Whats going on with this weather

What’s going on with this weather, It’s the middle of November and I saw a butterfly today. You might not be able to see it clearly but this Painted lady (I think) was busy around the ivy which is in bloom right now. Surly it should be too cold for butterflies this late in the year.

I guess it’s getting warmer later and later, there must be a term for when there is this sort of change in the climate, I wonder what it is?

Clement and I went for a walk over Monk Hill this morning. It was windy on the top but the sunshine made it nice. We saw this mushroom but I can’t give it a name.

Mushrooms, of course, are normally found in dark moist places and it’s well known that they thrive on a diet of manure. This one seems to have made a break for freedom and is doing very well, bathed in sunlight in the middle of a grass field.

In other news.

I’ve given in to popular demand and written a book about the comings and goings of Wimplebridge Village. It’s a murder fuelled romp through an English country village and bound to be a best selling classic.

If you fill in these two fields I’ll let you know when I’m ready to publish. I guess it will be early in the new year but don’t worry, you’ll be one of the first to know.

A few hurried lines – I’ve not got much time.

It seems like weeks since I last posted anything about the village and, truth to tell, it has been quite some time but ask any farmer or contractor and they will tell you that after the brief which follows silage and haymaking we’re into harvest.

Barley, wheat, Oilseed rape beans and of course maize silage, everything has taken twice as long as it should, not because it’s been a heavy crop, far from it, there have been some poor crops around this year and to make the matter worse the quality has been changeable too. No, what’s stopped us has been the weather. It seemed that every time we got a few dry days and the moisture content was approaching something we could cut there would be a brief downpour and we’re back to square one again.

We finally got the beans, the last crop we were cutting, off in mid September but some farmers haven’t been so lucky. I read of a farmer in Aberdeenshire who only finished on the 6th of October. More than seventy, yes Seventy days after he started!

Once it is all of the field of course it’s a race to get the ground ready for the next crop. We have sub-soiled about sixty acres this year which meant an extra machinery pass but generally it was all drilled in time and both the rape and wheat are looking okay, the rapes is a bit patchy but I hope it will fill in.

If we can have a few more warm days, say till the middle of November, then everything will have enough growth and ground cover to go through the winter months without loosing condition. We always have a bit of yellow at the tip of the wheat leaves in the spring. It’s where the frost has got them, but if the plant is big and healthy it will weather this without too much trouble.

Okay, the next crop is in the ground, tomorrow the clocks go bake an hour and the fire in the house is lit; I’m off to watch strictly.

Hubert Belcher.

Harvesting has started with the traditional rituals

Wimbledon is well under way, the Tour de France is in it’s second week and most of the country is complaining about how hot it has become. It can only mean one thing; harvest is about to start.

Sure enough we have been out testing the crop each day. We stand in the field, pick a few heads of winter barley and rub out the chaff. Next stage is to look closely at the grain and see if it looks full and ripe, I’m not sure if there’s any value in this but it’s what my dad did and and what his dad did and now I do it and I’m sure my son or daughter will too.

After the grain has been inspected you take a few individual pieces and pop them into your mouth, see how hard you have bite before they crack and guess the moisture, everyone has their own idea and we  say “its about 16%” then someone will disagree  “no, its dryer than that I recon it’s 14 and a half” last of all the pessimist of the group will say “your all wrong. it’s nowhere near ready, I’d say its 18% ‘cos it’s not cracked my dentures”.

There’s only one thing for it, we get out the moisture meter and test a sample. It’s what we should have done to start with but there are rituals to go through in all walks of life and harvesting is no different.

The digital reader will confirm one of our number to be correct and if it’s dry enough or it looks like it might rain later and not stop for 40 days then the combine driver is told to get to work and not loose too much over the back or there will be hell to pay.

This year we’re going through the ritual with winter barley, winter wheat, beans and oats. Wimplebridge is a traditional farming village and will be carrying out the “crop testing” just like so many other places at this time of year up and down the country.


What went wrong? – I thought the election was all sorted.

That’s not what was in the script!

If you read my sister’s last post you would know that she predicted a landslide for Mrs May and that our Conservative representative would be on his way back to Westminster where he was safely out of our way and allowing us to get on with our lives here in Wimplebridge.

What sort of shock do you think it was then when I woke up today and found that they had thrown away the script and gone their own way. I mean, for goodness sake, what part of “safe Tory seat” don’t you understand.

Now we have a new MP, a balding ex-councillor who described his own win as “astonishing” and if that’s not bad enough he’s with Labour!

Mrs May is going to make a pact with the devil, or at least the DUP, and move ahead with an even smaller majority than she had before they called the ill-fated election – so much for cementing her mandate to govern.

To give him his due, Mr Corbin did manage to smarten himself up and by polling day he hardly resembled a person wearing the cast-off clothes of a scare crow at all. Mrs May on the other hand had the facial expression of someone licking a turd off a lemon in every photo I saw of her and it appears she was waging war on her own supporters. Cutting the winter fuel allowance and scrapping the triple locked pension were bad enough but  who will forget the dementia tax, well the people with dementia will that’s who. Everyone else realised that it was going to take away from their children the only true asset most of us have, our houses, and quite rightly a good proportion decided to kick up a fuss.

 I guess that it will all sort itself out eventually and if President Barak Obama is right and “a country gets the politicians they deserve” then I wonder what it says about the rest of us.

I think I’m going to turn off, tune out and drop off for the weekend.


Hubert Belcher

Two elections in five weeks, can we stand the excitement.

BBC election 2017 logo

Elections seem to be a bit like busses at the moment. You wait five years for one to come along and then we have four in thirty-six months.




Okay, one of them is a local election and here in Wimplebridge we’ve returned the same man for a dozen years. Jeff Dyson (no relation to the vacuum man) is an independent candidate and more conservative than the official party man, as long as he stays that way we will keep voting for him, better the devil you know after all.

But really, do we need a general election too. Well actually yes I think we do. Again, we already know who will win in our area, wherever that is? Wimplebridge sits between Stratford on Avon and Warwick, whenever they change the boundaries we flip flop into the other area. It doesn’t really matter because in our ward, Wimplebridge and Monkstown, they publish the winning majority by weight rather than numbers – it’s that big.

Anyway, Max and I will go to the village hall on Thursday evening, we do anyway because of the WI meeting, but this time I’ve got to put my “X” in a box. I’ll put my cross in the usual box and complain that it’s wrong that Max isn’t allowed a vote. He’s over eighteen, at least in dog years, no madder than any other Red setter I’ve ever met and much more sane than half the village. Time after time he’s shown that he’s a good judge of character – he bit the labour part candidate who came canvasing the other day – if that’s not demonstrating a good judge of character I don’t know what is.

Jeff Dyson (no relation to the vacuum man) will be returned to the local council and in any ordinary year we could all go back to ignoring politics for a few more years. But this isn’t a normal year, Mrs May, or Terrie as we call her around here, is dragging us out again on the 8th of June and it’s going to interrupt another WI meeting.

It really is too bad, we had a fascinating speaker lined up for that night, old Mrs Spencer has just come back from four weeks in Thailand and has agreed to do a talk about meditation and how to harness the power of the inner orgasm. I don’t think some of them know what they’re missing. I heard Karen Harris saying that she can’t see why Mrs Spencer was there for a month and she thought they had closed all the stores anyway. There’s a perfectly good range of ties at M&S in the precinct, near the bus stop, at Warwick.

So were going to miss the secrets of Thailand, probably a good thing, and once again the hall will be a polling station for the night. A few trusty souls will stand outside all day and conduct an exit poll, this is normally given to the newest members of the party in the area, everyone else knows it’s a thankless task and the best you can hope for is sunburn and swollen feet.

If I can make a prediction, Mrs May will be re-elected (I wonder if she is any relation to that nice James May from Top Gear and the Grand tTour, a very sensible man is James May, never drives too fast and won’t be seen running on television) with a much bigger majority which will let her get on with the business of Brexit. Around here we mostly voted to stay in, but the British people made a choice, the wrong one, and now we have to make the best of the choice they have made. It’s time to get united behind the prime minister and let them get on with the job without being sabotaged at every step of the way.

Claudilia Belcher