much hard work over 30 years. Let’s honour all that he achieved for the village by finally making his, and our, dream come true. See you at the opening of the Amsden Pool! For more information. Joan Smith


FROM April, changes will be made in the way allowances, benefits and tax credits are going to be paid. These changes will be phased in over a two-year period. There is no need to do anything until you are contacted by the relevant government agency.
A lot of people are concerned and unclear about this change-over process. Many people we have spoken to who have already received information are unaware that they can continue to collect their money from the Post Office with a Post Office card account, basic bank account or through the personal current account banking scheme that we already operate.
So if you would like more information or a leaflet about the new direct payments please call in the Post Office and we will be pleased to help.
Your Post Office: use it, don’t lose it.
Anne Willers

The PARISH COUNCIL  Reported by Graham Potter        Top

March meeting:
The meeting’s first business was a report from a member of the public on the "Pavements for people" campaign, the petition that is being handed to the Area Joint Transport Committee. Another member of the public commented on the obvious police presence in the village, this was due to a visit by the mobile police caravan and the appointment of CBO PC David Hall.
A trial run of the Parish Plan took place on 23rd March. There have been quotations and permissions for street lights in Dodgers Lane, Horseheath Road and a litter bin at Camping Close.
Proposals for lighting in the church yard have been received and have received Council support.
Council agreed that it would oppose any development at Haverhill until the impact on the A1307 has been investigated. The Drop-in centre is experiencing staffing difficulties.
Council were told of the death of Ron Amsden a chairman of the Parish Council in the 1980’s and founder of the Linton News.
Due to Linton Parish Council being very active in many new areas it is to take part in a District Council pilot on housing needs. Council is also giving its support to broadband initiatives and plans for wheelie bins that will alternate between use for recyclable and non recyclable waste.
The clerk was requested to inform the County Council of the amount of rubbish on the A1307 between Linton and Abington.
A meeting between James Paice and around 30 other attendees addressed the problems surrounding the A1307 problems. An agreement was made to hold a further meeting on this subject
Council would like to see the sand bags in the High Street removed as they are beginning to rot and are unsightly.


RECENTLY, one our readers, Mrs Rosemary Cooper, kindly entered the Linton News in the Village & Community Magazine Awards, sponsored by Cambridge Building Society. This is an annual competition to find the very best examples of amateur journalism in Mid-Anglia.
There were over 65 entries received this year, and the sponsors, along with the Cambridge Evening News, decided to split the awards into two categories, one for publications with a distribution of over 1000 and the other for less than 1000. The winners in each category were awarded £500 cash with a plaque and there was a second prize of £250. Two others in each category were also highly commended.
Gloria Fidler and Tracey Wilson, who serve on the Linton News Committee, contributing editorial to the paper, as well as proof-reading it, both attended the awards ceremony on Wednesday 19th March in Over. Sadly, the Linton News was not the recipient of a prize.
Bob Jackson, chief executive of Cambridge Building Society said, "The quality of the magazines produced just gets better and better every year, and we would like to congratulate everyone who took part. They really are doing a great job for their community"
Tracey Wilson

WANTED: web-wise youngsters         Top

YOU remember Victor Kyam liking his electric razor so much,
he bought the company? Mandy Honeyman, one of Linton’s new residents, liked the village website so much, she is becoming editor.
"I found the site - www.linton.info - when I was thinking about moving to the village,’’ she said. "It was great to browse through the archives and once I’d made the decision and was waiting for the big day, I kept coming back to the website to try to find out as much as I could about my new home. "The website is a brilliant resource for everyone living in Linton and for anyone wanting to visit. It does need to be kept fresh and inviting and that will be my main objective.’’
Mandy already has a few ideas for new sections: a discussion forum, seasonal photographs and historical information, to name but three.
But she is particularly keen on developing an online area for younger residents; one that they run themselves and could include an entertainment guide and a bulletin board.
The latter idea needs one or two people to take it on and Mandy would like anyone under 18 who is passionate about the internet, is interested in an extra curricular project that would look great on a CV and has any ideas for something like this, to get in touch as soon as possible.
Mandy, who lives in the High Street, has experience of many publications - including the Independent, Guardian and Economist - as well as extensive knowledge of computer systems. She can be contacted via e-mail at editor@linton.info.
John Keeble, who is handing on the editorship, said: "I am delighted that Mandy is becoming the editor - I think she will be ideal in moving the project on.’’

ABOVE is just one of the many winter scenes of Linton in the snow that we were sent following January’s heavy snowfall.
Now spring is here have you photographed any spectacular scenes following the recent spell of sunshine? If so please send them to Mandy at the email address above and she can add them to the newly planned seasonal photographs section of the Linton.info website. LNT

looking forward to summer gardening        Top

THERE was a good turn out for the WI March meeting. Two members of the Committee will be standing down at the AGM, so new members will be needed.
The recent quiz on proverbs and sayings, which was won by Peter Gaggs, raised £44 for WI funds.
We were invited to take part in the competition "WI at Work and Play" to be held at the East of England Show on the 13th-15th June 2003.
Several members had recently enjoyed a visit organised by Miriam Rixon to see the snowdrops and Winter Walk at Anglesey Abbey. By coincidence, Richard Ayres, former Head Gardener at Anglesey Abbey had been the guest speaker at the Spring Federation Lunch held at Haslingfield Village Hall at which several Linton WI members had been present.
Forthcoming events include the Spring Council Meeting on 28th April (when the guest speaker will be Don McClean) and a visit to Bletchley Park (in conjunction with the Historical Society) on 14th June. There will also be an opportunity to try clay pigeon shooting at Great Wilbraham on 20th May.
Gill Page then gave a summary of information recently received about Cambridge Federation’s proposal to become a limited company. Members were encouraged to support these proposals. Members were invited to attend the Group Meeting at Abington Village Hall. The date has now been revised to 14th May.
The speaker for the evening was Rodney Tibbs who enlightened us in the art of "Patio Gardening and Gardening in small places", illustrated with his excellent slides.
The Annual Meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 1st April in the Village Hall. There will be cheese and wine and entertainment by a group of madrigal singers. All are welcome.
Anne Parry-Smith

hildersham women at home with AROMATHERAPY        Top

TWELVE members of the WI met at Hildersham Village Hall. They were sad to hear that Mrs Liz Brooker had resigned due to pressure of work. A new member, Mrs Irene Tuckfield was warmly welcomed. All members of the present committee are willing to stand again and Mrs Gillian Anderson is willing to join them.
Mrs D McQuillan gave a talk about ‘Essential Oils and Aromatherapy in the Home’. Mrs McQuillan has worked in this field since 1996 and explained that essential oils are very powerful substances extracted from plants. It takes 50 roses to make one drop of rose-oil, which is why the genuine essential oils are so expensive. Cheap oils are very diluted and probably not genuine. We were given several handouts with recommendations for oils in different parts of the house.
Refreshments, delicious as always, were made by Mrs Marion Beckett and Mrs Betty Meeks. Gillian Anderson

Readers Write        Top


Dear Editor,
I whole heartedly agree with Mr Booth (Readers Write, March 2003) about the Infants School security fencing. Mr Bennett mentions "a small change" in the fencing is all that he wants. What he proposes is a big change to an expensive purpose-built fence. There will still be unimpeded access to the Camping Close, it will just take a few minutes longer. Another point Mr Bennett makes is "a long standing right of way has been blocked unilaterally without any attempt to publish details". As far as I remember, this security fencing issue has been around for years and I believe that all the necessary and correct procedures were followed to get this important safety feature approved and put in place.
Alan Jones

Dear Editor,
I support Mr Bennett’s suggestion of a narrow footpath along the bottom of the Infant’s School playground (Readers Write, March), for the general public and especially for families who approach school from Camping Close, therefore avoiding the dangers of the High Street.
They are now forced to go through the Churchyard and I much regret the removal of the historic kissing gate to make this possible. The gap caused is unsightly and seriously detracts from the appearance of the carefully tended churchyard and may also encourage cyclists to go at speed through the churchyard to the inconvenience and probable danger to others.
Susan Anderson

our thanks        Top

Dear Editor,
Madeline, Sean and Ashley would like to thank everyone for the many letters, cards, gifts and messages of sympathy at this sad time, also to everyone who attended Mervyn’s funeral service. Special thanks to Rothgar Paintin, Lesley Gore, family, friends and neighbours for all their help and support.
Thank you also for all donations, totalling £1,860.00, made to The Marie Curie Nursing Fund in Mervyn’s memory.
Madeline, Sean & Ashley Mallyon

Dear Editor
I would like to thank all those who made donations in memory of my late husband Bryan Hill. £280.25 was collected for the MacMillan Nursing Fund and £310.25 for St. Mary’s Church.
Pauline Hill

Dear Editor,
May I take this opportunity through the kindness of your very welcome and excellent Linton News to express my deep and sincere thanks to my son, daughter, all members of my family (far and near) and the many, many friends, not least the District Nurses, Jacque, Stella and Jack for the many gifts of flowers, plants, fruit and most of all letters and get well cards which I received whilst spending five weeks in Addenbrooke’s Hospital,
one week’s rehabilitation at Histon and then back in Addenbrooke’s for a further eight weeks. I left home on November 13th 2002 and arrived back on 24th February 2003, too late to get into the March edition.
I am pleased to say with the help of a carer I am quickly getting my strength back. Thank you all for your thoughts, kindness and prayers.
Agnes Smoothy

Total village agreement On traffic plans is unrealistic        Top

Dear Editor,
Mr Booth (Readers Write, March 2003) is missing the point of Dr Elphinstone’s letter (Readers Write, February 2003). There’s no soapbox, there’s no accusation that a great deal of time and effort is not spent monitoring traffic and attending meetings. There’s just a genuine concern for something to be done to calm the traffic in Linton, especially the High Street, to make it safer for the residents of this village.
I have been in Linton for 12 years and seen very little, if any, improvement for the safety of pedestrians in Linton. Twelve years on it is the same High Street but with more, larger and faster vehicles. As a consequence more vehicles regularly mount pavements and this presents more risks to safety, especially in the High Street.
I agree with Mr Booth, there probably are difficulties in finding answers to the traffic problems. I can also understand Mr Booth’s belief that "as fast as one idea is suggested it is dismissed by part of the village". But that is exactly where the Parish Council are going wrong. If Mr Booth or the Parish Council ever believe that they will find a suitable plan that everyone will agree to, then we should save all the effort that goes into traffic monitoring and meetings and just not bother at all. The Parish Council needs to accept that it cannot and will not please everyone with any plan.
It is the safety of the residents and children of this village that are at stake. In Dr Elphinstone’s words, "doing nothing is not an option". We can’t just reject plans because they are not in keeping with the village or spoil someone’s view, or pinch points do not look safe. It is the safety of residents we have at stake and safety should be a higher priority than the looks of the traffic calming measures. With respect to pinch points and how safe they may or may not have looked, we should trust the County Council engineers, it’s their job to design these traffic projects.
The Linton News over the years has printed many letters about the traffic calming measures proposed by the County Council in the early 1990s. The Parish Council subsequently rejected these. One of the reasons that the Parish Council gave (in the Linton News) for rejecting the County Council’s proposals then were "although 75% of these respondents were in favour of the idea of a traffic calming scheme this cannot be interpreted a meaning that the majority of Linton residents were in favour of the scheme presented". With this kind of reasoning, no plan will ever be approved.
In order to get traffic calming measures in Linton, the Parish Council and the villagers of Linton must face up to several hard facts.
More villagers must respond to plan proposals/questionnaires to allow the Parish Council to feel that there is support for plans – not voting may as well be a "no".
The Parish Council should not stop the minority preventing what the majority (who vote) want.
Trust the traffic engineers to come up with safe solutions – they know what they are doing, it’s their job.
Alan Jones

A Heartfelt plea        Top

Dear Editor,

My father was killed on the A1307 in February. Action needs to be taken. How many more families need to suffer as we have? Is the money saved by doing nothing worth the life of my dad?
Please do all you can to get something done.
Jose Rey

coffee ensures a good morning        Top

Dear Editor,
I would like to express my thanks to everyone who came to the NSPCC coffee morning and spent so generously. The grand total was £602.20. This will all go towards the wellbeing of children in the Eastern Region.
Susan Anderson

appeal success        Top

Dear Editor,
Many thanks to all the people who donated prizes for the Children of Chernobyl Appeal held at the Social Centre on Saturday 1st March. We were astounded by the response. At the last count we have raised £400 plus.
We would also like to thank all those that helped on the day. Thank you, it was a tremendous effort by all.
R Newman J Whitby

LIFE BLOOD        Top

Dear Editor,
It was standing room only at the blood donor session on Friday 21st March. Many thanks to the 168 donors – experienced and new – who queued to give their blood and equally to those who came, but were unable to wait.
Please continue to support these vitally important sessions.
Susan Anderson

being neighbourly        Top

Dear Editor
I am trying to spread the idea of a neighbourhood watch scheme throughout the village, especially the Heights and the Park Estates. All it needs to start this scheme off is for someone or some people from any of the roads of these estates to come to the meeting of Neighbourhood co-ordinators at the Village Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th April. I or one of the other co-ordinators will give full details.
Don’t forget, it certainly helps with your household insurance and it will help to make this village a lot safer. For further details please phone me
Mr L Andy Booth

unfaltering support        Top

Dear Editor
May we through the Linton News thank two very special people, Mrs Sheila Salmon and Mrs Margaret Clark, for all their help and support given to our son Luke and ourselves over the last two years.
Luke has dyslexia and we first met Sheila and Margaret at a dyslexia support group meeting held at Margaret’s home.
Both Sheila and Margaret are specialised teachers in dyslexia, and without their help and dedication we know Luke would not be as happy and confident as he is today in his new school.
If you have a child who has or may have dyslexia and feel Sheila and Margaret could help you, they can be contacted Margaret.
Once again, from all of us, thank you both very much.
Davina & Den Smith
2 Rivey Way

Fallen  LEAVES        Top

Dear Editor
At our recent Evergreen Club meeting the club was officially closed due to lack of support. Our Secretary resigned and no one wanted to take over the running of the club.
Dot Pedder

WE would like to thank our readers for the many varied letters we receive each month. The Readers Write is one of the most read sections of the Linton News so sending us your letters for publication on this page really is one of the most effective ways of making your views known on any aspect of village life.
If you are composing an article or letter for publication in the paper we would greatly appreciate it if you could add the name of the author and a telephone number (plus an address if sending in a letter) to the bottom of the text.


TO those of you who haven’t met me, I’m Pc Dave Hall the replacement for Pc Andy Denzey as the Community Beat Manager (CBM) for Linton, Balsham, Hildersham, The Abingtons, Castle and Shudy Camps and Horseheath. Many of you may already be aware that I have lived in Linton for over 11 years and have children at the Heights and the Linton Infants School. I have strong contacts with Linton and hope to gain strong contacts with all the villages I cover. I have been a serving police officer for 13 years, spending time in CID and as the Sector Intelligence officer for Sawston Sector (which has 54 villages at the last count). I am a member of the Cambridgeshire Police search team and spent many weeks involved in the search for Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham last summer. I am often called for searches at short notice so am not one for making firm appointments.
I have previously been the community officer for Buford and surrounding villages, so the role isn’t strange to me. I have strong opinions on anti-social behaviour and one of my first jobs after starting the post in early March was to address the problems in Wheatsheaf Way and Parsonage Way. I worked from 2-10pm for the first week and have spoken to a number of drivers who meet at these two locations. We have struck up a deal that means they will not gather at these two locations. The calls for service from Monday 3rd March until Thursday 6th March were nil. Police were called twice the following weekend for youths causing a nuisance at the bus shelter in the High Street and for nuisance driving at The Grip. I will carry on working late shifts and continue high profile foot patrols to make sure that people keep to their side of the agreement.
Can I just mention a new piece of government legislation that began on 1st January this year. It is section 59 and 60 of the Police reform Act 2002. It is there to combat harassment and distress caused by nuisance drivers and cars. If any inconsiderate or dangerous driving that causes harassment or distress occurs, a police officer will issue a warning that the offender may have their car seized. If the offender then commits another offence under the Act, the officer can seize the vehicle on the spot. This can happen within a twelve month period of the initial warning. It will then cost the owner a lot of money to get the car back from the pound. I would ask any resident witnessing such driving to get the car registration number, if possible a description of the driver and the time and date of the offence. I can then issue the warning at a later date. The Act is intended for persistent anti- social behaviour and not general driving complaints.
If you need to contact me, then watch out--you may bump into me in your village. I intend to spend more time actually out on the street as opposed to on the phone or sitting in front of a computer.
Pc 489 Dave Hall


WE hope to welcome many visitors, from Friday 6th June to Sunday 8th June, to the 36th consecutive Flower Festival held at St Mary’s Church, Linton. This event brings together people of all ages, from Linton and far beyond, to create and appreciate the beautiful flower arrangements in our mediaeval parish church. It is also a great opportunity to take part in the many other activities (including the famous Teddy Bear Jump from the tower and the Granta Duck Race) provided over the Flower Festival weekend. This is St Mary’s main fund raising event for the year. The proceeds go towards the upkeep of the church.
This year our theme is "Count your Blessings", inspired by St Matthew’s account of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Anyone who feels able to provide an interpretation of the theme in flowers is welcome to contact Judy Nightingale for further information. If flower arranging is not your strength, perhaps you could offer to help in organising one of the other activities? There will be forms available from the end of April in St Mary’s, and at the Library, listing the many and varied jobs for which volunteers are needed. Everything needs support including distribution of posters, stewarding at the church during the Festival, helping in the restaurant, doing a stint on the car park rota. Contacts are Judy Nightingale, Lesley Gore  and Anne Parry-Smith
We rely on our local shops and businesses for sponsorship of the flower arrangements each year. Lesley Gore will be holding a coffee morning with bring and buy, to raise funds for the flowers themselves at 38 Symonds Lane, Linton from 10.30am-12noon on Saturday, 3rd May. Please do come and support this event and consider any help you can give to the Festival itself. See www.st-marys-linton.org for the provisional programme.
Anne Parry-Smith

Photographing floral arrangements, formal or informal, is difficult enough. Add to that church lighting and there is a real challenge to our readers.
The Linton News will publish the best flower festival pictures in the July issue. Deadline for submissions is 23rd June.

How to Succeed as a Parent        Top

STEVE Chalke, founder of the charity Parentalk, is coming to Linton Village College on Tuesday 20th May to present an event entitled ‘How to Succeed as a Parent’.
Steve, TV presenter and popular speaker on parenting and family issues, is a father to four children.
Since they began, Parentalk events have attracted many thousands of mums and dads from all over the country and from all kinds of family situations.
Organised by the Family Resource Centre and hosted by the Parentalk team this event will be a lively mixture of shared stories and laughter, questions and answers, practical principles and inspiration for making the most of being a mum or dad.
Tickets are available on Wednesdays from the Family Resource Centre at the Social Centre or by telephoning Emma  For further information, check out the Parentalk website at www.parentalk.co.uk
Tracey Russell


THIS annual event gives to the Christian community in Linton and surrounding areas the opportunity to publicly witness to the faith we hold. Good Friday is clearly a very significant day in the Christian calendar as we remember the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Good Friday also gives us the opportunity to look forward to the victory of Easter morning and to witness to the hope of the Gospel.
The walk of witness is overseen by Linton Churches Together. This is an important act of unity and in addition to the public witness of the walk there also exists an opportunity to pray for ourselves, our community and the wider world.
This year the walk is to begin outside Linton Free Church (Horn Lane) at 10.35am. It is hoped that those walking may be able to attend a short Good Friday service led by Rev’d Alex Jacob at Linton Free Church which will begin at 10am.
The walk will stop outside the Dog and Duck and again on the corner of Parsonage Way before concluding at the green by Linton Heights School. At each of these stopping points there will be a time of prayer, Bible reading and praise. The walk will conclude at around 11.30am. Following the walk there will be a special Good Friday devotional service (12noon-3pm) hosted at St Mary’s, which all are welcome to share in.
If you require further information about the walk, please contact Alex Jacob
Alex Jacob


ENTRY and sponsorship forms for this year’s Wacky Races are now available from The Crown Inn. The starting grid is planned for 1pm Sunday 25th May (before Bank Holiday Monday). Don’t miss out this year as it promises to be even bigger and better than last year.
Spectators should get there early to view the carts in the ‘Pit Lane’ (McKenzie and Haywards forecourt) before the event as they are well worth seeing in all their glory – bring a camera for maximum enjoyment !
Any other Linton businesses/companies who are interested in supporting the event through sponsorship, please contact Louise at The Crown for further details.
Louise Gooden

The Simpsons put in an appearance at last year’s wacky races

parish plan progresses        Top

THE Parish Plan project is now well underway. A recent meeting at the Social Centre was well attended and allowed people to see the questions that are being proposed and make sure that their particular concerns were being included.
The aim is to compile these questions into a questionnaire that will be distributed to every home in the village. The answers to these questionnaires are vital to the future development of the village and will cover many different aspects of village life, including the ever present High Street and A1307 traffic issues as well as public transport.


THE social branch of Linton Mobile Warden Scheme held its first event of the year on the Ides of March, when about 30 people gathered for a soup and roll lunch.
The guest speaker, village historian Garth Collard, held a lively "Question Time" on historic Linton. We ranged from the history of my house, built in the garden of Richmond's – once very smelly, thanks to the tanning pits! – which led to the story of that house and a previous resident, Dr Palmer, through the history of the schools, to the way that village history influences current problems, such as the traffic through the village and the fencing of the Infants’ School playground. You can rely on Garth to provoke thought, laughter and controversy, so it is no surprise that we ended with quite a spirited discussion.
There was a raffle, with prizes donated by the committee, the proceeds helping to fund events after the Millennium grant has been spent. The table decorations were lovely - floating Hellebore heads - nobly sacrificed by Jan Sheppard. Many thanks to Jan, Cynthia, Gill, Hazel and Linda for their sterling work serving and washing up.
The next outing will be to Huntingdon Garden Leisure Centre (a garden centre, but with many other shops and attractions) on April 10th, leaving the Social Centre at 11 am. We are funding the coach only, so bring butties, a picnic or buy lunch there. Names to Gill on  891001 or Enid . Just let us know if transport to the Social Centre is needed. All older people are welcome, not just those involved with the scheme, but anyone who might like to meet a wider range of people.
On the scheme generally, we have secured funding for the Warden for another year thanks to Linton Parish, South Cambs District and Cambridge County Councils. We are now looking for a new name. There are two arms to the current scheme, the provision of a Warden and the Social Club; we need a name that will cover both aspects.
So, a name that encompasses both arms, is descriptive or an acronym relevant to our work is needed – help! Give us a call if inspiration strikes.
Enid Bald

fabulous photo competition        Top

The January snow inspired many to immortalise the beautiful scenery in photographs
YOU may or may not know that each month during our committee meeting the Linton News Team nominates a best article of the month. Recently we have been sent many pictures of the January snow by readers so we have decided to begin a similar competition for photographs. At the end of the year a favourite picture and two runners up will be picked from the year’s nominations and the photographer of the winning picture will be presented with a cheque for £50.
So go on, here’s a good excuse to rummage through old photo albums relieving memories and to walk round the village with your camera and really pay attention to all those old buildings that you only gave a passing glance to before.
If you have any photographic masterpieces that accompany an article or be can placed on our website as part of a Linton archive please send them in either as prints for scanning (to the usual address - p8) or via email to LNeditor@linton.info LNT

cheers RON!        Top

IN November 2003 Ron Argent resigned as advertising Manager for the Linton News.
Ron’s involvement with the Linton News began 16 years ago with the birth of the paper. He was an integral part of the Linton News and will be greatly missed by the entire team.
According to Ron one of the things he most enjoyed about being involved with the paper was that it enabled him to "meet all sorts of interesting people throughout the village".
As a small token of our appreciation and thanks for his many years with the paper the Linton News team recently presented Ron with a crystal goblet, specially engraved with the Linton News logo so that can not forget us. Cheers Ron! LNT

FUN IN THE SUN        Top

THE unseasonally warm and sunny weather continued this Mother’s Day as friends and families gathered for the Linton Village College Fun Run. A total of 53 people of all ages (from 4 to 70!) entered the race.
The first 10 people through the finish line were Chris Ritchie (1), Jordon Kennard (2), Sam Simmons (3), Alexander Westdijk (4), Emma Ritchie (5), William Simmons (6), Jamie Thomson (7), Rob Hunt (8), Chris Cook (9) and Andy Cook (10). All proceeds went to the astroturf project. Well done to everyone who took part.
Mark Wilson


FLAXFIELDS has been busy on the money raising front this month.
A total of £100 was raised for Cancer Research by people who came to eat at their recent all day breakfast event and the Red Nose Day tea raised a healthy sum of £20. I would like to say a big thank you to all those involved.
This month there will be a jumble sale at 1.30pm on Saturday 26th April at the Social Centre and all funds raised will go to Flaxfields.
Jacqueline Wilson


THE Young Parent Project is run by Romsey Mill in Cambridge to give advice and support to teenage parents in the area (they accept referrals from Linton). On May 7th the Family Resource Centre will be open for collections of unwanted baby equipment, baby clothes (up to one year), maternity clothes, and baby toys. If you have anything that you would like to donate please bring it along between 10am and 3pm to the Social Centre.
Much of this unique project relies on fund raising and any goods that are not needed by the youngsters are sold in their charity shop to help support their work. So please give generously.
Please ensure all items are in good condition and have instructions where possible. Unlike many other charity shops, Romsey Mill will accept car seats. Telephone Tracey  if you have large items, so that we can forewarn Romsey Mill of the transport that they will need to bring.
Tracey Russell

THE BEER’S HERE        Top

A BEER festival featuring more than a dozen real ales from all over the country is being held over the Bank Holiday on Sunday 4th and Monday 5th May at The Crown Inn.
A motley collection of traditionally made and poured ales such as Painted Lady from Nethergate in Clare, Hairy Helmet from Leather Britches Brewery in the Peak District, Baastaff from the Dent Brewery in Cumbria and Essex Boys Bitter from Crouch Vale, will all be brought together in one place for the event.
Real ale enthusiasts and anyone else who might enjoy the chance to taste a number of different authentic brews are invited to The Crown Inn, which will be open from 12 noon throughout the day on both Sunday and Monday, with musical entertainment in the evening.
Louise Gooden

busy but still volunteering        Top

Judith on her wedding day in the village last August (can anyone guess the identity of the ‘shady’ character to the left of the picture?)

THERE are a few new faces at the Linton News this month, Mandy Honeyman, the new editor of the Linton.info website (see article on page 2), Kate France, who has kindly taken over from Gill Barker as Distribution Manager and Judith Rouse. Judith joins the committee as Advertising Manager
The News Team asked Judith whether she would mind sharing a little about her life in Linton and why she decided to join the Linton News.
Judith moved to Linton 18 years ago with her job in the Civil Service, since then she has moved around a lot - but only within Linton! In fact Judith has lived in The Grove, the High Street, and Wheatsheaf Way before moving to Joiners Road in 2001.
Around 5 years ago Judith left work to look after her two young sons and started a part-time Open University Masters in Business Administration: "I thought it would be a good way of preventing my brain from turning into Teletubby custard!". She is planning to finish the course this year "come hell or high water" but may be slowed by her habit of volunteering to help local organisations. "My husband says I’m a serial volunteer but I joined the Linton News because the paper is very much part of the Linton Community and I enjoy reading it every month". Judith is also a member of the PSA at Linton Infants School where both her children attend.

walk away winter blues        Top

PUT a step in your Spring and join the 36th Cambridge Oxfam walk. The Walk will take place on Sunday 18th May, starting and finishing in the grounds of Wimpole Hall, with ample free parking for cars and a free return bus service from Cambridge. There is plenty to enjoy before and after your sponsored seven, 14 or 21-mile walk through the beautiful surrounding countryside. While checking out the routes in March, the Walk team spotted 26 species of birds on the seven mile route and 39 species of birds on the 14 mile route. For more information or a registration form, please contact Stephen or Clare on %563388 or email oxfamwalk@btopenworld.com or log on to the website at www.oxfam.org.uk/walk.
Helpers on the day are also very important. So if you would prefer to be a marshal guiding the walkers or a steward based at a checkpoint, please contact Jerry Carr-Brion on  414954 jcarrbrion@yahoo.co.uk
By taking part as a walker or helper, you can make a real contribution to Oxfam projects such as those aiming to provide assistance for millions of people in the world’s poorest countries who are facing economic ruin because of failing coffee prices. Join us and enjoy a very special day.
Clare Wilson


LAST years fireworks’ display may be remembered by those of you who attended as an extremely soggy but spectacular event. Well you may be pleased to know that by turning up to enjoy the evening despite the weather, you have helped raise money to provide facilities for school children in the village.
The 2002 display raised a grand total of £2340.00, which will be evenly distributed between Linton’s three schools. Barclays bank were major sponsors of the event and contributed £1166.00 towards the total. The cheque for the total amount raised was recently presented by Barclays to representatives of the schools’ PTA’s.
The display involves a lot of work by the committee and once again last year’s event was truly one to remember so we would like to thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you all at this year’s event!
Bob Hammett

A grand sum - left to right Alan King, Kim Davidson, Peter Cottage of Barclays, Alison Colison, Peter Thomas, Mandy Crawley, Ian Blackman, Trish Hartley of Barclays (main picture).

Trish Hartley of Barclays, Alison Colison, Kim Davidson, Mandy Crawley, Peter Cottage of Barclays (small picture).


GARTH Collard will lead a history tour of Church Lane in aid of Save The Children on Saturday 26th April. There will be tea at The Old Guildhall with cakes and tarts made from 16th century recipes and you will be able to listen to 16th century readings. Assemble at the top of Church Lane at 2.15 pm for a 2.30 pm start.
Please support this cause to help children in this country and abroad both at this event and during the house to house collection from 27th April – 3rd May.
Tickets from Judith White  .
Judith White


LINTON Granta football club first team sponsored by The Crown, Linton are through to the final of the William Cockell Memorial Cup and are just one match away from bringing home the cup.
The cup final at 10.30 am on the 5th May is between Linton Granta and Fulbourn Institute and to add a highlight to the game it will be played at Cambridge City Football Club.
All support is welcomed.
Graham Potter

Your Paper Needs You AND YOU!        Top

AS can be seen from the articles above and on page 2, we have recently acquired a few new members at the Linton News team. Sadly however, an editorial member of the team, Tracey Russell has decided to withdraw from the Linton News due to other commitments. She will be greatly missed and we would like to thank her for all her hard work during her time with the paper.
As part of the editorial team, Tracey researched and reported many stories for the Linton News. One of her first assignments upon joining was to interview Ron Amsden on his instrumental role as founder of the paper.
Tracey’s departure leaves us with a gap in the editorial side of the team. Would you be interested in filling that gap?
There are many different aspects to any editorial role in the Linton News. You could be a ‘Roving Reporter’ keeping your eyes and ears open to the many and varied daily goings on in the village. Or maybe you would be interested in learning how to use a desktop publishing system to help compile and edit the paper each month.
We are also looking for a deliverer’s deliverer; someone to distribute the bundles of Linton New to the volunteers who actually put the paper through your door.
For this a vehicle is essential as the bundles are quite heavy. We have been told that Alan Norton, out present deliverer can no longer do this important job, and we are grateful for his many years of service.
We would also be interested in hearing from any young people who would like to contribute as this age group is not currently well- represented in the paper. Don’t hesitate, just come and see how we put the paper together - you may like it enough to stay.
Joining the Linton News is a very rewarding way to get involved in the life of the village. If you are interested in becoming part of the team please contact Hazel Olway.

heavenly music        Top

ST MARY’S Church in Linton is once again playing host to a Linton Music Society concert. Its atmosphere and acoustics will be perfect for the performance that is to be given by the acclaimed harpist Emma Ramsdale and soprano Catherine Harper.
Their polished but informal concerts, both together and in their separate careers, have led to solo recitals on Classic FM, a debut at the Wigmore Hall and television work, as well as many other performances at home and abroad.
Their recital includes some well-loved music with works by Purcell and Parry as well as a selection of English, Irish and Greek folk songs. The concert takes place at 8 pm on Saturday 12th April.
Members and non-members are very welcome. Tickets are available on the door or in advance through the Cambridge Arts Box Office on 503333. Any queries to Hugh Wood.
Hugh Wood

fund raisin        Top

MONDAY 3rd of March saw the Linton Granta Playgroup and Toddlers’ inaugural pub quiz held at The Dog and Duck in Linton. The pub was packed with 10 teams and the Dog’s regulars for one of the highlights of the fund raising year! We raised £136, which will all be spent at Playgroup and Toddlers to purchase new equipment and craft materials. Thanks to Tracy and Bob and their regulars for allowing us to hold this charity event there, it was great fun and we will be hoping to hold another one again later in the year.
The children have also been busy fund raising, filling a raisin box with as many different objects as possible and being sponsored to do so.
Over £300 was raised and the winner was Elliot Murray who managed to squeeze an impressive total of 95 items into his raisin box!
All the money raised will go on our continuing refurbishment of the Toddler and Playgroup rooms. Watch out for our Open Day in June so you can see all our hard work.
Jane Laverock

South Cambs Magazine: A Waste of Money?        Top

SEVERAL people have expressed the view that the South Cambs Magazine is a waste of tax payers’ money. We hope you will find the following facts of interest.
Advertising largely funds the magazine. Designing and printing the magazine for South Cambridgeshire’s 55,000 residents costs £10,000 per issue. However, over £7,000 was raised in advertising revenue from the latest issue. Design and print therefore cost £3,000, which amounts to 5p per resident. It is hoped that the magazine will eventually become self-financing.
The delivery costs are in addition to this, but South Cambs. employs its own team of staff and residents and the cost is therefore far less than the post office or an agency. In addition, delivery can be guaranteed and funds are kept within South Cambridge-shire’s means.
Before deciding to produce the magazine four times a year the Council consulted a representative section of the population on how they preferred to receive information. The feedback was a request for a door-to-door publication, appearing more frequently than the original bi-annual publication.
Central government has also stated that local authority magazines are the most cost-effective means of communicating to all residents.
So far feedback strongly suggests a very large number of residents find the magazine informative and interesting.
The environmental information calendar you all received with the last issue of South Cambs Magazine in January cost 17p per item. The aim was to give residents essential information on how the district council and residents can work together to create a better environment while saving energy and money. There are targets to reach from the government and members thought a calendar would combine educational material with something that was useful.
Anybody who would like to discuss this further or make suggestions on content or improvements should contact our Communications Manager, Sally Carroll on  01223 443262 or by email, sally.carroll@scambs.gov.uk
Cllr Joan Smith and Cllr John Batchelor


SOUTH Cambs District Council has decided to submit a funding bid on behalf of its local communities for the provision of a broadband internet service.
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is running a competition for such funding, under the title ‘Connecting Communities’. A number of local communities within South Cambridgeshire are considering entering this competition on their own behalf, but they have welcomed the Council’s approach which envisages a service which would reach all of the villages.
Councillor David Bard, portfolio holder for Information and Customer Services, commented: "The provision of broadband internet to the more remote parts of our district is becoming increasingly important. Many of our residents need this service because they work or run businesses from home. At the moment the service can be accessed by less than half of the population."
If successful with its bid, the Council will invite suppliers to submit tenders to install and run the network. It is likely that some of the EEDA funding would be used to subsidise the installation costs to early users of the service.
Potential users of the service are encouraged to register on the EEDA competition website www.demandbroadband.com/bbb-register/home.asp
The Council is pulling together a group of village representatives to support the application and the subsequent project. Those who are interested in such a role should email the Council at janet.kell@scambs.gov.uk
For further information please contact Malcolm Wylie, assistant director (ICT) at South Cambridgeshire District Council on  443100, malcolm.wylie@scambs.gov.uk or Sally Carroll, Communications Manager at South Cambridge District Council on  443262 you can also email, sally.carroll@scambs.gov.uk
What is broadband?
Computers generally connect to the internet using a telephone line along which data is sent and received. The capacity is limited by the amount of data that can be transmitted along the line at any one time. This can make accessing the internet a slow process. Complex web pages with pictures and animations take a long time to appear and e-mails with large attachments are slow to load. Viewing video clips or listening to music is also difficult as transmission delays break the continuity and make it appear stilted.
Broadband provides a high bandwidth connection which is considerably faster as it uses advanced technology to send data eight to ten times faster, or more. Equally importantly, it is always ‘on’ so you don’t need to dial up every time you want access.
There is a large variety of benefits for individuals, for the community and for businesses including: learning online, working from home, downloading music and movies, listening to digital radio, playing interactive games, unlimited access for a flat-rate fee, free phoneline for calls. It can be an invaluable resource for the community, providing improved IT links for schools, business and residents, and it is a proven added attraction for people moving to the community. As far as businesses are concerned, broadband gives ease of networking between offices, teleworking for staff, improved working from home, video-conferencing, access to international markets and communication at a predictable cost. SCDC


Morris men dance in the spring. (Photograph by Camera Club member Roger Lapwood)
THE Camera Club’s March meeting at the Social Centre on Sunday 9th featured members’ six favourite prints or slides. Photos ranged from UK scenes in the Lake District and Wales, ‘Awaydays’ at Maldon and Wicken Fen, to scenes in Spain, Crete and the Pacific islands. New recruit Roger Lapwood brought excellent digital prints taken in early March including Morris Men outside the Dog and Duck.
The next photographic away day meeting on Sunday 13th April will be a visit to Clare Priory and the village of Long Melford, with its many interesting buildings. Leisurely start at Coles Lane car park at 8.45am.
Other pencilled-in meetings are to Duxford aerospace museum on 11th May and on 13th July the club’s Annual Partners’ Away day - this year at Kentwell Hall for the Great Annual Recreation of Tudor Life. On 12th October is the Hereford Photographic Festival. This can be either a long day or an easy, enjoyable weekend.
The group is using a good mix of media – slide, print and digital and new members are welcome with any format. For further information contact John Keeble  email jkeeble@clara.net
Mike Crofts


WE hope residents will be pleased that Linton’s long-standing wish for a green waste collection is soon to be granted (starting in the autumn). Via countywide consultation it finally got through to the powers that be that Linton was not alone in its wish. Green waste collection has become part of the agreed inter-authority County Waste Strategy. Now we are pleased to report that South Cambs has received nearly £2 million from central government to bring it in. However there is a time limit on how soon the money has to be spent so matters will be moving within the year. The collection is planned to be by wheelie bin with green waste one week (in a green bin) and other waste (in a black bin) the next. The present green box collection for cans, bottles and fabric will remain fortnightly .
Before everyone gets upset and uptight about wheelie bins in inappropriate sites and for certain residents who anticipate difficulties, please wait and see the detailed proposals. Much advice is being taken from other largely rural authorities who have met and dealt successfully with nearly every objection you could think of! South Cambs intends to bring in a scheme which benefits from all this experience. There will be properly thought out alternatives where necessary and much individual help from the officers in solving problems. Information leaflets will start going out in June/July and the scheme will start rolling out from September.
Knowing how ‘green’ members of this community are, you will be pleased to learn that we expect our recycling rate to go up from its present 18% to at least 40%. In other authorities with such schemes rates are between 30 and 50% so maybe we shall do even better with everyone’s active co-operation.
Cllr Joan Smith and Cllr John Batchelor


A FAIR Trade Evening, including a fashion show, will be held from 7.30pm on Tuesday 29th April at the Methodist Church, Castle Street, Saffron Walden.
As well as our usual stock of foods and stationery there will be some craft goods for sale and Traidcraft clothes to view and order. These will also be available between 1.30 and 3pm on Wednesday 30th April at the Rock Café, Social Centre, Linton and from 7.30 to 9pm at 1 The Furrells, Linton and 9.30-12 noon on Friday 2nd May at The Old Post Office, Burrough Green (opposite the Primary School). For further details please contact news
Jean Wheeler


AT the Historical Society Meeting on Tuesday 18th March, Mr Ashley Cooper, a farmer from Gestingthorpe near Sudbury, gave an enlightened talk about ‘Rural Life as it Was’, and the progress of various aspects of the countryside, with illustrations of local scenes over the ages.
Methods of farming and the development of farming implements were explained, which led to the practice of plant breeding for better crops with increased yield and profit for the farmers. The employment of many men, women and children in the cultivation and harvesting of the crops was steadily superseded by the manufacture of modern machinery, and the use of horsepower steadily declined.
Life as a farm labourer was very hard and long, without the benefit of hot baths at the end of the day. The school summer holiday was planned to cover the harvest period so that children were free to help in the fields.
Mr Cooper covered a wide range of subjects, from the use of burnt lime in buildings, the growing of herbs for medicinal purposes, the bringing of water to villages – running water was introduced to Linton in 1936, as opposed to the 1950s for many areas. The varying local names for different aspects of cultivation was touched on, as were the wild flowers and orchids which grew in the area around his farm. Mr Cooper was thanked by Clare Neville.
Pat Genochio announced that there will be a guided walk with Garth Collard on the history of Church Lane at 2.15pm on Saturday, 26th April with tea at The Guildhall afterwards. Tickets in aid of Save The Children are available from Judith White, 
The next meeting is on Tuesday 15th April, when Mike Petty will talk about Cambridgeshire engravings. All are welcome.
Please note that at the moment there is a reserve list for the Bletchley Park outing. Would all those who applied please ensure their payments reach Joan Pearman, 17 Brinkman Road, CB1 6XF, as soon as possible.
Joan Pearman


THE winners of March’s K-Club monthly draw:

1st (£50) Mrs J. Head (No. 069);
2nd (£25) Mr. J. Pelling (No. 328);
3rd (£10) Mrs. M. Horner (No. 250)

the bush telegraph        Top

THESE are difficult times and as is the case with most things the College community tends to magnify and focus the issues we face. This is as it should be of course, because any school that tries to pretend the events of the world outside are none of its concern is creating a problem for itself. Young people often receive a bad press; adults tend to think things have somehow got worse than when they were young. Memory can be a good filter.
I have, however, been quietly amazed over the last two weeks by the depth of thought and extent of deeply felt views about the war in Iraq. Not all LVC students oppose it, indeed most freely admit they do not really know what to think and those who do oppose it seem to have considered the fact carefully before rushing to conclusions. As in life there is also a small group who don’t much care either way.
It is not so long ago that the newspapers were full of dire warnings about a de-sensitized generation brought up on violent video and computer games that could not be entrusted with the future of the planet. Nothing is further from the truth. I believe the young people at LVC with its long tradition of supporting those in need in this country or abroad, are more socially and morally aware than previous generations have been. We have seen this replicated in schools across the country, after all you can’t include a compulsory subject called Citizenship into the school curriculum and expect its recipients not to take seriously their responsibilities as future citizens.
This does not mean of course that we can condone the kind of demonstrations seen in some schools. The flaunting of the vital rules that all organisations need to function properly and safely must not be condoned, but we do have to recognise that to many people young enough not to remember the first Gulf War, what is happening now is deeply confusing and troubling. That is why we must keep talking about these things in schools and in our families and in so doing, try to encourage a greater understanding of the daunting issues that face our world. Notwithstanding the current crisis, we are still global citizens. C R Bush, Principal

Wood it be here without them?        Top

I DON’T think any of us realised how much work and planning is involved in the maintenance of something which we take for granted. Woodland is just here, isn’t it, but no, we learned from Ray Symmonds last month the fascinating cycle which evolves from the regular coppicing of trees on ancient sites.
Mr Symmons, who is the collections manager for the University Museum of Zoology working mostly in Hayley Wood in Bedfordshire, described the management of woodland as "gardening for weeds".
Today’s woodland evolved as the world warmed after the ice age through conifers, then birch, to the present lime, oak, ash and hazel. At times this land has been cleared for the use of man but it soon reverts to woodland if agriculture is abandoned.
Dutch elm disease, regarded as a major disaster by many at the time, actually saved Hayley Wood as the elms were becoming invasive, threatening the survival of the wild flowers which spring up as soon as smaller trees are coppiced.
Wild deer, however, are a real threat to these tasty morsels and must be fenced out, which is an expensive and labour intensive operation. So, a walk in the woods for us becomes a pleasurable experience as a result of this clever management.
This month Alan Moores will give an illustrated talk entitled "An Introduction to Alpine and Rock Gardens", and the May outing will be to a private garden in Harlton.
Meanwhile, we hope the local photographers are thinking of entries for the photo section at the Gardening Club’s annual show in July.
Gloria Fidler

LINTON COUNTRY DIARY by Darryl Nantais        Top

Illustrated by Maureen Williams

I REALLY once thought our entire world was fundamentally sane with only the odd small pocket of insanity. A questioning four year old then, I realised our nation was still grieving its losses after yet another war, and this apparently excused strange behaviour.
By six, all was not as it first appeared, and old knowledge on all things bright and beautiful was up for re-assessment. The debate of self awareness and philosophy of Rene Descartes ‘Cogito ergo sum’ was the flavour of my generation. One grey bearded gentleman with an urge to walk the walk was a certain milestone inspector. No longer hunting Rommel in the desert, he pointed out the mobbing of a bright yellow canary by a flock of starlings and two rooks in a local spinney.
My older brother demonstrated his genetic traits of a hunter by successfully spearing his first pike in the Little Ouse, presenting the fish for cooking that evening to my mother. Moments later I was sent on a secret mission to purchase a large piece of cod. Meanwhile, the ponging pike’s body of questionable source, was removed and fed to the caged rook halfway down the garden, with just the head of the pike, lightly battered to match the cod. To this day my brother, now pushing sixty, still revels in the memory of the taste of his first fresh pike. I wonder, does cod taste like pike to him or pike like cod? Either way I still suspect my brothers hand hewn willow spear entered the lifeless corpse of a once great predator with pure innocence.
That same evening, one stupefied over-fed rook was beheaded by a very old rat that usually gorged itself on our chickens eggs. The remaining feathered body being too large to be dragged down his hole was used the following evening as a rat-trap enticement, hence the killer met its maker. A series of tragic events, little white lies and deceptions that began with a spear, yet I still had the usual bread and jam for tea.
Dr Cox and his wife have no doubt invested in some herbal sleep remedy recently, having been plagued by their aptly named ‘Suicide Sid’. The SS turned out to be a chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, that rattles on windows with such force you would expect either the pane or the bird’s vertebrae to shatter. Well, so far the glass remains unbroken, but the bird refuses to stop. The wing mirrors on my own car sustained a prolonged Chaff’-attack in the High Street.
My daughter Geraldine remarked whilst watching a thrush attacking our garden mirror, "It seems they don’t have trouble with their reflections in water" .
One extremely thoughtful resident puts paper bags over their car wing mirrors as a preventative measure. It is said that all these finchly antics are nothing more than a display of territorial defence.
You see we are back to war again. Why do these sophisticated and beautiful creatures lack the ability to grasp the concept of their own reflections? Chaffinches build amazing nests, usually in trees, fur-lined and often disguised by an outer layer of lichen. Perhaps a level of self-awareness is a wonderful gift, yet it all revolves around survival and the amazing trial of a gene. Tap, tap, tap. Mrs Cox reports there now appear to be ‘Sons of Sid’.
You know, our village is really quite special. Where else would you come across a pair of Peach Faced Lovebirds perched on an ancient garden wall harmoniously stroking each others necks like a double mime act whilst church bells ring?
I felt the lump in my throat and tear in my eye quickly disperse as I remembered to be a mere observer of all things bright and beautiful, including the price of peace, cod and oil.

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