Sheldon Jottings for March 2015

We hope the worst of the winter weather will be over this month – we did get better service with gritting and snow clearing during the late January/early February fall, enabling us to get to work eventually. Some of the birds seem to be looking forward to the better weather to come – two great tits in our garden are spending a lot of time together in and out of a nest box on the trunk of a tree. The male blackbirds are seriously fighting and the Sparrow Hawk has been doing his rounds of our gardens over the winter; a sight to behold for us but not so for all those smaller birds we have been feeding. We now have two woodpeckers who come to the feeders.

The Christmas festivities are now well past but we have been reminded that Sheldon decorated a tree for the Bakewell Tree Festival. It was decorated with farm animals, which of course was very fitting for our village.

The Belted Galloway cow given to Peter and Sarah as a wedding present gave birth on 21st January to a beautiful heifer calf – her last one was a bull calf. We look forward to seeing it in the fields. Lambs have been born at both Top Farm and Johnson Lane Farm heralding the approach of Spring.

Before the end of the month the village hall refurbishment will have taken another step forward with new curtains, a new notice board and a new Cream Teas sign. We are lucky to have such a facility with so much history attached to it. Built in 1878 to be the village school, the building was gifted to the village in 1959 by the then Duke of Devonshire and dedicated to his brother who died in the Second World War. Many thanks go to Lindsey who has born the brunt of the organisation for the refurbishment process and as ever to the Trustees and Pat, who stoutly continue to maintain the hall and its traditions.

The question of the defibrillator to be accessed in the village is now on-going and funding is being sought from different sources. It will probably be stored in a box on an external wall of the village hall; donations welcome!

We were delighted to hear that on Sunday 15th February beautiful baby Alice was christened in our lovely little church – a happy ceremony for the proud parents Elizabeth and Mark and a lovely occasion for all who attended.

The village received a special card, personally signed by the Duke of Devonshire with a lovely photograph of the late Dowager Duchess (Debo) on the front. It was sent in response to the village sending our condolences on her death late last year; you can see the card in the village hall.

We have been informed that there are people going around villages selling fish from a van. Do beware as they will ask you to spend a lot of money on a lot of dodgy fish. Phone the police on 101 if you are suspicious!

On Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd March the History Group will be holding their annual exhibition in the village hall. This is always an interesting event with photographs, artefacts and features reflecting the long and surprisingly varied history of our delightful little village. The exhibition always contains one or two surprises and entry is free, just come along for a browse, refreshments and a chat.

DATES FOR THE DIARY

Wednesday 18th March 7.30pm in the village hall
History Group Meeting

Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd March 10am to 4pm in the village hall
History Group Annual Exhibition

Sheldon Jottings for February 2015

The lengthening days and the snowdrops pushing through the soil, are heralding the start of a new year. Now we can begin to look forward to the joys of Spring in our most beautiful part of the world.

In case you were wondering – Bernard, the turkey, has again escaped the Christmas pot and so also have his two wives. He is a very lucky bird!!

We could not comment on our Christmas services as January’s copy had to be in by 13th December. However, the Carol Service in our small, welcoming church was very well attended and much enjoyed. The Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve was extraordinary in that Sheldon has not had such a service for many years. It too, was well attended with a beautiful atmosphere in the soft light of the candles. Our younger members performed some of the readings most eloquently and it was truly a wonderful setting.

At the History Group Meeting on 17th December we heard the ghostly story of Finn, now a local legend written and performed with the requisite air of mystery by Simon Unwin! This was followed by our Christmas ‘do’ and a really good time was had by all.

The December Parish Meeting put us on course for the next two months. We heard that stiles had been rebuilt, that the precept is frozen for another year and we heard of the lack of gritting through the village and thus the first car accident, due to the council’s short-sighted policy.

Also BT’s idea of putting a defibrillator in the telephone box, which would then be decommissioned and the village would be responsible for its upkeep. The feeling in the meeting was, as with other villages, this ploy has been tried, and that we should allow BT to continue their legal obligation to maintain our telephone box. But we should seriously consider the option of a defibrillator to be kept accessible 24/7 elsewhere in the village. Have you thought of where? A defibrillator can be used by anyone, as step-by-step instructions are given for non-medics.

Of course, we all know that since the first skidding accident on our untreated roads (well before Christmas) there have been others. The snow came down thick and fast on Boxing Day evening – up to 8 inches (20 cm) in places. This really did curtail everyone’s movements for a few days before we had a plough or any gritting. The day after Boxing Day, eight vehicles came to grief down Kirk Dale, although thankfully we understand they did not go into each other. The police were called but surprisingly, this may not help our predicament, as the fact that we live at 1000 feet and quickly become snow-bound or ice-bound, falls on the deaf ears of our so-called representatives – council members and officers. We know that in one part of the outskirts of Sheffield, on very minor streets, they too had been denied any gritting, but after some collisions and much protest by the local people aided by some of their local councillors, this vital service has been reinstated there. They do not get the snow that we do…what a nonsense this all is.

We are now, as a village, fully paid up members of the Friends of the Peak District, which is an arm of the CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England). This organisation does sterling work scrutinising and commenting on every contentious planning issue.

DIARY DATES

Wednesday 11th February – 7.30pm Village Hall
Parish Meeting

Wednesday 18th February – 7.30pm Village Hall
Sheldon History Group

Sheldon Jottings for January 2015

A Happy New Year to all our readers!

As we write this (13th December), it is the run-up to the Christmas festivities and all that entails. Already we have had some snow up here. Do remember we are denied any gritting on our road until everywhere else has been satisfied. This is even though the Derbyshire County Council gritter comes through the village to get to other, supposedly more important roads, and comes back to its base on our route too. Logical? Fair? We may well ask.

Do be constantly aware how dangerous our route down to the A6 is – what with the steep descent, made even more treacherous with the severe bends, whenever it is at all icy or slushy with snow. Do not be hassled by people from behind who are not savvy to our hazardous journey or who perhaps have a four-wheel drive vehicle and think that they cannot possibly skid. They can and they do. Already we have had one bad accident – the driver was fortunately OK, but the car was severely damaged.

Did you know that Brian’s big, brilliant ‘Sheldon Field Map’ now has pride of place in the village hall? It names every field in our parish which Brian has found through research from old records and talking to people. Some names are really fascinating, Thank you Brian for that and also the lovely drawings.

Our Christmas wreath-making evening was fun. A group of us made wonderful decorations for our front doors to welcome all who come through the village. A good social evening it was too, with mulled wine and mince pies to aid our concentration when fixing in that prickly holly! Thank you Lindsey for organising that. Next time we must persuade a few chaps to have a go to show their creative side!

The Christmas lunch at the Cock and Pullet was for all those with three score years plus of wisdom, experience and life’s challenges behind them. In recognition of this collective worldly-wise knowledge, the village offers a superb meal at the pub. Needless to say a good time was had by all and they extend their thanks to everyone, especially Kath and her staff who do the cooking and look after them.

The Parish Meeting was, unusually for us, quite depleted on the night. Having said that, it was rather a wild weather evening and a few lucky stalwarts were taking a break in sunny Australia where they each have far-flung family members. Think of us in shivering Sheldon, we say!  The good news is we now have a new secretary. Good luck Richard and thank you for taking on the job. We will therefore continue having our six meetings per year. Having a defibrillator easily accessible somewhere in the village was discussed and thought to be a very good idea. Any thoughts on where it could be available 24/7 please tell Alistair.

Stop Press

Sadly, Derbyshire Dales District Council (DDDC) have apparently been surprised by the bad winter weather, and increased amount of domestic waste/recycling generated over the Christmas/New Year Period. As of today (Wednesday January 7th), we are still without a recycling collection (over a week late), and were one day behind on our domestic waste collection. This surely shouldn’t have come as a surprise to DDDC, and sadly yet again Sheldon finds itself forgotten in preference to the villages that are easier to reach.

Dates for the Diary

History Group
Wednesday January 21st 7:30pm in the Village Hall
A short DVD on the history of Calver Mill and Weir and the River Derwent that connects them, through stories and photos of those who have lived, worked and played there.

Sheldon Jottings for December 2014

Living in Sheldon we are all acutely aware of the wonders of nature around us. At dawn and at dusk each day during November we have been treated to a spectacular event. We first noticed it this year on the 2nd November and since then it has been a wonderful twice-daily sight as a great cloud of Starlings flies over our village. As it gets light they come from their roosting grounds on the far side of Longstone Edge on Middleton Moor, past Longstone and Ashford, over the River Wye and up over Shacklow Wood. They then fly over the village to their feeding grounds in the fields of Flagg, Monyash and beyond. The flock returns at twilight and although it can vary in size is a sight well worth seeing. For an even greater spectacle go to Middleton Moor and see the ‘murmuration‘ where the flocks are coming in from all directions, creating amazing patterns in the sky before settling down to roost in the reeds. It happened last year and should now continue throughout the winter months.

With the shorter days of winter the number of visitors to our area has greatly diminished. Several of our farmers have heaved a sigh of relief. Pete Bush, our Area Ranger, has been in touch and has asked us to include the following:

Over the last 3 years a number of stone stiles in Sheldon Parish have been badly damaged. At first I thought by cattle as some of the adjacent walls are not that robust, but it has continued to happen sporadically, with the latest attack resulting in 3 stiles being completely smashed with some large through stones being broken in two. Some of these stiles were built at least 3 generations ago, when they were most commonly used by local people coming and going to work.

Now they are used mostly for recreation by local people and visitors to the area and have to be stock proof whilst at the same time relatively easy for people to use. What used to be regarded as suitable is not always the case today and the Peak District National Park Rangers have worked with many farmers in the area to improve their gates and stiles.

There is often a dilemma in changing a stile to improve access as it may be a heritage feature but in most cases we are able to alter it sympathetically.

There are limited resources so we cannot tackle everything at once but if there are stiles causing problems please contact me:

Pete Bush
PDNPA Area Ranger
Tel: 01629 884992
Email: [email protected]

We all need to keep an eye out and report damage if we are out enjoying the Countryside; please contact Pete if you see anything untoward.

In mid-December last year the History Group met in the village hall for the Christmas ‘Do’. With one of the worst gales of the winter raging outside Simon Unwin entertained us with his ‘Story of Magpie Mine’ in music, pictures and verse. The atmosphere was tremendous – it was probably one of the most gripping and pleasurable evenings held in the Hall for many years. We are happy to report that Simon is coming once more on December 17th to entertain us with his latest extravaganza. Come and join us, entry is free, we all bring some food (savoury of sweet), some drink is supplied, and enjoy a great evening with neighbours and friends – you will be most welcome.

If you did not manage to get to Sheldon History Group in October when Martha Lawrence from Buxton Museum came to talk on the pre-history of our area then you missed a treat. It was fascinating to think how ourancestors were living so long ago.

On Christmas Day it will be Noel’s birthday. We wish you and your family a happy day Noel.

The planning application for the substantial development at Home Farm has been unanimously turned down by the PDNPA Planning Committee.

Finally, villagers can sleep safely in their beds in the knowledge that the recently vandalised ‘fence’ was nothing more than a piece of string that two cows, Daisy and Buttercup, got caught in. Neither of them will admit responsibility but keep blaming each udder!

Happy Christmas and a great New Year to you all and to our friends in Ashford.

DATES FOR THE DIARY

Monday 1st December
Christmas Wreath Making Night – 7.30pm Village Hall
Contact Lindsey for information

Tuesday 2nd December
Vicar’s Coffee Morning – Cock & Pullet (with Church Meeting afterwards)

Tuesday 9th December
Sheldon Seniors Christmas Lunch – Cock & Pullet

Wednesday 10th December
Sheldon Parish Meeting – 7.30pm Village Hall

Wednesday 17th December
Sheldon History Group Christmas ‘Do’ with Simon Unwin – 7.30pm Village Hall

Sheldon Jottings for November 2014

We were all very sad to hear of the death of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. She often visited Sheldon, which at one time was a ‘Chatsworth Village’, to see the Cowslips and Orchids in Deep Dale, to attend the Harvest Service in Church, and to open Sheldon Day. Many of us have memories and stories to tell of her interest in all things rural, her support for the villages, her sharp mind and her tremendous work at Chatsworth. Several of us attended the funeral in glorious weather – a real Derbyshire occasion, superbly organised as only Chatsworth can, from the staff lining the route from the House to Edensor, the big screens on the Green outside the Church, the moving Service to the refreshments on the South Lawn. Her wicker coffin, a recording of Elvis during the service and the swing band playing on the South Lawn provided a perfect ‘Debo’ occasion to remember and celebrate the life of a truly remarkable lady.

Now for really great news, we have a new resident in the village. Elizabeth, Mark and George now have a new member of the family – Alice was born early on Monday September 22nd, in rather a hurry! According to all who have been lucky enough to meet her, she is truly beautiful. Congratulations from us all.

The Harvest Festival Service, held as it always is in Sheldon on the first Sunday in October, saw the Church decorated with vegetables and donations from the village. There was a goodly congregation to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest. The produce was sent to Newholme.

We send our best wishes to Wendy N and to John C. Wendy is slowly recovering from a hernia operation. John and Michelle have had a very difficult time lately as John battles to recover from his cancer. Our thoughts are with you all.

The Sheldon History Group will meet on Wednesday November 19th at Hartington Memorial Hall for a ‘Bring and Show’ evening. We hope that members will bring an artefact, document or picture, indeed anything that has a Sheldon connection that we can show and perhaps explain. Here is a chance to show those little things which have been gathering dust in the attic which we can share with others. All are welcome, do come along even if you have nothing to show you may be able to shed light on something brought by someone else.

As we reported in last month’s Jottings, Sheila has relinquished her post as our secretary to the Parish Meeting. We are still looking for someone to step into her shoes. If you would like to be involved in our village affairs here is a post which allows you to do just that, there are six meetings each year when minutes are taken. If you wish to take this prestigious post or know anyone who would be willing to become our secretary (the person does not need to live in Sheldon) could you please contact either Alistair Warren or Andrew Joly.

Plans are already being laid for next year’s Sheldon Day, the group have booked the sunniest, warm and windless day of the year for the 2015 extravaganza. The great day will be held on Saturday 25th July with the Fell Race taking place on the previous Thursday 23rd July.

Dates for the Diary

Tuesday 4th November – ‘Cock and Pullet’
Vicar’s Coffee Morning

Wednesday November 19th – 7:30pm in Hartington Memorial Hall
Sheldon History Group Meeting ‘Bring and Show’ evening