Driving through Holderness in East Yorkshire at the beginning of June, and passing the neighbouring villages of Rise and Swine, I was surprised to see so many of the pink and red cultivar of Midland hawthorn Crataegus laevigata in the field hedges. Far more than the few we see around here. Many of the hedges in Holderness have been removed over the last few decades, making for more efficient farming, but those that are left offer some charming sights.
Hanging baskets, bedding plants and tubs can go out now that the chance of frosts has passed. Several fuchsias were overwintered in the greenhouse and now look very healthy plants – and ten times bigger than when they were bought a year ago.
The Minchinhampton Branch of The Royal British Legion currently has 74 members and meets in the Cotswold Club. It is open to everyone to join, regardless of whether or not they have a Service background or connection. There is much more to the Legion than the annual Poppy Appeal.
The Hayward (Keeper of the village cattle)
I came to the common as Hayward in1996 after responding to an advertisement in a local newspaper. I felt I could bridge the gap between farming and non farming people because although I have spent my working life in the farming industry I am not from that background.
Revd. Brian Atkinson – House for Duty Priest for Amberley
Kathy and I are looking forward very much to our move to Amberley; it is a beautiful place and everything we see and are told shows a welcoming church and wider community with lots happening. I also look forward to working with Helen and the rest of the team across the whole benefice.
You already know a little about us and our family but we shall arrive knowing only a handful of people. That of course will change quickly, though I hope you will bear with us in our efforts to remember names and put them to the correct faces! We hope this will be helped by our intention to have an Open House soon after we arrive, when everyone can pop in, have a cuppa and a cake and say hello. Of course, because I shall be commuting from Fairford before we actually move house I should hopefully know a few names by then – you can test me! Moving as a clergy family is in many ways easier; you move into an existing church family who know your name, who know something about your family and background and who are there to welcome you and help you settle in. However, there is the daunting side to it. We all have to learn the little things, the way things are done, who does them, when the cows are out, and who prefers chocolate biscuits... These details are seemingly trivial, but it is the trivia that forms most of our lives and working practices. And no doubt I will have to change some of my ways.
It's the time of the year you know, but it's an annual event around here so we ought to know what is happening.
Every May 13 cattle, horses, and a donkey too last year, are marked by the Hayward, Mark Dawkins and the Assistant Clerk, Stephen Kilmister at their home farms and then put out to graze on the local commons. In former days it was quite a social occasion and all the animals were brought to the Old Lodge on Minchinhampton Common and there branded before release. The Foot & Mouth Disease of 2001 stopped all that.
It is very satisfying to fit supports over the pale green shoots of the taller perennials during April and see them disappear into a maze of leaves and stems before the month is out. Bringing the garden to order in the last few weeks has been partly essential, partly therapeutic, with the mild wet weather supporting a prolific parade of weeds in all the beds, and removing these has given the displays of spring flowers and new growth the space and freedom to show off.
Just a week before my induction, there happened to be a Bishop's Training and Formation Day for all the clergy of Gloucester Diocese, which is something I know Bishop Michael has introduced and set a lot of store by, and coming from a diocese where that doesn't happen apart from once every three years, I very much appreciate the importance of gathering. If we are to share a vision for the life of our churches, our ministry and mission, in Gloucestershire, it is so important that we continue to learn together and explore with one another what being church in our differing communities means. Even whilst recognising the great differences, patterns and priorities each of our churches in the diocese have. Our differences are part of our richness in fact, and a reason why I love the Anglican Church, but I think it absolutely right that in our gathering as clergy we receive training and helpful teaching, which helps us to both better serve our local expression of Church, be better priests in our communities, but also share the way forward as a diocese, so that we support one another in all we do.
There were some splendid hanging baskets and containers around the town last summer, and April is the time to start preparations for this year, but don't put them out until the end of May when the chance of frost is over. The aim is a continuous colourful display throughout June, July and August so regular feeding, watering and especially dead-heading is needed. Seeds sowed in early April in a frost-free greenhouse should produce suitable supporting plants such as lobelia, bacopa, nasturtium, and dichronda by the middle of May, and I tend to buy-in as plug plants the fuchsia, geranium, begonia, osteospermum or petunia which generates most of the bright colour.
With our well drained soil, it's worth retaining the excessive moisture with a mulch of manure, compost or vegetable matter, and at the same time replace some of the nutrients which may have been washed out over the last couple of months. Well-conditioned soil goes a long way to producing good crops of fruit, vegetables and flowers. It's also so much more satisfying to work.
A day of blue sky and bright sun on Boxing Day offered the opportunity to check the garden after the latest storm. The optimistic male winter gnats,Trichoceridae, were out in force, hovering beneath the mistletoe on the crab, catching the shallow sunlight as it drew narrow shadows across the grass. The chunky green bulb shoots give the promise of spring, and a few Hellebores were in flower, including niger, 'the Christmas Rose'.
"Streams in the Desert" – by the Christian Women of Egypt.
The Service this year is to be held at Minchinhampton Parish Church on Friday 7th March at 1.45 p.m. All are welcome, men, women and children from all denominations and walks of life. Come to join in and support the women of Egypt! The theme of the Service prepared by the Christian women of Egypt is titled "Streams in the Desert". The emphasis on water is not just about the necessity of having enough water to drink, but using the title as a metaphor for spiritual reasons. Streams of living water flowing through the desert, with hope, love, forgiveness, faith and sincerity.