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Monday February 1st

One of the highlights of the month for me is the regular Music Club. It is an informal meeting of six of us. We take it in turns to host and basically the evening consists of refreshment, but mainly just listening to music. The group was originally an offshoot of the Methodist Church Men's Club. Each year that group had a favourite music evening and that developed into the music club.

Now everything from ballads to blues, classical to punk, modern to jazz is played. Tonight's meeting was at the home of John Freeman in Mill Road. Those attending were John, myself, Ron Baker, Chris Watt, Ray Hannent and Kim Sergeant.

Chris runs his own disco as well as being a full time teacher at Hethersett Middle School. Kim has just moved from the village to Barnham Broom.

On this particular evening records were played by the likes of Gomez, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Pat Metheny, Eric Clapton, The Clash, Meatloaf, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Beach Boys, Robbie Williams, Simply Red, U2, Tom Waits, John Lennon and the Lightning Seeds.

It is usually around midnight before we went our way home.

Tonight the village was featured on the front page of the Eastern Evening news - a daily evening paper circulating in and around the Norwich area.

This particular story - deemed to be the most important of the day - surrounded a loss of identity for some householders in Malthouse Road. It ran.

Angry residents of a Hethersett road are today demanding a rethink after discovering the number is up for their old addresses.

The problem is that six houses will have their numbers changed because of new development.

Residents have called for a new street to be set up for the new bungalows. The builder of the new development is supporting the residents.

The sub heading for the story was "Residents in a two-and-eight over changes". Two and eight is rhyming slang for state.

Tuesday February 2nd

Local traders seem to be using mail shots more and more to advertise their services.

Today we received a poster advertising Sophie's Florist in Great Melton Road. Sophie's will be open from 9 a.m until 1 p.m on Valentine's Day (14th February) which this year falls on a Sunday.

Sophie's is a very small shop situated close to the junction of Great Melton Road and Mill Road. It opens between 9 a.m and 5 p.m on Mondays to Fridays with a one hour break for lunch at 1 p.m and on Saturday's it is open straight through from 9 until 5.

It is still a quaint old English custom for business premises to shut for an hour at lunchtime.

Sophie's caters for flowers for weddings, birthdays, funerals and also sells plants, balloons, gifts and silk and dried flowers. The leaflet had a key ring attached to the back and reminded us all that Mothering Sunday is this year on 14th March.

Friday February 5th

On the way back to the village around lunchtime I passed Kett's Oak on the Old A 11 and noticed it is being lopped. Rumour has it that the tree died many years ago and is now filled with concrete. It will be an important landmark this year which is the 450th anniversary of the rebellion.

meanwhile 450 years later at Park Farm Hotel they held one of their Mellow Moments evenings which consist of dimmed lights, soft music and people messing around in the swimming pool!

Saturday February 6th

They used to call them ceilidh. Now they are simply barn dances. Tonight Cringleford Tennis Club held one in Hethersett Village Hall. We have attended numerous of these dances in the village going back many years. Over the years we have also organised a number for various events which is unremarkable except for the fact that I really do not enjoy them.

On the way home from Norwich at about 5 p.m we noticed flames coming from the area of Ketteringham Lane. It appeared to be a house fire, although my first thoughts were that it was tyre depot across the by-pass. There had been a fire there a few months previous. When we drove past the scene at 7.45 p.m the fire brigade were still there and the first seemed to be continuing. On the way back at 11.30 p.m the road was closed.

During the day I wrote a piece for the local newspaper about three Hethersett Athletic footballers who will be playing in a prestigious tournament in Texas in March. I still write the occasional piece for the newspaper - particularly when one of our sons is involved!

The three - Chris Steward, Ben Watt and Scott Newstead - will be playing for the Hewett School in an international tournament for the Dallas Cup at the end of March.

The boys are all close friends and are actively looking for sponsorship at the present time.

Sunday February 7th

This was the coldest day of the year so far by a long way. A biting wind made it miserable despite bright sunshine as well.

I got thoroughly cold running the line for the Under-15s friendly at the high school which saw them beat Wymondham 4-0 with one of their best displays of the season.

It was noticeable that hockey goals at the high school have been wrecked. The wind has been strong but it certainly looks more like vandalism.

It seems incredible to me that yobs with no interests can decide that other people aren't going to enjoy themselves or have access to facilities. The football nets are also torn and this could have been caused by a knife. Vandalism isn't a great problem in the village, but it does exist.

Evenings in the village often see groups of youngsters hanging around. Most are just meeting to chat, but there are still the mindless few who want to cause damage.

Being a Sunday it seems fitting at this point to list the churches in the village and their times of services.

As already mentioned the present parish church was begun in 1320 and dedicated to St Remigius (438-533), the great Bishop of Rheims. Remigius de Hethersett, a priest who also participated in the building of Hingham Church, may have suggested the dedication in honour of his name-saint.

St Remigius is a magnificent building set off the old A11 road and opposite the modern Steepletower development. Sunday services are Holy Communion at 8 a.m, morning worship at 10.30 a.m and evening worship at 6.30 p.m. Sunday celebration is held on the third Sunday of the month at the middle school.

The Methodist Church has services at 10.30 a.m and 6.30 p.m with a Sunday School in the morning.

The Baptist Church has services at 10.45 a.m and 6.30 p.m.

Early evening it begins to snow which is scarcely a surprise. By mid evening it has already slackened off, however.

A walk or drive through the village fails to show all the businesses available. They include: Alma Antique Restorers, Aromatherapy/Reflexology, Barclays Bank, Halifax Building Society, Ye Olde Bakery, Hethersett Tool Hire, A.E Forster Builders, Hethersett Butchers, Hethersett Car Centre, Nick Fulcher Coachtrimmer, K.R Gray Carpenter, Proclean (Eastern), Hethersett Cattery, Swinton and Co Chartered Accountants, Edwards Pharmacy, Sylvia Parfitt Choropodist, Ronald Wales Chiropodist, Grinders Coffee, Gilbey Crafts, Yvonne School of Dance, Hethersett Dental Laboratories, Hethersett DIY Stores, June Robinson Dressmaker, Juliet's Sewing Service, Chris Lewer Electrical Contractor, Harvey's Autos, Cliff Dixon Finance, R.J. Litten and Partners Independent Financial Advisors, G. W Woodbine Fish and Chips, Quilland Furniture and Gifts, Sophie's Florists, Top It All Hat Hire, Attractions Hair Salon, Rosalind Bunn Hairdresser, The March Hair, Park Farm Hotel, Norfolk Insurance Services, St Margaret's Pet Centre, F.S Harris and Associates Marine Surveyors, Rockinghorse Day Nursery, Greenacre Office Equipment, David Whitworth painter and decorator, Easilt Impressed Promotions, Hethersett Picture Framing Service, Bob Clayton Heating and Plumbing Services, Hethersett Post Office, Fransham Press, King's Head Public House, Queen's Head Public House, G. Browne Repairs, Hethersett Hall Home for the Elderly, the Business Base, Woodcote Sheltered Housing Complex, Dillons Supermarket, Hethersett Tailoring Services, Abb Cabs Taxi Service.

Monday February 8th

Hethersett had no snow overnight unlike other parts of Norfolk which seem to have hard quite large falls. Getting out of the village was easy, getting into Norwich was not.

The fire we passed on Saturday was in a disused and derelict barn in Ketteringham Lane. Firefighters were called to the scene at 5.10 p.m and used three pumps and a water carrier from fire headquarters. The cause of the fire is being treated as suspicious.

Tuesday February 9th/Wednesday February 10th

Two days of sub zero temperatures and snow. There was a strange sight driving out of the village today. On the left side of the old A11 the fields were green and had absolutely no snow on them, whilst on the right they were white. I'm wondering whether it had anything to do with the wind patterns.

The remainder of the month consisted of seemingly equal amounts of sunshine, wind and rain, but little snow.

February is possibly the drabbest month of the year. Spring still seems a long way off and the turn of the year seems very remote.

School half-term comes and goes and the long haul towards Easter is underway.

Many organisations also seem dormant. The summer fete season is distant although a few jumble sales have been taking place.

Tuesday February 23rd

The village library doesn't usually open on Tuesdays, but today it hosted a display of village archives put together by village archivist Bill Reekie, who just happens to be my neighbour.

The archives included census, maps, documents, histories and press cuttings. The village seems to be very aware of its past and heritage as we reach the new millennium. The archive is a rich source of information. Sadly it is of no use for my attempts at tracing my ancestry as me forebears came from other parts of the county of Norfolk.

The hint of summer beckons in the form of a note from Hethersett Cricket Club which came through our door this week. Net practices have been arranged at Easton Sports Centres in March and April.

This year the club has entered two teams in the Norfolk League which means two matches every Saturday from the beginning of May to the end of August. There will also be matches every Sunday as well as evening league, friendlies and knockout competitions and a national under-15 competition.

The cricket club has been in existence since 1860 (more about its history at a later date). All the male members of the Steward family have played for the club at some time in the past 10 years and Matthew still plays regularly.

The parish magazine for March (it's always a month ahead of itself) has more interesting articles reflecting village life, although its coverage of events might actually reflect a slightly gentler pace of life entrenched somewhere about 20 years ago.

Nevertheless it does reflect many of the current matters featured in village life along with details of groups that meet in the village.

Churches Together focuses on different areas of the village at informal meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. This takes the form of prayer groups.

In the funerals' section of the magazine I noticed the name Jack Halsey who I seem to recollect was a leading light in the labour party when we first came to the village. He was also secretary of the Royal British Legion.

The announcement section tells us of the impending retirement of Dr Signy at the end of April. He has been a doctor at the village surgery for 31 years. Coming events include a Norfolk film archive and chips evening on 5th March at Old Hall School and St Remigius Church is to be decorated for Easter.

The magazine also points out that parish council elections take place on Thursday 6th May. Nominations have to be in by 8th April. I won't be applying.

The Tidy Britain group are running an anti-litter campaign throughout April. I doubt whether it will make any difference in the village where the amount of litter sometimes borders on the unacceptable, although it does appear to have improved in the last few years.

Other news includes a review of bus services to the village with the bus company meeting parish councillors to discuss problems with the service. That surround buses not turning up at all, turning up full or occasionally breaking down.

It looks as if the village will have a new re-cycling unit at the Jubilee Youth Club car park in Back Lane.

In September 1993 the former post office in Great Melton Road was taken over by the MacMillan Cancer Charity as a charity shop, selling clothes, books and many other goods.

Since its opening the shop has raised an impressive 110,000 - over 20,000 a year.

Village plans for the millennium are also progressing and diary dates for the year 2000 include a fete and procession on Saturday 24th June, a children's party on Saturday 15th July and a millennium ball on the same day.

The parish magazine looks back at news from 75 years ago. The latest edition featured the Hethersett Nursing Association whereby parishioners can pay a small weekly subscription to have nurse's services free. Membership is divided into two classes with class one paying 1d a week and class two paying 1.5d a week. Class one includes labourers, gardeners, carpenters, bricklayers and smallholders and class two bailiffs, stewards, teachers, shopkeepers, farmers, engineers and mechanics.

Back on the millennium theme, Churches Together is supplying every household with a candle to light in the year 2000. Volunteers are being sought to deliver them.

Hethersett Parochial Charities have expressed their concern about the elderly during bad weather. They have appealed for people to keep a special watch on the elderly and infirm to ensure they are keeping warm and are not short of fuel. In certain cases the charity pays fuel costs.

This year's village pantomime - Jack and the Beanstalk - raised 2,130 for charity. The following donations were made: Eastern Evening News MacMillan Cancer Relief campaign 600; Jubilee Youth Club 300; New Village Hall 250; Church Hall 250; Accident Rescue Service 200; Norfolk Association for the Disabled 200, BEARS group for the disabled 200 and Little Melton Church Audio System.

Saturday February 27th

One of the most popular evenings in the village as Quiz and Chips. Quiz evenings have been the in thing for the past five years. The essence of the idea is to take teams of up to eight people for a quiz on a variety of subjects. The evenings are usually in aid of a specific group or charity and feature a fish and chip supper.

Tonight there was such an event at the Middle School organised by the Parent-Teacher Association and it raised 300. The questions were set by Roger Morgan and Mike Anderson who compile a number of such events each year. Sixteen teams took part in a very enjoyable evening. Modesty prevents me from announcing who the winners were.

Sunday February 28th

February went out with a bang. The morning started bright and reasonably warm with signs of spring in the air with crocuses and daffodils out. During the day, however, the wind whipped up and by late afternoon there was heavy rain and the temperature dipped alarmingly.

Even more alarming was the sight of two fully grown men trying to fly a kite on the playing field. They were both lifted off their feet by the power of the kits in the wind, but insisted on hanging on. This caused damage to the cricket square and was a very silly undertaking.


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