Do you ever sit and reflect on how fortunate we are to be living in the village of Titchmarsh? A quick glance through the pages of your latest Titchmarsh Times reveals a plethora of activities for the Titchmarsh resident to enjoy – Monday morning café at the Church, tips on photography and what to sow in your veg patch or flower beds, keep fit classes, the History Society, a “3rd Age University” for our more mature residents and a Pre-School group for our children who are just stepping out on their Titchmarsh journey. We enjoy a peaceful rural setting, with miles of footpaths for our walkers and dog owners, the Wheatsheaf Pub for the thirsty (plenty of those in the village!), the Village Shop, not to forget the iconic St Mary the Virgin Church where the PCC are hosting at least eight events between now and Christmas.
But to find out what lies beneath the surface of our tranquil village, we now turn to our new Village Correspondent – Cedric Whistleton-Blowers. You may not yet be familiar with the name as he is a newcomer to the village (having only recently been invented!).
“My dear friends, I first became aware of your wonderful village as I sat in a queue of slow-moving lorries on the A605, when I noticed the roadside hoarding which suggested I might secure a refreshing hot drink at the Village Shop less than one minute hence. Whilst sipping my cappuccino and enjoying a fresh cream scone (it being a Thursday morning when Julia’n’Alan fire up the AGA), I leafed through the pages of the Titchmarsh Times and was duly impressed with all the diversions that are available to the residents of the village.
Of course, I share your concerns for the future of the village with the Diocese of Peterborough and property developers who are planning to gobble up vast swathes of land on the outskirts of the village, like an avaricious Pacman army (ask your parents…). But I take heart from the fact that, already, more than 2000 words of defensive intent have been fired into the enemy camp from the pages of the TT – even before a formal planning application has been submitted. But I digress…
Having finished my coffee, I decided to take a stroll round the village where I encountered a cheery procession of dog walkers passing hither and yon. Though what impressed me most, was not the tidiness of the gardens (elegant though they were), but the size and quality of your weeds! Whilst lesser hamlets must make do with a few scrubby patches of couch grass and dandelions; should you travel the far end of the High Street, you will be greeted by, what appears to be at first sight, an avenue of giant hogweed (though my horticultural knowledge is patchy and may have been influenced by Genesis albums from the early 1970’s).
On closer inspection (and species clarification) you will find a glorious eruption of hollyhocks sprouting from the verges which form a wonderfully impressive “weed walk”. Local resident – Mary Coulson – claims to be mystified as to the origin of this horticultural highlight, but a well-thumbed copy of “Wilderness Gardening for Beginners” nestling on her bookshelf may hint that she may know more than she is admitting!
A near neighbour, however, is less than impressed with this load of old hollyhocks and would suggest that a well sited pampas grass is more appropriate. In fact, she well recalls the heady days of her youth, when her luxuriant bush was the envy of the neighbourhood, and many a happy Saturday evening was passed listening to the evocative sound of summer bird song punctuated by the gentle tinkle of keys as they landed in the ashtray…
Of course things are different today, and the once ubiquitous pampas grass has somewhat fallen out of favour, but the final straw for the decline of this once popular plant must surely be blamed on the advances in motoring technology, which introduced us to remote locking key fobs – after all it’s hard to get excited about “keyless entry”…
So, should you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, why not take a stroll through the “Coulson corridor” – but do keep a firm grip on your car keys – just in case…”
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