Tuesday 27 January 2015

LibDems will play after all

Further to the earlier note, I'm happy to report that the Liberal Democrats have finally got round to deciding who'll play on their team in May's General Election. It's this bloke Richard Robinson, some sort of accountant/parish councillor wallah from Buriton.

So Damian then.

Game Keepers

During the whole of the period I lived in Kingsley I can only recall two game keepers. One lived in Kingsley and the other on the outskirts of Oakhanger. This, I suppose, reflects the fact that there were few formal shoots in and around the village. Certainly formal shoots existed at Wyck, Worldham and the Hartley Wood area. Indeed, as a teenager, I regularly went beating on the Wyck Farm shoot. That shoot, I seem to recall, was the preserve of the Bonham – Carter family. As far as Kingsley was concerned there were undoubtedly small shoots organised by various local farmers for friends and family, but these took the form of irregular and non- formal occasions. Most of the pheasants were either from wild stock or had strayed in from bigger shoots further afield. It is quite amazing just how far these birds will travel and one of the great skills of a keeper is to keep his birds on his own shoot. Obviously, in areas where large numbers of shoots border one another the problem is not so great as birds wander from one shoot to the other and a reasonable balance of bird numbers is maintained and populations remain fairly static.

So to the two keepers previously mentioned, the Oakhanger keeper lived up the lane which goes off to the right just in front of The Red Lion pub. Up that road was the old wireless station, then a dairy farm and then the Oakhanger cricket pitch, all on the left hand side of the road. A few hundred yards, or so, beyond the cricket pitch was a lane in below the hanger and the keepers cottage was located there. My map tells me that the woods there were known as Hartley Woods and they were the domain of Jock Harley. I recall seeing Jock on a few occasions and he was a big man. Generally, the word on the block was that you didn’t mess with Jock. He had a bit of a reputation as a bad man to upset and poachers went on to his patch at their peril. He was a regular visitor at the Red Lion and his time on the shoot was a long one, although I have a recollection of his retirement, I no longer have any idea when that actually was. The very fact that he remained in place on the same shoot for so many years is testimony in itself to the fact that he was a good game keeper. Bad keepers don’t stay in one place very long, then or now.

The Kingsley keeper that I recall was Charlie Neal , he lived in a cottage on the common beyond Cold Harbour beside the river a few hundred yards up a track off the road just north of the Sleaford bridge. I don’t actually know if Charlie’s keeper duties were full time as he keepered the officers shoot at Broxhead and the areas beyond Oxney Farm. So I guess he was employed by the military and it might well be the case that he had other duties in addition to gamekeeping.

If one left Kingsley and travelled past the pond on up the track and over Fir Hill, crossing the stream and passing Oxney Farm on ones right and carried on over the stretch of metaled road through the fields until reaching the woods one would cross over a bridge. This bridge was just inside the woods which extended to the left and right and were quite large. These woods were also a part of the officers shoot. Moving on a few yards beyond the bridge there was a track to the right and a five bar gate into a sort of field. I say sort of because the area, although grazed by cattle, was liberally dotted with large clumps of both gorse and broom. Before Myxomatosis the area literally crawled with rabbits.

However, the most intriguing point about this area to a small boy, as far as I was concerned, was the keepers gibbet. These gibbets, in a former age, were used by gamekeepers to exhibit the vermin they had killed in order that their employers could see how good they were at keeping down predation upon the pheasant population. Long since a thing of the past there would, no doubt, be a public outcry should such a thing appear in today’s countryside. The one in question would be draped with all manner of unfortunate birds and beasts that had met their fate by gun or trap. Fur and feather, tooth and claw were all represented. Draped and hung on this gruesome frame, which was probably three or four feet wide by perhaps six or seven feet deep, would be birds of prey, hawks and owls now, thankfully, all protected by law. Crows, magpies and jays featured prominently as this group steal eggs and chicks. Weasels and stoats, foxes, and the occasional feral cat would all be displayed. Squirrels, the grey variety, could also be seen in large numbers as they, of course, are also great egg stealers. Each time one passed the gibbet new additions could be seen hanging, as they did, with the bones and rotting carcasses of older victims. As can be imagined, not a pretty sight, and certainly not an attractive aroma!

Monday 19 January 2015

Kingsley Parish Council 22nd January 7:30

Kingsley Parish Council will meet on Thursday, 22nd January 2015 in the Kingsley Centre at 7.30pm

1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks
2. Apologies for Absence
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 Meeting held on 27th November 2014
6.Matters Arising
Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing:
Visit of Catherine Kirkham to discuss the result of the recent affordable housing need survey
carried out in the village last year

7.Planning Applications
Applications ongoing:
55794/36 Churchfields, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9PJ
Single storey rear extension
27557/004 Greenbanks, Sandy Lane, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NH
Detached dwelling
27396/047 Old Park Farm, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9LU
Retention of a B8 storage unit and conversion of stable block to B8 storage
55444 Land East of Karma, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon
6 dwellings following demolition of existing industrial buildings
New application:
30633/026 Groomes Farm, Frith End Road, Frith End, Bordon, GU35 0QR
Ancillary building for events associated with existing hotel, together with landscaping,
parking, works (including waste water treatment plant) and retention of Frith End Quarry
Haul Road for access to the site and hotel
Whitehill & Bordon
Transformation of the Army site with 2,400 new homes and a new town centre
8. St Nicholas Cemetery & Cemetery Chapel
To receive an update from Cllr Pearson
9. Transport, Highways and Road Safety
To receive an update from Cllr Rigden
To consider paying £200 to supplement the £1,000 provided by HCC for the lengthsman work
clearing the footpath along the B3004 through Kingsley
10. Commons, Village Greens and Rights of Way
To receive an update from Cllr Rigden
11. Community Resilience
12. Environment and Biodiversity
13. Kingsley Village Forum
14. Housing, Business & Commerce
15. Communications
16. District Councillor
17. Procedures, Finance and Payments
Payments to be made & Accounts to accept
Date of Next Meeting of Kingsley Parish Council - Thursday 26th February 2015 - 7.30 pm at the Kingsley Centre

Thursday 8 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie

In common with other publishers, today we publish one of Charlie Hebdo's front covers.

No expression of opinion gives anyone the right to express their displeasure with violence.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

General Election 2015 - Hampshire East

Well we made it through the years of austerity/long term economic plan and in just a few months we'll have to choose our weapons for the next five years so let's have a peek at the options that we already know about:-

Conservative: Damian Hinds, incumbent.
Labour: Alex Wilks
UKIP: Peter Baillie

The LibDems reckon they'll be getting round to having a think about it towards the end of January so perhaps they'll be in the running, perhaps not.

In the meantime, is it really unkind to tell young Alex that, while it's very public-spirited of him to throw his hat into the ring, he hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected round here?

So, the old Tory or the shiny new, not at all like the old Tories, new Tory?

Well to help you decide: our Damian is a good Catholic boy, with an Oxford First in the inevitable PPE; he thinks we need to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Peter Baillie is a retired journalist and seems to have drunk the UKIP kool-aid.

Obviously Damian will get back in whoever you vote for so don't feel too bad about it.