Bilton News – 24th September 2020

Bilton news – September 24

Sun and glum: has anyone noticed that when the news is at its gloomiest the weather is at its most glorious?   It was so in April and May when the pandemic was at its height and it was last week when the real indications that the pandemic is on its way back became apparent.  Any good weather between now and what looks like being a very long winter is to be savoured.  It is a chance to keep up with the gardening and prepare for a hoped for happier 2021, and also go for walks.   Our walks are all close to home nowadays and a favourite is across the fields towards Nidd Viaduct.

Woods and views: over the decades various small plantations have been created in the Viaduct Felds and adjacent to existing woodland. Overall they have improved the landscape though a few years ago trees were planted on the slopes leading down to the boundary fence with the sewage works.  At the time I feared these would eventually obscure the extensive view which looks out across the hills above the Washburn Valley, Wharfedale and Nidderdale. When I mentioned this I was told the trees would hide the sewage works, and so they do, but they also hide the spectacular view beyond.

New woods: a couple of weeks ago there was a report in the Harrogate Advertiser stating that Harrogate Borough Council has pledged to plant thousands of trees covering almost 50 acres at three locations, Bilton Beck Wood, Willow Wood and Upper Horseshoe Fields.   This sounds like something to be welcomed.  It will help councils across Yorkshire reach their target of increasing tree cover by a third and the trees willstore damaging carbon.  But what about the view?  In the shelter of one of the new plantations overlooking the valley of the Oak Beck are two seats from which the distant hills can still be seen.  I do hope the 50 acres will leave space to retain some open ground, perhaps managed as a wildflower meadow, and I hope the new woodlands will be planned in such a way as to retain the views to the west.  The fear is that HBC will simply plough up the fields and plant lots of trees as a short term box ticking exercise.  It is possible to have views and woods.  All that is needed is an imaginative vision, a well thought out planting and management plan from inception to several decades into the future and a good arboreal knowledge.   HBC has some of this, if it has it all the future looks promising.

Long Lands Common Appeal:  is hoping to raise £300,000 to buy land between Bilton and Starbeck  to create a new publicly accessible woodland.   It is now possible to buy £50 shares in this venture.  To find out more      The project is being led by Nidd Gorge Community Action.

Ripples of concern: moved quickly through Bilton when it became known that a pupil at Bilton Grange School had tested positive for coronavirus and those in the same bubble had been sent home to self-isolate for 14 days.  Everyone was talking about it, in the streets, in the shops and likely in countless homes.  Parents have been assured that the School follows all the correct protocols and it is a safe place.  Let us hope that the pupil who has contacted the virus makes a good recovery and that no one else catches it.

The Knox:  it was good to hear from The Knox pub on Knox Lane which is open for business.  It now has an extended menu with new dishes to complement the firm favourites.  There is a new 120 cover beer garden at the back of the pub so dining can take place inside or out.  A one way system is in operation, there are hand sanitizers and a fully operational test and trace system. To find out more or book a table telephone 01423 525284 or email

Bilton News – 10th September 2020

Bilton news – September 10

It has been all change: this week has felt very different. There is more traffic about and the smell and taste of air pollution has returned to Skipton Road, though it is fair to say the stationary traffic has been caused by road works rather than volume. People seem to have lost the cheerful demeanour that has been largely present over the past few months; they seem to be preoccupied with their thoughts. Maybe they have concerns about children returning to school or are apprehensive about their own return to the workplace or even if they have a workplace to return to. Whatever it is, it feels different and it seems to be causing people to forget about social distancing. It could all change again when things settle down but if social distancing is one of our main defences against the virus then the message to adhere to the guidelines may have to be reinforced.

Through the letter box: this week was a communication from local councillors and the MP called “In touch” which perhaps is rather an unfortunate title as a lot of the contents were prepared before the Covid lockdown and the rest must have been prepared no later than early July. However, this is a minor quibble as there are lots of valid reasons why distribution has taken so long and it is always interesting to hear what the local councillors have been doing on our behalf, and are still doing. Of particular interest to local groups planning to start up again may be the mention of the locality budget.

Locality budget: this is a pot of money allocated to each North Yorkshire County Councillor for them to use supporting local projects. The grants are not large but can be the difference between closure and survival; they can help with the set-up of new projects or finish old ones. The criterion is that the budget is used to support schemes that give benefit to the local community. A recent beneficiary has been Yorkshire Yoga, a small health charity providing physical and mental wellbeing therapy through yoga at Dene Park Community Centre. Harrogate High School and Woodfield Community Primary School have received money allowing them to buy plants, soil and equipment for their gardening clubs. In the fairly recent past Bilton Historical Society, Bilton and Woodfield Community Library, Bachelors Field Friends Group, Woodfield Millennium Green and Pine Street Allotments have all benefitted. So, if you are a member of a group needing a modest cash injection to get going again or to purchase an item of equipment that is just financially beyond reach then it may be worthwhile contacting your local North Yorkshire County Councillor. In the Bilton and Nidd Gorge Ward the NYCC Councillors are Cllr Paul Haslam and Cllr Geoff Webber.

AJ1 Project Road Safety Fund: North Yorkshire Police have acquired over £190,000 from the sale of vehicle registration AJ1. This was the first number plate used in the North Riding of Yorkshire when marks were introduced in 1903. It was used on the then Chief Constable’s car but was no longer being used at the time of sale. The North Yorkshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner has chosen to invest most of the money in safety projects across North Yorkshire. Invitations were invited to apply for a grant and Cllr Paul Haslam applied for £20K to improve road safety outside the school, library and Children’s Centre on Woodfield Road. The outcome is awaited.

News in short supply: it is understood Dene Park Community Centre is not planning to open again this year. Bilton Community Centre is open but a lot of regular groups do not wish to return just yet. Bilton and Woodfield Community Library is open with reduced hours and services. Some churches have not yet opened their buildings though others have taken the first steps and are holding a small number of services. Some establishments seem to be open but are not widely advertising, perhaps because they cannot accommodate many people. I have not heard anything from the Health and Wellbeing Hub. Sometimes it is a struggle to put an interesting column together so if you can help me out by supplying some news to share please get in touch.

Bilton News – 3rd September 2020

Bilton news – September 3

Pine Street Allotment Winners; as promised, here is a full list of winners and runners up in the various competitions that have taken place over summer. The best overall plot belongs to Peter Walker, Rob and Tabatha Telfer were runners up, Vic Lokie and Sarah Wright joint third and Janet Mills fourth. John Jackson is the gardener of the best half plot with Mike Barker second, Mike Waud third and David Coverdale fourth. The immaculate plot of Richard Henderson is the best senior followed by Barry Canham, Anne and John Pickles third, Colin Rudd fourth and Ralph Dyke fifth. The prize for the best plot belonging to a lady went to Stef Barabasz closely followed by Fiona Walker; Jane Barker was third, Anne Richards fourth. Janine Narviliene was best newcomer with Diane Andrews second, Pauline Welch and Ian Adair joint third, Jean Stobbs fourth. The most improved plots belong to Sarah Derby, John Addyman, Julie Featherstone, Katie Broadberry, Jenna Stobbs and Brian Auton. Most plot holders considered themselves to be some of the lucky few in 2020 as they were able to continue their gardening without restriction, except the usual social distancing of course. They were all winners.

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library: just a reminder that from September 5 the library will open once again on Saturday mornings. From next week the library opening hours are Monday 1.30-4pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am-noon. Anyone who borrowed books before the lockdown and has not yet returned them will find that fines have started to accrue. The select and collect service is still operating for those who feel that entering the building is not right for them, just pick up a form at the library or ask a friend to do it for you. Also from this Saturday there will be one computer available for public use. It must be booked in advance by telephone and sessions are limited to half an hour. The telephone number is 01423 564630. Because of social distancing requirements it is regretted that it will not be possible to give individual help on the computer. Photocopying and printing services will also be back from Saturday. Normal charges apply, 10p per black and white A4 sheet and 50p for A3. The correct change will be required. It is still not business as usual but these are small steps on the journey towards that. The library is on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre.

Services at St John’s and St Luke’s: here is some more positive news. More services in church will resume on September 20. Times of services will appear in this column nearer the date. Some services are taking place at present and the best place to find current details is on the church door itself where a notice detailing the week’s events is displayed.

Big adventure of the week: was going out for a pub lunch, the first since February. It seemed like a good idea at first so a table was booked but then doubts started to creep in. We still went and it was fine. There were a lot fewer tables than usual and the booking system ensured that overcrowding was avoided. The atmosphere was good and we will go again, but maybe not very often. In our household there is still a feeling that frequent socialising is still not quite the right thing to do. We then discovered that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had picked up half the bill at the establishment we had chosen. Brilliant. I am glad we enjoyed the meal because with a £2 trillion national debt and rising we will be paying for it indirectly for years.

Bilton News – 27th August 2020

Bilton news – August 27

Bilton Community Centre: great news, it is open for business again from September 1. This does not mean all the activities that happened there before lockdown will be returning straight away, far from it. Several groups have made the decision not to return until 2021 whilst others are working out if their activities are possible with social distancing measures in place and if enough members feel confident enough to take part. A small number are starting but are not in a position to welcome new members at present. It will be a while before group news will once again form a large part of this column. All these extra measures take time to implement but the opening of the Centre is a welcome start and the committee should be congratulated on making the building Covid safe and ready to use.

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library: has seen a steady stream of customers return but it is still quieter than normal. This is just reminder for anyone who borrowed books before the lockdown and has not yet returned them that fines will start to accumulate again from September 1. Most people are delighted that they can choose books once ore although they, and all the library volunteers, would love normal service to resume. When this will be no-one knows but the volunteers have received an enormous boost. It has been announced that Bilton and Woodfield Community Library has been highly commended in the 2019/20 North Yorkshire Library of the Year for outstanding performance. Everyone is delighted that their efforts have been recognised. Another positive step forward is that Saturday opening is to resume and weekday opening hours extended. From Saturday September 5 the opening hours will be Monday 1.30-4pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am-noon. The select and collect service is still available and is ideal for those who are not ready to go inside the building.

Pine Street Allotment News: as the annual open day and all the flower shows have been cancelled the allotmenteers decided to hold a produce show of their own. It took place last weekend. It was not possible to invite the public because of social distancing and as it was a new venture no one was really knew how it would go. It got off to wet start but the weather improved and the event was a great success. There were colourful flowers, succulent vegetables, mouth-watering cakes and biscuits, miniature gardens and edible animals which really were something to behold. The child with most points in the show was Pheobe Cuthbert closely followed by high scorers Sophie Whittaker and Amelia Andrews. Richard Henderson amassed the most points in show for an adult; also amongst the prizes were Pete Walker and Mike Barker. There were lots of other winners but not enough room to mention them all. Because the annual social and award evening has also been cancelled this year it was decided to present prizes for the best plots at this show. I have been asked to publish the results in full. They will appear next week.

August shopping trip: the atmosphere on my second venture into town since the lockdown was certainly more relaxed than my first and the staff in the shops were as welcoming and helpful as ever. The public were largely adhering to social distances measures and wearing face coverings inside shops. However, the main shopping streets, whilst very clean, still felt that they belonged to a town in hiding with lots of shuttered and notice festooned windows. In my opinion it was a huge mistake not to have floral displays in the shopping streets. It is no good pretending that the likes of Cambridge Street and Oxford Street are architectural gems. The floral displays are needed to give those streets a lift and greater appeal to visitors and locals alike. Fortunately some individual businesses have realised this and done something about it. The flower beds around the war memorial are as good as ever and it is great to see West Park Stray looking as though it belongs to someone again. I loved walking down the almost car free James Street. I realise pedestrianizing this street is contentious but I know where my vote would go.

Bilton News – 6th August 2020

Bilton news – August 6

What a difference a week makes: last week I was beginning to think my reluctance to go out and spend money as urged by various authorities was over cautious. Now, with the tightening of lock down a real possibility I feel vindicated. By the time you read this it could all have changed again. What a roller coaster life is at present.

Two weeks off: the Advertiser is not producing its Neighbourhood columns for the next two weeks so the next time you hear from me will be August 27. In one respect this is a relief because finding something to write about has been a challenge at times; but on the other hand it has been worthwhile because more people have told me they are enjoying the column than they ever did when I was writing proper news. This has been personally rewarding. So, I know some readers will miss this, but it is only for two weeks. Who knows what will have changed by then? Some organisations are still holding on to a fading hope of being able to resume in September. If anyone can start up again please let me know even if it is not possible to accept new members at this time. It would be lovely to hear positive news of start-ups whatever form they are going to take.

Bilton Historical Society: distributed its latest newsletter by email. Like many organisations it has used this method to keep in touch. That has been much appreciated. However, I like my newsletters and magazines in hard copy to enjoy reading them at leisure in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea. I know you can still do this online but it is not the same. When something I really look forward to appears in an inbox that has been even more congested during the lock down, I tend to put it to one side to read later. This is what happened to the Historical Society newsletter so apologies to BHS for only mentioning it now. The newsletter came out in June and it was a good one. It starts with a heartfelt thank you to all the key workers and others who have helped shoulder the burden of the pandemic so far. This is followed by part 2 of a series on insights into Bilton Park Colliery, articles on the spa history of the Valley Gardens, the history of Micklegate Bar, women from Bilton’s past, various snippets of information about BIlton Church plus other items including a challenge to find as many words as possible from “River Nidd” Sadly for me, entries had to be in by July 31, so I am too late though I do not think it would have mattered. A score of 15 is good, 23 very good and 30 excellent. I got 16 in five minutes, just scraping into the good category. How many can you find?

St John’s and St Luke’s: it is good news that St John’s Church building is slowly being brought back into use. The following information applies throughout August. Morning prayer takes place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9-9.30am. Holy Communion is at 8am on Sundays. On Tuesdays 10am-noon, Thursdays 6-7.30pm, Saturdays 10am-noon the church is open for private prayer. There is still a lot going on online. Please note face masks should be worn for services in church. If any of the other local churches would like to share good news about reopening their buildings it would be good to hear from them.

Bilton and Woodfield Community Library: the latest release of government information indicates it will be mandatory to wear face coverings in libraries from August 8. The library, on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre, is now open for browsing, borrowing, returning and ordering books on Mondays 2-4pm, Thursdays and Fridays 10am-noon. These times apply throughout August. There are currently no public computers available. In the middle of August the level of service offered and opening times will be reviewed in the hope they can be extended in September. My crystal ball is not clear enough to predict whether it will be possible but we can live in hope.

Take care, stay well and stay safe: enjoy August as well as you can and do not forget to let me have any news by August 22 for inclusion in the Advertiser on August 27.

Bilton News – 30th July 2020

Bilton news – July 30

You will know if you catch one: that is what the weatherman said in relation to the showers forecast for last Saturday. At the Pine Street Allotments table top sale they did catch one and they did know about it. All vegetables were guaranteed washed and plants well-watered. Fortunately the shower did not last long and a steady stream of visitors enjoyed the opportunity of a stroll down the main drive, which is looking at its floral best, as well as the chance to buy fresh produce and support the Harrogate Hospital Charity.

Fish and chips: it was good to hear from Harrogate Fisheries, 141 Skipton Road advising that a delivery service is still being offered to elderly residents of Bilton who are unable to get out and who have no access to online services. Deliveries take place between 5-6.30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Telephone Sophie on 07931 596398 to place an order and agree a safe place for non-contact delivery and payment.

There is help out there: for anyone still struggling or who has found that help they have been receiving is no longer available. This is being co-ordinated by H.E.L.P at Harrogate and District Community Action. Telephone the H.E.L.P team on 01423 813096. This is an answerphone that is regularly checked. Please leave a clear message about your needs and full contact details including your telephone number. There is also online information available at

Unofficial poll on facemasks: I have been asking people if they agree that facemasks should be worn in shops and other enclosed spaces. Most do and they feel slightly safer as a result. When asked if they will now be shopping more often most said no. They are finding the shopping experience so unpleasant they are still seeking ways to go shopping less. This is bad news for the high street. Any businesses pulling out of home deliveries because they think the public will be flocking back to the shops may need to keep this under review. Whilst on the subject of facemasks I have found out that they are only for medical use. For any other purpose we wear face coverings.

Time to put the risk in perspective: lots of people in the vulnerable categories admit to being more scared now than they were at the height of the pandemic. This has come about because of constant warnings to stay safe and stay at home plus all the measures that have to be taken before businesses can reopen. Is the fear now unreasonable? To help people decide it could be useful to compare other mortality statistics with the daily Covid death toll. How many people are dying on a daily basis from pre-existing conditions or from accidents? If it could be demonstrated that the risk of succumbing to a non-Covid related condition is greater than succumbing to Covid then people may regain confidence more quickly.

Library is back for books: or it will be on Monday August 3. It will be possible to browse the shelves and borrow books in the normal way. It is not quite business as usual. Social distancing rules only allow four members of the public in the building at the same time so there may be a queue. A family with young children will count as one unit. The library will look different because tables, soft furnishings, toys and craft items have had to be removed. People will be asked to sanitise before entering and libraries have been requested to collect information for test and trace. For the time being there will be no public computers or photocopying services available. Progress back to normality is going to be slow but most people want the books back and this is now going to happen. The select and collect service will still operate. The library is on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre. It is open Monday 2-4pm and Thursday and Fridays 10am-noon.

Bilton News – 23rd July 2020

Bilton News – July 23

Pine Street Allotments: at last, something positive to tell you. This Saturday, July 25, 10am-noon there will be a table top sale at the Pine Street entrance to the allotments and the public is invited to attend. The public being invited anywhere over the past few months has been a very rare thing so please do not get too excited as social distancing measures will be in place. However, there is plenty of space for a long queue. On sale will be fresh vegetables, plants, second hand tools and other bits and bobs. All proceeds are for the Harrogate Hospital Charity. This weekend would have been the popular open day which raises funds for local charities. It cannot happen this year but the stall is an opportunity to stock up on vegetables and enjoy queuing in a different location. The charity was chosen many months ago, long before anyone had heard of Covid 19; it has proved to be a very popular choice.

Bilton Community Centre: the Bilton Community Centre is seeking a caretaker for the Centre on Bilton Lane. Duties involve unlocking/locking the Centre, setting up tables and chairs for the various user groups and general caretaking of the building and grounds. No cleaning is required. A good wage is offered. For further details please contact Barry Jeffrey by telephone 01423 421727 or 07500 165111 or email

The first two weeks at the library: have gone remarkably well. Books are being returned at a steady pace and the select and collect system is increasing in popularity. The volunteers have adapted well and are able to turn round the book orders quite quickly. Anyone who is online can look at the North Yorkshire Library website to view the library catalogue and find out if a particular book is available. If it is an order can be placed by telephone or email. Those not online can continue to go to the library and pick up an order form. The library, on Woodfield Road, on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre, is open Mondays 2-4pm, Thursdays and Fridays 10am-noon. Telephone 01423 64630. Email

Planning for the next stage: is now underway, and it is the tricky one, allowing customers back in to the Library to browse the shelves and use the computers. It is tricky because of social distancing. There never was much space in the library so the question to be solved is how can the furniture be re-arranged to allow for 2 metre social distancing? It is likely some items will have to be removed but when there is no storage space available where can they be removed to? This is what is exercising the minds of the volunteers at the moment. As soon as a solution is found it will be possible to allow people inside. There is no date yet but the wait will soon be over. Keep up to date by following the library on Facebook or visiting the website.

Highlight of the week: well there were two actually. One was having my hair cut, now who would have thought that was a newsworthy item? The other was seeing a bright blue butterfly flitting through the garden. It did not stay long enough for a positive identification but I am guessing it would be a holly blue. Ivy is its food plant and I have ivy hiding an ugly fence; it was also home to a blackbird’s nest and possibly a dunnock’s. The birds have now gone away to moult so it is time to trim the ivy. It is quite hard work but, as they say, there is no gain without pain.


Bilton News – 16th July 2020

Bilton News – July 16

Guilty secret: I have been a responsible shopper, not bulk buying only purchasing what I needed. There has been one exception though. I have been stockpiling sugar. It is not as though I have a particularly sweet tooth but it is one of those commodities that is not always available when needed, so when I saw it in the shops I just kept buying it. Why? Way back in March I was hoping for a good crop of soft fruit at the allotment in July. I hate to see it going to waste so quite a lot goes into jam, and jam needs lots of sugar, which is why I had to stockpile. The bumper crop has happened. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants are all ready and blackberries are on their way. The jam pan has been out. The shelf of sugar bags is now filled with jars of new jam. There is enough to keep me going until next years hoped for bumper crop. The jam will also provide much appreciated Christmas presents and, this year, a thank you to those neighbours who have been very kind.

First week at the library: it went very well. Good numbers of books were returned but not so many as to overwhelm the volunteers. The books were moved to a special quarantine area for 3 days and those returned on day one are now back on the shelves, together with some new stock delivered during the week. The select and collect idea has had a mixed reception. Some people think it is brilliant, most are happy to go along with it for now, some will not entertain it as all they want is to get back inside to browse the shelves. Of course that is what everyone wants and next week plans will be made to work out exactly how this can happen. Keep watching this space to find out. In the meantime this is just a reminder that the library is open for returns, to collect orders and pick up order forms on Mondays 2-4pm, Thursdays and Fridays 10am-noon. Order can be made by telephone 01423 564630. The Library is on Woodfield Road, the same site as the school and Children’s Centre.

Mayhem one morning: from the direction of the junction of Church Avenue with Bilton Lane could be heard the sound of blaring car horns and abusive sounding shouts. What was happening? The traffic lights controlling the flow at the road works were out of action so no-one was moving and traffic was building up in all directions. To put it mildly, some drivers were very annoyed. The reaction of the road workers was to laugh. I do not blame them, it was not their fault and far better to laugh than retaliate in a like manner. I must admit to having a little smirk myself as I walked past the stationary vehicles at a steady 3 miles per hour. All was calm an hour or so later when the traffic lights were working once more.

Big adventure of the week: I went to town. The first time in four months. It felt silly being apprehensive, but I was. I was also a bit sad. Shops on Kings Road, Mayfield Grove and in town itself that were trading four months ago are now closed and empty. I did not feel the buzz. I saw people going about what they had to do looking anxious, queuing and being met by signs saying welcome back, a welcome that was genuine, but another sign next to it saying do not come in until a member of staff says you can. I know why, and I agree with the measures that have to be taken but it is a mixed message. The meeters and greeters outside some shops looked more like bouncers in their high-viz jackets. That said all the staff I encountered were very friendly and helpful and I felt completely safe on their premises. But the town did not feel good. I know that is not what traders want to hear but now the enormous hurdle of reopening has actually been crossed it is time to let imaginations go wild. Make the town feel cheerful again. Where are the flowers? How about some imaginative window displays; we do need those tables and chairs in the street. Make Harrogate a destination of choice not a place to go if you have to then get out as quickly as possible. I did not really enjoy my visit to town but I am glad I went and hope it will not be another four months before I return.


Bilton News – 9th July 2020

Bilton news – July 9

Welcome phone call: it came from my hairdresser asking if I would like to make an appointment. Yes please. It will be different, lots of PPE and a list of things I must do and cannot take on to the premises. The experience may not be all I wish it to be, but needs must. The end result will be worth it. It is good to see businesses open again but we are all a little anxious, owners and customers alike. Let us hope that the science is right and now is the right time to move forward.

Library: a cautious start will now have been made. Next week I will be able to tell you how things are going. It is a new experience for everyone and a complete unknown. Nowadays libraries are mostly run by different organisations working in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council so different libraries have slightly different arrangements and not all are open yet. At Bilton the opening hours are Monday 2-4pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-noon. Customers will only be able to go as far as the door to deposit the books borrowed before the lockdown. These will then be quarantined. At the same time it will be possible to pick up an order form for books which customers can collect. There will be someone on the door explaining how it all works. Orders can be made by telephone 01423 564630 and order forms can be printed from the website where up to date information can also be found. Facebook is worth following too. Unlike some libraries which have asked customers to return books gradually over a period of weeks at BIlton we take the opposite view. The sooner the books are back the sooner they can be returned to the shelves and planning for the next phase allowing customers back into the library to browse and use the computers can start. There is no date for this yet. If your library is not yet open or the reduced hours at your branch do not suit, books can be returned to Bilton and Woodfield Community Library which is on Woodfield Road, on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre. There is a car park. Please only leave books during opening hours.

Lasting legacy: as we move away from lockdown and the whole pandemic becomes a memory that for many will not be a good one it is nice to think of the positives. One was the pleasant, socially distanced cups of tea enjoyed by neighbours in their gardens on balmy summer days. They started on VE Day and we all said we must do this again, and for a while we did. But now the weather has taken a turn for the worse and as lives once again become busier the afternoon teas are on hold maybe never to return. But there is a lasting legacy. Now, when neighbours catch a glimpse of each other going about their increasingly busy lives, when we ask “How are you?” we are not just being polite and hoping for a positive answer, we really want to know.

This weeks’ problem: is one I do not think you can help me with. I have not needed my diary for over three months and now that I have a hairdressing appointment to put in it (not much else yet) I cannot find it. Where can it be? I have not become a domestic goddess over the lockdown so the house is not meticulously tidy with a place for everything. So my task this week is to make it like that and find the diary.

Bilton News – 2nd July 2020

Bilton news – July 2

At last: lockdown measures are slowly being relaxed allowing more businesses to reopen. Most of those affected are now busy working behind the scenes so they can be ready to welcome customers back soon. But it is not all over. It will not be business as usual, this is just a start.

Books galore: the week before the lockdown thousands of books were issued by the Library Service. The shelves at Bilton and Woodfield Community Library are looking rather sparse so it is now time to return those books. The library will be open for three sessions a week to receive them. The sessions will be Monday 2-4pm, Thursday 10am-noon and Friday 10am-noon starting on Monday July 6. The normal lending service will not resume for at least two weeks because the returned books have to be quarantined for 72 hours before they can be returned to the shelves. This means they will be stacked in boxes occupying most of the free space in the library. Even without the added complications of social distancing this situation would make it unsafe to allow public access on health safety grounds. Please help the library volunteers provide a fuller service as soon as possible by returning your library books during this initial two week period.

New service: readers need not be without books as a new call and collect service is being introduced at Bilton and Woodfield Community Library. Tell the volunteers, via an order form, the type of books you like and a selection will be chosen for you to collect. A specific title can be selected and if it is in stock it can be supplied. Order forms can be printed from the website or collected from the library during the above opening hours. Orders can also be taken by telephone. The library is on Woodfield Road on the same site as the school and Children’s Centre, telephone 01423 564630, website At the time of writing final guidance and requirements from the government have not been received and the situation changes on a daily basis. Things will most likely have changed by the time you read this. The website will be updated regularly as will Facebook and when the library is open telephone enquiries will be welcome.

News from St John’s: although the church building has been closed there has been plenty going on online. There is good news for those who are not online and anyone who would rather not be and it is that the church is now open for private prayer on Wednesdays 10am-noon, Thursdays 6-7.30pm and Saturdays 10am-noon. During the lockdown the parish has said goodbye to curate, Ruth Donegan-Cross who has been appointed to a position in Birmingham. She goes with the good wishes of all who know her. A new curate, Laura Martin, is to start on July 4. Another new arrival is Emma James, the Young Peoples Worker. The grounds at St John’s are looking wonderful. The team of volunteers manage to keep them tidy at the same time as allowing wild flower areas to flourish. New planting has been taking place near the church entrance.

Another sign of normality: last week a notice appeared on Skipton road conveying the news that major gas works started on June 25 for 14 weeks. This week another sign has appeared on King Edward’s Drive stating that the top of the street, near its junction with Skipton Road, is to be closed for two weeks from July 12. At the time of writing traffic lights are still controlling the flow on BIlton Lane and Hill Top Avenue. If ever incentive was needed to carry on walking on cycling for short journeys this could be it.