Maplehurst Ramblings


1) The Garden
Apologies to those upwind for all the dust they have had blowing into their properties. I am not a location shoot for a spaghetti western. At last our overlong garden "makeover" is finished. The turf is now down, just in time for the end of summer! (Simon send me a photo to include - DT)

In the end Charlie Dymmock didn't show but who needs her with the talent that was on display. A few local businesses were involved with the project - a huge thank you to all of them all.

The roll of honour of those who were involved and who I am proud to recommend to you is as follows:-

Kevin Black - Master bricklayer, all round calming influence and currently wanted by Interpol for crimes against joke telling. If you ever need a quality bricklaying or building job done at a competitive price then KB is your man, He lives in Maplehurst so he is easy to find - or get in touch with me. Kevin is currently engaged in a major project for a display at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (we will be featuring this soon) and will be busy for a while yet. If you want any building work done after that, he is your man.

Frank Dixon of Staplefield. Definitely a no-nonsense approach to ground works and landscaping. Known locally as "The Flashing Blade" on account of the aplomb with which he wields his mighty instrument! Actually it isn't all that mighty - it's a mini digger.  Frank and his team took a rock-strewn hillside and over the last few weeks they have turned it into a surface that would have done most billiard tables proud, except for the lack of six pockets and a cue rest.

Sarah Russell + Linda. Planting and plant knowledge in abundance. What a cracking pair - ask anyone who was there!

Cultivated Turf Farms. They came, they saw, they laid the turf. And what a nice job they did too. They even managed to lay it in nice neat stripes to give a "ready-mown" feel to the lawn, even though we won't be able to walk on it for a few weeks yet. then its party time

2) Theft of goods / chattels and livestock.
Quite a few stories have reached my ears recently about the theft of equipment, machinery and even a cockerel. Fingers have already been pointed at certain PVI (Peg Vending Itinerant) folk but I think it is only fair to say nothing in the absence of any specific culprits. The theft of the cockerel has left a rather bad taste in my mouth (if that is not too distasteful a pun) because it is more likely to go straight into the fighting ring rather than onto the dinner table. The bottom line is
simple, if you have got things you value and you do not want them purloined then contact your local Crime Prevention Officer, speak to the local neighbourhood watch people and make sure that what you have cannot easily be taken. You could, alternatively, buy a canine " Throat Ripper" but make sure your postman is on-side about this first!! 

3) Kestrel / Sparrow hawk
Of late a bird of prey has started hovering over Richard Thornton's field, close to my terrace. It is a rather splendid beast and it is a delight to watch it hover, swoop and take its prey from a height of about 25 feet. Last week it was in the air for several minutes before leaving with a tasty looking rodent - probably a vole or field mouse. I think it is a kestrel but I have not been in time to grab the binoculars and make a positive identification.

Recently another bird (but it might have been the same one above) took a small sparrow in mid flight by ramming it amidships about 15 feet above my head. There was a rush of air, a hollow thud as the prey was secured and then nothing except for a few feathers floating to earth. It was all over in about a second but it was amazing to watch it at such close range. (only Kestrels hover, the second was almost certainly a Sparrow Hawk -DT Smart Arse) 

4) White Horse events.
And now for something completely useful........ well not quite yet. Soon we hope to have a list of events at the White Horse for June and subsequent months. Watch this space.

5) Pub Quiz.
The last quiz held at The White Horse was a resounding success, I would like help from all of you to make the next one bigger (given the confines of the venue), better (if that is possible) and more profitable for the Copsale Village Hall. Dave Toye has suggested Monday the 2nd July (9pm Start) at The White Horse as a suitable date. I hope that meets with everyone's approval. If anyone has a better idea then please let me know.

6) Oil in West Sussex
Did you know that oil had been discovered in West Sussex? Apparently this discovery is now worth exploiting commercially. In the FT on the 30th May there was an article about this, apparently there is a 300M Barrel reservoir in something called "The West Sussex Basin". This "basin" appears to cover most of the area between the South downs and the M25. In some places, the oil is actually seeping up to the surface, although I am assured that such seepages are miniscule.  Has anyone seen any derricks yet?

7) FMD
Unbelievable but true - on Sunday the 4th June in the evening I saw a young couple walking across fields belonging to Heathtolt Farm. The only things I found odd with this were:-

i) They weren't working on the land.

ii) They weren't on a footpath or other right of way.

iii) All rights of way are still closed on agricultural land (but you could pay 5,000 for the privilege of using them at that time)

iv) They weren't there with the permission of the landowner

v) They were dressed for a night on the town (he in white jeans + black top, she in black all over) not a walk in the country.

At one point the "Wanderers" were a few hundred yards away from a herd of prime milkers. I was appalled by this because it is precisely the sort of lackadaisical attitude that can introduce FMD into a "clean" environment. I was about to get into the bath at the time and by the time I had got dressed and informed the landowner Romeo & Juliet had disappeared off somewhere, not to be seen again. a pity really because I had a few things to say to them.

If you do happen to know these people can you please explain to them that :-

i) When footpaths are closed, they are closed for a reason and it's a good idea to buy into the process of reading the signs.

ii) FMD transmission is still an extremely likely possibility and we would all rather it stays out of West Sussex.

ii) It is simple courtesy to ask permission from the landowner if you want to walk over one of their fields (but don't expect a "yes" at present!!)

I don't care that the chances of causing infection as described above are all, there is still a risk that FMD can occur and it is up to everyone do their bit to prevent it.

8) Police on the A 272 (see the latest West Sussex County Times)
On the 5th June, at night a helicopter was hovering over the A272 - a 14yr old lad was airlifted to hospital and shortly afterwards he sadly died.

On the 6th June, at Clockhouse Farm just by the turning off the A272 into Maplehurst Lane  there appeared to be a Police presence overseeing the removal of a number of vehicles from the site. The convoy didn't look to be your usual swampy types. the cars were all late 1980's -early 90's vehicles and there were a few transit vans and assorted commercial vehicles (including a tow-truck) amongst those removed. No one reported seeing any incumbents among the police and bailiffs. Does anyone have any more information?

9) Lions Tour.
The Lions kicked off their tour to Australia with a 116-10 victory over Western Australia. That should bode well for the Test series. There are still a few places available for the Saturday morning test matches at my house, if you want to come and watch - let me know!


Simon  McClean 11th June 2001     last months MR's


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