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'On the Buses' in the Fifties

The 'Evergreens'

St Mary's News

Letters to the Editor

Shire Greens

Those of our readers who use the Daisy Field will have noticed a welcome addition. Pupils of Portway Community School created this bench as part of the Summer Scheme back in 2003. With the combined efforts of the Council and JOhn Atwood (who helped create the bench) it was finally installed on the field in December and was placed on the upper level to give a splendid view across the river to the harbour at Pill.

Winter has seen no let up in the Shire Greens efforts on the Daisy Field. Members of the group met on Monday December 6th to plant a further 1500 bulbs which should provide a wonderful display in the springtime.

Anyone interested in joining the Shire Greens or in helping out at one of their Activity Days should contact Renee Slater through the Public Hall. B.J.

Our Village

The other day the talk on the radio was about what we hate on the motorways. Among the hates was middle lane drivers, and drivers who nip into that carefully preserved space between us and the car in front. I was thinking about this as I walked through Shirehampton and deciding what my hates were in daily life. I came to the conclusion that one of the is dog fouling, another is our chewing gum littered pavements, squashed splodges of gum everywhere - at least I assume that it's gum. It's everywhere, not only in Shire. Another is the quantity of litter that festoons the village at certain times of the day.

It was in this frame of mind that I came across a group of young people eating their lunch in the village, there was already some paper on the ground. I stopped to have a little chat and said that I was sure there wouldn't be any litter on the ground when they left, especially as there was a littler bin so close. My faith in human nature was restored, for when I left the shop and passed where these young people had been sitting there wasn't a scrap to be seen. Well done!! G.O.

Tupperware

Have you ever wondered what happened to Tupperware? Do you remember those Tupperware parties held in private homes to promote and sell the product? Every home had several items of it, and very good it was too. But then the parties seemed to sink without trace, so I was very interested to read an article in the paper about it recently.

Apparently it was invented by a Mr Tupper from New Hampshire, America, in 1947. He had originally been a labourer on his parents' farm, he had an imaginative mind and liked inventing things and kept a diary of his ideas. He then went to work for a foremost plastics firm and left after a year to pursue his own ideas. He felt that the use of plastics was the way forward. After many attempts he developed a clear, mouldable plastic from black polyethylene slag, and felt that boxes made of this would be ideal for storing food. The sticking point was trying to get a lid that was airtight and wouldn't leak when dropped. This he eventually did in 1947, but people found it very difficult to open. Then he met a lady called Brownie Wise who was able to demonstrate how to do it easily, he made her a vice-president and she organised the home sales parties. Hostesses were encouraged to hold these parties by being given gifts such as an electric hair dryer or a crock-pot. The party idea swept across America, and arrived in Britain in the sixties, where they continued to be popular through the seventies as well.

As they say, the rest is history, but not quite. That was not the end of the story because Mr Tupper, jealous of the ever increasingly popular Brownie Wise, fired her in 1958 and sold the company the following year for $16 million. Last year the company announced that no more Tupperware parties would be held. G.O.

Coincidence

Last week at the club, whilst waiting for activities to begin, two or three of us were indulging in some idle conversation. One of them I have known at the club for getting on for twenty years. The conversation started off innocuously enough about Christmas and how some people had been unfortunate enough to have had a very bad cold over the festive season. I then remarked that since I had retired from my job I hadn't caught half as many colds. And as conversations do, one remark led to another. When I said where I had worked one said 'My wife and I knew someone there, they lived at …, we were very good friends'. I was amazed, for I too had been a very good friend of the same couple! To think that this must have been at least twenty-five years ago, as since then the husband has died and the wife retired and moved up north. As they say … it's a small world! G.O.

Shirehampton Primary School

On Friday 17th December children from Years 4, 5 and 6 at Shirehampton Primary School sang Carols to elderly people at Penhill Residential Home.

The school was made very welcome. The residents joined in some of the singing and the children and staff were treated to drinks, cakes, mince pies and chocolates. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time and it was well worth doing.

On Monday 13th December the whole of Shirehampton Primary School took part in a 'Christmas Big Draw'. Each class as provided with large sheets of paper and various art materials for the event. The aim of the 'big draw' was to encourage everybody to have a go at drawing. Groups of children and teachers worked on one sheet of paper at a time, which also promoted the importance of team work. The theme was 'Christmas' and Christmas artefacts, including cards, greenery, decorations and ornaments were put onto tables as a stimulus for the children. To help get everybody in the mood, Christmas music was also played in the background.

The 'big draw' was very successful and everybody had a great time. Children have already asked when another one will be held!

Carols on the Green

What a prompt and rousing start was made to 'Carols on the Green' on Christmas Eve by father and son, namely Philip and Andrew Steel, who encouraged us all to sing and shout louder than ever before.  Luckily the drizzle which had gone on and off al day stopped and dried up by the evening.  We wished Shirehampton a 'Merry Christmas' and young Bradley a 'Happy Birthday' who says he is now 9 years old - with great gusto!

A nice touch was that the Steel family kindly organised the distribution of sweets among the younger carollers.  No doubt the children much appreciated their thoughtfulness.

The bands from Portway Community School and the West Bristol Centre combined under thatbaton of Mr Philip Sims (who came all the way from Chepstow) gave us wonderful backing for the carols.  We should also like to thank the lady who lives on The Green and allows us to plug in to her electricity supply each year for the lights and microphone to be used.

Overheard while distributing Shire's and carol sheets to those who had forgotten to bring their paper with them, someone 'Oh I do enjoy coming to Carol's on the Green, itsets Christmas off on the right nite'.  J.A.

191st Scout Troop

On Thursday November 25th Tyrone Hughes, Paul Armstrong and George Harding 'crossed the bridge' and were invested in the 191st St Mary's Scout Troop (see photo above). This ceremony signifies the transition from cubs to scouts, or from non-scout to scout; thus the troop has three new members.

On Saturday 12th and Sunday 19th December the scouts held a collection outside the Co-op in Shirehampton and raised £461.84. The Troop would like to thank Mr Garland, his staff and all the residents of Shire who willingly parted with their cash.

On Saturday 18th December, in the evening, Tyrone Hughes and Grant Watkins (Scoutmaster) held a bucket collection in Shirehampton Mens' Social Club and raised £59.16. Thank you to the committee for their permission, and to the members for their support.

'On the Buses' in the Fifties

In 1958, having become thoroughly bored with office work, I decided on a complete change of job and enrolled as a Bristol bus-conductor (I was too young, at eighteen, to be a driver).

The two main routes I worked on were the No. 28 and the No. 22. The 28 ran from Avonmouth to Withywood and the 22 from Sea MIlls to Hartcliffe. Both routes went through the Centre.

I was based at Avonmouth Depot, which was next to the old post office. The old post office is now the police station; what was the depot is now opposite the modern-day post office!

The Bristol Omnibus Company offices were in St Augustine's Parade on the Centre. This was where you paid in your day's takings at the end of your shift. It was also where the company canteen was, so it was always packed with drivers and conductors, eating, drinking or paying-in.

My mother was a little upset when I gave up my 'nice office job' to work on the buses. However, she still insisted that I turn out smartly, with a newly-ironed white shirt (with detachable collar!) every day.

As I previously stated, the work was in shifts: six till two, two till ten - and the split-shift, which gave you a free afternoon, but meant you worked until the last bus. However, the last bus was never the last bus, just as the first bus was never the first.

I remember taking the very first bus out of Avonmouth depot. I would get up at about 5 o'clock in the morning and, after a quick bite, would cycle down to the depot. Then the driver and I would take out the bus and tour the area, picking up the crews for the first public buses of the day.

The same thing happened, in reverse, at the end of every day. When all the last buses had returned to the depot, a bus would go out to drop off the conductors and drivers at, or near their homes. The driver and conductor of the 'drop-off' bus would find their way home as best they could (in my case, again by bike).

Although there was trouble on some of the late-night buses and I heard stories of drivers taking their buses to the nearest police station for it to be sorted out, I never experienced any violence at all. Mind you, if a drunk appeared to be verging on violence and refused to pay his fare, I would not insist (something about discretion being the better part of valour!).

I always had more money in my bag at the end of the day than I should have. This was because, especially in the rush hour, people would drop their fares into my bag without me knowing. A more striking example was the bus from the Smelting Works at Avonmouth, taking men off shift. The bus would be packed tight, with standing upstairs and downstairs and the open platform crammed (quite illegal - but who was I, a young slip of a lad, to argue with burly shift-workers). Two stops later, at Avonmouth, about half the men got off. I would be still trying to collect fares on the top deck. Some didn't pay; others left their fares in the conductor's cubby hole. I didn't have the time to count the money (I was still trying to collect the rest of the fares) so I would put the cash in my bag and run off a few tickets from my machine. I paid all the money in my bag into the accounts section at the end of my shift.

I was surprised by my first pay slip. Besides my full pay, all the extra money I had paid in was also paid back to me. I can only guess that the accountants only wanted money that tallied with ticket sales and that any extra would mess up their books! This situation stayed the same throughout my career (a year) as a conductor.

Not all the drivers I worked with were nice people. There was one particular mean and self-centred man, who gave no thought to the passengers. He would never stop if he saw someone running for the bus.

On one occasion we had stopped to pick up a passenger. I was just about to ring the bell when I saw a woman a fair distance down the road, running for the bus. I was determined to wait for her, even though the driver kept turning round to glare at me. Eventually the woman reached the bus - and ran straight past! The driver was furious with me and wouldn't speak to me for the rest of the day.

This same driver would get to the end of the journey as quickly as possible, so that he could have a longer smoke. He would wait till we got past the Centre (where an inspector may have got aboard), then he would go as fast as he could. Obviously, he gradually reached more and more stops much earlier than he should have (because he wasn't keeping to the timetable); consequently people missed their buses.

I enjoyed working on the buses, but left to start my National Service in the Medical Corps (where I was posted to Paris!). G.O.

View Shire and buy Hall History on-line

If you have difficulty getting hold of a copy of SHIRE, don't forget that you can read it on-line. Our website is www.shire.org.uk.

The full text of each month's newspaper is put on the site during the month of issue. You can also browse through more than five years of back numbers, and use the search button to find references to particular words or phrases.

As well as SHIRE newspaper, the site includes a comprehensive directory of local community organisations. If you are associated with an organisation which is not on the site, or where the details are out of date, please let us know and we will amend it. If you simply want to locate sports clubs, community organisations, schools, churches and other clubs and societies in Shirehampton you will find contact details on the web site.

The website also contains information about Shirehampton, local bus services, a brief history and a page of people looking for lost friends and family. In addition, there are local businesses advertising their wares.

You will have seen details of Judy Helme's recently published book, marking the centenary of the Public Hall. If you cannot easily obtain this from the Hall (0117 982 9963) or any of the local shops which stock it, you can now order it on-line from a link at www.shirepubhall.org.uk and pay by credit card. It costs £10.00 post free in the United Kingdom, £11.00 in Europe and £12.50 in the rest of the world.

You can access the web site from many computer with an internet connection by typing www.shire.org.uk into your computer's browser. If you do not have access to a computer, you can use one of the free public terminals at the Library in Station Road.

Dear Neighbours and Friends

I and the family wish to express our sincere thanks to you all, you have been so kind and very supportive to us all. It was so comforting to see so many friends of Joyce's at the Church Service on Thursday 30th December 2004. I knew she had many friends, but the presence of you all at the Church brought tears to my eyes, paying your respect to my dearest, wife, mother, nanny and friend. I cannot find enough words to fully convey my thanks.

God Bless you all

Love from Clive and family

As read out at St Mary's Church, Shirehampton, Funeral Service 30th December 2004, 2pm - in Memory of Bird, Joyce

To Joyce - from Clive

You have a new home,
In which to rest,
No more chores, have you to do
I will do these, just like you.
Thinking of you, all of the time
Because you know, you're only mine
Time will come, when we can be,
Together again, so wait for me.

The friends you have
I will have them too
Because I know, that's what
You would want me to do.

Your love you gave,
To the many you knew
I shall continue, as you
Would want me to.

Our sons, daughters-in-laws
And grandchildren too
I shall cherish, just like you.

Many a roll you had in life,
But the one you loved best
Was being my wife.
We raised three sons
Which was the joy of our life
Along came their wives
To add to the family tree.

And six lovely grandchildren
They had for us all to see.

Memories of you will never leave me
As I look at the many photos
Of you and me,
Many a good time, for all to see.

Your resting place, dear
Is not far from home,
Only a few minutes walk
So you won't be alone.

Shirehampton you have lived,
For over 46 years,
Now you rest there
In the village you could
Almost call your own.

I will be there,
With Scamp, family and friends
To tender your home,
With loving care,
Flowers you can smell,
Because they will always be there.

Now is the time for us all to say Goodbye
To a loving, faithful wife, mother, nanny and friend.
It's not for the last time, that I will say,
I love you, rest my dear,
We are all thinking of you.

God Bless Joyce
Clive, Family and Friends

The Skittle Team 'whip-round'

'Twas just at the start of a crucial home game
That the surprise announcement came
Charlie, who is our youngest skittler
Said, as he drank his pint of bitter
'I'm getting married next month, to my girl, who
Invites you all to our evening 'do'.

A buzz of excitement pervaded the alley
As on the whole, we're all quite pally
One player then said, getting yet another duck
We should buy a present to wish them good luck'
Another said, just missing the quarter
'Yes, I really think we oughta'
'Perhaps', said another, who was counting the kitty
'Someone could write in a card a few lines that are witty'
'It's right that a card, with the gift, be included'
Our captain, forever wise, then concluded.

The chap at the board, with chalk in his hand,
Thought that would be absolutely grand.
'And what about the 'sticker up'?' suggested two or three
'Perhaps he could donate a part of his fee'.

All agreed, they thought that was cool
So unanimously they each decided to pool
A very small percentage of the cost of a round
As they didn't want to spend much more than one pound!

'Steady Sid' our stalwart at anchor
Volunteered to be the banker
'And what' he asked, taking out the front pin
'Is the money to be collected in'?

And because nobody wears a hat these days
The cash was collected in two ashtrays
With fag ash removed, and a quick wipe clean
They were quite good enough, you know what I mean.

Some gave just a few coppers, [which are all some players hit
With balls that are wayward, well, just a bit].
When the total was tallied, not once, but twice
There wasn't enough for some fancy device.

So instead of something that could be easily broken
We blew the whole ten pounds on a basic book token.

Charlie's wedding went well; weeellll, as well as it could
And the team's behaviour was surprisingly good.
But there is one drawback, to which none gave a thought
We now play our skittles with one player short
His wife, you see, now he's no longer single
Doesn't let poor Charlie out to mingle!!

Malcolm Jones
Passage Leaze

The 'Evergreens'

The 'Evergreens' is one of the oldest organisations in Shire. We think our readers will be interested to read about it and so we reprint here an edited extract from the book by local author Judy Helme who has very kindly allowed us to use it. The original appears in her new book 'Shirehampton Public Hall 1904-2004'. For information on ordering the book please see www.shirepubhall.org.uk

'The Old Age Pensioners Club'

Miss Rotha Clay, an early warden of the University Settlement and indefatigable worker for the needs of Shirehampton people, founded 'The Old Age Pensioners Club' in 1920.

They met in a small clubhouse at the back of where Woolworths is now, but Barrow Hill farmhouse was then acquired and became the Club's headquarters until 1945, when Twyford House was purchased for adult work. The Club moved there and became known as the 'Evergreens'. Miss Clay died and Rosa Higgs and Fred Gould, the new Warden of the University Settlement, took over the running of the Evergreens. When Miss Higgs died the group formed its own committee and moved to the Public Hall, as the room at Twyford House had become too small for the growing membership.

Mr and Mrs Lewis, and a committee, ran the Evergreens and Fred Gould was the Administrative Secretary. During Fred Gould's time he would not allow the activities to include Bingo or Jumble Sales and alcohol was also banned. Mr Lewis resigned as Chairman in 1972 and I Bartlett took over for a period. In 1978 Mrs K Lewis joined her husband as Joint President and Audrey Harris took over Chairmanship, having previously been Vice Chairman.

The Club met every Friday afternoon for entertainment and a cup of tea. In July 1975 children from Shirehampton Infants' School entertained the Evergreens and at later meetings the Juniors, St Bernard's Juniors and Portway School children did the same. In addition other activities were arranged such as regular coach trips, a holiday week and Christmas parties at which such guests as Mrs Anne Hewer, OBE, JP and the Lord Mayor and his lady were invited. The meal was organised by the Ladies committee. At the parties vouchers were distributed to qualifying members, which in 1978 for instance were worth £1.50 to be spent in Gateway Supermarket (now Somerfield).

At varying times Mr and Mrs Chapman, Mr and Mrs Brewer, Mr and Mrs Croft and Mr Stinchcombe have taken on committee roles according to Olive Bees and Emmy Bell who have been members for 30 years. By 1985 Harry Brooks was the Chairman. It was in about 1994 Norman Sims, the present Chairman, took on the role from Chris Lewis.

Emmy Bell and Olive Bees -

'We joined at the same time about 30 years ago. We were asked to do the teas 22 years ago, as a temproary measure and have been doing them ever since! Day trips and and 'lovely' holidays have always happened. Some memorable holidays included Scotland and Ireland. Trips are to places like Sidmouth, Torquay and Bournemouth.'

A typical programme of activities in the new Millennium included outings to various Welsh and English market towns and seaside resorts in Dorset, Devon and Somerset. A favourite venue for the Christmas lunch seemed to be the Abbey Mill at Tintern but the members vote each year on where they want to hold this celebratory meal.

The Club continues to meet on a Friday afternoon but three years ago the meeting time was brought forward to 1pm to allow the new After School Club access at 3pm. However, with the demise of this latter group the Evergreens reverted back to a 2pm start in September.

In this centenary year the Evergreens membership stands at about 40. People are eligible to join from the age of 50, although most of the membership is much older and, whereas there used to be a lot of men involved, they have passed on and their widows have continued. The entertainment programme now includes choirs and quizzes and Bingo are very popular with the membership. There are fund raising events to defray the cost of outings and these latter are well patronised. Financial help also comes from the John James Fund and the Summer Skittles League. Regular raffles are also held to raise funds, with members bringing along an item 'to go on the table'. There was a time when one lady used to donate a bottle of brandy every six weeks or so, a good win for the cost of a 6d (2.5p) ticket!

Norman Sims is assisted on the committee by Margaret Giles (Treasurer), Jean Potter (Secretary), Emmie Ball and Olive Bees who organise the catering. At the first meeting in January each year a new committee is elected. In fact the group is run very democratically with all members making decisions on what sort of entertainment and activities they want throughout the year and where they wish to go on trips.

St Valentine's Day

The custom of men and women sending cards anonymously to one whom they secretly admire seems to have started far back in the days of the Roman Empire, though opinions differ about who was really responsible.

In ancient Rome February 14th was a public holiday in honour of Juno, Queen of the many Roman gods and goddesses. The following day was the start of the Feast of Lupercalia. On the eve of this feast the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed in jars. Each young man would then draw the name of a girl from the jar and they would then be partners for the duration of the festival. No doubt in some cases the couples began a more lasting relationship. Under the rule of the cruel Emperor Claudius, Rome was involved in many bloody and very unpopular campaigns and it proved difficult to recruit enough soldiers. Claudius decided that was because Roman men were unwilling to leave wives and girlfriends and so forebade all marriages and engagements. A priest in Rome called Valentine aided the persecuted Christian martyrs and secretly marked couples. For this act of treason he had his head cut off on the 14th of February, about the year 270. The Christian pastors of the early church were unhappy with the pagan festival of Lupercalia and began to substitute the names of saints for those of young women in the jars and the youths and maidens would draw the names of saints who would become their patrons for the coming year. For the growing number of Christians the festival of Lupercalia became instead the Feast of St Valentine, celebrated from then on every February 14th.

Both Chaucer and Shakespeare mention St Valentines Day, but it was only early in the 1800s that the first Valentines cards were produced commercially, almost always featuring cupids and transfixed hearts. In today's more secular world where courtship rules are very different, St Valentine's Day is more often the occasion for wives to expect bunches of red roses and for couples to go out for a celebratory meal. The young have other and often less subtle ways of showing their interest in each other.

St Mary's News

Hi folks!

I'm afraid I start this month with some very sad news. Just before Christmas we learned of the sudden and tragic death of one of our church family - Jane Powell. Jane was a very active member of St Mary's and was our interpreter for the deaf. She could be frequently found on Sunday mornings interpreting for the deaf with her excellent knowledge of sign language at our Holy Communion Services. Jane was also an avid supporter of Christian Aid and devoted a considerable amount of her time collecting or arranging collections for this Charity. Her work in this direction will be sorely missed.

Jane's funeral took place at St Mary's on Friday 7th January, 2005 and it is estimated that in excess of 850 people attended to pay tribute to her and give thanks for her life. I have never seen so many people in our church. Every seat was taken, as was the space for those standing. Many people could not get into the building and were stood in the West Porch and outside in the churchyard. It was wonderful to welcome so many people from the community into our church to pay their last respects to Jane. We were very fortunate to have the services of the recently appointed Chaplain to the Deaf - Rev Gill Behenna who was able to sign the Service for the many deaf persons who were in attendance. It was the wish of Jane's family that the retiring collection should be donated to Christian Aid. This raised over £1000. Our thoughts and prayers are now with Richard - Jane's husband, her two children Katherine and Andrew and her mother Annie. Please give them your love and support as they come to accept the future without dear Jane.

Boxing Day brought another tragedy over the Christmas to our attention - the Tsunami which struck South East Asia and affected so many countries. It is hard to comprehend a disaster on such a scale. So many lives have been lost and so much infrastructure destroyed it beggars belief. An appeal was made for funds for those people affected by the Tsunami on Sunday 2nd January at our Holy Communion Service and over £1100 as raised. This has been sent to the Appeal via Christian Aid. In line with other members of the European Community 3 minutes silence was observed in St Mary's on Wednesday 5th January to remember the victims of the Tsunami.

Our floodlights were again appreciated over Christmas and many favourable comments were received by visitors to our church. Before leaving the subject of Christmas, thanks must go to Tony - the manager of the Co-op for his very generous gift of chocolates. We were given a huge box and people were invited to help themselves. They lasted well into the New Year - so thank you Tony, they were very much appreciated.

The Christmas Concert by the Area Choir raised over £800 towards the Organ Fund which was a great delight.

Our Gift Day also raised £4375 when the Gift Aided donations were calculated. This brings the Organ Fund to almost £13,000 - which means we are now half way to paying for the major overhaul.

The Crib Service on Christmas Eve was very well attended. Lots of children were dressed up as Shepherds and Angels and a great attraction for them was the presence of two Donkeys. The Donkeys came from the Donkey Sanctuary at Whitchurch and they were extremely well behaved and seemed to enjoy the attention of the children. We had a very tall Shepherd who really looked the part and answers to the name of Andy (answers on a postcard please as to whom it may have been). There was also a very Wise Woman - who looked absolutely stunning in her red coloured costume. Her face was very familiar - I'm sure I've seen it before - dashing around the Parish and dressed in slightly different robes on a Sunday. The baby Jesus was played by a certain grandson who has now qualified for his Equity Card. Two old wrinklies played the part of Mary and Joseph (also known as Gran and Grandad). The gift of Gold was a box of Terry's All Gold, whilst the Myrrh was a bottle of Mer car polish and the Frankincense was in an earthenware pot - what that contained I dare not ask!

Our Tree of LIght service was very well attended again and there is an obvious need for this type of service at Christmas time. Also it was noticed that our new Memorial Chapel was extremely well used over the Christmas and New Year period.

On Tuesday 8th February it is Pancake Day and once more we shall be holding a Pancake Party in the Church during the morning and Pancake Races in the Churchyard. Come and try out your skill and join in the fun. Who knows what may happen in the future - it it becomes that popular we could have a Pancake Race in the next Olympic Games!

The next day is Ash Wednesday. A Holy Communion Service will be held in church at 7.30pm followed by a simple Supper. Any donations from this event will be sent to the Tsunami Appeal.

On Saturday 12th February we are holding a Lent Quiet Day at Trinity College, Stoke Bishop from 10am until 3.30pm, which will be led by Canon Douglas Holt from Bristol Cathedral. Please see Canon Christine or Gill Sawyer if you are interested in attending and they will give you further details.

Our next Lent Course will be on Wednesday 16th February from 7pm until 9pm. The theme will be 'Reel Issues' - watching great movies and discovering what they tell us about life and faith today. Keep the following Wednesdays free in your diary - we shall be pleased to welcome you. The course will be held in St Mary's.

Another date for your diary is Saturday 26th February. On this day there will be a Gilbert and Sullivan Society Concert in St Mary's at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6 and include Wine and Nibbles during the interval. All proceeds from this Concert will go towards the Organ Fund.

In case the next edition of 'Shire' is late being published perhaps you would like to make note of the Womens World Day of Prayer service, which is to be held this year in St Mary's at 2pm on Friday 4th March followed by tea and light refreshments. This service is not restricted to women - men are very welcome to attend as well!

As many of you may know the REv Dr Harry Wardale - Vicar of St Peter's, Lawrence Weston is to retire this coming Easter. We wish him a long and happy retirement. His retirement will no doubt involve the covering of services etc by clergy from the newly formed Avonside cluster.

Finally, may I offer apologies to those folks who found the Pembroke Road gate of the churchyard locked for 24 hours just after Christmas and were unable to walk through to the High Street. This is done once a year in order that the churchyard path does not become a public right of way and we are able to maintain control of it.

Well, that's all the news for this month. Bye for now. C.M.E.

Shirehampton Library New Books

Collier, Catrin Sinners & Shadows
Crichton, Michael State of Fear
Flynn, Katie A Long and Lonely Road
Francome, John Stalking Horse
Frazer, Margaret The Hunter's Tale
Higgins, Jack Toll for the Brave
Hill, Reginald Good Morning, Midnight
Magson, Adrian No Peace for the Wicked
O'Brien, Maureen Every Step You Take
Ryan, Robert Night Crossing
Tyler, Anne Earthly Possessions
Quick, Amanda The Paid Companion
Williams, Dee Love and War

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) - Review of 2004

SCAF has had another successful and busy year; continuing to work on issues under the broad umbrella of Community Safety, Youth Support and Environment, with Shire Greens and The Daisy Field Community Park Project.

SCAF has continued to expand and attract new partners to tackle the priority issues. We also continue to work with a wide range of other organisations working for their communities in North West Bristol. We held our first AGM in September which was very well supported, and we have attracted 2 new local Trustees, to replace those who stood down. SCAF also contributed to the Public Hall's Centenary Exhibition. We also attracted sponsorship to produce a comprehensive Annual Report.

Some of the key achievements by the 3 Action Groups during the year include:

Community Safety Action Group

  • Completed full public consultation on community safety concerns - the group has prioritised the top 3 concerns raised by residents - Litter, Anti-social Behaviour and Traffic Problems/Road Safety Issues
  • Organised local 'Leap Into Action' event as part of the community clean-up campaign with Police and Bristol City Council
  • Took part in the Police 'Action on Street Crime'

Youth Support Action Group

  • Successfully applied for £12,000 for a second year of funding from Connexions, West of England, for Positive Activities for Young People so we have organised activity programmes in each and every school holiday for local young people
  • Received funding of £3,500 from BYCA (Bristol Youth Community Action) for Portway Community School Summer Scheme programme
  • Attracted further funding of £350 to support a short residential course for 7 local young people at Adventure International, Cornwall - outward bound activities

Shire Greens - Community planting events and activities

  • Completed Public Consultation on action plan for Daisy Field
  • Planted a small orchard
  • Site walks and continuing close partnership working with the Parks & Landscape Team at Bristol City Council
  • Hedgerow planting
  • Clean-up Campaign
  • 2 Bulb Plant Events - mixed woodland daffs
  • Seed scattering event

SCAF is open to, and welcomes everyone who would like to become involved in any aspect of our current work programmes - bring along your own concerns and views…

For further information and meeting dates please contact Ash Bearman, Community Development Officer at Shire Public Hall, Station Road, Shire BS11 9TU. Tel. 0117 982 9963 or email ashbearman@hotmail.com

Portway School Reunion 71-74

All ex-Portway school 'students' and their spouses who left around 1971 to 1974 are invited to a reunion on the 30th April 2005. Many are approaching their 50s and the last reunion for 72-73 leavers was 10 years ago. Everyone who attended the last reunion at the Bristol Rugby Club thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was difficult to get people to leave.

It was decided to extend the range of years from 1971 to 1974 as so many intermarried, and it will give the spouses the opportunity to see their old friends at the same time. Teachers will also be very welcome.

A venue will be finalised once a rough idea of the numbers of those interested in attending are known, and tickets will be £10.00. The price is to include a finger buffet, bar, parking and entertainment will also be available.

Anyone interested can send their details (address, telephone number and/or e-mail plus any old photographs) with a cheque for £10.00 to Geoff Parsons, 35 Briarside Road, Bristol BS10 6JB. Telephone 07970 810521 (email geoff.parsons@virgin.net). A ticket will be issued straight away and everyone will be kept up to date on the plans.

So far most of the 30 people who have so far responded were contacted by the highly successful internet site 'Friends Reunited'. Many are spread all over the UK and Channel Islands.

Please let anyone you think might be interested know - the next one will be at least 10 years away.

Many thanks from Avonmouth Old Boys Rugby Club

On the evening of the 18th December (which was very wet and very cold), boys and girls from Avonmouth Old Boys Rugby Club followed a carol bus through Avonmouth and Shirehampton, raising money for the childrens' end of season tour.

Thanks to the kind donations we managed to raise £706.56, all of which will be used to subsidise what is always a great couple of days full of fun packed activities.

Avonmouth Old Boys Rugby Club is there to support the local communities and the section runs teams competing at U8s, 9s, 10s, 12s, 14s, 16-17s and also a colts team (U19s).

Once again a massive thank you to all who gave and on behalf of Avonmouth Old Boys RC we wish you a prosperous new year.

If you would like any information regarding the club, or know someone who would like to join them, please contact the club on 0117 982 9093.

Paul Harrison

(Mini section coach)

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor re Kebab Shop

In reply to Mrs K Poole of Seamills on the subject of the Charcoal Grill on the Green at Shire.

The shop is in a Conservation Area and opened without planning permission despite kebabs etc being sold 50 yards away. Closing at midnight causes problems from 10.30pm onwards, especially Fridays and Saturdays. Late buses and cars from surrounding areas, cars with passengers from pubs etc. Our sleep is disturbed on these late nights with shouting and fights can be heard, the car doors slamming, a screech of tyres and off they go, leaving their rubbish on the pavement.

Would you be happy having such a shop by your home in Sea Mills?

Kebab Shop

Dear Editor

I am writing in response to the litter which appeared in the 'Shire' in December 2004 by B M and the subsequent response from Mrs Kay Poole of Sea Mills in January 2005.

Suffice it to say I agree with everything B M said. If you go through Shirehampton High Street (particularly outside the rank of shops where Woolworths is located) you will see discarded kebab cartons, chicken cartons and piles of chips strewn all over the place. There is also a trail continuing down over Lower High Street.

I agree to a certain extent with Mrs Poole that litter has been an ongoing concern in the village, but since the opening of the kebab shop this has been exacerbated.

It is not acceptable for anyone, whether they are 16 or 60 years of age to deliberately drop litter, especially when there are litter bins dotted around the village. There is no excuse!

Mrs Poole says she can remember hanging around Shire in a crowd, talking and having a laugh. Unfortunately things have changed dramatically since the late 50s early 60s when Mrs Poole was in her youth. Nowadays there are those who have no regard for others, for the environment in which they live, let alone themselves.

I wonder if Mrs Poole was ever disrespectful towards the 'bobby' who moved her on? Did she drop litter, swear, vandalise, intimidate or act in any other such anti social manner?

Sadly, one tends to view groups of youths with suspicion, even though they may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Which goes to prove that the minority tends to spoil it for the majority!

Returning to the subject of the kebab shop; it does nothing for the village. I personally would have preferred a nice quality bookshop sited on these premises.

Mrs Poole is fortunate that she can return to her home in Sea Mills where she does not have to put up with the litter, congregation of youths and the bright lights of the kebab shop into the early hours of the morning, seven days a week! Those who live on and around the Green have this to contend with every day.

Yours faithfully

K Hughes

Dear Editor

I am writing regarding the kebab shop in Shirehampton. I am one of those who object to the kebab shop being allowed to continue trading. I still stand by the original main reasons for objection - mainly that:

1. The shop will cause (and most certainly has caused) an increase in the amount of litter surrounding the Green

2. There are enough take away food outlets in Shirehampton - it is not needed

3. Allowing the kebab shop to trade results in the loss of a valuable retail (shopping) outlet to the people of Shirehampton. Especially with the number of new flats and homes that have been built in the last couple of years. We need shops that encourage people to use the village and help the local economy.

However, since November when the kebab shop owner flouted Bristol City Council's decision, this has become an issue of policy. What is the point in having a procedure for seeking planning permission? What sort of message is this sending out to local villagers?

Does this mean that we can all start building extensions on our houses and not worrying about the consequences? Shall we all start pulling down listed buildings? Policies should be there to be adhered to - and should be written properly in the first place.

I understand that the owner has appealed against the Council's decision. Everyone should have one right of appeal. Perhaps Bristol City Council should agree with the owner that, should his appeal be unsuccessful, he will be retrospectively fined for each day that he has traded without permission? This might make people less likely to break the rules. If you break the rules you should accept the consequences.

Yours sincerely

Mr C Harris

Ina Hume

Ina Hume has recently been appointed to assist the Public Hall Committee develop the structure of the Association to meet future challenges. We are very happy to be able to welcome her.

Photo by Eric Verey

Bus Service 695

We are grateful to one of our readers, M L Oliver, who has drawn attention to this service between Portishead and Bristol which stops at Portway Station Road. It is a limited stop service operating from Mondays to Fridays. Towards Bristol the times are 0803 0918 1028 and then every hour until 1728 and 1828. Towards Portishead the times are 0751 0901 1011 and then every hour until 1711 and 1811. Amongst the five stops in Portishead is the new Waitrose store.

A Strange Coincidence

About ten years ago I was fortunate to spend two weeks in Pakistan, visiting the major cities with a group of representatives of British universities, talking to students and institutions considering further study in Britain.

We visited Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. A small group of us made an additional trip to Peshawar, the capital of the North West Province. This is one of the oldest cities in Pakistan, only a short distance from the famous Kyber Pass, and was occupied by the British from 1849 until Independence in 1947. It was the administrative and strategic centre of the area and its role was mainly to protect the rest of the British possessions in India from the unrest and invasions coming through the Kyber Pass from Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia. Peshawar, without half a million inhabitants is about the same size as Bristol and is one of the most ancient, dramatic and colourful cities in the entire country. Many of its citizens are very striking, being tall, well proportioned with piercing blue eyes which are thought to be a legacy from the troops who had come as conquerors with Alexander the Great around 320bc.

At the time of my visit it still had some of the aspects of a frontier town, its markets bursting with colourful and exotic goods, spices, fabrics and metal goods. There were hundreds of tiny workshops open to the street in which you could see very skilled craftsmen fashioning hand guns, rifles and sub-machine guns with very primitive hand tools from scrap metals. Guns were everywhere. In front of our hotel, the Pearl Continental, at that time the finest in the city, there was a large notice board with the words 'The Management respectfully requests that guests deposit all hand and machine guns with the porter at the front gate as no weapons of any kind will be permitted inside the hotel'.

I spent a very busy three days in the city meeting potential students and talking to government officials, and only at the end of my last day was I able for the first time to wander out in the late evening to explore the shops. Unfortunately the bazaars and market stalls had long since closed for the night, but on my way back to the hotel I came across a newly built little arcade of shops, just one of them was open but on the point of closing. Seeing me, the owner cheerfully made me welcome and I was able to wander through a positive Aladdin's cave of exotic items from scent bottles to old rifles, faded gazeteers to copper cooking pots, costume jewellery, bridal clothes and old china and glassware. On one of several heavily laden tables I caught the dull gleam of what looked like stainless steel and discovered a single stirrup, one of a pair that would have been suspended on leather straps from a riding saddle. Some years earlier I had been given a charming little bell with a particularly sweet chime which was at its best when the bell was suspended from a frame. The stirrup was exactly the right size and shape for my bell and I was so pleased to have found it that I cheerfully paid the £2 asked and left a slightly disappointed shopkeeper who had been denied the pleasure of bargaining. It was only when I got back to my room in a better light that I saw the lettering that had been stamped on the bottom of the stirrup, BARR, BRISTOL!

When I returned to Bristol I got in touch with the City reference library who kindly confirmed that Edward G Barr and Son had premises at 1 College Road in 1881, and are listed as saddlers. It seems fairly clear that they would have bought in the stirrups and stamped their name on them, as was common practice at that time. I like to imagine the stirrups were bought by a cavalryman, perhaps on his way to a posting on the Northwest Frontier, and it would be nice to think that he came from Bristol, perhaps even Shirehampton!

However the stirrup got to Peshawar I still find it the most remarkable thing that on a particular day I should have come all the way from Bristol to perhaps the one shop in the whole of Peshawar that was open and have come across an object that had made the same journey, perhaps over a hundred years earlier, and has now returned to where it came from. M.M.

A Good Recycling Cause Needed

Does anyone know of a deserving cause, which makes use of silver paper and tinfoil. I have collected a pile of these materials, only to find that the place who used to collect and recycle them has stopped doing it through lack of storage space.