Many years ago in answer to an article looking for local people to deliver our
Parish Magazine, Bob and I contacted Margaret Merrick to offer our services.
Margaret was as charming as she was honest and said the area that was
needed to be covered was quite extensive, from Aston Farm via Butter Bank,
Crossing Lane and out almost to White Cross. Could we manage this, she asked
– no problem we accepted the challenge and took it on. Since then we have
looked forward to Margaret visiting once a month to give us our consignment
of magazines and having a friendly get together. Needless to say, we miss
Margaret's friendship very much. It is sad that the magazines are possibly
coming to an end with the December issue, we shall miss the interesting and
friendly people we have met over the years, the elderly, the young, and those
who are now grown up with families of their own.
The changing seasons have made the task so pleasant and we have seen
Derrington in some of its most beautiful aspects. In the deepest winter we have
delivered on foot (sometimes because the snow was too deep for other forms
of transport). Spring and summer have seen us on our bikes splashing through
puddles and avoiding the many potholes down Butter Bank and Crossing Lane.
Very often we went by car because of time constraints still trying to avoid the
hazards of tiny country lanes.
Being in the country we've encountered many animals, mostly pet dogs of a
remarkable variety. On one occasion, in the early days when cycling to deliver
magazines, a rather large and excited Doberman gave chase to me as I passed
his orchard home. Having just acquired a new bike and in very low gear I
peddled furiously but traveled very slowly hearing his claws pounding the
road. I was captured beside the Blasted Oak on Crossing Lane, out of breath
and apprehensive, much to Bob's amusement. Fortunately, Jake then
proceeded to give me a slobbery kiss before we took him home.
if he had been on the hooch. We then discovered the snow and ice had
increased the length of his legs so much they resembled ice lollies and he could
not keep his balance. The solution was to put him in the rucksack containing
the magazines in order to carry him home!
back seat ready to go for a ride. They resembled the long draught excluders
we see in gift shops today! It is just as well that we both like dogs.
I have had one or two requests for simple assistance whilst doing the deliveries
but none quite like the old gentleman who gingerly mumbled to me sounding
distressed, "it's lovely to see you, I haven't seen anyone for a week, could you
please come inside for a few moments and help me find my teeth, I have lost
them!!" Naturally, I did my best, but we could not find them anywhere.
The next time I called he gave me a lovely smile and I knew he had found them. On
a less dramatic but equally memorable occasion, we recently had a lovely chat
with a little girl in a beautiful pale blue net and silk party dress who told us all
about the friend's birthday celebration she was going to whist demonstrating
her ballet technique.
At times we have been offered useful advice, on how to grow prize onions and
leeks, how to recognise a prize bull (Not that I get that close to one!), which
house is haunted and to be avoided, the history of an Elizabethan house,
Stafford's planning regulations and architecture in general. On the
the gastronomic side I was also introduced to Jaspers pale pink juicy rhubarb slices
One slight difficulty sometimes involved the dreaded "Health and Safety". I am
referring to letterboxes, these are easily the most dangerous things we have
encountered, they vary in degree of punishment, some have extraordinarily
powerful springs that can instantly chop off or trim your recently carefully
manicured fingernails in a fraction of an unguarded second. Some boxes have
two strong rows of bristles that remove your gloves on a winter's day and can
easily gobble up anything that enters its oblong mouth (Pity your poor local
Bob and I are going to miss the magazine and its contents, it is a mine of
valuable information. The adverts for local events, village activities, and
tradesmen have been most useful in saving time and money plus the church
rotas for cleaning, flowers, and services.
So, in conclusion, thanks to all the people who have been involved in the
production of the Parish Magazine, their diligence and expertise cannot be
overemphasized. Thank you also to all our clients for being so friendly, being
at home when it is time to collect subscriptions and allowing us to enjoy and
stroke their dogs, cat, donkeys, and horses.