Welcome to the fifth Bugle of Covid-19, reporting news and views relating to life in Bowsden and district in these days of restricted social activity. Published by the Editor every two months, the Bugle is an independent newssheet seeking to inform its readers and reflect their opinions. Contributions from readers are always welcome and this month we feature items on footpaths from Berrington Lough resident Colin Wakeling and an update from Claire Smith on her Forest Gardening project.

The February Bugle should be published in late January 2021 so please let the Editor have any material by Wednesday 27th (phone 01289 388 543 or e-mail hgew13@gmail.com )

By all criteria, 2020 has been a memorable year to date but for all of us, the impact of Covid-19 has been significant although we in North Northumberland have been relatively insulated from many of the problems in other parts of the country. By the time this December Bugle is published, we would hope to have seen a reduction in the number of new cases and begun to relax the constraints of our second national Lockdown which will end on 2nd December. These will be replaced by slightly less onerous Tier 3 restrictions, see details www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The Village Hall has been closed to all activities from the start of the first Lockdown as Bugle readers will know. Pressure was mounting for a limited re-opening (similar to Lowick Village Hall which managed some socially distant activities and their AGM) but sadly this has been overtaken by the second Lockdown. The opportunity provided by the closure has been taken to redecorate the hall.

Bowsden Parish Council held a virtual meeting on Tuesday 10th November using Zoom software to link Councillors and members of the public. All councillors were present but no members of the public took the opportunity to join in. Minutes of the meeting are published on the Village Notice Board and on the Bowsden website www.bowsdenvillagehall.net Matters discussed included an update on “Keeping Lowick and District Connected”, removal of the public telephone box, new fencing for Bowsden Park and re-siting of 30 mph speed limit signs at the West end of the village. There was some concern about the continuation of the glass recycling collections and the temporary loss of the 464 bus service(see later). Councillors welcomed the use of the newly refurbished Park for a very successful Macmillan coffee morning organised by the Sim family. The next virtual meeting will be held on January 19th 2021. Any parishioners wishing to join can obtain the meeting link nearer the time from the Parish Clerk at balmoral42@outlook.com

Metaphorical Glasses were raised to the Bowsden Black Bull as the 200yr old
building was demolished and its remains removed in the course of a few days. It is hoped that building of the two new houses will begin soon and the site can recover. Perhaps someone may have the imagination to name the development “Black Bull Close” and maybe we will be able to fill and raise real glasses to the memory in the Bowsden Arms early in the New Year.

Good News from the Anglican Church in Lowick which was closed during the first national
Lockdown and re-opened briefly only to be closed again by the second. However, the great news is that our long wait since Revd. Victor Dickenson retired is coming to an end and Revd. Charlotte Osborne will be licenced as our new Vicar by the Bishop of Newcastle on 27th January 2021 at 7.30 p.m. in Lowick church. Charlotte comes to us with her husband Leo from the Oakham Team Ministry in Cambridgeshire and we wish them both well as they begin to make their home here in North Northumberland. More good news is that fortnightly services will resume at 1000 on Sunday 13th December (Revd Canon Alan Hughes) and there will be a Christmas Day service at 0900 led by Revd Marion Penfold. Masks and social distancing will of course be necessary.

The 464 Berwick-Wooler Bus Service into Bowsden has been interrupted for several weeks as
buses were unable to reverse safely into the lane beside the Black Bull whilst work was in progress. Thanks to Richard Cockcroft, temporary arrangements have been made for the buses to reverse into the yard at Bowsden Hall Farm. As usual, passengers can be picked up or set down anywhere in the village The new service will begin on Monday 30th November.

Local Footpaths….Colin Wakeling writes :
Since the onset of the Pandemic, more people have been using, and hopefully enjoying, the rights of way in this area. The paths are generally well-defined where they cross arable land although at present new ploughing and cropping may obscure them for a while. However, where they run through wooded areas they are very much more difficult to follow because of undergrowth and there are some missing footbridges where they cross streams. Kyloe Parish (which includes Berrington) has had some useful contact with the Area Countryside Team to enlist their help in ensuring these walks are accessible as possible to local residents. Whilst the ATC has limited resources, they will give what help they can. A number of these paths link Bowsden with Berrington (the Lough, the Law as well as Berrington itself). They may not be classed as iconic rights of way but they can form useful and relatively level recreational routes offering glimpses of a range of flora and fauna changing with the seasons, provided access does not become an obstacle course. As the undergrowth dies back, Colin is hoping to walk the paths and list issues which need attention. He would welcome Bugle readers help, particularly in identifying places where obstacles have made access difficult. Colin can be contacted on 01289 387 366 or colin@itswakeling.com

Christmas Lunch is off this Year but it need not be. Although Covid restrictions prevent Glendale
Connect from holding their usual Christmas Day lunch (as they have for the past three years), they can encourage everyone to Feed a Neighbour. Is there a person near you for whom Christmas is going to be difficult this year? Perhaps a singleton, a couple or a single-parent family? Could we offer them a plate of food as we prepare our own Christmas Lunch? We can’t meet together but we still can be generous and neighbourly.

Glendale Connect is Planning Ahead .and looking forward to a time when they can relaunch the
Over 50s Youth Club….watch this space for news. In the meantime, they are starting a Book Box scheme so that people can read. a book and bring it back or keep it or maybe bring their own spare books for others to read. Waterproof and robust book boxes will be accessible and maintained by a volunteer caretaker in each settlement. So far three locations have been identified for boxes in Wooler and one in Lowick. Would you like one in your community?

Glendale Connect is continuing to seek extra funding for their digital inclusion scheme in which people can be shown how to improve their IT skills and do all the things that everyone else seems to do. If you might be interested just let Jane Pannell know jane.pannell51@btinternet.com or 01289 388 321.

The Integrated Covid Hub North East is the first of its kind in England and places our region at
the forefront of managing the virus. Hosted by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the hub includes the new Lighthouse lab which increases test capacity, an innovation lab focussing on cutting edge science and developing new approaches to Covid-19 tests and a co-ordination and response centre to provide information and support for local outbreaks. A multi-professional and multi-agency programme team has been brought together to plan a vaccination programme for the region, working closely with all health and care partners across the region. The Government has asked the NHS to be ready to deliver the vaccination programme and the Newcastle Hospitals Trust has been appointed as the lead provider for the North East and North Cumbria.

Keep A&E and 999 Free for serious or life-threatening emergencies is the plea from the NHS as
pressure mounts on our hospitals due to the increase in Covid-19 cases. For advice on less serious cases use Pharmacies and GP Surgeries or call 111.

An Introduction to Forest Gardening was written for the Bugle by Bowsden resident Claire
Smith and published in the August issue. Since then there has been considerable interest and Claire has set up a Facebook “Plant and Seed Sharing Group”. Realising that not everyone wishes to use Facebook, Claire has now started a monthly Newsletter which is available as an e-mail from her (address below) Claire writes: Being relatively new to gardening and mainly purchasing plants and seeds from garden centres in the past (which can work out quite costly), I’m now learning a lot about the art of propagating to try and reduce costs and also propagate from plants that are already growing locally and are thus likely to do well. So far I’ve taken cuttings from black currant and gooseberry bushes and a guelder rose. I’ve planted acorns and potted them and already they have started to form roots and I’ve saved this year’s sweet pea seeds and sowed in toilet roll inners. Also, I’ve cut a leek and left its roots in the ground and it has started to grow again but I’m not sure whether it will produce another leek! If you do grow veg it is a good time to plan which seeds to purchase. It’s my hope that the Group will be able to share surplus seeds (or plants if you sow too many) and allow everyone to grow a wider variety or even try something they’ve never grown before. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved. Even if you think you haven’t anything to share but regularly buy one or two plants from a garden centre, get in touch. I don’t know about anyone else but I always sow way too many tomato seeds and am loathe to throw away the ones that germinate but for which I don’t have room! Do let me know if you have any plants or seeds you’d like to share. The next Newsletter will be e-mailed on 1st December and I can be contacted on csmipool@gmail.com “ Please note that this a change of address Ed.

Personal Joan Firth and family would like to thank all friends in the village for their kindness, cards, prayers and messages of sympathy following the sudden death of John. Also for the lovely flowers from the Village Hall and the pretty orchid from the Ladies Group. Bowsden is a fabulous caring village. Thank you all so much.

A Northumberland Coastal Conference was hosted as a virtual event on 11th November and
chaired by NCC Leader Glen Sanderson. This summer, Covid-19 restrictions have resulted in unprecedented numbers of visitors coming to the County for “staycations” and day trips. Although welcome, these large numbers have caused many problems. Several County and Parish Councillors together with some Council Officers and representatives of the NFU, Country Land & Business, Historic England, Natural England and the National Trust came together to discuss the issues raised. These mainly related to inappropriate parking (particularly overnight parking of campervans) and litter-strewn indiscriminately along the shore. The conference agreed that NCC would develop an action plan by 21st February 2021 which would include both short and long term measures to address the problems raised. Suggestions included the provision of more seasonal parking, advance notification to visitors when car parks were full, better facilities for overnight parking of campervans and more enforcement action to discourage anti-social behaviour. It is regrettable that such enforcement is needed and perhaps we need to encourage more children to show their elders how to take better care of the environment in which we all live.

Waste Recovery and Recycling have become more important as we become more aware of the
issues involved. Sir David Attenborough has drawn attention to the need to reduce the dumping of plastics waste and lends his voice to those who have long campaigned for the end of single-use materials. The Royal Institute of Chemistry has highlighted the finite supplies of certain widely used chemicals (particularly those used in batteries) and stressed the importance of recycling rather than dumping to landfill. When scrapping electronic equipment such as smartphones, tablets or laptops it is important to take the trouble to find the appropriate outlet for recycling (most mobile phone shops will be happy to take one’s old phone, clear out the data and even pay one some money for so doing !)

Northumberland County Council is keeping its Household Waste Recovery Centres (the tips) open during the lockdown and residents will be able to deposit the usual categories of waste at Berwick and Wooler. As usual, the Berwick HWRC is open daily from 0800 to 1800 and Wooler is open only at weekends on Fridays to Mondays from 0800 to 1800. All tips will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.Bowsden residents who have signed up for the NCC 2020 Garden Waste scheme should be aware that the last day for brown bin collection is Wednesday 2nd December.

Wooler Christmas Shopping Day will be held on Sunday 6th December from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
to coincide with a Christmas Market which will be held in Wooler Bus Station from 10.30 a.m. until 2 p.m.(in place of the December Farmers’ Market). The now usual Covid restrictions will require masks and social distancing.This year has been especially tough for small businesses and we ask readers to come along and try to buy something for Christmas (most shops will be open despite our being in Tier 3 from 2nd December).

Shelter Boxes have been literal lifesavers for people devastated by natural disasters all over the world. Whenever a country is struck by hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption or similar horrifying event, Shelter Boxes are delivered quickly and without fuss to provide the basic necessities for survival. Your Editor first came across a Shelter Box on a Rotary Club flag day in Kendal some years ago and learned that the Charity had just been set up as a Millenium project by Helston-Lizard Rotary in Cornwall. Since then the concept has been taken up by Rotary International and Shelter Boxes can be found all over the world wherever disasters occur. Shelter Box is now an internationally recognised disaster relief organisation working with specialist staff and volunteers alongside appropriate partner organisations.Quite simply, a Shelter Box provides a temporary home from home with all the essentials for survival until a more permanent solution can be found. The complete box costs £590 but people can give any amount from £22 to buy 2x solar lights to £385 which will provide a specially developed family tent which will withstand extremes of heat and cold. Water purification filters are £47, shelter kits packed full of tools and materials to help families begin to repair their homes are £69 and 5x thermal blankets will cost £35. Unlike some of the better-known charities which have much larger overheads, working with partners helps ensure more of their income goes directly to the affected families to help them re-establish themselves in the aftermath of disaster. Anyone wishing to support the work of Shelterbox can find out more from www.shelterbox.org

Rural US is a grouping specially created to combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation which can affect many people, especially living as we do in a sparsely populated area with relatively poor access to services. If any readers would like a confidential chat about their problems, why not get in touch? Maybe there is a group activity which would suit or maybe you could start your own group with a grant of £100 towards the cost of room hire, materials or tutor time. For more information contact jane.reed.ruralusproject@gmail.com or 07493 971 706.

The New Berwick Hospital is One Step Nearer if the NCC’s Strategic Planning Committee
approves the application at its meeting on Tuesday 30th November. Plans to be presented involve the demolition of the existing buildings (with the exception of the listed bell tower) and the erection of a new two-storey complex’

Toby’s Tailpiece (a dog’s eye view of the world) now written by us, Leo and Freya, two
Dalmatians who live with Harry and Eileen Wilson here in Bowsden. We are sure everyone knows about working dogs and can probably list several examples of the tasks they do. Best known must be Guide Dogs for the Blind who can help blind or partially-sighted people lead near normal lives. Close behind must be Police Dogs, the larger breeds being used for crowd control with their smaller colleagues used to sniff out explosives or drugs. Military dogs have seen service many years, one recent example being Kuno a Belgian Malinois who has just been awarded the Dickin Medal (the dog VC) for outstanding bravery when his Special Forces unit took an AlQuaeda position in Afghanistan. Kuno was badly wounded but continued to pin down an enemy machine gunner until help arrived. Emergency treatment helped him survive to be flown home by the RAF for a number of operations before he was given a prosthetic paw, his medal and a medical discharge (you can read all about Kuno simply by Googling his name). Canine Partners train dogs of all breeds as Assistance Dogs to help otherwise disabled people with a variety of tasks such as dressing, responding to alarms and even emptying the washing machine. Less well known are Medical Detection Dogs who were first reported in 2004 by Dr Claire Guest as being able to detect early bladder cancer from sniffing urine samples. Since then dogs noses have been used to help diagnose a variety of cancers and more recently with diagnosis of some neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. Perhaps one day dogs will become valuable members of GP practice teams.

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