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
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Andrews 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
Smiths 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.
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 Arnolds 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
It was fun.
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.
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
Especially delicious when served as a mid morning snack with coffee.
Sounds finger lickin' good. Many thanks Janet.
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
Cravenplan have generously offered to give a free
email address to anyone living in the village. If you would like
to be firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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.
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
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
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.