Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Miss Read and the Squire

Yesterday I attended two meetings at the village hall...two meetings in one day. 


An 1890's GRAPHIC illustration of a village squire
dispensing largesse at Christmas.

The first meeting was yesterday afternoon, in the village hall.     

Our small group got together to discuss how we can fund the printing of the booklet based on Miss Read's reminiscences of life in the village during the 1940's, 50's and 60's.   

Luckily Miss Read, who also happens to be Vice Chair of the Parish Council, has a good memory and she recalled that some years ago money had been ear-marked for a village celebration.   Food and drink were purchased, a lavish feast prepared.    It was to be a gift of thanks to the village folk.

The locals turned out in force and were all wined and dined, danced and made merry.   They were made so merry that they all insisted on paying a little something.     By the end of the evening the committee found themselves with an unwanted excess of £300...

The Parish Council agreed to hold the money for a project at some point in the future. 

It seems that project could be the little book we have been working on.   

Miss Read said she would consult the Chairman at the next meeting.   Meanwhile, we are making enquiries about the cost of printing, etc.   One of our local historians is searching his vast archive for suitable photographs to insert in among the text and the Squires* wife has taken the folder home with her to proof read.

While she does that, I can turn my full attention to deciphering the last, tricky bits of the Crusader poem/letter.

Snail pace progress, but we will get there.

*Squire: a man of high social standing who owns and lives on an estate in a rural area, especially the chief landowner in such an area.

Now it just so happened that as I was walking Toby through the village yesterday morning I had glanced at the noticeboard and spotted this note.

I don't normally attend these meetings - drainage, potholes and grumbles are the main fare,  but there was another notice about the dispersal of funds in connection with the sale of the village school a couple of years ago.      I wanted to know whether the village was going to benefit in some way...

Another GRAPHIC illustration from the 1890's
this one shows the squire's wife visiting the poor and needy at Christmas.

This time the meeting was attended by the 'Squire', although he would laugh to hear himself described as such.    He is very much a hands-on farmer; his family have been major landowners around here for many generations.   He is also the Treasurer and Acting Clerk for the Parish Council.

The whole of the committee was made up of  people I know well;  it is a tiny village and the pool of willing people is miniscule.  Such a shame.

I helped to put out the seating, organise tables, etc.   Optimistically we put out 8 chairs for spectators/interested parties, like myself.   Only two were taken, one of those was by me.

As I suspected, the early topics were - drainage, long discussions...
- the appalling number of potholes loomed large and we entered deep discussions about them...
-  eventually we moved on to the accounts, minutes, etc. etc. 

It was thrilling stuff.

I dodged  a pleading request to join the committee, maybe one day in the future, but right now I have plenty on my plate.

Eventually the item I was interested in, came up for discussion.    It was thought that there was no way that the village would be able to access any of the funds, they couldn't qualify for the rules regarding the dispersal...

However, I was able to add my two-pennyworth.    I know of a neighbouring village (the one with the hobbit houses) which does do something which should mean they are entitled to claim some of the money.

I am just waiting for some documents to be delivered, then I can take them to the relevant people for perusal.     I will let you know if things work out.     Two very community-minded women could find themselves in receipt of an unexpected sum of money, to help with their community work.

Fingers crossed!

As for Miss Read's book - it was agreed that once the quotes are in they will look to funding the printing.



  1. Are you writing a book...? "Life today, in a tiny English Village"!

    At least do you have some sort of a.... Patent on all in your blog? Whatever it is called... So that you and only you, could copy your posts, and but them together and sell them...? Really. After all, you do a lot of work, both in the Village, and on your blog.

    Meanwhile, awaiting the next chapter in this continuing Saga!!!!!! :-)

    Being besotted again, about English Village Life, I suppose I'll be back into 'Miss Marple' on Prime tonight!!!!! :-)

    These are with the actress who smiles... I know I need to look up her name. Anyway, I have not seen these, so the sets, etc., are new to me. :-)

    1. I hope you enjoyed your viewing - those Miss Marple films do have great visual appeal - I have seen most of them several times over, still enjoy them occasionally.

      No, definitely no plans to write a book, only to assist with getting Miss Read's book(let) printed and distributed locally. She is really enjoying the process and keeps coming up with more wonderful memories. Now we have to think of the next project to keep our group occupied and to bring some fun to our monthly meetings.

      I'm visiting Miss Read tomorrow morning, fingers crossed that I get a peep at her old wedding photographs in the 'medieval great hall' - the barn at the farm!

  2. Do like the old paintings. The first with the "squire dispensing largesse" made me smile. I thought at first it meant dispensing his large self around the place (I could be more offensive) but looking it up I see it meant giving out money or gifts so no wonder the kids were looking happy at the thought of some pennies. As for the Squires wife, well sh is a toffee nosed one. Look how she looks distantly at the dogs thinking they smell and the basket to dispense to the poor and needy look like they carry her sandwiches. Still we all know that is some painters interpretation and not reality (though it could have been).
    Having been on the parish council I can honestly say it is not worth the bother, I felt a few of the members were bullies and the rest sheep who followed along. Me I was the thorn in the side as I did not agree with things and had a go all the time, I felt nothing got done and all as it was decided at county level. The local council was just paid lip service. I was glad to leave. It's good the money is going to a good use

    1. Hello Bill, Luckily our 'squire's wife' is the complete opposite of the one in the painting, though she is rarely seen locally without her beat-up old car!
      It sounds as though you have done your bit for the community, though I think your community is probably far larger than our tiny one. The whole village population is only around the 200 people mark!

  3. Hi-new to your blog! It sounds like a very interesting day! Hope both windfalls pan out for the intended!

    1. Hello Silver Willow (beautiful name) and welcome! I'll pop over and visit later, when things quieten down. I'm still waiting for the paperwork to be delivered, but fingers crossed, I'd love for them to have a lovely surprise!

  4. What great news Elaine, that the printing for Miss Read's memories has now been covered and money too for the community-minded work in the neighbouring village.

    Great illustrations. I was interested to see the Squire's good lady riding sidesaddle on the near side on a sidesaddle with a leaping head for the offside . . . They used to have separate near and offside saddles to use so a horse wouldn't get one-sided.

    I bet the Parish council were glad that at least you turned up! If you joined the committee you could just chat amongst yourselves : )

    1. Hello Jennie, Fascinating about the saddle, I would never have noticed. Do you remember Wooster, the beautiful grey horse who lives across the field? Apparently he had a rising-trot to die for, which is double Dutch to me, but may well mean something to you. All I know is that he is a dear old boy, who loves to have a bit of a chat when I pass his paddock.
      As to the parish council - well it would be a good way to keep up on the local news/gossip, but there is an awful lot of tedious stuff, too. Not sure that I could stand the pace...


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