I am starting November with three gripes; all in the past week. Firstly, the volume of soft drink containers plus confectionery and crisp wrappers on pavements, roads, in the car park and gutters. Secondly, the amount of dog excrement (poo) on the pavements. Anything to do with half-term? Thirdly and this annoys me the most, a Halloween prankster squirted tomato ketchup up the door of a kind and friendly elderly resident; in fact most likely the oldest person residing in Overstand. Enough said!

I have composted the Tomato plants in the greenhouse, this has made room for the plants in pots which have spent the past months in the garden. At this time of year, we usually start growing potatoes in the greenhouse but the last couple of winters have been so harsh, sub-zero temperatures have reduced the foliage to mush and we have had little if any new potatoes to enjoy in late winter/early spring. This year we have bought the plastic lined cardboard box (planted with potatoes saved from Peter’s plot) into the conservatory where temperatures should not drop below freezing. Fingers crossed this method proves successful. Peter has mown the grass for what will probably be the last time this year and he has moved the compost bins which were full to the brim. This has left two good sized heaps of rotting vegetation ready to distribute on the vegetable plot next year.

Posted on the noticeboard at the entrance to the Sports Ground are the details of the amounts made at this year’s Rockstock. The main profit of £2,500 from the event will go towards the maintenance of the sports ground and pavilion and just over £500, raised from the BBQ, will benefit the Overstrand Millennium Playground. The notice mentions it costs £10,000 a year to maintain the sports ground, so I guess Rockstock together with the Car Boot Sales must go a good way towards producing this sum.

The Overstrand Gardening Club has been lucky to secure speaker Rob Spray for the November meeting. Rob will be talking about the Chalk Reef off Overstrand and Cromer and although not strictly a garden related subject, it is a topic which is attracting great interest. You don’t need to be a member to come to the Gardening Club meetings. Entrance for Non-members is a nominal £1.50 (this will increase to £2.50 in 2014) which includes refreshments after the talk. Further details about November’s talk can be found on the Village Callendar page.

A first this week for Norfolk - a Humpback Whale spotted further down the coast between Hemsby and Happisburgh. In fact, looking at Carl Chapmans site ‘Letter from Norfolk’, it is possible there are two whales. According to Carl, with an increase in numbers of Humpbacks, this is a not an unexpected event but somewhat sooner than he anticipated. It is possible it/they may overwinter here, so fingers crossed it/they venture near Overstrand.

Wednesday 6th November 2013 - Listening Posts, Bonfire & Fireworks and Chalk Reef

I forgot to mention in my last diary entry that while I was a steward at the exhibition at the Belfry Arts Centre last Friday, I was able to listen to the initial recording for the village listening posts. The recordings comprised of songs, poems and dialogue covering Overstrand, Sidestrand and Northrepps. As yet, no date has been announced for the erection of the listening posts which should provide additional interest for visitors to our village.

Although Barney enjoys fireworks, just in case he took fright, we did not go to the village display on Saturday. However, we were able to watch them from our garden, keeping an eye on the chickens at the same time. Bangs and screeches accompanied the twenty minute display which is organised each year by the Parish Council and provides an impressive show for a small coastal village. These days, I do find myself questioning why we have to celebrate with fireworks. Yes it is a great way of getting people together and entertaining them, in particular the New Year’s Day fireworks in Cromer but they do cause stress to pets and wildlife and of course there is the money aspect. Just think what good could be done with the money rather than just sending it skywards.

Talking on the subject of the Chalk Reef, Rob Spray was the guest speaker at the Gardening Club meeting on Tuesday. Rob is said to have discovered the twenty mile long Chalk Reef which runs from Salthouse of Happisburgh. Along with his partner Dawn Watson and other divers they have found at least three species never recorded in the area before. Using photographs and short videos we were given an insight into what lies below the sea, just a short distance from our shore. Not just the sea-life but gullies, caves and arches which have been likened to an underwater Stonehenge. Rob would like to see the area designated as a Marine Protected Zone where human activity would be placed under some restrictions to protect the reef’s environment. Rob rounded off his talk with some additional snippets, covering the reef off Overstrand before taking questions from members.

It seems strange not having things to do in the garden but with additional time indoors, our files are up to date, old paperwork burnt, kitchen cupboards and extractor cleaned, chimney blocked off to stop the draughts and new exterior lamp fixed. Time now for thoughts about Christmas, with most of the ingredients already purchased for our Christmas Pudding and Cake I will soon be going ahead with these and then there will be the usual lists – Christmas cards to buy and send, food and drinks, presents etc. As I say each year – it’s the season of lists!

Sunday 10th November 2013 - Parish Council Meeting, Last Crabs, Look at the Sand and Congratulations Joyce & Terry Richards

The Parish Council meeting this month had little of note to mention here apart from, firstly; further checks are indicating that at certain times of the day we do have a speeding problem in the village. It is good to have firm evidence of the problem and I hope the Police will continue with their checks. Secondly, it was reported that the bucket collection at the village bonfire and fireworks raised £640. This will be used to purchase fireworks for next year. The Parish Clerk said there was a £200 shortfall in the amount needed to fund next year’s event and she hoped to cover this by organising a fundraising event. For the first time in some months the microphone system was working. This was just as well as without them the public would not have been able to have heard what the Councillors were saying above the clatter generated by the hall’s heaters.

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