Posts

The National Trust Advisory Forum

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I’m mortified to realise that middle age has finally caught up with me.I know this with all certainty - not because I actively enjoy listening to Radio 4 rather than just using it to nurse a hang-over.Or indeed because I have started looking up the ideal habitat for my garden plants on the Royal Horticultural Society website.No, it’s because I have now joined a COMMITTEE.To this day I am not entirely sure how it happened.Somebody said “Do you love Cockmarsh and the Cookham Commons?We need volunteers…” and it seems I put my hand up.A while later and I was sat around a dining room table in Cookham Dean with Ranger Owen from the National Trust and the rest of the NT Advisory Forum. Turns out in 1932 most of the Cookham Commoners handed over their land to the NT for safe keeping, but the Advisory Forum was formed to represent the villagers interests.  Since I am remarkably common, I was a natural fit and thus, I am “representing the community”.I will admit that I had assumed that joining …

Rock the Moor - YOUR LOCAL BLOG NEEDS YOU!

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I think it would be remiss of Cookham Matters NOT to do a retrospective on Rock The Moor which is on the 20th May.However, I confess – I am not going.I think I think about it too much.  Firstly, I am deeply sceptical about the weather and just assume that I will prepare my picnic and trek down there with my cool box, only for it to pour with rain and leave me in a misery of mud and puddled porta loos.And as I understand it, you can’t take your own booze.So imagine if they ran out of Prosecco?Or worse than that even, imagine they still HAVE Prosecco, but it is quite undrinkable.  And then there is the dog poo.  I walk on that Moor a lot, and believe me I have seen vast quantities of dog poo.  How do they make sure they have hovered it all up so you don't pop your travel rug down on an enormous turd? That all got me to thinking….I know that many, many local people with a much more positive outlook than I, do go and by all accounts have a jolly fabulous time!So would any of you attend…

The Cookham Festival's most sought after tickets

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The Cookham Festival is described as an "arts" festival.  It happens every two years and is hugely supported within the village and further afield.  Now it is true that there are lots of arts events in the program.  For example, there is both a poetry and a painting competition on the schedule.  However, it probably won't surprise you to know that I would struggle with the performance of The Hollow Crown (which apparently "relives the lives, loves and losses of the crowned heads of Great Britain") unless it was a bit like an in-the-flesh OK magazine of Royals - and I don't think it is.  So the things that appeal to me are less arts and more, what shall we say?  Populist?  So just in case you have not been through the schedule yet, I am going to share a few of my favourites.
The highlight of the program, which I booked tickets for the very MOMENT they were released, is obviously "An Evening with Grant Mitchell".  Sorry I mean "An Evening with R…

The Bluebells of Cookham

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The Bluebells are such a pleasure at this time of year and a stroll round Cliveden, or Pinkney's Green is always a joy.However, the Cookham Wildlife Supporters were handed an even rarer treat on Saturday when over 30 members enjoyed a stroll around the Wildlife Heritage Site, Pigeonhouse Woods.The land is owned by David and Margaret Harrold who live at Little Harwood in Choke Lane, and they are passionate about conservation and managing their land in the best way for the environment.Bluebells are the sign of an ancient woodland because of their slow rate of growth, and considering the carpet that greeted us, it must indeed be a very old wood.The weather was kind and the sun out, which provided some lovely photo opportunities as beams of light filtered between the canopy of mixed trees - including Oak, Lime and Sweet Hazel - to spotlight the flowers.Woodlands require management to maintain the optimum conditions and maximize diversity and Margaret explained how she had originally i…

Village Hardware Cookham - for your flange related requirements and more...

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As VIP men go, Tony from Village Hardware is right up there with Father Christmas as far as I am concerned. This is mainly thanks to my complete ineptitude with anything that comes under the general heading of “handy”. Changing a light bulb is probably possible yes, but finding the correct light bulb in the first instance is another matter entirely.  I mean, who on earth decided to call it a “bayonet fitting”?  That’s like starting an argument even before you have tried putting it in the screw fitting.
Anyway, back to Tony.  The point is, whatever your household requirement, all you have to do is go in there clutching your Exhibit A.  Very often you don’t even need to say anything.  You hand it to him with a bemused look on your face and he will say “Do you need another one"?  And even I can reply to that.  The shop is a tardis and off Tony will beetle to find a replacement of Exhibit A.  I actually don’t think there is anything I have ever needed that Tony has not got, or been ab…

myHRdept - simplifying staff employment

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If you are a small or medium sized business, you probably have two major headaches.  One being cash flow and the other being staffing.  MyHRdept was started by Bill Larke and his wife Catherine who live in Cookham Dean, over 14 years ago to help businesses with the second of these issues - managing the ongoing process of employing staff.  Whilst HR is a complex, litigated world, the administration of it need not be, if you are compliant and correctly informed.  MyHRdept have a range of services that in effect outsource HR, but this can be as simple or as comprehensive as you want it to be.  It could be providing or reviewing a staff contract to ensure you are up to date and conform with the most recent employment law.  Or, it could be the management of a complex recruitment or disciplinary issue.Either way, you are free to concentrate on growing your business.  Don’t assume that the cost is prohibitive either.  They have a range of payment options including fixed rate services and ind…

Red Squirrel IT support for the technically inept

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Sadly, I am old enough to remember the novelty of my first email (and my first text message).Now that technology and more, is ubiquitous in both our professional and private lives, and like many of you I would guess, I wonder how we ever did without it!I have had reason to set up a new computer recently.  And it’s not been a happy experience.Twenty years in the IT industry in no way equips you for computer literacy. The process has been hugely time consuming and that was even before I managed to accidently lock myself out of accounts, forget security settings and my best to date – discover a completely different inbox I did not know I had, complete with the email replies I had been chasing clients for. My only saving grace throughout this process has been Peter Borcherds, who lives in Cookham Dean, from Red Squirrel ITSupport.Thankfully his unruffled, professional approach has talked me through the worst of my connectivity panics.With over 10 years of experience, Peter calms the techno…

Riddle me do Cookham?

Who or what is talking? Make your guesses and I will share the author.

"I was born many years ago, and as is our way, I left my Mother’s side immediately.I did not choose my new home, but oh such lucky happenchance to this village.I had all I needed to grow, and grow I did.Lithe and slender in youth but tall, with convincing limbs as I matured to adulthood.Everyone knew me, and my life was blessed with many friends.But one is still with me to this day.He and I, we grew closer as time went by.The distance between us shortened until now, we are almost inseparable.Mostly our companionship is slow, easy and comfortable.Occasionally, a rage flows in him but it is rare and I simply hold my ground and wait for his quietness to return.We two, we have seen much as countless seasons have conceded.From my sweetest place of comfort, I have watched village life pass - uncountable lovers walking hand in hand, sails catching even the softest breeze and dragons racing.The end of me was swift, bru…

Vanilla Hair and Beauty - for that injection of glamour...

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I do a lot of dog walking.This means that my Lardy Arse and I are clad mostly in easy-wash, sweat wicking fabrics.And whist I am very grateful that someone, somewhere gave us Lycra, these fabrics are neither glamorous nor flattering – even with the addition of wellies.Then there is the issue of fine hair and the English weather.The damp means pretty much constant frizz.So I would estimate that probably seventy percent of the time I look like a bag lady – and that’s just on the outside.You don’t even want to know about my Hobbiton feet or hairy legs.It’s true I’m quite conscious of all this because I meet plenty of other Cookham dog walking ladies, and they never seem to look like the village bag lady.So, when I look in the mirror and I really don’t recognize the old bird looking back at me, I call on The Professionals. (Who else had a MASSIVE crush on Bodie and Doyle)? Paula Fredman, who runs Vanilla Hair and Beauty with her husband Marc, are exactly what is needed for an injection of…

The Cookham Dog Walkers Training Walk for the Practically Perfect in Every Way

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CLAIRE: "Hello Teddie, how are you"? TEDDIE: "I is very good fank yoo". CLAIRE: "Is it true you like chasing rabbits Teddie"? TEDDIE: "I duz like wabbits but I definitely never, almost hardly ever duz chasing of them.Unless sometimes them does leave a sniff right under me noze what duz mean I has to hinvestigate if thems need retrieving.And sumtimes thems be on the other side of fences".CLAIRE: "And Phoebe, you are a bit of a wriggler on the lead I hear"? PHOEBE: "Excuse you!I am a Miniature French Poodle and practically perfect in every way". CLAIRE: "And you definitely don’t do wriggling"?  PHOEBE: "Well just maybe a tiny bit, to go with me tiny self.But I am frightfully tiny so it’s only a tiny wriggle".  Once Claire Sayles,dog trainer and behaviourist (BScHons, DipCABT) from Paws 4 Thought had established that Teddie never chases rabbits and Phoebe was actually practically perfect, we set off on the Co…