The recent warm spell has advanced the spring flowering and all the bright colours of pink, white and yellow are shining from the trees and borders. The willows, always early to hope, are beginning to unfurl their leaves.
The birds have been singing as if expressing their pleasure at the sunshine and John Lea, whose knowledgeable eyes have been observing, notes that he has seen only male blackbirds, suggesting that the females are sitting on their nests. He hopes, as do we all, that we shall have some warm weather when the young ones hatch.
John also reports that on March 14th he saw the first frogspawn in two different ponds. He is intrigued that in both cases the frogs spawn on the west side of the ponds; there are no other similar conditions of water depth, sun or shade. It seems that the frogs have their reasons as they chose the same places each year.
Peter Hulme has commented on the constant presence of buzzards in the Woodhouse Lane area and wonders if the absence of squirrels and rabbits can be explained by their activities. I have noticed that on cloudless days predator birds have been circling near Magotty Johonson’s Wood uttering their high, keening calls and sending all the small birds, who stop singing, to take cover. Peter has e.mailed me a fascinating video clip of a squirrel pursued by a hawk. It can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/v/XBEyCr5Aols
Betty Williams has sent me a copy of an article from the Monthly Parochial Paper dated November 1916. It contains a detailed account of trench warfare. Historians tell us that little information was published at home about the horrors of the war but this article seems to contradict that view. It is certainly graphic enough, recounting the horrible conditions, the lack of equipment and of food and water, also the experience of being wounded and having to crawl back unaided to a safer position, passing other severely wounded comrades who implored for help in the process.
My mother told me that her father came on leave from the Somme in the spring of 1916. She was obviously too young at nine to be told of the conditions in France but he gave her his copy of the New Testament and asked her to look after her mother and three younger siblings. He was killed in August a few months later.
The article Betty sent listed the names of the 67 men from the village who were serving in the forces. The first two men on the list are her uncle Henry and her father Herbert Allibone. Her uncle, Henry, known as Harry, served in the Battle of the Somme. Her suffered from shellshock, was invalided home and was never able to work again; his wife, Ethel Allibone, taught at Gawsworth School.
As the hundredth anniversary of World War 1 is being remembered this year, it would be interesting to hear of any other items of news from the time. Please let me know if you can contribute.
GAWSWORTH PARISH COUNCIL NEWS
You may be aware that we have pegged out the route for the paths in the Woodland Park. (I did say that, as the Chairman of the Parish Council retires this year, we could name it in his honour, “Park’s Park’ was rejected by all, including Graham). The lower level will have a hard grit surface to enable wheelchairs and buggies to be used around a circular route which takes in views of Ben Brook and includes some picnic tables. The upper level is more adventurous with several stepped areas and inclined paths which will have chipped bark surface and lead to a further picnic area at the high point. The brook will have two crossings, a rustic bridge and stepping stones for the more agile. Although it’s a small park, the hilly topography and variety of trees, plant life, views, etc, will be very different from a normal village park.
In addition, Macclesfield Academy is proposing a series of art installations which will be in keeping with the surroundings but very exciting.
Once the paths are in, our colleagues from the village, under the guidance of Helmut Kruse, will help supervise the structure and variety of the flora with some expert help. They will also help with future planning.
I was asked by James Rouse to have the plan of the park inserted into the Parish website and although the plan is crude, reflecting my computer skills, it will give a good impression of our intentions. Please let us know what you think and let us have your suggestions.
Gawsworth Village Hall
Saturday 12 April at 7.30pm
PMac Productions Present
An evening of warmth, charm, humour and pathos, told by a man looking back over his life and over English rural social history. It all takes place in an old greenhouse in the gardens of a Gloucestershire manor house where you imagine perfect lawns and well-tended borders. It centres on the enduring relationship between gardener Herbert Pinnergar (nicknamed Herbaceous) and Lady Charteris of the manor house and an unexpected love story. As he tells tales, Herbaceous potters around the greenhouse taking cuttings, sowing seeds and mixing fertiliser engaging the audience all the way. This gently humorous, touching play tugs at the heart strings and tickles the ribs without resorting to cliché.
Tickets available from the community shop from Tuesday 25 March
(Suitable for all but targeted at middle to older age group)
Café style seating. Please bring your own wine to enjoy at your table. Coffee and tea are available at the interval
Sponsored by East Cheshire Rural Touring Arts
Promoter: Andrew Bennett 01625 619449 email@example.com
Ray’s Tantalising, Tasty Tiffin
If you’ve never sampled the pleasures of eating a square of Ray’s Tiffin, then you don’t know what you’re missing. This is definitely one for chocoholics. Each square consists of a thick layer of chocolate, topping a chocolate and biscuit filling. Customers comment on their professional appearance. (It is a trade-secret as to how Ray manages to create such a smooth surface to the chocolate). A recent Valentine’s Day special included rum-soaked raisins and were decorated with a white and a milk chocolate heart.
The secret recipe was dreamed up by Ray Shaw, a shop volunteer from Benbrook Way. During a hot spell of weather last summer, there was a mass melting of chocolate overnight. Of course, the chocolate could no longer be offered for sale so Ray took it home and thus, Ray’s Tiffin was born! I have taken them as gifts for people or cut up one square into 4 smaller pieces to make sizeable after-dinner petit-fours. Builders call them, “a MAN’S cake” because of their size.
They are fast becoming a Gawsworth shop best-seller and as they are unique to our shop; their fame is spreading and customers are making special journeys just to come and buy them. In fact, by the time this article is printed, Ray informed me that he will have made over 600 pieces in 6 months! The growth in demand means that he is now making 60 per week compared to just 20 per week last autumn. At £1 per square, they are excellent value.
Go on, give yourself a treat. Sit down, put your feet up and enjoy a piece of Ray’s Tiffin with your morning or afternoon cuppa!
After the success last April of TALKING HEADS
Nomads Amateur Theatre Company returns to Gawsworth Village Hall on Saturday 26th April.
“COLDER THAN HERE” by Laura Wade is an award winning play, by turns moving and funny, telling the story of how Myra Bradley, dying of cancer, prepares her dysfunctional family for coping after she is gone and, during the course of this, organises her own woodland burial.
Please do not be put off by the subject matter! It is a play based on love, warm and humorous, excellently directed and acted by a cast of four.
Saturday 26th April. 7.30pm.
Tickets £8 from the Village shop, or on the door.
A family friendly Easter Egg Trail will take place on Easter Saturday on 19th April in Gawsworth Village. The trail will start and finish at the Village Scout Hall.
Entries - £3.50 in advance, £5.00 on the day.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for £3.50 from the Village Shop or contact Lisa Tyrrell on 07719 530 949. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased on the day from the Scout Hall from 10am.
All entrants will receive an Easter egg upon completion.
The event will be open between 10am to 2pm. Just turn up at a time that suits you. The trail will take place within the village.
Bacon baps, cakes and tea/coffee/juice will be on sale for all those who have worked up an appetite. There will also be an Easter Egg raffle.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Money raised will go to Gawsworth 1st Scout Group.