Monthly Archives: July 2020

Lost Blue Burmese Cat

Delphi, our 3 year old blue Burmese, has not been seen since early Monday afternoon and being a creature of habit, especially where her meals are concerned, we are a little concerned by her absence.
Her fur is a soft blue/grey colour and she has a blue collar with a bell.
Jane and I would be very grateful if residents could check their sheds and garages just in case she’s got herself locked in anywhere. And if you do catch sight of her please do give us a phone.
Many thanks.
Bob St John Wright
Rossley Cottage
Chapel Lane. 01666 577099

Running Alert !

My son went for a run round the Eastcourt -Minety block on Sunday morning. Between Eastcourt House and Braydon Brook Farm he noticed a buzzard perched in a tree adjacent to the road. He kept running but before he knew it, he heard a screech and the buzzard struck him on the back of his head. He glanced behind to see it fly back to its perch.

This happened three times. When he heard the screech the fourth time he stopped, turned and shouted waving his arms and the buzzard flew off and didn’t bother him again.

He has since looked at a running website and discovered someone else had reported a similar attack in the past at the same place.

Beware the rogue buzzard.

Claudine Pynn

Weekly Update

The bread delivery is now weekly on a Friday. I had thought it was tailing off but this week was actually quite a big order ! I’ll review again at the end of July.

Tonight is pizza night for those of us that love the Warings pizzas ! Now every second Saturday so next one will be on the 25th.

The Nail Cabin
Emma will reopen this Monday !  Details <here>

Bees & Honey
Brian Betts has kindly been writing articles about his bees during lockdown. The latest one is about honey and you can read it <here>


As things seem to be slowly getting back to something like normal, this will be the last weekly update. Obviously, I’ll continue to post “news” items as and when I get them but I think this regular weekly summary has now run its course.

As always, I can be contacted at

Thank you,

Honey – its tastes, textures, and colours

This is my third missive about honeybees. The notes were originally prompted by the Covid 19 lockdown and my concern that residents of Hankerton may be concerned should they see or worse have a swarm of bees alight on their property.

So, this item is about honey and why the variations in its taste, texture and colour.

Honey, for millennia honey has been considered a sweetener, whereas today it is known to contain other substances that are beneficial to people. It is an excellent nutrient and calmative. Owing to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties it is widely used in folk medicine.

Throughout the year bees will gather nectar from many sources of plant when they are in flower. These sources include trees, ivy, cultivated garden plants, wildflower and nettles, hedge rows and commercially grown plants such as rape and borage. The bees do not discriminate when gathering nectar although if a crop is in abundance (oil seed rape) being a prolific nectar producing plant, bees will pass over many other sources for the easy pickings offered by rape flowers. Contrast that with Linseed Oil plants that produce little or no nectar and the honey has a bitter nasty taste and Red Clover where the flower is too deep for the bee to reach with its extended tongue. White, crimson and yellow clover are however good nectar producers and provide a sweet smooth tasting honey.

This large seasonal variety of nectar options results in widely varying taste and texture in honeys and the rate at which the mature honey will crystallise. All honey will eventually crystallise but can be gently warmed to return it to a ‘runny state’. Set honey can be made spreadable by vigorous agitation with a regular fork from the cutlery drawer.

Two nectar sources stand out for me one being rape which can be a blessing or a curse for many beekeepers. It produced prolific amount of nectar, however the flowers disappear pretty much overnight and if the honey is not extracted within a day or two it sets in the comb. To get the honey out one must cut the wax containing the honey from the hive and heat causing the wax to melt and separate from the honey. This is a messy process requiring special heating equipment and in my opinion the excess heat spoils the honey. As a side effect the bees lose all the comb they had built and will need to rebuild more comb for storage. I do not extract honey using this method.

The other standout nectar source for me is borage. Like oil seed rape it produces prolific amount of nectar but unlike the rape it very rarely crystallises or sets and remains super runny with a distinctive taste. I have not seen borage planted commercially near Hankerton for many years.

When asked what my honey is like I generally respond with simple easy to understand terms. These being: Raw honey, Dark run honey, Light run honey, Creamed honey, Soft set honey, Section honey  (this is the full honey comb cut out from the hive and not extracted) and finally bend the spoon set honey. They will all vary in taste and the deciding factor for me is whether you want to spread it on toast and have it run off up your arm or spread it and have it stay on the toast. All types can be added to beverages or eaten off a spoon.

Raw honey differentiates itself by not being strained or filtered which leaves the honey containing pieces of wax, propolis, pollen not that appealing to look at but is the closest you will get to simply eating the honey from the hive. This year I have available 3 different types for you to enjoy.

If you have read and found these notes interesting and would like to know more about any aspect of beekeeping let Simon know and I will do my best to respond.

I am pleased to say I believe I have retained my health and sanity during lockdown although Christine and others in the family speculate on the latter.

Brian Betts

Brian’s previous articles can be seen in the “News” section or click on the links below :-

Honey Bees
Lockdown Beekeeping


Tomorrow (Thursday) is the day to order Bread and Veg.

Bread has changed a little in that we’re now doing just the one weekly order so I thought I’d just jog memories this week.

Also, for those of us into pizza….this Saturday is a pizza day !

Healthwatch Wiltshire

Dear Wiltshire Town and Parish Councils,

At Healthwatch Wiltshire we are continuing to gather peoples experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic, and are running a survey which will close this Sunday 12th July.

We’d like to give Wiltshire people one final opportunity to complete our survey which asks for their views and experiences of information, health, care and community services, and is relevant to anyone living in Wiltshire. It can be completed online, or by phone by calling 01225 434218.

We’d be very grateful if you are able to share it on social media, with colleagues, volunteers, people who use your service and wider contacts as appropriate. You can either use the poster attached or something along the lines of the text below:

Wiltshire Residents – please share your views about Health, Care and Community Services during the pandemic by completing this survey by Sunday 12th July

Healthwatch Wiltshire are asking how has the coronavirus outbreak affected you and your loved ones? Share your experiences of health, care and community services during the pandemic. What’s working well and what could be better? You can complete the online survey at

The survey can also be completed over the phone – call 01225 434218 to arrange and a member of the Healthwatch Wiltshire team will call you back

Survey closes Sunday 12th July.

You can also share this from out Facebook page here Healthwatch Wiltshire

Please take a few minutes to take our survey.

We really appreciate any help you can give us to ensure that people from Wiltshire can share their views.

Many thanks

Julie Brown
Acting Manager

Weekly Update

Delivery Services
Delivery services are slowly reducing. This week I delivered the 1,000th Hobbs item on Tuesday (it was an almond croissant to myself. I really did have 999 items up to that point and it seemed the obvious thing to do !).  The bread delivery has moved to a once a week delivery on a Friday which seemed to be the consensus from last weeks feedback.

Parish Council
There’s a Zoom meeting this Monday. Contact Michael if you want to attend. Click <here> for details.

Wiltshire County
Busy week for Wiltshire !   Press release to explain that they aren’t going bankrupt, press release to correct another media report that they could be the next lockdown area, and a press release asking for feedback on library opening !

WhatsApp Group
The village group is, in theory, a “closed group” but unfortunately a Romanian hacker seems to be able to get access to post adverts that are, lets say, “not that appropriate” !  When Geoff Preston reported this to WhatsApp their solution was to remove Geoff from the group !  Anyway, long story short, all has now been recovered after much hard work by Geoff and he thinks he might have found a way of preventing future intrusions.

Anything for me ?  Then drop me a mail at

Opening Wiltshire Libraries

People’s views sought on plans to reopen library services safely

Wiltshire Council is seeking the views of residents and library users to help with its planning for reopening library services safely in the county during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The library service in Wiltshire was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on 20 March. The existing eBooks, eMagazines and eAudio service continues providing access to reading material, and on 27 March a new service launched via Facebook offering rhyme times, tea and chat, bedtime stories and online book groups. At the start of June, a Home Library service was launched, serving library members shielding and without digital access to download books; this service is currently used by approximately 100 people. The online library content produced since lockdown has so far generated more than 83,000 views.

To make sure the library services they provides meet the needs of people safely and are as innovative in their delivery as possible, the council would like to hear the ideas and feedback from the public on how to reopen the services.

During this challenging time the council has to manage its resources carefully and has put forward three possible options for how the service might operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are also being encouraged to provide their own ideas to help the council deliver the most appropriate service in the circumstances and within the council’s current resources.

The possible options take into account COVID-19 guidelines and social distancing measures and the resources available – meaning that there will be a partial and phased reopening of library services.

The possible options being considered include:

Option 1
An order and collect service
This involves customers contacting the library service by email/phone to request books or other materials that they wish to borrow. This might include specific authors or topics such as crime or autobiographies. These would then be collected in person from a library.

This would operate from 10 August at some main library hubs in Wiltshire, and in each of the 18 community areas across the county by the end of September. This means that 20 libraries could potentially be open by the end of September, subject to staff and finances being available.

Option 2
An order and collect service with bookable computer access
The order and collect service as detailed above and the ability to pre-book a computer session for those without access to the internet.

This would operate from 10 August at some main library hubs in Wiltshire and in each community area across the county by the end of September.

Option 3
A socially distanced service offering the public some access to browse stock and use computers. This would operate in up to six libraries from the end of August and a maximum of a further four, subject to staff capacity and social distancing requirements.

A four-week public consultation is now underway. Hard copies will be made available at County Hall, Trowbridge; Monkton Park, Chippenham; and Bourne Hill, Salisbury. The consultation closes on 26 July 2020.

Following analysis of the feedback received, the favoured option will likely be introduced initially for a six-month period from 10 August. Monthly reviews will also be carried out to assess how the impact of COVID-19 is changing, the financial impact of operating, lessons learnt and the opportunities for change.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “People are rightly passionate about their libraries and that’s been evident in the astonishing take-up of our online services since lockdown in March. We’re taking this opportunity to think about how we reopen the service safely, carefully and in a phased way during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have suggested some possible options on how we may reopen library services, but we really need people to share their thoughts and ideas on we can overcome the challenges we face at this time. We’re looking forward to hearing what people think.”

In the meantime, the Wiltshire Council libraries service has a range of online resources to keep people busy. They can be found at