Greetings from Bagshot - Summer 2018

a plump brown bird with a short beakFirst Cuckoo

Hearing a cuckoo for the first time is often taken as a sign of spring.  I have not heard one this year, but I can go one better - I've seen one.  I looked up to see a thrush feeding a chick on some trellis in our garden. Then I realised that the chick was as big as the bird feeding it.  A closer look revealed that the chick had a totally different beak shape to the 'parent' and we concluded that this must be a cuckoo.  My wife managed to take this photo of the chick on her phone.  Though the chick stayed put for quite a while, the 'parent' did not return while we were within photographing range so unfortunately we did not get the ultimate shot of one feeding the other.

Chapel Lane 

One issue that has been a matter of contention in the village for several years has been a planning application for a rather large number of house on low-lying land off Chapel Lane. Since road access would be almost impossibly difficult off the narrow lane I am amazed that the prospective developers even thought it worthwhile investing in a planning application - which I am told has now been withdrawn.

a white painted 2 storey house with boarded up windows45 Guildford Road 

Over the years several people have enquired about 45 Guildford Road, a virtually derelict house next to the White Hart pub.  This site together with the single storey building that used to be a coal sales office that can be seen fronting onto the road, some large sheds behind, and a large yard the other side of the pub, were all part of Kemp's coal merchant business.  The demise of solid fuel sales was an appropriate time for the proprietors, Mr & Mrs Kemp, to retire.  The main yard was sold off and redeveloped as a small estate of offices.  I assume that this provided ample retirement capital for Mr & Mrs Kemp without needing to sell no 45.  They lived next door in what was for many years known as Moscow Villa (more about that here) and I assume that they decided to retain no 45 in order that they did not get a block of flats overlooking their garden.  Mr Kemp died some while ago and his widow a few years ago.  I refrained from publishing this during their lifetime, but now that their executors have sold the property I can see no harm in doing so.

The new owners have embarked on what always seems to me to be a game - putting in a planning application for an oversized development and then seeing by how much they have to reduce it to get approval.  Having had a 5-dwelling application rejected, at the time of writing an application for a terrace of 3 dwellings each with 3 floors is under consideration.

Long hot summer

As I am sure you will know, the UK, and specially south east England where we are, has had a long period of hot dry weather.  We had temperatures around 30C and negligible rain from early June to late July.  Un-watered grass became parched and certainly in my 'lawn' the only green was the clover - and even that looked a bit sad.  When the rain came most of the clouds  seemed to go either side of us!  As I write we are having our second spell of about 1 cm of rain, fortunately falling slowly enough that it does not run straight off, but no where near enough to penetrate more that the top inch or so of soil.

Our church fete on 7th July almost seemed doomed – how could we possibly contend with a date that clashed with England playing in the World Cup, middle Saturday at Wimbledon, practice day for the British Grand Prix, not to mention the local school choosing the same date, a street fair the week before, and weather that was so hot that the best place to be was indoors. As the start time came any foreboding appeared to have been proven correct as there was never a queue to get in. There were seats to spare on the back lawn to listen to the excellent entertainment and enjoy a drink. However, when the treasurer had finished the reckoning we had achieved an amazingly good result.

a metal ladder with a seat on top resting against a treeForestry

I have previously written of the forestry work being done by Crown Estates in the woodland that stretches north of Bagshot.  This is part of a 20 year programme to regenerate Swinley Forest.  Most of the existing trees are pine, presumably planted as a cash crop.  Looking at aerial photos circa 1940 (on getmapping) suggests that a lot of this tree planting occurred either side of WW2. They are now well and truly mature!  These are being felled, the land left fallow for a few years and then planted with a variety of deciduous trees.  This work is being done in patches dotted about so that no very large area is cleared and in time the forest will have variety in both tree types and ages. 

While walking beside one of the cleared areas near Rapley Farm we came across this elevated seat.  It is made of tubular metal and is secured to the tree with a wire and padlock.  There is a little caddy on one side of the seat, possibly for the occupant to hold a flask?  The question is 'whatever is it for?', we have no idea.  The area in front was cleared of trees a couple of years ago, but no replanting has yet occurred.


Additions to the website since the last newsletter include

I have made some revisions to the page about the Nursing Home.  Although I never publish material that the sender has not explicitly said I may, I have decided to remove birth dates.  I have also combined some instances where someone has written to say that they too were born in the home, and will continue to do this and restructure the whole on themes rather than contributions (but it all takes time).

The picture to the left is of one of the troughs of flowers that adorn the central reservation on the A30 by the old cedar tree.


Email links to my newsletter are getting modified by at least Outlook, Gmail and Hotmail so as to route the download via one of their servers.  This is not something I have any control over. I trust that this is only to perform a security check and not to track your browsing.

In an email just before Christmas  I said that I was planning to change the way that I send out emails telling you about these newsletters.  I had also realised that a lot of email addresses that had been given to me were no longer active.  As all except my most recent readers will know I asked everyone I have been mailing to confirm that they wished to continue to hear from me.  I have removed from my list everyone I did not hear from, and as a result the number of emails I need to send has reduced sufficiently that I am now in no hurry to change the process.

With best wishes to you and those you hold dear.

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