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If you go down to the woods...

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The BBC has more than its fair share of National Treasures, David Attenborough arguably the richest.  But did you know that Cookham has its very own Village Treasure?  Brian Clews sits firmly in the Village Treasure chest for his activities with several groups, but perhaps most visibly for his work supporting the our wildlife and habitats.  He sits on the committee for Cookham Wildlife Supporters, and can often be found sharing his encyclopedic knowledge and a bad joke or three in their events program.  Brian, lives in Broom Hill and has been resident in the village since before the Ice Age.  Well OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration but for FORTY EIGHT years.  We barely even had a railway station forty eight years ago (also an exaggeration).  He has spent forty years contributing to the local RSPB group, and has written books and papers too numerous to mention on this, his specialist subject.  But I've been watching Blue Planet and I know that it's still possible to teach…

Pay and Display Car Parking at The Moor

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You may have seen that The National Trust will soon be charging for parking down at The Moor.  This has received a mixed response from residents and visitors alike, but I think it is worth explaining a little more about it.  I have seen people comment that it is simply a revenue generating opportunity, and the facts of the matter are – that is correct, but perhaps not for the reasons that you would imagine.  Countryside NT properties such as Maidenhead and Cookham Commons (MCC) suffer from not being able to generate much of an income.  Some money can be generated through sales of wood products or specific area membership recruitment, but most rely on quite a meagre annual budget to maintain and conserve the land they own - which is not sustainable going forward. Pay and Display car parking is a way of generating an additional income for NT countryside properties such as the MCC.  The area here covers 834 acres and costs over £70K a year to run.  It has very little in the way of visito…

Why you should read the Cookham Parish Magazine

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Reading (as in the printed word, not the town) is a challenge for me these days.  My brain has atrophied to such a degree that I can only read 140 characters of text, and even then, only if it has a photograph of a puppy alongside it.  I last read an actual book whilst on a sun lounger underneath a palm tree.  It was in Sardinia in 2014 and I, along with the entire female population of the planet had bought Fifty Shades of Grey at the airport.  50SofG was laughable - although strangely, I managed to finish it 😉  
However, there is a local publication that I still can read, and do so from cover to cover.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...The Cookham Parish Magazine.  OK, OK, you’re right.  I skip over the Ministry in the Cookhams page and I don't need to read Children, Young People and the Church either.  But I always read Father Nick the Vics intro, and in fact it was him that got me hooked.  Some years ago when the huge fuss first started about same sex marriage, Father Nick ch…

Cookham Wildlife Supporters Half Term Nature Walk

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You know that expression “take time to stop and smell the roses”?  I was reminded of that today when I joined some of Cookham’s youngest residents on a nature walk led by Brian Clews of the Cookham Wildlife Supporters.    I met Bo aged about 6 (at a guess) and I watched her as she looked at an acorn.  It wasn’t even a particularly nice acorn – it was a bit squashed.  But she was completely absorbed in finding out what was inside and telling me how it had been nibbled by a Squirrel (something that Brian had just shown her on a pine cone).  Little people don’t have much interrupting their thoughts I guess.  She was not looking at the acorn at the same time wondering if the lasagne would de-frost in time for supper.  She and her friends with their enthusiastic little hands up and their stomping through the puddles and their waving sticks about, reminded me that we all need to take time to stop and have a really good look.
I’ll leave you to read Brian’s review of the event today.  Partly b…

You know that horse and carriage you see regularly in Cookham village? Take just a little time to read this...

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We’ve all been there I suspect, “stuck” behind the pair of horses and a carriage that can be seen regularly in Cookham.  Might be quite annoying?  Slows your journey slightly?  Possibly calls for a difficult overtaking manoeuvre on the narrow roads – pass wide and slow and all that irritation?  So those horses come from The Forge in Cookham Dean and what you may not realise, is that they compete internationally, and at the highest level in this sport.
The Forge in Cookham Dean is thought to have been in existence for 400 years and David Matthews (Junior) is currently on the reins of both the farrier business and the aforementioned pair.  As a member of the British Advanced Horse Pairs Carriage Driving Team, David and a second driver recently set out for the 3,700 KM round trip to the Lipica Stud Farm in Slovenia, home to the world famous grey Lipizzana horses and host of the FEI World Driving Championships for Pairs between 20th – 24th September.  Team GB competed with 80 others, fro…

Catching Up

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So things have been quite busy at CM HQ recently and I have had little time for writing, and made it to few of the local events.  I couldn’t even attend the Gravity Grand Prix this year.  To have watched Donald Trump going down hill fast would have given me huge pleasure, and worse still, apparently I missed the opportunity for a selfie with Grant-Mitchell-I-Mean-Ross-Kemp *swoon*.  Frankly, I don’t know what I am more disappointed about.
So to catch you up…
Tree-gate has rumbled on.  For those not familiar with the story, click this link.  I pursued the council like a bad smell to understand what redress they would take with the contractors – if any.  Between  24th July and the 30th August I sent five emails.  Finally I received the following reply:
In an effort to try and reassure you that I really am not ignoring your request to be updated on what is happening about the contractor, I wanted to let you know that I have had a further discussion with my key officers today about gettin…

Cookham Dog Walkers August Training Walk

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I think it’s fair to say that thunder and lightning would not be the preferred conditions to host a dog training walk.  It’s August as you recall, you kind of hope that it might be like high summer?  Sort of hot and maybe even a bit sweaty?  If not hot, then warm?  And sunny?  As it was, Cookham Dog Walkers showed their mettle – they are a hardy lot it seems, they just pulled on their wellies, turned up the collars on their sowesters and grabbed their sodden dog treats to attend regardless.  Of course, the dogs were entirely oblivious to the wet, they were just thrilled to meet some new friends.  Jia, a Tibetan Terrier decided the best way to demonstrate her enthusiasm was by running everywhere, extremely fast and preferably whilst jumping.  Which was fine because Honey, who purely by coincidence is also Tibetan Terrier (X Poodle), was easily her match.  Milo the Bichon Frise was a little overwhelmed by the girls, so he very sensibly kept his head down and concentrated on being an ext…

Cookham Dean pubs and grub - what's your view?

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Due to an epic house-keeping failure on Saturday, we were forced to eat out.  Very fortunately, Cookham Matters HQ is within walking distance of every hostelry in the village – so we are spoilt for choice.
Of we set to Uncle Toms and unsurprisingly, it was heaving.  You could barely move out the front and the back had reserved on every table.  The girl went to ask if it was possible to squeeze a couple of little ones in, but unfortunately not.  Packed to the gunnels.  Rammed.  This left us with a dilemma, and is where this post might become a little contentious, because we all have our favourite pub don’t we?
By far our nearest pub is The Chequers.  We were Friday night regulars along with many in the area.  Carlos was quite simply the best front of house host I have ever come across and we were welcomed and very comfortable, even when just having a drink.  We ate there only for special occasions and it is true that I found myself wishing that in addition to the white table clothes and …

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…