Saturday, 29 November 2014

Record Attendance at Victoria Xmas Market

Once again it was a great success with the car park full shortly after opening at 5pm although many people were coming in at 4pm.  The fairground attracted all the village youngsters and their parents.  Dozens of stalls were really stocked with some wonderful goods and I believe many people bought their Xmas presents there at very reasonable prices.  I wandered all round the stalls and thought the quality was excellent.  AND how well dressed the stallholders were in their variety of dress, hats and the colours were magnificent.  Penkridge Voices (our village choir) entertained hundreds with Xmas carols as you will see from the photos.   And wandering around the market was the tallest man I have ever seen!, even taller than my 6ft 7" friend, the Shrewsbury Town Crier.  Penkridge Town Crier was also there but you perhaps didn't hear him very often as I am afraid he couldn't compete with the music from the fairground.  But he did chat to and meet many people during the evening, and bought from some of the stalls and had a drink at the cafe.
Finally, the Fire-Eater was indeed outstanding and I particularly liked his final exhibition of the "Fire Whip".   BUT please, do not let your children play with fire.   Fireworks and Fire-Eating is only for experienced adults. A great evening AND it didn't rain! 
Thank you to the Police Officers for mixing with the crowd and keeping an eye on things.  Thank you to all the stallholders for dressing up and producing some wonderful stalls and products.  Thank you to Santa Claus for dropping in on our market and putting a smile on many youngsters faces.  Last but not least, a big thank you to Penkridge Business Association for organising the event once again and to our Market owners and friends, the Williams family, for hosting our Victorian Xmas Market 2014. Oh!, and of course, a big THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY WHO ATTENDED THIS YEAR.  HAVE A HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Penkridge Local History Group (Great Marsh Publications), underlines the importance of our Library and the Building to the community.

Another very successful and interesting meeting was held yesterday at the Haling Dene Centre, our last this year.   Claire Geoghegan (leader of Friends of Penkridge Library) started us off with a very interesting presentation on the history of our Library Building.  It has served the community in many ways over the years - the land in 1827 is shown on the map as a garden/allotment, let from the Littleton Estate. - Lord Hatherton gave the site to the Penkridge Savings Bank which had become a great success and in 1857 he got the permission of the National Debt Office in London to spend money on building the bank upon it.   In 1879 the Savings Bank was closed and funds transferred to the Post Office.  The building was then sold to the County Council and in 1881 they converted and enlarged the old bank building into a Police Station with quarters for a sergeant, a constable and two cells.  The Magistrates' Court, which used to be held in the Littleton Arms, was also switched to the building and in 1903 hearings of the case against George Edalji for the Great Wyrley horse maimings were held at the court.  Later Hollis Morgan was tried for the same offence there.  This all became national headline news and we now hear that Martin Clunes is appearing in a film being made about the incident.  (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played an important part which uncovered a major miscarriage of justice.)

It was still a Magistrates Court until the mid 1960s when a public meeting voted in favour of it becoming a permanent library and which took over from the Mobile one.   So it has been an Allotment, our Savings Bank, our Police Station, our Magistrates' Court and our Library.   Now there is a big consultation taking place over changing the status of our Library which is being fought vigorously by the Friends of the Library.  The County has been petitioned by over 3,000 Penkridge residents.  A Listed Building with major historical interest cannot and must not disappear - a public library run by professionals for the community is the best use of the building and by all accounts, that is what the vast majority of Penkridge people want.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Penkridge Home Guard

BLACK SWAN seen in the Parish

Black Swans are natives of Australia but birds from collections in the UK have been escaping or being released into the wild for several years now.   One has been seen very recently on the Penkridge flood meadows.  Another bird which we have been seeing a lot more of in recent years in Penkridge is the Little Egret.  These birds have been moving north from Southern Europe and now we have several colonies in the UK.  Without doubt they will be breeding in Staffordshire soon.  They have been seen on the Penk, on the Otherton Brook in the centre of the village, and other streams, ponds and wet meadows in the parish.  A Little Egret is a small heron, with all white plumage, and black bill and legs.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Looking down on Penkridge

The discussion that has been raised by the current consultation on the County Councils proposals to change the status of our Library, reminded me of a draft piece I wrote some time ago but never posted it on this Blog.   Here it is - what do you think?

Penkridge - A fascinating community - a growing community - an historic community - a changing community.   When I last looked down on Penkridge it was less than half the size it is today and that was about 60 years ago.  

This BLOG will comment on the changes that have taken place over those years, what it was like in bygone days, what it is like today, what I like about today, what I don't like about today, what is changing slowly, what is changing rapidly. 

What I sincerely hope is that I will raise eyebrows and that some Penkridge people will start to realise that whilst they have been getting on with their lives, things around them have changed and that some of those changes have not necessarily been what they would have chosen.  That maybe if they had said something earlier, we wouldn't have the problems we have today.  Maybe life would have been better if a certain thing hadn't happened or had been done more slowly, or with a little more thought.

Let us all learn from the past.   We can't stand still - we have to move on but in doing that, surely we should consider carefully every change we make to our lives and to the community we live in. 

For now, just think about it and look at Penkridge a little more carefully and with your eyes wide open, and think back to what it was like a few years ago.   Is it an improvement or not?  Would you have changed anything if you had considered it a little more carefully?  And here I am thinking about all changes, whether it be buildings, roads, watercourses, landscape, trees, houses, industry, agriculture, services, facilities, the look of Penkridge, the sound of Penkridge, even the feel of Penkridge,    Are you happy with all the changes?   Did you voice your views at the time - will you in the future?

Monday, 3 November 2014

Greenfinches found dead on Grange Estate

A friend found 5 Greenfinches dead around his house this last week.   Has anybody else on the Grange Estate or elsewhere in Penkridge found any.   Diseaseed? Poisoned?  We need to know. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Don't incinerate a Hedgehog on Bonfire Night!

                                                             photo copyright Rose Hadley

Don't Kill our Hedgehogs on Bonfire Night
Now is the time hedgehogs are searching for safe hibernation spots for the winter.   If you are having a bonfire over the next few days, please check it out first to make sure you don't have any hedgehogs that have already moved in.  Unfortunately, many have been incinerated on Bonfire night.  Save hedgehogs from certain death by building your fire on the day and not lighting one that has been standing for weeks.
I have only seen one in my garden this year.  Several people in Penkridge are regularly feeding hedgehogs in their gardens which shows they care for our wild creatures.  It would be interesting to discover how common OR rare hedgehogs are in our community.  I have a map of Penkridge Parish and intend to map all sightings over the next 12 months.  Email me with your sightings including the date and the Road/Street/area you saw one (or more).