M A R C H 2012
and surrounding villages
Spring Grove School
Spring Grove School A great place to grow
Open Morning with childrenâ€™s activities
Saturday 24th March 9.00am - 12.30pm Spring Grove School is set in 14 acres of outstanding countryside and offers pupils, aged 2-11, one of the most beautiful playgrounds in Kent. Our children are happy and confident and our school has a wonderful family atmosphere. Spring Grove School, Harville Road, Wye, TN25 5EZ Tel: 01233 812337 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.springgroveschool.co.uk
Welcome to the village directory
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Another important date this month is of course the 18th March - Motherâ€™s Day, and Iâ€™m sure my 16 year old son will be showering me with flowers and bars of mint Aero, while he does the housework for me (I can but dream!). This is a very busy day for all our food and drink venues so be sure to book your table early, we donâ€™t want to disappoint Mum do we?
Have a great month
~ Debbie T: 01233 720488 e:email@example.com w:www.thevillagedirectory.co.uk e:firstname.lastname@example.org
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Unbelievably the Village Directory is seven years old this year, andâ€œWit & Wisdomâ€?has proven during this time to be a popular feature. But after so many editions itâ€™s becoming increasingly difficult to find good, clean and inoffensive content for this page. I do receive contributions from readers, but I often fear Iâ€™m beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel. So please send me your jokes, if they are clean and funny and thereâ€™s no risk offending anyone (thereâ€™s a challenge!) why keep them to yourself! If we only raise a slight titter or even a â€œDohâ€?, itâ€™s a welcome break from the doom and gloom we are so often bombarded with. Apparently laughing is good for your health!
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Welcome to the March Issue, with March comes the anticipation of crisp and sunny spring days and the onset of British Summer Time. Sunday 25th March is the date to remember, when the clocks will â€œspringâ€? forward an hour. That is if â€œthe powers that beâ€? havenâ€™t decided to change it after all these years! So donâ€™t be caught out.
The Garden Shed March By Jo Arnell
re you ready for a little spring pruning? More to the point, are your plants? It’s the time of the year when itchy fingers start reaching for the secateurs (if they haven’t already – your roses should have been done back in the winter, by the way). The problem with pruning is that there are a few rules to follow. The rules are straightforward, but working out which rule applies to which plant is where it can easily fall apart. There are hundreds of books available on the subject of pruning, but that often makes it worse – real plants never look like the diagrams and all those little cut mark lines they draw on so helpfully, just seem to confuse things further. Some of us aren’t
bothered by rules or books and just rush out there and have a good old hack, which always gives interesting results; others are more hesitant and timidly trim the edges off everything - tidy, but strangely unattractive, unless you like amorphous blobby hummocks. It helps if you know what you want from the plant and what it’s likely to do after you’ve pruned it (apart from die, that is). Growth will usually start again from near the point where you’ve made your cut. If it’s a flowering shrub, try not to cut off the developing flower buds. Shrubs that flower in the spring do so on old wood made the previous year (Forsythia, flowering currant) and are pruned after they’ve flowered. Deciduous shrubs that flower later on (Buddleia, Fuchsia) are pruned in early spring – their flowers grow on new wood made the same year as they flower. If it
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the garden doesn’t flower, don’t worry (unless the reason it doesn’t flower is because it’s been pruned at the wrong time). Before getting stuck in make sure your secateurs/loppers have sharp, clean blades. Then: Cut out any dead or diseased wood first. Look at the plant’s overall shape and think about its natural habit – a graceful, arching specimen won’t look good reduced to a stubby lump.
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The harder you prune, the more vigorously the shrub will respond (in most cases, but of course there are exceptions that will drop dead at the sight of you approaching).
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Evergreens are more tender than deciduous shrubs and are usually pruned after the danger of frost has passed. If the poor thing is looking a total mess (before or indeed after the pruning session), what’s the worst that can happen? There is
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Sweet peppers, especially the red ones, are very high in vitamin A and both red and green peppers are also very high in vitamin C. Chilli peppers also have a good supply of vitamins C and A and in addition, contain both beta-carotene and something called capsaicin which is believed to have a useful effect on blood cholesterol levels.
Growing Peppers 6
Growing your own peppers is not much more involved than growing tomatoes, so why not give it a try? Pepper plants can be unbelievably pretty too, with fruits in a range of shapes and colour, generally on compact plants and preceded by small and very pretty white ﬂowers. This is a plant with great ornamental as well as edible potential. Both chilli and sweet - or bell - peppers can be grown in a greenhouse border, in a sunny spot in the garden in warmer parts of the country, or on a sunny, sheltered spot on the patio. The heavier, earlier crop will come if you grow the plants in a greenhouse or conservatory, but it is well worth growing them outside too.
The seeds are readily obtainable from many catalogues or garden centres but make sure you take into account the level of heat that each type delivers. Most seed packets and catalogues do make it very clear. Sow the seeds between now and early April. I use a multi-purpose or a seed compost, but for good germination you will need to provide a bit of extra warmth, ideally from a heated propagator positioned in a spot where it receives plenty of natural light. If you don’t have the time or facilities to raise your own from seed, you can always buy a few plants in a garden centre or send off for them. We offer two tasty varieties as part of my ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ system (see www. pippagreenwood.com for details). Keep the plants a tiny bit drier than you would a tomato plant and feed regularly with a high-potash liquid feed (most readily available as a ‘tomato food’). This helps to keep the plants growing strongly and the potash will encourage plenty of ﬂowers and so fruits to form.
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If you are going for plants in pots, choose a planter that has good drainage and is 30cm (12in) or more in diameter, adding broken pots for extra drainage. Once there is no danger of late frosts you can put them outside in a sheltered, sunny spot.
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If you’re after the hottest possible heat from your chilli peppers, then you’ll ﬁnd this comes from fruits that are totally ripe and from peppers that are grown in warmer conditions. If you are growing sweet peppers in patio pots then you are likely to ﬁnd that there are still some unripened fruits on the plants when temperatures start to fall at the end of summer and well into autumn. To increase the chances of these ripening and increasing to full size, move the pots to a warmer spot or, if possible, to a porch, conservatory or greenhouse where they’ll get extra warmth and also plenty of natural light. If you want chillies that look particularly good on the patio there are plenty to choose from. ‘Black Pearl’ is a hot chilli pepper with a distinct blackish tinge to the mature leaves and fruits that are black early on and mature darkest red. For classic chillis with bright red, ﬁnger shaped fruits try ‘Thai Dragon’. Visit www.pippagreenwood.com to make veg growing easy. You’ll receive garden ready veg plants PLUS every week Pippa emails you hints, tips and advice about your chosen veg. From just £39 for up to 66 garden-ready plants, 6 packets of seed and the weekly emails.
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The British Countryside Our British countryside is teeming with life this time of year. To save you getting lost in a wilderness of animal and nature books, here are some of the best to be found. Grab the butterﬂy net and the binoculars; it’s time to go on a back-garden safari.
British Wildlife Photographer Award Collection 2 (Photography) AA Publishing Who says coffee table books always have to be about antique teapots and small furniture? Bring the outside world in and celebrate the best that this island has to offer. The British Wildlife Photography Awards began in 2009 and this beautiful collection is full of the winning pictures from 2011, ranging from urban intruders to marine life. Vivid images beautifully capture British wildlife in a wonderfully voyeuristic way. The whole collection is a window on the extraordinary lives of animals and is deﬁnitely one to be treasured. RSPB Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain If you’ve ever been out with your children and found yourself stumped by the question ‘what’s that?’ then this guide is a must-have for you. With over a thousand species of British animals, plants and fungi, you’ll sound like Chris Packham on Springwatch if you carry this in your rucksack.
Bugs Britannica Peter Marren and Richard Mabey Determined to help the smallest creatures on our island make the biggest impact, ‘Bugs Britannica’ is a must-have for creepycrawly enthusiasts. It’s wonderfully colourful and informative and guarantees to give you a greater understanding of how insects and humans interact and the importance of our tiny house-invaders. Our gardens and homes are teeming with buglife and you might ﬁnd you’re no longer reaching for the ﬂyspray this summer. British Wildlife Detectives’ Handbook Camilla de la Bedovere. This is the ideal companion for budding young naturalists, but most importantly of all…it comes with stickers. This handbook is packed with facts and information on everything you’re likely to see, both in the back-garden and beyond. Children will
love turning detective and ﬁnding out what species they’re looking at. You can inspire and encourage them to really explore their natural surroundings without there being a computer in sight. The handbook has tick-boxes for keeping tabs on everything they’ve spotted so they can look back over their casework and truly admire British wildlife. A Kestrel for a Knave Barry Hines If you were a teenager in the 1980s then you probably read ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ in school. For anyone who didn’t, you’re in for a treat. Disillusioned Billy Casper is enduring a deprived and violent upbringing in a small Yorkshire mining town when he builds an unlikely friendship with ‘Kes’, a kestrel hawk. Frequently described as ‘honest’ and ‘raw’ this is a story of how an animal can positively impact on human life. Kes inspires Billy to ‘soar’ and ﬁnd passion in an otherwise harsh and hopeless life.
Not released until June 2012 Collins Complete Guides - British Coastal Wildlife If you are opting for a ‘staycations’ and holidaying in Britain, reserve this book at the same time as booking your holiday. Our coastlines are quite literally swimming in extraordinary wildlife. This guide covers over 400 species of animals and plants found along our shores and will make a great companion for when you ‘like to be beside the seaside’. Leaﬁng through this book is like sticking your head straight into a rock-pool. It has clear pictures, descriptions and is packed with information to appeal to even the truest of nature enthusiasts.
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so hopefully this will stop my silly humans from worrying about me!
Mowgli Hello Everyone, Mowglii here h here. I hope ho e you y u all enjoyed the snow and cold temperatures last month as much as we did. I spent a lot of time out in the cat run- birds and shrews show up so much better when everything is either snowy or frozen. However, my humans are as usual very silly as they clipped two patches out of my fur on my side just before the cold weather came, and these patches got very cold when I was outside. I don’t know why they had to pick right now to do it! Humans are almost as silly as goats!
I had my fur clipped because I had to have my heart scanned. Apparently sometimes I have a small heart murmur (I wouldn’t know. I think it is the humans fussing again) and Clive wanted to get a specialist to scan my heart to find out if they needed to do anything. Anyway, Clive took a day off and Ebony and I initially thought that he was just going to play with us all day but then Jane came home with Leah the nurse and a heart specialist came round to the house with his ultrasound. Initially I enjoyed jumping all over his ultrasound machine as it was on a trolley. This caused a mild panic as it is very expensive- good fun! But then, before I knew it, I was on my side with a patch clipped out of my beautiful Snow Spotted Serengeti fur, covered in cold ultrasound gel and having an ultrasound done. I kept telling them that there is nothing wrong with my heart but they didn’t listen. It was a great indignity to be ultrasounded on my own dining room table and I told them all about it. My regular miaow practice that I do in the hall really paid off and I had the specialist scared. I think he thought I was going to eat him (I wasn’t of course, I wouldn’t hurt anyone, I just wriggle and yell!). Ebony heard my yells and came rushing to help- she chirruped and tried to get between the specialist’s legs to trip him up. It all helped to make the ultrasound end rather sooner than it otherwise might have done. And my heart is perfectly good and normal
Anyway, even if my humans are a bit silly at least I have a home and am well looked after. The Clinic had a beautiful grey cat brought in last month. They tried very hard to find an owner but one couldn’t be found so after a stay at the Clinic he has gone to find a home with the Cats Protection League. I can’t imagine what it is like for cats with no homes in this weather. It’s been cold at night n here even when I have been under the duvet with my head on the pillow! m
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The Handy Household - The Benefits of Bicarb Whether you know it as baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate or simply, bicarb, no home should be without this wonder product. While it’s regularly used in cooking as a raising agent, bicarbonate of soda has many more household uses offering an economical, non-toxic and effective remedy for a whole host of health, beauty and cleaning challenges. It’s deodorising powers are second to none – a slight dusting under the arms or in your shoes will keep you smelling fresh all day and if the cat litter tray starts to offend, just sprinkle some bicarb in the bottom to neutralise those nasty odours. in fact, bicarb can be used to deodorise everything from dishwashers to fridges, and a soak in a diluted solution, will freshen up any kitchenware from old thermos flasks to coffee makers. Always keep some in the bathroom because if you run out of toothpaste, bicarb mixed into a paste with water, will do the job just as well. This miracle paste also makes a fantastic skin exfoliator and can also be used to soothe itchy insect bites or, diluted with water, can be drunk as a cure for indigestion. What’s more, if you add it to your bath water it will even soften your skin. It’s ability to cut through grease and oil stains make it particularly handy for adding to your weekly wash, or cleaning burnt pans or even for unblocking drains rains – simply pour down some bicarb, followed by boiling water. Need any more convincing? Well, it’s also an effective fire extinguisher and can douse the flames of small kitchen fires. No home should be without it.
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the home Today Rocket Boots Over the last few years writing in this lovely magazine I have revealed a number of confessions,so continuing the revelations and “Confessions of a Furniture Restorer” I have one more for you. I have never watched the film “Star Wars”! I admit I have caught snippets of it, which is enough to send me to sleep or run like a man possessed. It’s not just “Star Wars” of course, I really hate space travelling, galactic, ridiculous science fictional space craft, with rubbish stories and even more rubbish costumed beasts. There, I said it! It’s now out...I feel a bit better now. I think confession actually works, maybe, in that, ”load off your mind” kind of a way.
Anyway I started thinking about this dark secret of mine, firstly because, whilst scurrying around today in my workshop, it dawned on me how much distance I must actually travel daily. Some days are worse than others, but I do cover some ground believe it or not, so I thought wouldn’t it be cool to have one of those hover boards that Michael J Fox uses in “Back To The Future”, or maybe I just need some rocket boots. What’s annoying is, is (sorry I got excited and tapped to many is’s) is that there are all these boffin scientists around the world, all watching Star Trek and stuff with crazy space ships and gadgets, but when they go to work they invent things like a mouse with a spare ear on its back, or interactive television games.You can even get a dart board game where you throw imaginary darts at your telly. Why not just put up a dart board and throw some lumps of pointy brass at it? I saw the other day a childs’ drawing and painting kit that you plug into the telly, ridiculous! I mean, what is wrong with a piece of paper and some crayons I ask? So come on inventors and dreamers of a
futuristic world. Polish ya spanners and knock me up some rocket boots so I can shoom around my workshop quicker, and give my weary legs a wii rest!
By Richard Tozer
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