JAN 8 10



I will ‘fess up immediately by saying that because I was away  in the Lake District  where we had a wonderful snowy, white Christmas  I was not actually present at some of the events reported below. However, one issue shared by almost everyone living in rural areas or small villages in Britain was how ill prepared we were  for dealing  with the snowy and icy conditions over the Christmas period.   I gather that in our village for three days it was not possible to drive up Manor Street or Lower street and for many villagers  it was dangerous even to walk the streets.  There are only three containers of salted grit and sand in the village which are now all virtually empty so if another cold snap happens in the next few days matters could be even worse.  The SHDC offices were closed all over the holidays and opened only on January 4th so no help there.   Slipping on black ice can cause injuries particularly to the elderly.  What can be done?  Perhaps most importantly we should realise that actually our councils cannot get out everywhere and  clear the streets so we just have to look after ourselves. As snow and ice are not that common especially in the South West people are not informed about what to do,.  Snow can be cleared quite easily if it is done right after a fall but if it is left it melts then freezes again and  becomes extremely difficult to remove. Rota systems of the more able bodied could be drawn up so that roads are salted and gritted.  Luckily, in our caring village neighbours helped each other out  and no accidents have been reported.

Fortunately, Wednesday, December 16th was a bright warm day for the many who drove long distances to attend the memorial service for Dilys Travers.  The church was packed and members of her family including her husband, Ronald, spoke movingly of the life of this wonderful woman who had been so much a part of the village and loved and respected by so many people.  The weather was also kind to those who came to a lovely carol service on December 20th.   The nativity figures were taken by the children and put in the stable.  The kings will be put  there at Epiphany.  Sadly, it did rain for the carol singing outside the Red Lion on December 23rd  but no problem as every one  just moved indoors. On Christmas Day over one hundred people attended church.  Sad to think that this is Simon Wright’s last Christmas here.  It is surprising how many of us do not really like New Year’s Eve.  Is it the false jollity or dislike of kissing people we do not really know or actually want to kiss?  Is it singing a scottish song with meaningless words to a rather dreary tune?  Oh dear it is just another night really. But there was a gorgeous moon over the river that night and it was lovely to hear the church  bells at  midnight. Dittisham Church has a thriving band of bell ringers, several of them having only mastered the difficult art of controlling the bells within the last year or two and one member had only been learning for three months. With such a flourishing and enthusiastic band of campanologists, they were able to continue the ancient custom of ringing out the old year and ringing in the new.    Joined by a regular ringer from Cornworthy and another from Ashprington they rang a Devon peal on half muffled bells to sound the passing of 2009. With the assistance of an energetic (non ringing) assistant, the muffles were whipped off in time for the ringers to greet the beginning of 2010 with 12 strokes from the Tenor bell, immediately followed by a joyous peal on our particularly tuneful bells. 

May 2010 be a great year for everyone.  It could start with a swing by coming to  the village pantomime, Dick Whittington, which will be performed in the Village Hall for three nights Thursday through Saturday January 28,29,30.  Tickets available from John Wells on 722 414.