February 2015 ‘Kung Hei Phat Choy’!
‘Happy New Year’!
The new moon dictated that 19th February was the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Sheep or Ram. Luckily for us, the celebrations can last for up to15 days, so our Burtle Chinese.
Evening Dinner on 28th February was in good time.
The Village Hall was decorated with Chinese lanterns, fans, bamboo, banners and the occasional, quite small, dragon!
More than sixty diners enjoyed a very friendly evening with background Oriental music, plenty of chat and a Chinese themed Table Quiz to keep them amused between courses.
We tried to include as many traditional elements as we could, so as well as the three course home made Chinese menu with chopsticks provided, there were extra delicacies like prawn crackers and spicy cassava crisps to nibble, Chinese beer to buy at the bar, Lucky Red Packets – envelopes with ‘golden’ money to herald a year of prosperity – Chinese sweets and fresh mandarins. Mandarins are always eaten at New Year because the Teochew dialect word for this fruit is the same as that for ‘luck’ or ‘fortune’, so it is an auspicious omen.
The final flourish for the meal was a choice of traditional jasmine or green tea – or Indian tea or coffee – and fortune cookies. These cookies – a thin biscuit shell curled around a slip of paper with a ‘fortune’ printed on it – are actually a relatively modern innovation for celebration meals. They were popularised early in the twentieth century by immigrant Chinese communities in the United States. None the less, tasty and good fun!
It was a happy occasion which everyone seemed to enjoy..
Kung hei phat choy!
February 2015 Valentine’s Café Burtle
February’s Café Burtle fell on Valentine’s Day, so of course we had to mark the occasion! There were red roses and sequin hearts on the tables, as well as extra special cakes to buy. Tea and coffee, terrific bacon baps and fabulous home made cakes are a monthly tradition for many villagers, neighbours and families. It is a pleasure to welcome everyone and see – and hear – how much friendly chat goes on.
Another treat was to have Tanya Camberwell from Avalon Marshes Centre there. She brought a wonderful display of old maps and photos of the area, as well as the winning photos from the Avalon Marshes Festival competition in the summer. Tanya also brought a scanner, so that if people were willing to share some of their local photos, these could be scanned on the spot for inclusion in the ‘Levels archive’.
January 2015 Farewell and Thank you
Following her last morning service in Burtle Church, members of the congregations from all six churches in the Polden Wheel gathered together in Burtle Village Hall to bid farewell to our vicar Rev Trish Olive.
Refreshments were served and Trish and her husband Mike were presented with gifts to thank them for all they have done for our community.
November 2014 Busy Café Burtle
Burtle’s monthly get together at the Village Hall was particularly busy in November. Our local MP, District Councillor, and the Village Agent for the area joined a Hall full of local people enjoying
themselves with conversation, cakes and coffee – or tea!
Christmas Shoeboxes were being collected for the annual Samaritan Appeal, and tickets were on sale for two Church social events in Burtle. The very popular Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance charity table with useful and festive nik naks for sale was there. A great range of Phoenix cards and paperware, a table of very nice ‘outgrown’ toys, and some little handmade Christmas tree decorations were on sale. Tickets for the Catcott School PTA ‘Mad Dog McRae’ event at the Village Hall on 5th December were available.
As well as all that, there was a fund raising table for Pancreatic Cancer UK. November is Pancreatic Cancer UK awareness month and everyone who makes and donates cakes for Café Burtle had agreed that the proceeds should go towards the charity funds this month. Together with the sale of Christmas cards and small items, and a wonderful raffle, a total of £101 was raised for the charity. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed or took part.
September 2014 Burtle Church Harvest Supper
October 2014 “Let them eat Cake”
Café Burtle celebrated its 8th birthday this month in Burtle Village Hall. A wonderful cake baked by Maureen Perdue, was shared and enjoyed by everyone there
In its eight years, Café Burtle has brilliantly fulfilled its original aim, which was to give villagers an opportunity to get together when the shop and post office closed – and it still does that. It has done so much more though.
Monthly Café Burtle is a venue for PCSO Lora Bray to meet up with us; it is an occasional sales outlet for a variety of local arts and crafts; it freely hosts charity fundraising tables – there will be one for Pancreatic Cancer Research in memory of Mick Perdue next month, and one for Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance; it is the perfect place to find out about local activities and events and to buy tickets; it is a regular ‘watering hole’ for cyclists. Astonishingly, it has also proved to be a significant fund raiser itself. Through the generosity of everyone who supports it, Café Burtle has contributed almost £9000 to the costs of running the village hall – and it is still fantastic value for delicious home made cakes!
Frankie Bull, who is a regular supporter of Café Burtle, donating all the profits from her craft tables, cut the cake for us.
October 2014 Footpath Finale
Burtle’s final footpath walk of the year was on another unbelievably mild October afternoon. It was a really pleasant sunny, Sunday stroll, and finished as always at the Village Hall where it had started. The walkers were delighted to sit and chat, enjoying delicious snacks kindly provided by the Parish Council, and a drink from the bar if they wanted.
The Parish Council hopes to plan another season of these popular local walks next year, taking in all the available routes.
October 2014 It’s time to do the washing up
The Burtle Priory Excavation 2013, funded as part of the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership, reached another exciting phase one early evening in October.
Dr Richard Brunning and Marc Cox from Somerset County Council Heritage Service, together with Burtle Village Hall Committee, organised a ‘dig wash’ event.
The finds from the site – see November Polden Post – had been meticulously recorded, filed and labelled as they were uncovered, and came back to Burtle to be cleaned up for further inspection and research. Lots of people who had helped with the dig, and other local people who were interested, were keen to see more of what had been discovered.
There were plenty of medieval pottery fragments, bones and teeth, shells, shell fossils, stone tiles and all sorts of bits and pieces to be scrubbed with old toothbrushes, laid out to drain and re-filed in their special bags. Richard and Marc were there to do some instant identifications and talk about the relevance of certain kinds of materials and items found.
The two stars of the show – sorry Richard and Marc – were undoubtedly the Purbeck marble stone mortar and the very rare metal posnet – a three legged cooking pot with a handle. We were so lucky to have them on display, and to see them looking wonderful. Great thanks are due to Dennis Parsons of the Somerset Museum Service who worked very hard on their restoration.
‘Hands on Heritage’ was an apt subtitle for the evening’s event, with everyone from young children to Burtle’s most senior resident able to be part of it.
Richard and Marc were really pleased that so many people came, and that they were enthusiastic to get involved in the messy side of things. Everyone appreciated the delicious refreshments too.
We eagerly await another chapter in the story of Burtle Priory, as more secrets are revealed by further research and analysis, carbon dating and so on. Richard Brunning has promised to return later
August 2014 Rained Off? No, but Rained In!
What a dreadful day August Bank Holiday Monday was! Do you remember it? Rain, rain, rain all day – until the evening!
Burtle Church, Harvest Home Committee and Village Hall Committee together had organised a ‘games day’ on the field next to the Village Hall. What to do? Cancel it? NO! Just make sure there were even more good things to do inside the Hall. You can see the children having fun, and there were cakes and strawberry cream teas to enjoy, a garden tree and shrub raffle, and the Bar was open as well.
With a couple of gazebos giving slight protection from the elements, the brave barbeque chefs stayed at their posts, so there was a choice of hot food too!
English Summer events always have to adapt to the weather, don’t they, and this one did it really well. Thank you to everyone who helped and everyone who supported the event by coming and joining in.
June 2014 Just What the Doctor Ordered!
Burtle Village Hall celebrated 5 years since the completion of its refurbishment with a great party on midsummer’s day
A rare cancellation in their calendar of engagements meant the village hall committee were able to book the fantastic 9 piece band ‘Doctor Chocolate’. They were a wow, and lots of people who knew of them came along to join villagers and friends.
On a perfect summer’s evening partygoers were able to enjoy fantastic music in the hall and the tranquillity of the new marquee outside. Many thanks are due to Raffie for the use of his field.
A ploughman’s supper snack in the middle of the evening, the special ‘5 themed’ raffle draw, and then back to the dancing.
The pictures can tell the story better than words. When village groups work together and then come together to enjoy the fruits of their shared labours, the true spirit of rural communities comes.
June 2014 Message in a Burtle Bottle
A sunny June day saw the Burtle Harvest Home Bottle Race on the South Drain.
The utilitarian name of the water belies its beauty – and indeed the direction in which the bottles raced! Due to quite a brisk breeze, the bottles floated in the opposite direction to that expected, but it all seemed part of the fun on the day! Lots of villagers and friends gathered on Catcott Bridge to see the launch by expert Tipperinner James Cox, and then followed the exciting race along the riverbank until a winner was declared. The 2 canine umpires – and their boat handlers – saw that there was no foul play, and retrieved all the bottles at the end of the race.
Back at Burtle Village Hall, more of the Harvest Home team had prepared cream teas, ices, and a delicious barbeque. With Jack Lee running a Bran Tub and Emily Porter doing ‘tattoos’ and nail painting, and music, it was very pleasant to relax with friends and wait for the results to be announced. The winning bottle belonged to Janet Dallimore, who was awarded the £50 cash prize. The first 10 children’s bottles also received a prize.
The Village Hall Committee opened the Bar later on and with Chris Puddy’s Picture Quiz evening, it was a full day of Burtle family fun.
The Harvest Home Committee wants to thank all the people who helped before and on the day in so many ways, including Glastonbury Spring Water who donated the bottles, Derek Cox and Mike and Di Richards for permission to go in their fields, Chris Mockridge for the music, SJ White and Alison Cooper for water skills, the generous anonymous donor of the cash prize and Russ Myers for stepping in as MC when Steve Allen was called away unexpectedly. Also of course, they thank all the people who bought bottles and joined in with enthusiasm making it such a successful and enjoyable event. The whole day raised around £750. A fantastic result. Thank you again to everyone.