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- Editorial
- Men of Kent & Kentish Men
- Lynsted Church 100 Club - October Draw
- Affordable homes in Lynsted
- Lynsted Harvest Supper - Thanks
- Bitch ‘n’ Stitch Group - Cancer UK
- Recipe File - Stir-Up Sunday and Roast Beetroot
- It Is Time To Remember - Peter Jones
- Hedgehogs in your garden
- Christmas Trees 2006
- Playing Field Management Committee Report
- Teynham Lynsted & Norton Horticultural Society
- What’s On
- Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council - Clerk Changes
- Lichens - Event report from the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society
- Editorial perambulations
- From a Kentish Exile - Fred Nixon at large
- League of Friends
- From The Vicarage - Letter from George
- Norton Back Page

Kingsdown, Lynsted and Norton Newsletters
November 2006 - No.354


I am sure that you will all be pleased to hear that our Editor is now safely back home after his hip replacement. (He assures me that they didn’t leave the old one in a jar by the bed like they used to your appendix or gallstones.) David is taking a well earned rest for this issue but will be back at the helm for the next issue.

I can understand David’s plight when he says how difficult he sometimes finds identifying material for this slot. But then I thought, as this is probably the nearest I will get to being a celebrity (I hope), this could be my chance to live the Orwellian dream of listing things for despatch into room 101. But even that isn’t as easy as it sounds, the list could be endless but as I continue to consider what should be included, I realise the things I should like despatched are really rather trivial.

For example, soup spoons, what exactly are they all about? There is just something about a soup spoon that makes my hackles rise. I know not why, apart from the fact that few people seem to have mastered the art of eating soup with them. A 20th century abomination, and just don’t get me started on the fish knife.

Then there are people who don’t take the price labels off the bottoms of their shoes. You know how you can tell when people are wearing new shoes? They tend to walk in a proud and upright way, usually wincing in pain. I just cannot resist a backward glance as they pass me, and yes, there it is. The label. Another size 6 bargain bought at a considerable reduction.

Next, why am I paying the BBC to employ two newsreaders to read me alternate sentences? I do have the power of concentration to sit and listen to a single person talking, after all, we have to manage on the one and ten o’clock news. With the money they could save by employing just one newsreader they could buy them a chair so that I don’t have to see them standing up and wandering around. Also I assume my license fee is going towards wardrobe costs for the newsreaders and I object to paying for the female newsreaders to be dressed like they have just dropped into to the studio before popping off to a nightclub.

Hotels (or in fact any organisation) with an “Investors in People” sign. You just know they are going to say “have a nice day” and not mean it, and then they will expect you to fill in a questionnaire rating their services.

The letter ‘Z’. I blame my aversion to the letter ‘Z’ on my primary school teachers who insisted on telling me I was spelling my name incorrectly. Every time I wrote ‘Elisabeth’ they struck out the ‘s’ with a red pen and put in a ‘z’. I would then be told that I was being disrespectful when I told them they were the ones who were wrong. Imagine my dismay when I became a HeriZ-Smith. I was determined to keep my maiden name as I still find it incredibly difficult to write a ‘z’. So, to this day, all of my official documents remain in my maiden name because I just cannot sign ‘Heriz-Smith’.

And finally ….. oysters, just because I am violently allergic to them and spinach, just because it is yuck and my mother used to make me eat it.

So if that is all I want to put into room 101 life can’t be that bad.

Lis Heriz-Smith


We are very pleased that our Branch President, David Bage is now back home and very close to being his old self following his recent hip operation; we wish him a speedy return to full mobility and his usual full involvement in our activities.
Members have had full details of our remaining events of the year; notably our Christmas Lunch to be held on Saturday 2nd December. Our planning is already turning towards next year and we have decided that the branch AGM that has traditionally been held in January, should be moved, hopefully to avoid any severe weather we might have, to a date towards the end of March. The formal meeting will be followed by a talk on some aspect of Kentish Life.
Full details of our future events will reach all members through our own News Letter as well as being mentioned in these pages. We expect that the Autumn Supper that had to be postponed this year will re-emerge early in 2007 probably as a ‘Valentines’ lunch.
At the last meeting of the Branch Committee our final donations to be made this year were agreed; with a couple of payments still to be made, it is likely that the total we have been able to donate to local good causes will this year be close to £1000.


Results of October Draw

£25 No. 209 Mark Jones Bistock
£15 No. 84 Nancy Spears Conyer
£15 No. 151 Claire Tucker, c/o Ludgate House
£10 No. 75 Robin Fielding Cellar Hill
£10 No. 02 Pat Gilbert London Road
£10 No. 166 Wendy Phipps John Nash Close


Work is currently underway on 3 shared ownership homes designed to help local people unable to afford open market prices. The homes are being built by Millwood Homes as part of their development at St Pauls Court (formerly Stedlyn Retreat), Lynsted, where a proportion of the homes are designed to be affordable. The development is the result of a partnership between English Rural Housing Association (ERHA), Lynsted Parish Council, Swale Borough Council and Millwood Homes.

The affordable housing consists of 3 x 2 bedroom houses, where a 60% share is being sold for £120,000 or £123,000 (depending on property).

The properties are due for completion towards the end of the November and anyone interested in applying for one of the homes should contact ERHA on tel no.

020 7840 0540 and request an application pack.

The deadline for applications to be received will be Monday 13 November 2006.

Lynsted Harvest Supper

Many thanks to all those who generously donated items for the silent auction at the Harvest Supper. This raised over £200 for the Church and this success in no way reflects the skill of the auctioneer, but solely to your generous support! Trevor Jewsbury

Cancer Research U.K. - Bitch and Stitch

The Bitch n Stitch Quilting group Lynsted and Teynham group held their fifth Garden Party at the Walnuts, Cellar Hill on Sunday 3rd September.
The quilt and pillowcases were an appliquéd design and was made as a memory quilt to our fellow "Bitch n Stitcher" Margaret Friend who passed away October 2005. We all miss her so much.
We thank all of you who gave your support in our fund raising and are pleased to inform readers that a cheque for £900 has been sent to Cancer Research U.K.
The weather was kind to us yet again and our guests enjoyed a hot late summer afternoon eating, chatting and this year listening to the great music from a local group "Frayed Knot" Wow !!!! Thanks to them and all of the helpers.
The Raffle was drawn by David Bage and here are the winners:-
1. Bitch n Stitch Quilt Lucy Hewett - Cellar Hill
2. Two return tickets Eurostar. Donated by Brunei Travel - Glen Paine
3. Food hamper donated by Lis and Nigel Heriz-Smith - William Shiers
4. Manicure donated by Kate of Cristals - David Disney
5. Shampoo, cut and blow dry donated by Chris of Cristals - John Jackson
6. Haircut by Michael London Rd. -S. Booton
7. Cosmetics - E. Christmas
8. Teddy Bear- Joan Dutton
9. Tiger - Michael English
10. Celebration Cake donated by Tara of Rustic Cakes Cellar Hill - Tom Brown Lynsted

Thank you to the Bouchers for their beautiful strawberries, neighbours, friends and families for all their hard work please continue to give us your support for this worthy cause - Marlene Disney

November Recipe File

To be sung to the tune “Happy Birthday”:
Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Recipe File. Happy birthday to you.

Is it only a year ago we started this column? I blame David, he can smooth talk people into doing anything. But I must say I am really enjoying looking into the food traditions and making use of local seasonal food. My “Official Taster” is looking quite well on it too. One of the really heart-warming things about it has been the memories of my childhood it has provoked. I thank my Mother for instilling an interest in cooking (she had the patience of Job). I must say my Father was a dab hand in the kitchen too, although I always complained that his Toad in the Hole didn’t have any toad in it. It was only later I learned the difference between toad in the hole and Yorkshire Pudding. They must have had a smile about that.

Food tradition: Stir Up Sunday

Deriving from the opening words of the collect for the last Sunday before advent (26 November in 2006) which begins ‘Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people’. Stir Up Sunday is the traditional day for making your Christmas Pudding. Originating in the 14th century, Christmas Pudding started life as a fasting meal in preparation for the festivities. Ingredients then included frumenty (a kind of porridge), mutton, beef, wine, spices and dried fruit. By the 17th century it had evolved into something closer to what we would recognise today and George I’s love of it established it as part of the Christmas meal. However, it was the Victorians that honed the recipe and the tradition into what we know today.

There are several rather heart-warming traditions that go along with the making of a Christmas pudding, all based on the family and the true meaning of Christmas. Rather heart-warming I think. These traditions include:

The pudding should be made from 13 different ingredients to represent Jesus and his 12 disciples.
Each member of the family should take a turn in stirring the pudding and making a wish.
In honour of the Three Kings, the pudding should be stirred from east to west.

The Victorians also introduced the tradition of including silver charms (always a bit risky I thought) including a coin to bring worldly wealth, a ring for marriage and a thimble for a life of blessedness.

This traditional Victorian recipe is the one used for our own family Christmas dinner and is delivered to the table as a huge fireball by my Official Taster who is usually minus his eyebrows!

Ingredients: Makes 2 x 2 pint (1 litre) round mould puddings or 2 x 2pt (1 litre) basin puddings

8oz (225g) plain flour 8oz (225g) sultanas
1 teaspoon ground ginger 8oz (225g) currants
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 8oz (225g) seedless raisins
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice ¼ teaspoon ground mace
4oz (100g) whole candied peel, roughly chopped ¼ teaspoon salt 5oz glacé cherries, roughly chopped
5oz (150g) white breadcrumbs 3 medium eggs, beaten
9oz (250g) vegetable suet Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
10oz (275g) molasses sugar 1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
2oz (50g) blanched almonds, roughly chopped Grated rind of 1 lemon
8 tablespoons brandy or barley wine 2oz (50g) walnut pieces


  1. Thoroughly grease 2 x 2 pint (1 litre) round puddings moulds or 2 x 2pt (1 litre) pudding basins.
  2. Sift flour, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, suet and molasses sugar until evenly mixed.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well to form a rich, sticky, but not wet, mixture.
  4. For the round puddings: position the moulds on their stands and spoon in all the mixture to form a dome above the rim of the mould. Use your hands to shape a dome, place dome of mould on top and clip in place.
    For the basin puddings: Spoon the mixture equally into the two basins and level the top. Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper and top with a small circle of foil, both folded with a one inch pleat in the centre. Secure with string and make a loop for easy removal from the saucepan.
  5. To cook put the puddings in a large saucepan that allows a 1 inch (2.5cm) gap around the sides of the basin or mould. If using a basin stand on an upturned saucer or trivet. Add boiling water to two thirds of the way up the side of the mould or basin. Cover the saucepan with a close fitting lid or double thickness of foil. Simmer the round pudding for 6 hours and the basin pudding for 4 hours topping up with extra boiling water as required.
  6. Leave pudding to cool. Round pudding: remove from the mould and wrap in greaseproof paper and foil. Basin pudding: replace the greaseproof paper and foil covering. Store all puddings in a cool, airy place.
  7. To reheat on Christmas day steam in the same way for 2 hours.


Seasonal Recipe: Roasted beetroot with honey and thyme

Beetroot is a much maligned veg usually considered only for pickling. This dish makes a very tasty alternative to roast potatoes, but can leave your kitchen looking like there has been a massacre. You know what beetroot is like. So please take care when preparing and serving this dish. Alternatively wear full radioactive fallout protection. That should do the job, although you will need to take the mask off to eat.

Ingredients: Serves 4

2lb (900g) small raw beetroot 2 tablespoons olive oil
8 whole unpeeled garlic cloves 8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons clear honey 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper  


  1. Preheat the over to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.
  2. Trim the beetroot discarding any stalks or roots. Wash and dry well and cut any larger sized beetroot in half.
    Place in a roasting pan with the oil, garlic, thyme sprigs and season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Roast for 45 mins, stirring once.
  4. Remove from the oven and stir in the honey, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water.
  5. Roast for a further 20-30 mins until tender and caramelised.
  6. If preferred, allow the beetroot to cool to room temperature and serve as an addition to salad.

Enjoy! - Lis Heriz-Smith


We must remember, every November
The men that were killed in wars.
We should buy a poppy, for those that died,
Who are buried on foreign shores
It is not only the dead we should remember
When we make our donation this November.
Those that were wounded need our help too,
They will get help thanks to you.
They can get help from the British Legion
There is a branch in every region
No one should make a fuss
About helping these men
Who fought for us.
Whether they fought in the first or second war,
In the Falklands or some other foreign shore,
They were proud of Britain
As we must be
They fought for us to keep us free.
We should all donate to their collection.
Many died giving us protection.
Some young people do not want to know,
They say it all happened so long ago.
Although they do not remember
Some of them will donate this November.

Peter Jones - Age Concern Member - Teynham and Lynsted - 2006

British Hedgehog Preservation Society


At this time of year the hedgehogs’ thoughts are turning to hibernation. Hedgehogs hibernate because during the winter months their natural food (slugs, snails, worms and insects) is in short supply. So they need to build up a good supply of internal fat in order to survive hibernation.

They also need to find a safe place in which to build their winter nest. However the tidy gardener is starting to rake up leaves and compost them or build bonfires. So gardeners do check any leaves and garden rubbish that you collect for hedgehogs and then re-check before setting light to them in case a hedgehog has taken up residence since they were collected.

Bonfires of course bring us to thoughts of bonfire night. It isn’t just our pets that are badly frightened but our wildlife as well – and worse. It is difficult to estimate how many hedgehogs perish around bonfire night, as their defence is to curl into a ball and stay put. Once the bonfire has gone out there is little evidence left. So if you are having a bonfire do check there is no wildlife in the bonfire on the day it is to be lit and if you find a hedgehog put it in a high sided box covered with a large towel until all the festivities of the evening are over and then it can be released. A dish of meat based dog or cat food would also be much appreciated. Better still attend a well-organised bonfire night, which should be a lot safer for our wildlife and us.

The problem with putting out cat food is that it might also attract the cats. Try using an upturned plastic box (a mushroom box or child’s toy box will do) with a 5”x 5” hole cut in the short side. This can be placed over the food and acts as a tunnel or room into which the hedgehog should be able to go but not the cats. Put a brick on the box to stop it being pushed aside. If you have a small hedgehog visitor then putting out food every night can be a lifesaver, as it will help him to fatten up for hibernation.

If you find a hedgehog in trouble or want some advice about them contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 (there is an answer phone out of hours directing you to carers for advice and a local contact). You might also like to look at their new web site

Christmas Trees 2006

We are very pleased to report that last year, thanks to your support, a total of £5,765 was raised for charities as a result of donations received for Christmas trees. As well as over 27 local parishes benefiting, we are able to make donations of £1,200 to both the National Kidney Research Fund and Cancer Research UK, also £560 to Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre.

This year in spite of the mid summer drought conditions there will again be a reasonable supply available of not only Norwegian but also Serbian Spruce (blue tinged with an upright habit). These coupled with the Frazer fir and some Blue Spruce (Pungens glauca) offer you a very good selection of trees ranging from 3ft to 10ft in height with a few in the 15-20ft range.

All you need to do is visit us, select and reserve a tree for collection nearer Christmas. The trees are growing and will not be cut or dug until collected so they will remain fresher for longer.

Trees will be available for selection from mid November. You are recommended to come early but please contact us in advance of your visit.

As a result of last year's donations, your parishes are receiving the following amounts:
Lynsted £45
Norton £50

Peter and Alison Howard


The Committee is concentrating on a general tidying up of the Playing Field and to this end it will be lobbying the two Parish Councils for the finance to achieve this.
We are at the moment having the poplar trees along the Frognal Lane boundary felled as they are proving very costly to be routinely trimmed and are mostly in a dangerous condition with the tree centres rotted away. It is intended to leave the stumps to allow growth of shoots, which can be trimmed at a reasonable height to form a windbreak.
We would bring to your attention that there are two legal entrances to the Playing Field which are both in Frognal Lane. The use of the entrances created by vandalism, trespassing through and damaging the farmer's crops is illegal. In our endeavours to improve the Playing Field and retain it under the present pressures for development we intend to repair the vandalised fencing to comply with the terms of our Tenancy Agreement. When this has been achieved we will inform the farmer of individuals seen walking through his crops to allow him to deal with.
The Management Committee will not hesitate to prosecute any person seen vandalising the fencing or other public property associated with the Playing Field.
We request the cooperation of parents in our endeavours by ensuring that if they own bolt or wire cutters that these cannot be readily accessed by their children, young or old, as these items have constantly been used in the deliberate destruction of sections of the fencing.
The Management Committee's hopes to return the Playing Field to a decent and respectable condition will as stated cost money and the only source of funding is from the Parish Councils. They in turn have only one source of funding and that is their parishioners. You can ensure that this money is not wasted or becomes an ongoing burden by helping to ensure that the Playing Field is used and treated with respect and is not the centre of anti-social behaviour.
In passing, may we draw your attention to the fact that whilst the Playing Field is readily available for the recreation of parishioners there is a body, The Teynham and Lynsted Sports Association, whose remit is to govern the use of the Playing Fields for organised sports clubs playing competitive sports.
At the moment the only organised sporting activity taking place is football, there is availability for properly organised and managed football clubs to utilise the pitches on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons.
Any interested club would not necessarily need to be a football club but would need to join the Association. The club would need to raise their own funds and be self-financing.

If you wish to use the Playing Fields as an organised club you should contact the Chairman of the Association, John Kemp, on [Tel.No.] for an initial discussion.
Please assist the Playing Fields Management Committee to continue to make this facility available to members of both Parishes for the foreseeable future.

Teynham Lynsted & Norton Horticultural Society

At the monthly meeting on Thursday October 5, Mrs Boyce spoke about the changing seasons at the Royal Horticultural Society's own gardens at Wisley, in Surrey. The talk was illustrated with slides, and as Mrs Boyce was a keen and long standing member of RHS, was able to show how the gardens have changed over the years. Gardening fashion, the weather and changing climate, and various other factors have a direct influence on the structure of gardens. Like many, she was gradually changing to digital presentations, but they were not ready yet, so she offered to come again when she  has "power point" and the new I.T. up and running. 
The next meeting, on November 2, is the AGM, which starts at 7.30pm in the Labour Hall, and will be followed by refreshments, to include cheese and wine. Most of the cups will not be awarded, because most of the shows this year have been cancelled.  All are welcome, whatever the level of expertise, whether experienced gardeners and newcomers with their first gardens, there are always new things to learn. For any further details, phone [Tel.No.]. - June Gooch


Thu 2 Teynham and Lynsted Horticultural Society AGM, 7.30 in the Labour Hall
Tue 7 Coffee Pop In, 10.30am Norton Village Hall
Wed 8 Lynsted Church Cleaning Working Party: The Church 9.15 am
Thu 9 The Gardeners Club, 7.30pm, Labour Hall
Sat 11 Remembrance Day
Sun 12 Remembrance Sunday Service, Teynham Church, 10.45am
Mon 13 Deadline for applications for affordable home in Lynsted
Wed 15 DEADLINE for December Issue
Wed 15 1940s Evening, 7pm Greenstreet Methodist Church
Thu 16 Drones meet Black Lion from noon
Thu 16 Faversham Music Club presents a concert by pianist Robert Scamardella, 8.00pm at the Queen Elizabeth’s School Faversham
Sun 19 River Praise, Lynsted Church, 6.30pm
Wed 22 Coffee and Tea afternoon, 2pm Greenstreet Methodist Church
Fri 24 Memorial Hospital League of Friends collection in the Forum, Sittingbourne
Sat 25 Memorial Hospital League of Friends collection in the Forum, Sittingbourne

Fri 1 Closing date for applications for Parish Council Clerk
Sat 2 Christmas Fair, Norton Village Hall, 10.00am to 2.00pm
Sat 2 Men of Kent Christmas Lunch 2.00pm (see page 5)
Mon 4 - Sunday 10 Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital League of Friends Bric a Brac and Gifts sale
Thu 7 The Gardeners Club, 7.30pm, Labour Hall
Wed 13 DEADLINE for January Issue
Wed 20 Lynsted Church Cleaning Working Party: The Church 9.15 am

Parish Council Clerk: Julia bows out.

Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council regrets to have to announce that Julia Kitt (formerly Julia Bradwell) has decided to offer her resignation as part-time Clerk. We understand that this is to enable her to spend more time with her two lively young daughters.

The Parish Council is hugely grateful to Julia for her seven-and–a half years of loyal service as a key member of the Parish Council team. Julia has generously offered to stay on until the end of the year, to allow us time to seek out a replacement.

Tom English - Chairman, Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council.

Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council. - Vacancy for a Part-time Clerk.

The Parish Council is seeking to appoint a part-time Clerk.

Hours: 5 per week. Salary rate: £7.85 per hour, plus expenses.

Duties include minute-taking, dealing with correspondence, preparation of financial records, dealing with enquiries from the public and advising the Parish Council.

If you are interested, please contact Julia on [Tel.No.] or Tom on [Tel.No.]. By email contact:

Closing date for applications: Friday 1st December, 2006.

Lichens - A Lynsted with Kingsdown Society Event Report

They are everywhere to be seen, but so often overlooked or dismissed as ‘part of the background’ but hardly “interesting”. On 16 September, Society members were treated to an education on just how much we have been missing.

Keith Palmer, our guest speaker and guide, explained that lichen are actually two plants - a fungus joined together with an alga (“mutualism” - a form of symbiosis in which both parts benefit). If you look very carefully at a cross-section, we learned that you can often see layers of fungus and alga. Lichens (pronounced with a hard “k” by those in the know!) can be found where ever they can gain a purchase - on trees, fences, weathered rocks and gravestones, even rusting metal and plastic bin lids!

Harmless - the weathering happened first, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that lichens cause deterioration in the gravestones. Nutrients are delivered by being dissolved in rain, and bird droppings together with photosynthesis. If you feel you must clean a tombstone to read an inscription, do so sparingly. Leave some lichen so it can continue to grow.

Breath deeply - Lichens are important because they tell you something about the quality of the air around us - in highly polluted towns (and in Victorian times when coal fired everything), lichens die. The rarest lichens need the kind of pure air you find in such places as Scotland or the Pacific seaboard of Canada! Lynsted was last surveyed in 1989 by Keith Palmer, when he found 25 varieties. Although he believes that a more detailed survey could uncover many more than this.

Keith’s talk was supported by a range of colourful and informative slides to help us understand the different types of lichen which fall into four categories. "Leprose" (powdery, random, simple), "crustose" (crusty), "foliose" (leaflike, reminds you a bit of seaweed; you can easily put your finger-nail under this type of lichen), and "fruticose" (shrubby; it has a single “holdfast” and branches away from its foothold). The fruticose type is the most pollution-sensitive type and more likely to occur in Scotland. Our churchyard does have at least one example of the foliose type, which suggests also that air quality is pretty good.

Reproduction - Keith explained that lichen reproduction can be fairly random. Sometimes relying on spores being dislodged as soredia (powdery dust) by rain, slugs, or snails, from fruiting bodies - such as happens with Caloplaca flavescens (orange/golden, radiating lobes, fruiting bodies showing as dots to the naked eye). If you have ever noticed that lichens often have darker centres and lighter edges, this is because the more mature lichen can support fruiting bodies (often deeper in colour) than the edge of the lichen, where the younger lichen growth is. Typically, a lichen grows around 1 millimetre per year (although the foliose ones can grow by up to 1 centimetre a year).

Identification - Keith told us that some can be identified by taste (bitter - not to be recommended except for identification purposes!). For the most part you have to get down and personal with a magnifying glass and particular chemicals to help identification. Although one example, called Cyphelium, has black spots that leave black dust on your fingertips if you touch them. The Graphis scripta has a very distinctive “squiggly” lichen (a bit like handwriting) and this one forms on trees. In his slides, Keith pointed to an Eagles Claw lichen - no prizes for guessing what shape the edges were of this lichen - the stuff of nightmares! If you want a good field guide to help with the more than one-hundred lichens on offer, Keith recommended a prolific specialist writer - Frank S. Dobson - “An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species” (published by The Richmond Publishing Company); or the out-of-print Observer Book of Lichens. Better still, attend a course through the Field Studies Council.

If this lecture and walk around the churchyard is ever offered again, I would thoroughly recommend it - I shall look at these humble, complex and beautiful plants with a bit more respect now. To reinforce this point, the Society has added a gallery of images taken from our Churchyard on the day - visit "Events" (or "Archive 2006") on - Nigel Heriz-Smith

Editorial Perambulations - Meanderings of mind as well as body

A true community effort I now realise the amount of community effort put into this newsletter. Once my job of compiling and editing the newsletter was done (and after proof reading by my husband - I just thought you ought to know who to blame for any typos) it was over to Ken Diamond, head honcho in the duplicating department. I don’t know if David realised how many people were congregating in his house in his absence. While Ken and Nigel pondered over a couple of problems with the duplicating machine, I was busy hacking into David’s computer to find the file that would give us the cover page. Once these problems were over Ann Diamond, head honcho in the refreshments and moral support department, thought a refreshing cup of tea would aid Ken in his work. Sadly the kettle blew a fuse. Enter Len Scott, head honcho in the fuse box department. The following day Kevin Barrett, deputy head honcho in the duplicating department, was kindly assisting Ken when a further duplicating problem developed. Enter Neville, head honcho in the correct button pressing department. Once the correct colour button was identified (it being covered in black ink made it hard to see that it was in fact blue) the newsletter duplication was completed. Enter Bob Baxter, head honcho in the wheelbarrow pushing and collating department. All pages were safely wheel barrowed over to the Community Room, where Bob’s team collated and distributed the newsletters to the team of deliverers. It was at this point that I found the down side of editing. I really look forward to the newsletter dropping on the mat each month. Sadly this month I knew exactly what was in it!
Where was I? Now, where was I when we were interrupted? Oh yes I was about to go to hospital and Lis was about to take over. I’m back among the active world now and am meeting Lis in a few days to sort out how we go from here. Before I’ve finished these pages the picture may be clearer.
Yes I’m back - with nothing but praise for the health and caring services. Indeed I am still under their wing for a week or two. It’s all been a remarkable journey. At the beginning of February I did not appear to have anything really wrong with me apart from the odd bit of arthritis here and there which came and went as fast it was diagnosed . A routine visit to my doctor passed with my turning down an offer of an X-ray for the twinges in an elbow and a hip as ‘they will only tell me I’ve got arthritis which I already know” I week or two later I sheepishly went back to my doctor to ask for an X-ray after all as I felt something was structurally wrong. X-rays, visit to the consultant, a thorough pre-op assessment and an appointment for the op followed in succession. I said last time I had an input into these pages, that the Health Service had served me well and now that I am out and nearly about again nothing has happened to change my view. That is not to say that all is right. At the ‘Maritime’ where I had my ’op’ they have eight theatres (so I was informed by a chatty anaesthetist just before he ’put me under’) working 24 hours seven days a week (so I was informed by an orderly collecting a patient on the Friday evening) and hope soon to have ten (supplementary information given by my chatty anaesthetist) but they are already planning to cut down the numbers of nursing staff servicing these operations in order to make ends meet financially (this information was gleaned by a fellow patient who got it from a member of staff). Seeing the existing staff now pushed to the limit it is difficult to see how fewer staff will cope with an increased ’output’.
But all is not gloom and doom. As my time in the hospital drew towards its end and I was deemed to be safe to be let loose into the world on crutches, I had discussions with a resident occupational therapist who decided that as I lived on my own I might benefit from a spell in a recuperative centre for a while to help me adjust to my new routine.. The place found for me, much to my initial chagrin, was rather along way from home – Sheerness to be exact - but my fears were immediately allayed by the excellent caring service obviously being provided. The purpose built building was a multi-purpose building and the ‘recuperative’ operation was in a small wing of no more than ten bedrooms and a lounge upstairs and a ‘therapy room’ rather like a school gymnasium, a little dining room, a kitchen and an office downstairs. The downstairs also housed the administration of the Swale arm of the ‘Rapid Response Team’ who I had already had a visit from before I had my operation and had already organised a raised bed and a raised loo as well as a suitable stool. Downstairs was also used as day centre for the residents of Sheerness. For £4 a day they could spend the morning and early afternoon there, have an excellent lunch and enjoy social activities. There were also hairdressing and chiropody services available. The remaining space upstairs was purely residential; some of the residents, sadly, had started in ‘recuperative’ care but had never quite made it home. Some were on ‘respite care’ – those normally looked after by family, who themselves needed a break.
Back Home The concept behind the ’rapid response team’ who seemed to be masterminding all the care I received since my op was in fact to keep people from having to be re-admitted to hospital. I think I was a little longer in recuperative care than intended as during the first week the occupational therapist who had to make a visit to my home with me only had her husband’s sports car available and in no way would I been allowed to travel cooped up in it! Eventually I got my home visit resulting in further equipment and adjustments to my home and an OK to return home.
Thanks I’ve dwelt rather long on my strange life at the moment and if you will forgive me I would like to dwell a little longer to record my thanks for all involved in my care before, during and after my op , starting with the nurses who stoically put up that very cantankerous octogenarian on the night of the day after my op and my fellow patients whose sleep I disturbed that night. However I must reserve my main thanks for the staff of the Centre for whom nothing was ever too much trouble. A time that had a very high element of boredom was not only alleviated by welcome visits by my friends who made the long trip to see me but by the constant attention from the staff and their many ‘cuppas’ and biscuits and enquiries after my welfare especially in the evening.
And more thanks This may also be the time to thank all my friends who visited me in hospital and at the Centre, to those who brought me fresh supplies of shorts and shirts. And those who fetched and carried me and to all who sent me all those wonderful cards. Thanks. David Bage


What a liberty! Call me old fashioned, but I like to be the one who decides who addresses me as ‘mate’, stresses Fred Nixon

Things have come to a sorry pass when a complete stranger asks me what I would like to be called. I was phoning up an insurance company to renew the annual buildings and contents cover and, after following the usual Dalek-like instructions to press a series of numbers I eventually made contact with a human voice. To my relief the ‘consultant’ introduced himself in broad Lancastrian tones as Darren (so far so good, I thought, at least I’m dealing with someone in this country and not being transferred to a remote call centre somewhere on the Indian sub-continent). He asked for ID, so I quoted the policy number, date of renewal and our address and phone number, adding ‘and the name is Nixon – Frederick James’, along with my date of birth.
Unfortunately there was a problem: although we had paid the previous year’s premium and had the receipt and policy document to prove it, the insurance company had no record on their computer. According to them, we had been without cover for the last year. Darren was obviously reluctant to accept that it was an error on his company’s part and the inference was that (a) I was an old duffer who didn’t know what he was talking about or (b) I was deliberately telling porkies to cover up my own failings. Darren was beginning to irritate me. Conscious of the warning that ‘calls may be recorded and used for training purposes’, I exercised great restraint and pointed out that we had been with the same insurers for many years. Darren must have sensed the terseness in my tones. ‘I’m sure I can sort this out for you,’ he said hurriedly. ‘Now, what would you prefer to be called - Frederick or Fred?’
This grumpy old man was about to explode and bellow ‘I don’t believe it!’ in true Victor Meldrew style. I counted to ten. ‘You can make it plain Mister,’ I barked down the phone. A chastened Darren continued very politely to sort things out, no doubt silently cursing his luck at having to deal with a miserable old devil who seemed to have it in for him because of his youth.
I don’t think that I was being particularly harsh on the lad. He should have known instinctively how to deal with people whatever their station in life. Those really to blame were teachers or parents who had failed to instruct him or demonstrate by their own personal example how to show basic respect, and not leave him floundering on the end of the phone line with a ridiculous ‘script’ compiled by his company’s training officer.
I’ve never insisted on being addressed as ‘sir’, but appreciate the courtesy when it’s extended to me. I like being humorously referred to as ‘young man’ or ‘young sir’, because these make me feel that there’s life in the old dog yet., but with ‘mate’, ‘pal’, ‘friend’ or ‘chum’ a lot depends on the way in which people use them. Our post girl is a nice, bright young thing and when she happily remarks, ‘A lot of bills this morning I’m afraid, mate’ I can’t take offence because she’s being friendly and commiserating with a fellow taxpayer and no disrespect is intended. ‘Guv’nor’ or ‘guv’ are good-natured greetings between equals, but I do object to being called ‘mate’ by over-egalitarian shop assistants or car park attendants who want to drive the point home that they’re just as good as me any day
It’s on occasions like these I long to give offenders a ticking off in the way James Robertson Justice might have done it in his role as Sir Lancelot Spratt in the British comedy Doctor films. I see it as being along the lines of: ‘Mate? Mate? Let’s get one thing clear, shall we? I am not your mate; I have never been your mate; and furthermore I have no intention whatsoever of ever becoming your mate!’ I have often fantasised about this, but alas, I haven’t the bottle to put it into action.
I have no trouble with being addressed as ‘pal’ or ‘chum’ by another man who’s just being friendly, but due to the flexibility of the English language these words, along with ‘friend’ can have the opposite meaning depending on the speaker. I remember years ago being addressed as ‘friend’ in a menacing manner by a stranger in a Woolwich pub; he was being anything but friendly after I inadvertently caused him to spill his mild and bitter by bumping into him at the bar.

If I’m lucky and kind women address me as ‘darling’, ‘sweetheart’ or ‘love’, I carry on my way with a spring in my step. I also adore other endearing forms of address such as ‘duck’ and ‘love’. But it’s different altogether when a pretty young thing calls me ‘sir’: sadly I realise that it’s out of respect for my advanced years. Ah well . . . . .


First, we would like to say thank you to the Lynsted Branch Men of Kent and Kentish Men for their generous donation to our funds and for the support they give to the Hospital .

The Fund raising continues as ever, August 21st ` 24th we were at the hospital selling second hand books, videos C.Ds & jigsaws resulting in £303. ( We would welcome donations of complete jigsaw puzzles)

The major event of the year was the Supper Cabaret Concert on September 8th at Tunstall Village Hall. With Alex Paylar playing the EL900 and the Trio of singers known as Stage Three. If you have not heard these four artists before you really have missed something great. This was the 4th year we have arranged this type of evening and once again proved to be very popular. and successful raising £650.00 Most of the audience had come every year, they enjoy it so much and those who came this year for the first time have already said they want tickets for next year 2007.
So we will be doing it all again 1st September 2007 same venue, same performers. Tickets are limited to 80 as usual so if you wish to come reserve your tickets S.A.P.

On November 24th & 25th you will see us in the Forum with our collecting boxes. Our final event for 2006 will be sale of Bric a Brac and Christmas Gifts at the Memorial Hospital for week December 4th to December 10th - Myra Scott

From The Vicarage - Doddington

Dear Friends

‘Remember, remember, the fifth of November' so begins the children's rhyme, but gunpowder, treason and plot is not the only thing we remember during the coming month. On the first of November we recall the Saints of old, those who have gone before us in the faith and in whose footsteps we follow. On the second of the month we have All Souls Day when we commemorate the faithful departed, recalling memories of loved ones who are no longer with us, those who were true to Christ in their generation and on the twelfth of November we will keep Remembrance Sunday, when we will give thanks for those who gave their life for their country, especially those who died during wars. We also remember service men and women who are currently engaged in serving our country, particularly those who are in Iraq and Afghanistan. We pray for their safety and also that they will be able to safely return home before too long.

November is a fit month for remembering. The lengthening nights and shorter days can have a melancholy feel. When standing by the embers of a bonfire on a cold, dark night the past seems close at hand. I wonder if our ancestors, centuries ago, used these dark nights to pass on the family legend to the next generation as they sat around the open fires in their homes; recalling the past to make a point in the present.

How we remember is very important. We can use the past in a negative way, to keep alive hatred and fear in the present. We can if we choose, remember in a more positive way, by looking at the past and learning from it. We can remember in order not to make the same mistakes again. And, of course, week by week at our services of Holy Communion we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He gave his life that we might live and have the promise of eternal life.

Remembering is very important, not because we want to live in the past, but because we need to learn from it.

Yours in Christ, George Baisley

The Norton Back Page

Sometimes I feel like a grumpy old man (not too many comments please!). On giving the matter further contemplation the correct description is probably ‘mystified old man’.

In the late nineties (1997 to be more precise) many of the things that had been taught, both in school and in wider life, were demonized as being ‘unfair’, ‘discriminatory’, ‘out of touch’, ‘corrupt’ and so on. Cool Britannia was the thing.

In the recent period the following pronouncements have ‘come forth’.
‘the standard of passes at A and O level have not been dumbed down but we are going to toughen the exams’
‘we lowered the classification of cannabis but the school based anti drug campaign has failed’
‘the 1979 and later reforms of the NHS have produced a mess – it must be sorted out’……..etc etc.

Here are a few pointers from an old tract that give a direction and consistency and may assist in these specious times:

Life is love….give it Life is a struggle……..fight it
Life is a gift…..accept it Life is sorrow….overcome it
Life is a puzzle…..solve it Life is loneliness…..face it
Life is duty…..perform it Life is mystery…….unfold it
Life is a it Life is beauty………praise it
Life is a goal….achieve it Life is a song……….sing it
Life is an adventure…dare it Life is friendship...treasure it
Life is an opportunity…take it Life is a promise……fulfil it


Life is a journey…..complete it

As a guide would this de-mystify things? Certainly it would avoid the situation that befell Dr Spock of child raising fame. He recanted late in life and said that most of his rules were wrong. Millions of mothers were devastated. Oh dear, it’s happening again!