Monday, 10 December 2018

Old bangers

Anyone who has followed my jottings for any length of time will, no doubt, recall an article I wrote many moons ago relating how I became a Master of Mink Hounds and the formation of The Tandridge Mink Hounds which I ran for a good few years. Any pack of hounds needs a vehicle to be able to operate and the Tandridge was no exception. The country we hunted was huge, taking in half of Surrey and half of Kent. The distances we had to travel to meets were such that we could not have managed without transport. We, actually, had two vehicles one for hound transport and the other for transporting feed.

The other evening I was watching an edition of The Antiques Road Trip on the television and it brought back a flood of memories from my mink hound days. For those not familiar with the program, it basically, involves two antique experts travelling around an area of Britain in some sort of old /vintage car, and buying antiques for auction. The trip takes several stages with an auction at the end of each stage. The winner is the expert who has made the most money at the end of the "trip".

Well, you might ask what on earth has all this got to do with mink hunting in Surrey many years ago ? In the program I watched the other evening the vehicle which the two experts had been given for their trip turned out to be a Bedford Dormobile coloured powder blue. The same model of vehicle which we had used as a hound van and in the same colour. Our vehicle had been found for sale by one of our hunt members and I was assured that it was both a bargain and in good condition. Given that this all happened a long time ago I can't remember the exact price we paid for the old Bedford but the figure of seventy five pounds sticks in the back of my mind. In any event we bought this treasure and having done so the first thing which had to change was the colour. No self respecting mink hunt could possibly be seen driving around the country side in a vehicle painted powder blue, what would people think ! So it was that we bought a large, very large, can of paint of a shade which I would describe as army green. Quite a deep green but not khaki. The paint was applied to the vehicle by a team of enthusiastic painters by hand with brushes. When the task had been completed, all concerned agreed, it was a great improvement. The only trouble was the whole of the exterior of the vehicle was covered in the new improved shade but the interior was not. All surfaces within remained the dreaded powder blue. Open up any of the doors and the awful colour was there for the world to see. It was decided by the proud owners that this would have to be put up with as to strip out all the bits and pieces from within the vehicle in order to paint the interior metal surfaces would be far to complex and time consuming. Having painted our hound van we then had to construct a barrier behind the front seats in order to confine the hounds to the back section and prevent them from having access to the driving area. I found it quite amazing how many talents existed within the group of hunt supports we had attracted. Every time we needed a job doing some good soul would come forward with the skills and, hey presto, job done. We had a strong weld mesh screen in place in no time , fixed securely, which lasted the life of the vehicle. That van did us proud and proved to be very reliable as far as the motoring side of things went. Its major problem, we soon discovered, was the fact that the side, sliding door, slid rather too well. Each time it was operated the damned thing slid right out of it's guides and fell to the floor. We never succeeded in overcoming this problem, the solution being to keep it locked at all times. The door lock being a bit dodgy we bolted,on to the side of the van, a clasp and secured it with a padlock. The hound van went with the rest of the hunt to our neighbouring pack when I was transferred with my job to Dorset.

The second vehicle the hunt used was my Bedford Beagle van which, as it happened,was also painted a dark green but its paint job had been done by its makers Vauxhall. The van was affectionately known by all as the Flying Dustbin. It got this name from the fact that I used it to transport swill which was donated by the officers mess at Wandsworth Prison where I was serving at the time. Each day I would take out a plastic bin of the food waste from the mess and leave a clean bin ready to be filled. I got the idea from an article I had read regarding a military pack of hounds which fed food waste from its mess to hounds . I doubt if it could happen today since we are now swamped with petty regulations. In any event, our hounds thrived on that food and they looked in prime condition, so much so, that we won numerous prizes at the hound shows we entered.The van proved to be a reliable workhorse and did us well for a lot of years.The only negative event occurred when I was driving home one evening loaded up with a full bin of swill. The bin was located behind the drivers seat in the back of the van,being a van, there were no back seats. Just as I was approaching a cross roads at Sutton some lunatic pulled out in front of me from my left. I hit the breaks, the van stopped abruptly, and the bin of swill came forwards at a great force and covered me with its contents.Not nice ! The Flying Dustbin came to an abrupt and sudden end.One winters morning I set of for work at an early hour and a few hundred yards away from home I hit a large patch of black ice, the Flying Dustbin slid sideways, hit the curb and flipped over on to its side drivers side down. After the initial shock, and the overwhelming smell of spilt petrol, I made my exit via the passenger door which was then facing the sky.Incredibly I was unhurt. On the humorous side of the incident, there was an elderly lady walking along the opposite pavement. It was actually dark and I assume she was going to get her newspaper. The poor dear witnessed the whole incident and as I climbed out through the door she went into a series of screams before running away. I don't know, to this day, who she was or why she did a runner, did she think I was sort alien ? Oh well that's life. 

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Another Year

My years these days are very much built around seasonal activities. Once again I have reached the end of two seasons and begun another. First to end was the butterfly transect walks which ended in September. Having completed two a week since the beginning of April my weekly routine changes quite a lot. No longer do I have to consider the temperature, wind and sunshine each day in order to decide if a walk is going to be possible. There are rules for walking which are designed to provide the best conditions in which to count butterflies. This year was a good one with regard to butterfly walks as, throughout the walking season, I was able to complete a walk on every week. No blanks. 

The season was also good as we had the long dry spell during the summer which meant conditions were, for the most part, good for butterflies. In fact, on my two transect walks, I recorded a number of species not previously seen or not seen on those particular walks for many years. The White Letter Hairstreak, Argos Brown and White Admiral being a few. Also a good increase in Small Coppers. Generally there was a big increase in recorded numbers on the previous year. Although Small Tortoishells were down in numbers. In Dorset the good news is that numbers across the whole county were up just over fifty percent on recorded numbers for 2017. One interesting feature of this year's observations, which I came across during the hot dry spell, was the fact that all normal sources of water had dried up and consequently I observed large numbers of butterflies taking to the bottom of ditches. This was clearly an attempt to get at any moisture which might remain and by no means normal behaviour.

The next season to end for me was the dormouse survey season which runs from March through to the end of October. My involvement in these surveys has been to join teams on three surveys each month, two in Somerset and another just over the border into Wiltshire. One of the Somerset survey areas being right at the north of the county near Cheddar in the wonderfully named Goblin Coombe. Dormouse surveys involve checking nest boxes placed on trees and the number of boxes varies from fifty up to around eighty. Each box is opened and if a dormouse is found to be present it is weighed and its sex recorded and all data is then sent to The People Trust For Endangered Species. This year has been a productive one for dormouse numbers although the long dry summer did appear to keep the dormice out of the boxes for a couple of months. Quite simply, we concluded, it was just too hot and dry for comfort in a small wooden box. Normally, it appears, quite moist conditions within the boxes favours dormouse occupation of the boxes when not breeding. In fact on two occasions I found sleeping dormice in boxes which contained nesting material which was almost soggy. However, when we got into the breeding season in August / October we found good numbers of dormice. In fact on both of those months at Goblin Coombe we recorded dormouse numbers in the twenties. The additional good news was the fact that all mice weighed were sufficiently fat to ensure they would survive their hibernation through the winter months. This tells us that their food supply during the summer had been good enabling body weight to be achieved.

The other good news, well at least as far as I am concerned, is the fact that I have now got my own Dormouse survey licence. This has taken two years to achieve but now means I am able to conduct surveys on my own and to help train other people who want a licence.

So October brought the end of the recording season but it also heralded the beginning of the beating season and I now find myself attending a number of local shoots each week. In fact most weeks I am out beating four times. This year I was invited to beat on a mid-Dorset shoot which has down land with high hills and deep valleys. the views are quite simply stunning and since, so far,the weather has been kind to us it has been a delight. Not only that, it keeps this old man pretty fit. 

Monday, 24 September 2018

Kingsley Parish Council Wed 26th 7:30pm

Meeting of Kingsley Parish Council on Wednesday, 26th September 2018 in the Kingsley Centre at 7.30pm

AGENDA

1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks
2. Apologies for Absence
Cllr C. Rigden

3. Declarations of Personal/Prejudicial Interest
4. Public Question Time
Public Questions
Consideration of agenda items which will be open to public participation

5. Approval of Minutes of the Meetings held on 25th July 2018
6. Matters Arising
7. Planning Applications
Applications ongoing
54919/005 Land at Kingsley Golf Club, Forge Road, Kingsley, Bordon
Detached shed for use as a wormery
51188/003 Kingsley Quarry, Forge Road, Kingsley, Bordon
Easterly extension of the existing sand extraction area, extend the end date for quarry operations and restoration and amend the approved restoration schemes. (Details available on the HCC website - https://planning.hants.gov.uk/ApplicationDetails.aspx?RecNo=19368)
27508/002 1 Straits View, Forge Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NA
Single storey rear extension and alteration of front porch roof.
27107/034 Sleaford Farm, Farnham Road, Bordon, GU35 9LJ
Amendments to previously approved scheme (27107/033) and filling of derelict pond
HCC/2018/0700 Grundon Sand And Gravel Ltd, Frith End Sand Quarry, Grooms Farm Lane, Frith End, Bordon GU35 0QR
Variation of conditions 5 (Phasing), 11 (Landscaping), 24 (Restoration) and 27 (Plans) of Planning Permission 30633/031 to revise
HCC/2018/0701 Grundon Sand And Gravel Ltd, Frith End Sand Quarry, Grooms Farm Lane, Frith End, Bordon GU35 0QR
The relocation of the ancillary activity of the importation, handling and re-sale of aggregates as previously permitted by pp 30633/030
HCC/2018/0702 Grundon Sand And Gravel Ltd, Frith End Sand Quarry, Grooms Farm Lane, Frith End, Bordon GU35 0QR
Sand recovery from development projects in Bordon and surrounding area
New applications:
20136/054 LMC Sleaford Garage, Farnham Road, Bordon, GU35 0QP
Extension to existing motor vehicle service area, refurbishment of the existing showroom, construction of
new additional car showroom, extension to car parking area and creation of emergency access point.
SDNP/18/02170/FUL Oaklands Farm Green Street East Worldham Bordon GU34 3AU
Change of use of Oakland Farm and associated land holdings from Agriculture and B8 (Open Storage) to
mixed use Agriculture, B8 (Open Storage) and Seasonal Event Space associated with the holding of
Religious Festivals and other activities associated with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association; including the
provision of external storage space, new landscape and revised ventilation and extraction equipment in
association with the onsite kitchen.

31121/004 The Cricketers, Forge Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9ND
Conversion and extension of existing tourist accommodation to provide 2 new dwellings, and provision of
associated parking and landscaping.

8. St Nicholas Cemetery & Cemetery Chapel
To receive an update from Cllr Fletcher

9. Transport, Highways and Road Safety
To receive an update from Cllr Clayton

10. Commons, Village Greens and Rights of Way
Footpath 6
Consideration of report concerning encroachment of hedges onto Footpath 6
Upper Green
To receive an update from Cllr Fletcher

11. Community Resilience
12. Environment and Biodiversity
13. Kingsley Village Forum
14. Housing, Business & Commerce
15. Review of Capital Projects
16. Communications
The correspondence received this month was listed & circulated to all Cllrs prior to the meeting.

17. Broadband
To receive an update from Cllr Coury & Cllr Clayton

18. District Councillor
19. Procedures, Finance and Payments
Review the format of the monthly parish meeting
To receive an update from Cllr Fletcher
To agree the automatic renewal of the licenses and fees during October and November for the online
hosting of the Parish Council website, at a cost of £242.7 per year.
To consider the use of official email accounts for Parish Councillors at an annual cost of £132 ex VAT
To consider compensation from Tsb for all the inconvenience caused due to endless online banking
issues
Payments to be made & Accounts to accept
To consider the payment of invoices on the schedule included in the agenda of the meeting
Payment
Date Payee
Payment
Mode Description Amount
16/09/2018 Host Papa CARD Inv 210500-1559000 domain name renewal and web hosting 211.96
28/09/2018 Karine Nana Yonko BACS Clerk's September 2018 expenses invoice 0006-2018/19 85.00
28/09/2018 Karine Nana Yonko BACS Clerk's September 2018 salary 296.80
28/09/2018 HMRC BACS PAYE September 2018 39.20
Date of Next Meeting of Kingsley Parish Council –
Wednesday 24th October 2018 – 7.30 pm at the Kingsley Centre