Tuesday 8th December 2015 - Parish Council Meeting, Family Visit, Last Mow and WI Lunch

It’s nearly a week since I wrote my Diaries, so I have a bit to catch up on starting with the Parish Council meeting last Wednesday evening. There has been no further progress with the phone box on the Mundesley Road. This is the property of the Parish Council but until the electricity is disconnected it cannot be moved or sold. There has been a suggestion as to how the phone box could be used but nothing was disclosed at the meeting. Similarly there has been no progress on the upgrading of the village street lighting or the parish plan. Councillor Gordon Partridge reported, funding for the repair works to the gabions has been awarded and Councillor Tim Bennett expressed concerns over the volume of water coming down Northrepps Road. (We wonder if this is a direct result following the felling of a number of trees and removal of rhododendrons from land further up the road, in the vicinity of Northrepps Cottage Hotel.) After debate, the increase in the precept of 17% from £23k to £27k for 2016/17 was agreed. The figure will be reduced by a grant of £1027. I am unable to recall the exact amount of grant received for the current year but looking back in my 2014 Diaries, they indicate this was for a similar amount.

Saturday 12th December 2015 - All About Christmas

This week has mainly been about Christmas preparations. I have been writing Christmas cards and setting up Jacquie Lawson e-cards. Most of the paper cards are now in the post, which leaves hand deliveries in the village. I have made a door decoration for our storm porch using foliage and berries from our garden and Peter has put up the garden lights. Two sprays of foliage are in the conservatory waiting for the rain to stop before we can go and place them on graves in the churchyard. Cards have started to arrive in the post, some with newsletters covering what the senders have been doing over the past year. We have not put up any decorations indoors yet; these will go up sometime during the next week. No Christmas pudding or cake for us this year; we are having sherry trifle on Christmas day and a Dundee cake instead of a traditional iced and decorated cake. On Friday we bought a couple of dressed crabs to put in the freezer for our Boxing Day lunch. No decision as to what meat we will have for Christmas lunch but it definitely won’t be Turkey! I strongly object to the way Turkeys have been bred over the years to produce massive breasts at the expense of quality meat and the Turkeys being able to breed naturally. When my grandparents reared Turkeys on their smallholding they were definitely big but they were pointy breast game birds with excellent flavour. In recent years we have tried various types, white, bronze and blacks, raised in various ways and from a number of different sources but none have impressed me.

Early tomorrow evening, Father Christmas will be touring the village in his boat. Setting off from Ivy Farm, he will be accompanied by singers and in true Pied Piper fashion will no doubt pick up more singers on his village voyage until they reach the White Horse for a few more songs and complementary mulled wine and mince pies. This is the second year Father Christmas has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit Overstrand ahead of the 25th, something which I am sure all residents appreciate – whatever their age!!!

Tuesday 15th December 2015 - Christmas is What you Want it to Be, Thought Provoking, Father Christmas and The Strand Club Report

I have recently joined a Facebook group called A Good Greek Read (AGGR). This forum provides me with an opportunity to publicise my two books which are both based in Greece and through their sales, raise money for Cancer Research UK and The British Foundation. However, AGGR has not proven to be what I first thought it would be. A number of members seem to be mainly interested in free or almost free Kindle books. I had presumed the forum was a place where members would recommend books (paper and Kindle) for their content. I cannot sell below the prices I have set (£3 Timotheus Pserimos Puss and £7 On the Verge) if I am going to make anything for charity. In more recent weeks, there has been some focus on Greek Christmas blogs. One blogger seems to be gloating about their laid back Christmas arrangements but then ……… after bemoaning about how we all have turkey, trees and lights and then exalting their lack of commercialisation and receiving simple gifts of olives and shortbread……..they posted a photo of their dog dressed up with reindeer antlers and tinsel! What a load of tosh - won’t read that blog again! Don’t they think we have brains! Yes, some people want turkey, expensive presents and all the traditional trimmings and why shouldn’t they; BUT there are others who opt for a simpler Christmas. For goodness sake you don’t have to live in Greece to have a laid back Christmas!

Carl Chapman has posted a very thought provoking blog titled ‘a growing fear’ on his site, Letter from Norfolk. His observations and references are excellent, we may not all agree with him but that is down to the individual - after all you don’t to live in Greece to have a mind of your own!

Also thought provoking was the film we watched yesterday evening, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ . This is the second time we have watched this film and in a couple of years, may watch it again. I love the scenery, so rugged, dramatic and definitely unwelcoming in places but what came over to me, above all else, is the ethos of the Tibetans . 'Seven Years in Tibet' is a true story and in the film; the country is a Buddhist territory where they have the greatest respect for life and people survive through subsistence agriculture. An example of their high respect for life was depicted during the building of a cinema for the Dalai Lama. The soil from the excavations for the footings was carefully sifted and all the worms removed. These were then relocated in trenches, covered in earth and then watered. Now if we all lived like this we would not be in the pickle outlined by Carl Chapman. Could we all live like this? No, I can’t see the human race giving up air travel, central heating, cars etc. and even the Dalai Lama was moving into the twentieth century with his cinema.

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