Welcome to the third Bugle of the Lockdown, reporting news and views relating to life in Bowsden and district. Published by the Editor every two months, the Bugle is an independent news-sheet seeking to inform its readers and reflect their opinions. Contributions from readers are always welcome and this month we feature some thoughts on forest gardens and setting-up an informal plant exchange by Bowsden resident Claire Smith.
The October Bugle should be published in late September so please let the Editor have any material by Wednesday 23rd (phone 01289 388 543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
As we entered 2020, few if any could have foreseen what would follow. Reports from China about a ‘flu-like illness in one major city hardly made our news bulletins but only weeks later were replaced by increasingly onerous restrictions on what we could all do and where. What we now know as Covid-19 has produced at least 16 million cases world-wide with over 0.6 million recorded deaths. It is clearly the biggest challenge to health and social care in living memory.
It is too soon to predict what will happen next but as calls for the further relaxation of Lockdown are made the likelihood of more cases increases. We have already seen the re-introduction of restrictions in Leicester and other Local Authorities now have powers to impose their own responses should they be required.The
requirement to wear masks in shops was introduced on 24th July although many people had already begun to use them. Originally intended to protect others, there is new evidence that their use can reduce the severity of symptoms should one become infected. Suitable masks can be bought in a number of shops and supermarkets but Lowick Village Stores can supply disposable masks free (with a small donation to a charity). Many people are now using washable masks, some home-made ones being fashion statements in their own right.
More relaxations of Lockdown will be made from 1st August and include the re-opening of leisure centres, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos, indoor performances in theatres and music venues may resume as may close contact beauty treatments such as facials. Also wedding receptions with up to 30 people may now be held.
The Demise of the Bowsden Black Bull
The Demise of the Bowsden Black Bull was almost inevitable when Northumberland County Council suspended sittings of its Local Area Councils in March. This meant the application to demolish the 200 year old building and build two four/five bedroom houses on the plot would be decided by the Strategic Planning Committee (County-wide membership with minimal local input).
Following a well-attended Extra-ordinary Meeting in the Village Hall at which a number of residents expressed objections to the proposed development, Bowsden Parish Council submitted a formal objection based on the plot being too small for 2 large houses, on the “adverse impact on amenity” and on the orientation of the new properties (their backs facing the main road).
Like most meetings held during the Lockdown, the Strategic Planning Committee on 7th July was held with no members present. After some discussion on the viability of the pub, members voted 15 to 1 in favour of demolition, thereby precluding any alternative use of the building. It would be interesting to know how many members of the Committee had actually seen the site.
So the Black Bull will be no more, probably sooner rather than later so anyone wishing to have a photographic record of one of Bowsden’s few historic buildings had better reach for the camera.
The Village Hall Trustees
The Village Hall Trustees have closed the Village Hall to all activities until further notice. The Bugle has received the following from the Chairman of the Trustees:
The Health and Safety of the residents of Bowsden is a primary concern of the BVH Trustees. With this in mind, the Trustees will not put anyone at risk by opening the hall before we are certain that its is safe and we have the right infection control in place. ”Business as usual” is a big consideration and we on the committee are merely volunteers and not professional H&S experts. The work involved in ensuring the Hall is 100% safe would be onerous and very time consuming without professional help. We have taken advice on this and we believe we have taken the right course of action.
We all look forward to the day when we can welcome everyone back to the Hall and enjoy a drink and a game together.
Jacq Denham, Chair Bowsden Village Hall
This statement closing the Village Hall until further notice was posted on the Village website and the Notice Board several weeks ago but the Bugle editor was asked to include it as part of the August issue to remind residents as to why the Hall remains closed.
In the light of no change in the position of the Trustees, Café Bowsden and the Bowsden Arms remain closed and there will be no more Community Lunches for the foreseeable future. The Annual General Meeting planned for 29th April was postponed and the existing Committee pro tem continues in office. News of re-openings will be posted on the Village Notice Board and on this website.
Village Hall Clubs and Groups
Bowsden has been very fortunate to have a number of enthusiastic volunteers who give their time to organise various groups which meet in the VH. Currently we have the Bowlers, Get Fit Together, the Ladies Group, the Needlework Group, the Photography Group, the History Group and the Bowsden Discussion Group all of whose activities have been temporarily suspended during the Lockdown. Check the website or Notice Board for news of restarts.
Despite the unavailability of their usual meeting venues, members of these groups have responded valiantly to calls for help and fetching groceries, prescriptions and daily papers, sewing masks and scrubs bags for the NHS and perhaps every bit as important, keeping an eye on the more vulnerable neighbours and picking up the phone for a chat.
The Anglican Church (St.John the Baptist)
The Anglican Church (St.John the Baptist) in Lowick like all others in the country has been closed during Lockdown. Recently the Churchwardens have been able to re-open the building for private prayer and more recently, a memorial service for Lowick resident Margaret Metcalfe was held in the church. Restricted by the current Covid rules, the congregation could not exceed 30 persons but many people in the Churchyard were able to join in using the loud-speaker system.
More good news is that the Wardens have now arranged for a regular fortnightly morning service in the parish church at 1000. The first service took place on Sunday 26th July and was lay-led (by John Daniels), the next will be conducted by the Revd. Marian Penfold (9th August) followed by another lay-led service at 1000 on 23rd August.
Most of us are well aware that Revd. Victor Dickinson our Parish Priest retired some time ago and has not yet been replaced. In this enforced interregnum, our Rural Dean (Revd. Rob Kelsey) has been responsible for providing a priest to take the Sunday and Wednesday morning services. We are sincerely grateful for all his work on our behalf, both before Lockdown closed the Church and during closure when we were able to share a Zoom service every week.
An Introduction to Forest Gardening
An Introduction to Forest Gardening by Claire Smith who moved with her husband Kit into Meadow House, Bowsden in August 2019.
You may have been walking up the lane next to the Black Bull and noticed some changes to the first field on your left and wondered what we were up to. Our ultimate goal is to produce a “forest garden” here. For those that haven’t heard this term before, it is a “low maintenance, plant based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosytems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans”. It is hoped that in this small area we can produce fruit, nuts, edible leaves, spices, medicinal plants, fibres for cordage, basketry materials, fuel wood, fodder etc. In the short term we are reliant on some annual crops but we are hoping this will change gradually over the next few years, providing we can keep the rabbits off for long enough to allow the plants to establish! And what annual crops we do grow, I hope to move towards heritage varieties. It will be a long process and it may look messy at times so please bear with us.
As I’ve been looking to increase my plant collection, an informal plant swap has been created with the few people I’ve met in the village. This was a massive help to me at the beginning of the year with the costs involved in buying new plants and garden centres closed during Lockdown. Also, as I’ve been renovating my garden, there are some plants already here that don’t quite fit in with what I’m trying to achieve but I’m loathe to dig them out and bin them when some one else might want them. For such reasons I’d like to set up a seed and plant sharing group within the village.
Here are a few points for you to think about and decide whether this is for you or not:
- You want a plant for your garden and are thinking of going to a garden centre to buy it. Many plants from garden centres or bought on-line may have been propagated in a climate or soil very different from ours and may not thrive when planted. However if someone is growing the plant successfully two doors away there is a good chance it will thrive in your garden too. Why don’t you ask if the owner would be willing to let you propagate from it ?
- You have a plant that needs to be pruned or divided to maintain its vigour and normally you would throw away the prunings. Did you know that some plants can be propagated from prunings? Someone looking for that plant may be able to use your prunings to propagate one for themselves.
- You have plants in your garden from which you would be happy to let someone to take cuttings or seeds
- You have a plant that you no longer want in your garden and are going to dig it up and bin it. Might not someone else be looking for that plant ?
- You’ve bought a packet of vegetable seeds but only plan to sow half of them
- You can see jobs that need doing in your garden but for one reason or another you can’t manage to do them yourself. However you do have plants that you would be happy to allow someone to propagate from in return for a bit of pruning or other small job.
- You have a glut of fruit you want to get rid of or it will go to waste
- I’d like to join the group but I don’t know anything about propagation/pruning. Chances are that many of the people joining will know and be delighted to help
There may be other points that I haven’t thought about but hopefully by now you get the general idea. If you’d like to get involved I’ve set up a Facebook page called “Bowsden plant and seed sharing group”. As the group is intended to share only within our community, membership is restricted to those living in Bowsden and the nearby area (applicants would be asked to provide their Postcode). If you don’t have Facebook or have any questions before you decide whether to get involved, I can be contacted by e-mail Claire.email@example.com or 388 714
The Black Bull Inn in Lowick
The Black Bull Inn in Lowick will re-open on Saturday 1st August with many changes to comply with Government guidelines (fewer tables, table service only, all tables to be reserved, lunch 12-2.30, dinner 5-9 pm, phone 01289 388 375 for reservations).
Bowsden Parish Council
Bowsden Parish Council last met on February 17th and the minutes of the meeting are posted on the Village Notice Board and on the Village Hall website. The Annual General Meeting of the PC was to have been held on 18th May but will now be held in the open air in Bowsden Hall farmyard at 6 p.m. on Monday 3rd August . The agenda is published on the Notice Board and will include the adoption of the Governance Statement and Accounts for 2019-20. All residents are welcome to attend.
Eat Out to Help Out
Eat Out to Help Out from 3rd to 31st August is a new Government scheme to give a much-needed boost to the hospitality industry. The scheme offers customers 50% discount off all bills for food and non-alcoholic drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Discounts are limited to a maximum of £10 per diner and there is no minimum order. Eat as often as you like, no vouchers are required and discounts will be deducted automatically from the bill.
Many restaurant chains have registered for the scheme including Caffe Nero, Costa, Dobbie’s Garden Centres, KFC, McDonalds and Wetherspoon’s. A full list is published in HM Government guidance on the internet under Gov,UK daily statement for 28th July.
The linked information is particularly helpful as it lists other establishments in the area identified by postcode. If we input TD15 2TW we are told that 7 restaurants and cafes are within a 5 mile radius. They are:
- Black Bull Inn, Lowick
- Lindisfarne Inn, Beal
- Lindisfarne Eat and Sleep, Beal
- Goswick Golf Club
- Lavender Tea Rooms, Etal
- Barn at Beal. Beal
- Pot-a-Doodle, Scremerston
Other more distant restaurants will almost certainly be taking part
- Ringtons traditional tea and coffee monthly delivery has restarted, next being 21st August
- Ross Dougal’s fresh fish from Eyemouth calls on Thursday afternoons (phone 01890 751911 to arrange a delivery) and their stall is open in Berwick Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- The Lowick Village Store will always take orders for fresh bread (from Ford’s Bakery at Norham), meat, bacon and pies (from Johnson’s of Wooler), cheese and ice cream from
Doddington Dairy, milk, fruit, vegetables (including Particularly Good Potatoes) or any other groceries, beers, wines and spirits. Open daily but check for early closing. Phone Karen or Ritchie on 388 644 to arrange collection or delivery (free up to 3 miles)
Toby’s Tailpiece (a dog’s eye view of the world)
Written by Leo and Freya, two Dalmatians who live with the Editor and his wife in Bowsden (established readers will know that this column is named in memory of Toby, our black Labrador friend who died in May 2018 aged 15) This month we welcome our new neighbour, a young Basset hound (we never ask Ladies’ ages) called Emily who lives with her owners Andreja and Malcolm. We hope they will all be very happy here (despite the remaining frustrations of Lockdown).
A treat for early birds a few weeks ago was a visit from the College Valley hounds who walked through Bowsden, sadly before we (and most of the village) were out. Some 20 couples made up the pack who were accompanied (we later heard) by the Huntsman and the Whipper-in.