Barlaston Community Group

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Village News

'To foster community spirit by participating in activities that enhance the environment and encourage neighbourliness within the village of Barlaston'. 

Barlaston Community Group, based in Barlaston, Staffordshire, UK

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October 2019 - A busy month ahead

Posted on November 2, 2019 at 12:45 PM

Film Night showing ‘Red Joan’ was as popular as ever and we’d like to say a great big Thank You to our wonderful audience for such a fun evening! It seems that the success of the night no longer depends on the film - everyone arrives early and chats to each other over a cuppa and/or ice cream and newcomers are made to feel very welcome. Film Night has gathered huge support over the years and we are always grateful for the audience participation with chairs and clearing up at the end - Barlaston Film Night Fans are the Best!!


The next film is 'Yesterday' on the 16th November, a romantic comedy written by Richard Curtis and directed by Danny Boyle. A struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malik, suffers a freak accident and wakes up to discover that The Beatles never existed. Jack goes on to perform Beatles songs to a world that has never heard them and becomes an overnight sensation, with a little help from his agent. Tickets are £5 and available from Premier Stores, Orchard Place.


We’ve only had ‘solo’ Wombles this month as time has been taken up with work (what?!!) and collaborating with other groups including the Harvest lunch at St. John’s Church, the afternoon WI’s 90th birthday celebrations and the Feed the Hungry project with the church and Barlaston First School. Womblers always pick up litter when they can and this month’s Solo Heroes are Stephen, David, Sam, Rosemary, Geoff, Andrew & Michala – thank you guys and keeeeep pickin!


Gardening Club update – although no-one has seen much of Indy since Open Gardens in July, he has been working hard behind the scenes writing a ‘Gardening for Beginners’ course and researching the best way to establish a sustainable gardening group in Barlaston. He was spotted hobnobbing with Sue Biggs CBE (Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society, don’t you know!) at the Wisley Flower Show and no doubt he invited her to Barlaston for OG 2020! If you are interested in opening your garden next year or just enjoy gardening and want to be added to the email circulation list, please give Indy a call on 07930 388264. The OG Feedback also indicated that several visitors had travelled quite a distance, so one of the ideas was to provide B&B over the weekend (4th/5th July) – if this is something you might consider then Indy would love to hear from you!


Ok, it’s only November, but Christmas celebrations are already being planned and there are a few important ‘Save the Date’ events that you need to put in the calendar: Firstly, the annual Golden Agers Christmas Tea Party on Sunday 8th December from 2 – 4pm in the village hall. This is a completely free event for residents over 70, and only £5 for baby-boomers! As in previous years there will be a sumptuous high tea served with refreshments (including mulled wine) and entertainment from the enthusiastic and talented CK Community Choir… I’m sure you will all be thrilled to hear that they have already started rehearsing their popular interactive numbers (eeeeek!).


Secondly, the Mayor and Mayoress of Stafford (or Gareth and Renee as we know them!), are having a ‘Christmas Pop-up Party’ in the Village Hall on Saturday 14th December to support their chosen charities; The Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Staffordshire Women’s Aid and Stafford Samaritans. Tickets are £15 per person and available from Premier Stores from Monday 4th November, sold on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Come and join the celebrations, we’ll be singing and dancing the night away!


Last date for the diary is our ‘Kids Christmas Party’ on 15th December from 2 – 4pm in the village hall. It’s a FREE event, so bring the kids to see Santa and maybe have a cheeky glass of mulled wine while they play!


Our Christmas shopping trip to Chester is on Tuesday 26th November (meeting at St. John’s Parish Church, Station Road at 9.15am, plenty of parking available). There are still a few places left so if you’d like to join us then please hot-foot it down to Premier Stores before the end of next week!


September Update - Autumn

Posted on October 3, 2019 at 3:30 AM

The Womblers were delighted to be joined by a couple of new recruits this month - Lynne and Jane. We had a very productive morning and afterwards when we were chatting about the days’ weird finds (as we do!), Parish Councillor Ellie Philpott came across to see if we’d found an iPad (don’t ask!)… A rather smashed iPad was handed over but she continues to deny all knowledge of the drugs paraphernalia that was found with it!! Sadly, our timing wasn’t the best and we had to make a second trip to Meaford Road when we saw the strimmers had been out… grrrrr!

The weather for the rest of the week was dreadful which worked quite well for Gill who had appealed on Facebook for help in painting the church vestry. Many hands made light work, and instead of the planned 2 days a few womblers got it finished in half a day – it did help that new recruit Jane turned out to be a painter & decorator! Huge thanks to this month’s Wombling Wonders – Sandie, Sam, Andrew B, Andrew M, Rosemary, Harold, Gill, Ali, Jane, Pam, John and Bernadette! We must also acknowledge our Solo Pickers who contribute massively to the tidiness of the village – Parish Councillor David Norman, who concentrates on Cocknage Road, Stephen H who does Hartwell Lane and Geoff, never seen without a plastic bag in his hand – Brilliant job guys, thank you!

Don’t forget Saturday’s film is ‘Red Joan’ a spy-drama film based on a true story of a secretary who supplied the Soviet Union with nuclear secrets. It’s a departure from the latest run of feel-good films but it comes highly recommended and we want to make sure we cater for a wide variety of tastes. The Village Hall doors open at 7pm and film starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 and available from Premier Stores in Orchard Place, all the staff are super-friendly and the shop is open every day until 9pm if you haven’t got a ticket yet. Coffees, teas & ice creams will be on sale as usual but if you prefer a G&T or a glass of wine, then please bring your own… you may also want to bring a cushion to sit on!

We want to make sure that the films (and all our events!) are accessible to everyone in the village and so have teamed up with the Voluntary Car Scheme to provide lifts for those without transport. If you, or someone you know, would like to see a film but is unable to get to the Village Hall, then do please give us a call – Rose 01782 373643 or Michala 01782 373554 / 07970 593910 and we will sort it out for you. There will be no charge for this service.

Lastly, it is with much excitement that we announce another Christmas Shopping Trip! We had a fabulous time last year in Liverpool and this time we thought we’d try Chester on Tuesday 26th November. We’ve done our research and the lights and Christmas Market is definitely on! No dancing in The Cavern this time but plenty of opportunity to have a wander, soak up the history and no doubt stop somewhere for a cheeky mulled wine… And before you ask, Yes, singing IS compulsory on the return journey home! Tickets are £13 each, available from Premier but please don’t leave it too late as we need to confirm the coach by the end of the month.

Summer in Barlaston

Posted on September 1, 2019 at 3:25 AM

The Barlaston Womblers held their last ‘Alley Attack’ at the beginning of August with a great turn-out in Bedcroft. It was a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag lol) event and some new recruits joined us to restore the alley-way to allow easy access to Longton Road without getting caught up in brambles or stung by nettles – Wide Loads now accepted! Grateful thanks to Sara, Eadie, Tim, Graham, Liz, Stan, Sam & both Andrews who arrived impressively tooled up!

There was a follow-up Womble at the end of the month & we managed to clear the length of Blurton Road & Wedgwood Drive, which James cleared so fast we were concerned that he might get caught by the Speed Watch team! We then wombled our way back to the Country Cabin for Apres where Lynne & Jean made us very welcome in their new Coffee Bar with a selection of cakes & speciality coffees – Thank You ladies & we wish you every success in your new venture. It was a very productive morning & perfectly timed to miss the rain – a massive Thank You to Sandie, Graham, Liz, James, Sam, Stan & Andrew for turning up at very short notice - Barlaston Womblers are the BEST!!

The children’s summer holiday event was a FANTASTIC success - Sean from the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust joined Sara Morris & some of the team on the green for a Bug Hunt & Back to Nature morning. Around 30 children looked for bugs, did some den building (which were tested for rain-proofing!) and protected the trees with some very creative clay faces. We were lucky with the weather and it was a really super morning.

We had a Full House for Fisherman’s Friends on Saturday 10th and there was a real party atmosphere in the hall. And like all the best parties, it ended with a sing-song – a foot-stamping version of ‘What shall we do with a drunken sailor’, the line ‘shave his bottom with a rusty razor’ being sung with gusto! Hearty thanks to the gang below deck – Sam, Sandie, Irene and of course our wonderful audience for helping us put away chairs and clear up at the end, it makes such a difference to our small team!

The kids Matinee was Dumbo on Thursday 22nd which was the first film-showing without Andrew B. on hand to test the sound & visuals… Luckily 17 year-old Molly took charge, calmly tweaking & balancing knobs & speakers resulting in a very professional screening. It has taken us a long time to find a suitable deputy for Andrew only to learn that selfishly, she is off to Uni in a couple of weeks… Thankfully she has promised to train up her mother (our very own Sam Taylor) before she goes! We had a lovely time eating ice lollies & munching too many sweets from Jaynies Candy Cart & once again the children rose to the occasion & were extremely polite & helpful. Thank you to all the kids, parents & grandparents for supporting the event.

Our next film is ‘Red Joan’ a spy-drama film based on a true story & starring Judy Dench on the 5th October. Village Hall doors open at 7pm and film starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are now available from Premier Stores in Orchard Place, all the staff are super-friendly and the shop is open every day until 9pm.

Bringing August to a close is a heart-warming community good-news story: Resident Dennis Croome had spotted that a bench, dedicated to Raymond Williams 1921-1988, along the canal next to the Plume of Feathers was badly in need of repair. He took it home (we’re not sure how as he lives about a mile away) & restored it to perfect condition! This inspiring act of generosity has nearly broken our Facebook page – more than 110 Likes within a few hours – Thank You Dennis, how does it feel to be an internet sensation??

July 2019 - Bye Bye July!

Posted on August 1, 2019 at 7:05 AM

What a busy month! The Womblers kicked off with a great alley-way tidy up after an appeal from resident Paula Perkin, and folk arrived with power tools, shears, rakes etc., and set to! It was a triumph for community involvement as neighbours loaned their brown bins and the alley-way was made passable for residents and visitors due for Open Gardens the following weekend. Everyone was then invited for tea and cakes in the Perkins’ beautiful garden!

Still on Wombling news; it was with great sadness that we learned of Lenny the Litter Lout’s demise. Celebrity status does not come without a price and as the many tributes on Facebook show, Lenny will be sadly missed. Creator Dave Moran left a moving message thanking everyone for their kindness at this sad time. Lenny became an overnight internet sensation and he appeared on the front cover of the church magazine, he was featured with the Mayor in the Stone & Eccleshall Gazette and posed in the Wassail stocks. RIP Lenny – Gone but not Forgotten!

This year’s Open Gardens event has been a PHENOMENAL success with over 800 visitors, over £2,700 raised by gardeners for their individual charities, and £2,100 profit from ticket sales & donations, meaning a total of over £4,800 raised! It now looks like BVOG has one of the (if not the) largest attendances for a Village Open Garden event in the country! Of course the main aim is still to promote community spirit in Barlaston but the spin off success is something we can all be proud of – Congratulations Inde, Val and the BVOG team!!

The Dementia Awareness talk by Diane Wallace on the 16th July was both moving and insightful but also surprisingly funny. Diane gives talks all over Staffordshire and is on a mission to create 5,000 ‘Dementia Friends’ by 2020. The talk was well attended and we all left feeling a little more positive and understanding some of the small but vital ways we can help create a ‘dementia-friendly village’.

We have another Film Night next Saturday (10th August) showing Fisherman’s Friends. It’s a comedy-drama based on a true story about a male singing group from Post Isaac, Cornwall, so we can expect wonderful scenery & a great soundtrack! Village Hall doors open at 7, film starts at 7.30pm. And for those of you with children or who are perhaps on Grandparent duties – we are showing Dumbo as a Matinee on Thursday 22nd August, doors open at 2.30pm film starts at 3pm. Keeping ahead of the game we have already booked ‘Red Joan’ a spy-drama film for 5th October and tickets will be on sale at the showing of Fisherman’s Friends. Please note that Premier Stores in Orchard Place is our new point of sale for tickets - all the staff are super-friendly and the shop is open every day until 9pm.

The Village Show was a great success despite the occasional downpour and we had fun organising the dog show section in the morning. There were lots of entries and although rather noisy at times, the dogs looked fantastic and behaved very well – see the Barlaston Village Show and Barlaston Community Group’s Facebook pages for more photos.

To make full use of the marquee we decided to host a Ceilidh after the show – that was before we realised how exhausted we’d all be! However, in true gung-ho spirit Sue Campbell-Kelly and the C-K Band got everybody up and dancing and 90+ people were whirled and twirled around the floor for 3 hours… There was a great atmosphere in the tent and it has to be said, perhaps a little too much hysterical laughter (lol). Huge thanks to everyone who supported the event and in particular to the guys who helped shift the generator, move tables, lay out chairs for the Big Sing the following day and help clear-up etc. Community Spirit really is alive and kicking in Barlaston!

June 2019 update - It's hotting up in Barlaston!

Posted on July 1, 2019 at 7:00 AM

A great big Thank You to those that chose Film over Football at the beginning of the month – typical, that A Star is Born, was scheduled to be shown on the same night as the European Cup Final! It didn’t seem to matter however, as everyone enjoyed the film and the atmosphere in the hall was more like a cosy night in with good friends! The next film is Fisherman’s Friends based on a true story about a male singing group from Post Isaac, Cornwall. It’s a biographical comedy-drama showing at the Village Hall on the 10th August. Doors open at 7, film starts at 7.30pm. Also showing during August will be ‘Dumbo’ – scheduled as a Matinee for children and families during the school holidays on Thursday 22nd at 3pm.

The Womblers have been busy as usual this month – we had a clear-up at the Village Hall and a ‘hard-core’ session along Blurton Road. This month has also seen the arrival of ‘Lenny the Litter Lout’ on Meaford Road. Dave Moran (renowned creative assistant to Tim Cockin & the Wassail) has been collecting tins, plastic containers and assorted debris to construct a 7’ tall man made completely of rubbish! ‘Lenny’ was posted on Facebook and has been voted a massive hit by residents – the idea is to move him around to various locations and raise awareness of litter, mainly being chucked out of cars, on the main roads into the village.

More Wombling news is that our most famous Wombler, the Lady Mayoress of Stafford Borough, Mrs Renee Robinson, presented Stan Phillips with the solid gold Wombler of The Year Trophy for 2018. You will recall from December last year that the trophy was shared between Sandie Buxton and Stan after the public votes had to be re-counted due to the late but impressive performance of a newcomer… that ‘newcomer’ is now our star performer with his own following of residents stopping to shake his hand and drivers beeping and giving him a thumbs-up as they pass him on his regular route. Congratulations Stan and Thank You for helping to keep Barlaston Beautiful!!

Don’t forget that we will be supporting the Barlaston Village Show next month with a Fun Dog Show in the day and a Ceilidh in the evening. Have you ever attended the show and not wanted the fun to end? Well this year it doesn’t have to! Just pop home to grab a checked shirt and your cowboy hat, bring a picnic and a bottle and let the fun continue - we’ll be dancing to the C-K Band in the show marquee until late! Tickets are available at Premier Stores £5 per person, proceeds going to the Village Hall repair fund.

Following two very successful ‘Dementia Awareness’ talks to the Barlaston Afternoon WI and the Barlaston Voluntary Car Scheme, we are happy to announce that there will be another one on Tuesday 16th July, in Barlaston Village Hall at 2.30pm. We are working with the Parish Council & local groups to support the aim of becoming a ‘dementia-friendly village’ & raise awareness of dementia in the wider community. Di Wallace is a wonderful speaker and her talk will enable us to recognise the signs of dementia and better support the needs of people both with the disease and those that care for them.

The Facebook photo competition nearly broke the internet this month when the theme of ‘a close-up of a flower’ was announced! The original ‘rules’ (photos only from Barlaston, one photo per person and one ‘Like’ vote per person) were forgotten & as the Open Gardens event gets closer (13th & 14th July!) & the sun finally made an appearance, the on-line community celebrated by posting an amazing selection of over 100 beautiful pics! Last month’s winner was Judith Bradbury & her photo ‘2 Amigos’ was our banner for June – see her pic & many more on our Facebook page.

Lastly, for those with young children, we are having a ‘Back to Nature’ kids event on the 2nd August from 10-12.30pm on The Green by the Downs Banks carpark. This is in conjunction with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust & we’ll be having a fun morning bug-hunting, doing wild art & games. Suitable for all ages - keep a look out for posters & info on our Facebook page!

May 2019 update - Films Galore

Posted on June 1, 2019 at 6:50 AM

We have another blockbuster coming up THIS SATURDAY (1ST JUNE), showing the hugely popular A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The musical score is fantastic and we’ve had to wait a long time for it due to its box office success. Tickets available from Kitsons Chemist at £5 each. Ice-creams and light refreshments will be sold on the night but if you prefer a glass of wine then please bring your own… you may also like to bring a cushion! The next showing is Fisherman’s Friend on the 10th August and tickets will be on sale at Saturday’s showing at the Village Hall, doors open at 7pm, film starts at 7.30pm.

Of course the Womblers have been out and about this month with a Blumble (Bluebell Womble!) in Cocknage and a big tidy-up at the Village Hall. Andrew M and Barbara unearthed rubbish that had been fly-tipped over several years by the look of it, adjacent to Cocknage Wood whilst the rest of the team (David, Sally, Andrew B, Michala, Ali, Stan and Tim) retrieved around 9 bags - a very worthwhile morning! HUGE thanks to the Bluebell Wanderers and to Graham, our lone wombling superstar, who had cleared Blurton Road single-handedly by the time we came back! Thanks also go to the BVH Tidy-up Team for sprucing up the Village Hall last week - versatile womblers swept, scrubbed, dusted and weeded – a great effort rewarded with tea and biscuits supplied by Hilary.

There’s already quite a buzz around the village about this year’s Open Gardens event on the 13th and 14th July. Barlaston First School’s Gardening Club started again this term and around 18 pupils attended sorting out what they should plant and where. There is a ‘cook and eat’ theme this year and everyone is getting excited about growing produce that they can plant, harvest and cook. There was a good spread across the year groups and all worked co-operatively with Open Gardens in mind. If you want to be a part of the event or if you’re just interested in gardening please come along to the next ‘gardeners gathering’ at the Duke of York pub on the 10th June at 7pm. Ring Anthony at the pub if you would like a light supper and if you have any questions or would like to know more, email [email protected] or give Chris (07443 912037) or Inde (07930 388264) a call.

We have a variety of things happening over the summer and will be supporting the Village Fete once more with a Fun Dog Show. Classes are Best Looking Boy, Most Gorgeous Girl, Best Golden Oldie, Waggiest Tail, Musical Sits and Best Outfit, so get grooming/training/sewing now! The Village Fete has something for everybody and this year we’re going to help keep the excitement going by holding a Ceilidh in the marquee that evening. The C-K Band will be providing the music and a caller so all you need to do is buy a ticket for £5 and bring your own picnic and booze – a fun-filled day and night on the 20th July!

Finally, as members of the community you will all have had an invite from the Parish Council to attend the Barlaston Annual Parish Meeting this Thursday (30th May) at the Methodist Church Hall in Park Drive at 7pm. This is when the elected councillors tell us what they’ve been doing over the past year and we have the opportunity to have our say on things we consider important to the village. Why not go along and play a part in the future of Barlaston?

April Update!

Posted on May 3, 2019 at 3:40 AM

Most months seem to go by in a blur these days but April feels like we’ve had all the seasons compressed into 30 days – hail stones to glorious sunshine! It will be Open Gardens (13th and 14th July) again before we know it… Lots of things ‘garden related’ have already been going on behind the scenes with local Parish Councillor Chris Hurst tidying up the car park by the Upper House and reclaiming a massive amount of overgrown land and Inde Johal and the rest of the OG working party chivying up the V.I.G’s (Very Important Gardeners!) who are busy getting ready for this year’s event and now meet on a monthly basis at The Duke of York pub. If you’d like to hear more about this or if there’s anything you’d like to get involved with then they’d love to hear from you – email [email protected] or give Chris (07443 912037) or Inde (07930 388264) a call.

This year’s Great British Spring Clean has been a great success and the Barlaston Womblers were particularly pleased to have been joined by Pippa Gee, High Sheriff of Staffordshire and her posse Camilla, Tilda and Clemmie, who picked litter from Orchard Place and Old Road with us in her last week of office. There have been five major Wombles this month resulting in a massive haul of over 72 bags from all around the village. The finale was a Spring Clean the Green and Egg Hunt when Womblers spent a pleasant afternoon in the sun collecting fallen twigs and branches from under the trees, making it easier to mow and improving the appearance of our Village Green. The Junior Womblers were rewarded with a chocolate bunny and Easter egg hunt organised by our very own Sara Morris. Huge thanks to Sara for this and of course to ALL our Wonderful Womblers who have risen to the GBSC Challenge so magnificently!!

Film Nights are still fantastically popular and we have A Star is Born coming up on Saturday 1st June. This is a musical romantic drama with fantastic performances from Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga. The film has won loads of awards and is a heart-warming story set against a backdrop of fantastic musical numbers – a perfect combination for our discerning Barlaston audience!

We also launched our first matinee! The success of Mary Poppins Returns, when we spent a fun afternoon in the village hall eating ice-creams, has encouraged us to put on more films during the school holidays – if you have any suggestions regarding which film to show please let us know! More details will be on our Website & Facebook page shortly.

Marching into Spring!

Posted on April 2, 2019 at 4:20 AM

There’s been a GREAT start to the Great British Spring Clean already! Cocknage was liberated by the Barlaston Womblers last week when they took up Parish Councillor David Norman’s invitation to litterpick around Cocknage Wood. Most people didn’t even realise that it was part of Barlaston but Renee, David, Gill, Ali, Michala, Andrew B, John, Pam, Sally, Andrew M, Maggie, Mark & Stan rose to the Cocknage Challenge & tackled some seriously neglected Grot Spots! A whopping 31 bags were collected as well as the results of fly-tipping over the years – tyres, fridge doors, a roof rack cover, full Argon gas canisters & a 54" flat screen TV! There were many curious passers-by and a number of residents stopped to ask how they could join in, so we are hoping for some new recruits in the area. David & Sally hosted the Après & the baking bar has been set even higher with a Sally Berry victoria sponge & melt-in-the-mouth tea loaf!

The success of the Cocknage Clean-up meant that the surrounding roads looked even worse! An emergency call was answered by the Famous Five & Blurton Road was restored to its natural beauty.

The Barlaston Womblers are doing a pick every week throughout the Keep Britain Tidy campaign:

• Sunday 7th April meet 10am Plume of Feathers carpark

• Saturday 13th April meet 10am Barlaston Village Hall

• Thursday 18th April meet 1pm on the Village Green for a ‘Clean the Green’ & Easter Egg Hunt

Or why not hold your own Clean-up?? It would be great if everyone could join in in some way - you don’t have to join the organised group wombles: you can wash your road sign / pick up litter / sweep a bus shelter / clear a footpath / clean a speed sign / trim a verge / weed a planter / anything at all… and don’t forget to send us a photo of your efforts and like previous years we will put the sparkling results in an album on Facebook for everyone to appreciate!

The ‘Introduction to Social Media’ - IT workshop went very well. Sara Morris linked up her laptop and used the new projector to help the assembled group learn how to create accounts on Facebook as well as navigate around Twitter and Instagram. It was a fun and informative evening and everyone felt it had been very beneficial – thanks to Sara and Sam Taylor for their input!

The artistic results of the ‘Paint a Pebble for Polio’ event have been hidden around the village and residents have been popping up on Facebook showing their finds (#endpolionow and #barlastonrocks) which has been great fun. If your child found a painted pebble remember to come to the Clean the Green event on the 18th April to claim your Easter Egg!

Film Nights are still fantastically popular & 100 Bohemian Rhapsody tickets were sold in less than 3 weeks! The next film is Mary Poppins Returns, a film for all the family showing as a matinee on April 26th at Barlaston Village Hall. Doors open at 2.30pm, film starts at 3pm. A heart-warming film designed for all the family as an Easter break treat – tickets are only £2 each and are available from Kitson’s Chemist as usual. Refreshments will be served & there’ll be FREE ice creams for the kids!

More exciting news this month was receiving a High Sheriff Award & a grant of £1,000 from the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, Mrs Pippa Gee, also a resident of Barlaston. The money will be spent in a variety of ways spanning across all age groups over the coming year – keep your eyes open for the Community Awards symbol which means that the event will be Free or at least heavily subsidised!

Barlaston's Buzzing

Posted on February 28, 2019 at 2:25 PM

Have you felt it yet?? Not just the welcome glimpse of warmer weather but the buzz of activity and fellowship with a variety of different groups forming and lots to engage the community! There’s a Barlaston Local History Group starting on 21st March, (which escalated from a WW1 project started last year by local historian Tim Cockin, Merrilyn Coutouvidis and a few others), there’s the Barlaston Open Gardens group, there’s a group that are working with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust with Parish Councillor Chris Hurst & Liz Hill to remove the ivy that is suffocating a lot of our local trees, as well as talk of a Film Club and a Gardeners Guild… exciting times for Barlaston!

The first of this year’s Film Nights was on Saturday 2nd February when Mission Impossible – Fallout was shown at the Village Hall. The new film equipment was FANTASTIC – super picture clarity, not too noisy and much more room for the chairs as we didn’t have to leave space for a centre aisle. Fans of Action movies weren’t disappointed and, spoiler alert, Tom Cruise saved the world! Of course we know that the film you’ve all been waiting for is Bohemian Rhapsody and this will be shown on April 6th. Tickets are available at Kitson’s as usual, but don’t leave it too long as we only have a few left! We would like to hold regular Film Nights (every other month,) so if you have any suggestions or would like to help out in some way then do please contact us, we’d love to hear from you.

The ‘Paint a Pebble for Polio’ was on Tuesday in Half Term (19th Feb). Thanks to John Sayer from the Rotary Club for supporting the event & to Chris Hurst & Sara for organising the day following their efforts earlier in the year when they planted masses of crocuses in and around the village. The artistic results were fabulous and there are further plans to arrange a giant pebble-hunt in the spring!

We’ve had two big wombles this month - a Hardcore Womble Workout at the beginning of this month when we used the new hoops (that hold the bags open) bought with funds provided by Shaun at Premier. We are pleased to report that nobody’s eyeballs actually froze and a fantastic job was done along Blurton Road by Graham, Liz, Andrew M, Tim, Hilary, Michala, Stan and Andrew B. We also have Sandie, Stephen, John, Pam and Geoff who regularly womble their own patch.

Andrew’s rock bun bribe worked a treat on Saturday 23rd and we had a super turnout collecting 17 bags of rubbish from Meaford Rd, Old Rd & Station Rd. Wombling Wonders were Maggie, Gill, John C, Liz, Andrew M, Stan, Alan, Sue, Andrew B, Tim, John and new recruits Bernadette & Alison Dando, who’s father started a litter pick group many years ago known as Tidy Ted, so it’s great that she is following a family tradition! We also signed up another 4 new Womblers at the Apres which will swell the numbers in time for us to support the national GBSC (Great British Spring Clean) with a series of picks from March 22nd – April 23rd. If there’s a particular Grot Spot that needs our attention please let us know!

Beat the January Blues

Posted on February 1, 2019 at 1:05 PM

January seems to have come & gone in a blur! The main event this month was the Pop-up Burns Supper in the village hall when 60 people enjoyed a four course meal compromising Cock a Leekie soup, Haggis & Neeps served wi’ a wee dram, Angus burger (from Mark’s Meats – delicious!), deep fried tatties & trimmings followed by a selection of Scottish puddings including Whiskey cheesecake, Jock-choc gateau, Cranachan, Clootie pudding & deep-fried Mars Bar ice cream.

Thank you to everyone who came & for creating such a fantastic atmosphere! Everyone had made an amazing effort with the ‘Touch of Tartan’ dress code & we had everything from kilts, jackets, ties, beautiful evening gowns with sashes to tartan shoes & a 'See you Jimmy' tam o shanter on top of a ginger wig! We also invented a new form of contemporary Scottish Dancing which involved a lot of bumping, grinding & stamping... best not to be attempted without a wee dram but definitely a crowd pleaser!! We’ve had great feedback from the event & it looks like it may become an annual event!

Of course we couldn't do it without our team of volunteers, & this time Chef Nobby McBlack was ably assisted by Thomas, Emily, Sabine & Sarah, with Super Trouper of the evening being Maggie Linehan who kept working until we forced her out of the hall at midnight!! A special mention also goes Tim Cockin, who had taken his guest home but then returned to help clear up & put away the chairs – what a star!

Due to the increasing popularity of the Barlaston Open Gardens event a separate group has been formed and the opening dates for 2019 have now been confirmed as the weekend of 13th & 14th July. We will be working closely with the new committee and there will be an Open Meeting for anyone who’d like to get involved, either as a participant or helper, on Monday 11th February, 7pm at the Duke of York – come along & find out more!