north n’land bird club: The speaker at the North Northumberland Bird Club’s October indoor meeting at Bamburgh Pavilion was George Dodds from Glanton. George’s job is a professional advisor to farmers managing land under the various state schemes promoting flora and fauna. George freely confessed that his hobby was his livelihood – out and about in the Northumbrian countryside, often in areas where there is no public access. Ever-increasing world food demand has meant global changes to agriculture. In the UK the change from spring to winter cereals, greater use of fertilisers and herbicides has generally been bad news for our traditional farmland birds. However, Northumberland has fared far better than the more southern counties, with our only serious loser being the corn bunting. In contrast yellowhammers, tree sparrows, linnets and twite are at least holding their own and goldfinches are on the increase. Skylarks and grey partridge are having difficulties but benefiting from specific projects. Most of the management schemes encouraged field margins to be left fallow. Tall grass was an excellent habitat for the barn owl’s staple diet of voles but mowing in July produced the short grass preferred by grey partridge. A bare earth strip between the short grass and the crop was particularly good for brown hares, partridges’ dust baths and nesting space for skylarks. Many of the field margins were also used for pheasant rearing. The game crops planted to give cover and food for the pheasants also benefited farmland birds. Predator control – where practiced – also benefited farmland birds. Foxes, stoats, carrion crows and magpies all take their toll. At Goswick and Holy Island, sluices had been built to control and retain tidal floods and ditches had been reprofiled with shallow edges to benefit lapwing, snipe and redshank. Upland projects were also important. Grazing was the key to managing wild flower hay meadows and rushy fields. Only lapwing liked the very short grass left by sheep. Today the policy was to encourage diversity in these habitats through cattle grazing to help skylarks, ring ouzels and waders. Many farmers were concerned about the decline in farmland bird species. The evening ended with warm thanks to the speaker. John Harrison.
WI: October saw the 80th birthday of Belford Wl who had invited guests from other Wl’s in the area and what a wonderful night was had by all. The real essence of the night got under way with a flower demonstration by Brenda Stanton, who took us from the 1930’s to present day in flowers. The floral artistry was interspersed by ‘Singalongaeric’ with songs reflecting the decades from 1930 onwards. The supper table groaned under the weight of the sumptuous buffet provided by members and our guests remarked that yet again the ladies of Belford Wl had provided an outstanding supper. Then the most senior member, Nance Turnbull cut our birthday cake, made and beautifully decorated for us by one of our members, Margaret Smith. A champagne toast and the singing of Happy Birthday completed a night that will certainly go into the group’s history book! Next meeting Monday, November 12 at Bell View 6.45pm. Sugarcraft with Margaret Smith. Comp - three homemade mince pies.
ROTARY CLUB: A celebrated Berwickshire murder of 260 years ago was recounted to Berwick Rotary Club. Fay Weddell of Eyemouth has researched the story of how a butler, desperate for money, attacked Lady Margaret Hume and killed her at Linthill House, Eyemouth. The victim, knows nfamily who have centuries-old connections with Wedderburn Castle, Duns and Paxton House, had gone to bed in August 1751 with her possessions safely locked in the room. Butler Norman Ross, short of money but aware of where she hid hers, crept quietly into the room and picked up the key. Suddenly aware of a shadowy figure as Margaret awoke and sat up, he panicked. Taking a knife from his pocket he plunged it into her throat, leaped 15 feet from a window, injured his ankle and crouched into a field where two days later he was arrested and confessed. Taken to Edinburgh he had the hand which held the knife cut off and was then hanged. The link between the house, recently refurbished by David Hume of Wedderburn exists today and Linthill is used for family holidays.
Floral Art Group: Berwick and District Floral Art Group met for their October meeting. Elizabeth Forster from Kelso was the demonstrator and her title for the evening was “Around the World”. Five arrangements were created, the first depicted travel around the earth. Exotic greenery accompanied straight and curved liatris and anastasia chrysanthemums. Thin coloured sticks were attached between the greenery which gave the illusion of a sphere circling the earth. A trip to Hong Kong was the inspiration for the next creation. Set on two levels and with coloured, glittered rectangles and circles to represent the sky scrapers orange gerberas, purple liatris, red roses and vibrant red anthuriums were used to reflect the neon lights and deep mauve cymbidium orchids were the ultimate oriental touch. Ice cream was created in two large ice cream cones held on a metal stand. Copper berberis flowed over the edges. White carnations followed the flow and were also grouped together on the top. Pink stargazer lilies and red roses were added to the centre. Las Vegas was the next port of call. Reflecting the razzle dazzle two glitter covered containers were set on a half moon stand, cypresses, senecio and other greenery covered the sides whilst purple ostrich feathers accompanied purple liatris. Dark plum cala lilies followed the shape of the stand whilst exotic blooms including large cream cymbidium orchids and smaller purple orchids carried off the final effect. The finale represented the return home. Mixed greenery filled the container which was surrounded with twisted hazel. Blooms of green anastasia chrysanthemums, golden gerberas, red alstromeria, orange roses and yellow cymbidium orchids reflected the beautiful colours of the British countryside. The next meeting will be the club’s annual Open Night. Jean McClure from Saltburn will be demonstrating, her title will be “Inspiring Christmas”. The meeting will be at St. Aidan’s Hall, Church Street, Berwick at 7pm on Friday, November 16, tickets are £8 for guests and can be purchased from Val Stevenson on 01289 302398, Tessa Robinson on 018907 51681 or Linda Wortley on 018907 71731 or purchased on the evening.
PROBUS CLUB: The evolution of modern dentistry was described by Dr Ian Morrison in a very enlightening talk to Berwick Probus Club. Until the 1840s when Dr John Holmes became the first real dentist, teeth had been pulled by blacksmiths and farmers and he confirmed that the first Queen Elizabeth had been fitted with wooden teeth. The popularity of sugar in the 1800s, coupled with smoking created widespread decay and gum problems. Although hundreds sat the test to become qualified in dentistry it was not until the 1920s that fillings and dentures were introduced and those in practice were more concerned with replacing teeth than preventative measures. In recent years bridging and implants became popular and continuing research led to rapid progress and a growing trend into specialisation. Dr Morrison predicted that many further improvements would follow and costs would become lower. Today healthy eating and prevention were important factors.
St Andrew’s Wallace Green and Lowick Church of Scotland: The work party will meet today, Thursday, November 1, at 1.30pm while choir practice is at 6pm. Our prayer group meet at 9.30am on Saturday and Sunday services will start at 9.45am in Lowick and 11am in St Andrew’s Wallace Green. Carpet Bowls at 1.45pm on Monday 29th and keep Fit at 10am on Tuesday 30th completes the fixtures for this week.
TREFOIL GUILD: Chairman Wilma Head welcomed members and guests to the October meeting. A donation was sent to Bernardos in memory of past member the late Betty Purey and a letter of appreciation for this was received from her daughter and read out to the meeting. Recipes for the proposed Recipe Book were handed in. It was decided that the Christmas dinner would be at The Rob Roy on December 14. Pre-orders will be taken at the November meeting. Chairman welcomed guest speaker Sue Malloy. Her subject was fruit and a wonderful selection of fruit was brought by Mrs Malloy. The nutritional properties of our everyday and also more exotic fruits was explained together with their countries of origin and this proved to be a most interesting talk.
Arts Club: The next meeting of Berwick Arts Club will be on Tuesday, November 13 from 7.30pm-9.30pm in the Conference Room of the Berwick Voluntary Forum (CAB) Building, Tweed Street, Berwick. Jane Pigney will give a talk entitled ‘Will the real Hans Christian Andersen please stand up? The Danish writer is primarily known in this country for his fairy tales but Jane maintains he is a much more complex person as he also wrote novels, plays, travelogues, poems and short stories. We will look at Andersen’s life and times as well as some of his works to see if we can come closer to discovering the real Hans Christian Andersen. All are welcome. There will be a charge of £2 for visitors. For further information contact the secretary on 01289 308767.
CAMERA CLUB: Thanks to an increase in membership the first competition of the Berwick Camera Club’s winter season attracted an entry of 56 photographs. It was judged by Geoffry Bradford and the winning pictures in the different classes were:- Artistic 1st Kenny Patterson, 2nd Nick Johnson, 3rd Michael Barron Illustrative 1st & 2nd Maggie Jary, 3rd John Tully. Landscape 1st Michael Barron, 2nd Bob Craig, 3rd Alan Bennett. Portrait 1st Henry Grey,2nd Kenny Patterson, 3rd David Sanderson. Nature 1st Maggie Jary, 2nd Michael Barron, 3rd John Peters. General 1st David Sanderson, 2nd Nick Johnson, 3rd Peter Carr. The club meets each Tuesday evening at the East Ord Village Hall.
U3A: An Open Day of Berwick U3A is next Monday, November 5 in St Aidan’s Hall at 10am for tea/coffee and biscuits and at 10.30am we will have a speaker, Angela Clough, on Age UK. The speaker will now have a lapel microphone which means that everyone in the hall will be able to hear what is said. Will members of Maureen Raper’s Creative Writing Group please note that the next date for her group is Wednesday, November 14 at 2pm at Maureen’s house and every fortnight thereafter. Eugenics was the subject discussed at the last meeting of Beryl Wight’s Philosophy Group. The thought of supporting a legal sterilisation of people who were thought to be unfit to reproduce - people with problems such as mental, drug addicts, alcoholics, and criminals. Would it be right to vote to take away the right for them to be parents? Would it be fair to the unborn child? Remember this happened in Germany! The group concluded that the system we have at this moment is the fairest. Will group leaders please contact George Martin with details of your activity, for the website. The website will be fully updated soon on www.berwicku3a.org.uk.
WI: December being the Birthday Party, catering is to be organised and the party to be held in the Village Hall. Thank you cards were read from the Village Shop thanking members for help at the Macmillan Coffee Morning. Also Sylvia McKee for the flowers received when in hospital. This being an open meeting Mrs Clark welcomed everyone, and introduced Mr Friendly who gave a very interesting talk on the Alnwick and Cornhill Railway. Mrs K Telford thanked Mr Friendly on behalf of everyone. Competition: A Railway Photo. First - W. Black, Second - A. Dickson.
Till Valley Archaeological Society: Our AGM is on Wednesday, November 7 at 6.45pm before our November talk at 7.30pm to be given by David Jones of Coquetdale Community Archaeology. He will tell the story of how CCA discovered the existence of a 12th century mill in Coquetdale, how they researched its position and actually found it at Barrowburn. They then applied for grants and have done an extensive excavation of the site. There is a £4 charge for visitors, members are free. At the October meeting we welcomed Graeme Young of the Bamburgh Research Project. He kindly brought us up-to-date with the work in progress. The site is not only a stunningly dramatic one with its castle perched on a dolerite crag but its history dates back at least 2,000 years. In the village St Aiden’s Church probably stands on an original Anglo Saxon church site. Geophysical surveys in modern day Bamburgh have, so far, failed to find the Anglo Saxon service village for the castle site. However, the 1860 Ordnance Survey map shows the high water mark at a higher level than today meaning that the St Oswald’s Gate, presently being excavated as Trench 1, allowed access to a small port where, in Saxon and medieval times, boats could have drawn up onto the beach. Graeme then moved on to Trench 3 in the West Ward where they have worked through a 13th century midden to 11th and 12th century medium sized timber building to a 9th to 11th century large timber building. Prior to the 9th century there has been industrial activity including metal working and evidence of a smith working in gold and silver, perhaps melting artefacts down for re-use. Sophisticated swords show evidence of great technical skill. In the same area a collection of 77 coins were found in charcoal ash mixed with a fibrous material – were the coins in a bag or some sort of container? Some of the artefacts found can be seen in the castle museum.
WI: Mrs. J Gray presided and names of members wishing to attend the carol service at Hexham on December 13 were taken. Our co-operative entry at Heighley Gate was unplaced but Mrs Gray was congratulated on winning 1st plus a gold star for her cordial. Mrs Malloy gained a third for bread, Mrs Smeaton also got third for a chocolate cake. Mrs Nancy Fowler was our guest speaker for the afternoon. She had many beautiful quilts on display plus a Durham Quilt. The designs for these were usually drawn by the men. Mrs Smith won the competition for something red. There were many winners in the raffle. Mrs Kenny will be tea hostess for November. Next meeting will be November 13 at the golf club at 1.45pm.
quilting group: Lowick Quilting Group has launched its Jubilee Quilt, now hanging in the Village Hall and the work of the whole group. Led by Mary Lockie, the quilters have produced a wide range of stitched images of the village ranging from the school, the church, the war memorial to the community orchard, the recently installed Jubilee Fountain and the village pubs. Each image has its own design, its own style and its own colour scheme. Overall, it’s a splendid representation to the Jubilee and the village and a permanent commemoration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the skills and efforts of residents.
ROTARY CLUB: Our local causes to support over the next year will be the Wooler Drop-in Centre and Berwick Young Carers, with practical support being offered to the North Northumberland Hospice and Barndale School. Nationally it was agreed to donate to Canine Partners (who provide assistance dogs to disabled people) and to Ovarian Cancer Research. It had been agreed at a previous meeting to participate in the Alnwick RC 100 Club, and the ticket was passed on to the Treasurer for safe keeping. A thank you letter and receipt had been received from the hospice for last year’s donation to them. It was agreed to participate in the Rotary District Car Draw; clubs will receive 25 per cent of proceeds from ticket sales.