If you’ve indulged in too many mince pies this year, why not work off those Christmas calories by taking a walk on the wild side with Surrey Wildlife Trust? With more than 70 nature reserves to explore and a host of New Year events, now’s a great time to get outside and enjoy Surrey’s winter landscapes with family and friends.
Pull on your boots and warm clothes and head to Shere Woodlands near Guildford for an inspiring walk through fallen leaves, with the promise of breathtaking views from West Hanger across the Weald and towards the South Downs. Keep an eye out for birds of prey like buzzards or kestrels hunting for small mammals.
Or grab your binoculars and take a trip to Nutfield Marshes, near Redhill, for some fresh air and a satisfying stroll round the lakes. This wonderful wetland reserve is a magnet for winter water fowl and waders. Tufted ducks, gadwalls and the odd pochard can be found at this time of year, together with mute swans, little grebes and greylag geese.
A walk on the vast windswept landscape of Chobham Common is spectacular at this time of year. This rare lowland heathland is the largest National Nature Reserve in the south east of England. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded here, including the rare Dartford warbler – look out for this small but striking bird perched on top of gorse stems.
“It’s a winter wonderland out there with so many wild places to discover,” said the Trust’s Charlotte Magowan. “So why not get out with your family and friends this season?”
Or you could join one of the New Year events, including guided walks, family fun and courses? Here are a few ideas to start your 2018 in wild style:
Shiver & Shake at Ashtead – Saturday, January 13, 11am-12.30pm
Explore magical Ashtead Park in winter and learn about the habitats create such a fantastic haven for wildlife.
Wild Families – Saturday, January 13, 10.30am-12.30pm
Go wild with your family and get closer to nature at a fun session for all ages at Newlands Corner near, Guildford, with games, crafts and wild activities for all.
Dual Workshop: Willow Making & Yoga – Tuesday, January 16, 10am-3pm
Enjoy a New Year treat at Nower Wood, near Leatherhead – spend the morning learning to make outdoor candle holders/bird feeders from willow. After lunch, relax with an afternoon yoga session – dreamy!
Winter Wanderings on Rodborough – Monday, January 22, 10am-12noon
Blow away the Christmas cobwebs on a guided winter walk exploring the beautiful expanses of Rodborough Common, near Godalming.
Remember that members of the Trust get free walks and discounted talks and courses. You can sign up for half price membership in our January sale and get a free calendar, while stocks last. For more information on membership and all of the Trust’s events, courses and talks, as well as a full list of more than 70 nature reserves to explore across the county visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org.
Blogger Jenny Bennett who writes for the online blog muminpractice.com says she has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity in response to a toy donation she posted on her Facebook page.
Jenny said: “I’d been wanting to do something special for Christmas this year, so I posted the appeal on my page asking people to buy an extra gift for the mums and children who would be spending Christmas in one of the refuges provided by the Southern Domestic Abuse Service. Some of these women have to leave life-threatening situations with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. We wanted them to know how brave we all think they are, and take the worry of presents for the children off their shoulders.”
She posted the appeal on Facebook and word quickly spread. Then the donations started to flood in. “I have to give a massive thank you to Sew Creative in Petersfield and the staff of Haslemere Town Council at the Town Hall who offered to be drop off points for the gifts. This wouldn’t have been possible without them,” said Jenny.
A friend’s garage was filled with treats and toys for the mums and children at the refuge and anything left over this year will be used as birthday presents for the families in 2018.
On Sunday, November 5, Liphook Golf Club held its traditional ‘drive in’ by the new Ladies’ Captain and the new Club Captain, whereby they hit a ball off the first tee to mark the start of their year of office. This year, however, it was a ‘drive in’ with a difference.
Kathryn Todd, this year’s Ladies’ Captain, drove off first, followed by the Club Captain, Jillian Howarth, the first female to be elected to the role in the club’s 95-year history. Both drives went straight down the middle which augurs well for their year in office. The Drive-In raised over £1,000 for the joint captains’ charity for 2018 – The Rosemary Foundation.
It’s worth noting that the Club Captain’s role at Liphook is not just a ceremonial one. During her year of office, Jillian, as Club Captain, will head up the General Committee which runs the club. She is, in effect, the Club ‘CEO’ for the year.
Jillian is Dublin born and bred. She spent over 15 years working for Aer Lingus before moving to Liphook 20 years ago with her husband Graham. Graham became a member of Liphook Golf Club in 2000 and Jillian finally decided to try her hand at golf and joined Liphook in 2003, becoming Ladies Captain in 2011. After a year off she joined the General Committee for three very successful years as Chair of Membership before being invited to become Club Vice Captain in November, 2016.
Jillian’s golf handicap has been as low as 14 but in the last few years this has been creeping up. She is hoping that a busy year of golf will help to lower it again.
After a total of five years on the General Committee, Jillian is well versed in the ways of the club and is looking forward to her Captaincy.
Historically, Liphook Golf Club had a reputation for being a bit ‘old fashioned’. Today, however, while it is proud of its traditions and values, it is a forward thinking, and a friendly, welcoming club. Jillian is the ideal Captain to continue the club’s progress as it approaches its Centenary, members agree.
REVIEW Attila the Stockbroker – Petersfield Write Angle The Townhouse, Petersfield November 2017
Attila the Stockbroker filled the room at Write Angle’s November gig – not only with the power of his presence but by filling the space to ‘standing room only’ – the best attendance in a long time. He is a masterly force of nature. His energy is boundless! Whether ranting about his political convictions, playing numerous instruments such as the mandola, mandocello, bass recorder and violin, singing the lyrics he composes, or digging deep into his feelings about illness and family, whatever he does, one feels his sincerity and natural connection with the audience. With a full programme of gigs while touring the country, Europe and beyond, he snatches time to write and compose – he wrote nine songs in the previous three weeks!
“You have to be young and black to rap!” Starting with Spirit of the Age, Attila rapped that, giving the lie to it: “I’ll be rapping to the day I die.”
With his deeply held political views, he rants….and rants. Looking back to the period when England had no monarchy, he sang of the great ranter of Cromwell’s Commonwealth time: ”I have been a ranter for nearly 40 years….but I’m a total lightweight compared to Abiezer Coppe.” More topical and poignant was The Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington who “serve Knightsbridge, not Latimer Road” ending with “Appearances matter more than flesh, skin, hair, muscle and bone.” There was also his Corbyn Supporters from Hell: “We undermine everything that moves.” In Rock n Roll Brexit, he chronicalled the formalities, difficulties and indignities of Europe with borders that he used to experience, saying that, if these had to be suffered again, “I’m British and WE HAVE TAKEN BACK CONTROL!”
In addition to his politics, what we also get is Attila the loving family man. In Never Too Late, his tribute to his stepfather, he tells: “You were the head of the household, I was the stroppy kid”, as a chorus to “Here’s a poem I wrote for you, you decent, gentle man”; ending with “It’s never too late to tell anyone you love them.” It’s no wonder Attila has a fan club of over 6000 people!
At the open mic, newcomer Dick Senior had Referendum in which “John Major’s bastards bided their time” until they were “probing the cracks in Cameron weak”. Still political, he followed with A Famous Old Etonian, where he described Boris as “the Bullingdon” bore with “Government by the Etonians, for the Etonians”. Another newcomer, Denys Whitley, told of schooldays in Ireland with Rabbit Killers, recounting the grisley details of skinning the rabbit then “march back in triumph past the younger kids, holding up the fur and tail”. In Heliport, he told of the solar wind and the edge of the solar system – a physics lecture beyond the capability of this reviewer!
In Rosary, Sue Spiers itemised the things to pack for a holiday in Spain, if that will be possible after Brexit, ending with “Hale holiday, full of gin!” Then, in November 1987 she looked back to the devastation caused by the “worst storm in my recollection” to oak trees and people’s lives. Richard Hawtree’s My Tongue was a version of an early Irish poem about Cormac the king of Tara, in which, all the experiences of childhood, “seduced my tongue to what I’ve left half said”. Colin Eveleigh A Brush With Life paid tribute to his father, “He was never still, mostly silent and ever resourceful, my Dad”, painting everything, even his bicycle, in battleship grey – “was there no end to this dubious stash?” A keen potter, Colin tells, in Pressing the Button Marked Fire “like diving into a volcano” of the excitement of giving birth to new objects that leave to go to new homes but “Those that didn’t make it, I love you even more”.
In Leah Cohen’s Winter ,“Please, bury my feelings. Freeze them till the Spring”. In Child’s Tale, “You love to edit the tale of my life and credit yourself as if you’d written the contents” while in My Selves , she read of meeting her selves in different places including a traffic jam on a busy day, ending with “maybe it’s time we met…”. Jilly Funnell, with guitar, did a duet with Phyllida Carr, on bongo drums – a lovely tribute to Jimmy Lee, WA’s October guest. Then Jilly sang her raunchy Principle Boy, about Cinderella’s disappointment when Prince Charming took ‘his’ tights off, the consolation being “her sisters might be ugly but at least they’re boys.” Richard Lanchester’s Age of Enlightenment was dedicated to poet Heathcote Williams, telling how everyone says, “We got to have more” but all his things are second-hand -”I’m not part of the rush to buy the newest, the latest.”
Andy, from Hoyk in the Scottish Bordersmenaced your reviewer with talk of imminent class war; then, in The Lonely Man Contemplates His Non-existence, he gave a truly lyrical description of a walk in the rain and mist with his girl, who asked, “have you ever run with your eyes closed without being in control of yourself?” Fearfully he did it and then, while she ran towards him, “I saw every blade of grass spring from her footsteps”. Another newcomer, Bethan Screen, in Sweetheart told how “being a young girl is to be visible and commodified”, and that the attentions of men are “a dripping tap that whisper, whistle and shout.” and after any incident, “you wish you could have reacted in a different, more intelligent and effective way.”
Isabelle Sene, operated on for breast cancer, told of her experience adding humour to lighten it such as when the nurse kissed her before the operation, her father said, ‘They never did that to me!’ She also told of how, when “the consultant marked the breast to be removed, he leaned on her right breast , to which she screamed, ‘NO, THE LEFT’ ‘sorry’ he said, ‘I’m having one of those days when everything goes wrong’!”
Jezz closed off a great evening, singing Cadillac Dream and High and Dry, both very emotionally and sensitively rendered.
There were several raffle prizes, the first a voucher for two meals at fine Italian restaurant, La Piazetta; the second, Attilla very kindly offered his book Undaunted, and third and fourth were vouchers Leah & your reviewer offered, for the Spice Lounge Indian restaurant.
It was a deeply charged, memorable evening with the outstanding and formidable Attila together with a wealth of talent from new and regular open mikers and an appreciative audience expressing their gratitude and still laughing, as they left the room.
Write Angle will be presenting the very confident and comic performance poet, Paul Lyalls, on December 19 for Write Angle’s Christmas special. There will be another open mic spot for anyone to read/perform a poem, song or piece of prose.