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 www.biltonandwoodfield.org.uk 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.

Bilton News – 25th June 2020

Bilton news – June 25

Signs of change: curtains open at Bilton Community Centre, a light on in the Health and Wellbeing Hub, more people at the bus stop, a socially distanced crowd of mums and young children outside Richard Taylor School at 3pm, heavier traffic on the road and more roadworks on Bilton Lane. Of course the Community Centre, Wellbeing Hub and Library and some businesses are still required by the government to remain closed until at least July 4, and that date could change. Even when the go ahead is given it is unlikely that many will be able to open on the first day. Reopening is not as simple as unlocking the door and turned the lights on.

Behind the shutters: there is a lot going on. Anyone reading the Harrogate Advertiser over the last few weeks will be aware of the hoops businesses have to jump through before being allowed to open. Because organisations like Bilton Commmunity Centre and Bilton and Woodfield Community Library are charities run by volunteers few members of the public consider them to be businesses; but in the eyes of the law they are in every way businesses and are subject to the same rules and restrictions as those businesses run on a commercial basis. Behind the scenes at the Library many hours have been spent producing the legally required risk assessment, ensuring the cleaning has been carried out to the required higher standards, planning a phased reopening, purchasing PPE equipment, working out how social distancing measures can be put in place and hoping the restrictions will be eased before the opening date. The same will be happening everywhere else so please, be patient, everyone wants to open, it is just a case of how and when, and that is still not clear.

Continue to be kind: because not everybody is being kind. The library volunteers have received criticism via social media on their inability to state a firm opening date. The complainant suggested that if the volunteers were not capable of doing this they should employ someone who was. This did not upset the library volunteers who have developed thick skins since taking over the library in 2012. The critic displayed complete ignorance of the laws regarding Covid and the amount of administration involved. The conversation came to a stop when the complainant was invited to become a volunteer or make a financial donation that would cover the cost of paying someone. It is understandable that people are becoming impatient but please do not take it out on those who are trying to bring some form of normality back. Most people, of course, are very understanding and are continuing to be kind. The complaint is another case of a minority causing problems for the majority. If other organisations are receiving similar criticism, and they likely are, they may not be as resilient as the library volunteers and might just decide to call it a day. So, to the majority, thank you for being kind and understanding of the problems of others, whatever they may be.

PPE problem solving: I did not know so many people read this column. Attempts to solve problems with PPE have generated more interest via the email and in the street than almost anything else over the many years I have been writing it. Between us I think we have solved the problem of steamed up glasses, little ears and facemasks so now we are moving on to hand sanitiser. Does its constant use cause damage to the metal used in rings? Many people think it may do so are removing their rings, often reluctantly. I suppose it could depend on the metal but does anyone have an answer to this?

Bilton News – 18th June 2020

Bilton news – June 18

Success with the specs:  I can report that the washing up liquid solution to steamed up glasses does work.  There was a little bit of mist to start with but then it quickly disappeared. An added bonus is I now have a pair of sparkling clean glasses that have not looked so good since leaving the shop. I also feel I can now wear a mask in a confined space for a short period of time, but do not fancy wearing one on a long journey by public transport.  Masks are not the most comfortable of things, which makes me even more in awe of the health care workers who wear them for hours on end together with lots of other PPE.  No wonder they are exhausted at the end of the day.

Not the end of the problem:  I have been told that face masks can fall off if you have small ears.  The solution could be to tighten the elastic but the message must be if you need to wear a face mask, give it a trial run at home before venturing out because you never know what problems will occur.  Three months ago who would have guessed that one of the main talking points in Bilton would be steamed up glasses, small ears and facemasks.

A first for some time:  an indication that some normality isreturning occurred when it became necessary to press the button on the pedestrian crossing at the top of King Edward Drive to stop the traffic in order to cross Skipton Road. I much preferred it when it was possible to saunter across with hardly any traffic in sight.  Now it is raining it is noticeable that there are far fewer bikes about.  Cycling is a great way to travel in fine weather but what do cyclists do when it rains?  There are still quite a lot of waterproof donned pedestrians marching round the streets enduring their daily exercise but this pastime is not nearly as pleasant when it is raining.

Walks highlights: for the first time in weeks I ventured into the fields behind Woodfield Road.  The wild flowers were stunning.  Also a lovely sight was a more formal garden someone has created around a tree in Woodfield Road.   It waspleasing to see that the neglected, Harrogate Borough Council maintained flower beds at the entrance to St John’s Church have been tidied up.  It is not appropriate to criticise the Council for the state they got into because a lot of Park Department staff were deployed elsewhere to help us through the crisis. The tidier flower beds could be another sign that normality is creeping back.

Allotment: in the early days of lockdown my daily walk did not vary much. I am lucky to have an allotment so that is where I went.  If allotments had been planned with lockdown and social distancing in mind the designers could not have done a better job, which is why allotmenteers have been allowed to carry on their activities throughout.  Of course, it does not always feel lucky to have an allotment because they are not the glamourous gardens sometimes portrayed on some television programmes.  After heavy rain work in the mud is difficult and dirty, then in dry spells the land can be so hard it is impossible to work; and we have had it all in 2020.  The lockdown has given many plot holders the opportunity to spend more time tending their plots and the site looks wonderful.  Now is the time to start reaping the rewards of the hard work.  When it stops raining I am going to harvest some strawberries.  The big question is – will I get there before the slugs?

 

Bilton News – 11th June 2020

Bilton news – June 11

Rollercoaster:  it has been another week of ups and downs.  One day you feel completely in control and confident that the new routines are the new normal, then something happens that is usually quite easy to deal with but has now become quite difficult.  At the start of the lockdown everyone was happily cleaning and polishing their cars, now they are trying to start them with jump leads because the batteries have gone flat.  Businesses providing delivery services and doing an excellent job are reverting to their normal lines of trading, yet their new customers still need them. Then to cap it all it has started to rain and it is cold again. We are nowhere near the new normal, just at the start of the transition.

Steamed up glasses:  more advice has come from a reader on how to combat foggy glasses when wearing a face mask.   Rub a tiny drop of washing up liquid on to each lens until clear.  This works under a motorbike helmet so it could work with a face mask.

Dog poo:  unfortunately there is more of this about on the streets.  The problem has become particularly bad on BiltonLane where the footfall has increased over the last few weeks as people make their way to the fields and the Nidd Gorge.   One resident has even reported that some dog owners are leaving their poo bags in the drives of houses.  Needless to say, this is a minority giving the majority a bad name.  If this is you, please stop

Cycling on pavements:  it has been a few weeks since this was last mentioned and I am pleased to report that I have only been run off the pavement twice during that time.  Maybe I have been lucky, or unlucky, depending which way you look at it, but this is a huge improvement.  Perhaps the guilty cyclists do read the Harrogate Advertiser after all.  So, if you did cycle on pavements but now use the road, I would just like to say a big thank you.

Cancellations:  they keep coming. The organisations hoping to hang on to their summer events are reluctantly having to cancel them as they discover just how difficult it is going to be to put the necessary social distancing measures in place.  I am not going to list the cancellations.   If you do not see it here it is likely not happening, but best to check with the organisations themselves just in case they have forgotten to tell me.  I am looking forward to the day when I can tell you that something is actually going to happen.

Enjoyable walks:  it feels like a rather gloomy column this week so I want to finish with something more cheerful. On my daily walk observing other people’s gardens it has been particularly pleasing to see family groups meeting, especially proud parents with a new  baby sitting two meters away from beaming grandparents who are seeing the new born for the first time.  I have particularly enjoyed the beautiful, blue, bee filled blooms of the Ceanothus shrub.  Its other name is Californian Lilac so it is not difficult to appreciate that it needs a warm site with no frost in winter, this year has been just right for it.  It is fading now but the roses are coming into bloom and look lovely.  We should be able to enjoy their many colours and forms for a few weeks yet.

Bilton News – 4th June 2020

Bilton news – June 4

Happy birthday: I do not know whose birthday it was but I am sure they will never forget it. Last week, as the clapping for carers faded away, the familiar words and tune of “Happy Birthday” moved along out street in a wave of sound. There have been suggestions that last Thursday should be the final clap for carers. It will have to stop sometime but are we ready to let this weekly gathering of neighbours disappear? It will be interesting to find out.

Good news and bad news: the announcement that more friends and family members can now meet each other is welcome indeed, but there is a sizable group of people for whom this will mean little change. They are the people who have received a communication from their GP advising them to stay at home until the end of June and those who do not have access to a car. The reason for not having a car may be a lifestyle choice or it may be something that has been made necessary because of health issues. Either way, with public transport only being encouraged for essential workers and, in any case still an unattractive option for many, those without cars could well be stuck at home until social distancing measures are relaxed, and that could be some time away. Do enjoy the new freedoms but please remember those who cannot take advantage of them as many will fall into the vulnerable category.

New life: there has been plenty of activity in the garden as young birds leave their nests. They can be very vulnerable at this time, especially young blackbirds who sit on the grass waiting for an adult bird to move them on. The local cat patrol is waiting to pounce on such youngsters. They often do not succeed but sometimes they do. Everyone knew when the starling chicks had fledged because the air was filled with their raucous calls. They also made a mess on the windows the day after they had been cleaned.

Knox Lane development: those who live in the immediate area may now have received a newsletter from Knox Valley Residents Association giving more details about the recent planning application to build houses in a field off Knox Lane. In the Local Plan the field was earmarked for 52 dwellings. The application submitted is for 73. It also includes part of the field not allocated for housing. The site is within a Special Landscape Area and the Local Plan states that the design and layout should enhance the urban edge through locally distinctive development. The application shows standard house types seen throughout the country. KVRA has other concerns and it to submit a detailed objection. If you are happy with the proposals you need do nothing but if you are concerned and would like to know more, the full application and associated documents can be viewed and commented on via the Harrogate Borough Council website Ref No 20/01333/FULMAJ

It was bound to happen: two months ago we thought we would never be short of water again but it has barely rained since and the reservoirs are down to 75% capacity. This is not a cause for immediate concern but it could be in the autumn if this glorious weather continues, as we all hope it will. Please do not water your lawn. Some plants will need to be watered but grass is not one of them, it soon recovers after rain. The good news is that the grass is not growing very fast in the heat so does not need mowing so often. Not mowing keeps the grass looking greener for longer, even if it does look a bit tatty. So, save yourself time by not mowing and watering the lawn and use that time to sit on it instead and enjoy the sunshine.

Bilton News – 28th May 2020

Bilton news – May 28

Solved: how to prevent glasses steaming up when wearing a face mask. This tip has come all the way from America with thanks to Heather Adderley for passing it on. Here it is. Buy some cheap shaving foam, spray on both sides of the glasses, rinse under running water, tap off the drops. I am told it does work though it may take two applications to start with. I have not yet tried it as local shops either do not stock it or are out of stock. There may now be a run on the product so apologies in advance to anyone who actually uses foam for shaving if they find the shelves are empty.

Shaving: foam is an additional item on my shopping list as the daily shaving routine does not take place in our house. My husband has a beard. Every so often he goes along to the barber and has it trimmed. The system worked well but unable to visit a barber for several weeks the situation became urgent. So urgent in fact that my husband, with great reluctance, allowed me to tackle the beard with the kitchen scissors. Even though I say it myself, the results are very pleasing. However, the barber need not fear the competition because I cannot claim to have had the same success trimming the hair.

New routines and skills: it is taking a while to settle into the new normal but some things I really like and will continue when the lockdown is eased. I now have a fruit and vegetable box delivered weekly. It contains staple items which I request but lots of surprises which the retailer includes. I am trying fruit and vegetables that I never have thought of buying before because I was unsure how to use them. Now there is time to find out the experience is really good. I hope you have discovered some positives in the lockdown too.

Knox Lane: though not a surprise many will be disappointed that a planning application has been received by Harrogate Borough Council for 73 residential dwellings in the field adjacent to the existing Knox Farm estate. Loss of another field and the likely increase in traffic on residential streets and roads constructed when pack ponies were the main form of transport are a cause for concern. Yet, we hear that there is a strong demand for houses in Harrogate and they have to go somewhere. Visit Harrogate Borough Council website to find out more and make observations if you wish.

Community woodland: there are those who do not know the area well that may have no sympathy when traffic congestion is listed as a concern when new development is proposed; this is because people fought hard and persuaded North Yorkshire County Council not to include a northern relief road in its future plans. All those arguments are not going to be repeated here but the reasons the plan was dropped are still sound. The value of the fields that would have gone under concrete has never been as great as it is now as town dwellers, and most of us are, are being encouraged to explore our local areas. Many local people are discovering the open fields between Harrogate and Knaresborough and Bilton and the Nidd Gorge for the first time. They are delighted and surprised at what they have found. The threat of development will always be present but increasingly local people are keen to make this as difficult as possible. An opportunity has arisen to purchase 30acres of land between Bilton and Starbeck just off the Greenway and create a community woodland. Nidd Gorge Community Action has launched a £300,000 appeal to enable this to happen, it is called “Long Lands Common “. The money has to be raised by a November deadline. Posters are springing up all over the area with details and the appeal has received good coverage elsewhere in this newspaper over the last few weeks. To find out more visit www.longlandscommon.org

Library books: anyone with library books at home need not worry about accumulating fines for late return. The return date for outstanding books has been extended to September 1. It is hoped Bilton and Woodfield Community Library will be able to offer some sort of service before then but, because of the social distancing and infection control measures that will likely have to be put in place this will not be straight forward. Keep in touch by visiting the Library website and Facebook.

Bilton News – 21st May 2020

Bilton news – May 21

The trouble with face masks: my friend has kindly made me a face mask so I can adhere to government advice to wear one in enclosed spaces.  I am happy to comply as it makes sense to do what we can to limit the spread of the coronavirus.  On entering a local shop I put it on and within seconds could not see a thing.  Yes, I know it does not go over my eyes it goes over my nose and mouth, but it caused my glasses to steam up.   I had to keep taking it off to see where I was going and what I was buying.   A young man on the checkout said he had the same trouble and I have noticed he has now stopped wearing a mask.  I am going to try to persevere but am not sure I can.  We are doing this to help ourselves and to help the NHS but would I, and anyone else struggling with steamed up glasses, actually be helping the NHS and ourselves if we ended up in hospital suffering from the possible life changing effects of a trip?  I do not know the answer.  There is a lot about the new guidelines that is not clear, my eyesight is not clear when I wear a face mask, but what is clear is that there is no clear pathway out of the lockdown.

Starling sounds: red kites flying overhead are a common sight and their call is becoming familiar.  Lately I have been hearing kites but not seeing them and, before you ask, it is nothing to do with steamed up glasses.  I did discover why.   The sound was actually coming from a starling perched on the corner of a nearby roof.   Starlings are great mimics and can often be heard sounding like swifts or curlews or even a green finch. They have now learned to imitate red kites.   I do like starlings, they are such fun to watch when they visit the garden.  They seem to get on with most other garden birds, unlike the blackbird which spends a lot of time chasing others away.

Storytime: the online Bilton and Woodfield Library storytimeon Facebook is going from strength to strength reaching hundreds of people many of whom participate. Last week was mental health week so the stories were all about being kind. It is hoped to be able to produce an online storytime every Tuesday at 10am.  The compulsory closure of the library is forcing the volunteers who run it to think differently about how services can be delivered in future.  Things will get back to normal eventually but it could be a long haul.  Our local library is not alone in this dilemma and the support of North Yorkshire Library Service in helping to plan the way out of the lockdown is invaluable.

Thank you bus drivers:  was the message chalked on the pavement at the bus stop in Rawson Street.  The bus drivers are another group of people who we must remember to thank for doing what must now be a lonely and worrying job.  There are few passengers but those who do use public transport are likely those who are also essential workers.   It is reassuring to see the bus trundling past.  Let us hope normal service can resume as soon as possible because for those without a car it is an essential service.  When there is somewhere for us to travel to we will need the buses as much as ever, maybe more than ever if we want to keep the cleaner air we are currently enjoying.

Do get in touch:  if there is anything you would like to read about in this column or if you have any news you would like to share.  At the moment it is very much one personsperspective of the lockdown so it would be good to include a few more.o

Bilton News – 14th May 2020

Bilton news – May 14

VE Day: turned out not to be such a damp squib after all. Within a few days the mood had changed from one of apathy to one that was determined to do something. The day was beautiful, warm and sunny making our daily walk extremely pleasant. Every street we walked along had a vibrant display of bunting, flags and balloons and the sound of 1940s music drifted over the rooftops from the direction of Hill Top Crescent. Tables were being erected on front lawns ready for a feast later in the day whilst the residents of Sedley Close were already enjoying theirs from individual gardens. Everyone looked so happy to be doing something different. Not many took part in the singing of “We’ll Meet Again” at 9pm but it did not matter. It had been a good day.

The swifts are back: on May 5 in the skies above Pine Street Allotments was heard the familiar screech indicating that summer was really here. A group of swifts wheeled through the air sounding very happy to have come to the end of their long journey from Africa. They had every reason to be, the weather was, indeed, summer like. Then it got cold. They probably wish they were still in Africa.

Locked up then locked down: were the words used by Derek Megginson to describe the events of the last few weeks. Derek M, as he is known to most of his friends, is best known for his association with the bingo sessions at Dene Park Community Centre but he is also a regular attender at BIlton Community Centre, Bilton Cricket Club, Bilton Working Men’s Club and the Londesborough Club in town. All these buildings were locked up whilst the people who enjoyed the companionship they provided were locked down. It happened so quickly there was no chance to say farewell or exchange contact details. Derek would like his friends to know that he is thinking of them and hoping they are alright and keeping safe. He is occupying his time in his large garden. There is not a dandelion in sight on his three lawns. He did tell me the secret of this achievement but it is a secret so I am not going to tell you what it is. I can say that it is chemical free and not without a bit of hard work.

Cleaning out the cupboards: Derek has been inspired by my occasional references to cleaning out cupboards. He has done better than I have because he has found a £10 note in his. I will have to keep looking.

Peter the Peacock: has been heard and then seen posing as a noisy but rather impressive ornament in a garden on Bilton Lane.

Storytime: at Bilton and Woodfield Community Library. The team has been wrestling with the IT that enabled it to produce an online storyime session on the library Facebook page. It went out last Tuesday and has been very well received. Encouraged, the team hope that this will now become a regular feature so keep an eye on the library Facebook page where this can be found together with lots of other suggestions of things to do and local information.

Citizens Advice: Tim Tribe has been in touch to say that Citizens Advice is still up and running and available for advice and support for anyone affected by COVID 19 whether in their jobs, managing debts, benefits, housing, family, consumer, immigration, the law and courts, or health. The systems have all been moved online as staff and volunteers are working from home. Visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk or email https://www.cahd.org.uk/email Those not online can telephone 01423 509591 and leave a message. Someone will call back.

Volunteering opportunities: Citizens Advice is always keen to talk to people about volunteering. Those with internet and social media skills are welcome just now. If interested, see above for contact details.

Bilton News – 7th May 2020

Bilton news – May 7

Shopping: I cannot say it has been the most pleasurable of experiences over the past few weeks but we are so lucky here in Bilton to have a wide range of shops that have been able to supply our daily needs without the necessity of having to visit one of the big supermarkets. This is particular valuable for those who cannot click and collect because they have no internet or no car. The staff at all these outlets, whether independent or national chain are all working so hard to meet our needs so please remember them at the weekly clap on Thursdays. If you feel a bit grumpy because the item you want is not available please do not take it out on the staff, it is not their fault. Smile, shrug and try and find an alternative. I have sought alternatives on a number of occasions and bought things I would never have considered before the lockdown and really like some of them, so they are now on my permanent shopping list.

Scam warning: A report has been received of men in suits knocking on doors in Bilton telling the occupants that the old £20 notes have been withdrawn with immediate effect. They are offering to exchange old notes for new for a 20% commission. Do not be tempted. The old style £20 notes can still be used and the post office will take them until at least the end of 2021. The banks will take them forever and exchange for new notes without charge. At this time of lockdown and social distancing there should be no unexpected callers at your door. If there are, and you do not recognise the caller, do not answer, or shut the door straight away.

Good neighbours: many of us have discovered just how good our neighbours are. This is wonderful. Most of us try not to bother them too much because they have their own problems to deal with so it may be possible that some neighbours think help is not required if it is rarely sought. Do not be deceived. There are reports of an increasing number of elderly people visiting local shops more frequently to buy very small items. It could be that they are lonely. Do say hello if you see neighbours in their gardens or in the street and try and strike up a conversation, however short, it could make a huge difference to them and, please, when you are going to click and collect or are lucky enough to have arranged a food delivery slot please continue to ask them if they need anything.

Highlight of the week: for me it was rediscovering the delicate scent of the lilac blossom. There is quite a lot about in gardens. My mother always raved about the lilac and laburnum so I always look out for it but do not recall being able to smell the scent for some time. The reason I suspect could be due to the better air quality we are enjoying, possibly because there are fewer pollutants about, namely, cars on the road. There will be positives come out of this pandemic. One of them could be that we may have discovered ways to use our cars less.

Second highlight: was a field of dandelions off Knox Lane. I do not want dandelions in my garden but there is no denying they look spectacular in certain settings. Dare I suggest we let them grow on West Park Stray? Perhaps I had better not.

VE Day: this should be a time of celebration and some will find a way but for most of us it will be a non-event. Let us hope a celebration of this and the end of our current war with coronavirus can take place later in the year.

Bilton News – 30th April 2020

Bilton News – April 30

Here we are again:  trying to find something to write about.  Actually there is quite a lot to be positive about for anyone fortunate enough not to be affected by the virus or any problems that would have occurred in any case.   The great thing has been the weather.   Families are out walking together discovering parts of Bilton they did not know existed and it is not only families.  People are enthusing about the lovely colour of the leaves and blossom and a few have commented on how beautiful the trees are in Woodfield Road.  Hardly anyone noticed them before.  There are a few bluebells in St John’s churchyard and I noticed a cowslip on my walk through this morning.  In my own garden I have seen peacock and orange tip butterflies.  A few years ago there would have been far more butterflies but nowadays it is lovely to see any.  By the time you read this the weather is forecast to have become much cooler with showers.  The gardens need the showers but I wonder how we will manage if more seasonal weather returns.

Woodfield Millennium Green:  normally one of the more pleasant occasions of April is the AGM which takes place at the big table on the Green and where there is usually a good supply of hot drinks and cakes.  This month would have been no exception because this little oasis is looking as pleasant as ever.   Of course the AGM did not happen. It has been postponed until September.  The trustees have requested that people kindly pick up after their dogs when using the Green for dog walking.  The problem is particularly bad at present.   I have noticed that there is more excrement on pavements too so the message to the minority of dog walkers who do not pick up is please, do it.

Cycling on pavements: whilst on the subject of minorities spoiling things for the majority I regret to have to return to the problem of cyclists on pavements.    There were two encountered on my walk this morning and two yesterday, an increase from the usual one.  Almost without exception they are middle aged men.  If they are going slow enough I have a polite word but they are usually travelling at such speed that I would be left talking to myself.  When there is a lot of road traffic cyclists on pavements are still not welcome but it is possible to understand why they use it, but not now when the side roads are almost devoid of traffic.  I do not suppose any of the culprits read this but if they do, please cycle on the roads.

Found in the cupboard:  this week the surprising find was some petrol coupons.   Not from the War, as you might expect, but from the 1970s.  This reminded me that we have suffered hard times before and got over them.  Of course what happened in the 1970s was not the same as is happening now as the problems were due to industrial unrest rather than a virus but the imposition of a three day week, regular power cuts, shortages of essential commodities and sky high interest rates meant it was an extremely worrying time for thousands.  Not for me, being young, responsibility free and with a good job not adversely affected meant it was a bit of an adventure and only working three days a week was a bonus. I did not have a car so how the petrol coupons came to be in my cupboard I do not know, they must have belonged to my father, but they will make a good discussion point when Bilton and Woodfield Library is in a position to start its heritage and reminiscing sessions.