It has taken over 33 years for me to finally reappear in the national magazine Tatler. In the July edition Fiona and I have been photographed alongside our cats in a feature entitled ‘Top Cats’. In fact Mr. Norris, Mrs. Hudson and ourselves are centre spread of this august publication dating back to 1901. The piece is more fun than serious prose and highlights the amazing dexterity and agility of our feline friends. My previous appearance was way back in 1982 in the Bystander section when I partied away in London at some swaggering social function. To celebrate their new found fame the fearless felines presented us the morning following publication with a huge rat at the bottom of our stairs.Fortunately for us the rodent had already been dispatched.
Well Dressings is over for another year. This year with a mid-May date for Ascension Day we struggled with poor weather for the duration of the week of our festivities. It never ceases to amaze me what the actual collaborations mean in terms of diligence, hard work and determination to conclude our amazing collages. The teams of 20 at each Well once again put on a splendid show and mention must go to Wendy at Hands Well and Nancy at Town Well for their tremendous efforts. This year we were delighted to welcome our High Sheriff Oliver Stephenson and his wife Fiona to the service of blessings and he amused us all with this swordplay afterwards at Herbert’s Tearooms. Another year done but I do worry for the well-dressers and dressings of the future.
We know when Summer has arrived at Tissington when the hanging baskets turn up. This year the six creations that adorn the west front of our 1609 built house were delivered and erected at the end of May. These baskets from our local Ashbourne supplier give me a chance to unwind each evening as I attend to their deadheading and watering as the season continues. It takes me about half an hour to fiddle and faddle (much to Fiona’s annoyance in the kitchen) as I try to keep them beautiful for the duration of our visitor and wedding season. Ironically this June started with rain and more rain and the hose only came out at the end of its first week.
The opportunity to open the annual Dovedale and Ilam Fete at the end of May was one that I was unable to resist as on the Bank Holiday Monday a crowd of several hundred visited Dovedale House in the centre of Ilam to raise funds for the local school and the establishment itself. Having opened the Fete,negotiated the beer tent and the coconut shy I came across the ‘ducking stool’ which gave me an idea for our own Church Fete at the end of July. With a bit of luck master craftsman Ben can make our own Heath Robinson contraption that will pour water over an unsuspecting miscreant when the target is hit by a football. In order to raise funds for the Church I know which villager might achieve the most cash by being soaked….me! Watch out for photos in later issues.
The recent Election saw me return to the Derbyshire Dales District Council unopposed. That means that no one stood against me in the Dovedale & Parwich ward and I was duely elected without a personal contest. The make-up of our council remains the same with 29 seats to the Conservatives 5 Labour, 3 Liberal Democrat and 2 independent. Sadly we lost the Chairman of the Council itself (when he lost his Matlock seat) and I have now been given the honour and privilege of chairing the bimonthly Council meetings, a task that I had not fully appreciated whilst Vice-Chair. The first meeting set the scene for the year in a prescribed format…I suspect the next will be more adversarial.
Each summer one sees thousands of boards advertising local events on the verges and roadsides of Derbyshire. Usually they are erected by committee members of the various charities and are kept up for the week prior to the event. Sadly I have to report that the signs to the Culland Hall Plant Fair in aid of the Mid-Derbyshire Mobile Physiotherapy in mid-June were vandalized and stolen in the run up to their event. It emerged that their signs were of such high quality that they could be utilized elsewhere! If you see them being used please report them. Meantime I can record that the Culland Hall Fair was again a resounding success.