SCHOOL BUS: Once again, the closure of Solomon’s Lane caused a major headache over the school bus. We didn’t want youngsters waiting up on the London Road in the mornings for safeguarding reasons. Equally, there was no way they could be exposed to the risks of being dropped on the wrong side of the main road in the afternoon. Since the closure of Solomon’s Lane is total this time, it was decided to use the end of the road, at the Junction with the A2100, as a pull-in. The children wait down by the playground entrance until the bus arrives then board safely. (The behaviour of many of the drivers in cars behind the bus is a different issue, with most simply overtaking on the double white lines rather than waiting the 50 seconds it takes for the kids to get on.) The problem in the afternoons was more intractable but was solved thanks to Alex McPhee who volunteered to assist Nigel Hobbs, the bus driver, in driving down New Cut, reversing into the end of Hoath Hill to drop the children, then turning back to the main road. As it happens, Alex has undertaken to meet the bus at the usual time every afternoon and direct the traffic as required throughout this whole term. Thanks are due to Nigel for agreeing to this arrangement but the real hero is Alex.
COMMISERATIONS: Last Saturday evening (29th), a freak change in wind direction and strength managed to reignite the raked ashes of an earlier bonfire in Steve and Mandy Sutton’s garden. The side of the car port caught alight and, in the strength of the wind, the fire spread very quickly. Steve estimates that when the fire engines did arrive, the fire was no more than about five minutes from the houses. It destroyed the triple car port and Barbara’s shed and greenhouse, badly damaged Mandy’s car and Steve’s van, wrote off a ride-on mower, trailer and hand tools, as well as personal belongings that Mary had stored in the shed. In many ways a happier outcome than it might have been but still a lot of hassle, inconvenience and worry so everyone’s best wishes to them.
OPEN GARDENS: The gardens at Mountfield Court will be open again under the St Michael’s Hospice Open Gardens Scheme on Tuesday May 9th from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm. There are so many new faces in the village that many may not know that they offer three acres filled with an extraordinary collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. It also boasts a notable collection of trees with the star being the Davidia involucrata or Handkerchief tree. There are the amazing views in all directions and, of course, the bluebells will still be at their peak. You should also get Saturday May 27th into your diaries now when the garden and walled garden will be open from 10.00 to 12.00 in the morning. More details nearer the time.
DIARY DATES: Just two diary dates this week. First, next Tuesday May 9th is the Annual Parish Council Meeting, 7.30 pm in the Village Hall — see below. And a reminder of the Horticultural Society’s Coffee Morning and Plant Sale which is during the Whitsun weekend on Sunday 28th May 10.30-12.30 at 4, Eatenden Lane.
PARISH COUNCIL: As next week’s meeting is the Annual Meeting, the first tasks will be the election of the chairman and vice chairman for the year. It also a good time to remind everyone that the Parish Council does a really good job for local people. Much of what it does is routine or behind the scenes such as fielding planning applications, potholes, and bin collections but it also works very hard for the community on larger issues such as the SW construction works, the continuing lighting issues at Riverhall level crossing and the South East Water water main through John’s Cross. It’s easy to leave it to a handful of people to look after the local interests but all parish councils need new blood from time to time so if you care about Mountfield and can spare some time (remember that the principle is, or is meant to be, that Councillors decide and the Clerk carries it out…) come along and make yourself available. You don’t even need to have been in the village for very long; the most important thing is that you have something to offer, even if it’s only that you care.
FINALLY: I have been leading my walks again, at exactly the same time of year as the previous three years, and two things have stood out. First, most wild flowering plants are at about four weeks earlier than usual. Only the early purple orchids seem to have stuck to their usual schedule. And secondly, the alarming spread of the wild garlic continues apace again this year, smothering bluebells in some places and threatening wood anemones in others. And it’s not just Mountfield, walkers from Glazier’s Forge in Dallington, Whatlington, Iridge in Hurst Green, and Beauport have all reported the same thing.
CONTACT: We can always be contacted on 880614 (if no reply, just leave us your details on the answerphone) or via firstname.lastname@example.org. We always welcome contributions and feedback.
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