Castle Coop News

Stop Press! Read about all sorts of sleepy village news from Barbecues and Clear-up Parties to a Police Chase down The Street!

A Walk in the Countryside

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A Walk in the Countryside

A Walk in the Countryside

I have just taken Martha the dog out for her walk. It is very pretty countryside around here – a lot of visitors come to the village especially to enjoy the scenery as several guidebooks recommend the area for walking.

One guidebook advises:

This walk is one of three in the attractive chalklands south of the M3  the furthest extension west of the South Downs.

The walk :
It starts in the village of Castle Coop, which lies on the west bank of the River and has an unusual and charming character all of its own, recognised by the designation of much of the village as a conservation area. Castle Coop contains many buildings of special interest, which include the thirteenth century church of St Mary with its Norman chancel and north door, the Malt House with its oversailing upper storey supported on curved brackets and the Mill, an old flour mill reputed to have been working until circa 1935.

The walk, in a figure-of-eight, takes you out of the village around the nature reserve, along the canal towpath, back into Castle Coop, then over the Canal Tunnel and across fields to Upper Coop, to a second church.  For those walkers with an interest in architecture, over a dozen of the houses and farms in Castle Coop alone feature in Hampshire Treasures; see Additional Info’….

 

Martha and I have just tried it out. Here we are enjoying the recommended sights on our walk in the countryside this morning.

1. Photo taken while walking past the thirteenth century church of St Mary:

Wet walk 1

 

2. Photo taken when strolling along the canal towpath:

Wet walk 2

 

3. Photo taken while we were striding over the Canal Tunnel and across fields to Upper Coop

wet walk 3

 

4. & Finally, Martha & I posed for this last photo while pausing to admire the 12 or so Historic Hampshire Treasures on our return to Castle Coop:

wet walk 4

 

We are both completely sodden.

Yours, having failed to appreciate my walk in the countryside.

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Our Anniversary!

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Our Anniversary!

 

 

Our Anniversary!

 

Today The Agent & I have been married for 32 years!

Sir Burford Brown came by and seeing our Anniversary cards, kindly wished us a happy celebration. Then he asked if we’d realised that these days, you get less time for murder & roared with laughter.

 

Happy Anniversary faint

We were married at 2.30 in the afternoon and The Agent was late as he went to the wrong church first by mistake. Without realising he was at St. Francis’ church instead of St. Michael’s, he walked all the way up the aisle with his Best Man, only to find another Groom in morning dress already seated in the front pew glowering at him.

10 reasons why I’m glad the Agent realised his mistake & didn’t marry the other bride (& apparently she was extremely pretty) instead of me :

  1. I like remembering him singing ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’ at our wedding.
  2. I don’t think my life would be much fun without either him or the Chicks major, minor and minimus in it.
  3. He always brings me a cup of tea in bed on Saturday & Sunday mornings.
  4. He doesn’t get cross when I wake him up in the night to tell him something I’ve just thought of.
  5. He doesn’t mind when I burn the supper. I hope that he doesn’t anyway.
  6. He makes me laugh.
  7. He showed me how to use the gears on my bike and then showed me again.
  8. He gives me flowers.
  9. He didn’t get cross with me when I pranged his car.
  10. He shows me where the constellations are in the night sky and tells me what the stars are called.

 

 

loveheart

 

Yours hoping that he really didn’t mind too much when I dented the car,

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The Castle Coop Week in Focus

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The Castle Coop Week in Focus

The Castle Coop Week in Focus:

 

 

It’s Saturday night and while the Agent is in the Ox and Moose, I am busy noting down the highs and lows of this past week for us all.

The Agent:

The-Agent portrait

 

The Highs: The Agent had a good time on holiday boating on the Norfolk Broads with his brother, staying on the dearest little boat

boat

& spending a lot of time walking along the beach. The weather was good enough to give him a suntan.

The Lows: Unfortunately he was bitten 3 times by a very nasty, angry horsefly . On returning to the marital nest, he was depressed to notice I’d let weeds get into the vegetable patch.

 

Lady Egality:

Lady Egality, editor portrait

The Highs: Lady Egality  has been busy harvesting a good crop of broad beans and many courgettes with which she is pleased.

The Lows: Roger Federer ( of whom Lady is an extremely dedicater supporter) lost the Wimbledon’s Men’s Final.

 

Sir Plym:

Sir-Plym headshot round

The Highs: Sir Plym spent an enjoyable day at Lords watching  the Test Match with his brother .

The Lows: England played badly, getting hammered by Australia (although they won the earlier Test Match at Cardiff).

 

Brown Owl:

Brown-Owl headshot round

 

The Highs: Brown Owl has been extremely busy organising the Brownie Revels which will take place during the last weekend in July. The badges due to be presented to the Brownies during the Revels Presentation Ceremony, have arrived in good time from the Guiding Headquarters so she doesn’t have to worry about them getting lost in the post.

The Lows: The mobile library which was due to come to Castle Coop yesterday, was cancelled as John the driver, has flu.

 

Lady Nudge:

Lady Nudge ed portrait

 

The Highs: Lady Nudge is cruising in the Med with Lord Eftie. Right now, they’re just off Monte Carlo.

The Lows: apparently it is terribly hot.

Trev the Rev:

Trev-the-Rev headshot

The Highs: Trev the Rev preached a well – received sermon last Sunday about the Gay Marriage vote, saying he was sure the decision would receive majority support both in the USA & the UK & that among the younger generation it will be overwhelmingly popular.

The Lows: there weren’t any really apparently, except the thunderstorm on Thursday night frightened his dog.

Liberty Hen:

LLH headshot round

 

 

The Highs: Lady Egality has loyally bought most of the cards from my shop. I’m loving it being Pimms season again. Mown grass & bunches of sweet peas are making the air smell summery.

 

 

wishing the Agent was here

 

 

The Lows: I missed The Agent while he was away & the dishwasher has packed up.

 

 

Yours worrying how quickly a week passes by these days,

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Liberty Hen opens a shop!

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Liberty Hen opens a shop!

 

 

 

Liberty Hen opens a shop!

It’s true! I am now officially a shopkeeper!

The Agent & I have opened a little shop in Castle Coop!

 

Shop Logo Header F

 

Instead of watching the tennis, we have been very busy clearing out the spiders from the corners & mopping up rain from the floor. Paint-colours have been chosen and the shelves filled up with cards made with pencil shavings by Ruth Jackson to buy. I like them so much – how I wish I’d made them myself!

Mopping the new shop's floor

Please come to our Grand Opening Party

 

TAH Shop Grand Opening Party

 

Lord and Lady Nudge have agreed to cut the ribbon!  They’re going to arrive in the Bentley which will make our Grand Opening Party incredibly stylish.

Lord & Lady Nudge

 

 

I’m thrilled to bits!

Do come and join us amongst the greeting cards by pressing this link.

Sir Plym & Lady Egality are handing around glasses of Pimms and Lady Sebright has made some scrumptious- smelling brownies which she’s hidden from Colonel Pyncheon. As I type this, the Agent is getting the barbecue ready with his wing-man, the Chairman of the Village Hall. We are all having to manoeuvre around Brown Owl who has sat down right in the middle of all the to-ing and fro-ing with an instruction booklet – apparently she is trying to master the till.

 

Shop Header F TY

 

Yours, feeling like a fully signed-up member of the ” nation of shopkeepers “,

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Royal Ascot Hats!

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Royal Ascot Hats!

 

 

 

 

Royal Ascot Hats!

 

 

 

 

Hats Off to Lady Eftie Nudge’s Royal Ascot Hats!

Lord and Lady Eftie Nudge have been racing all week. They flew the Castle Coop flag for us all at Royal Ascot.

Lady Nudge cipher

I am delighted to feature ‘A Stylish Selection of Ascot Hats’ below so we can all enjoy seeing the remarkable headgear Lady Nudge wore throughout the Royal Ascot week.

 

Tuesday:

The Queen Anne Stakes

 

Wednesday:

The Prince of Wales's Stakes

Ladies’ Day:

Ladies' Day

Friday:

King Edward V11 Stakes

Saturday:

 

The Chesham Stakes

Picture source: Lady Eftie Nudge

 

 

If you look hard enough at the pictures of Ascot race-goers in this link below

Royal-Ascot-2015-The-33-best-hats-in-pictures

perhaps you’ll see Lady Nudge waving from a box near the Queen’s one in the Royal Enclosure.

 

 

Yours wondering if I should take up hat-wearing (although my social events mostly take place chatting by the supermarket check-out).

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Books and Cornflake Packets…

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Books and Cornflake Packets…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books and Cornflake Packets…

Good Heavens!

The outgoing Eton Headmaster, Tony Little has drawn up a list of books which he believes every bright 16-year-old should read.

Unfortunately, just looking at his list makes my brain feel as if it’s overheating.

Eton book list

Hurrah! There are c. 400,000 Wunderkinder in the UK

Those born in 1999 (c. 400,000 in the UK alone),  for most of whom this list has been specifically dreamed up, must be wunderkinder !

Or maybe one or two bright 16 year olds will read his recommendations and feel dizzy too…  What do you think? Take a look at Tony Little’s recommended titles…

Mr. Little’s  List:

Literature:

Gulliver’s Travels– Jonathan Swift

David Copperfield– Charles Dickens

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

Atonement – Ian McEwan

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe

Literature in Translation:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Tschick – Wolfgang Herrndorf

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

The Path to the Nest of Spiders – Italo Calvino

The Sin/Crime of Father Amaro – José  Maria de Eça de Queirós

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami

Wolf Totem – Jiang Rong

Beirut 39 – Samuel Shimon and Hanan Al-Shaykh

Science:

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny and Globalisation’s  Rough Landscape – Matt Ridley

Six Easy Pieces – Richard Feynman

Philosophy:

Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder

Ethics:

Rethinking Life and Death – Peter Singer

Theology:

The Case for Religion – Keith Ward

The Sea of Faith – Don Cupitt

History of Art:

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling – Ross King

The Story of Art – Ernst Gombrich

Art:

Blimey! – From Bohemia to BritPop – Matthew Collings

The Horse’s Mouth – Joyce Cary

History:

The First Crusade: The Call from the East – Peter Frankopan

The Realities Behind Diplomacy – Paul Dennedy

Economics:

Almost Everyone’s Guide to Economics – J K Galbraith

The Affluent Society – J K Galbraith

Politics:

In Defence of Politics – Bernard Crick

Geography:

The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny and Globalisation’s  Rough Landscape – Harm de Blij

On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks – Simon Garfield

Classics:

The Iliad – Homer trans. Martin Hammond

Confronting the Classics – Traditions, Adventures and Innovations – Mary Beard

Mathematics:

To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite – Eli Maor

Algorithmics: The Spirit of Computing – David Harel and Yishai Feldman

Music:

A Very Short Introduction – Nicholas Cook

Design:

The Language of Things – Deyan Sudjic

& as a Breakfast time Bonus:

 Cereal Packets –    ‘Children should be encouraged to read from their cereal boxes at breakfast time, the headmaster of Britain’s most prestigious private school has claimed. ‘  Source: The Daily Mail

My wasted youth

 Just think of today’s lucky 16 year olds who get to hide all these riverting reads under their desks during latin lessons. 

If only  ‘The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny and Globalisation’s  Rough Landscape ‘  had been published when I was young, I’m quite sure I should now have an improved mind.  Alas, books such as ‘The Catcher in the Rye’  and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird‘ made up my 16 year old reading diet; I can see now that they simply do not cut the mustard.  

 I could kick myself – why oh why did I not think to read ‘The Realities Behind Diplomacy’  instead of wasting my time with ‘Anna Karenina‘?  To think I never even had the nouce to take up cereal packet reading to build up my reading stamina muscles..!

 Mr. Little’s booklist is to be found in a tome he has written called, ‘ An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Education ’, which is currently being serialised in The Times. Unfortunately, I can’t even understand the title.

Please could somebody enlighten me – does the ‘intelligent person ‘ in the title refer to the author (Tony Little ) or the reader?

Much as I’d like to think it’s the latter, since this reading list has outed me as a total thicko, I’m assuming it’s the former.

Yours, wondering – since this list has been drawn up with ‘bright’ 16 year olds in mind – which books should the precociously intellectual teenager be asking for at the library?

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The Open Gardens Rescue!

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The Open Gardens Rescue!

 

The Open Gardens Rescue!

 

Yay for Parish Vicars!

When poor Lady Nudge was forced to cancel her appearance at our Open Gardens Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony because she had to try on her Wimbledon outfits instead, Trev the Rev stepped beautifully into the breach without batting an eye! Handing scissors to all the Brownies he conducted a synchronised snipping and the jaunty red ribbon fastened up outside the Village Hall by Lady Egality, fell into several little pieces. Our Castle Coop Open Gardens Event was declared well and truly open & then the Brownie Sixer deputised for Lord Eftie by pulling out the winning raffle ticket from Lady Lohmann Brown’s decorated top hat. 

The hiccup in our Opening Ceremony had been smoothed out most successfully!

The new raffle prize:

Although the prize ride in Lady Nudge’s Golf Cart was no longer available, guess what Trev the Rev dreamed up instead for the winning ticket….Sir Burford Brown, the lucky ticket holder,  has won a go in St. Mary’s pulpit!

Next Sunday, he’s going to give a recitation after the service.

T the Rev in his pulpit 1

 

 

I bet he will do ‘Horatio at the Bridge’ – it’s his favourite poem.

A summer barbecue:

A barbecue in the Ox and Moose garden kicked off the  Open Gardens Afternoon…

Open Gardens Barbecue

 

 

Despite all our worries only a few hours beforehand, the whole event seemed to go off pretty well. Thanks to Trev the Rev’s quick thinking,  a bit of money was raised for St. Mary’s and all the Open Gardens were admired.

Relaxing after the open gardens day

 

Yours wondering what Lady Nudge’s Wimbledon wardrobe will look like,

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A Last- Minute Hitch!

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A Last- Minute Hitch!

 

 

A Last- Minute Hitch!

 

 

Under Brown Owl’s direction, we all worked extremely hard on Thursday evening sprucing up the Village Hall.

 

Trev the Rev came to admire it yesterday morning after the #Friday Fitness class and said to us all that he really thought Lord and Lady Eftie would be hard pressed to find a cleaner, more freshly painted, mown, pruned, polished, swept and generally tidied up Village Hall even if they sent their Land Agent all round North Hampshire to search for it.

Lord and Lady Eftie Nudge of Coop Hall

 

 

A decorated Raffle Hat:

 

Trev. the Rev also thought to bring round a top hat for Lord Eftie to pull out the winning raffle ticket from and gave it to Lady Lohmann-Brown to decorate as she’s very good at that kind of thing:

hat for raffle draw

 

and Lady Egality found a long red ribbon for Lady Nudge to cut which we tied up ready.

To do Brown Owl justice, it was a lovely feeling to wake up this morning knowing that everything was absolutely beautifully for Lady Eftie Nudge and today’s Ribbon cutting ceremony.

Village Hall with Ribbon

 

 

A last-minute hitch…

Unfortunately despite all the careful planning & polishing, our morning has been de-railed by an unexpected last-minute hitch.

Poor Lady Nudge has been  forced to cancel her appearance at the official opening of the Castle Coop’s “Open Gardens’!  

She’s just telephoned Trev the Rev, to say that she is frightfully put out but alas, her dressmaker needs her for a fitting for her Wimbledon wardrobe this very morning. Unfortunately she will obviously be unable to give the winning Raffle-ticket holder a ride down The Street in her Golf-cart and Lord Eftie isn’t going to be able to pull the winning ticket out from the flower-festooned top hat. Can you believe it!

We are all incredibly disappointed – & what are we going to do? We’ve only 1/2 hour to dream up an alternative plan

Feeling disappointed

 

 

 

Yours feeling the whole ‘Open Gardens’ day is going to be a total wash-out now,

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#Fridayfitness: Cycling Exercise for the Abdominals:

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#Fridayfitness: Cycling Exercise for the Abdominals:

#Fridayfitness: Cycling Exercise for the Abdominals:

 

Hone and tone for rock solid abs!

I arrived at the Castle Coop Friday morning fitness class feeling particularly un-dynamic and yawny.

 Brown Owl’s Village Hall Spruce Up yesterday, turned out to be more strenuous than any of us had bargained for.

“Toned abs” said our instructor briskly,  “are the stuff fitness dreams are made of! Why don’t we get to work on yours?”

In theory, I was extremely keen to get honing and toning for rock solid abs as fast as possible but in practice, something went wrong …

Today’s exercise for toning Castle Coop abdominals:

CYCLING

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A Curve Ball from Brown Owl:

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A Curve Ball from Brown Owl:

 

 

 

 

A Curve Ball from Brown Owl:

 

 

I knew it… I knew it… I knew it.. Brown Owl has sent us all a curve ball.

She has muscled in on the Open Gardens and said we’ve all got to get cracking and virtually kill ourselves sprucing up the Village Hall.  To think I was worried she was just going to give me a lecture!

I must say , she doesn’t believe in any wasting time. Today, we’ve all received a call to arms from her. Apparently, as Lady Nudge is going to be presiding at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Village Hall on Saturday & will officially declare the Castle Coop Open Gardens,  ‘open’, we must all set about mowing, pruning, weeding, painting, varnishing, sweeping, dusting, polishing and every other cleaning verb in the dictionary that can be thought of.

 

Brown Owl’s Call to Arms:

What would you think if this missive arrived through your letter box?

Castle Coop SOS

Obeying instructions, I opened Brown Owl’s flyer and was greeted by yet more instructions:

 

URGENT: CASTLE COOP/ OPEN GARDENS/ OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY/ VILLAGE HALL WORKING PARTY

#CastleCoop #LordandLadyNudge #LadyEftieNudge  #ettiquette #villagehall #prideinoursurroundings

TASK:

I’m sure we all agree that the Village Hall needs smartening up before Saturday’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. As Lady Nudge has graciously agreed to do the honours, we must all jump to and make sure that everything is spic and span for her and also for Lord Eftie.

To save everyone’s time, I have drawn up a schedule. Please be punctual. WE ALL HAVE TO PULL TOGETHER!!!!!

1. Everyone: arrive at Village Hall 04/06/15 at 18.00 hours, dressed in appropriate clothing.

2. Chairman and Sir Plym: sand down fence posts.

3. Lady Lohmann-Brown: ensure that the yellow rose to side of V.H. window is securely tied.

4. Colonel Pyncheon and the Agent: mow all grass and remove clippings.

5. Lady Egality: check flag for creases – iron if necessary

6. Lady Sebright: wash pillar box with sugar soap

7. Sir Burford Brown: scrub down wooden bench and ensure there are no splintery bits – Lady Nudge might wish to sit down.

8. Lady Liberty: sweep VH steps, driveway and path and remove dustpiles carefully.

9. Lady Burford Brown: polish the VH notice board.

10. The Graf:  paint fence posts black paint once sanded down.

11. Brown Owl: rehearse Brownies re presentation of flower bouquet to Lady Nudge

11. N.B. Reverend Rosecombe: has transport been arranged for the aisle carpet to be brought from St. Mary’s to the V.H.? Have we a photographer organised for local press coverage of ribbon-cutting ceremony? Have arrangements been made should Lady Nudge wish for a comfort stop? Tea/coffee/fresh milk/biscuits arrangements for Saturday -are these in place?

 

Lady Egality has just phoned and says that she and Sir Plym are absolutely spitting about being arbitrarily organised without any warning – they were planning on mowing their own lawn tonight. However, having thought about it all, I am quite relieved.

If we’re all to be working our heads off at the Village Hall this evening, I’m going to draw a line under our garden and just say (truthfully) that I won’t have time to make it tidy enough to enter in the Open Gardens. We can look after  the Brownies if they want to swim while everyone’s  going round all the gardens that are tidy…

 

Yours idly wondering how Brown Owl would cope if a bossy Girl Guide Troop Leader should ever move into Castle Coop,

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Open Gardens in Castle Coop

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Open Gardens in Castle Coop

Open Gardens in Castle Coop

 

Oh no!

Just look at this email from Trev the Rev that’s just pinged into my inbox this morning…

 

 

 

 

Trev-the-Rev headshot

Dear Friends,

There is a lot of enthusiasm for our ‘Open Gardens Event’ in Castle Coop this Saturday.  It is some years since this was last done but it was very popular at the time.  I am delighted to announce that Lady Nudge has graciously agreed to support us by officially opening our event in a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the Village Hall. Tea and cake will be served at Lady Lohmann-Brown’s house in the late afternoon.

Tickets for touring the Castle Coop gardens will be £3 a head and funds will go to St. Mary’s. All tickets will be entered into a prize draw (to be drawn by Lord Eftie Nudge) and the winning ticket holder will be given a ride down The Street in Lady Nudge’s Golfing Cart.

Raffle prize

 

 Saturday, 6th June: Itinerary:

11.00am – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony outside the Village Hall by the Flag pole (The Chairman of the Village Hall and Brown Owl to assist Lady Nudge).

11.15 –  11.30 am -Raffle to be drawn by Lord Eftie Nudge. Winning Ticket Holder to ride down The Street in Lady Nudge’s Golfing Cart

Interval 

3.00 – 5.30pm – ticket holders to tour Castle Coop Open Gardens

4.00 – 5.30pm- Lady Lohmann-Brown will be serving Tea and Cake in her garden.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Flag pole on Saturday morning,

Best wishes,

 Rev. T Rosecombe sig
This is simply dreadful.
There is no way the Agent & I can morph our weed festooned flower beds into  ‘Open Garden ‘ condition by Saturday.
Garden weed disaster
I just know Brown Owl will come round and lecture me.
What am I going to do to avoid total humiliation? What a nightmare…
Yours feeling stressed,
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#Friday Fitness: the Swiss Ball

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#Friday Fitness: the Swiss Ball

 #Friday Fitness: the Swiss Ball

The Swiss Ball is a fantastic tool for working the abdominal and core muscles, even for beginners.


This exercise will mainly work the muscles of the lower abs and also hip flexor muscles, whilst upper-body strength will be required to hold the position. Beginners or persons with insufficient upper-body strength / rehab, may want to perform the exercise whilst resting on their forearms, using a large ball.

Mount the Swiss ball from a standing position, taking your arms over the ball onto the floor, whilst rolling over your abs, until your forefoot and shinbone are in contact with the ball, with your legs straight.

Advanced athletes may want to adopt a different leg position, this could be having one foot on the ball, whilst the other foot is raised in the air, or slightly harder, out to the side. 
source:www.netfit.co.uk

swiss ball & cushions

Although nothing has been mentioned about cushions being a useful aid, I think this must be an oversight.

IMO a pile of cushions is a jolly good idea- they make this exercise a lot more do-able,

Yours trusting my abs have had an excellent work-out,

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Stop Press – Community Notice!

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Stop Press – Community Notice!

Stop Press – Community Notice!

 

Oh my goodness: after focussed lobbying by the Castle Coop regulars,  guess what’s happened…

 

…the District Council has officially declared the Ox & Moose  to be ‘an asset of community value’ !

May Bank Holiday at the O& M

 

According to the most recent Parish Council newsletter, under the recent Localism Act (the what Act?) communities can ask their district council to designate land or property that provides an important local amenity as ‘an asset of community value’.

Christmas Party celebrations at the Ox and Moose

 

 

The Castle Coop Parish Council initiated the application to the District Council and successfully obtained the listing for The Ox & Moose – one of the first in the District.

 

Ox and Moose official status

 

Yours about to lobby the powers that be to declare me to be a valuable asset,

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The Magna Carta Castle on the banks of our Canal

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The Magna Carta Castle on the banks of our Canal

 

 

 

 

The Castle on the banks of our Canal

 

Castle Coop is getting ready to celebrate the signing of the Magna Carta by Bad King John, 800 years ago in 1215. A great deal of partying is to take place over the bank holiday weekend at the castle to which our village owes its name.

Odiham which is our nearest village with shops is holding a festive weekend to mark the foundation stone of the modern democratic state. An awful lot of effort has gone into its organisation – it has even got its own web-site:

www.odihammagnacarta.com

 

Obeying instructions

Flags over Odiham

 

The Agent & I have unearthed our flags from the garage ready to hang up tomorrow

flags

& after de-cobwebbing them so they’ll look smart enough to celebrate “Magna Carta, Justice and Liberty“, I decided to ride my bike down the canal to pay a quick visit to King John’s castle before all the crowds arrive tomorrow.

 

The Castle:

King John's Castle

The castle’s not exactly a des res any longer :

 

King John's Castle 2

but they certainly believed in building good thick walls back in medieval times.

King John's Castle (wall cross section)

All action in 1215…

 

Apparently King John stayed in Odiham Castle on his way to sign the Magna Carta ‘under duress’ at Runneymede. He looks pretty benign in this official picture below but I bet he was in a filthy temper.

King John

 

800 years ago, the canal must have been heaving with King John’s entourage and tomorrow this spot will be swarming with merry-makers… just now however, there’s no-one about and it’s simply beautiful.

The Canal:

Cycling back home down the canal path,

canal path

 

I passed a swan family with 5 cygnets and loads of ducks and moorhens

Drakes on the canal

& then I saw a brown splodge among the grasses on the far bank

The far side of the Canal

 

which when I looked carefully, I saw was a deer with big eyes and tiny antlers. We both stayed still looking at each other for a long time.

Deer

 

 

 

 

yours thinking that although I’m sure the festive weekend will be amazing, I like our canal best just as it is right now this evening,

 

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#Friday Fitness: the Russian Twist

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#Friday Fitness: the Russian Twist

#Friday Fitness: the Russian Twist

 

In today’s fitness class held as usual in Castle Coop’s Village Hall, our  instructor took us through the Russian Twist which is meant to be a simply excellent exercise for strong abs.

Strong abs? Hurrah! I can’t wait – who doesn’t want ‘strong abs’?

 

 

Source: fitnessblender

 

Method:

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight, but don’t let it curve.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your ribcage.
  • Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center and rotate to the right. This completes one rep.
  • Do 16 full rotations.

To make this exercise more challenging, hold a medicine ball or a dumbbell in your hands with your elbows slightly bent. You can also make the move more advanced by lifting your feet three or four inches off the floor. Conversely, if you have a compromised or injured lower back, this exercise is not recommended for you.

Source: Popsugar fitness

 

It looks & sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?

Straightforward???  Well – try having a go at it & see if you agree with me…

The Russian Twist

 

All I can say is:

16 full rotations…? Ho ho ho!

 

IMO that’s anatomically completely impossible. Just look at the state I’m in – and that was after only 6 full rotations.

& N.B.  what does Popsugar Fitness mean about not swinging the arms? Mine were both tightly wound up to my sides…

 

 

Yours feeling like a coiled spring,

LLH signature

 

 

 

If you would like to become a virtual member of our Castle Coop fitness classes, do sign up in the comment box below – we should all be delighted to welcome you.

So as you know what we are doing, so far we have practiced:

The Lunge

The Toe-touch

The Squat

The Press-up

Our class is held at 10.30am in the Village Hall – we all drink coffee together after the class and eat Brownies kindly cooked by Lady Sebright. They are delicious and immediately undo all the good work of our class.

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