Claverham Monday Badminton Club: The curtain, with its wide green fringe, situated at the bottom of its length, was dividing the hall into two as I walked down the steps and through the door into the Claverham Arena, ready for my weekly smash bang wallop, known colloquially as our badminton session. Having been treading these solid concrete floors for many years now on a Monday evening, I am ready for anything that I face on a Monday night. The curtain divides an area designated to the early bird badminton players and players of a rackets game like tennis but not tennis, if that doesn’t sound too confusing. One uses balls and the other shuttles. I will leave my reader to decide which is which. One plays with the net raised and the other with it lowered. In both sections of the hall when it is divided by the curtain the enjoyment is palpable and the fun is audible.

However, for us, as the later mob, those that arrive for the eight to ten session,.we like to have the Hall as one, which requires,as the up-to-eights leave, someone, in this instance yours truly, has to push the curtain back to its starting point ready for containment in its hanging bag. Did you get that reader or should I run through it once again?

There were eight of us this week, full of vim and vigour. Maybe it was because “June was busting out all over” but the intensity and enthusiasm in every game was raised to a level seldom seen at this time of year. The Hall does tend to get a little warm by the end of the day. Points were contested through a long series of shots and strokes raising excitement levels to fever pitch before the victors were decided. This meant that games lasted a good fourteen of fifteen minutes rather than the normal ten. You could tell the exertion that had just taken place and how intense they had been, not only by the glowing faces, but by the copious amounts of water that were drunk in the short intervals between games.

It is worth noting reader, that the curtain was only one of the problems that I had to contend with this week. Trying to match each player with a new partner each time, when the numbers are relatively small, as was the case on Monday, can be tricky. However, due to the length of these battles that was not such a hardship this week.

Netherfield Village Hall Bingo: Don’t forget that the Thursday session of the Village Bingo night will be held on 21 June 2018 at 7.00pm. All are welcome including those younger members that want to try their hand. It is fun and friendly.

Catsfield Quire: The concert is on 16th June in the Catsfield Village Hall starting at 7.30p.m.

It will be free to come in BUT there is a retiring collection. Refreshments will be available and participation in singing some of the pieces will be encouraged

Reflections on a garden: There is a preponderance of slugs, it appears this year, that are raining terror on the salads, the beans and anything green and munchy that is growing in the garden. Little ones, big ones and some that look like a monster out of some horror movie from the sixties with orange edges to their exposed parts are just some of the versions of this garden pest that has been seen in the garden this week. I guess the weather, rain, warmth and sun has a lot to do with it, but it is the devil’s own job trying to keep them under control. I guess it would be possible to do a slug-patrol during the evening to try and collect these little monsters but having removed them from their feast, what do you do with them?

You can’t barbecue them as a substitute for prawns on a stick or poach them to feed the birds. And we don’t keep chickens. Whilst we have resorted to a few well-placed pellets as protection around the vegetables, it is as though the slugs, if they had hands, would be showing us two fingers.

Through the day they bury themselves in the darker recesses of the garden, under rocks, in damp patches under trees and in colonies in the recycling bins (still don’t know how they get in those as the grill holes are so small they would have to elongate themselves to the shape of a pencil to get through). All I know is that we have a lack of chickens and hedgehogs who would be one natural solution to this dilemma.

After many years the walnut tree we purchased as a foot high specimen has begun to add some height. Apart from the fact that walnuts have not featured in its yearly growth record, neither have much in the way of leaves either. I have carefully trimmed the grass from around its stick like base for probably ten years and for some unknown reason this year it is now about three feet high adding three times its stature in one fell swoop. It was probably a dwarf variety which had the wrong label added to its plastic pot all those years ago. I wonder whether we will be cracking walnuts this Christmas?

We are having two large bags of pea shingle delivered on Tuesday of this week. The drive and paths that have this method of delineating where you park the car and walk the walk throughout the garden, has over the years, lost its depth. It is therefore a constant battle to weed and thereby manage the overall effect of this, in some respects, ecologically sound way (it allows the water to be assimilated within the garden) of drainage. Over the years the accumulation of dust as it settles on the shingle covering also begins to restrict the effectiveness of the pea shingle to act as a barrier to the growth of weeds. So the only solution is to buy more shingle.

More next week........

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