Sheldon Jottings for February 2017

February is the month of the snowdrops. They have been pushing their green shoots through the ground for a couple of months with small white flashes showing since the middle of January. Soon their white carpet will be spreading through the hellebores, bringing the garden to life to cheer us through the cold winter days.

This month is also the middle of winter in Sheldon. We have already been warned of icy and snowy mornings and because we so rarely have the gritter now, accidents have already happened down Kirk Dale. A very long stretch of wall has been knocked down by a colliding vehicle. Indeed the road was closed by the police for some time after this collision.

Has anyone else noticed, when, joining Kirk Dale nothing has been seen coming down from the top of the Dale – but progressing downwards for a short distance a vehicle is suddenly behind us having travelled so fast down the length of the Dale. This road is indeed very much a rat – run nowadays for commuters who, for some inexplicable reason cannot take on board its dangers regarding its downwards trajectory and its bends – and the weather conditions.

The atrocious high winds of January 11th left their mark as a field barn roof took off and a wonderful, very old ash tree on Hage Lane lost a large limb. We are so pleased that our Parish Council have had all our village street trees inspected, not only for human safety but also because they are so close to houses.

Also on the morning of the 11th around 8.15 I was walking down the street to post a letter when wave after wave after wave of starlings flew overhead, battling against the wind to reach their feeding grounds to the south of Sheldon. It was an amazing sight…

Despite the difficult weather we can experience in Sheldon, as always there is a silver lining. We do have some exceptionally clear days as the clean arctic air sweeps across us and the views from the village when this is the case (particularly to the north) are spectacular.

We have seen very few hares this year in the fields. They are difficult to see at the best of times, but there seem to be fewer around at the moment. On days when snow lies on the ground however they reveal their presence as they move from their snow hides leaving their tell-tale tracks across the snow. If this happens it will give us a good indication of whether their numbers have declined or whether old eyes are unable to pick them out as they lie in the grass or dash across the fields and over the walls.

The ‘Old Folks’ – that is those over 65, would like to thank Kath and her team at the ‘Cock and Pullet’ for an excellent Christmas Dinner. We had a great time with good cheer and lively chat. Tony won the raffle prize of a bottle of Port and Sam was given whisky when he cheekily suggested one would go well with his Christmas pudding!!  The dinner is paid for by the village (via Sheldon Day) so we thank you all for this opportunity for us to get together once a year and to enjoy each other’s company.

This month’s meeting of the History Group takes place at the Village Hall on Wednesday 15th February. The meeting is the opportunity for anyone to bring an artefact of any description from kitchen utensil to peculiarly shaped stone, from farming implement to old coin – indeed anything which might be of interest. Tell the meeting what it is and what it is used for or if you don’t know perhaps someone will be able to identify it.  We hope also to show some old photos of people who lived in the village in years gone by.  Do come, you will be very welcome.

The lucky winner of the Church Draw for January was no. 82 – Joe Tibbles. Congratulations!

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.

Funds for Village Hall Notice Board

A Big Big thank you to the Members Community Leadership Scheme fund for the cheque of £400.00 which we received at our Parish Meeting, from Cllr Judith Twigg. The funds are going to be put towards a new Village Hall notice board.

The notice board will be in memory of John Herbert and all the work he did for Sheldon during his time as Chairman of our Parish Meeting.

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

County Broadband Plans Announced

Derbyshire County Council have announced that BT will be the supplier (from a choice of precisely one) to provide faster broadband to the county.

“A £27.67 million project to transform broadband speeds for thousands more businesses and residents across Derbyshire was announced today.

Derbyshire County Council, which has spearheaded the Digital Derbyshire programme, has signed a contract with BT to make fibre broadband available to a further 88,000 premises across the county, bringing access to more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses by 2016. The project builds on BT’s existing commercial fibre deployment in the county.

The project aims to ensure that the remaining premises will also see an uplift in speed and deliver a minimum of 2Mbps or more to almost all homes and businesses, fast enough to use online services such as BBC iPlayer.”

2Mbps…BBC iPlayer? Seriously? The villages that are in the 5% left behind by this project don’t want to watch iPlayer, they want a fast and reliable internet connection that will allow home working, small businesses to thrive, and most importantly not to fall deeper into the digital divide! Whilst 2Mbps might have been adequate a few years ago, the current average UK broadband speed is 14.7Mbps (9.9MBps in rural areas), and is increasing by almost 2Mbps per year.

It remains to be seen if Sheldon will actually benefit from this project; the latest roll out map seems to suggest that it will…with caveats. The simple fact is that this project is a sad reflection on the failings of BT to provide its customers what they pay for, and the lack of regulation by the Government to ensure that they are held accountable.