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Episode 12: Volume XXXII, No. 31

Saturday, September 18, 1999             50p.

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Cuppa with Shirley
Ann's Letters
Simon's E-mail
House and Grounds
Site Map
Letters to the Editor
Police Drug Force Fails to Uncover Leads
Puckering Police admit to being no nearer in discovering the source of cannabis plants found at the recent Upper Puckering Late Summer Flower Show. Officers have laid traps, including advertisements in the local newspaper, but so far they have come to nothing. "I think we are dealing with a devious criminal mind" was the opinion of Sergeant Robert Archer. "We need to stamp out the weed at its source, lest it destroy the very fabric of village life."  --Lumpy Gaites

Man Bites Dog

Controversy surrounded last weekend's game when defender Knobbly Lyles of the Puckering Irregulars apparently bit a dog that had interrupted the match.

Just before the end of the first half, a bull mastiff escaped from its owner's control and ran onto the pitch, disrupting the game. Knobbly dropped to his knees and began barking at the dog.  He appeared to lunge at it, causing the large beast to whimper and run off. Knobbly was non-plussed by the event with his only comment being, "You have to show them who's the bigger animal." The game did not progress well for the Irregulars after that, with Knobbly being sent off in the second half and Cattering coming back from 3-0 down to draw the game. (Full report in Sports section).  --Nigel Twicks


Anonymous Gift to Church Restoration Fund

The Reverend Nigel L. Banks has reported the receipt of a significant donation to the church restoration fund. Through this anonymous gift, the church has reached the half-way mark in its fundraising effort. "I am not at liberty to say where the money came from," Reverend Banks enthused.  "I can say it was a local donor, and was a very generous gift. This will help enormously after the damage we suffered in the recent storm."  

The Reverend went on to add that other gifts are still being sought.  "God has seen fit to move through this particular donor, but His work is not yet done.  Others may feel the call soon, and should heed it. Manna takes many forms-- donors are encouraged to send cash, cheques or money orders," he joked, "or simply to head for the Idiot and down a Nun."

A portion of the donation will be used immediately for repairs to the church tower, whilst the rest will be applied towards interior restoration and conservation of the church's noteworthy collection of misericords.--Nigel Twicks

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Puckering Profiles:  Simmons Hits a Six
Six months have passed since American lottery winner Ann Simmons and her British boyfriend Simon Titsley purchased Stoney Grove. It has been a busy time of adjustments, both for Miss Simmons and for the village community that she has joined.

Miss Simmons, the daughter of an English Literature professor and herself a college instructor for a brief period prior winning the lottery, has tried to bring a scholar’s perspective to her new life at the Great House. She has instituted a research agenda for the restoration of the mansion that currently involves architectural consultant Chester Vyse, who speaks very highly of her,  and trainee historian Emma Knytleigh. She also has plans to employ an archaeologist next spring to undertake investigations of the estate’s grounds, although this writer knows of no Roman sites in the area. Miss Simmons is also an active participant in the campaign for the restoration of the Upper Puckering Parish Church, and has generously contributed furniture and appliances to local charities.

Still, some in the village feel she could do more. "We could have used her help in the Best Kept Village competition," argues Colonel Bratherton. "Support from Miss Hall at Stoney Grove clinched the title for us several times in the 1950s and 1960s. With a woman on the premises again, we had hoped to reclaim that honour."

Miss Simmons’s outspoken attitude towards women’s participation in local sport has also drawn fire. "We don’t need any of those American libbers burning their brassieres over here," grumbled Nigel Morcombe. "Not that I advocate wearing them, but if they’re going to, they should know their place. And it’s not on the pitch, it’s making the teas. We don’t want any women bowling bouncers."

Others have noted that, after six months, Miss Simmons still finds her American habits hard to shake. Like most of her countrymen, she is an avid consumer. Even when her income seemed threatened, the new proprietress of Stoney Grove took pleasure in weekend jaunts to Italy, the installation of a costly satellite dish, and most recently, the purchase of an antique portrait valued at thousands of pounds. Plans for a golf course on the grounds are also rumoured.

What will the next six months bring? Miss Simmons was unavailable for comment, but Frank Churchill, whom she employs as a hermit, offered these insights. "When I picture Ann in six months’ time," he predicted, "I see sunshine, bright colours, and new discoveries."--Nigel Twicks

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