VARC is delighted to welcome a limited number of visitors in person to a Work in Progress Open Studios event at Highgreen on Saturday 24th April 2021, which will feature works in progress by artists in residence Catriona Gallagher and Shane Finan. The event is free to attend, but it is essential that you book online in advance via the Eventbrite online booking system (via the VARC website – link below), or by contacting email@example.com who will be able to book a time on your behalf. Visitors will be able to view a selection of the artists’ current work and will have the chance to meet and discuss the works with the artists. To ensure compliance with current lockdown restrictions and to maintain safe social distancing, attendance will be limited to six visitors per time slot. Please wear a face mask during your visit unless you are exempt, and understand that VARC will not be able to admit you outside of your pre-booked time unless places are still available for a different time slot. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance and more information. Further info can be found here: https://www.varc.org.uk/work-in-progress-open-studios-catriona-gallagher-shane-finan/
Some lovely things have been happening in Falstone, Greenhaugh and Thorneyburn over the course of last weekend. Once again, it has not been possible for the region’s churches to celebrate Mothering Sunday this year and in fact, the weekend marks a full year of being in various forms of lockdown, since the Mothering Sunday service last year was the first to be cancelled at the beginning of the COVID restrictions. Volunteers from Churches Together marked this year’s Mothering Sunday by putting together numerous cheerful bunches of daffodils (the youngest of Falstone’s helpers was just 5 years old), which were left outside the URC (Falstone), St Aidan’s (Thorneyburn) and in Greenhaugh, for all members of the community to collect free of charge - either for themselves or drop off at the gates of others in the community who might like them. It was a lovely gesture which will hopefully have provided moments of cheer for residents and is yet another small example of the sense of caring and community which has helped make bearable what has been a challenging year for many. If the easing of restrictions goes ahead as planned, each church will be allowed to hold an Easter Communion Service during Easter Week, although dates are yet to be decided.
If you are looking for plants and have some to spare yourself, the new Plant Swap group (which is open to folks from the whole Upper North Tyne, Bellingham, Rochester and Otterburn areas), is going from strength to strength, with 100 members already. Its aim is to help people find hardy plants that work up here and reduce plant miles and consumables in order not to cost the earth literally or figuratively. The group has seen some great perennial herbs swapped already, and with the sowing and planting season almost upon us, it is hoped that more and more people will appreciate the chance to get locally-grown plants. Arrangements can be made to leave the plants to be swapped by a garden gates, so that nobody has to come close to each other. You can join the facebook group for further info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1029464037527993
The Village Notes is a great place to let people (especially those who have limited or no access to the internet) know about upcoming events and what’s happening in the area (by which I mean everyone from Charlton, to Greenhaugh and Thorneyburn, and right the way up through Falstone and Kielder). If you have anything you would like me to include in the Upper North Tyne Village Notes, please don’t forget to let me know about it so I can make sure your news and events are included. All you need to do is email your info to email@example.com by close of play on a Sunday so it can be included in the Thursday paper.
The Village Notes is a great place to let people know about upcoming events and what’s happening in the area. If you have anything you would like me to include in the Upper North Tyne Village Notes, please don’t forget to let me know about it so I can make sure your news and events are included. All you need to do is email your info to firstname.lastname@example.org by close of play on a Sunday so it can be included in the Thursday paper.
Land of Joy would like to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year! Although the centre is currently closed to all guests, the team is still keeping everything running smoothly and making good use of the downtime to do general maintenance (of which there is plenty). In the spring, they hope to build the third of their retreat huts and in the meantime, they are offering a varied online programme, so please feel free to take a look at their website for further info: https://landofjoy.co.uk/programme/
If you have anything you would like me to include in the Upper North Tyne Village Notes, please don’t forget to let me know about it so I can make sure your news and events are included. All you need to do is email your info to email@example.com by close of play on a Sunday so it can be included in the Thursday paper.
Hope you all had a good time over the Holidays. I can't say I'm in any way sad to see the back of 2020 and I'm hoping 2021 brings us new beginnings and improvements - and more than the odd glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!
As we all know, Christmas is likely to be somewhat different this year, but the various churches in our area are very much focussed on what they can do to celebrate Christmas and Advent. St Peter’s, Falstone is still collecting for the West Northumberland Food Bank and is also collecting chocolate selection boxes for disadvantaged children (please leave all food donations and chocolate boxes in the foodbank collection point at the gate of St Peter’s by 16th December or ring Jill Swaile, Jean Swailes or Marie Ness on 240168). It is also hoped that St Peter’s will be able to hold a Children’s (and adults’) Crib Carol Service on Christmas Eve around the Cross in the Church Yard at 3.30pm on 24th December, and will be able to sing well known and loved Christmas Carols. Also at the gate of St Peter’s is a Memory Christmas Tree for people to place wooden decorations (which are provided) celebrating the lives of people they love and miss. In the meantime, each Sunday at 9.30am you can join a service online (via “Zoom” or your telephone - please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01830 520212 for further info) and St. Peter’s Church is open at all times for private prayer.
Challenging all residents of Tarset: Darrell and Sarah are proposing a safe, COVID-compliant challenge to help bring the community together (in a socially distanced way!) and provide a bit of fun and entertainment over the Christmas period as well as giving us all something to work towards during these long, dark nights. The idea is for each household to create a Christmas-themed trail around the valley so that each participant would place outside their house, in a prominent place (or in an easily-visible window if you don’t want to go outside), a Christmas scarecrow, puppet, tree, model, sculpture or scene. A map would be provided so that residents could visit them (either by walking, running, cycling or in cars) any time from the week before Christmas until twelfth night and people could then vote for their favourites. If those who made the Christmassy creations could provide photos, the map could be updated to show which items can be found at which houses. Please remember that we are in a Dark Skies park, so entries shouldn’t contain bright lights. Please let Darrell and Sarah know asap whether your household would be willing to take part.
This week, while we wait to find out what new ‘lockdown’ restrictions are in store for us, here’s just a little reminder that if you have anything you would like me to include in the Upper North Tyne Village Notes, please don’t forget to let me know about it, as I can’t include things or events that I haven’t been told about. Things you can include are local news, live events, details of online meetings and events, announcements, invitations, reviews, amusing happenings in the area or simply general things that you would like people to know about. If you have anything to include, please do email your info to email@example.com on the Sunday, so it can be included in that week’s paper.
This week, there’s just a little reminder that if you have anything you would like me to include in the Upper North Tyne Village Notes, please don't forget to let me know about it, as I can’t include things or events that I’m not aware of! Things you can include are news, physical events, details of online meetings and events, announcements, invitations, reviews, amusing happenings in the area or simply general things that you would like people to know about. If you have anything to include, please do email your info to firstname.lastname@example.org on the Sunday, so it can be included in that week’s paper. I only have 250 words to play with, but it's surprising what can be included in that limit...
It is clear that the latest restrictions are likely to keep changing as the COVID-19 situation develops and as a result, Tarset Village Hall (TVH) Committee has made some changes to its proposed programme of events. Assuming our local restrictions remain as they are, First Thursday Films’ new season will start on Thursday 1st October with the Tom Hanks film, ‘Big’ (places are strictly limited, so you will need to book in advance) and the week of 4th - 10th October will see the ‘Lockdown Art, Craft and Photograph’ Exhibition. The Hall is classed as COVID-19 secure, has undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment and has put extensive mitigating measures in place. The current level of uncertainty, however, makes planning for larger events very challenging and the committee has therefore decided to postpone the return of ‘Pointless’ originally scheduled for early October, and to cancel the Tarset Christmas Party on 12th December. While this may be disappointing news, it is unlikely to come as a surprise. Events will be re-scheduled as soon as it is safe to do so and in the meantime, the Committee will keep you informed of any further changes as and when they occur.
A note from Jeff Mills: "A socially-distanced Tarset Leek, Flower and Vegetable Show was held in the village hall on Saturday 5th September when, due to the virus situation, we were forced to go ahead without the floral and industrial sections. As our main source of income is from the auction, raffle and door money, we were looking at running at a loss however, we received a very generous cheque from Tarset 2050 CIC which allowed us to pay our prize money and expenses, leaving us just in the black. There was a good show of quality leeks, with Stephen Baty leading the field (and also winning best leek in show award) with Jeff Mills and John Basset giving him a good run for his money. Caroline Russell won the best ladies leek with an exhibit that left seasoned leek growers amazed and stunned! There was a nice show of onions with Roy Bell, John Herron and Jeff Mills taking the prizes. Again we would like to thank Tarset 2050 CIC and many other locals for their kind donations."
As we see the restrictions start to lift over the coming weeks, it is likely that more things will be happening in the area, so this is just a reminder that the Courant’s Village Notes are a place for you to let people in your community know what’s happening in the area – whether that’s in the form of events to which the community is invited, in the form of news that might affect residents of the local area, or simply anything that you think people in your area might like to know about. The Upper North Tyne area covers the whole area from Greenhaugh and Lanehead, through Falstone and up to Kielder - and we are small but busy communities. If you would like to have anything included in the notes, please do let me have the information on the Sunday before the paper is published on the Thursday. The email address to send information to is email@example.com so please do drop me a line!
As various restrictions are now starting to ease and some ‘non-essential’ shops starting to open again, it is perhaps important to remember that restrictions are still very much in place in terms of social distancing, and wearing masks in crowded spaces is still recommended. At the same time, some vulnerable people are still shielding and self-isolating (and may need to do so for some time yet). Village Halls and community buildings have just been issued strict instructions about re-opening (which won’t be allowed to happen for at least two or three weeks yet), hygiene restrictions/requirements, the number of people physically allowed in the buildings and the types of activities which are still not allowed. So please bear with the volunteers running your halls as they get to grips with the new legislation.
A reminder also that Churches across the region are already being allowed to open for quiet meditation and prayer for individuals and small family groups – no large groups are yet allowed.
Churches all over the country have now been allowed to re-open for private prayer or meditation, as long as visitors follow the hygiene and social distancing guidelines. Visitors are therefore welcome to go into St Aidan’s Thorneyburn at any time (it is never locked) and to use both the church and churchyard as a space for quiet reflection, prayer and shelter.
A huge thank you to everyone who has bought plants from the stall at Horsley Cottage in Greenhaugh. Over £450 has now been raised in aid of church funds and there are still more plants available, so if you are passing please stop and take a look. We also hope to organise a garden walk, when it is safe to do so.
The Hollybush Inn, Greenhaugh, has started a Friday evening Diners’ Club and Sunday Lunch takeaways. Both are proving a huge success, and details are being forwarded via the Tarset Mailing list - so if you are interested, please find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by texting 07946 804590 or ring the pub 240391 (most afternoons).
A brand new Arts, Crafts and Photo challenge for Tarset - Brenda had the excellent idea of challenging Tarset Residents to create original crafts, artwork, and photographs – both to document our time during the Coronavirus crisis and to showcase our collective talents. You can use any medium (from knitting to painting, baking to photography) or subject and there will be a prize for each category/medium. The idea is to create a week-long (possibly longer, depending on the situation) exhibition in the Village Hall - for appropriately 'socially-distanced' viewing and possibly even online viewing (if we can work out how best to do it). Further details to follow via the Tarset Mailing List.
Some hugely sad, but perhaps unsurprising news now – the organisers of the Falstone Show this year have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel this year’s show in order to keep all involved safe. This is only the second time in over forty years that Falstone Show has been cancelled, the previous time being the year of the Foot and Mouth epidemic in 2001. It is a huge blow for all concerned and it is hoped that next year’s show will take place as normal.
The Courant’s Village Notes are a place for you to let people in your community know what’s happening in the area – whether that’s in the form of events to which the community is invited (which are, sadly, on hold at the moment), in the form of news that might affect residents of the local area, or simply anything that you think people in your area might like to know about. The Upper North Tyne area covers the whole area from Greenhaugh and Lanehead, through Falstone and up to Kielder - and we are small but busy communities even under the current restrictions. If you would like to have anything included in the notes, please do let me have the information on the Sunday before the paper is published on the Thursday. The email address to send information to is email@example.com
Unfortunately, the car park at Kielder Castle was used as the location for an overnight party over the Bank holiday weekend. Those attending burnt timber items from the car park and left behind a tent and large amounts of rubbish. As a result, rangers will be forced to work longer hours and Elf Kirk and Skyspace car parks will remain closed until further notice. Overnight camping (including in motorhomes) is currently forbidden and barbeques/fires are not allowed. If you spot a campfire or see an illegal camp, please call 999 as soon as you have phone reception – it seems that, sadly, this is the only way to protect the area.
All visitors, whether they are simply wanting to enjoy a walk around the parks, or enjoy a day’s fishing, should be allowed to do so without having to contend with those who do not wish to observe the rules and while Kielder Water and Forest Park does not have the powers to enforce social distancing, it does maintain the right to review the opening of its sites for the wider public good. It would also urge anybody who does choose to visit to be respectful of the local communities, to stay away from village and residential centres, and strictly observe Government guidelines on social distancing wherever they are.
In spite of Dominic Cummings’ recent jaunts around the country, the advice for the rest of us remains in place: as much as possible, please continue to stay local and exercise close to home.
The 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War has been commemorated by a new exhibition at the Heritage Centre, Bellingham. Once the Centre re-opens, you will be able to visit physically, but for the moment, you can explore virtually via their new website (there is a link on the first page). https://bellingham-heritage.org.uk/
You can hardly have failed to notice the sheer number of visitors to the area over the last few days – and in fact, visitor numbers at beauty spots across the entire region have been unprecedented, with many car parks being full to overflowing. Of course, this has given rise to major concerns about the increased risk to local residents – many of whom have been shielding successfully for the last seven weeks. The vast majority of visitors have been courteous and have been carefully observing social distancing advice, but please do carry on with your safety and hygiene routines.
A massive thank you must go to Helen Brown and the rest of the unnamed but vital team who have, with their drive and enthusiasm, made the Tarset News such a popular part of Tarset life over the years. In fact, its influence spreads far beyond Tarset, with subscribers all over the country.
As most of you already know, for its Summer edition, due out in early June, the Tarset News will be getting both a new Editor (Chris Reekie), a new look and a new name: the Tarset Diary.
For the first edition, Chris is looking for your wedding photographs. For some, it has *ahem* been quite some time since their wedding days, so the idea is for readers to see if they can guess who the people in the photographs are. If you can’t send photos electronically, just let Chris know and he will hopefully be able to help.
Of course, there’s a somewhat inconvenient ‘bug’ doing the rounds which may present difficulties for printing and distribution of this new-look magazine, but Chris will make sure that there is an online version and will try to have a few hard copies printed for those who don’t have access to the internet (if you are one of those people, please let Chris know asap so he can add you to the list).
Please send your contributions (news, local interest, fun stuff, tales of lockdown madness, VE day celebrations, etc.) plus any photographs you would like to share to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01434 240947. The deadline for submissions is Sunday 17th May, so you still have a few days!
Here’s hoping the Tarset Diary will continue to be the hugely successful and well-subscribed newsletter it has become over the years under Helen’s leadership, and we wish Chris all the best for his new role!
On Sunday 27th April, on Radio 4, there was a genuinely lovely programme ( ‘The Dam’) about the damming and flooding of Kielder, and the role of music, dance and song within the valley. Presented by Alistair Almond, it featured, amongst others, Mike and Kathryn Tickell with playing by Georgia Russell. If you didn't catch it, it is repeated next Saturday on BBCR4 11.30 pm, or you can listen to it on the BBC Sounds website ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hmxn ).
Swallows and Martins are back in the area now, as are many of our other avian Summer visitors. Bullfinches are gorging themselves on the buds of my fruit trees, Long-tailed Tits have also visited the garden and have been loudly squabbling (as is their wont) and I have had have heard reports from elsewhere of Redstart, Chiffchaff and Stonechat, amongst others. Adders are active now that the daytime temperatures have risen, so please be careful on walks with your dogs - especially if you are going ‘off-piste’ so to speak. Ticks and tick nymphs are also plentiful at the moment, so make sure your pets’ tick medicines are up to date and check your animals after they have been outside (with your ‘tick twisters’ at the ready). If anybody in the area has any unusual or new nature sightings – or just things for people to be aware of, please do feel free to let me know.
A quick reminder that a lot of local business and social activity is being carried out online with church services, concerts, choirs being available online and even some Parish Councils managing to hold their meetings online. Local shops and businesses, as well as the church, continue to provide exceptional levels of support. Contact numbers for all those services can be found on the Tarset website (https://www.tarset.co.uk/).
Archive: Upper North Tyne Village Notes - 23rd April 2020
It looks like ‘social distancing’ is likely to continue for a few weeks yet but thankfully, people are extremely resourceful in providing amusement and entertainment for their fellow prisoners. The brains in Tarset have come up with the excellent idea of challenging all who are on the Tarset Mailing list with a series of short quizzes. Initially, these were daily, but they will be weekly from now on, so look out for the next one popping into your inbox on Friday at 5pm. If you haven’t already subscribed to the Tarset Mailing list, you can do so on the Tarset website (https://www.tarset.co.uk/) – just scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on the link to join.
The weather continues to be excellent, although gardeners may be bemoaning the frosts which are happening overnight at the moment. The very weather, combined with some somewhat contradictory and unclear advice issued by the police, however, means that there are once again quite a few visitors to the area, so it’s worth being aware that you may need to take extra care to wash your hands frequently and be careful to avoid contact with ‘vulnerable’ friends and neighbours. The police advice re. travel appears to be at odds with the Government's directive - which basically repeats the 'stay at home' and 'only travel when it is essential' mantra.
A huge thank you to all who attended Margaret Bird’s needle felting course days in mid-March, and to Margaret herself for organising them. She has let me know that the workshops raised a healthy £80 for the Great North Air Ambulance, which has been sent off to them.
A call to all young folk musicians: EDFSS (English Folk Dance and Song Society) will be running its Youth Folk Sampler Days online in May 2020. The physical events have obviously been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, so they are encouraging young musicians to take part from home. The National Youth Folk Ensemble team will deliver virtual workshops introducing young musicians to folk tunes, techniques and creative ideas, with a planned mix of pre-recorded tutorials and interactive activities using readily available online technology. Please register for your preferred Sampler Day date via their website: https://www.efdss.org/learning/young-people/national-youth-folk-ensemble/sampler-days . Each date is still tied to the venue where it would have taken place – but wherever you live in England, you can now apply for any of the eight dates. Young musicians can still audition for the 2020-21 National Youth Folk Ensemble by registering for a Youth Folk Sampler Day and it is hoped that the final auditions will still happen in person at Cecil Sharp House on 11 and 12 July 2020. If this is not possible, an alternative will be arranged. Further information will be added to the website as soon as it is available.
Finally, and right on time, the Swallows are starting to reappear. The earliest recorded in the North Tyne Valley were in Falstone and Tarset on the 10th April, but they have started arriving in numbers now with new arrivals at Charlton on the 13th. I am still waiting for 'our' Swallows to arrive (they are normally here around the 14th or 15th), so it's eyes to the skies at the moment as we wait for signs that Summer is on its way!
Welcome to the new Upper North Tyne Village Notes page. Following various recent changes to The Hexham Courant, this page has been made available to publish the North Tyne Village Notes in full each week, so you can see further detail about what's happening in the area.
Of course, we are now in the full grip of the 'Stay at Home' policy due to the government's attempts to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), so there isn't much in the way of Arts and Entertainment currently physically happening locally (with Village Halls, Schools, Pubs, Cafes, Guest Accommodation and Churches all officially closed). However, there is plenty going on online both locally and nationally. I watched an episode of 'Have I Got News For You' a couple of nights ago where presenter and contestants were all at home in their respective living rooms broadcasting live via Zoom. The marvels of modern technology!
One of the amazing things about the unprecedented situation we currently find ourselves in is the ingenuity and sheer generosity of people in our local community. Shops and businesses are adapting and staying open, making deliveries and selling things they would never normally sell in order to help make sure they and their communities are able to carry on with as little disruption as possible; new shops are opening to serve their local communities; musicians, artists, choir leaders and teachers are making the most of technology and are performing from their living rooms and balconies and using online meeting programmes (such as Zoom) to hold online training sessions. Everything from Church services to meditation sessions is on offer online both locally(!) and nationally, and social media is finally coming into its own, allowing people to connect with friends and family.
Keep watching your Tarset Mailings for further information and if you haven't already joined the mailing list, instructions on how to join can be found here.
I hope you will find this additional information useful. It also means you can let me have more information than you normally would, as well as even (*gasp*) some pictures if you would like those included.
If you have anything you would like me to include in the Upper North Tyne Village Notes, just give me a call on 240767 or email me the relevant information on email@example.com
In the meantime: Here are a few useful numbers for our area. Thank you to Caroline Waitt, who compiled the initial list:
Gary Cant: Milkman. Tel 604674 or 07485 091877. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gary will deliver milk in glass bottles, juices, yogurts and free-range eggs.
Bellingham Pharmacy: Caroline Waitt has arranged with Bellingham Pharmacy for herself and a team of volunteers to collect and deliver prescriptions and toiletries within the Tarset and Greystead Parish while they are self-isolating. Phone Caroline on Tel 240210 to discuss.
Boe Rigg: Takeaways, delivery only, between 12-8pm every day. Tel 240663. Menus can be found at www.theboerigg.co.uk
Phillip Troop: Tarset Fresh Produce on Facebook or by Tel 240407 is doing home delivery of veg, fruit, bread and milk etc.
Falstone Tea Rooms: on Facebook - Tel 240459. They have set up as a local shop and will deliver around the Falstone area.
Jennings Fruit and Veg: on Facebook - Tel 07497 583309. They will deliver across the area.
Brett Pet Shop: on Facebook. As well as pet food, they will supply (and deliver locally) basic foods and supplies.