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 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

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 December 2013

After so much rain here over the last few weeks we were treated to one or two frosty mornings, creating black ice. As we all know, Kirk Dale can be treacherous in bad weather, not only because it is a long steep hill but there are narrow, severe bends nearer the bottom and no pedestrian pathway. Already we have had a car collision – into the lovely new wall being rebuilt. So, the thorny question of whether high altitude Sheldon should have a decent council gritting service is raised once again as winter approaches.

We hear that Noel is settling in to a new home at Ashgate. We wish him well and Happy Birthday on Christmas Day. Adrienne continues to cope well with her worsening sight problem, even to the extent she can still do much of the housework – all those brasses get polished regularly she told us.

Next year it will be 100 years since the outbreak of the first world war and the BBC will be launching a programme on this. BBC Radio Derby have been collecting information in our area because of Sheldon’s famous Maria Gyte Diaries, and Anne and Brian have given short interviews; the programme is due to be shown next February.

This month we have a note from Alice Ford, daughter of Andy and Angie at Lower Farm:

Having recently returned from Durban, South Africa, I am now living with my parents whilst on the hunt for a new job. I am very much enjoying my time in Sheldon, especially as it’s the first time I have actually stayed here, but having swapped monkeys and the odd snake for sheep and the occasional pheasant, it’s definitely going to take a little adjusting to. I won’t even begin to comment on the weather! I am a programme manager in the international development field and have been very lucky to work in both Swaziland and S. Africa over the past 4 years.  I’ve had some incredible experiences, having travelled to Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and around S. Africa, with some beautiful photos to go along with it – perhaps I could put a few up on the website? I look forward to meeting you all in the village and I’m sure the Christmas season will provide plenty of opportunities.

Please note, there will be no Christmas Day Church Service or Sheldon Light Up this year.

A very Happy Christmas to you all and to all our friends in Ashford.

DIARY DATES

Tuesday 3rd December
Vicar’s Coffee Morning in village hall at 10.00

Wednesday 18th December
History Group Christmas ‘do’. Simon Unwin will entertain us with history stories

Sunday 22nd December
Nativity Procession. Start 4.00pm at church and finish at Top Farm in the Barn – with refreshments

Tuesday 24th December
Christmas Eve Service in Church at 6.00pm