Bobservation No:118 Hear! Hear!

Yellow and black circular logo of Action for DeafnessDeafness
I find that many people are unaware that deafness can be greatly ameliorated by NHS hearing aids. These are free and probably just as good as the expensive ones on offer from the private sector. I have found that Action for Deafness ,who are a partner with the NHS, are very understanding and kind and will attend to hearing problems free of charge. They are based in Haywards Heath and can be reached on 01444 415582.

Summer Fun day
Regrettably but very wisely postponed until September due to the very inclement weather forecast. However the tea and cakes in the village hall went ahead, enthusiastically lead by Tricia who seems to get younger every year!. Beautiful cakes created by villagers and a delightful number of consumers including two Parliamentary candidates (yes two!). What a wonderful mix of wealth (and lack of it!), ethnicity, age and enthusiasm Fulking has become.

Henfield Open Gardens
We opened our garden on June 8 & 9  from 11am till 5pm not really knowing what to expect. We pretty soon found out exact counting of visitors was impossible but a sensible guesstimate was around 250/300 people over the two days. Our donation bucket in aid of St Barnabas Hospice collected £135, Pam was inundated with compliments over what she has achieved and by closing time on Sunday we were both absolutely shattered !  Many thanks to our friends from Fulking who came to look; our 30+ years at Furzefield in Clappers Lane have left us with a marvellous sense of belonging to Fulking village.

Bobservation No. 115: Legislation and Quotations

Anticipated Legislation
The recent failure of most, if not all, of the water companies to prevent unacceptable amounts of sewage being regularly discharged into rivers, lakes and the beaches of Britain have caused the Government, so I am given to understand, to bring about imposing legislation to force these companies to drastically improve their performance in these areas. I am told that funding will fall 50% on the companies and 50% on their customers. Accordingly water companies will be restricted to declaring dividends of 0.01% maximum and water rate charges will have to increase substantially. To achieve this increase there will be three main areas that will bear the brunt. These will be private houses with swimming pools, saunas and garden hoses. The proposed charges will be £10,000 p.a. for swimming polls, £9,000 for saunas and £2,000 for garden hoses. As well as this the proposed legislation will enable HMRC to increase these amounts by however much is necessary to achieve cleanliness in our rivers, lakes and beaches. It is thought unlikely that anyone will object to such socially acceptable legislation. 1/4/24

Quotations Group
Meeting on Monday mornings at 11am in Fulking village hall, the Quotations group is a chance for discussion for adult villagers and ex-villagers in friendly surroundings. Very ably lead by Samantha Leader a subject is chosen by mutual agreement and discussed the following week. A voluntary donation of £1 each week covers tea and Samantha’s marvellous shortbread. Quotations relevant to the chosen subject are invited and are collated and printed out each Monday to be read out at the meeting. This is an informal get together and a very good way to meet other local residents.

Bobservation No. 111: Christmas Tombola Communication

Bottles in speech bubble


Social communication advantages
It occurred to me how fortunate we are in the Downland Villages to have so many social communication advantages: BN5 magazine comes to mind immediately, so ably edited by Emma Cole with her wonderful team who provide a monthly guide to what has happened and will happen in Henfield and the surrounding area of BN5. As well as this the advertisements in BN5 provide a very handy way of finding a local tradesman. Next the great contact mobile phone texts, What’s App, such as Community Skills Swap and Quotations. These are such useful sites to offer, ask for, complain, suggest, and indeed all manner of places to facilitate life in the countryside. If you don’t already receive them on your mobile phone I am sure one of your neighbours can help you do this. Last but certainly not least Pigeon Post so well put together by our very own Jen Green.

Fulking Christmas party tombola prizes
Rosemary and Nick, who have very successfully taken on the mantle of Tombola organisers, are looking for bottles for the Christmas party which is on Friday 8 December. These can be left in their porch at 31 Clappers Lane or at Roger and Carolyns at Woodlands. I am sure lots of you have those unwanted bottles of wine or beer or cider or soft drinks (or even bubbly!) and could free up the cupboard/wine rack space by donating to the Tombola prizes. Don’t forget to bring plenty of £s to buy Tombola tickets. The income goes to the Fulking Social Committee principally for Village Hall maintenance.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Bobservation No. 109: Volunteering & Good Wishes

Purple and Green banner clip from Volunteering matters website at an angle

In the time I have been involved with and in love with Fulking, which is now 31 years, I have noticed a big change in the overall attitude of the village (strictly speaking I believe hamlet is possibly the correct description), however I digress. Nearly everyone, irrespective of wealth, used to get involved with village activities such as the Parish Council, the Xmas party, the fair, the social committee, the village tidy up and holding events in and maintaining the village hall and the North Town Field; now it is down to a few enthusiasts to work up a head of steam to achieve anything.

From time to time, we have had great motivators like Nick & Jill and Dave & Em at the Shepherd & Dog and a few others. Now days there is a handful of enthusiasts desperately trying to instil some life into what, I fear, may be a dying beast. Perhaps Fulking, by virtue of its seclusion, has become a very attractive property investment area which has brought in a completely different attitude to village life. I do appreciate that there is a small core who continue to promote village togetherness but they find it harder and harder to get volunteers!

If anyone reads this and thinks I have a good point please start by finding out the date of the next Parish Council meeting and making an effort to attend and understand what Fulking is all about. Thanks..

Good Wishes
Two of my and Fulking’s very good friends, Chris Gildersleeve and Clive Miller have had serious medical treatment recently and things have been very hard for them. This is to wish them a return to their usual good-hearted ways as soon as possible.

Bobservation No. 102: Good Fortune

Fingers of God - sun shining through cloudGood Fortune
With the news of the Turkish earthquake and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the proximity of Spring is a very good time to reflect on the good fortune of those who live in the Downland villages. It is only by  accident and luck of the draw that we have come to enjoy the stability and peace of the South Downs. Even though I am now living in Henfield my attachment to Fulking is undiminished and I find a new wave of enthusiasm emanating from the Fulking Social Committee under the leadership of Sally Brownie. I like to think that I continued where Nick and Jill left off and have now successfully passed the baton to Sally. These things do not just happen; they require a great deal of time and thought to make them succeed. Without like minded support from the Committee nothing would be possible.

Fulking Fair 2023
Inviting stallholders to the fair and letting them have a free pitch with a voluntary donation, based on success, usually means being inundated with offers. This year is quite different and the response has been very disappointing. Please rack your brains for anyone you know who would like a pitch for Fulking Fair at Perching Sands Farm, Sunday 16 July and let me or Sally know.

Bobservation No. 101: Joyce Harris RIP

Finger post highlighting Paythorne Farm

Joyce Harris
Another Fulking village stalwart departed. Joyce and her late husband Brian were leading lights in the village and at St Andrews for many years. Her determined goodwill led the ‘church mice’ and she was a dedicated parishioner who was greatly missed when she became unable to participate due to ill health. Very recent years have seen a passing away of many of the older villagers and it is up to the present generation to fill their shoes. Joyce’s funeral will be at St Andrews on Friday, 24 February at 11am.

Fulking Social Committee
Sally has certainly kicked off the New Year positively with organising the monthly Thursday evening get-together. It is in the village hall for villagers from the local Downland parishes. Turnout for the first one was very encouraging as were the ideas put forward. There is little doubt that this getting together is very welcome particularly for newcomers. Let’s hope that action matches the enthusiasm.

Fulking Fair 2023
I am delighted to have been asked to start off the organisation of this year’s fair which will be on Sunday July 16. It will move, together with vehicle parking from the North Town Field to Perching Manor Farm. Many thanks to David and Angela for making this possible. It is hoped that the additional space will make the organisation simpler and more profitable. There should certainly be room for as many stalls and games as we can get. Over the next months volunteers are going to be very much sought after. RSPCA fun dog show will again be the focus. If you would like a pitch contact me at

Bobservation No. 100: A New Year’s Wishes

Bobservation No.100*

The New Year 2023
I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year and can only say I do hope it is better than 2022! It has been a sad year for Fulking , the passing away of Baz Parmar, Mick Gaule, Nick Bremer and Sheena Trist all of whom, in their various ways, were important contributors to village life. Externally Covid has continued to harass us, although not as badly as at its peak and village social life has been gradually getting back to normal. This has culminated with the very successful village annual Christmas party, with which Sally has really taken over the reins of directing the Social Committee with great enthusiasm and a very good band of helpers.

My New Year’s Wishes
My hopes for 2023 are: 1. Ukraine winning the war against Russia. 2. The Government agreeing to talk to striking unions about pay. 3. An end to Covid. 4. Inflation reducing to a low single figure. 5. The needy receiving social benefits that enable them to live reasonably. 6. An end to Tax havens and all tax evasion. 7. Demolition of the Houses of Parliament and building a completely new House of Commons in the centre of England. 8. An end to the House of Lords and the aristocracy. 9. A technical reduction in the size of the Royal family and a modernisation of the Monarchy to include normal taxation. 10. A total return to remaining in Europe. 11. The church being reasonable about the sale of the Village Hall. AND 12. ENGLAND WINNING THE ASHES!.

* not out

Bobservation No. 96: Continuation

Bluebells at Furzefield
Farewell to Fulking
As I write this I feel as though I am in another world! After thirty years of quite demanding work being custodians at Furzefield of a unique three acres of oak and hazel woodland and a glorious spread of bluebells in spring, we have moved to a delightful bungalow in Henfield. Moving was not the big wrench  we expected, just very hard work. Rich, Sarah and Archie will be our very dedicated successors.
A tremendous and very moving farewell was our great good fortune; held in the village hall attended by so many village friends who I dare not name for fear of leaving someone out! Sufficient to say, I was never able to encourage a Social Committee meeting of that size!  The leaving gift was quite amazingly generous and we were both very humbled by it. Many, many thanks to all of you. I fear my few words of thanks at the time turned into something of a hopeless drivel rather like recent question times in the House of Commons.
If only to achieve my century it has been suggested that I might continue with Bobservation a little while longer, which pleasure I hope you will grant me.

Fulking Fair 2022
Perhaps not quite as exciting as it can be because of the extreme heat and the need for new input. The future will be very well driven by Sally and her team with lots of new ideas. Please give her all the support she will need. Fulking Fair deserves to be protected, it has become a great local event.