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Waterstock Notes - March 2023

by Keith Ashby

Having looked at the notes I prepared for the past few years this year appears to be no different in terms of scarcity of news to include in this edition of the Parish Magazine.

I did note that last February was very similar to this month (so far) in that it was very dry and as we recently experienced sometimes frosty and often some very pleasant sunny days.

Lorna’s mention in last month notes of the heavy rain followed by hard frosts in January prompted memories of many years ago when such winter conditions were quite regular and often heralded the Waterstock ice hockey matches. The fields would flood and then freeze hard and once the water had receded we were left with a thick layer of ice with very little water below into which anybody could fall.

Players, and there were always quite a few, would arm themselves with cricket bats, umbrellas or just a appropriately shaped stick and with a puck cut from the end of a log two teams were picked, goals set up and play would commence and carry on until we dropped. There were no proper skates of course just wellington boots so players often found themselves prone on the ice. Much fun was had and the following day resulted in aching limbs from rarely used muscles.

Unfortunately following the last match back in the 1980’s one participant had a nasty fall and ended up in A & E but survived to tell the tale. The person in question was Lev Parikian and I often remind him of
that episode and jokingly reprimand him as we were winning at the time. Lev even mentions the event in one of his published books.

We had to say goodbye to our lovely mature horse chestnut tree in February, known since my childhood as The Conker Tree. It was badly diseased and becoming unsafe and has left a huge gap in our back garden. I am not sure how old it was but I have a copy of the photograph from 1902 taken from the road by the Old School House which shows it as even then a large tree. It was pollarded in the 1960’s and over the years has produced an abundance of beautiful white candles in the spring and in the autumn a bountiful harvest of conkers. It will be sadly missed.
Waterstock Notes - February 2023Waterstock Notes - February 2023