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A little bit of Cookham Dean tree news, a little bit of history and a little bit of an idea...

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It’s about a month since the 100 year old Lime tree at the junction of Alleyns Lane and Dean Lane was felled because of damage to it’s tree roots.  You’ll remember that the drainage contractors dug a trench across the small green and through the Lime’s fine network of roots, and then they cut straight through the electric mains.  South East Electricity had to come in to repair, and they caused more damage to the root system as they were trying to reconnect us to the network – hence we lost the tree.  The drainage contractors were required to apply for permission from the RBWM (as the landowners), to dig the trench and, in doing so, they should have been given a Root Protection Area (RPA) to map out a safe dig.  There are questions regarding what was requested, issued and followed in this process, and the RBWM planning enforcement team started an investigation.  We have a single point of contact in the RBWM and I have asked three times now for an update of their investigation - with no…

The Unfortunate Incident of the Dog in the Morning

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We recently had our Sunday morning dog walk cut short.  We had stopped to chat to the owners of a similar, but much larger, dog.  Everyone was off lead and no-one, canine or human, seemed anxious about that.  Our dogs have been very well socialised from puppies and whilst they are never going to win the obedience class at Crufts, they are largely responsive and reasonably well trained.  Moments in though, play turned nasty and it was clear that the other dog became aggressive towards one of ours.  It was very noisy with fur flying and none of us knew how to intervene.  Fortunately, rather than run in panic away from us, our dog ran TO us and cowered as close to my partner’s legs as possible, screaming.  He had a nasty bite to his ear, but more upsetting was his fear.  The people obviously apologised and went on their way so we could head home in the same direction, to try and sort the wound out.  It was at this point that a family who had witnessed the incident, approached us to say t…

Felled Lime Tree in Cookham Dean - further update

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For those that have been following Tree-Gate in Cookham Dean, the latest update....
Some residents had suggested that when the council come to re-plant in October/November we might try to crowd-fund a larger specimen tree than they would normally provide (approximately 3 meters).  Unfortunately, this seems unlikely for what is an obvious reason now it has been explained to me.  The bigger the tree, the bigger the hole they need to dig to plant it in and the trouble with trying to dig at all in that tiny area, is that it is criss-crossed with services pipes.
The plaque from the bottom of the tree truly seems to have disappeared (as has the stump which was removed on the 24 July) and we did wonder if any members of the families who originally planted the tree (the Hebbs and Jordans) were still local, and had rescued it.  Although I would not be surprised if it has been accidentally dug into the ground with all the earth works or cleared up when the tree was felled.  If anyone does know…

The Cookham Society

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We all lead busy lives, but where I have an opinion (and guess what, I often do!) I think it is important that I am prepared to actually DO something.  Hence there is a hideous photo of me in the Maidenhead Advertiser archives holding a "Save Poundfield" placard.  There are a lot of pressures on Cookham; roads, parking, flooding, housing density and location to name but a few.  And whilst development is a very current issue, with areas of the village under threat again, it is not a new concern.  In 1968 a planning application for Poundfield spawned the birth of The CookhamSociety with its aim to "protect, preserve, improve or create, features of general public amenity".  In other words, they are a group of people who ARE prepared to do something, and as such they get involved in much of village life.
Then, back in 2013 something quite unique happened.  The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), alongside the Cookham Parish Council and The Cookham Society …

Cookham Toad Patrol

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If you were a Toad in Cookham, you would be very glad to see Barbara Brown.  She’s a bit like International Rescue for Toads.  You’d recognize her easily enough because she’d be carrying a bucket, two children’s fishing nets and several scoopy things, whilst marching up and down Lightlands Lane.  Her mission is to save Cookham's Toads from being squashed on the road, and she has a team of Toad Wranglers that help her.
First of all, a few toad basics for any rookie Toad Wranglers: Toads have lumpy skin and frogs have smooth skin.Toads tend to live away from water (until they mate) frogs need to live close to it.Toads prefer to crawl (although they can hop) and frogs prefer to hop.Toad Wranglers really need gloves, because they produce a toxin from glands behind their eyes (meant to deter predators from eating them) that can be irritating to the skin.Toad Spawn is laid in strings, Frog Spawn in dense clumps.You WANT Toads (and Frogs) in your garden because they will help eat the eleve…

Cookham Dean landmark tree felled - UPDATE 04/07

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UPDATE 04/07

The information contained in the piece below is now confirmed as accurate, with one important correction.  I am advised by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) Tree Team that application WAS made by the drainage contractors for permission to dig the trench.  And so, as part of granting permission, there should have been a Root Protection Area (RPA) issued.  This would have provided the contractors with the information they needed to dig the trench without damaging the tree.  I am further advised that the matter is now with the RBWM Planning Enforcement Team and I have requested visibility on the process that follows.  There are a number of people engaged with the council, including The Cookham Society.

Some more background on the tree's condition.  Lime trees (apparently) throw many fine roots - rather than fewer big roots.  The initial trench, and the subsequent remedial work carried out by South East Electricity, damaged these roots across a signific…

Historical Cookham

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I was at the Chartered Institute of Marketing last week on a business-related seminar.  I came out with a bag of goodies that included a booklet on the history of Moor Hall and its inhabitants.  I love this sort of thing, so I sat down and read it.  Lots of interest but one thing that caught my eye (because I had never heard of it before) was a place called Ye Strande Castle – literally a castle that was built by a local architect called William Joshua Grazebrook in 1880.  At the time it was cutting edge construction because it was built of something called shuttered concrete, which from what I can gather, is concrete that gets poured into mould and then fitted together as blocks.  Except what they did not know in those days, is that if you make a building using this method, you must use steel rods to reinforce it.  Anyway, it was somewhere near Strand Water and everyone in the village HATED it apparently, so it was just as well that eventually, it fell down!
I thought to try and fin…

A Natural Swimming Pool (a Poseidon free zone)

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“Come for a swim” she said.  “Anytime.  Just pop over”.  Now you would think that given it was 34 degrees at the time, I would have been thrilled with such kind offer.  And indeed, I was, but it also raised a few issues.  Problem One:  it would require The Lardy Arse and I to squeeze ourselves into a swimsuit and then bare our lily-white blubber in front of company that was not family.  Problem Two: I am far from a natural swimmer.  I am able to keep my head above water with the liberal application of doggy paddle, but elegant it is not.  Problem Three: water weeds.  Cindy and Pete Barnes have a natural swimming pool (a pool entirely free from chemicals) and I have a vivid imagination.  Everyone knows that water weeds have been known to entangle bathing maidens and drag them down to a watery grave. Anyway, I gave myself a stern talking to and off I went with my little rolled up towel, hold-it-all-in swimming costume and a voluminous kaftan "cover-up".  Any uncertainty I had …

Swifts and sex on the wing - how does that work?

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It’s one of my favourite moments.  When The Little Birds start to arrive.  And in our house The Little Birds is a collective term for SwallowsMartins and Swifts.  The Sand Martins normally come first, closely followed by the House Martins, the Swallows and then lastly, the Swifts.  To me their arrival is proof categoric that summer is coming and the weather and the days, are nodding their head towards summer.  Even if you are not interested in birds, you will probably have noticed them – I don’t think any of our over-wintering birds fly like The Little Birds so the movement draws your eye.  They are fast and often low, chasing the small insects that are their staple food.  This year, the Sand Martins  clocked in first, down at Cockmarsh by The Bounty.  Then the Swallows at Smallholder Simon’s and then, at last today, I heard, but did not see because they are just too, well er…..swift, the Swifts.  They are by far my favourite.  They remind me of unruly teenagers.  They race around …

Cookham Dog Walkers Litter Picking

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You would be surprised at the amount of health and safety instructions that are apparently required to execute a litter pick.  Two pages worth to be precise – how to bend, what not to pick up, safe and effective use of a pair of latex gloves.  Now don’t get me wrong – the Cookham Dog Walkers were very grateful for the RBWM Adopt a Street scheme’s support, but we decided to gloss over fully briefing everything in, just in the interests of starting before a week next Tuesday.  The litter picking kit itself was nothing short of a triumph: four pairs of gloves, four florescent tabards, three and a half thousand black plastic sacks as thin as the increasingly thin, Thin Blue Line that polices Winter Hill.  The piece-de-resistance though was the sticky picky litter picking up stick things (over which there was a bit of a bun fight because we did not have quite enough to go around).  Splitting into two teams allowed us to tackle the footpath down to Cockmarsh, the National Trust car park an…