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 – Extra

We hope you all had a really great Christmas.

The celebrations in Sheldon really started on the 17th with the ‘Old Folks’ Christmas Dinner at the ‘Cock and Pullet’. Thirteen of the over 65’s enjoyed the good company, excellent food, and good cheer at this annual event. The time passed all too quickly and Harold won the raffle. Thanks to Ralph for organising us all and Kath for her tremendous hospitality.

The following evening with the wind howling and the hail cracking against the windows a hardy group gathered in the Hall for the History Group’s annual Christmas get together. We were entertained and ‘educated’ by Simon Unwin with a slide and musical presentation interspersed with Simon reading his wonderfully evocative poetry. The whole was based on the story of the Magpie Mine and the surrounding landscape and was a real treat. Christmas food and drink followed and by the time we wended our way home the wind had dropped – or so it seemed!!

The Sunday before Christmas, and it was time for the Nativity procession through the village. It all started in the Church, where a large crowd had gathered, including many grandparents, relatives and friends who are always very welcome. As the Vicar was about to start, a donkey arrived to join us, it’s the first time we have seen Tony lost for words!! After being introduced to a charming Mary and Joseph, two year old Eliza and three year old George, and singing ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, thanks to Andrew H for playing the organ for us, we continued telling the Christmas story as we made our way to the ‘Cock and Pullet’. Here people left the warmth of the fire to join us in singing ‘O come all ye faithful’. With Alec playing the trumpet, William on the flute and Andrew Joly on the mandolin to accompany us, (thanks to them all, such a talented threesome!). After more carols, we arrived at Top Farm. The scene which met us was truly magical. Inside the barn were a sheep, hens, a turkey (yes! He’s still surviving!!), a calf and our donkey, were gathered around the manger with the star above it. Well done Top Farm, you created a wonderful Nativity that none of us will forget! The Christmas story reached its climax and Canon Tony gave us his blessing. Afterwards the memorable evening was ended with mulled wine and mince pies – thanks go to Julia, Michelle and Lindsey. Thanks to you all for turning out and taking part, even though it was so cold, to make this such a gloriously happy occasion which put us all in a festive mood. Only in Sheldon could one enjoy such a marvellous celebration of the Christmas story.

Christmas Eve saw many of us in church again for a candlelit Mass, led by Tony and Aaron. Lit only by the candles we were holding and those placed around the Church, the service was very atmospheric. A good sized congregation was swelled by some visitors to our village. Thanks again to Andrew H for playing the organ. Mulled wine and mince pies prepared and served by Julia, Michelle and Lindsey concluded a beautiful service.

Wow! What a lead up to Christmas in our lovely village!

A Happy and Healthy New Year to you all.

Sheldon Jottings for January 2014

Happy New Year everyone! We hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and have made all those New Year resolutions which no doubt we will all break! Unfortunately the deadlines for the Magazine do not let us report on the Christmas Nativity procession through the village and the festive season – more in next months jottings.

The “Great Gale” at the beginning of December certainly hit Sheldon hard, ripping off the side of a barn, taking tiles from roofs, blowing out the glass from a greenhouse not to mention the branches and trees damaged by the terrific wind. But apart from that Autumn and early Winter have treated us kindly so far – but we are still without gritting so we must hope that the rest of the Winter continues the same way.

Has anyone else noticed the flocks of starlings flying south over the village at sunrise and back again in the twilight each evening? They are apparently roosting overnight at the lagoons on Middleton Moor. A couple of residents have commented on the fact that the number of small birds, especially the sparrows and blue tits seemed to have declined this Winter and that the sparrowhawk has been particularly active. Is there a connection, or is it the normal predations of Winter?

We extend a hearty Sheldon welcome to Charlotte and Richard who have moved into Devonshire View, it was wonderful to see Charlotte attending and participating so wholeheartedly at the December Parish Meeting.

Brian’s book about the school here in Sheldon, This Remote Little School, has virtually sold out and looks as if it will need to be reprinted, still one or two copies if anyone wants one. He has even had an order from Japan! Ah, the wonders of the internet!

January and February are usually quiet months in Sheldon, except for the weather! However the History Group meets as usual. A cheery welcome is extended to anyone who would like to join us – it is always interesting and Julia’s cake is worth turning out for on its own! The Group meets on the third Wednesday of each month, so why not come and join us.

Dates for the Diary

Wednesday January 15th – History Group Meeting – 7:30 in the Village Hall. We will be showing a DVD of The Peak District on Film. There are a series of beautiful amateur and professional archive films which have been enhanced and re-edited to illustrate what life was like in our spectacular National Park in the past. We invite you to come and join us – our meetings are open to all.

No Vicars coffee morning this month.