Maplehurst Ramblings

It's a slightly shorter one this month. I am under the thumb in my new job and I am also busy with the garden.


I left my old job last month and took three weeks gardening leave in order to get our lawn ready for Summer - it is going to be flattened, terraced, landscaped and re-turfed. In fact if someone could get Charlie Dymock to turn up then my world would be complete! Sadly the Monsoon Season began early (and about 20 degrees further North than usual) and rained off the proceedings. Work is due to commence tomorrow so its fingers crossed. I cut the lawn in readiness for the excavations and was staggered by the amount of grass that came off - normally I take 6 bags off, last Sunday I took 25 bags of grass off. If anyone out there hasn't cut their lawn yet then don't leave it too much longer .

Penny Bullen

My first day off was spent taking Paddy & Penny Bullen to the airport to catch a flight to Costa Rica. they were due to spend a fortnight bird-watching in the rain forest but we learned shortly before they were due to return to the UK that Penny had suffered from a Deep Vein Thrombosis in her leg and was very ill. Anyway, to cut a long story short, she made it home with Paddy and is convalescing. She is well on the road to recovery which is very good news indeed. What worries me is that Penny is as fit as a fiddle and took all the precautions to avoid DVT before she flew - if she got clobbered with DVT, what hope is their for the likes of me and Dave Toye?

Black Helicopters

I don't know if anyone else has just noticed, but we seem to be the subject of nocturnal visits by Chinook Helicopters. Most nights for the past month now they have appeared in the night sky flying from East to West just about 400 yards North of Park Lane - presumably they are following contours in the land or something. anyway, if someone can shed some light on who they belong to (most probably us the tax payer) and what they are doing at 10.30 pm in the night at around 100 feet above ground level then I would really like to know.


On Friday 20th April I let my dogs out into the garden to have a piddle before bed. They rushed off into the darkness and began barking excitedly. I put the floodlight on and saw that they were trying to immobilise a rather large hedgehog. Fortunately the hedgehog used the armour nature had provided for it and saw my three dogs of with no further ado.

I was tempted to do the usual thing and put it in a cardboard box with some dog food and milk but in the end I let it be - it was a mild night and the creature had made it to the middle of the lawn (it was eating some food I had left out for the chickens). It is a sad thing that we don't see very many hedgehogs these days, I understand that they are predominantly nocturnal but it would appear that they are having a fight to survive. Does anyone else have hedgehogs? (Welsh enthusiasts here! DT)


Shooting Star.

Later that night I was standing on my terrace (don't ask me why - I just was!) and I saw a rather large shooting star (or is it more correct to call it a meteorite?) fall vertically to earth just my side of Botnar Towers. If the footpath across Richard Thorntons land hadn't been closed due to FMD I would have gone across the fields to find it. As things stand there is probably a nice scorch mark on the ground where the thing landed but that will probably be obliterated in the next few weeks.


I am pleased to inform you that the MCC has now got a Maplehurst branch. I am not referring to the Marylebone Cricket Club but to the Maplehurst Chicken Club. She Who Must Be Obeyed is a founding member along with Claire Skelton and Penny Bullen. I understand that Richard Thornton is now a member too. If you want to know more about this exciting new venture then contact me for more details.

Potential candidates will need to demonstrate that they are able to fulfill any or all of the following criteria:-

1) They live in Maplehurst (but residency exemptions are given if you ask for them) 
2) They like chickens (I like mine curried in a vindaloo sauce).
3) They like talking about chickens.
4) They like showing chickens (showing them what, exactly?)
5) They like eating eggs (they will need to if they have one of Claire Skeltons "Turbo Layers"!)
6) They like beer (meetings will be held in The White Horse)

Any Fowl widowers (or widows) are welcome to seek refuge at Orchard Farmhouse while meetings are in session - please bring some beer with you.


I haven't had my invitation yet to the "Grand Opening" of the Citadel (or what ever else they call it) - perhaps it has got lost in the post. Still, if they do invite me (as a correspondent of the website) I will try and bake some pheasant blinis as a little house-warming gift. That would be funny. 

Ferring beach

The FMD is still playing havoc with dog walking in the area. May I formally apologise for the behaviour of my little JRT Jasper - any dog or person that walks past gets treated to a chorus of barking and yapping, courtesy of an arsey little terrier. I have tried reasoning with him, I have tried punishing him and I have even tried throwing water on him - all to no avail. If anyone does get barked at by him just say "FOOTY" and watch the little bugger run off into the house (he is a ball sports fanatic).

A few Saturdays ago, we were taken by our neighbours, the Tuckers, to Ferring Beach a few miles West of Worthing. The tide was out and the sun was shining. We walked about a mile and the dogs must have run about seven miles. It is a great place to go when the tide is out (no fun for the dogs when the tide is in) and your dogs get more exercise than you could imagine. There is also a rather nice cafe on the beach that is open all year round and does very nice fish & chips. Also, parking is not a problem.


Hurrah its Lions Tour time soon. The bad news is that the tour is "down under" so all the matches are being played before dawn in our time zone. Nevertheless, Richard Thornton and a few others are coming over to watch the test matches at my house. There are about 3 spaces left if anyone else wants to come along too - all you need to bring is a 6 pack of beer and an empty stomach. First come, First served I am afraid.

Pub Quiz.

Hilarious. I laughed until I stopped. David Fisher was unique as the quizmaster and we all had a hilarious night in The White Horse. I was sad to see that only 11 was raised - perhaps we would raise more if we cut down on the overheads by doing our own questions, for example. I have got a few killers to sort the wheat from the chaff (we didn't charge enough to enter, the questions were free. Can you arrange another quiz for the hall with you as quizmaster? DT) Let me know Dave and I will whizz off 75 questions.

Simon  McClean 3rd May 2001     last months MR's


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