2018 Gooseberry champion

Emma Williams has won the 2018 trophy for the heaviest premier goosegog at today’s 121st Goostrey Gooseberry Show, held at The Crown. Her Montrose berry weighed 28 pennyweights 18 grains. Terry Price’s Bellmarsh berry was 2nd at 25 pw 1 grn and last year’s winner, Martin de Kretser, came third with a Bellmarsh at 21 pw 17 grns.  Well done all!

(photo: John Williams)

(last year’s winning Blackden Gem berry weighed 23 pw 19 grns.)

Offices proposed on ex-MoD site

A piece in the Knutsford Guardian this week describes a new application for offices on the ex-MoD site in Twemlow, stating that replacing the allegedly “dangerous” buildings would bring a “multi-million pound boost for the local economy”……..18/3670  Comments by 22August……

(The new offices would be at the entrance of where an industrial anaerobic digester waste plant was refused a few years ago.  The new proposal, by Goostrey’s David Giles, doesn’t include plans for the old aviation fuel tanks.  Jodrell Bank has not yet commented.)

So says the developers behind a scheme to create 14 offices at Twemlow Lane in Holmes Chapel (sic) on the site of a building which is ‘unfit for human occupation’.  The three connected buildings were originally used as offices and facilities space at the Twemlow Lane entrance to the former Ministry of Defence fuel depot.


When built around 1940 they were insulated with spray-applied asbestos, which developers Note House said ‘posed a severe danger to human health and the environment’ in its current condition.  Water has entered through the flat roof, causing sections of asbestos to fall to the floor and parts of the building to be contaminated with asbestos coating and asbestos dust.

The developers originally intended to renovate the former MOD building, but the presence of spray-applied asbestos meant the option of reusing the building was not viable.  Note House is seeking approval from Cheshire East Council to demolish the building and build one comprising 14 offices.

A report with the application said: “The combined annual economic impact on the local economy from office rental, estimated business turnover of companies occupying the facility, and spend by these companies with suppliers in the local rural economy, is estimated to be in excess of £5 million.  The facility will employ reception and cleaning staff and a part-time office manager, with about 30 occupants using office space, which means the opportunity for 31.5 full-time equivalents in the rural economy in Twemlow.  Twemlow Parish Council was consulted over the design of the building and development layout, including car parking, before the submission of plans, and an initial discussion was held with councillor Peter Kolker.  No objections were raised, the view expressed being a desire to replace the dilapidated building and bring new business to the rural community.”  (Cllr Andrew Kolker not Peter? LG.)

Asbestos removal firm LAR Abatement Specialists told Note House the current buildings were in a ‘seriously degraded condition’ in many areas.  The firm said spray coating contained a very high percentage of asbestos, and the act of spraying meant it would have penetrated into many cavities and ‘nooks and crannies’.  It said the best solution would be demolish the building.  Knutsford Guardian.

The comments deadline on the application 18/3670 is August 22.


The “Gathering”

After 12 months of tending their fruit bushes the members of Goostrey Gooseberry Society will be on tenterhooks today, I imagine, as they gather their berries – and lock them away in special boxes until the grand reveal and all important weighing tomorrow. (1pm-6pm-ish at The Crown…with bbq and family activities)

Fingers crossed the weather is kind to them….though rain and thunder have featured in the forecast!

Lunar eclipse tonight from 9pm

If the clouds allow you will see a stunning lunar eclipse this evening, low in the sky from 9pm towards the south-east.  Prof Teresa Anderson explained on BBC tv this morning..with a melon/earth and onion/moon (where the moon goes behind the earth, which blocks the light of the sun from the moon).

Prof Teresa Anderson. Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre Director

The lunar eclipse, which takes place over a matter of a few hours, as explained on Popastro:

The Moon will rise fully eclipsed, so we won’t see the early stages of the event. But that will actually add to the spectacle, because the Moon will be a deep red colour against the blue sky (assuming of course it’s good and clear!) The media are calling it a ‘blood Moon’ – though that’s not a term astronomers traditionally use!

A lunar eclipse, just to remind you but you really knew anyway, happens when the Moon goes into the Earth’s shadow, so it goes from being the familiar bright moon to a very dark one. As well as being interesting to watch, lunar eclipses can be very beautiful because of the unusual colours that occur.

Normally during a lunar eclipse the Moon starts out as a regular full Moon, a complete disc, but then we start to see its left-hand edge become gradually darker until it seems to have a circular bite taken out of it. This is quite different from the phases of the Moon, caused by the Sun shining on it from different angles as the Moon goes around the Earth every month – starting with a crescent, then going to a half Moon, then gibbous when it’s nearly a complete disc, then Full. A lunar eclipse can only take place at full Moon, because that’s when the Sun is exactly opposite the Moon in the sky. In fact, the true full Moon always rises exactly opposite the Sun, and at the time the Sun is setting. And it doesn’t happen at every full Moon, because more often than not the tilt of the Moon’s orbit means that it goes above or below the Earth’s shadow.

So to continue the story of the eclipse, which takes place over a matter of a few hours, eventually the Moon is completely within the Earth’s shadow, so all the Sun’s light is cut off. But it doesn’t go completely black. There’s always a bit of light refracted around the edge of the Earth, even when the Sun is completely covered by the Earth. If you could stand on the Moon during a total eclipse you’d see the Sun gradually being hidden by the Earth’s larger disc, but even when it’s totally behind the Earth there would be red light bent around by our atmosphere. (read more on Popastro)

Gooseberry Show Sat 28th 1-6pm

Goostrey Gooseberry Society will be having its 121st show day next Saturday, at The Crown Inn, which marks this year’s long quest of who can grow the heaviest gooseberry.  It’s all about the weight, with many growers having secret potions and growing methods to obtain the heaviest berry.  There are 4 different colours of berries Red, Green, Yellow and White with prizes for the heaviest berry, heaviest twin, heaviest triplet (very rare !), and heaviest plates of 12 berries.  Weighing is undertaken on an old balance scale and berries measured in penny weights and grains.

Competitive gooseberry growing started in the mid 1700’s when it was very fashionable, results were recorded in the Gooseberry Growers Register which was published each year.  Once there were over 200 shows in the UK, now there are only 9 left, 8 of which are based in villages around Goostrey and form the Mid-Cheshire Gooseberry Association, with Goostrey being the largest show in the Association.  The remaining show being in Egton Bridge in Yorkshire.

One of the legends of Gooseberry growing in Goostrey was Frank Carter, who used to work at the fruit farm in Goostrey (now Orchards Farm) and also was the head gardener in the arboretum at Jodrell Bank.  Frank bred many of the competitive varieties still grown today and was born at Toad Hall, now home of Alan and Griselda Garner of the Blackden Trust.

With the number of Gooseberry growers declining we are in need of new members to help keep this village tradition going and currently have space for 10 new growers, so if you are a keen gardener (or even if you are not!) please do come to the show and speak to one of the members.  New members are proposed at the Society’s meeting in September so they can be equipped with gooseberry trees ( not bushes!) prior to March meeting when the growing season commences.  Although some members have been growing for nearly fifty years, you don’t have to be growing for long to have a chance of winning.

There is an active social life as well with the Society members getting together to build a float for Rose Day each year.  The Society meets 4 times a year in September, January, March, and in July prior to Show Day.

This year Jason at the Crown Inn has kindly organised a Barbeque and Gooseberry cocktails for the adults for show day, and balloon modeller and facepaints for the children and music for both the Friday and Saturday night.

A film for TV is also being made of  Gooseberry growing and the Show on Saturday, so a filmmaker will be present on Saturday with their cameras. We would be grateful for your support and look forward to seeing you all on Show day.

Goostrey Gooseberry Show is on Saturday 28th July from 1pm at The Crown…….with prizes awarded around 6pm.

August at The Blackden Trust

In August 2018 The Friends of the Blackden Trust (FTBT) are celebrating ten years of supporting us here at Blackden. During those years the Friends have extended their group to include members far and wide, raising money to help the Trust preserve the past and inspire the future. If you are interested in finding out more about the Friends, please contact Joyce Evers. Secretary FTBT at joyceevers1@gmail.com

*During August, we have two public tours to be held on the 8th and 18th of the month.

Blackden July 2018

June was a busy month at the Blackden Trust. We ran five public tours and a Stars and Stones day which combines a morning visit to Blackden followed by lunch and an afternoon at Jodrell Bank. The next Stars and Stones day is on the 22nd August. Booking details for this popular event can be found at www.jodrellbank.net

At the Trust, we are delighted to welcome two new volunteers to our friendly team. One visitor came on a general tour and one on a Stars and Stones day. Both were captivated by what they discovered at Blackden and wish to contribute their own individual knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to the Trust by giving some of their time to helping us. For further information on volunteering, please contact volunteer@theblackdentrust.org.uk


To find out about these and other events, please go to our website www.theblackdentrust.org.uk Bookings can be made on line. For all enquiries, including our workshops for schools, please email coordinator@theblackdentrust.org.uk or telephone 01477 571445