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 2016

When you receive this Parish Magazine it will be the beginning of January 2016 so we wish you all, together with our friends in Ashford, a very Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Actually, as we write this it is the 12th of December and the Christmas decorations are going up, cards are being written, festive meals are being planned and for the children the excitement about Santa’s visit is mounting. We have yet to enjoy our Nativity and the Midnight Mass.

We had a very enjoyable wreath making evening led by Lindsey, helped enormously with plenty of mulled wine and mince pies!  Now our front doors are ‘dressed’ and many of our houses and gardens have decorative lights and look so welcoming.

At the Parish Meeting we were told our main street village trees had had a safety inspection – important not just for the people living nearby but also for insurance purposes. The defibrillator which we will have from the British Heart Foundation, will probably be attached to the wall in the middle of the village near the bus stop and the public notice board. We will then have a quick training session to become familiar with the equipment. We are told no-one need worry about how to use it as it really is so very easy!

The village has already had its first (2.5cms) snow but thankfully it disappeared within a day. We have also had high winds, rain and more rain, murk and frosts, the latter causing the first collision with ‘that’ wall on the bend near the bottom of Kirk Dale. Oh dear – here we go again. Do remember our road and Kirk Dale will only be gritted by DCC as a last resort when all other ‘more important’ roads have been treated.  Also DDDC will now only provide piles of grit by the roadside for a hefty price – a double whammy for us. We are hoping to buy some cheaper elsewhere.

The History Group had a very interesting and thorough talk given by David Windle on the Ashford Marble Works which were situated at the bottom of Kirk Dale. If you were not there you missed learning about the skill of the craftsmen who worked here doing this intricate inlaid work which is now rare. If any of you have some the Group would love to see it but you can go to Buxton Museum to see some beautiful examples.

Dave and Gill have recently returned from Yalova in Turkey where they witnessed first hand the plight of many refugees – Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians forced to flee for a variety of reasons. Each refugee has a tale to tell of suffering and loss and a very difficult journey. ‘We were helping with the distribution of winter stoves to help keep them warm, of baby milk, nappies, fuel and food supplies, and listening to their stories. We went to one makeshift home where about 30 Kurdish Syrians are living in 2 semi-derelict bungalows, many barefoot kids running around simply wanting a hug, one very sick lady in a room warmed by one of the new heaters. We were served tea and they told us the story of their escape, walking from village to village as IS moved in and destroyed the place they had called home for centuries.

On another occasion we met one young Arab, about 20 years old, who showed us the scars on his chest where IS had punished him with electric shocks for smoking.  We heard for ourselves the atrocities of IS – every refugee has a story of sadness, of violence, of loss. We met 2 teenage girls whose mother had died on the journey, now they have no-one. Yet for all these sad stories we also heard stories of hope and of great generosity like the Iraqi Pastor who had escaped kidnap and fled for his life with his young family, now working to help these refugees; like the Pastor who had found the young man wounded by IS living on the street in Istanbul and arranged for him to go to the Yalova project where he is slowly rebuilding his life. Some of these people will face death if they return to their homeland because of their faith, others have no homeland left to return to. It was a privilege to hear their stories, to meet such brave and courageous people.’

If you would like to know more or would like to support this work please get in touch with Gill.

The lucky winner of the Church Draw for December was Elizabeth Fisher.

DATES FOR THE DIARY

Wednesday January 20th in the Village Hall at 7.30pm
History Group talk – Our House

Sheldon Jottings for November 2015

Autumn is truly with us heralding the start of winter, with short days, long nights and cooler weather, we have already had the first frost here in Sheldon. The cows are coming along the road and back to the farm for milking at dawn with the lights of the Landrover shining brightly and at night they are going back in the darkness too. The calm weather for harvest allowed the farmers to bring in the crops and the gardeners to prepare for winter by getting their autumnal jobs completed.

A joyous event on the 15th September – the birth of Max, weighing in at 7lbs 6oz – a son for Melanie and Oliver. A welcome addition to the increasing numbers of young people in the village. We send the adoring couple and the very proud family our congratulations.

The Harvest Festival  Service in Church, always held on the first Sunday in October and led by Canon Tony, was well attended. The church was decorated with offerings brought by parishioners and a wonderful floral display by Julia and Mick. Many thanks to them and to all who celebrated this special time of year in our lovely church.The produce which was donated to decorate the church was gifted to Blythe House.

For the first time, courtesy of Kath, a Pie and Pea Supper and Quiz Evening was held on the following Monday at the Cock and Pullet, to help raise badly needed funds for the Church. The pub was full, good food and great companionship helped to make the evening a resounding success, although some found the quiz questions a bit tricky!  We have heard many calls in the village for this to be an annual event. It raised a staggering £415. A big thank you to Claire and Michelle for all their hard work supplying the supper and thank you to Helen for doing the quiz. Postman Pat’s Team were the winners and they kindly donated their prize money back to the church – a big thank you. The raffle prizes were won by Michael Holdsworth, Amanda and Andrew J and Philip G.  Thank you to everyone for supporting the event.

As winter approaches we hear yet again that we will not be receiving a regular gritting lorry through the village. Also, this year we have been asked to pay for any piles of grit which are usually placed free by the Council in the Dale and on Hunterside. Yet another in an ever lengthening list of cuts to services reducing our quality of life due to government cutbacks in funding to councils. As a result of the necessity to pay for our rock salt/grit, and to cover other costs, the Parish Meeting on the 14th October agreed, on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, that we would need to increase the precept to £1500 – an increase of £250.

The Parish Meeting also discussed the division of the money raised on Sheldon Day which was £4627 after expenses – a record amount. The Sheldon Day Group would retain £827 to act as a float for next year’s Sheldon Day and  £200  will pay for the Christmas Party for the older residents. The remainder would be divided equally between the Church, the Village Hall and the Playing Field,  giving them £1200 each.

The winner of the 100 Club Draw for October was Mark Elwis of Wardlow who won £25.

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 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.