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Men’s Shed at the Watercress Festival

For the Watercress Festival in May 2018, the newly established Alresford Men’s Shed decided to make some games – mainly to entertain the kids! These were to show that the Men in the Shed could do something creative, as well as those useful mending jobs. Alresford Rotary kindly gave their normal plot up, to allow the Shed to book a central space.

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The games that made it from the drawing board into the tent involved getting golf balls and similar into the right hole. Two toys had a ball on a string, flicked like a tiddly-wink into a small cup about a foot away from the springboard. Only around four people managed this achievement throughout the day, but of those, several did it two and three times in a row – the only prize was a toffee!

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DSC06189The major attraction was in the form of an almost vertical version of bar billiards, but here the ball had to be manoeuvred all the way up the board by pulling on two strings attached to a ball-carrier, until finally reaching the hole at the top. This needed care, concentration and patience, but most of the kids got there eventually, and won a toffee.

Mums and Dads, Grans and Grandads also had a go – their real advantage was being higher up, and able to see the top holes more easily. But they found it just as difficult as the kids…. others were content to yell advice at the kids!

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The Men’s Shed version of bar billiards

Also on display were some other products the Men’s Shed have produced, such as the ‘busy board’ built for several of the town playgroups, a nesting box for birds like bluetits, small hurdles for flower plot edging fences in gardens, and an advertising board for use by shops etc, to attract the attention of passing customers.

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A ‘Busy board’, or activity centre, built for a local nursery

Several people were also interested to learn about the Shed, and there might even be some new members amongst those who learned about the Shed for the first time!

For more pics of the kids having fun, please see the blog on Alresfordmensshed !

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Various views, events and jobs in the Shed, showing furniture and wheelchair repairs. We have also built nest boxes, advertising boards, Barn owl boxes, sewing machines and doll’s houses.

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1980s Taste of Alresford – 2: Soup Dishes

…………………..Stories from residents at the time

 

taste of alreThe following are descriptions by Alresford families of their houses/homes, and their lives in the early 1980s, provided to the charity recipe book ‘A Taste of Alresford’ published by Sally March, on behalf of Oxfam. There have already been several extracts from this book published in stories on this website. Most are listed under the “Taste of Alresford” tag, they include stories about the Hobby Horse, Beresford House, The Cricketer’s Pub and the Golf Course, Fulling Mill, and Anderson’s green-grocers.

The introduction to the book was written by John Arlott, which is also featured in one story, and his life here in the old Sun Inn is described in another AlresfordMemories story.

The authors and their recipe subjects for Soup dishes are as follows – all written in the early 1980s: TO GET THE RECIPES YOU NEED TO BUY THE BOOK!

 

John [and Betty] Bevan, The Manor Farm, Old Alresford.

‘The Alresford and District Annual Agricultural Show’

‘The entries in all classes are numerous, and the Show and Dinner are expected to be a great success’ proclaimed the advertisement in ‘The Hampshire Chronicle’ in December 1909. With such optimism, the Alresford and District Annual Agricultural Show began. Seventy five years later, despite two World Wars and epidemics of foot and mouth disease, the Show is the major event in the Alresford year, held nowadays at Tichborne Park.

Cattle and horses, sheep, goats and pigs, cereal and produce are shown, and there are more than a hundred Trade and Exhibition stands. The Horticultural tent bulges with fat onions and enormous dahlias, and visitors to the Rural Craft Tent are fascinated by displays of antique-style lace, pottery and painting, hand-turned wood and home-spun wool. But for most of us, the Show is especially a social occasion – meeting and greeting, and a spot of liquid refreshment, plus fun for all ages with Punch And Judy and the Perins school band.

The present Chairman is Mr John Bevan of Manor Farm, whose father, Mr J A Bevan, was President of the Show in 1958.

Recipe: Cold Watercress Soup

 

Betty [and John] Bevan, The Manor Farm, Old Alresford.

The Manor Farm illustrates Alresford agriculture very well. Besides the 450 acres of mixed farming, Mr Bevan has 3 acres of watercress, and 4 large ‘stews’ od trout, with 5000-6000 fish in each. His father, Mr J A Bevan, sent off the first consignment of watercress from Alresford railway station.

Today it is harvested all the year round: lorries take it to Hurn Airport, from where it is flown in refrigerated containers to London, the Midlands and the North. ‘Watercress is reckoned to be a sure fire cure for a hangover’.

Farm stock includes 100 dairy cattle, 40 calves and 25 in-calf heifers. They grow winter wheat and barley, some for malting, (for beer) and some for seed.

Recipe: Royal Watercress Soup

 

Terry and Sara McTurk, The Old School House Restaurant, 60 West Street.

The ‘Old School House’ is the original home of Perins Free Grammar School (Perins Community School). In 1774, Robert Boyes, Master of Perin’s Grammar School, wrote*: ‘The school was founded in 1698 by Christopher Perin ‘for educating 19 poor men’s sons in the Latin tongue, writing accounts etc. Every scholar was to pay one shilling a year for his admission, and one shilling a year towards providing rods and brooms to be used in the school. The School House is a plain strong building standing at the bottom of West Street, The school itself is in a large, very lofty room adjoining the dwelling house (occupied by the schoolmaster).

Today this building is the home of the Chef-Proprietors, Terry and Sara McTurk, who, with 25 years combined catering experience behind them,were delighted to discover the Old School House and to have such a good reception accorded to their style of cooking.

*‘The History of Alresford’ by A J Robertson.

Recipe: Cream of Parsley Soup.

 

Joan Riley, The Nythe House, Old Alresford.

Dr and Mrs Riley have lived in Alresford for over 30 years. Their home is an old Victorian house on the Old Alresford side of the big pond. Dr Riley is a partner in the Alresford Group Surgery in Station Road.

Recipe: Iced Carrot and Orange Soup.

 

Elinor Gush, The Fulling Mill, Old Alresford.

When Mr and Mrs Bryan Gush bought and restored the derelict Fulling Mill standing astride the lovely River Alre, they little realised that in 30-odd years it would attract so many visitors from all over the world.

In the 13th century, the English wool staple was at Winchester, where wool was sorted and graded. The Fulling Mill probably dates from then, soon after Bishop de Lucy had his Great Weir, and where the River Alre now runs purposefully along its new path.  The Mill was built above the water, with a smooth slope down into it, where woollen cloth could be washed and laid out to be dressed with powdered chalk (there being no Fuller’s earth in the district). It was then trodden or beaten to rid it of excess oil, and to shrink and concentrate the loosely woven cloth. The industry declined when the staple was moved to ‘English’ Calais, sometime before 1452.

The Old Mill, almost surrounded by running water, has the most beautiful garden, designed and cared for by Mr and Mrs Gush. They have also developed a small nursery, alongside the river, near where the old open swimming pool used to be. By selling its produce to passing visitors, they have raised £27,000 for charity since 1974.

Recipe: A Simplified Bortsch

 

Country Fare, Craft Gallery, 11 East Street.

Where would you find drunken sailors in Alresford? As skittles in Country Fare Where would you find a silver deck chair? In the jewellery case at Country Fare. Where would you find a hunter on an elephant? As a teapot. Or a six foot high tulip? As a lamp. Where do you find the smartest people in town? In Country Fare

Country Fare displays and sells original crafts from the British Isles.

Recipe: Juan’s Gazpacho.

 

Mike and Peewee Burchett, The Cricketer’s Arms, Tichborne Down.

The Cricketer’s Arms takes its name from an earlier pub, but Mike Burchett, its Landlord, is a well-known local cricketer, having captained Winchester and played for Tichborne and the famous ‘Hampshire Hogs’.

The pub was purpose built in the 1920’s, with a clubroom attached to it for the use of the neighbouring Golf Club. The first tenant, Mr W Boniface, was in fact the Club’s Professional.

Today Mike and Peewee welcome guests to the comfort of a Lounge bar, where families may sample a wide menu; to a public bar, and a poolroom-cum-children’s room. In the garden are tables, children’s swings and a trampoline. There are toilet facilities for the physically handicapped, and French windows with a ramp for wheelchairs.

The Cricketer’s Arms is very much a family pub, with good bar food and a friendly welcome to Alresford residents and visitors from further afield.

Recipe: Stilton and Celery Soup.

In Part 3 the recipes provided will introduce various fish courses.

Alresford Ladies support the Men’s Shed!

There has been a lot of progress in the first few weeks of this year, now that the Alresford Men’s Shed has been able to commence creating the workshop area in 1 The Dean, our first Shed location – look out for our signboard outside the building soon, under the ‘Lorem’ sign. After clearing the rooms, half a dozen work benches have been built, and racking for tools erected.

The website, www.alresfordmensshed.org.uk has gone live.

Support from the Alresford Ladies Group

While our search for grants from major donors continues, we are delighted that the Alresford Ladies Group has voted to donate half their Charity giving for 2018 to the Men’s Shed!

Some sceptics might say that the Ladies want to find somewhere to send their menfolk, to get them out of the house, more reasonable people suggest it might be a way of telling the same menfolk to do those repairs, down at the Shed, where someone competent will suggest how to do it! This could be very true, but actually the Shed is expecting to attract Ladies as Members as well, and they will get the same help and support as the male Shed Members. So we look forward to having some of the Alresford Ladies join up too.

The Shed is buying and collecting donated tools, to equip the benches: so please sort the shed or the garage out and locate anything surplus to your needs. We are also looking for projects/jobs that we can do for individuals, or the community more widely, in the very near future – so line up any jobs that you would like us to consider doing for you. Repairing chair legs, rewiring table lamps, covering up scratches – anything is possible. There will be a charge for any materials used, but the labour is free – of course donations to our costs are welcomed.

Equal Opportunities

The Alresford Men’s Shed welcomes men and women as full members of our workshop: all will get the benefit of the experience and advice of other members, if needed, and the members equally will benefit from the experience of all!

 

Seen in August this year

New faces appear round town

The month of August has seen some different views around town this year. At the beginning of the month lots of new faces started appearing in shop windows, and in some other buildings, around the town centre. Twenty five faces were spread around the town, all with a code letter: they had been designed, created and painted by the Year 7 pupils at Perins school.  The competition, open to everyone, was to find all the faces and their code letters, adding these to the entry forms provided by Altogether Alresford. Completed competition forms have to be handed in to Lawrence Oxley’s bookshop by 3rd September, in order to qualify for the prize draws! Obviously you have to have identified the faces correctly: a lot of the shops in Alresford have provided generous prizes. While an excellent pastime for the children, grown-ups can enter too!

Stop that noise!

The elderly residents in Ellingham Close are delighted that the lobbying organized via the Giles Group, which explained to Jackie Porter of Hampshire County Council how frightening the loose man-hole cover under the Jacklyn’s Lane bridge was, has had a result! The manhole cover smashed down on the frame whenever a vehicle ran over one corner, like a see-saw.  If anyone was under the bridge when this happened, on the footpath, the noise was deafening, and frightening, particularly with the speed of the traffic tearing down the hill.

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Finally, towards the end of the month, BT repaired the cover, and put new tarmac round the edges. The older residents are pleased, thankyou Jackie!   It has not reduced the speed of the traffic though, so that is the next objective, particularly with the Methodist Church and the toddlers’ Playgroup right next to the bridge.

More strange visitors

There have been things appearing on the Avenue late in August. Looking even more alien and horrifying than the masks in the shops. So far there have been two large fungi in the grass near the ARC. Hopefully these will be identified soon, but the brown sludge on top looks like a very nasty, and possibly smelly defence mechanism – it definitely discourages touching them – which is not recommended! Hopefully these are not a local delicacy?

Does anyone know what they are?

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Cat plague: Good or bad?

There is a cat plague in Alresford, around Carisbrooke Close and Orchard Close in particular, and to my knowledge. This is not just a problem of cats leaving their mess in any cultivated vegetable patches, it has grown to involve regular, even daily, bird kills, mainly pigeons, but also young blackbirds.

I am delighted that the pigeons now appear to have moved away, as a result, so that is a major benefit!

But as a carp pond owner, it is true that the occasional cat is seen to lick their lips alongside the water, but there are further pond level defences that stop them getting at the fish. They are amateurs compared to the herons around here, from which we need to defend ourselves rigorously.

The beneficiaries of this phase of cat trespassing have been suppliers such as Homebase and even the Winchester Pound shop, one of whom (guess who?) sell wire netting at very reasonable prices – yes, you’ve guessed it, £1. I recommend their metal mesh fencing, for use on top of a six foot wooden fence. Maybe the cats cannot see it when they shoot up the fence, but I really hope they then get the message with the next 6 inches to a foot of wire net, with spikes on the top.

The wire netting has now grown up above fences and gates to stop these feline climbers getting into back gardens along their regular routes. They may climb up, but they will not get over! If they get into our back garden, I’m not sure they will ever get out…..

I look forward to responses from all the irresponsible cat owners who send their cats out every morning, they will undoubtedly send some sort of justification to defend the misery they inflict on all their innocent neighbours.

Old Alresford – an Edwardian view

From another website  there is an interesting review of the significant houses in Old Alresford, and their history, as published by the Victoria County History, London, 1908.

Old Alresford in 1908

“About two miles south-east of Old Alresford, in the parish of Bishop’s Sutton, the River Alre ‘beginnith of a great Numbre of fair Sylver Springes’, which ‘resorting to a Botom make a great brode Lak, communely caullid Alsford Pond’. This pond, the reservoir from which the Itchen is for the most part supplied, was formed by Bishop Godfrey de Lucy towards the end of the twelfth century in order to render the River Itchen navigable from Alresford to Winchester as well as from Winchester to Southampton (This is now questioned – Ed).

Old Alresford House

Entering the parish from New Alresford, immediately north of the pond, Old Alresford Park stretches to the east, in the north-west of which stands Old Alresford House, best known to fame from its connection with Admiral George Brydges Lord Rodney (1719–92), who considerably enlarged and improved the original house during his residence. It is a large white brick mansion finely situated with its grounds gradually sloping down to the lake. Colonel Richard Norton, ‘idle Dick Norton’, the farmer of the manor of Old Alresford, resided at Old Alresford House during the Commonwealth, and Oliver Cromwell paid several visits to him there.

In the most westerly corner of the park, seeming almost to be within its boundaries, is the church of St. Mary surrounded by a churchyard. A large eighteenth-century house of red brick, north of the church, was till recently the rectory. It has lately been sold, and is now known as Old Alresford Place. The present rectory is a white building standing east of Old Alresford Place and opposite Upton House.

Church of St Mary

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The church of OUR LADY St Mary was entirely rebuilt in 1753, a west tower was added in 1769, and in 1862 the eighteenth-century work, except as regards the tower, was Gothicized, and a south transept, north organ chamber, and vestry added. As a result the building is of very little architectural interest, though the tower is a good specimen of its kind, of red brick with round-headed western doorway and belfry windows, and finished with a parapet carrying stone ball finials at the angles.

DSCN2209smallThe only thing of note in the church is the monument of Mrs. Jane Rodney on the north wall of the nave, dated 1757, a fine piece of eighteenth-century work in white marble, with figure sculpture. Her husband afterwards became the famous admiral, Lord Rodney, and in the church are monuments to the second and third lords.

There are six bells, by Wells of Aldbourne, dated 1769 and 1770, a tablet on the west face of the tower recording their casting, as well as the building of the nave and tower.

Old Alresford Village

The main block of houses (in the village), is some yards higher up the road (from the Church). Here are the smithy, the village green—an irregularly-shaped plot of grass, the post office, an iron foundry, and the national school, built in 1846 by the Onslow family. There is also a group of almshouses, built to house three destitute couples in 1852 by the Misses Onslow in memory of their mother. Some yards still further north is an industrial home (Primitive Methodist), which was in existence by the middle of the nineteenth century.

Farms in the Parish

Manor Farm lies west of the village, and still further west, near the Itchen Stoke border line, is Fob Down Farm. About a quarter of a mile east of the village, reached by Kiln Lane, which cuts across the fields east and west, is Upton Hamlet, consisting of a few scattered farm buildings, and including Upton Farm and Upton House. The latter was occupied by a younger branch of the Onslow family during the early nineteenth century, but is now occupied by Mr. J. F. Christie, JP.” ENDS.

The Mother’s Union

Obviously as the above was published in 1908, it pre-dates the growth and importance of the Mother’s Union, the organisation founded by Mary Sumner! Mary was the wife of George Sumner, the vicar at St Mary’s in Old Alresford. For more info on this topic, please see the September 2015 story – https://alresfordmemories.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/the-mothers-union-and-old-alresford/

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The Mary Sumner Chapel and window in Old Alresford Church was dedicated on 9th August 2015

The Alresford Literary Festival

In their Golden Anniversary Year, 2016, the Alresford Historical & Literary Society is hosting the Alresford Literary Festival. This is to take place on Saturday 4th June, at Perins School, in the School Hall. (Postcode SO24 9BS).

The event is being supported by Hampshire County Council, New Alresford Town Council, and Winchester City Council. Tickets are being sold for places to listen to the various eminent speakers who will make presentations throughout the day: delegate costs are £10 per speaker session or just £25 for the whole day. Please contact Vic Prior on 01962 733380 or vic.sue1@btinternet.com. The Society website is www.alresfordhistandlit.co.uk

Festival Flyer Draft 6L

The Speaker Programme

Doors open 10.30am

  1. Robert Hardy: In conversation about his career with John Miller: starts 11.00am

  2. John Julius Norwich: He will give an illustrated talk about his new book ‘Sicily’  starting at 2.00pm.

  3. Edna O’Brian:  In conversation with  John Miller, will talk about her latest novel   ‘The Little Red Chairs’. This starts at 4.00pm.

  4. John Miller & Dolores Willis will then present am amusing presentation entitled ‘Great Eccentrics’. This commences at 6.00pm.

Hot and cold food will be available, plus a full bar. On-site parking is available at Perin’s school, or in the town car parks.