Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The  Everyday story of Goostrey in the 1970s...

Here is another episode of Granada TV Goostrey the Village, courtesy of Ken Morris who loaned the discs for Dave Burnham to weave his magic to make them available to view on social media - and also big thanks to James Lockett, originally from Goostrey, who shared an episode from his home in the US.
Some of the footage is a repeat of the first episode previously on blogs from the bongs but with fewer edits.

Click or copy this link to access: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo8ZiNxVGLQ


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Yester House undergoing restoration

 The man and his wife on their picture-book lawn looked up as we sauntered
past and were puzzled when I said we hadn't been able to see
Main street of Gifford with parish church

the big house. "Och, ye jest go along the pathway. Nay one will bother," said the man.  There's noo law of trespass in Scotland." I was in Gifford in East Lothian, with my pal and former work colleague Mike Arron, hoping to get a glimpse of Yester House, a baronial mansion set among 500 acres of estate and woodland. The way in we found is barred by enormous iron gates and private signs since it was bought by Gareth Wood, the son of Sir Ian Wood, the oil tycoon, and his wife,  Nicola, a former Miss Scotland.  We didn't know of this of course until we Googled the estate  to discover it is undergoing a major injection of funding  for restoration and modernisation on a massive scale following its sale for a reputed £8 million -  half its asking price of eight years ago.  Still, at the price the 14-bedroom mansion is labelled as the country's most expensive house and we were also intrigued to learn that it had even caught the eye of Lady Gaga. We could have taken a footpath through the estate for some five miles but in the event, short on time and eager to explore this delightful village and more of  an off-beat area of Scotland, we abandoned thoughts of viewing the historic pile, trespass or not, nor did we venture inside its two fine hostelries, the Tweeddale Arms and the Goblin Ha' supposedly named after an underground
Square at Gifford

Story of Gifford on the street 
chamber of the 13th century ruined Yester castle on the estate. Instead we
strode up the gentle slope of the broad village street to the brilliant white painted church whose origins begin with its consecration in 1241. The church and surrounding graveyard are immaculately maintained.   A bell  dated 1492 -  significantly the year Columbus reputedly discovered America  - and rung every Sunday is all that remains of the original church which was replaced in the 18th century. The list of ministers are recorded from 1572 but of  particular interest to Americans taking time off from attractions of Edinburgh to visit the Scottish coastal plain is John Witherspoon. He is commemorated in a large plaque on a wall near the church as the only clergyman to sign the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. He become president of Princeton College,New Jersey, in 1768 and was the first Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of America. A little peckish after our  cultural venture into Gifford's past, the Lanterne Rouge, from the outside an unpretentious cafe beloved of cyclists, was the ideal point to finish the visit with two bacon rolls and a large pot of tea. We heard it had been a bit of a "greasy spoon" in the past but now under the ownership of Cameron McVean  it sparkles, becoming a must eat place for visitors and locals alike. East Lothian  is largely off the radar of many visitors to Scotland. It is relatively undiscovered - except I am told by the Dutch - unlike more famous Highland destinations, but within a compact area south east of Edinburgh flanking the southern edge of the Firth of Forth, is some of the most spectacular coastline to be found in Britain. Meadows and fields where crops are sown and reaped virtually to the edge of the sea offer amazing vistas. Historic towns and attractions abound, even a racecourse at Musselborough, for aircraft enthusiasts the National Museum of Flight, a brace of castles, and even the ubiquitous distillery where tours end with a wee dram of a Glenkinchie single malt. And for good measure there is Preston Mill owned by the National Trust of Scotland with the last working water wheel in East Lothian. One of the furthest communities along the A1 from Edinburgh and with a direct rail link,Dunbar is in attractive commuter distance from the capital and, so far, unlike fashionable North Berwick to the north east has lower property prices for those intending to re-locate or retire to the coast, a point not lost on developers. Like its nearest inland neighbour Haddington, a royal Scottish burgh and county town of Haddingtonshire, it has a wide central market area, with local shops and a surprising amount of fine dinning for its size in the harbour area. Off the coast is the Bass Rock, a white-capped island spattered with millions of droppings of 150,000 nesting gannets in the breeding season, and described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the wildlife centres of the world.
Gated entrance to Yester House
 Yester Castle in 19th century
+How to get there: Fly to Edinburgh,  look for direct trains to towns like Dunbar, or simply head by car to East Lothian.
Old village pump
Travel tip: If like me you live within easy access to Manchester Airport rail station, start the journey from there to destinations in Scotland and the North.
More information : Search the internet for visiteastlothian.org
*Pictures copyright John Williams. Click twice to enlarge.
Sun setting over Dunbar copyright Mike Arron

Harvesting near St Abbs, East Lothian

Fields down to the sea

Storm gathers over Dunbar harbour
Sheltered harbour at St Abbs

Sunset at the "Bridge to Nowhere" Dunbar
Pic: Mike Arron

Saturday, 17 September 2016


  Smiles all round  when veteran gooseberry grower Terry Price was presented with a prized plate by  Alan Garner, the  author, at his home in  Blackden,Goostrey.  
Alan hands over the plate
 The blue and white plate painted with a  gooseberry was Terry's reward for winning Goostrey Gooseberry Society's show in July with his Just Betty premier berry of 24 pennyweights and 22 grains.
  And Terry, competing for more than 40 years, will put the plate alongside an identical one at his home inTwemlow Green, the first to be awarded by the trust following his success  as the top grower  in a previous show.  
 The plate is funded by the Blackden Trust  based at Alan and his wife Griselda's home, the  Medicine House and Toad Hall, and is named the Frank Carter Memorial Plate in recognition of the late grower's prowess as a competitor and grower over many years in raising new varieties of gooseberries, including Terry's Just Betty entry.
  Many of the named varieties shown in gooseberry shows at Goostrey and in the surrounding area are from stock originally cultivated by Frank, who lived at Blackden Firs, only a short distance across the fields from where the presentation took place today.
 The winner of the plate must have won the show with a berry originally cultivated by the champion grower.
 Terry, who is the show's president, gained the premier spot with the smallest premier berry he has grown after one of the worst seasons on record.
The prized plate
    "I didn't really didn't think it had a chance of winning the show," he says.
Griselda, who is also a grower and showing member at Goostrey, cares for an archive of gooseberry cultivars in her garden at the Blackden Trust.
Click images to enlarge

Thursday, 15 September 2016


What an amazing find is this relic of charabanc travel before or just after the second World War. My pal Mike Arron, now living in Dunbar, found this promo board being used to cover part of his loft floor when he moved from Hale. It now sits in a corner of his daughter Clare's Scottish home. Similar outings are still organised by a village group in Goostrey but I bet they cost more than a few bob. For anyone born after decimalisation - and because my brain can't cope these days with translating real money into pence - the sum of 20/- (shillings) equals £1.00. So even in those days what a bargain was a day trip! 
The image should enlarge with a double click.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


Tour of Britain arrives in the village

I think we ought to give three cheers to Holmes Chapel today for the great reception it gave to the Tour of Britain cycle race. The village had a kind of carnival atmosphere that did it proud - with the centre thick with crowds to welcome the tour on its third stage. Villagers from Goostrey also joined crowds on the A50 to watch the event. Here are some amazing pictures that tell the story better than a million words courtesy of Cheshire Portrait Photography. www.Cheshire Portrait Photography.com via Love Goostrey. Pictures on A50 courtesy of Jenny Mills
Follow the LINK BELOW for pictures on Love Goostrey


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Goostrey 1975


This is without a doubt my scoop of the week - an episode from the Granada series about Goostrey the Village in the mid-seventies. Most of the main characters are now a little older, or long since passed on to other pastures, but it contains scenes of schoolchildren at the time, many of whom will still live today in the village. It is a real treat see the village as it was in the midst of its expansion to its present size, and a valuable memory of Walter Carter, a character I knew well and of the like who do not exist today. I am posting courtesy of James Lockett, a former Goostrey lad who emigrated with his parents, Mike and Julie Lockett and brother John and sister Jo to America. Julie the first woman member and secretary of Goostrey Gooseberry Society features in the film. The series has been televised again in recent years but I guess is still unseen by many villagers. Anyone interested in Goostrey or country life will find it a fascinating piece of social history. Thanks James for bringing back old memories. If there are any other episodes out there it would be great to have them edited so they can go on the blog and facebook.
Click on video to play

Saturday, 3 September 2016


Arriving to pick up at the Red Lion, Goostrey
It may have been a tad damp today but it was good for christening the launch of the new bus on the Goostrey-Twemlow Green-Holmes-Sandbach circular route. And the village's shopping trolly-dollies will be in ecstasy! The 29-seater has lots of room for those push-on shoppers, and driver Lee tells me it can be reconfigured to reduce the seating to cater for a variety of purposes. After 13 years of trundling through rural Cambridgeshire, the white Dennis service bus has been acquired by Tomlinson Travel for our village service. I am told that regular passenger Terry Price almost missed it - he failed to recognise the new vehicle as it arrived at Twemlow Green! Now it is hoped more villagers will be persuaded to join the growing number of passengers using the service, especially those eligible for free bus passes. Many have already discovered it is better by bus than the car for a quick trip to Holmes Chapel and Sandbach.  If you see the 319 bus and want a ride just put up your hand if you are not near one of the official stops in the village....It is as easy as that.
Timetable for the service
Picture shows the bus arriving at the Red Lion, Goostrey.
*Double click on images to enlarge


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Ian Godfrey

A man of faith, humility and great courage in the face of health issues in his final weeks was how the Rev Ian Godfrey was remembered in tributes at his funeral in Goostrey. 
  But even as he was desperately poorly in a Manchester hospital, Ian was already planning for his work in the parishes once he was discharged, said the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, the Venerable Ian Bishop.
Leaving Goostrey for Swettenham
 The Vicar of St Luke's, Goostrey, and St Peter's, Swettenham, Ian's death stunned villagers in the twin communities. St Luke's was packed with family, close friends, parishoners and clergy for the service relayed to an overspill congregation gathered in the churchyard. For the committal at St Peter's church, Swettenham, Ian was transferred to a  carriage drawn by two black-plumed cobs to spend two minutes outside the church before the service.
 The formality of the 80-minute  funeral service conducted by the archdeacon and presided over by Dr Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester, was also an occasion of celebration for the life of Ian.
 A knot of clergymen  led by Dr Forster processed to the church from Goostrey school in advance of the funeral service on a day blessed with sunshine.  And almost at the moment the service began a thrush, apparently hidden from view in the churchyard's 1,000-year-old yew tree, broke into song as if making its own tribute to a much loved vicar.
 Ian, who was 59, moved to Goostrey in March 2011, with his wife, Audrey and their daughter Louise from Mill Hill, London. Their two older children, Matthew and Christopher, continued to live in Mill Hill.
Ian is carried from St  Luke's
 Ian joined Barclay's Bank after leaving school and after a successful career spanning 35 years, he was a corporate director when he made the decision to become a full-time minister.  He was ordained priest in June 2002 at Hampstead Parish Church and was inducted as vicar in April 2011 at St Luke's, Goostrey, where his arrival was described as a "breath of fresh air..."
A section of the overspill congregation
The Rev Pat Jones,a friend and team vicar of Thatcham, spoke of Ian's life, his love of football, cricket, singing, the fact he was nicknamed "Goozie"  from primary school and sometime quirky aspects of his personality, such as being hooked on train spotting, and he was a devoted family man, with Audrey as his rock. "We all have fond memories of  Ian and can share in his humility, courage and faith". 
  Venerable Bishop said Ian served his communities beyond all expectations.
 "Time spent with him was time gained not lost," said the archdeacon.
Ian with Bishop Richard  Courtesy London.org
 "He was genuinely a faithful man and even when struggling with his health, he would not give in. He never bemoaned his health issues. A week before he died he was planning his return to work." Canon Martin Poll, chaplain of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, a close friend of Ian and his wife, and a former curate of John Keble Church, read the gospel during the service.
 Ian was at Goostrey Rose Festival where he chatted and joked with villagers and was at St Luke's for the parish communion service at the end of July. It was also in July that he travelled to John Keble Church for the patronal festival where he administered the chalice, and afterwards attended evensong officiated by the Bishop of London, the Rev and Rt Hon. Richard Chartres, who ordained Ian. 
*Double-click images to enlarge

Thursday, 11 August 2016

 Villagers mourn  death of their parish priest.

The Rev Ian Godfrey, vicar of St Luke's Church, Goostrey and St Peter's Church,
Ian Godfrey
Swettenham, has died at Manchester Royal InfirmaryIan moved to Goostrey in March 2011 with his wife Audrey and their daughter Louise from Mill Hill, North West London. Their two older children Matthew and Christopher, both with established careers,continued to live in Mill Hill.  He was a non stipendiary minister serving John Keble Church, Edgware where he had been attending with his parents and brother since the 1960s before coming to the village.
St Luke's Church from the Bongs
After leaving school, Ian joined Barclays Bank and following a successful career spanning 35 years he was a corporate director when he made the decision to become a full time minister. He was ordained priest in June 2002 at Hampstead Parish Church and was inducted as vicar in April 2011 at St Luke's, Goostrey.
   His death on Sunday announced initially on the Love Goostrey website, stunned villagers who had chatted and joked with him at Goostrey Rose Festival only several weeks ago following an absence from the pulpit due to illness.
A vicarage tea party
  One of his last services was a special celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday attended by a packed congregation including the village's scouts and guides, cubs and beavers.
  Earlier this year, one of the highlights of his ministry was the visit of the Church of England's first woman Bishop, the Right Reverend Libby Lane, the Bishop of Stockport, to officiate at St Luke's annual Plough Service held at the Orchards Farm, Twemlow. 
  Parishioners have spoken of their sadness at the loss of Ian who arrived in the village to live at the Vicarage in Blackden Lane as a "breath of fresh air" as he took on the challenge of looking after the church and its flock in both parishes.
The Bishop of Stockport at Plough Sunday
  "Ian was an amazing man and quickly settled into his work in the parish," said a member of the congregation. "You could hardly keep up with him as he involved himself in church life and village activities. He was particularly keen on visiting people and dropping into the meetings of organisations involving all ages.
  "When he became ill he was still very determined to carry out his duties even though at times he insisted on doing them on crutches or from a wheelchair. 
"He was certainly one of the most courageous and lovely individuals one could wish to meet. He will be sadly missed by the parish both here and in Swettenham."
  Ian's funeral will be held at St Luke's Church on Friday, August 26 at 2pm followed by interment at St Peter's.

Saturday, 30 July 2016


Terry with his winning berry
Junior champ Joe Banks Williams
     A three-times reigning champion lost his crown at Goostrey Gooseberry Show to the lightest berry put on the scales for the top trophy since the mid-nineteen eighties. Grower Peter Goode, whose premier berry has been the heaviest in the past three years, lost the title to veteran Terry Price, winning the show for the ninth time. But Terry's berry, a Just Betty variety tipping the scales at 24 pennyweights 22 grains, was a mere tiddler compared to weights for the heaviest berry in previous shows of  more than 30 pennyweights.Terry, the show president, predicted that  weights would be down on other years because of the  combination of heat, rain and cold during the peak of the growing season. "It was the smallest premier berry I've ever had, and I  didn't really think it had a chance of winning the show," he
Shows from the past at the Crown
  "It has been the worst growing season for years with berries bursting all over the place."  Terry, who has several times won the Mid-Cheshire Association cup as the top grower,  had the satisfaction of winning prizes in almost every class and carried off six silver trophies to put on show at his home in Twemlow Green. Peter, raising his berries on an allotment  at Byley managed only eighth place in the challenge for the premier award with  a Montrose berry weighing 18 pennyweights 8  grains. He was expected to win a top prize again at this year's show at the Crown Inn, but Peter blamed his lack of success on a  late hard frost in May which ravaged his crop. The poor season was confirmed when Kelvin Archer was unable to raise a Montrose gooseberry for the Lower Withington show of more than 30 pennyweights 18 grains compared to his world record Millennium berry in the Guinness Book of Records of 41 pennyweights 11 grains.  Another long-time grower Nick Hassall was pipped into second place with his Montrose at 24 pennyweights 11 grains and third was Emma Williams, the show secretary, with a Lloyd George of 23 pennyweights 4 grains. 
  Emma also won a trophy with the only triplets in the show, a trio of Newton Wonders weighing 36 pennyweights 8  grains, and Griselda Garner from Blackden topped the scales with Just Betty twins at 30 pennyweights 16 grains.
 In the under sixteens class, Joe Banks Williams, aged seven, collected a silver cup for a Woodpecker berry of 16 pennyweights 5 grains.
*Double click images to enlarge

A light-hearted moment in serious business!

Sunday, 24 July 2016


A Chairman berry holds on
Kelvin Archer with the world's heaviest gooseberry
   A battle-of-the-bulge is being fought about these parts as rival gooseberry growers defend their crops against a massed invasion of sun, heat and rain threatening the growing fruit. The sudden burst of sunshine gave a bumper harvest a ripening spurt  some weeks too early for the annual gooseberry shows starting this week-end and continuing into next month in a string of villages.  But  growers fear there will be no new records to be set this year unless they can stem the attack from the elements and the added pest of swarms of wasps poised to do their worst among the bushes.  Growers here in Goostrey, where one of the biggest shows is being held this Saturday (July 30) at the Crown Inn, reported a major attack of mildew in June. Now having saved their berries from the ravages of the  disease many of the most promising juicy heavyweights are bursting without warning as a result of the mix of sunshine and showers over the past weeks. Terry Price, veteran champion grower and president of Goostrey Gooseberry Society, says he does not believe there will be many berries left that could tip the scales at over 30 pennyweights unless growers are very lucky.  "Berries are bursting like hell," he said. "What I have seen so far suggests to me if you have a premier berry of between 27 and 29 pennyweights it could be a show winner."   Gooseberry growers by nature, however, are a canny breed and really never like to divulge to rivals how their berries are progressing,
and only on show day when their wax-sealed boxes are opened for the weigh-in is the truth revealed. The shows may be a quaint village ritual from the past but  to enthusiasts it is serious business with big prize-money and silver trophies as the spoils to be won.  Russell Burns, patron of the Yellow Broom restaurant, Twemlow,and a Goostrey show sponsor, is reportedly nurturing a "real whopper" of a berry on his bushes but it will be touch and go if it survives for his Swettenham show a week on Saturday.  "It is a really nice berry and I reckon if  he is lucky and it doesn't burst it could win the Mid-Cheshire Association trophy for the heaviest this year," said Terry.
  The competition among growers to produce the heaviest gooseberry began in the 18th century and the oldest existing show is at
Egton Bridge in Yorkshire founded in 1800. They were once held all over the industrial north of England but, apart from the Egton 
Triplets waiting to be picked
show, only eight survive, all in Cheshire, at Goostrey, Holmes Chapel, Allostock, the Crown of Peover, Over Peover (The Dog), Lower Withington, Marton and Swettenham Club.  The Blackden Trust based at the home of author Alan Garner and his wife, Griselda, near Jodrell Bank, maintains the official gooseberry archive of the many-named varieties of trees.  Local grower Kelvin Archer, a gardener at Rode Hall, is the present holder of the title for the heaviest gooseberry. His Millenium-named berry tipped the scales in 2013 at 41 pennyweights 11 grains to earn him a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
  The Goostrey show at the Crown, like all others,  is open to the public when the sealed boxes are opened at 1 pm for weighing and the
open show for juniors under 16.

Monday, 18 July 2016


   He was named Ronald Edward Carbutt but to me and all of his friends and family he was known as plain Eddie. He was noted for his warmth and humour and for the flat cap that symbolised his country roots when it was worn by one of his grandchildren at  his funeral service today in Goostrey. Eddie was a person you instinctively liked, friendly, helpful and always with a welcome at his home at Blackden Firs where he cared for a large garden and land. The packed congregation at St Luke's Church was a celebration of his life led by Carol, his wife of fifty-one years, and a tribute to his many friendships in 79 years since his birth in Marton. And it was also fitting that Eddie's picture chosen for the service sheet was of one of his proud moments when he won another trophy for his legendary prowess as a competitive gooseberry grower. He was previously a member of Goostrey Gooseberry Society and still held the record for the heaviest berry at the annual show, a Woodpecker of 37 pennyweights and 14 grains grown in 1991. In more  recent years he continued to compete at the Swettenham show.  His varied working life included roles as a mole catcher, gardener, farm worker and running his own turf haulage business. Above all though he was one of the nicest of people you would wish to say was a friend. The service was followed by cremation at Vale Royal Crematorium.  
*Double-click image to enlarge

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Margaret and Jonathan in the new store
  Like Mark Twain who famously quipped a report of his death was greatly exaggerated, our own Margaret Kettle is proving there is a lot of life still to live - even as one of Goostrey's oldest villagers a few months off her 94th birthday! When Margaret's "Aladdin's Cave"  appeared to close several weeks ago, it was feared the doughty shopkeeper had finally  locked up for good. But nothing of the sort as it reopened today (July 4) with Margaret still behind the counter in a refurbished shop. Now renamed Goostrey Village Store, complete with post office, groceries,  bread,  fresh meat and hardware, the wheel has turned full circle to the days when the community was little more than 500 souls and there were many more shops.  Its transformation is due to Jonathan Royle, of Plumley Village Stores, who took over Goostrey sub post office when it was threatened with closure, and has now invested his faith and resources in a return to shopping locally. And Margaret, born and bred in the community at Roadside Farm, Barnshaw, will remain very much a lively fixture - although  she can no longer boast she sells everything from a pin to an elephant - continuing a role that began with her late husband, George, in 1960.  "I am certainly not retiring and I will just disappear one of these days," says Margaret. "I have been modernised, and have been dragged shouting and screaming into the modern age." Those of a certain maturity in Goostrey will remember when the couple ran  not only the post office  but sorted the mail at 5.30 am behind the shop in Main Road and employed a team of posties. It was a real rural service and I doubt a letter was ever  delivered incorrectly. I then lived in Mill Lane and  was always aware when George  delivered the post - the whiff of the smoke from his ever present cigarette wafted up the stairs through the letter box!  In recent times,some 29 years after the post office moved elsewhere in the village, Margaret came to the rescue when it faced the axe and offered a corner of her  shop as a branch of Plumley post office. Now she is looking enthusiastically to her new role as arguably the oldest shop assistant in the country in premises built for £300 in the mid 19th century on land known as the Acreage and her home for more than 50 years. It has served the village as a bakery, a shippon for five cows, stabling for horses and an abattoir before Kettles emporium. Jonathan says the shop will be an addition to other businesses in the village and not in competition. Griselda Garner, wife of author Alan Garner, who lives at Blackden, was among villagers at the official launch." She said:"It is a fantastic addition to the village and I hope it will be well supported."
Margaret cuts the tape to launch the new village store
*Mark Twain, the American writer who died April 21, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut, was in London in 1895, when he was rumoured to be on his deathbed, provoking his famous response.
+This site: www.blogsfromthebongs.blogspot.com

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Double click on images to enlarge.


Winston Churchill is claimed to be the architect of the European Union. But even the great wartime leader would not have foreseen his baby grow into such an overbearing middle-aged bedfellow in  28 nations that we, one of the club, are being asked today (Thursday) to remain or leave. I've hesitated to declare my hand. Now, having looked at the pros and cons, I fear the only alternative is that we must go, sadly Mr Cameron's interview on BBC Today on Wednesday morning being the deciding factor. I just cannot believe that the fine tuning of our relationship with the EU  he claims to have achieved will be rubber-stamped when the proposals come up for approval. And even if they were sanctioned we would still face the prospect of the European steamroller continuing to crush our opposition to any future regulation and legislation we disliked. I know many of the great, good and sometime worthy have declared they will be voting to stay. Let's face it, though, many  have vested interests, notable among them that champion of the consumer, Martin Lewis. He says on the balance of probability, it is more likely we'll have less money in our pockets if we vote to leave. Others, like Richard Branson, say leaving the EU would be very, very damaging to Great Britain. Well, all I can say, I have a lot of time for both, but am reminded that one made a mint from his money saving website, and the other is a billionaire magnet whose lifestyle on Necker Island in the Caribbean is far remote from the daily grind of the majority on our small island! Someone asked the other day: What has the EU done for you? I  really can't say - although I do know until recently it was illegal to be sold goods in pounds, only kilos were allowed, the plan to replace miles with kilometres on our roads was also defied, but, frustratingly, in some authorities over-zealous Europhiles continue to maintain kilometre footpath signs, and I am confused because I still think in inches and fahrenheit  not celsius These are all pretty petty matters. It is what lies ahead should cause our concern if the majority vote to stay at the table, and we fail to regain the right to plot our own destiny. 

Friday, 3 June 2016


Look closely and see a man in a hat?

Must be a beast with face above?
I've been doing a bit of wall-gazing purely in the interests of tracking Goostrey's long departed graffiti artists. Even the Romans left their mark on monuments as widespread as Hadrian's wall and the Colosseum. So it is a fair bet the village's old-time wall whittlers will have left their mark, too. Not surprisingly, the stonework surrounding the old churchyard of Saxon-founded St Luke's  has provided a fertile hunting ground. Sure, I have to admit, it takes a lot of imagination to see images carved and drawn on the ancient stone, but I swear I can see pictures and words, if only barely visible to the naked eye. I have no evidence to support the theory, but my belief is the stone wall is recycled from the old timber-framed church torn down in the 18th century. It could have formed the base on which the timbers stood, but let's not speculate. Some of the pictures here I'm convinced show long lost images on the stonework. Anyone interested in taking a look might let me know what they think and confirm I am not seeing things! If I am right perhaps they should be recorded for posterity by someone who knows a thing or two about old graffiti.
 Wroxeter, Shropshire, where Romans left their mark!
*Click the pictures to enlarge

Saturday, 28 May 2016


Peter  Buxton
Peter Buxton, a champion gooseberry grower and doyan of the Marton show, has died at his home in Congleton. One of the leading figures among Mid-Cheshire growers,Peter, who was in his eighties, lived for most of his life at Pump Cottage, Oak Lane, Marton.He moved over a year ago following his wife's death and had been in ill-health for sometime.
A friend said: "Peter was a brilliant grower and won many awards over the years. He was a countryman through and through and you could not have met a nicer person. He was an extremely good grower and  was always prepared to pass on his knowledge to novices and newcomers."
Peter died peacefully in his sleep on Friday.
*His funeral is to be held on Wednesday, June 15,
at Marton church, at 10.30 am.

Friday, 13 May 2016


Cottage and outbuildings
A near derelict cottage at Blackden, Goostrey, hit a new auction record for the area when it was sold today.  The 116-year-old Woodside Cottage with 5.67 acres went for  £802,000 - almost twice its guide price  of  between £450,000 and £500,000 - at a sale by Meller Braggins in Knutsford.  
Jodrell Bank just across the fields
 The brick-built cottage  and extensive outbuildings close to Jodrell Bank radio telescope was offered with potential for complete modernisation but the name of the purchaser, a developer or individual, is unknown at this time.The property in open countryside is locally said to be the last of its kind to be available for sale in the area.
 In the 1970s similar period cottages and land in need of renovation were  auctioned in Goostrey and surrounding villages for between £20,000  and £30,000, and the sale of Woodside reflects the  unsatisfied demand for property with the potential for renovation or demolition and  rebuilding as so-called mansion-style homes. It is in easy commuter reach of Manchester, the M6 motorway and Manchester International Airport, but its position in open countryside and Jodrell Bank means the surrounding land is unlikely to gain planning consent for house building.
+Click on pictures to enlarge