Friday, 1 June 2012



THE TALE OF THE HEDGE IS A REAL TREASURE

I’ve been a little bothered with an irritating eye infection. So writing has been out of the question. But now I feel motivated – given some medication – to resume where I left off a couple of months ago.  Like most would-be bloggers inspiration is the spur. And it has come from an unlikely source – a book about hedges. I know it doesn’t appear a subject to inspire. Like the author Hugh Barker, however, I’ve had a lifelong obsession for hedgerows that straddle the British countryside!  And when Hugh’s book was abridged on BBC4  last week I just had to get a copy for myself.
I was not disappointed. I’ve barely put Hedge Britannia down since it came by courier this week. Its highly readable text has reminded of boyhood when many an hour was spent following the line of hedgerows dividing the fields near where we lived. They were the source of adventure and I guess an all too vivid imagination in wartime Britain of what might lurk or be hidden among their roots. I once found a cache of coins (not ancient sadly) but the few half crowns and shillings were a fortune to a nine-year-old! How they got there I could only guess; possibly the proceeds of a robbery or, more likely, slipped from the pocket of a toiling labourer as he ate his “snap” protected from the heat of the day by the hedge canopy. I’ve no recollection what I did with the hoard. I reckon I must have spent it!
Many years later in Goostrey I made an exciting discovery (well, it was to me) in the hedge of my bottom field. There, firmly gripped between two ancient branches, was a large, old fashioned beer bottle. I can imagine some labourer long since dead would have left it there perhaps a century ago as he cleared the hedge bottom. Having released it with some difficulty from the grip of the hedge, it is now among the collection of broken pottery, bits of old iron, bottles and horseshoes that I’ve rooted up from the land (and now helped by two enthusiastic grandchildren) in search of treasure !
Since last in blog mode, the village has been pleased to see The Crown reopen under new managers – and by all accounts (and a brief visit) five or six types of real ale and a new menu are now on offer. Little has been done in the way of refurbishment, much to the relief of regulars who fear for its character, but word has it that eventually it is likely to become more of a pub grub establishment than at present.
Goostrey is poised to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this week-end with a Big Jubilee Picnic on Sunday at the Pavilion Field, Booth Bed Lane
. It promises to be a jolly village affair with brass band, barbecue, balloon race and presentation of jubilee medals to local children. Let it be a rain free day!

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