Thursday, 25 March 2010

One of those days - but I was delighted with Covent Garden, Willingham. Ain't it great?

It's been one of those days - lots of telephone calls, letters and E-mails, the local newspapers full of relevant 'stuff' and my latest leaflets gone to press - and, though I enjoyed a too-brief visit to Willingham, I got rained orf.

I worry that some of our Cambridgeshire villages have grown too rapidly and have been almost over-developed whereas others, often the smaller ones to begin with, could really benefit from, say, 20 to 50 more homes in order the better to keep local facilities and services going. Wicken comes to mind in the latter category and I just hated being a member of the County Council when the decision was taken to close the little village school. Part of the problem then was that there was an active element in the parish's affairs that was determined to stand in the way of any additional houses - and the children who might have inhabited those houses and helped to fill the school. A Mr H*** was vociferous in that negative element. He, of course, has long since moved on but the damage that he and a handful of others did remains. What a shame.

I had thought that Willingham was one of our over-developed villages. That is, until today. I spent some time in an estate that was new to me - Covent Garden - and I was delighted with all that I saw. Apparently, Bovis Homes were the developers and the people whom I met seemed to be pleased with both themselves and their houses. Well done, the Councillors, the planners, the architects and the builders

There are several different street scenes at Covent Garden. This is but one. Ain't it great?

My afternoon was somewhat spoiled not just by the rain but also by having to pass over - yet again - the line of the still inactive and now infamous guided busway. Many of us look upon this scheme as the result of local people getting ideas above their station - literally and metaphorically. I hope that the busway will not prove to be the white elephant that it presently appears. The great lump of concrete in the middle of my picture doesn't make me feel optimistic.

Meanwhile, my campaign's best asset, Sue, was out visiting with a friend from Swaffham Bulbeck. They went on to Queen's Court, the excellent residential home for the elderly at Bottisham, where another dear friend is in residence. After this, my good wife delivered leaflets and posters back in Swaffham Bulbeck, which parish, of course, was my birthplace and home for 57 years and Sue's home for 33 years. We were married in 1962 and will soon be celebrating our 48th anniversary.

I made the point in my Swaffham Bulbeck leaflets that I know the village very well. I was born at Chalk Farm, the address of which is Bottisham but the location of which is mostly Swaffham Bulbeck. I followed my father, my grandfather and my great grandfather farming at Chalk Farm. My father was born at Downing College Farm which is in the village and is now owned by Mr David Turner and his family. At one time, my great grandfather and my grandfather farmed the two farms mentioned. My great uncle, Mr Philip Singleton, a County and Rural District Councillor, followed my grandfather at Downing College Farm and it was he who eventually made way for David Turner's late grandfather, Mr Harold Turner.

My parents are buried at Swaffham Bulbeck, as are my grandparents, my great grand parents and several other relatives. Curiously, since I have been studying family history, Sue and I have learned that it is actually she who has the most and the longest links with Swaffham Bulbeck for her Chambers relatives, originally from the Woodditton area, owned and farmed Burgh Hall from the 1770s and were successive Lords of the Manor. 

Therefore, Sue and I both have ancestors and relatives who were born and who died at Swaffham Bulbeck. Of course, we have many living friends there, too. I was a Parish Councillor there for 20 years and the County Councillor until 1993. The village sign, pictured below, was designed and made by my friend, Mr Richard (Dick) Bourne. It stands at the edge of the village's recreation ground, known as The Denny and cared for and mown succesively by my late and very good friends, Mr Don Yeo and Mr Dennis Badcock.

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