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Waterstock Notes - May 2023

by Michael Tyce

Sadly bad weather and lots of people being away meant we didn't in the end celebrate
the Kings Coronation in our usual Waterstock fashion but there is talk of a summer 'event'.

Because of Queen Elizabeth’s seventy year reign, only 11 per cent of the UK population are old enough to have known more than two monarchs, including our present King Charles. However, quite a few of us in Waterstock have known three, at least two of us have known four, including the brief reign of Edward VIII – who still counts despite short service and not having been crowned - and Edward Rivera
has known five. Five is effectively the maximum possible score as to achieve six would require being alive when Edward VII was on the throne. For that you would need to be 113, and only one person in the UK is thought to be as old as that. (That’s Ethel Caterham of Ash Vale, Surrey, who drove until she was 97 years old and was a regular bridge player in her centenarian years. In 2020, at the age of 110, Caterham contracted COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic).

Let’s hear it for Fiona Siddle who has set up a rota for unlocking and locking the church, avoiding all the complications and costs of the automatic locks and alarms we had been considering. It has gone without a hitch although one volunteer has confessed that they were halfway to bed before they remembered
they had to go and lock the church. Not only have we saved money but most importantly have kept the church available during daylight hours for all those who wish to view it, or pray in it. Not many villages, especially given how tiny we are, can do this.

Talking of which Let’s hear it also for Carole – husbands cannot go far wrong for saying that - for her annual organising of the Flowers and Cleaning rota, just completed, and most of all Let’s hear it too for all the volunteers who do the work.

Back at the church, the never-ending problem of what to do to deal with the cracking still continues. Latest recommendation from our third set of advisers is to dig trial pits at strategic points to ascertain the nature and strength of the foundations after the chancel was underpinned in the 1850s. Happily each time our advisers are proposing less expensive solutions, and far less than the £365,000 we were facing initially. Let’s hear it for Rosalind Portman who steers us through all of this.

In the last notes Keith & Lizzie remarked on the bad weather we had been having. Now that leaves are beginning to appear – or as it might be not appear – it is clear that we have lost several ceanothus – including the very large and long established one which bathed the garden in blue each May. We have also lost hebes and salvias and some beautiful penstemons, all due we think to the penetrating frosts that occurred just as the plants were beginning to think it was Spring and come out of their winter hibernation.

broken image

Maybe with all its predicted downsides, global warming might have a small upside if these killing frosts cease to blight our gardens.