Of whatever kind, weddings are always joyous affairs

Wedding bonds are the same whatever the religion. They all ask the couple for commitment, to be faithful, and of course to love each other, and an Indian wedding service is no different.

We were honoured to be invited to both the wedding ceremony and reception of Simri and Surinder Gandhum’s daughter Aman to Rumnique. My photos only tell one part of the story; they don’t convey the sounds of the religious ceremony, the beat of bhangra music at the reception, or the taste and flavours of the Indian food. Did we enjoy the day, you betcha we did.

Here’s my brief photo montage,

The ‘secret’ cold war nuclear bunker in the Pirbright ranges

Oh, I do like a good comment on this blog. So labrat’s comment on my post – Swapping curious knowledge about the Bisley and Pirbright Ranges, pleased me no end. Even though we’ve lived here in Lightwater since the mid 1980’s, and my keen interest in local military history, I knew nothing of us having a local nuclear bunker.

Camberley ROC PostI know I’ve used ‘nuclear bunker’ in the headline. It’s really overstating things quite a lot. Bunkers can be of any size, obviously. The bunker in the Pirbright Ranges is small, very small. From the splendid links in labrat’s comment, the bunker is actually referred to as the Royal Observer Corps Camberley Post [ROC Post].

Camberley’s underground protected monitoring post formed part of the UK’s cold war nuclear preparations. They were part of the UK’s Warning and Monitoring Organisation [UK WMO]. The location of Camberley’s ROC Post isn’t that secret. It’s location is identified as,

“In a small secure overgrown compound at the end of a line of telegraph poles 50 yards inside the perimeter fence of the Pirbright Ranges (North of Colony Gate). 150 yards East of The Maultway (B3015). Restricted MOD site – no public access.”

However, sensibly as the site is within the Pirbright Range Danger Area, there’s no public access. Next time I walk along the fence line, I’ll see if I can spot it, which I doubt, if it’s as small as the photo in the ROC Camberley record.

Great, Europe wins the Ryder Cup, sadly though no free-to-air TV

Like many sports fans, I love passionate sporting endeavour. The terrific all-round team performance in the Ryder Cup resulting in a win for the European team was full of sporting passion.

Players play for the honour of being in the team, and aren’t directly paid to play. Why then is there only pay-per-view TV coverage. Like the Grand National and the FA Cup, the Ryder Cup has acquired similar national status. Why, therefore, doesn’t it get the same TV treatment. Yes, yes, I know it’s sadly all about the money.

Vibrant Mosaic depicting Council Ward Heritage set for unveiling

I’m delighted to be involved with the creation of The Surrey Heath Mosaic. It’s to be located on the lawn in front of Surrey Heath’s Council offices in Knoll Road, with the Council announcing the unveiling event today,

A special community-produced mosaic depicting Surrey Heath Borough Council’s 16 electoral wards will be launched on Thursday 16 October on the front lawn outside the council’s main entrance at 11.30am.

The Surrey Heath MosaicThe mosaic has been inspired by local councillors’ love of their area and was created by Dave Bowers of Mosaic Madness. Four local schools were also involved in its production including Carwarden House Community School, Frimley Church of England School, Mytchett Primary School and Crawley Ridge Junior School.

Featuring a vibrant collection of tiles each depicting an important part of a specific ward’s history, the mosaic is a joint-funded project by Surrey County Council, Friends of Surrey Heath Museum, Surrey Heath Residents Network and a private donor*

As part of Local Democracy Week, two of the schools who helped to create the mosaic will be attending local democracy workshops at Surrey Heath Museum to explore the area’s local history, as guests of the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr Bob Paton. They will also visit the Council Chamber to understand how local democracy works. This event forms part of Surrey Heath Borough Council’s 40th anniversary celebrations, following the council’s creation in 1974 with the mosaic as a constant tribute.

For more information, call Gill Barnes-Riding on (01276) 707284 (Wed to Fri) or 07598 193223; or email museum@surreyheath.gov.uk

* The private donor mentioned here is me.

Swapping curious knowledge about the Bisley and Pirbright Ranges

On a walk from Lightwater to Deepcut on the track alongside the protective fence of the Bisley & Pirbright Ranges I encountered vehicle and man from Landmarc  Landmarc won a contract in 2012 to manage the Defence Training Estates (DTE) for the Ministry of Defence.

Before I relay the conversation, there’s an excellent document – DTE Home Counties – User Guide, which provides a useful brief history of Ash, Barossa, Pirbright & Bisley Ranges, their location, conservation and live firing information. .

Rusty tank carcassBack to the conversation. I said I was a regular walker along the track, and therefore noticed the changes to the track and the ranges over time – such as the firebreak added adjacent to the range perimeter fence, and introduction of Red Deer. I mentioned the likely location of the remains of a 1916 training mine explosion near Colony Gate.

I also described details of a rusting tank carcass inside the ranges that can be seen from Hangmoor. Continuing by saying that I’d asked a Brigadier of Princess Royal Barracks about the tank, only to get back the report that ‘leave it where it is, it’s the remains of the worst tank the British Army ever had”.

I guess more interesting is the information passed on by the man from Landmarc, who said that he was waiting for Army soldiers to complete the disposal of ordnance in the ammunition disposal area near the Chobham Ridges. He said this part of the range contained many anti-tank shells, much of which was unstable.

Then, out came two fascinating bits of information; that an American had acquired a tank carcass from inside the range, which was lifted out by a Chinook helicopter. Even more surprising was that in the Ranges, at an unknown location along Chobham Ridge, is a fully kitted-out a cold war nuclear bunker.

Perhaps both bits of information are apocryphal. Though perhaps not, too. Even so, it made for an enjoyable conversation.

An evening of jazz with supper launches the 2014 Chobham Festival

Chobham Festival

Now in it’s 22nd year, the Chobham Festival continues to combine engaging and diverse musical concerts with literary and art events.

The Festival runs from 27th September to October 5th, beginning this Saturday with a evening of traditional jazz and supper in the Chobham Village Hall. Progressing, later in the Festival, on Saturday 4th October to the Festival Concert this year will featuring Mendelssohn, Mozart and Haydn.

Iain Martin sees how English votes for English laws can work

Iain Martin writes a blog on politics for the Daily Telegraph. Iain’s a writer I respect, never slavishly following a party political line, and having an acute ear for the dynamics of modern political thought and presentation.

I’m pleased to see he’s another political commentator having a stab at resolving the West Lothian Question. Good on him. Links to other commentators ideas can be found HERE, and HERE.

Iain’s blog post ‘English votes for English laws can work. Here’s how’, is worth a read. Iain says ‘compromise and maturity’ are need to make it work. Isn’t that what we British are supposed to have. Whatever solution we end up with, I agree with Iain it will require generosity of spirit and flexibility to make it work, sadly not always a common commodity.