Netherfield Village Hall Library Service: Our second week extended the number of people coming along to register their interest in our service. It is a positive step and indicates that there is a need for the type of reading matter that we offer; fiction, non-fiction, cookery, gardening, poetry, ballet and children's books. Our range of DVDs, CDs and for those with a cassette player, talking books is also proving popular. You can browse, sit down and read and we will try and make it pleasurable with a cup of tea or coffee. We are still looking for more bookcases and books and would welcome any offers which we are happy to collect. We hope to offer a larger range of topics and genres as we progress and get more offers, so please bear with us. Details at the end of the column as to how to get in touch if you have some donations. Please take two minutes to inform us.

Friday, 14th September 2018, 7:00 am

Netherfield Village Hall: As with all charitable organisations we rely on events and donations to survive. The new team took over on 31 August 2017 so we have reached the end of that first year. We have struggled at times but the commitment of all involved has resulted in us now being on a more secure footing. There is still a long way to go but we are getting there. The Hall is having an internal deep clean prior to a paint job and a fresher, more modern look. Regular grass cutting has resulted in the Hall being able to offer facilities which match the requirements of organisations such as Pass & Move and therefore get them to book a season with us. They will being their experience at the end of this month. However, more work is needed but the facilities going into 2019 will begin to change outside as wel,l as we make sure our look takes us into the modern age.

Claverham Monday Badminton Club: It seems ages since the summer season started and some of our members begin their annual outdoor exposure at events such as tennis and stoolball. This depletes for a while, our overall numbers on a Monday. However, it appears that the end for this year is almost nigh. One of our lady members, Jo, arrived this Monday, to test her memory of all things badminton. She has been playing tennis all summer and the skills are markedly different. A tennis racket is about 2-3 times as heavy as a badders racket and a tennis ball is round and heavy in comparison. However, the memory is a wonderful thing and after a few minutes she was able to show us what she is made of, just like before.

With eight players this week the opportunities for a break between games was limited. In fact non-existent. Two courts constantly in use for two matches being played simultaneously throughout the two hours we play tests the stamina of everybody. I am not complaining just telling how it is. The Hall too, had been host to matches prior to our arrival so the heat had risen already. By the end of the session it was almost like a sauna. However, it did not detract from some superb games that took place over this time. Why don’t you come along and join us? It is 8-10 on a Monday evening and all you need to do is turn up. It is £5 per head for the evening and you will get fit, or, if you already are, maintain that fitness in the future. I look forward to it. Just ask for Roy or Maurice.

Reflections on a garden: The wind over the weekend played havoc with some of our fruit. Whilst sizes in the apple department have been slightly under the normal weight associated with these orbs of pleasurable eating, their colour has been enhanced by the sun and heat we have experienced this year. Unfortunately, up to now, this has encouraged our regular garden visitors to take advantage of our stock. Blackbirds, wasps and flies have not only burrowed into some of the fruit on the trees, but in the case of blackbirds, knocked them off deliberately, so they can peck and feed on the ground, without even asking permission. The cheek of it. However, I was talking about the wind and as usual I digressed. That topic does seem to have a regular spot in my reports. Oh well! Back to the blog. The gale forces that we experienced over the weekend, blew (as I assume they were ready for picking), most of our crop off their branches. This makes bruises and splits a foregone conclusion on the windfalls and the possibility of a greater infestation from the insect population until the harvest is secured. That can only be achieved, when my good lady and I get our baskets and try to salvage what we can. The trouble is, where do you store them? The place has to be dry and cool and preferably in a wooden rack which lets the air circulate. Whatever happened to the good old days?

As you would expect, as we begin the enter Autumn shrubs and perennials start to prepare themselves for the annual state of suspension until the spring arrives. Leaves curl and become brittle, turn brown and droop and generally make the garden look like a battleground, with patches of earth reappearing, hidden from view throughout the summer by an abundance of colour. This could be classed as sad if it were not for the fact that the plants need this hibernation period to be able regain their strength and vibrancy for next season. I could probably do with some of that myself. I wonder if it would make my hair grow back and the wrinkles disappear?

Imagine the music to “Jaws” is playing in the background. This, if it was heard in the garden would herald the arrival, once again, of a heron. Most years we are visited by this gloriously primeval specimen of nature. Tall, elegant, sleek, a killing machine par excellence. A stab of its long point beak and a fish is secured for dinner. The action, when seen in the wild is fast like a whiplash. Majestic? Maybe, but in its fight for survival it has the ability to remain statue-like for hours until an unsuspecting fish swims by. Yes, one is back. Slowly wandering around the periphery of our pond keeping one eye on our front door and one on the pond. Each year we try to scare it off by jumping up and down, hollering and generally looking silly as we attempt to catch it off-guard. What we do in the garden should be written in a column. Oh, it is already!

More next week........

Contact: If you have any stories or articles of interest that will give our readership a reason to buy the paper please contact me on email at [email protected] Call 01424838410 and ask for Maurice or text 07957588172