South Downs News, December issue


The SDNPA has discovered that celebrities can be used to plant trees. They have managed to plant one tree so far but, if another 7,999 celebrities step forward, they will be able to meet their quota for this winter. At least 8,500 celebrities will also be needed next year. No word on any fees payable. Chief Executive Trevor Beattie reports that the government has committed £257m for cycling and walking in 2021-22, perhaps because government policy has ensured that, for most of the population, cycling and walking will be the only transport options they can afford in that year. You can also read about the Community Infrastructure Levy, a fund set up by the SDNPA to accept and administer bungs paid by developers. The Park’s Volunteer Development Officer reports that voluntary activity has largely ceased due to the immense health risks that the Park poses to volunteers. However, despite the danger, one such volunteer did manage to write an informative little column on ivy. There’s also a page on nitrates in the aquifers that features quotes from David Ellin (Paythorne, Perching) and Roly Puzey (Saddlescombe). No mention of glyphosate, however. Despite the government’s ongoing armageddon against small business, the Park has split £40,000 between 27 petitioners “following a rigorous and impartial selection process”. The accompanying photo shows two ladies in a food shop, neither of whom is wearing a mask. Perhaps their Maundy money needs to be retracted. There’s an interesting column on Tide Mills, home to the Black Kite, the European Bee-Eater and the Short Eared Owl. And there is a page of poems by some of those temporarily released from detention. Finally, two pages of suggested walks that you can only do if you happen to live near the route (the SDNPA frowns on the use of the automobile).

Bobservation No. 75: Questions, Light and Future

Christmas Quiz
All things being equal you should have received a hard copy with Pigeon Post of the Bobservation Christmas Quiz. It is intended for all the family to get involved and some questions, quite a few actually, are much easier than others. Just as a suggestion let the youngest in the house have first go at solving the puzzles. Once you have solved as many as your ‘bubble’ can, email me the number you have solved by 30 December at the address shown on the quiz. No need to send the answers, unless you are the winner, in which case, I will require you to send them to me. This to avoid mistakes! You may enjoy solving the quiz better WITHOUT any help from Wikipedia etc.

Coronavirus
There seems to be a light, however small, at the end of the Coronavirus tunnel. It would be nice to think that together with Trump, Cummings, and Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire ripper, not Herbert!) all of these frightful things will join the virus in being gone. Hopefully, the vaccines will turn out to be successful. It is at times like this that we all need to offer support to each other, particularly those villagers who will be on their own over Christmas. So far as I am aware village neighbours have been pretty good at looking after each other, which is no more than one would expect in Fulking. After what has been a difficult year for most of us, one way or another, I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy Christmas and a considerably better New Year in 2021. Hope we can have a village fair on Sunday 25 July!

Looking Ahead
Both the Corona virus and Brexit give us all a chance to change the way we live in the future.
Perhaps we could consider:

  1. Changing our electoral system from ‘first past the post’ to some form of proportional representation.
  2. Showing a great deal more respect and empathy towards immigrants who risk their lives to reach UK.
  3. Funding our respected NHS properly.
  4. Improving the benefits system so that mothers do not need food banks to feed their children.
  5. Enabling every child in our country to have an education as good as the private schools.
  6. Reorganise the Houses of Parliament to save the enormous cost of repair.
  7. Build a modern Parliamentary building in a more central location in the middle of England.
  8. Abolish the House of Lords and have a democratically elected Upper House.

Well, there are a few to go with. What can you add?

Jen Green linocuts now at Etsy

Jen Green linocuts
My linocuts are now available from Etsy. This year has been hard for artists, with almost all exhibitions cancelled, but I am hoping that art available online will prove popular in the run-up to Christmas. My range encompasses wildlife, seascapes, and South Downs landscapes including Fulking and Poynings. If you order through Etsy and live locally, I can hand deliver and refund you the postage or else, possibly, supply a mount for the print.

Jen Green (552) also at instagram

Bobservation No. 74: Faith Schools/Recycling/Coronavirus

Faith Schools

I have often wondered why, in a country which needs to integrate its population, how so many diverse religious groups’ faith schools can be encouraged and indeed funded. The recent decapitation in France of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty has once again thrown a highlight on religious intolerance. While this execution did not happen on British soil other faith killings have done. It must surely to true that to achieve maximum integration, the more that children in schools can mix with different ideas and faiths the better. So far as I am aware, here in Fulking, there is no intolerance of any kind. Indeed, a complete lack of interest in which faiths are present in the village seems to exist. As an atheist I find this very praiseworthy and have no desire whatsoever to attempt to convert others to my way of thinking. For me Don Bradman always has been and always will always be the almighty!

Recycling

A very praiseworthy amount of time has been given up by village volunteers in putting together a system of recycling those things that are difficult to classify. The village bus shelter is now the focal point and the Community Skill Swap Whats app site a fund of knowledge and help. Have a look at the Fulking village website under Environment and then Waste Services which gives a very explanatory review of what can or cannot be recycled.

Coronavirus

So far as I know, the number of COVID victims in Fulking is quite low even though we have several villagers involved with National Health issues or coming into contact with the public. The recent surge worldwide makes it even more important for all of us to continue to behave in a responsible manner. Masking, distancing and washing hands should always be carried out. It is quite possible that the creation of a vaccine, when it comes, will not be the end of the pandemic but a useful tool in mitigating its ravages. Whatever happens the world as we knew it will never be the same again and it will be up to us the create something better than we had before.