Sheldon Jottings for April 2018

Well….. March certainly lived up to its billing – ‘In like a lion……’  we have not had snow such as we experienced at the beginning of March for quite some years. It was not just the snow however, but the freezing temperatures and wind chill which accompanied it. While we just hunkered down, many did not have that choice. The farmers were battling with frozen pipes making it difficult to water the animals. At Top Farm the milk lorry could not get through to take the milk away – it comes every other day, but was forced to miss twice. Think of all that milk that had to be wasted!  Even the garage closed. Colin, however, managed to keep the doorstep milk deliveries flowing, despite the weather – brilliant. How does he do it?

We were concerned about our elderly neighbours who usually have regular visits from doctors, district nurses and care workers. They, however, all arrived on time due to the Peak Park Rangers who were ferrying health workers to the villages in their 4 x 4 vehicles. One who had ‘delivered’ two care workers to the village heard of someone stuck in a drift at the bottom of Johnson Lane, nipped down to rescue them and returned in time to take the care workers to their next appointment – great work!

Rosemary and Sam would like to say a very big thank you to Louise and Taz, their neighbours. During this prolonged snowy weather Louise and Taz have made sure to help Rosemary and Sam with their shopping etc, looking after the hens and generally keeping an eye on them. Thank you so much.

April is the month when we welcome the swallows back to our village, soon to be followed by the house martins. Over the years they have become a symbol of Spring to many of us as they arrive, barn doors are left open for them and they quickly begin swooping down to the muddy puddles to start building their nests. The first is usually spotted at the beginning of April but most arrive towards the middle to end of the month. We will be watching anxiously for them to finish their spectacular journey here as there have been fewer arriving in recent years.

Originally observed as a day when people went to their ‘mother church’,  Mothering Sunday later became a day when domestic servants were given the day off work to visit their mother church with their families. The tradition has transformed into the celebration of motherhood we know today. Held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, three weeks before Easter, it was celebrated this year in our beautiful Church with a lovely Service on the 11th March.

Lindsey has been busy as she has gathered the volunteers, ordered the scones, jam and cream so that on Easter Sunday 1st April the doors of the village hall will be flung open for the first Cream Tea of the new season. These teas are a very successful and much needed major fund raising event for the hall. Nowhere else have we ever tasted such superb scones (really large too!) with huge dollops of jam and cream and a great cup of tea. There will be a stall as in previous years with home-made jams, chutneys and other delights. The Teas will be served from 1pm to 5pm, so do come along and support your hall and enjoy a delicious tea into the bargain!

All the Spollie pups (except one which is being kept) born to Oliver’s sheepdog have now been sold. One is going to new owners up in Scotland would you believe….

The Annual General Parish Meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 16th April. Here is a chance to make your feelings and ideas known, meet with neighbours and friends after the long winter and generally take part in the running of your village and community.

As usual the History Group will meet on the third Wednesday of the month which falls on the 18th April. We meet at 7.30pm in the village hall and everyone is most welcome to attend.

Our congratulations go to Gail Hemsley, the winner of the Church Draw this month with number 80.

Sheldon Jottings for March 2018

January’s cold and dismal weather has followed us into February. At the time of writing we have had seven bouts of snow in Sheldon – admittedly for several of them we have noticed that the fields around Ashford have remained green whilst those ‘on the heights’ are white! Not only has it been snowy but it has been icy and the wind has been strong, causing us to experience a wind chill which has forced us back indoors. We have kept the bird table replenished and been rewarded with a steady stream of visitors – more blackbirds than we are used to among the collared doves, sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches, great tits, blue tits and a solitary pheasant!. Ideal for the annual RSPB winter bird count.

To cap it all we lost the water supply for a day in early February due to a burst water main on Johnson Lane. By all accounts the engineers who came to it were asked by everyone passing them in their van what had caused it – patient men!

Those of us who could just throw another log on the stove or fire and toast our toes, often thought of those who were going to work, braving the slippery Dale although we were gritted on occasion by the Council. Colin, of course, never missed a beat, the milk was on the doorstep on time each day – thank you Colin. Phil and the lads at the garage always turn up as usual and the post drops through the letter box on time. The cows at Top Farm appear in the yard being fed as normal, but milking on really cold, frosty mornings can be no joke. Despite the adverse weather, life in Sheldon goes on as usual – worry not, we are told Spring is on the way……!

We can look forward to the Annual History Group Exhibition on the weekend of March 24th and 25th from 11.00am to 4.00pm each day. This exhibition in the village hall has become quite a fixture in the Sheldon calendar. Visitors often ask us if there is really enough history in this village to support such an extravaganza each year. The answer is yes! There is something new each year.

Mesolithic hunter gathering peoples were here in 7000-5000BC and left traces of a shelter and stone age tools at Stoney Low just south of the village. There are round barrows at Manor Farm – burial mounds from the Bronze age – and the Iron age hill fort of Fin Cop looms to the north. Sheldon is mentioned as Scelhadun ( from Scelf – a shelf or shelving terrain; Hoed – heather or uncultivated land; and Dun – a hill) in the Doomsday Book and a hoard of coins was found here dating to the twelfth century. The Senior Map of 1617 shows the village practicing a one field system and that lead mining was established. Farming and mining for lead were to be the mainstays of village life for many years. Do we need to go on! We could mention the Churches, school, various buildings in the village and two World Wars, all of which impacted on village life. There are over 1,000 documents in the Chatsworth Archives relevant to Sheldon and many others in the Derbyshire Record Office – Wow!

So come along to the Exhibition – learn something new about Sheldon and enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake, a warm welcome and a pleasant chat. It is all free and you will see photographs and artefacts from Stone age tools to lead whorls, coins to pottery, and implements from a bygone era.

If you have anything you would like recorded in the Sheldon Jottings please let Bron or Brian know – we can’t report what we don’t know about.
The lucky Church Draw winner for this month is Ian Melland with no. 97


Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th March from 11.00am to 4.00pm each day in the village hall
Annual Sheldon History Group Exhibition. All welcome….

Friday 30th March = Good Friday

Sheldon Jottings for September 2017

The family holiday season is in full swing as we write (Aug 12th) and by the time you read this it will be almost ‘back to school’ time again. Our short summer seems to go so quickly and we have certainly had more than our fair share of rain in this area. Sadly Bakewell Show was inundated and not just on one of the Show days but on both. Such real bad luck. Hay-making is definitely on hold until we get a longer spell of dry weather…..

On Sheldon Day (July 22nd) we were fortunate as, although rain was forecast, it held off until evening. What a brilliant day we had raising around £4000 for our village amenities – our little community should be VERY pleased. A big thank you to everyone. Just think – we are a population of around 65 people and together with our children, friends and relatives we can raise that amount of money on what is, for us, a quite large event. This money goes towards the upkeep of our village hall and playing field area – plus – the crippling costs of helping to maintain our beautiful little church – plus a small amount for our ‘golden oldies’ to have a Christmas lunch at the pub!

We are an amazing community.

Did you see the write-up and photos the roving reporter did for the Matlock Mercury? Such fame…. It’s a few years since we had a reporter visit our ever- popular Sheldon Day family event.

We now say Hello to our new neighbours at Manor Farm. Julia, John and family moved in around 3 weeks ago and we hope they will enjoy living in our community and enthrall at those amazing ‘top of the world’ views of our wonderful countryside from up there.

Nature notes over the last few months – We are so pleased to say that after an absence of 3 years, a pair of swallows have nested in our little barn again. We leave the top doors open each year hoping they will take up residence and this year a pair thought the old building would be perfect. However, overall there are so few swallows and house martins around the village this summer. So very sad. They need all the help they can get.

The spotted flycatchers did nest in the garden again this year – we are so lucky. They are such pretty little birds and they also (like the swallows) have to travel thousands of miles to get here from an area south of the equator and then back again. How DO they do it? We think the pair had 2 broods and worked so hard flying from their various perches (such as prominent tree branches or the roof of the bird table) to catch insects for their young. It was a lovely sight to watch. We actually photographed a young one which was close to a window. This was 3-4 weeks ago now and since a couple of days after that, we have neither seen any young nor the parents again. Surely a bit early to leave us to go back?

The gorgeous song thrushes were around but did not nest in our garden this year. They were heard singing many times nearby and were seen looking for worms and snails – lots of empty snail shells about. Sadly, early in the season we found a dead, fully-fledged one. Were they nesting in your garden? The different pairs of blackbirds nested in the front and back garden and they always seem to do well – we think there is quite some competition for territory and nest sites. We also had the robins and we saw the friendly young ones who came for tiny morsels as we weeded the garden.

If you want lots of wonderful butterflies in your garden you must have some Buddleia shrubs. On good days without rain or high wind the ones around us here have been covered with Red Admirals mainly, but also the occasional Peacock, Painted Lady, Small tortoiseshell and the White varieties. Also the wonderful flowers provide food for other insects and many different bees, not just our honey bees. A sight to behold…perhaps 20 + butterflies all at one time!

The defibrillator and CPR training evening in the village hall in July was very successful and we thank Alistair for guiding us and providing the mannequins for us to practise on. It was in part, a fun evening but obviously there were very serious issues and meaning behind what we were learning. If anyone wants to borrow a mannequin for themselves or their families to practise on then do let us know – we still have them.

The lucky winner of the Church Draw for August was Keith Blackshaw with number 83.

Sheldon Jottings for June 2017

As we write this on the 12th May it has just begun to rain after a wonderful dry spell.

What a splendid time of year this is when the weather is getting warmer and our gardens and the countryside are looking so beautiful and fresh. We do have some swallows who have made the journey back from South Africa but so few. Considering the ever – increasing hazards, both natural and human, that they have to encounter on this dangerously long flight (which takes around one month), it is a miracle that any of these small birds make it this far.

Also today we have noticed that a pair of spotted flycatchers are back! They too, are long distance summer migrants with most wintering south of the equator. They are about the size of a house sparrow and have the distinct habit of darting out from a bare branch or other prominent position, catching the flying insect, then dashing back to the same perch. Do hope they nest in our garden again…
Have you noticed there are two or three greenfinches about again? It is wonderful to think they are making a comeback after the devastating disease they incurred a few years back.

Our next Parish Meeting is on MONDAY 19th June. As the defibrillator is due to be installed in the telephone box very soon it has been decided we shall have a training session given by Alistair, on the use of this equipment on the same evening. Neither the Parish Meeting nor the training session will take very long so please come along and acquaint yourself on the use of this potentially life-saving piece of kit.

Our second Cream Tea Day at the end of April was again very busy even though there were many other events on elsewhere. The final sum raised for the village hall was a magnificent £300. A big thank you to all our helpers.

We notice the work of renovating the attached barn at Top Farm is progressing apace and Andrew and his helpers are working flat out. Soon be there Andrew…..

The Church Draw will resume again very soon.


THURSDAY 8th June – all day
Sheldon Village Hall – Voting for the General Election.

MONDAY 19th June – 7.30pm
Sheldon Village Hall – Parish Meeting and a short training session on the use of the defibrillator.

WEDNESDAY 21st June – 7.30pm
Sheldon Village Hall – History Group Meeting