Articles of Interest 2013

Curious Coinage by Sir Frank Rearsby

April is, as you probably know, the cruellest month, though it wouldn’t be if stern Tom Eliot hadn’t penned that depressing poem saying it was. He was responsible for the proliferation of the poetry equivalent of the throwing-a-pot-of-paint-at-the-canvas school of thought, namely, free verse, or ‘prose in lines’ as we call it at Rearsby Satyrs. Yes, I bet you didn’t know we had a poetry group in Rearsby. Well, we do and it’s lots of fun (invitation only, I’m afraid). We’ve just been voting for our favourite poet of the year, which was easily won for the third time in a row by Dick Limerick (joint second was Pam Ayres and Homer). Well, that’s the thing though: we all love a good rhyme, don’t we? Speaking of which, one of my favourite poems is ‘Whilst gazing at the clouds outside St Paul’s’ by Will-i-am Words-worth. And another thing: I can’t stand long poems. You’ve got to applaud Anon’s ‘Thoughts on jumping from Clifton Suspension Bridge’. But you can’t beat Japanese Zen poetry for those truly pithy lines. Basho’s frog epic says it all.

A frog sits by a pond.

Splash! I was too near the edge.

We’ve been invited up to Sam & Dave’s again for a weekend, but I think I’ll have to decline this time. Trouble is he’s becoming a bit of a boor as all he talks about is Nick Clegg (or ‘Dead Leg’ as he calls him). Well, it’s his own fault as he shouldn’t have got into bed with him in the first place. Lady M calls it ‘a same-sex marriage made in Hell’. The trouble with Dave – how can I put this? – is that he’s a little bit naif. The last time we were there I mentioned a picture I saw of him in the Torygraph drinking a pint at his local. ‘What brew was that?’ I ventured. ‘Darjeeling,’ he said. ‘Er, Dave, Darjeeling’s not an ale, it’s a tea,’ I corrected. ‘Is it?’ he exclaimed. ‘Well it’s jolly powerful as I had a splitting headache the next day.’

I think I’ve got Asperger Syndrome. The other day I was watching a news item about the war in Afghanistan and I couldn’t stop swearing in Arabic. I was so alarmed I went to see the doctor about it. He said that it wasn’t Asperger Syndrome at all: that’s when you spend all your time staring at a computer screen. As I said, I think I’ve got Asperger Syndrome, and something else. Anyway, whatever I’ve got, at least they can’t deport me for it.

Keep the faith!

A Special Visitor

A special visitor, the Mayor of Charnwood Borough Council, Councillor Diane Wise arrived at the weekly coffee club meeting on Tuesday 23rd April. Councillor Wise joined us to have a look at the new village hall and to celebrate the voluntary work of a valued member of our village, Marlene Gibbs. Most villagers will be aware of the great work that Marlene puts into to being a member of the community, but for those who don’t here is a little about Marlene and the great things she does.

Marlene is a true native of Rearsby, she was born and brought up in the village, marrying Peter, her husband and raising their two children here, Amelia and Lisa. For many years Marlene worked in ‘Gray’s’ the village shop on Melton Road followed by working in village shops in East Goscote and Thrussington. After the Rearsby post office closed it re-opened on Tuesday mornings in the old village hall. This is where Marlene and friends stepped in, they realised people were coming along to the temporary post office for a chat and to meet people who they didn’t often see since the village shop and post office had closed – they started making them cups of tea and coffee! The Tuesday morning coffee club was born! For a few years the group would meet in the old village hall, with Marlene’s mother, Rose being a regular visitor. After some disruption while the new village hall was built, finally in April 2009 the group could re-establish itself in the new hall. Since then the group has gone from strength to strength thanks to the group of volunteers who contribute their time every week, and Marlene and Peter who organises regular luncheon trips to local hostelries and other places of interest. Special occasions such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Christmas and Easter are celebrated at the Club with Marlene organising specially themed food and table decorations; she last appeared as a White Easter Bunny distributing Easter Eggs to all.

She also very quietly and unassumingly supports numerous senior villagers – ensuring that if systems fail or they need help, she delivers them her home cooked dinners and breakfasts; along with Peter she also makes sure their gardens are kept tidy.

Marlene was presented with a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ by Councillor Wise for her tireless efforts to help and support her fellow villagers. Congratulations and thank you Marlene.

April Clayton

Richard III

The discovery and painstaking scientific identification of the body of Richard III has rightly been praised worldwide. It has dramatically underlined Leicestershire’s association with the king’s final days. We now have the battlefield where he was defeated and killed, his body, and if tradition is to be believed, the bed in which he spent his final night under a roof (to be found in Donington le Heath Manor House Museum). But there is another dramatic physical association with Richard that is too often forgotten or by some perhaps deliberately passed over since it places a large question mark over his claimed innocence and integrity.

The site in question is the castle at Kirby Muxloe. Few people now visit it and, as ruined castles go, it must be admitted it is not the most exciting. Made of brick and with just one tower surviving to battlement height, it hardly compares with sites like Kenilworth or Harlech. But the importance of this site lies in the fact that it is NOT a ruined castle. It is a Medieval building site (for which full records survive) frozen in time by a single catastrophic event – the execution of its owner, Lord Hastings, on 13th June 1483 by Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

The event could perhaps be viewed as just another brutal, but not so unusual, result of the powerful faction fighting that goes by the name of the Wars of the Roses. We know Richard was tussling with the nouveau riche, power hungry Woodville family of Edward IV’s queen at the time. But, far from being a member, or an ally, of the Woodvilles, Lord Hastings vehemently opposed them. According to Dominic Mancini (an Italian priest visiting England on a diplomatic mission) it was Hastings who wrote to Richard in York urging him to ‘..hasten to the capital with a strong force..’ for fear the Woodvilles would grab power. Other sources tell the same story. Far from opposing Richard, Hastings supported and encouraged him.  Yet within 6 weeks of Richard’s arrival Hastings had been executed. Why?

Almost certainly because he realised Richard intended not just to neutralise the Woodvilles but to take the throne for himself. Hastings could support him as protector but not as king, and he paid the price. Attending a Council meeting in the Tower of London he was dragged off by soldiers and executed on the spot. As Dominic Mancini says: ‘Thus fell Hastings, killed not by those enemies he always feared, but, by a friend whom he never doubted.’

This event, and the solid evidence we have for it on Kirby Muxloe castle predates the obscure disappearance of the princes and can’t be explained as a regrettable, but necessary, reaction to Woodville plotting. It unequivocally demonstrates the ruthless nature of Richard who, just twelve days later, was proclaimed king in the place of his young nephew Edward.

Dr. Roy Loveday

Local for your Pampering

Marie Brocksopp, who runs Ginger’s in Thrussington was brought up in Mountsorrel and attended Humphrey Perkins and Rawlins schools.  Other girls’ main ambition was to have a baby and obtain a house.  Marie’s main ambition then was to be a nurse. She had to wait 12 months to get into Charles Freer School of Nursing in Leicester and so looked for a temporary job. A family friend was also a close friend of Remy in Belvoir Street in Leicester and Marie went to work there and in the Welford Road salon where she got talked into going for hairdressing qualifications.

Training was initially ‘on the job’ and then at Southfields College where she obtained City and Guilds Level 3 in hairdressing.  Working hours were long and as Marie was a non-driver the journey to work included 2 bus journeys. She decided to take a break and came to work at what was then Stephanie’s in Thrussington before going mobile.  Out of the blue Mrs. Walker, who owned the shop contacted Marie and offered it to her.  That was 17 years ago this September.

Marie then went on to further her career in the beauty field. She racked up diplomas in body massage, earpiercing, make-up, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials and non-surgical face-lifts.  She wanted to do more but her son became very ill. She received a nomination from Southfields for carrying on with the course throughout this distressing time, commending her excellent professionalism and commitment and naming her an inspiration to both her group and the staff, demonstrating tremendous courage and strength and being greatly admired.

So, as I know, dear readers, you admire my glowing skin and wrinkle – free face, you know where to go and no, Marie didn’t pay me for this unsolicited testimonial!

Rearsby Parish Church, new heating system

he present heating system for heating the church is six gas fired hot air heaters floor mounted and placed against the outer walls. Two against the South wall, three against the North wall and one in the

Chancel. Installation of this system was October 2004. The performance of these heaters was erratic with some of the heaters swinging from heating to non-heating and back to heating over successive days. This behaviour resulted in a high callout and service charges over the winter of 2012. We had clearly reached a point where we had to rethink our heating system.

A look on the internet at gas heating systems did not give any confidence in this aproach, but searching on alternative heating for churchs showed that air-source heat pumps were being used at Burrough-on-the-hill,St Mary the Virgin and Somerby,All Saints. A visit was made to both these churches and demonstrations of their systems showed a practical alternative heating system worth following up.

Air-source heat pump is a fancy name for a refrigerator or freezer running in reverse. Commercial systems consist of an external unit outside the building connected by extended refrigerant pipework to an internal unit. Outside air is passed by a fan over a heat exchanger the heated refrigerant is then piped to the internal unit heat exchanger where a fan blows the warm air into the building.

Auster Aircraft’s Memorable Day

It is intended to use air- source heat pumps in Rearsby Parish Church. Because of the flexibility of this system it is possible to put in place any number of internal units at any time. To heat the church adequately it is recommended that five internal units would be required. Because of limited funds we have replaced the gas heaters on the South side of the church with two heat pumps at a cost of £9000. To complete the replacement on the North side and in the Chancel will need a further £12000. We are presently looking at how we can raise this sum. We are however already feeling the benefit of the extra warmth.

The day was one which you can really only dream about. Not only were years of meticulous planning and organising brought to a successful conclusion but the weather also played its part and in a cloudless sky the wind remained hidden and the sun shone as if we were in the Sahara.

The Auster faithful gathered on Saturday 20th April at the Rearsby Business Park to remember and commemorate what happened there.

The site was host, prior, during and post the Second World War to the development and production of Leicestershire’s most prominent aeroplane the Auster.

The event was inspired by the owner of the Rearsby Business Park Mr Ivor Vaughan CBE who planted the idea of a commemorative plaque some eight years ago. The idea lay dormant until the start of 2011 when it was taken up by Chairman of the International Auster Club Heritage Group (IACHG), Mr Gordon Hallam who spent the following two years preparing for just this day.

A good-natured crowd of over a hundred, including ex-Auster employees, International Auster group members, members of the Leicester Museum Services, members of the IACHG and local media were welcomed to the event by Mr Hallam under a cloudless sky.

He introduced the event’s patron Mr Ivor Vaughan who talked with some passion about the Auster and the reason he was so inspired to mark both the aircraft’s role and the role of the many hundreds of people who worked to develop this remarkable machine.

He said “we are gathered here today so as not to forget the hard work, innovation and engineering expertise of the people who worked here, and to permanently commemorate and record what happened here because the Auster was one of Leicestershire’s best”.

He also spoke of the remarkable Mr A L Wykes the founder of the Company whose vision led to the production and ultimate success of the Auster aircraft.

He then paid tribute to probably the very first ‘Apprentice’, Austers own Mr Gordon Hallam, a lifelong admirer of the aircraft who in Ivor’s own words “smote aside all obstacles” and ensured that the day actually happened and also that it went exactly to plan.

The crowd, some clad in Auster apparel, were then marshalled by members of the Air Training Corps to the front of the business park ready for the unveiling of the plaque.

Under a sky blue cloth and RAF colours, the plaque was revealed by Mr Ivor Vaughan to gentle but quite emotional applause from the Auster enthusiasts.

Then exactly on time the faint, low hums of Gypsy Major engines were heard getting closer and closer. Every camera in the crowd swung skyward and two Auster aircraft came into view. They didn’t roar like jet engines nor did they leave vapour trails, but elegantly moved across the brilliant blue sky over the crowd before turning gracefully for a final flypast. Despite the Austers’ role during the war their appearance seemed to suggest a link back to gentler times. The crowd were quiet and respectful as the Austers flew past the second time, held in place by their own individual memories of their time with the aircraft. It was very possibly the last time some of the crowd would ever see the Auster fly.

It felt rather emotional as the Austers disappeared over the horizon and people started the short trip to Queniborough Village Hall for refreshments courtesy of Mrs Beryl Preston and her team.

Tables had been prepared for over a hundred and they were packed as people enjoyed their well earned coffee, tea, biscuits and cakes. ‘Auster’ was in the air as people reminisced and shared their memories of their time with the aircraft. With the cakes and tea and chatter the atmosphere in the hall was reminiscent of the days when the Auster was at its peak, people seemed to have more time for each other and high teas and tea dances were the order of the day.

With the IACHG’s role now coming to a conclusion they took the opportunity to share their remaining books, pictures, prints and memorabilia with the Auster enthusiasts. Six lucky ticket holders walked away with wonderful pictures of the Auster aircraft, the ATC were presented with three prints in thanks of their hard work on the day.

To conclude, as a thanks for his inspiration and patronage, Mr Hallam presented Mr Ivor Vaughan with three leather-bound volumes of Auster information recording the histories of the Auster aircraft and its people.

As people melted happily away from the hall with their Auster memories refreshed, thus ended a wonderful couple of hours which for some reason seemed pleasantly to last all day.