Showing posts from June, 2017

Cookham Dean landmark tree felled - UPDATE 04/07

UPDATE 04/07

The information contained in the piece below is now confirmed as accurate, with one important correction.  I am advised by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) Tree Team that application WAS made by the drainage contractors for permission to dig the trench.  And so, as part of granting permission, there should have been a Root Protection Area (RPA) issued.  This would have provided the contractors with the information they needed to dig the trench without damaging the tree.  I am further advised that the matter is now with the RBWM Planning Enforcement Team and I have requested visibility on the process that follows.  There are a number of people engaged with the council, including The Cookham Society.

Some more background on the tree's condition.  Lime trees (apparently) throw many fine roots - rather than fewer big roots.  The initial trench, and the subsequent remedial work carried out by South East Electricity, damaged these roots across a signific…

Historical Cookham

I was at the Chartered Institute of Marketing last week on a business-related seminar.  I came out with a bag of goodies that included a booklet on the history of Moor Hall and its inhabitants.  I love this sort of thing, so I sat down and read it.  Lots of interest but one thing that caught my eye (because I had never heard of it before) was a place called Ye Strande Castle – literally a castle that was built by a local architect called William Joshua Grazebrook in 1880.  At the time it was cutting edge construction because it was built of something called shuttered concrete, which from what I can gather, is concrete that gets poured into mould and then fitted together as blocks.  Except what they did not know in those days, is that if you make a building using this method, you must use steel rods to reinforce it.  Anyway, it was somewhere near Strand Water and everyone in the village HATED it apparently, so it was just as well that eventually, it fell down!
I thought to try and fin…

A Natural Swimming Pool (a Poseidon free zone)

“Come for a swim” she said.  “Anytime.  Just pop over”.  Now you would think that given it was 34 degrees at the time, I would have been thrilled with such kind offer.  And indeed, I was, but it also raised a few issues.  Problem One:  it would require The Lardy Arse and I to squeeze ourselves into a swimsuit and then bare our lily-white blubber in front of company that was not family.  Problem Two: I am far from a natural swimmer.  I am able to keep my head above water with the liberal application of doggy paddle, but elegant it is not.  Problem Three: water weeds.  Cindy and Pete Barnes have a natural swimming pool (a pool entirely free from chemicals) and I have a vivid imagination.  Everyone knows that water weeds have been known to entangle bathing maidens and drag them down to a watery grave. Anyway, I gave myself a stern talking to and off I went with my little rolled up towel, hold-it-all-in swimming costume and a voluminous kaftan "cover-up".  Any uncertainty I had …

Swifts and sex on the wing - how does that work?

It’s one of my favourite moments.  When The Little Birds start to arrive.  And in our house The Little Birds is a collective term for SwallowsMartins and Swifts.  The Sand Martins normally come first, closely followed by the House Martins, the Swallows and then lastly, the Swifts.  To me their arrival is proof categoric that summer is coming and the weather and the days, are nodding their head towards summer.  Even if you are not interested in birds, you will probably have noticed them – I don’t think any of our over-wintering birds fly like The Little Birds so the movement draws your eye.  They are fast and often low, chasing the small insects that are their staple food.  This year, the Sand Martins  clocked in first, down at Cockmarsh by The Bounty.  Then the Swallows at Smallholder Simon’s and then, at last today, I heard, but did not see because they are just too, well er…..swift, the Swifts.  They are by far my favourite.  They remind me of unruly teenagers.  They race around …

Cookham Dog Walkers Litter Picking

You would be surprised at the amount of health and safety instructions that are apparently required to execute a litter pick.  Two pages worth to be precise – how to bend, what not to pick up, safe and effective use of a pair of latex gloves.  Now don’t get me wrong – the Cookham Dog Walkers were very grateful for the RBWM Adopt a Street scheme’s support, but we decided to gloss over fully briefing everything in, just in the interests of starting before a week next Tuesday.  The litter picking kit itself was nothing short of a triumph: four pairs of gloves, four florescent tabards, three and a half thousand black plastic sacks as thin as the increasingly thin, Thin Blue Line that polices Winter Hill.  The piece-de-resistance though was the sticky picky litter picking up stick things (over which there was a bit of a bun fight because we did not have quite enough to go around).  Splitting into two teams allowed us to tackle the footpath down to Cockmarsh, the National Trust car park an…

Soul Food at the Soul Service, Holy Trinity

I've been to church this afternoon. No really! I have! And I'll let you in to a little secret too, it's not the first time I've been and probably wont be the last either.  The Soul Service at Holy Trinity is an event entirely designed for people like me. Those with little or no faith (or indeed, those with an entirely different faith).  The idea is, you can go to the service in order to find a little space for reflection, perhaps a wee small voice of calm.  
I admit, I was a little sceptical the first time. On that initial occasion, Father Nick The Vic welcomed people, as he still does, and shared that part of the idea is to give people "permission" to be there.  Or more specifically, to be there in the church building. It was at that exact moment that I was so glad to have gone.  Of course I have been in the church before, but always with a guilty conscience.  And always worrying that I might actually meet someone in there, and God forbid that someone be …