Medieval mystery with US appeal

Norfolk branch of the Women's Food and Farming Union has a topical speaker for their annual meeting on Thursday. The meeting at the Norfolk showground starts at 7.

Norfolk branch of the Women's Food and Farming Union has a topical speaker for their annual meeting on Thursday. The meeting at the Norfolk showground starts at 7.30pm in the MacGregor building. The speaker will be the former president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James. He will be talking about his concerns for the place of farming in our national life and economy. Enter the showground by the 'H' gate off the old Dereham Road. Apologies to either Felicity Daniels (telephone: 01493 730338) or Katie Wright (telephone: 01953 718173)

Members will be feeding a hungry group of youngsters and their parents next Saturday morning to support the Home-Grown Cereals Authority's farmhouse breakfast week. The Norfolk branch of the Women's Food and Farming Union will be giving breakfast to the Hemsby Hornets football team and parents after their training session at 10.30am at The Pavilion, Waters Lane. Hemsby. Volunteers are asked to meet at Home Farm Hemsby at 9am, where the breakfast will be cooked. Please contact Felicity Daniels if you can help on 01493 730338).

When an appeal was made for players in the annual friendly bowls match between Stalham and Holt Farmers' Clubs, David Murrell voluntered to compete with his wife, Christine. However, the South Walsham farmer surprised fellow club members by reporting that the team captain William Donald had declined his offer last year. Was there a problem if his wife played for the club, he asked. No doubt, when Mr Donald returns from a sunshine visit to Spain ahead of the match on Friday, February 17 at North Walsham, all will revealed.

Farmer Charlie Askew, of Old Buckenham, is training hard for a 1000-mile sponsored bike ride in aid of EACH (the East Anglian Children's Hospice) later this summer. He plans to cycle the equivalent of the distance, actually 973 miles, from Easton College to the Czech Republic to raise funds for the hospices. A friend, who is the youth development officer of Diss Rugby Football Club, Dave Hearnden-Hall, and Tony Cantle, will be in the support vehicle for the trip. Charlie plans to climb into the saddle on August 31 and complete the trip by the middle of the month. A great support of Norfolk Young Farmers, Rod Tuck, of the Norwich-based Giant Pet Store, is providing a Discovery for the support team. And Charlie's keen training regime has already seen a reduction of Adnams best bitter at the Angel, Larling! He will welcome offers of sponsorship.


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It seems that the appetite for a murder mystery has trans-Atlantic appeal. Paul, landlord of the Swan, Ingham, near Stalham, was rather taken aback when a booking for two guests was made for a medieval murder mystery evening on Friday, February 3. When he got to the computer to confirm the booking and asked for an postal address, he was told that the couple hailed from deepest Connecticut in the United States. Meanwhile, the evening, complete with “medieval” dishes is almost a sell-out and the professional “stagers” will descend on the pub to “dress” for the 60-strong party of guests. Sop, of local “herbes”, prime “rybbe of Norfolk roast befe,” and “wastrel and buttr pudding” are included in the fare. Although most tickets for the supper and entertainment, costing £30 per head have sold, there are some left. Ring Paul on 01692 581099.

It has been a remarkable few days as the drought in Australia came to a dramatic end for one Mid-Norfolk farmer Peter Howell on his 750-acre farm near Tamworth in New South Wales. On the mainly arable farm, with the cereal harvest complete, a total of 90mm fell across his broad acres while a few miles away, it was a different story. While the late rains will benefit his crop of sorghum, it was also an opportunity buy some cattle at the local market. Once the crop has been combined, the leaf and stalk is used to feed beef cattle and prices for finished beast have already been rising steadily with prices up almost $150 Australian higher than three months ago. With plenty of feed available, it should be possible to finish cattle on a rising demand from Japan for quality beef. Meanwhile, East Anglia remains relatively dry.

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One of the great figures in the East Anglian grain trade was recognised by friends, traders and colleagues at the annual dinner of the Norfolk Institute of Agricultural Merchants at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel. Ivan Bishop, who retired from Frontier after more than 40 years in the grain trade, started his career with another long-lost name, Woods, Sadd & Moore. He started almost from school and rapidly made his mark in the expanding grain trade and was guest speaker on several occasions at the dinner. A total of almost 250 members of the institute were duly entertained by a couple of first class speakers including the chairman, Michael Mason, formerly of Favor Parker. The dinner, organised by the institute's long-serving secretary Sonny Smith, of Lowestoft-based Plasmor, is always an enthusiastic affair which tends to result in a fairly subdued trade yesterday. And not least because the funeral of a popular and well-known former South Norfolk grain trader, John Atkins, of Riddlesworth, took place before the dinner.

Top Norfolk dairy farmer Ken Proctor lost a key member of the family team for a week - down under. His oldest son, Robert, who is a highly talented and very experienced cattle “clipper” was asked to help with the presentation of a top dairy herd at one of the biggest shows in Victoria at Shepperton. Robert packed his bags and special set of clippers and was off, leaving father and mother, Rebecca, to looking after the Airfield Holstein herd. However, a proud father did reveal that one cow had already taken sixth place in one of the top classes - not bad for a Norfolk lad, he agreed. Established in 1990, International Dairy Week (IDW) is the largest annual dairy cattle sale and show in the southern hemisphere. The event attracts and showcases the best from Australia's dairy breeds including Holstein, Jersey, Illawarra, Brown Swiss, Ayrshire and Guernsey. Held at the Tatura Showgrounds in state-of-the-art undercover facilities, the week draws over 6,000 exhibitors, vendors and onlookers from Australia and overseas to discuss the latest trends, innovations and dairy talent. Exhibitors and visitors to Tatura travel from all Australian states and from an increasing number of established and developing dairy countries such as Holland, France, USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

Farmers in Breckland will be tucking into a hearty breakfast on Friday, 8am, at the Chequers, Thompson, near Watton. Arable farmer Ian Robertson, who is chairman of the Breckland branch, has arranged the annual gathering to support the Home-Grown Cereals Farmhouse Breakfast Week. And the landlord, Richard McDowall will be offering Jordans cereals to members as they arrive at 8am for the working breakfast, which is appropriate given that Bill Jordan, who lives at Pensthorpe, near Fakenham, has been asked to speak. Tomorrow, Richard will be rising earlier than usual to cook breakfast for several dozen customers to mark the start of the HGCA's promotional week. He does have a few places, £7.50 left. Ring him to book.

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