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The Mallard

Issue 314 Christmas Edition December 2017

David Miller, who writes our Histry Bits, selected this lovely story of kindness he and
his family showed to a Tawny Owl, when he was a boy. Just the story for Christmas!
An Owl in the Family
W hen I was a boy, the perimeter fences of many of the big country estates in
this part of the world were festooned with the shrivelled corpses of dead ani-
mals and birds. This was the work of gamekeepers anxious to prove to their lords
and masters, and anybody else who cared to look, that they were keeping vermin
under strict control. In addition to numerous rats, weasels and stoats, there would be
the carcases of jackdaws and rooks, magpies and jays, and countless smaller birds
such as starlings and sparrows, condemned for stealing corn from pheasant feeders.
There were raptors too: sparrowhawks & kestrels and, of course, owls - a favourite
target for trigger-happy keepers.
Almost certainly that was what happened to
Claudes mother. Claude was a tawny owl who
came to live with us at our turkey farm up Drunk-
en Drove in the late nineteen-fifties. My brother
Paul found her down Rougham Road, flopped at
the base of a tree, squeaking pathetically, wearing
a full coat of fluffy baby feathers. There was no
way she could fly or feed herself, and there were
no wildlife rescue centres to take her to in those
days. Knowing that any gamekeeper would kill
her on sight, Paul took her home.
She lived in an empty rabbit hutch to start with, wrapped in an old towel for warmth.
She was a feisty little thing, and clawed my brother painfully on the hand when he
attempted to hold her, which was how she got her name. Being a turkey farm, we
had a ready supply of dead turkey chicks, which we cut into pieces to feed her. Wed
expected problems in getting her to eat, but she wolfed the food down, squeaking
loudly for more, flapping her stubby little wings as she did so. She grew very fast,
shedding most of her baby fluff, and developing strong wing and tail feathers as she
did so. As winter approached, we brought her indoors and established her in the liv-
ing room, in an old parrot cage. She became increasingly tame, tracking our move-
ments with her bright eyes as we crossed the room, chirruping loudly to get our at-
tention and yet another turkey snack. One day, when her cage was being cleaned
out, she took her first flight. It was almost vertically upwards. Somehow she man-
aged to cling onto the pelmet of one of the curtains in the living room and hang
there, upside down, until rescued with the help of a step-ladder.
Claude stayed with us during the worst of the winter, practising her flights across the
living room, and spending happy hours staring down at us from her favourite pelmet,
making her familiar baby squeaks. Then one evening in early spring, everything
changed. Continued on page 2
Mallard News An Owl in The Family continued..
This parish magazine is For once we were ignoring her, and she didnt like it. Perching
published every month for the
residents of Great and Little on the back of our fathers armchair, she let out a sudden ear-
Massingham with the support of splitting shriek. Dad, who was sitting in the chair at the time
the Great Massingham Parish
Council, the Parochial Church
shot bolt upright, dumping the contents of his whisky glass
Council and Massingham Village onto the carpet as he did so. What on earth was happening?
Hall Trustees. We boys knew. During the breeding season tawny owls have
e-mail: two distinct calls: a soft twoooo made by males trying to lo- cate a female, and a raucous kewick! made by females to ad-
Editorial Committee vertise their whereabouts to the males. Two things became
Editor: Bev. Randall. immediately clear to us: firstly that Claude was a female and
6 Abbeyfields not a male, as we had always thought and, secondly, that
Great Massingham
01485 520 899 spring was coming and she was trying to attract a mate.
Treasurer: David Baines She certainly succeeded in that. Her first spectacular shriek
01485 520 966 was followed by a string of others, each one louder than the
Website : Caroline Boyden last. The noise she made must have been audible for miles
01485 521 816 around. Within minutes the branches of the oak tree, outside
Deadline for the the living room window, were lined with owls, like spectators
next issue at a football match. Claude seemed to enjoy her fifteen
29th minutes of fame, and flirted shamelessly with the newcomers.
December But, as the days passed, she became increasingly restless and
unhappy and, at last, we were forced to face up to the truth: it
In this issue was time to let her go. We chose a quiet moonlit night to re-
lease her. Wearing thick gardening gloves, Paul launched her
Histry Bits through the open French windows and, on silent wings, she
Fire service Quiz was gone. Despite myself, I felt my eyes prick with tears. It
Mobile Library
Glenda & Geordie was like losing a member of the family.
Christmas Lights That should have been the end of the matter but, amazingly, it
School Coffee Morning wasnt. Six months later, in early autumn, Paul and I were
Fakenham Tree Fest walking home through the darkness along Drunken Drove,
Village Hall Events which at the time was just a deserted country lane with no
West Norfolk Folk houses apart from ours. Suddenly, there was an audible thump
Clothes Sale Result
December Hall Events followed by a surprised exclamation from my brother. Cling-
Quiz Funds Result ing to the front of his jumper, making little squeaky baby nois-
Gert & Daisy es, was a fully-grown tawny owl. It had to be Claude! She
Mother and Baby stayed with us for a while, cocking her head to have her neck
Craft and Chat feathers stroked and ruffled, which was what she loved most,
Strollers before flying off into the night. We never saw her again but
Fitness For Health we didnt need to. The memory of our magical meeting will
Murder Mystery Report
Ducklings Pre-School stay with both of us forever. David Miller
Dance What a lovely Story. Thank you, David.
Samaritans Purse
Church Market Gert & Daisy Present MOBILE
Historical Society Great Massingham Fire Service Quiz LIBRARY
Speed watch VISITS
Rectors Message In aid of
Church News The Fire Service Benevolent Fund From 11am
Church Services Friday 1st December at 8pm 19th December
Biodiversity Project In the Village Hall Bar &
Dates for your Diary Please Come and Give Your Support. 16th January 2018

Mallard News
Many Thanks from Great Massingham School Coffee
Glenda and Geordie
Glenda and Geordie would Morning & Table Top Sale
like to thank you all for Saturday 2nd December
attending Davids funeral.
Greatly appreciated. 10.30-12.30 at Village Hall
The sum raised at the time of writing has Please come & support,
reached 842. The amount of cards was enjoy coffee & cake, &
staggering - well over one hundred and view all that is on offer.
sixty. Wonderful! Thank you all.

Christmas Lights Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival

To keep up with our annual tradition we at Fakenham Parish Church
will be meeting on: 30th Nov 8th Dec: 10am-8pm Sun: midday 8pm
Saturday, 16th December, at 4.30pm, Last year, in its 17th year, this event raised
outside the Dabbling Duck, nearly 18,000 for charities. Come and see
to switch on the Christmas lights and the spectacular sight of 56 wonderfully deco-
sing some Christmas carols together. rated Christmas trees & make a donation.
This is a great time to Following the success last year, we are
get the village and again having a tree for the Epilepsy Society
family together prior (kindly decorated by many Massingham
to the build up for gals). Therefore, if you do get the chance to
Christmas. Bring a visit this colourful event, we would be most
hat and a pair of grateful if you could save a few coins for
gloves as it could be our tree! We are number 52 on the map,
cold. located on the home straight!
See you there! Many thanks, Ali Ward & Penny Thornton

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Mallard News Village Hall
Keep Fit Wed.1.45 to 2.45pm A big thank you to everyone who supported
Yoga with a Chair Tuesday 10am to 11am the 50:50 clothes sale - we took 480 of
Bingo Fridays at 7.30pm which 315 was profit for the village hall.
Auction Sundays The next sale will be on March 1st 2018.
Coronation Club (4th Wed.) 2pm - 4pm Another date for your diary is the second
Baby &Toddler Thurs. 10am - 11.30am Ladies night in the Social Club - Monday
W/Norfolk Radio Sundays 7pm -10pm January 29th. Details to follow.
Craft & Chat (1st & 3rd Mon) 2 - 4pm Sandy Francis
Trefoil Guild 2nd Thursday, each month
Hall Christmas Events
Film Club 3rd Thursday, each month 23 Dec. Kenny & The Motives
Quiz Nights 4th Thursday, each month Dance (See page 8)
Bowls - Practice Mondays 2 - 4pm. 24 Dec. Christmas Raffle. Squares
Bowls - Short Mat Wednesdays 7pm - 9.30 available now, 1 each, at
Historical Society 2nd Monday 7.30pm the bar - no prize under 10.
Youth Club Tuesdays 6.45- 9.15pm 31 Dec. Disco in the Hall - 5
Yoga With a Chair Tuesdays 10am - 11am. Merry Christmas To You all!

West Norfolk Folk Live Shows QUIZ NIGHTS

Village Hall Bar No Quiz Night in December
7-10pm, free entry. Since we restarted the Quiz nights your
10 December Young Massingham band Frett generosity has amounted to over 800
28 and Norwich band Hot Raisin donated to our Village Hall. Amazing!
live at Great Massingham Social Please note: I will not be arranging the
Club. Quiz Raffles in 2018. Please let me know
17 December Sally Ironmonger if you can help. If we can run them on a
3 & 24 Dec. @ rota basis, they can continue. Keith Bowes

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Mallard News
Gert & Daisy.... .... Well, here we are agin. Dont toime fly? Thatll soon be Christmas
and we hint started on the shopping yet.
Once again we have sad news of people passing. Firstly, Trevor Fordham our thoughts
go to Angie and family; secondly, Linda Applegate (as we knew her) our thoughts go
to her mum Jill and all her family.
Gert says that Mr M B apparently had a cataract done but it dint seem to help as he has
already ignored her twice in the shop! Maybe that werent his eyes that were the prob-
We hev it on gud authority that Mrs B (nothing to do with Mr M B) is gawn ter git her
nets done before the Christmas lights go on so she ken see whats gawn on!
Wonder if well git arsked ter mek costumes fer the childrens Christmas plays? When
we wus at scule we always wanted ter be Mary but Gert wus a sheep and Daisy wus a
donkey nothing changes. Atchually, were a bit busy making baubles and stuff fer the
Stitch and Bitch stall at the Church Christmas fair on 9 th December dont fergit ter
come and see what weve awl med.
We hope you are awl ready fer Christmas (we arnt) and git what yew deserve. Belated
Happy Birthday wishes ter Edna and Happy 96 th Birthday ter Daisys mum.
Sum of the Coronation Club are gawn back ter Playschool but we werent quoite old
enuff. Theyll be doing finger painting and dressing up. Spect them and the children will
be needing an afternoon nap!
We hev decided that this village is gitting very boring thats why theres not much
news this month. Please let us know if yew hear any interesting (printable!) gossip.
There will be a Gert and Daisy Quiz on December 1 st in aid of the Fire Service Benevo-
lent Fund so come along if yew git this in toime.
We wish yew awl a very merry Christmas and dont forget ter look after any neighbours
who are on their own. No doubt therell be plenty on the telly but a pop in ter those on
their own means a lot over the festive period, even if yew carnt dew it fer the rest of the
year. Dew yew keep atroshing. Gert and Daisy.
Thought of the month
You call it nagging, I call it 'listen to what I said the first time!'
Norfolk words:-
Barney - A quarrel, or falling out: I hed a roight ole barney wi him nex dor, I did.
Fy-out - Clean out (ditches or house) but also: He gev his snout a gud ole fy-out!

Great Massingham Baby and Toddler Craft and Chat

EVERY THURSDAY Village Hall Bar 2pm to 4.30pm
From 10 - 11.30am 1.50 includes refreshments.
at the Village Hall Mondays December 4th and 11th
1.50 with snack of tea & cake & January 2018, 8th and 22nd
We are also having a stall at the Church
Recent New adverts Christmas Market on 9th December.
Mobile Foot Health page 2 See you there!
Claires Cleaning Service page 5
Right Build page 7 Next Strollers Walk
Our December walk is on Sunday 17th
Fitness Mobility December followed by our Christmas
Thursdays, Quiz and Lunch at The Dabbling Duck.
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Mallard News
The The Mafia Wedding Is Enjoyed By All
The two nights of the murder mystery were enjoyed by all who came along and also by
those who were involved. With the accent on comedy and audience involvement The
Mafia Wedding provided an enjoyable experience and over 700 was raised towards the
Village Hall eventual refurbishment.

The Mob

Father Figure Fresco & Calada


My thanks to all the cast who came up trumps despite very little rehearsal time, with
plenty of ad lib bringing the show to life. Special thanks to the ever reliable Joan Caseley
who, once again, provided professional programmes/tickets and posters despite being
unwell! Also huge thanks to Jill Whitmore and team for providing the Italian buffet on
Saturday night and, of course, Bruce Riches for stage management. Oh, and I mustnt
forget the magnificent wedding cake created by Anna Burpitt! Under pressure, I am
forced to thank the Mob for ensuring security each night!
Finally, thanks to all of you who came out to support our village! Andrew Bickerton
Ducklings News.....
Head, shoulders, knees and toes has a tune. Try DANCE TO
and make one up to stomach, heart and lungs,
breathing, blood and where your food goes! Me,
Kenny and The
myself and I also included sharing photos of our Motives
parents as children. Wasn't this a party game? Great Massingham Village Hall
We went on a Bear Hunt, found a toad, made him
a house and squelch - squirched in mud. One un- Saturday December 23rd
named child ate the mud pie. 7.30pm to 11.30pm
In our history session we dressed up: Guy Fawkes Tickets 5
and his supporters vs King James and his soldiers,
to explain bonfire night. We used old spray bottles Kenny
to make firework pictures. and the
On Sunday 12th, preschool was Motives
represented at the Remembrance are a
service. We laid our own poppy Swingin
wreath at the memorial. (pictured) sixties
Covey the dog and Billy the fivesome
budgie will be visiting our little vets at preschool. from
Its too cold for the tortoise! Norfolk.
Thanks to Andrew Bickerton for the donation
Good music not to be missed.
from the sales of his book Leaf. Pippa

Mallard News
Samaritans Purse St Marys Church, Great Massingham
Christmas Shoebox is organising a
Well done! We sent an amazing total of Traditional
181 boxes this year to be delivered to
needy children around the world, by
Christmas Market
our partners and their local churches. Saturday 9th December
The boxes will spread joy & happiness
to children living in dreadful conditions
11am until 3pm
mostly due to war, terror, disease and in
famine. Great Massingham Village Hall
So, thats 181 extra smiles and Special gifts, Childrens books, Crafts,
laughter. Thank you. Margaret Bowes Cakes, cards, Jewellery, Decorations,
Christmas Wreaths and more as well as
our usual Raffle, tombola, 50/50 etc.
Delicious Refreshments
Father Christmas
will also be joining
us with free gifts
for the children.
Carol Singers too
Picture above shows everyone putting the
finishing touches to the boxes in the Church PLEASE COME

Great Massingham Historical Society

2018 Calendar
The 2018, full colour, calendar is now
on sale at the Village Store or from
Peter James, our Chairman, at
63 Castle Acre Road Tel: 01485 521 706.
Price is 6
Please buy one and support your
village Historical Society.
They make ideal Christmas presents.
The children of the school provided the
illustrations and very good they are too.
We are pleased to say our President, Ant
Robinson, is now home from hospital and
recovering. Ant was able to compose the
captions to go with the pictures.
Next meeting, 11th December, at
7.30pm at the Village Hall
Community Speedwatch

November 2017 Updates

SpeedwatchTeam Hours Worked Vehicles Letters Issued Safety Camera
Captured Team Offences
Clenchwarten 0 0 0 0
Gayton 0 0 0 0
Great Bircham 2 41 36 23
Great Massingham 7 64 57 15
Marham 5 57 52 10
Sedgeford 3 27 15 0
Southery 4 15 11 7
Stanhoe 3 17 13 5
Syderstone 3 2 2 0
Terrington St John 1 3 3 0
Thornham 2 28 25 0
Upwell 1 15 11 0
Vancouver Avenue 1 15 13 0
Walpoles 1 5 5 0
Watlington 0 0 0 0
Welney 3 29 21 0
Wiggenhall St 3 16 13 0
Mary Magdalen

Great Massinghams Speed Watch team gets results. We would do even

better if we could run two teams! If you think speeding vehicles through
our village present a real danger and you are able to spare an hour a week
contact me on 01485 520 307. Andrew Bickerton

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Message To All Parishioners

O Message P From Reverend Judith
I have always been intrigued by Secret Santa around in the workplace at this
time of year. Everyone buys a gift (with a price ceiling, no bragging) and
wraps it up all Christmassy. These gifts are handed out randomly to all em-
ployees. Some will be delighted, others less so, but the pleasure is mainly in the pur-
chase of the surprise gift, carefully chosen, and the mischievous speculation in allocating
the gifts: Secret Santa.
The season of Christmas radiates good cheer which means we are more disposed to be
generous or to think of others with kindness. We remain convinced that Christmas is a
good thing even those of us without Christian faith. A break from work is welcome and
our empathy for the less fortunate is enhanced and we give more generously to charitable
causes, such as Samaritans Purse. This year their shoe-box appeal to provide a gift for
children in need in areas of the world tough to live in has approached 200 boxes, an all-
time high. Huge thanks to all who contributed.
Can we encourage this spark of altruism to grow? Are we open to offer random acts of
kindness? Is there a willingness to be hands-on? Some of us already are of course -
but perhaps we could do even more in our communities... Who is alone and in need of
friendship, who finds shopping difficult and would welcome some practical help, who is
in chronic pain and needs the distraction of an outing, a change of scene? The inspira-
tional story of St. Nicholas who is behind the giving of Christmas presents - check it out
- and the Good King Wenceslas we sing about in the carol are both seasonal role models.
As this is the Christmas and New Year edition, its never too early to think about new
beginnings, making a fresh start. Of course, this doesnt have to be at New Year, but its
the logical place. Our New Year resolutions (secret, perhaps, known only to ourselves?)
seem doomed to failure as we set ourselves impossibly difficult targets. Samuel Beckett
once said, Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Try again, try harder, fail better. Howev-
er, the optimists among us will know theres always the blessed possibility of success -
and thats what keeps us going!
Across our ten churches, 2018 is going to be a Year of Prayer and Pilgrimage more
details coming soon!
I wish you an abundance of joy this Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year,
From The Parish Register We extend a warm welcome to you all to
1st November at Little Massingham join us for our Christmas services.
Frances Chase Details of all our services are listed right.
1st November also at St Andrews Carols in the Stable
David Carlton Todd On 9th December please come
Our thoughts are with their and enjoy an hour of singing
families at this sad time. carols in the stable, to cele-
brate the season of Advent.
At 5 Acre Fen, Cliff en Howe Rd, Pott Row.
It will be comfortable but wear warm
Monthly Benefice Prayer Meetings clothes. Mulled wine and mince pies will be
Sundays : on offer. Come and enjoy!
3rd December, 3pm, at Gt. Massingham No Messy Church in December. Next one is
7th January 2018, 3pm, at Gayton on 25th January, 2018. Happy Christmas!
Church Services
Date Time Service Location
3rd December 8.30 am Holy Communion Ashwicken
Advent Sunday 9.30 am Family Service Harpley
10.30 am Holy Communion Grimston
10.30 am Morning Praise Gayton
11.00 am Holy Communion Great Massingham
6th December 9.00 am Holy Communion Harpley
9th December 3pm Carols In The Stable 5, Acre Fen, Pott Row
10th December 10.30 am Group Holy Communion Gayton
2nd Sunday of 3.00 pm Carol Service Little Massingham
Advent. 4.00 pm The Gap Pott Row Methodist
15th December 7.30 pm Carol Service Ashwicken
17 December 9.30 am Holy Communion Harpley
3rd Sunday of 10.30 am Holy Communion Grimston
Advent. 3.00 pm Carol Service Gayton
3.00 pm Carol Service Great Massingham
7.00 pm Carol Service Roydon
19th December 7.00 pm Carol Service Grimston
20th December 9.00 am Holy Communion Grimston
7.00 pm Carol Service East Walton
22nd December 6.00 pm Carol Service Congham
7.00 pm Carol Service Gayton Thorpe
23rd December 6.00 pm Carol Service Harpley
24 December 8.30 am Holy Communion Roydon
4th Sunday of 9.30 am Holy Communion Little Massingham
Advent. 4.00 pm Family Worship Gayton
4.30 pm Christingle Great Massingham
11.30 pm Midnight Communion Grimston
11.30 pm Midnight Communion Great Massingham
25th December 8.30 am Holy Communion Congham
Christmas Day 10.30 am Family Holy Communion Gayton
11.15 am Family Worship Harpley
31st December 8.30 am Holy Communion Ashwicken
10.30 am Holy Communion Great Massingham
3rd January 2018 9.00 am Holy Communion Harpley
7 January 2018 8.30 am Holy Communion East Walton
Epiphany 9.30 am Family Service Harpley
10.30 am Holy Communion Grimston
10.30 am Morning Praise Gayton
11.00 am Holy Communion Great Massingham
6.00 pm Evensong Congham

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Membership applications can be obtained CALL TODAY
from the club bar 01485 521888

Useful Numbers
Organisation Contact Phone No.
Allotment Association Gill Goold 0750 824 2223
Biodiversity Project Mike Jackson 520 056
Borough Council Tim Tilbrook 01485 601413
British Legion & Bell Ringing Denys Winner 520 598
Bowls Club Peter Wadham 520 796
Church Contacts Revd Judith Pollard 01485 601 251
or Revd Jane Holmes 01553 636227
Community Car Scheme Office 520 823
Coronation Club Jill Whitmore 520 609
County Council Stuart Graham Dark 07450 679 355
Doctors Massingham Surgery 520 521

The Film Club Arthur Allen/Barry Talbot 520628/07818 807 738

Fishing Warden Deke Overson 520 143
Football Club Barry Talbot (seniors) 520 653
Guide Trefoil Guild Shirley Rae 520 259
Massingham Historical Society Peter James 521 706
Tennis and Multi-Sports Club Arthur Allen 520 628
Parish Council Kevin Webb (Clerk) 01328 855 046
Vic Cross (Chair) 520 387
Pre-School Pip Armitage 07807 185 746
Police Non-emergency 101
School Ann Beardall 520 362
Village Hall Hall & Bar & Vic Cross 520 588/520 387

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Car Insurance & Home Phone Package SOFA CLEANING
Money Grams
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Clean Tech
Ray and staff
welcome you to
your local shop,
7days a week.
FREE local deliveries
every Thursday ! 01485 609223
Mon. to Sat. Village Store Card, cheque and cash
8am to 5.30pm Great Massingham
Sun. 9.30 -12.30 payments accepted
Tel: 520 272

School Pond Biodiversity Project - Scenes From 2017
September -
The excavated pond

February -
JCB clears the pond July - Cornfield
of willows and mud annuals in the
in three days wildflower

July - Purple
May - King Cups Loosestrife
by the viewing

Thank you to Mike October - Polypore

Jackson for the pictures. fungus on willow

Dates for your Diary December

Date Event Time Place
1 Dec Fire Service Quiz 8 pm Village Hall Bar
2 Dec School Coffee Morning 10.30am - 12.30pm Village Hall
4,11 Dec Craft & Chat 2pm - 4.30pm Village Hall Bar
9 Dec Traditional Christmas Market 11am - 3pm Village Hall
16 Dec Christmas Lights 4.30 pm Dabbling Duck
17 Dec Strollers Christmas Walk 9.30 am At The Well
19 Dec Mobile Library From 11am As Timetabled
23 Dec Kenny & The Motives Dance 7.30 pm Village Hall
31 Dec Disco 7.30 pm Village Hall


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