Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Friday, May 01, 2020

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Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise. It’s Friday the 1st May and this is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast.

I always look forward to feedback on these podcasts, even if it is corrections. Yesterday’s virtual postbag was excellent!

Firstly, of course, there was the usual correction. Helen rang me early on to point out that I hadn’t mentioned Rosemary Wooding in my ramblings about daffodils. Helen is a stickler for details and the October 2011 Parish Council minutes were very clear that it was both Cllr Melvyn Wood and Mrs Rosemary Wooding that had selected and donated the bulbs for Caldecott to complement those donated by Bloms. So sorry Rosemary – my omission.

Then Gordon Brooks contacted me with the identity of the lay person who was white washing walls with Roger Davison in the Cinderella Church article. It was renowned Richard Oberman of Higham Ferrers. Richard still has a photograph of the restoration, so I am hoping to get a copy of this for the archive.

Arthur Wright then reminded me of story about Roger Davison and Michael Foulger – the dynamic duo of the 1970s church scene.

Michael was obsessed by the Church clock. Although it was electric, the timing mechanism was a traditional pendulum driven by a weight that gradually descended the Church tower. When the weight hit the bottom an electric motor kicked in to wind it back up. Michael loved it. The clocks accuracy was controlled by adding tiny weights to the pendulum. He was up there at least once a week adding or removing weights. The temperature and humidity had a huge impact on the accuracy. Michael had a weather station in his garden to help with the process. When I cleared his house, there were 41 years of observations recorded in a notebook in his office.

Well one day Michael had walked to Church and went up the tower, leaving the tower door open to show that someone was up there. Roger Davison happened to pop into Church that day as it was a special festival and he wanted to say a prayer. He found the vestry and tower doors open and thought someone must be up there. He called up the tower but there was no answer. Unfortunately Michael was two floors up and engrossed in fiddling with the clock. He didn’t hear.

So Roger presumed that Michael had forgotten to lock up. He locked the tower and vestry doors and went home to Higham. When Michael came to descend the tower, he found the stairwell in darkness – the only light in those days came from the open door at the bottom. Michael was trapped. He went up the tower and tried calling for help – but no one was listening. It was only when he didn’t turn up for his evening meal that Christine realised he was missing and went in search of him. Eventually she heard the cries from the tower. Michael had had to climb up to the bell chamber right at the top to enable him to shout out across the Churchyard.

You’ll be glad to know that there are now lights all the way down the tower staircase and strict rules about lone working. Oh and of course the clock is no longer controlled by a pendulum which needs adjusting daily.

Now my next tip off was all about a birthday. The lady concerned stopped the car whilst I was mowing the verges and said any chance of a shout out. Well what a great opportunity – oh yes and here it comes.

Happy 55th Birthday to our Chelveston celebrity – Christopher Joseph Charles Blom of Scaraben, Water Lane.

Now you’ve all heard of Elaine Blom of Bloms Bulbs, even if you haven’t met her yet. She’s organised the tulip deliveries to me each week to allow me to go round the Village on a Sunday morning.

And you’ve all quite literally heard Michael Blom. If you’ve been in Water Lane or Sawyers Crescent on the last few Thursdays. He’s the one encouraging Ethan to make even more noise each week in support of the NHS.

But behind the scenes there are more of the dynasty. Amanda, Ethan’s Mum is also part of the company and a regular contributor to our Group.

But Chris Blom is the quiet one behind the scenes. If you aren’t a pub regular or a Water Lane resident, you would be forgiven for not knowing his name. but actually Chris Blom is our local celebrity, who has been on Gardeners World and done many press interviews over the years at the Chelsea Flower Show.

However, make no mistake he now is the “Blom” in Bloms Bulbs. What this man doesn’t know about tulips isn’t worth knowing. His Father and Grandfather were well known by the Royal Family at Chelsea and now Chris has assumed the mantle and the responsibility for carrying on the family name.

I delivered some tulips to Keith and Gillian Carr last Sunday. Keith stopped me on Monday to ask where they came from. Keith knows and loves his tulips and in his view these were the best he had ever seen.

Well Keith, it isn’t surprising. Bloms Bulbs has won 68 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show over the years for their cut flowers.

Blom’s has a long and proud history beginning in the Nederlands in 1850. Chris and the family are carrying this on in Melchbourne, but Chris learned his trade after being sent to the Nederlands by his father after completing agricultural college in the UK. He was a very young man at the time, and his job was weeding fields, all day every day. Start at the bottom and you’ll really learn the business.

His wages at the time were very low and after board and lodging was paid he had just enough money left for a couple of beers and a packet of cigarettes on a Friday night.

Now knowing that you’ll know that Chris has made huge progress in his bad habits. He works very hard and gets up very early. He hasn’t had a day off in his working life but around 3:30 most afternoons (before the virus) you would find him wandering up to the pub for a few pints and a few cigarettes. Let’s hope we get back to normality soon Chris. I know you are missing it. And so is the pub crowd. This man has a very dry sense of humour that is just priceless.

Now you all know that Chris and Elaine have provided cut flowers during the emergency for isolating households and bulbs to the Village for the daffodil displays. But Chris has also arranged plantings and donations for many great causes, the Falklands, the 9/11 memorial ground in New York, and Lady Diana’s memorial in Althorpe.

Now if Chris is listening, he is probably squirming right now, because he is a quiet, modest and unassuming man. In fact Elaine said if she goes missing, he’ll have probably killed her for putting him in the spotlight. Her body will be found in the flower chillers at the nursery in Melchbourne.

But now to make him really squirm. Ethan is the 7th generation of the Blom dynasty to attend the Chelsea Flower show and you all know he is a bit a character himself. Ethan has always refused to call Chris Blom, Granddad. Ethan has his own name for Chris – it is Pong, yes Pong. So happy birthday Pong from a grateful Village. And please forgive Elaine, she’s lovely!

Thank you