More about that film set on Chobham Common

Your intrepid blogger revisited the site this afternoon – at Albury Bottom – of the film being shot on Chobham Common – y’know the one I wrote about HERE.

I asked what was being filmed, of one of the helpful crew removing the film props. Came back the answer, “a scene in the A. A. Milne [Winnie the Pooh author] biopic when he was in the First World War Battle of the Somme”. He continued, to my noticing that the trees were burned, “it was their job to set fire to them, as part of the film”. Also, I found out that the film is being shot by Pinewood Studios, that Rangers from Surrey Wildlife Trust were on hand during the set construction and filming, and they’d got another film war film in production that needed burnt trees. Amazing what you can learn by asking questions.

The Independent has a First look at Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson in biopic on Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne.

Meanwhile, here are my photos of the site clean-up in progress.

Photo of the Week No.19: W.G.Grace by Herbert Rose Barraud

Victorian photographer, Herbert Rose Barraud 1845 – 1896, is noted for portrait photographs of many famous people of the time. The National Portrait Gallery contains a collection of over 500 of Barraud’s photographs and cabinet cards.

We should be thankful that Barraud’s legacy is his collection of portrait images, one of which is of the famous cricketer W.G.Grace in the late 1880’s. [Click on image to expand]

Geoffrey Moorhouse, in the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack of 1988 summarising the impact of W G Grace on cricket, says, “Grace’s towering presence, more than any other single factor, transformed it into the unrivalled spectator sport of summer, first of all in England, subsequently in other lands spread widely across the world. I would even suggest that a true measurement of WG’s unique stature is that he is instantly identifiable, even by some who are uninterested in his vocation, by his initials alone. I cannot think of another human being in any sphere, not even WC Fields, of whom this is also true.”


Surrey Police crime bulletin for Surrey Heath: October 2016 – Update 3

Surrey Police Community Volunteer, Heather Kennard reports on recent thefts, burglaries, and criminal damage in Surrey Heath in the latest InTheKnow Bulletin,

  • Surrey PoliceCrime No.45160092279 – Between 18/10/16 and 19/10/16 and from 23.30 to 14.10, at Field Lane, Frimley. Wooden shed has been broken into and several items stolen.
  • Crime No.45160092994 – Between 20/10/16 and 21/10/16 and from 22.30 to 11.00, at Coleford Bridge Road, Mytchett. Front window smashed.
  • Crime No.45160093496 – Between 22/10/16 and 23/10/16 and from 18.00 to 09.45, at St Catherines Road, Frimley. Theft of sundial from rear garden of property.
  • Crime No.45160093980 – On 24/10/16 at 20.55 in Frimley Green Road, Frimley. Window of victim’s lounge has been smashed by unknown persons.

Framing a question to ask at a Council meeting of Surrey Heath Borough Council

Of the topics interesting me at present, there are a number about which it is my intention to ask Surrey Heath Borough Council their view. They’re not about the meaning of life, they are about the value of horticultural business to Surrey Heath, and protecting the physical heritage in Surrey Heath.

I’m genuinely interested to know of the council’s view on protecting, promoting and advancing the horticultural business sector in Surrey Heath. I’ve written about part of its sad demise HERE, and published the Council’s, now obsolete, planning policy on the sector in which they recognised how the, “significant presence of nurseries has contributed to the particular countryside character of Surrey Heath”.

questions-to-councilHere’s what the Council say about how to raise issues. A much underused democratic facility is to ask a question to be answered at a meeting of the full council – publicly highlighting an issue.

The council says “You may ask one question only”, although a relevant supplementary question is allowed. Hmm, only one question, eh. I need to carefully construct a question that asks, about their policy on horticultural business, and also how many such businesses there now are in Surrey Heath. Also, it mustn’t stray into planning policy, or the question will be refused.

What good will it do? It won’t do any harm, that’s for sure. It might, just might, give the Council an opportunity to pause to think about this business sector, and how it can be of help to it.

Quality journalism is a vital ingredient in times of change

We’re lucky in this sceptred isle to have a flourishing free press – occasionally under attack from illiberal forces, while also that freedom is sometimes squandered by the press itself.

Anyway, the subject of press freedom is not the subject of this article. What it is about is valuing quality commentary and journalism, irrespective of its political leanings.

I’ve not added the commentary sites I value to my blogroll, nor do I receive any as an email newsletter. I already spend far too much time reading current affairs articles.

reaction-lifeThere are two sites whose articles I value, both have been edited by Iain Martin, one of my most favourite journalists. He was founding editor of CapXmission to deliver the best thinking and writing from across the world, and is now founding editor of – features commentary and analysis on politics, economics, culture and ideas from leading writers.

I may not agree with everything in either journal, or by Iain Martin. I do value the articles, and how they challenge my views. Click on image to link to Reaction.

Combining the National Trust AGM with a visit to STEAM in Swindon

We attended the Annual General Meeting of the National Trust on Saturday. One of the attractions was its being held at STEAM – the museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.

Not a lot to report on the National Trust AGM, other than the Trust is in a healthy position, – membership up, and conservation expenditure up. Oh, and there’s always some criticism from the membership – to be expected, I suppose, for such a large organisation.

Following the AGM, we were able to spend time in the STEAM Museum. It seems the standard of museums exhibitions has improved immeasurably in recent years. The aim now is to provide context around the major exhibits. I’d have liked longer in the museum, but you know what AGMs are like – too long, and seated uncomfortably, and then there’s the need for refreshment.

We both enjoyed STEAM, perhaps me a touch more than my wife. I’ll write more about our visit later including, hopefully, an interesting video perspective of a steam engine.

We stopped by a signal box exhibit, manned by a signalman, who invited me to pull the levers – and there were lots of them to pull – to move a goods train into a siding to let the Royal Train pass through the station. I passed and got a certificate. Good fun for a minor steam train-o-holic like me. Photo of me and the signalman, plus my certificate. [click on images to enlarge – that’s if you’re interested]

More on the sad decline of the garden centre ‘Golden Mile’ and horticulture in Surrey Heath

Success – I’ve found my copy of the Supplementary Planning Guidance [SPG] about Garden Centres and Nurseries. I mentioned this document in my recent article, The sad gradual decline of the ‘Golden Mile’ in Surrey Heath, in which I also describe the ‘Golden Mile’.

The SPG is shown in full below. Here, in section 3 of the SPG, is what it says about The Nature of the Countryside in Surrey Heath,

  • The countryside forms a major part of Surrey Heath. Horticultural activity has been widespread throughout much of the countryside, although the greatest concentrations of nurseries continue to exist in the eastern half of the Borough. This significant presence of nurseries has contributed to the particular countryside character of Surrey Heath.
  • More recently, garden centres have become a feature of the Borough’s rural areas.
  • The Borough Council recognises that the nature of nurseries, in particular, has evolved over time and, in some cases, nurseries have become garden centres in response to changing market pressures and opportunities.

In a survey in 1991/2 the Borough Council identified 39 nurseries. In the SPG it says an update to the survey in 2001 showed only a slight decrease in that number. I wonder how many of that 39 now remain, and also, whether the wyevale-garden-centre-image-from-spgBorough Council would have any interest in finding out.

I’m feeling the need to ask how many now, and to have the answer given at a full council meeting. Obviously, I’ll need to attend the council meeting to hear the answer, something I’m no longer in the habit of doing.

Oh, a final point. I know the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that the photo on the front page of the SPG is of Wyevale Garden Centre – how ironic.