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A Safer New Forest

This advice has just come through from the New Forest District Council.

Security mark your metal – that’s the message to New Forest businesses and residents both in urban and rural areas. Lead roofing and flashing, copper tanks and cable, metal gates and pipes have all been targeted by thieves – with properties under renovation at particular risk.

Ferret Theft

Ferret photoI know what your thinking….’why would anyone want to steal a ferret…..when you can buy them two a penny?!’

Well I can tell you, they are not ‘ 2 a penny’ anymore. The cheapest I’ve seen lately is between £15 and £20 and gone are the days when the old boy down the road sold them for 50p a ferret [ that’s what I paid for my first one ].

The Reason for ferret theft comes in a couple of forms:

ONE:  Not so much through the summer months but come the end of September The Wessex Ferret Club start getting phone calls,e-mails or messages left on our facebook page about ferrets that have been stolen.
For 2000 years our little friend has worked for us in the form of driving rabbits out of their berries [burrows] be it for food or later on in time for ridding them from the land where they are not welcome and this is the first reason for ferret theft. Unfortunately the ferret is stolen, worked and abandoned on the same night. Due to modern science and that great thing known as Micro-chipping a lot of ferrets are tagged now a days and this is the reason why they are abandoned as no one wants to get caught poaching, let alone poaching with stolen ferrets, so once these people have had their fill of rabbits off they go leaving the ferret to look after himself…..which sadly is not often that long as ferrets are a domesticated animal and have been since as far back as Roman Times so once out on their own they will more than likely fall victim to fox,cat,dog and of course the dreaded road! Some get lucky and end up being picked up and bought to us [ The Wessex Ferret Club] and we try our best to get them home again.
TWO:  two is a little more sinister. There is no actual proof of this and these are not mine nor the word of the clubs but it has been said that ferrets are stolen and then shipped to the continent…for what reason I shudder to think but there are rumours that ferrets are used for medical research because they can come down with a lot of illness/diseases that we can catch, they suffer from many forms of tumours and they can also catch the human form of influenza….so if you have a cold try to have as little contact with your ferret as possible [they can’t have lemsip]. But once again the use for medical research is only hear say.

We will never stop ferret theft but there are things we can do to make it harder. Heavy locks,CCTV and best of all very bright security lights. I also find an old squeaky catch on the door fairs a lot better than a nice new well oiled one! Planting spiky shrubs around your boundaries have also proved a pretty good deterrent. What you don’t want to do is set any form of trap because this is possibly only going to end up in some sort of lawsuit.

For more information on Ferrets please visit or follow us on facebook or twitter @wessexferrets and also on youtube

M Young
PR officer for Wessex Ferret Club
In the Business of Ferrets since 1983   

Beaulieu Mill Revisited

It was with mixed feelings I visited a building I had spent a lot of my childhood within and for many years, through the wars, had been operated by my Grandfather and Father. There are many wonderful stories of their time spent in this building particularly the Christmas Eve Raffle which had to stop when the police became involved!
I was surprised by the new entrance into the building but on entering in further a lot of familiar features became apparent. I was relieved to see many features had survived the fire including the mill ladders worn into shape by much frequent use in the past. The leather driving belts had survived which the Norris's being saddlers as well would have made themselves.
Andy Phillips took us around and I was impressed with the amount of thought he obliviously had put in to this project to ensure sympathetic restoration to suit a changing need. It must have been quite a challenge. I thought the idea of not replacing the upper floors so the layout of the milling machinery could be seen and admired from below was inspirational. The colour scheme in the old corn room was brilliant. On a hot summer day early in the morning with a high tide and the mullet breaking the glass surface of the river the best view in Beaulieu can be enjoyed from this room. The electric lighting was well thought through as this would not be an easy building to light well.
I envy the new tenants being able to work in the warm ambience of this lovely old building. There is only one thing missing from this restoration and I was reminded of it not so long ago when visiting a groat mill in Scotland. It is the smell. The old mill had a unique smell a wonderful aroma of river water, freshly crushed grains and leather belt dressing. 
By Frederick Norris 

Broadband Update

The good news is that the HCC bid to the Rural Communities Broadband Fund that was submitted in February has been successful. The funding level is £1.04m to cover approx. 4900 premises .Delivery to take place between the second half of 2015 and end of 2017 across the New Forest and Test Valley. The intention is to bring superfast broadband to over 2000 properties in the New Forest with the main focus upon East Boldre, Beaulieu and Denny Lodge. 
The attached map shows the red area which has been successful in obtaining the funding. The fine detail of which post codes within this area are being supplied is yet to be decided but it will not be long.
B Map

Patrick's Patch

Patrick's Patch are offering FREE courses in gardening ....
There will be ideas and advice from gardening expert Martin Perry.
The Courses are .... 
May 10th ... Watering, Mulches, Successional Sowing and Thinning.
June 7th ... Feed and Diseases
July 12th ... Soft Fruit
August 9th ... Trained Top Fruit
November 8th ... Soil Perparation.
All these courses are free to attend .... Just turn up at Patrick's Patch on the day for a 10.00 start .... finish time around 12noon.