Wednesday 21 August 2013

Meeting Point - August 2013

Don't forget Huttons Ambo Meeting Point this August:
  • tea, coffee, cakes
  • books
  • fair trade stall 
  • children's activities
Saturday 31st August, 2 pm - 4 pm, in the Village Hall

If you have any produce that you'd like to swap, please bring it along.

Sara Swindells

Huttons Ambo Book Club - Wednesday 28th August

August's Book Club book is 'Any Human Heart' by William Boyd. If you would like to join the Book Club, please ring Sara Swindells on 01653 690767 or Alison Hewitt on 01653 692981.

Sara Swindells

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Hay-raking at St Margaret's Church - Thanks to All

Many thanks to everyone who turned out to help with hay-raking at St Margaret's Church, here are a couple of pictures from the day.

Simon Jackson & daughter Alice clearing grass from the churchyard

Rosa Naylor takes away a barrowful of hay while Dudley Taylor of Musley Bank rakes up another pile

Murray Naylor

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Harvesting Barley - a ride in the combine

It's that time of year again, the sky is a little bit bluer, mornings are a bit colder and the air is a bit fresher and er, noisier. It's harvest time and the combines are rolling again. It hardly seems ten minutes since we saw the Claas Lexion 550 chewing its way through corn on The Rake at Low Hutton but a year has gone by and here it is harvesting barley near High Hutton.

Ian Harding of Crop Tech Ltd herds the Claas combine downhill while Richard Wainwright follows in the John Deere
(click to enlarge)
I'd scrounged a lift over to the field from Richard Wainwright, the Estate Farm Manager. By the time we arrived the combine had disappeared over the brow of the hill in a cloud of dust and while I waited for it to return we chatted about the fine weather and the state of the harvest. The dust is good, it means the crop is dry and easier to cut, but Richard pointed out that the storms that came through a fortnight ago had tangled large patches of the barley and this can cause the crop to foul the combine.

Fouled! (click to enlarge)
As the combine reappeared, Richard drove off around the field to follow it and I started taking pictures. Sure enough a few minutes later the combine ground to a halt and Richard & Ian started to remove a huge clump of barley straw wrapped around the combines red spool.

The Claas catches the last rays of the setting sun  (click to enlarge)

A classic Class combine view (click to enlarge)
I joined Richard in the tractor and we raced up the field to serve the combine which had a full grain tank. The harvester has to be kept rolling because every minute of fine weather is precious, so the grain is taken on the move. The unloading auger swings out and there's few seconds of jockeying to get the right position - we have to get the grain to fill the trailer evenly - and then the barley starts to flow.

The Class unloading grain on the move (click to enlarge)

Pacing the combine - but running out of field...
 (click to enlarge)
But suddenly we're running out of field and so Richard has to back off to let the combine turn. I took my leave at this point.

Ian inspects the barley, some of it is wind damaged but at least it is dry
 (click to enlarge)
The next morning I caught up with Ian Harding as he finished off the field. While we waited for the trailers to arrive Ian told me something of the difficulties of navigating a 12 foot wide harvester on public roads. Even though the header is transported on its own trailer, the combine still needs an escort and is tricky to get through village streets.

Ian tells me that he enjoys harvesting, as it provides a pleasant change from more routine work such as crop spraying. Potatoes are a steady earner as they need regular spraying against blight and pelleting to protect them from slugs.

We talked about last years harvest,  Ian described the weather last year as 'disastrous': corn prices had risen to £240/tonne, this year, so far, they are a more normal £120-£150.

I asked Ian for a ride in the cab and as the trailers arrived he fired up the combine and we set off. I was immediately surprised at how smooth and quiet it was - I was expecting it to be rough, bouncy and loud.

At the back of the cab there's a clear window into the grain tank and you can see barley pouring out of the auger into the tank.

Barley flows into the grain tank (click to enlarge)
Ian explained a little of the workings of the combine - the header is composed of a red spool, which leads the crop onto the bed of the header. Hanging from the spool are little tines which act a bit like a comb and tease out some of the tangles caused in the crop by wind and rain. The height of the spool can be adjusted but it was having little effect today because the crop was in good condition.

In the photograph below you can see the red spool and also the cutting knives, little shiny triangles which oscillate backwards and forwards and cut the stems of the crop, just like a giant electric razor. Also just visible are the crop-lifters: flexible metal prongs which stick out from the bed of the header and help lift the crop up to the bed if it has been beaten down by wind or rain.

Once it is cut, large screws move the crop to the centre of the header where it is taken inside the harvester to be threshed.

Header in raised position, showing the red spool, cutting knives and crop-lifters (click to enlarge)

Header lowered into working position (click to enlarge)

In next to no time the grain tank was full - it holds around 5 tonnes - and a trailer was moving into formation with us to take off the barley.

Combine drivers view (click to enlarge)

A full trailer rolls away (click to enlarge)
Once all the barley is harvested the combine will go to bed for a bit until it's called out late in the year for the bean harvest.

Many thanks to Richard Wainwright, of Huttons Ambo Farm Manager and Ian Harding, Director of Crop Tech Ltd, for patiently answering my questions and letting me clutter up their cabs with camera gear.

All material © Michelle Stone 2013

Hay-raking at St Margaret's Church - Can you help?

Volunteers are required to assist in raking up and burning the hay from the back churchyard.

This is a task which has to be undertaken each year if the area and the graves located there are to be properly looked after, something which we owe to the descendants of those buried there.

If you can spare an hour to help with this task on Saturday 17th August it would be greatly appreciated.

Please bring rakes and forks; the odd wheelbarrow would also be useful.

Rendezvous at 10am behind the Church.

Thank you. Refreshments will be provided.

Monday 12 August 2013

Taizé Meeting - August

Taizé Meeting

There will be a Taizé Meeting in the church at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 20th August. You are very welcome to join us in our peaceful Lady Chapel for sung prayer and short periods of meditation.

If you would like to sit, listen and reflect you do not have to sing, just enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.

Taizé meetings are open to all in the benefice, not just residents of Huttons Ambo.

Find out more about Taizé.

Anita Topp

Sunday 11 August 2013

Produce Show 2013

The quality of our village show always amazes me. Every year is different - last year I felt the 'produce' section - baking, jams, wines, etc really excelled with lots of entries. This year there were some remarkably large vegetables, marrows always grow to an implausible sizeof course but there were some huge cabbages too.

 This year, I was quite taken by children's sections, especially the mustard and cress egg-heads and the miniature gardens.

Mustard & cress egg-heads

Nature in an egg-box

As usual I insinuated myself behind the scenes of the show, not in any constructive capacity of course but in my self-appointed role of photographic nosey-parker. A lot of hard work goes on during the day, booking exhibits in, accompanying judges, totting up the scores, making sure that tickets go on the prizewinning exhibits and working out who the cup winners are. All this takes place before the show opens for viewing at 4pm - so no pressure then.

Calendulas come under scrutiny in the flower section

Recording results, notice the prize tickets laid out ready

The judges take their work very seriously, while making due allowance for the fact that they are judging a village show rather than the Royal Horticultural Society, but it is surprising how much consideration can go into selecting a winner.
The monster cabbages come under discussion

One of the produce judges samples a wholemeal loaf
Once again the prizes were awarded by Rector Taff Morgan, however your thumb-fingered editor failed to make it to the village hall in time for prize-giving, so if any of you have photos of the winners you are willing to share, please let me know!

See the show results here

All material © Philip Stone 2013

"Thank You" from the Huttons Ambo Flower & Produce Show Committee


Would like to say a HUGE THANKS to everyone who helped with, entered and came along to the Village Show on the 10th of August 2013

The show was very successful – everyone enjoyed themselves. 

The children’s entries were wonderful and many. Tea and cake and laughs were plentiful.

We made a small surplus to keep us going for another year.

If you have any ideas that you would like us to try next year - Our 60th Show – Jubilee Year, or if you would like to be part of the organising team, please contact Liz Ellis 01653 699769 or any member of the committee, Sarah and Andy Clark, Liz Ellis, Alison Hewitt, Tara and Howard Wallis.

See the show results here

Liz Ellis

Huttons Ambo Flower & Produce Show 2013 Results

Huttons Ambo Flower & Produce Show 2013 Results

W&M Smith Cup –  S. Milson
Holtby Cup – Wainwright
Youngest Exhibitor – E Lealman
Hodgson Cup –  F. Jones
F. England Cup – A.Milson
J. Witty Cup – D.Doggett
Roberts Cup – J.Charles
Topham Trophy –  D. Voigt
Photography – A.Paton
Allatt Trophy – J.Charles
Most Classes – A. Milson
Classes 1-51 (most points) –  A. Milson
Classes 52-79  (most points) –  C. Milson

Cabbage, green 1. 1st H.Wallis 2nd A. Milson  3rd  F. Jones
Carrots 3.    1st D. Taylor  2nd  D. Haigh 3rd A. Milson    
Onions, 3 dressed 1st J. Charles 2nd H. Wallis 3rd   A. Milson
Spring Onions  4. 1st F. Jones 2nd J. Charles 3rd H. Wallis   
Any Other Vegetable 3. 1st H. Wallis 2nd C. Milson
Tomatoes 4. 1st   J. Bray 2nd F. Jones
Cherry Tomatoes 6. 1st J. Charles 2nd H. Wallis 3rd J. Bray
Beetroot, 3 bunched, with short tops. 1st  F. Jones 2nd a. Dorman 3rd A. Milson
Sweet Peppers 2. 1st  D. Haigh
Chilli Peppers 3. 1st   J. Charles 2nd J. Charles  3rd H. Wallis
Potatoes 4. 1st  A. Lealman 2nd S. Clark 3rd A. Lealman
Broad Beans  6. 1st D. Haigh 2nd F. Jones 3rd A. Milson
Runner Beans  6. 1st D. Taylor 2nd A. Milson 3rd H. Wallis 
French Beans  6. 1st A. Milson 2nd F. Jones 3rd S. Mahon
Peas  6. Shallots, 6 any colour. 1st A. Dorman 2nd A. Milson 3rd D. Haigh 
Lettuce  1. 1st F. Jones 
Courgettes 2. 1st  1st J. Charles 2nd F. Jones 3rd J. Bray
Cucumber  1. 1st J. Bray 2nd A. Milson 3rd F. Jones 
Heaviest Marrow 1. 1st F. Jones 2nd H. Mahon 3rd A. Milson 
Any Fruits, 2 same or different. 1st  1st J. Bray
Soft Fruits, 6 same or different. 1st J. Charles 2nd H. Wallis 
Shallots 1st A. Milson 2nd H.Wallis 3rd  H. Wallis
Culinary Herbs, named, 5 different. 1st M. Holtby 2nd P. Barraclough 
Pot of Home-made Compost. 1st J. Charles 2nd A. Dorman 3rd J. Bray

French Marigolds, 3 blooms. 1st A. Milson 2nd A. Topp 
English Marigolds, 3 blooms. 1st  S. Mahon
Pansies, 3 blooms. 1st  A. Milson 2nd A. Topp 3rd J. Charles
Sweet Peas, 9 stems any colour. 1stA. Milson 2nd E. Brooksbank 3rd J. Allott 
Sweet Peas, 3 stems one colour .  1st A. Milson 2nd P. Barraclough 3rd E. Brooksbank 
Garden flowers, 6 different. 1st   R. Naylor 2nd A. Milson 3rd A. Hewitt
Hydrangeas,  3 blooms. 1st   R. Naylor 2nd D. Voigt
Flowering shrubs, 3 stems different. 1st J. Charles 2nd R. Naylor 3rd J. Bray
Gladiolus,  1 stem. 1st A. Milson 
Potted houseplant. 1st  R. Naylor
Carnations or Pinks, 3 stems. 1st R. Naylor  2nd A. Milson
Herbaceous Perennial, 1 stem. 1st A. Milson 2nd R. Naylor 3rd J. Nesbitt
Herbaceous Perennials, 3 different. 1st  A. Hewitt 2nd J. Bray 3rd J. Charles
Roses, 3 stems any variety. 1st J. Bray 2nd A. Milson 3rd A. Topp 
Hybrid Tea Rose, 1 bloom. 1st J. Charles 
Annual,  1 stem. 1st J. Charles 2nd C. Haigh 3rd J. Bray 
Fuchsias, 3 stems. 1st C. Haigh 2nd D. Voigt 3rd C. Haigh

Man’s Buttonhole1st  D. Doggert 2nd J. Allott 3rd  D.Savage
Lady’s Spray, 1st   J. Allott  2nd A. Milson 3rd  D.Savage
Coastal Arrangement 1st  A. Milson 2nd D. Savage
Foliage Arrangement. 1st  D. Doggert 2nd D. Savage
Arrangement  in an Unusual Container. 1st D. Doggert 2nd A. Milson 3rd A. Topp
Table Centre. 1st D. Doggert 2nd D. Savage

Wholemeal Loaf. 1st A. Paton 2nd D. Voigt 3rd A. Hall 
Lemon Meringue Pie 1st G. Wainwright   2nd S. Mahon 3rd P. Taylor
Chocolate Cake. 1st A. Hewitt 2nd S. Swindells 3rd C. Milson 
Fruit Scones, 3. 1st  J. Allott 2nd G. Wainwright 3rd A. Hewitt
Vegetable Quiche 1st  D. Savage 2nd S. Mahon 3rd G. Wainwright
Chocolate Truffles, 4  1st G. Wainwright    2nd C. Milson 3rd P. Milson
Raspberry Jam. 1st C. Milson 2nd J. Allott 
Strawberry Jam. 1st J. Charles 2nd S. Clark 3rd C. Milson 
Jam, any other. 1st S. Clark 2nd C. Milson 3rd S. Mahon 
Jelly 1st C. Milson
Marmalade. 1st J. Charles
Chutney. 1st J. Charles 2nd T. Ruthven
Bottle of Rosé Wine. 1st J. Charles 
Bottle of Red Wine. 1st J. Charles 
Bottle of Sloe Gin 1st A. Dorman 
Bottle of Other Alcoholic Drink. 1st H. Wallis 
Bottle of Non-alcoholic Drink. 1st J. Charles 2nd S. Clark 3rd J. Charles

Item of Clothing. 1st J. Nesbitt 2nd M, Naylor 
Picture, Painted or Hand-drawn. 1st C. Milson 2nd E. Green 
Hard Handmade Article. 1st A. Milson 2nd R. Naylor 3rd R. Naylor 
Soft Handmade Article. 1st D. Voigt 2nd D. Doggertt

Weather. 1st J. Charles 2nd A. Paton 3rd D.Banks 
Green. 1st S. Clark 2nd J. Charles 3rd A. Paton 
Local Character. 1st A. paton 2nd A. Dorman 3rd A. Paton 
Howardian Hills 1st A. Paton 
Humorous with Caption. 1st A. Paton 2nd A. Paton 3rd A. Paton


11-14 YEARS

Photograph of my friend  1st A. Wainwright 
Poster for Next Year’s Show. 1st G. Wainwright 2nd A. Wainwright 3rd E. Ruthven 
Cup Cakes 4. 1st M. Naylor 2nd A. Wainwright 3rd  R. Burns 
Miniature Garden. 1st A. wainwright 2nd M.Naylor
Haiku or Limerick about Huttons Ambo  1st Amy Wainwright 

7-10  YEARS
Cup cakes 4.      1st          2nd       3rd 
Mustard & Cress Head  1st H. Mahon 2nd S. Milson 3rd J. Banks 
Miniature Garden      1st D. Naylor 2nd S. Milson 3rd J. Banks 
Pressed Flower Picture.  1st J. Swindells 2nd H. Mahon 

6 & Under
Junk Modelled Item  1st A. Wallis 2nd A. Wallis 3rd C. Swindells 
Coronation Jubilee Crown 1st L. Lealman 2nd P. Milson 3rd A. Wallis
Mustard  & Cress Head 1st H. Mahon 2nd L. Lealman 3rd W. Banks 
Nature in an egg Box. 1st A. Wallis 2nd S. Falshaw 3rd P. Milson 
367 entries in total.

Many thanks to all entrants, judges, helpers and supporters.

If you prefer, you can download a copy of these results as a file (e.g. to email them to a friend) by clicking one of the links below:

Download a copy of these results as a Word Document

Download a copy of these results as an Adobe PDF file

Editors note: This must be a record: the produce show results collated and published less than 24 hours after the show!  Well done everyone.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Shooting Stars - See The Perseid Meteor Shower on Monday 12th August/Tuesday 13th August

Meteor (probably not a Perseid) & comet Hale Bopp
Credit: Your Humble Editor
All around the globe keen star-gazers are gearing themselves up for a special annual event. No, it's not the Huttons Ambo Produce Show, splendid as it is: it's the Perseid Meteor Shower.

What in tarnation is that, I hear you cry? Well, every year the earth passes through a thin trail of dust and rocks left  in the wake of a comet (which goes by the unlikely name of Comet Swift-Tuttle).  Like all comets, Swift-Tuttle is a poor driver: it cuts across the orbits of the planets and as a result we cross its dust trail every August. This shower of gritty dust is moving pretty fast: when it hits the atmosphere its doing 60 kilometres per second. That’s 37 miles per second in old money. Call it 130,000 mph.

The result is near instantaneous vaporisation of the dust. Each particle hitting the atmosphere produces a brilliant streak of light that we call a shooting star.
Perseid Meteor over the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope. 
Credit: ESO/S. Guisard (
There are many annual showers of shooting stars but the Perseid shower is without a doubt the best and most spectacular of them all. The shooting stars are fast, brilliant white and they often leave a faint smoky trail behind them that fades in a second or two. Occasionally one will burst into red fragments and very rarely you might have the good luck to see a fireball – a brilliant shooting star as bright as a firework rocket.

As I write (8th of August), we’re already in the edge of the dust stream, if you go out tonight, after dark, you might see one or two bright shooting stars coming out of the North East. But Monday and Tuesday nights are Jackpot nights: we hit the centre, near enough, of the dust stream. If you go out on the nights of the 12th or 13th you might see shooting stars arriving at the rate of one a minute. But if you want to do that you need the advice of an old hand, fortunately I am here to help you:
  • First of all the sky has to be dark and free from clouds. Get away from street lights – not a problem in Huttons Ambo – but you may want to switch off any security lights temporarily or go to a part of your garden where you won’t trigger them.
  • You need to find a spot with a view of the North East - but Straight Up will do in a pinch.
  • Wait until at least 1045pm, the sky needs to be properly dark.
  • Wrap up warm. I can’t tell you how important this is, even a balmy August evening can turn pretty cold by 11pm.
  • Ideally, to avoid getting a stiff neck, lie on a sun-lounger, facing North-East/East.
  • Now your eyes need at least fifteen minutes to get properly dark-adapted. I really mean that, fifteen honest minutes, not three minutes of muttering “I can’t see anything” and then going back inside to catch up on the East Enders. This is better than East Enders. So switch off your torches, relax and see how many stars you can count over the next fifteen minutes.
  • Once you've become dark-adapted, give me another fifteen minutes of honest sky-watching and I promise you that you’ll see at least half a dozen brilliant and fast shooting stars.
  • Bonus points for the dedicated: if you really persist, say for an hour or so, you might also see some faint shooting stars coming from the South. There are at least two other weaker shooting star showers active at the moment, one of which has a reputation of producing the occasional spectacular fireball.
What if it’s cloudy on the night? Well the shower splutters on over the next couple of weeks, so don’t think these nights are the only time to see them, you can look out on other nights but you’ll have to be patient – the rate of shooting stars falls off quite quickly after the 13th.

Good hunting!

All material © Philip Stone 2013