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| | Police bulletin | No.16-September 1999 | No.17-December 1999 | No.18-October 2001

To all Swallowcliffians past and present, greetings and welcome to newsletter No. 16.

Only one more edition to the millennium and at the moment it looks as if we will make it. As far as we are concerned, millennium or not, the next edition is just that, another edition - no more, no less. Which as always, depends on your support. Keep the articles coming.

In edition 14 we said that the rat catcher had made a successful assault on the eastern end of the village but, we added a caution about rats being great survivors. Guess what? they are back! The rat catcher has returned to the village and anyone who requires his services can contact him at Salisbury District Environmental Health Department on 01722 434319. The service is free to domestic households.

Tomsin Lee of Donhead, would like to organise an inter-village sports day, (cricket football etc.) in the summer of the Millennium year. If you are interested, contact Margaret Staniforth on 870255. More details will be forthcoming at a later date.
Once again the problem of dogs fouling within the village has been brought to our attention with a letter from Betty White. We have been requested in the past by victims of this completely unsociable and thoughtless behaviour, to bring it to the attention of those very few, irresponsible dog owners. Obviously those requests for the few to clear up after their dogs has been to no avail. The animals cannot be blamed, just their irresponsible owners. For people who do allow their dogs to foul public areas and are caught, there is the possibility of a £1000 fine. If any of those few anti-social owners (in particular, the one who allows his or her dog regularly to foul the small grass triangle below the village hall) care to drop us a line and justify the behaviour of their pets, we would be more than willing to publish it.

Something more palatable to end on.
Raymond Tuffin wishes to thank all those who helped and supported his coffee morning, which was held on July 17th. It was another outstanding success, raising £752 for the Salisbury Hospice. A magnificent result for an excellent cause. Well done everyone concerned. You may have missed not seeing the familiar figure of Molly Binks cycling around to the many gardens she attends in the village. The reason being, Molly was taken seriously ill a few weeks ago and rushed to hospital. Thankfully she is well into her recovery and has asked us to publish the following note.- I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my many friends of Swallowcliffe for their many 'get well' cards. I must say I have been overwhelmed by all your kind thoughts , it has been an eye opener, as they say. I am up and about again now and will be soon be annoying you again. See you soon Molly B. Just get down here and start annoying the weeds again, Molly.

Refuse skip.
A skip will be made available to the village again between the 25th - 30th of October and will be positioned in the same place as last time, near the septic tank access gate in Rookery Lane. Hopefully any inconvenience will be of a limited nature.

Age Concern
Age Concern are planning and discussing new services that can be offered to rural communities. To further this aim they are looking for a contact within the village with whom they could liaise. They can be contacted on 01722 329599.

Village Hall
The millennium project, under the guidance of the Village Hall, is going ahead apace. We have been very fortunate in being awarded a grant of £2484 from the Millennium Festivals Awards for All and Lottery Grants for Local Groups. The grant was awarded in recognition of our aim to have a truly communal project. The grant covers all aspects of the Millennium Project and will be supervised by a financial sub-committee that has been formed for the purpose. The Village Hall Committee have allocated a sum towards the project from Hall funds to be used if required.

The Swallowcliffe calendar entitled, Our Village, Swallowcliffe 2000, has now reached the pre-production stage and will soon be available for viewing and ordering. At the moment we are in discussions with various parties regarding the printing and costing. As we cannot afford to finish up with any left over copies the numbers ordered will need to be curtailed. Once the price has been agreed with the printers we will let you know. If this one is successful, we may do another one next year entitled Swallowcliffe Gardens. We would ask all villagers to get their cameras out and photograph their gardens throughout the seasons. Children will be encouraged to submit photos of their own or their parent's gardens. An independent panel will be asked to select the ones for the calendar.

Following on the success of the music evening held on the 3rd of July we are planning another one on Saturday 30th October. (See the booking form for details.) Any proceeds raised will go to the Hall funds. At the last musical evening the hall was laid out bistro style, candles on chequered table clothed tables which all helped towards creating a very friendly and warm atmosphere. The feedback was very positive, so we are hoping to be able to count on your support for this one. Please book early by filling in and returning the enclosed form.

SWALLOWCLIFFE FETE
I was told by an elder of this village who will remain nameless not to open my mouth at the Parish Church committee for at least two years. About one and a half years ago I inadvertently suggested at a PCC meeting that we should have a pig roast and a hot air balloon as they did at Alvediston to raise money. Ever since then I was singled out very subtly to run our fete – and suddenly I woke to find that I was. Village democracy rules in strange and mysterious ways. Being a soldier, I knew that I had to delegate quickly and find some good allies. Without the help of ‘the seniors’ – David Staniforth, John P-W and John Elderkin and the ‘juniors’ Jim and Fi Carless and Ruth Stanbury, it would not have worked at all. So a big thank you to the fete committee.
The aim (a strong military word) was to raise money for charity and our lovely church. The date was chosen because of the Indian summer factor, Bank Holiday and the end of the school holidays. The venue, the Mill House, was chosen because of its wonderful owners and I knew that Jim and Fi Carless would be superb hosts. The theme was to raise as much money as possible for charity but at the same time have fun. We were starting almost from a clean sheet. The last village fete was about 8 years ago and the village marquee had long since disintegrated, but after the June village hall meeting and the marvellous response to my request for help, it soon became apparent that there was lots of talent. The variety of stalls soon ranged from Madame Megane, the fortune teller, through duck racing on the millstream to a coconut shy, a rifle range, the human fruit machine, face painting and splat the rat as well the more traditional but equally successful bottle, plant, books, cakes, bric a brac and clothes stalls. Towards the end of the preparatory phase came some more elaborate stalls – David Andrew’s amazing model aircraft and the art show which transformed the Mill House to the South Bank. I was determined to make it a family affair – hence the arena events, pony rides and the outside stands such as the bouncy castle, the Tisbury Twisters’ trampoline and of course the Tisbury fire engine and PC Mark Steele and his police car. Food featured highly and Jim Carless was responsible for arranging cream teas. Much debate was had about ice creams. Whilst all this was going on signs were being prepared thanks to Jim Larcombe, David Staniforth and yours truly; many of you helped get prizes for the raffle especially Mike Crumbie, Local shopkeepers and landlords were particularly generous. Ruth Stanbury was busy sorting out the advertising and links with our charity Save The Children. Here we were so lucky in establishing a direct link with Toby Kay of the Save the Children drilling clean water in Southern Sudan which is also our church's sponsored diocese overseas. People searched high and low for bunting. One of the more tricky areas was car parking. Grey clouds and monsoon rain mean that Jim Ridouts field could not be used, so Arthur Little came to the rescue by generously allowing us to use his hay field. Ralph Venables and Jess James busied themselves organising the complicated car parking - the unsung heroes. John and Erika Elderkin worked tirelessly sorting out the insurance and the money arrangements. Swallowcliffe kitchens 'beavered' away producing cakes, scones and all sorts of goodies – whilst yours truly sat drinking martinis in a hammock safe in the knowledge that everything was going well. If only!! I was panicking about the weather, how to erect the tents and whether anyone would come.

The great day dawned bright and sunny. Everyone had ‘mucked in’ and helped to transform the Mill House gardens into a lovely colourful traditional village fete. The bouncy castle arrived on time but where was the trampoline? They arrived just in time. Then Pamela arrived – dressed to kill at Maxims Cabaret Bar. Despite seeming somewhat out of place she stole the show with her music and added a great touch to the whole afternoon and several to her list of fans (including our Vicar!). 2.30 came and we were ready and yes people poured in. The Mill House kitchen resembled the boiler room of the Titanic – ‘more people needed to wash up’ came the cry. People queued for face painting and chaos reigned in the Arena as little people tried to do impossible things set by the mad Colonel. Small faces peered down into the murky waters of the millstream to see where their ducks were. Shelagh Smith’s ponies staggered up the drive for yet another ride.And then it was all over. The prizes were given. Pamela sang her last song and people faded away clutching bottles, books, plants and cakes. Then the accounting took place which resulted in the following:
Receipts From Stalls etc £1982.75.
Outgoings £180.00
Profit for Charities £1800.75

As a result of this fantastic effort we have been able to send a cheque for £900 to the Save the Children Fund and a further £900 to our church. This is a wonderful achievement to mark the end of the millennium and it could not have happened without your magnificent support. Thank you. If anyone wants to know how much their stall made, please ring me or John Elderkin.

The official results of the competitions are: The Grand Raffle – Mike Stott of Chilmark. Guess the Weight of the Cake – Jess James. Weight of the Hurricane – Helen Clayton of Southampton (13lbs 13 0z). Treasure Map – Charlie Adams. Buried Treasure – Natasha Carless. Matthew Skipsie. Sack Race – Oliver Martin of London. Buried Treasure - Harry Ffrench of Gloucestershire. Best Shot – David Fitzpatrick. Best Stall - Patience Storey, Raymond Tuffin and Joy Marshall.

The fete put Swallowcliffe well and truly on the map. It was fun and we know that we can put on a good show. We have now got signs and fete paraphernalia including Paul Arnold’s wonderful Splat the Rat stall. However I think we need to be a little more exclusive. I would suggest we emulate Oberammergau and have a fete every 4 or 5 years. But whatever the future, thank for your wonderful help.
It was fun.
Rex Stephenson.

St. peter's Church
There will be a sale of harvest produce in the church on Monday 27th September starting at 10.30. Coffee and biscuits will be available. Proceeds will be in aid of the Marie Curie Cancer Trust.

Wyncantores present an evening of song throughout the ages on Saturday, October 16th at 7.30pm in the church. Tickets £4.50 which includes a glass of wine and light refreshments. Tickets are available by phoning Anne James, 870410, or at the door.

Bon appetit from Janet Fenton
Mint and Currant Shortbread. Makes 6 to 8 pieces.
2oz (57g) Caster sugar.
4oz (114g) Butter.
6oz (170g) Plain flour.
2 tea spoons of finely chopped mint.
4oz(113g) Currants.
Caster sugar for dredging.

Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C. Gas mark 6.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour a little at a time, mixing well between each addition until all the flour has been incorporated. Stir in the mint and currants, knead the mixture to form a smooth dough and press into a 7" shortbread mould or tin.Cook in oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Mark into 6-8 pieces while still hot. Dredge with caster sugar when completely cold.
Especially delicious when served as a mid morning snack with coffee. Sounds finger lickin' good. Many thanks Janet.

Swallowcliffe.com
Swallowcliffe is gearing up for the new millennium - the definitive history is being prepared, the hall will have its wall map, the calendar is almost ready and now courtesy of Cravenplan, Swallowcliffe is on the Internet. If you have a computer connected to the web have a look at www.swallowcliffe.com - the site is designed to appeal to both those living locally and those who are thinking of visiting the area. One of the main features of the site will be an interactive diary which will allow searches. It will be possible for nominated villagers to add new events to the diary on-line - if you are interested in doing this please contact Cravenplan on 01747 858007 and they will arrange a password and give training in the updating process. The web site will be expanded over time to give a flavour of the village and its inhabitants both past and present - tell your friends and relatives.

Cravenplan have generously offered to give a free email address to anyone living in the village. If you would like to be yourname@swallowcliffe.com then let Chris Stanbury know on 01747 858007 - there is no set-up charge and no ongoing fees.
Even if you don't own a computer you can have an email address - messages will be printed onto paper and delivery within the village arranged.

Chris says "The site will only be successful if we get lots of interesting content" so please write a short piece about yourself or a building in the village and pass them on to Cravenplan who will do the rest.

Swallowcliffe Newsletter
No. 16 - September 1999
Contents click to jump to article
Refuse skip
Age concern
Village hall
Swallowcliffe rainfall
Luncheon club
A letter form Betty White
A frontier incident
St.peter's Church
Bon appetit from Janet Fenton
Swallowcliffe.com
Horticultural tips

 

Swallowcliffe Rainfall
The figures are for the quarter ending the 30th June 1999. Swallowcliffe 217mm. 8.54ins. Plymouth (30 year average) 169mm 6.65ins. London " " 128mm 5.03ins.

Luncheon Club
The Luncheon Club continues to maintain good attendances of 40 diners or more each month, all thanks to the efforts of the teams who collect and serve up the fare. One stalwart, Pam Emney, is finally handing over the position of treasurer after 18 years. Our thanks go to Pam for all her efforts that have contributed to the success of the Luncheon Club over the years Pauline Hall is now taking over and she can be contacted on, 870374. Please remember to let Pauline know in good time if you will not be able to make it to a certain lunch. This saves money and prevents the waste of food (not that that happens often when a certain ex-stoker gets a chance to go 'around the buoy'). No names no pack drill.

A letter from Betty White
Dear Sir Yet again another letter on the subject of dog fouling. I regularly go to Swallowcliffe Church to tidy and put flowers on my parent's grave. Twice this year I have found dog filth by the side of their memorial stone, but to my absolute disgust, when I went out there two weeks ago, not only did I find dog filth on the actual stone but the animal had scratched up the surrounding dirt over the stone. It looked an absolute mess. It was heartbreaking. So to the thoughtless anti-social dog owning people of Swallowcliffe, I would like to say, clean up after your dog and also do not let them loose in the church yard Betty White. Thank you Betty for bringing the situation to our attention. Please accept our apologies on behalf of the great majority of caring residents in the village.

A frontier incident
This article by Bob Plumb, which, hopefully will not be the only one, recounts some of the experiences of his father, Cyril, during a tour of duty on the North West Frontier.
On the evening of 23rd March, 1923, the 27 year old District Officer, Daraban, Indian North West Frontier Constabulary, W.C.(Cyril) Plumb, sat at his base at Drazinda, considering a fine example of how the North West Frontier of the British Empire in India had earned its glamorous, and fearful reputation and - its own police force. A large and well armed gang of raiding Mahsood tribesmen, with Sheranni support, had been located in Sheranni territory, within his district.
The peace and consequent relative prosperity of settled Imperial rule have always attracted raiders from beyond the frontier - and highland people have always raided lowlanders, especially on the fringes of the Himalaya. The classic defence in history has been a lateral road system, (sometimes, as in Northumberland or China, alongside a wall or line of watchtowers), along which troops can be moved speedily to cut of returning raiders, slowed down by their booty. But along the Himalayan frontier, such roads lay far behind, where the foothills finally gave way to the plains. Communication from valley to valley could be over some of the roughest country in the world. In these circumstances it was little wonder that tribal loyalties could be uncertain in the face of raiders whose bases were never far away, who were difficult to catch, and who might even be related by blood to some of their supposed victims, all of which factors might in any case ensure their escape. In the years of the 'Raj' and especially in the years after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the raiders were never at a loss for armaments from 'the North' every bit as good as those available to the Government of India. As a contest, therefore, it was man to man, with the advantage being on the side of the raiders. Defence needed to be local, and active. The facts of life often led to an exercise in damage control rather than preventive action, for which there were seldom enough resources, and seldom early enough intelligence information.

This time, decided the District Officer, it was going to be different. This time he had first class intelligence through Jemadar Abdul Ghafar Khan of the Sheranni Constabulary, and first class guides among the Sheranni Malik scouts, notably his friend Khan Sahib Zabtu Khan. Action amounted to a counter raid in potentially hostile territory, but this time, - this time, - it was time to go.
With his headquarters detachment (all the men available to him) he set out at dusk. Darkness made movement more difficult, but at the same time blinded the eyes of treachery. Twenty two miles of what even tribesmen considered rough going were necessary to avoid points where the alarm might be given, and to stand a chance of arriving in time, but while it was still dark a sweating D.O. and his force had reached the isolated hut where the gang was sleeping. So secure were the Mahsoods behind their natural and tribal defences that no lookout raised the alarm. Before they were aware of their danger, the hut had been skilfully surrounded. The numbers on each side meant that the cordon (like the frontier itself) was vulnerable to a concerted sortie if the cordon at any point could be seen and assessed. Also a cordon is vulnerable to its own crossfire, and is notoriously difficult to control from any one point of command. These were familiar frontier truths. The force settled down silently to wait for dawn and be sure of a full catch.

When the situation dawned -literally - on the Mahsoods, their reaction was to fight. There were 22 of them - a large raid-, they were heavily armed with guns and bombs, and they may well have guessed that they were not heavily outnumbered, with a good chance of breaking out. Raiding in one sense was a commercial activity which needed to show a profit, but these were brave men, whose reputation for ferocity was valuable to them, none of them averse to a fight at reasonable odds. And they were not familiar with defeat.
But this time it was going to be different. When the shooting stopped, nine of them were dead or wounded, and the rest, bar one fugitive, were held at gunpoint. But the crowning achievement, and a significant part of the D.O.'s future reputation among those he commanded, was that there was not a single casualty on the police side.

A raid commander - even a commander in Government service - could not yet claim a victory until safe back at base. The prisoners were hardened, disciplined and resourceful outlaws with little to lose, not likely to go tamely through familiar country made for escaping and hiding in. There might be further action by their friends; one of them had escaped, and the battle would not have passed unheard. And, of course, wounded were a liability on a difficult march, but would not hamper those escaping. Tribesmen themselves did not often take prisoners, no matter what their potential value. The wounded would be robbed, (particularly of weapons), and then either knifed or just left. Sometimes the knife was mercy. These thoughts must have occurred to the prisoners on the long way back. And the D.O., for whom, once back, well, there would inevitably be paperwork, and a report to construct out of twenty hours of non-stop action.

The report went in, and for once, the reaction was immediate. The administration recognised this as one of the most brilliant police actions in Frontier history. The captives were probably better known than their captors. Telegrams flew. Such a 'complete and annihilating victory' would have 'far reaching effects'. Sir John Maffey officially rated a 'splendid success'. After a necessary delay ( and no doubt further paperwork) the D.O. received the highest award available, the King's Police Medal. This arrived in January 1924, at which time the D.O. was recovering from a serious bullet wound (another present from the Mahsoods, this time in the course of a joint operations with the mounted infantry which their turbulence had called down upon them). This was the action that gave him a keen appreciation of what it was like (as the D.O.put it) 'lying out there on the bare hillside wondering which side was going to get to you first'.

The D.O. was of course my father. He seldom spoke of this or any of his exploits, though he was proud of the K.P.M., awarded as it was by men who appreciated exactly what he had had to do to earn it. It was gratifying when the Commandant of Frontier Constabulary, E.C.Handyside, whom my father described as the bravest man he ever knew, said he had 'courage, energy and organising ability of a very high order'. But the reward which I came to know meant more to him than the K.P.M. (or his other medals) was the professional reputation the raid brought him, not only among his superiors, but also the increasing numbers of men he commanded, and indeed his opponents. A commander who could out-raid the raiders in true frontier fashion was worth respect on both sides.

His reputation continued to grow, in sometimes less glamorous actions. Together with mastery of frontier languages it, beyond doubt, made possible his well known ability to control public riots - always just around the corner in India, past and present - with nothing more lethal than a walking stick. This included, for instance, when ten years more senior, walking alone (apart from the walking stick) into Montgomery prison for habitual prisoners, full of hardened (Muslim) criminals who had broken their metal feeding bowls, sharpened the pieces and fitted them to bamboo handles, and were threatening to slice up their hostages, especially the head warder, (a Hindoo). What he said is lost in history, but the words must have carried the weight of that reputation - and his reputation for honest dealing - because the prison returned to order quickly and harmlessly. All, as he would consider, in a day's work. As a small boy I was sometimes allowed into the court where the D.O. ( by then a very senior Deputy Inspector General) also officiated as a magistrate. I can clearly remember the mutual respect with which most sentences were given and received. The citation for his eventual C.I.E. (Companion of the Indian Empire) described him as 'an officer with an exceptionally high sense of duty, who inspires confidence in the public and in his men. He is quite imperturbable, and takes a broad and sympathetic outlook on political and departmental affairs'. He must have reflected somewhat bitterly on those words in the aftermath of Partition, when his stature brought him one of the most explosive postings - Lahore - where at times the only way he could stop his friends shooting each other, man, woman and child, was to walk between the firing lines - and keep walking, while both sides shouted at him to get out of the way.

I cannot remember similar understanding being extended to the blackfly in Swallowcliffe, in the garden he had longed for, and where he suddenly died in 1970. Thank you Bob, for sharing those memories with us.

Horticultural tips from the dell by Peter Corke -870283
As some of you are no doubt aware we are in the middle of having an extension done which will leave us with an area of bare wall.
This quarter I therefore thought I would write about a few climbimg plants for camouflaging the walls.

Actinidia A vigorous deciduous climber up to 4 metres. A poular variety is kolomikta. This has striking variegated leaves that often look as though thye have been dipped in a pot of paint as half the leaf is coloured white and pink. Best grown in full sun. It also has slightly fragrant white flowers in June.
Clematis Armandii. A very vigorous evergreen Clematis that can grow to 5 metres, with dark green pointed leaves. Best in a sunny site where it will produce a mas of white flowers in April and May.
Clematis Cirrhosa Balearica. Also an evergreen Clematis with small fern like leaves. These often go a bronze colour in winter and the harder the winter the more bronze they will go. It flowers throughout the winter having small pale yellow flowers with small red spots in the centre. It is quite vigorous and can grow to 3 - 4 metres.
Hedera Dentata Variegata. A large leafed ivy with attractive yellow green variegated leaves up to 15cms across. They often mature to a creamy white colour. Excellent self climbing plant.
Hydrangea Petiolaris. Climbing Hydrangea. This is deciduos. Will grow in sun or shade and is tolerant of most soils. It has white flowers in June on the end of short branches that stick out from the wall. It self clings to the wall and can grow up to 4 metres.
Solanum Crispum. A plant for a sunny sheletered wall that will produce purple blue flowers with a yellow centre during summer and autumn. It is semi-evergreen and grows to 3 meters.
Vitis Coignetiae. A spetacular vine with very large leaves up to 30cms across producing vivid Autumn colour. It is deciduous.

Disclaimer: The points of view expressed do not necessarily represent those of the committee.

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