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 for March 2014

The rain and wind continues to sweep in from the Atlantic and our hearts go out to those people in the south of the country whose homes have been flooded. We are all watching the River Wye and hoping it does not rise any higher, our thoughts are with our friends in Ashford. The storms have been a little less severe here but have still caused problems. The farmers are having great difficulty getting the manure and slurry onto the fields and opening the large barn doors which are acting like sails, and there has been some minor damage in the village. Let’s hope that it will all come to an end soon. On the plus side the late winter flowers, the snowdrops, aconites, hellibores and winter honeysuckle are out to cheer us, and the bird-song is quite spring-like now on fine days.

Despite the terrible weather on the night of the February Parish Meeting, it was one of the the worst nights of the year, the meeting was very well attended. Matthew Hutson who is the Peak Assessor Network Co-ordinator for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme attended this meeting. He gave a short but very informative talk and answered questions during a lively discussion.

We learnt that the Peak District hosts more groups than any other region in the country, in fact more than the next three areas, The Lake District, Snowdonia and The Yorkshire Dales, combined!  Indeed it is quite possible that even more groups will be coming to our part of the Peak District this year. The Scheme, it seems, is tightening up on its regulations and ‘control’ of groups participating in their Expedition section. However, it also became obvious that if there are issues like gates being left open or walls being knocked down, it is necessary to have clear evidence and the name of the school before any action is likely to be taken.

Two other points emerged from the Meeting. The lively Sheldon Day Group will be beginning its planning meetings shortly, if you would like to join them please contact Andrew. Secondly, if you need contact numbers in emergency for electricity, water etc they have been placed permanently on the excellent village website.

Last month a very well attended History Group Meeting viewed films shot in the Peak District in the first half of the last century, particularly in the 1930’s and 40’s. A very enjoyable and entertaining meeting was enhanced by some of the ‘pearls and shines’ i.e. senior members, ‘spotting’ people they recognised. Thanks go to Bron for arranging this excellent meeting.

During March the History Group will be holding its annual exhibition of artefacts, all found in and around the village, often as a result of some members engaging in their favourite pastime of ‘turning’ molehills to find out what the industrious little creatures have dug up! There will also be maps, old photographs, pottery, and many other objects of interest. You will be very welcome to pop in and look round, learn more about our lovely village and have a cup of tea, a bun and a chat on Saturday 22nd March and/or Sunday 23rd March. You will be very welcome.

Finally we hear the happy news that Pauline’s daughter, Georgina, is getting married in September – more later.

Dates for the Diary

March 4th Cock and Pullett
Vicar’s Coffee Morning
Your chance to have an informal chat with Canon Tony over a coffee and cakes

March 19th Hartington Memorial Hall 7:30pm
History Group Meeting
Preparation for Exhibition

March 22nd and 23rd Hartington Memorial Hall 10am to 4pm
Sheldon History Group Annual History Exhibition
An opportunity to see original artefacts, flints, pottery etc. found in the village.

Sheldon Jottings for February 2014

After our joyous Christmas festivities things may now seem a bit dull. However, we must look forward to Spring, with the days getting longer and the snowdrops even showing some white as they push through the waterlogged ground.

The balloons were out at Top Farm when Harold celebrated his 85th birthday at the beginning of January. He is still helping on the farm and when asked how he was, he replied in his forthright way ‘I’m feeling great – when I’m sitting down!!’ Belated Happy Birthday Harold.

Ken’s Bluefaced Leicester sheep were scanned the other day to ascertain how many lambs each was carrying. One ewe was carrying at least 4 – can she really deliver so many? The man who comes to do this job for the farmers is Gus Dermody of ‘One Man and His Dog‘ TV fame, where he does the commentary. His van with its vital equipment, says on its side ‘Don’t guess, get Gus’…!!!

Rosemary and Sam’s grandson, Matthew who is 12, has gained his First Dan Junior Black Belt in karate. He is the youngest ever junior to gain the Black Belt and he started the sport at the tender age of 7. Congratulations to him. His grandparents, and Mum and Dad, Sally and Martin are so rightly proud.

Welcome to Rhodri who has come to live next to Rosemary and Sam in the Old End of Yew Tree House. He has taken the job of River Keeper on the stretch of the River Wye between Ashford and Buxton. We are sure he will love the Peak District.

The village and Kirk Dale were gritted in the late afternoon of Saturday 11th January, presumably because frost was forecast for that night. We know that ice or snow make our exit from and entry to the village down to the A6 rather hellish. So we give credit here where it is due, to the powers that be for taking this preventive measure.  If they could only see the state of the beautiful new wall down Kirk Dale that was rebuilt a few weeks before Christmas. It is now down in 4 places (at least 4 accidents) and looks a sad and tragic mess. Cars have slid off the bend on the descent and collided with it, causing untold damage to the occupants and the vehicles and a cyclist also had some nasty injuries – all because this ‘rat run’ for commuters and our high altitude village have fallen off the list of the Council’s gritting routes. If we had spent weeks in appalling wet and cold weather creating this wonderful wall, only for it to be brutally assaulted by heavy metal we would be feeling so frustrated and deeply unhappy, wouldn’t you?

Remember there are no community recycling bins in the pub car park now.

Dates for the Diary

Vicar’s Coffee Morning – Tues 4th February
History Group Meeting – Weds 19th February

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