A Leaf From Sycamore-June 2005

E-mail address sycamore@daycentre.wanadoo.co.uk or e-mail angela@kershaw.org
Web address www.sycamoreclose.com
Mobile 079198 24402 Wednesday and Friday 10am- 3.30pm

A Leaf from Sycamore


Well time has raced by and believe it or not it is a year since we published our very first newsletter.

Jim Waterworth is responsible for the colour of this months issue, (he said we needed a special colour) and Ken Lawson from the Wensleydale Press (in a new window) is responsible for supplying the said paper. Many thanks it’s much appreciated.

Front cover is the new mini-bus on the day it arrived, a bit of colour there as well.

A new activity acquired this month was indoor/outdoor floor skittles. We will eventually buy a table tennis table for the day centre but are waiting until we get into the new building as storage has become quite limited.

Please note:

The name of the new Extra Care Housing scheme at Bainbridge needs to be decided on very soon.

Anyone wishing to contribute a suggestion can e-mail di.stephenson@northyorks.gov.uk or telephone High Hall 01969 650316

Sycamore Residents

Sycamore Close Lunch at Kearton Guest House in Swaledale Monday June 20th.

We really could not have wished for a better day for our trip out for lunch at Kearton Guest House.
Swaledale looked beautiful, the sun shone, the food was great and everyone enjoyed themselves.

After lunch we headed off for a short run over the tops to Nateby then back towards Sedbergh before returning home.
Thank you to John and Joyce for all their help.

The Paparazzi comes to town.

Photo shot at Sycamore June 2nd Richmondshire District Councils Communications Officer Fiona Hall came to Sycamore Close with a photographer to write an article about Ida Millin and Stan Brook in relation to our website content and also how we are recording the Extra Care development here at Sycamore Close.

The finished articleWeb site keeps track of Extra Care Housing Scheme Progress.

www.sycamoreclose.com has been launched by activities organiser, Angela Kershaw. In addition to information about the extra care scheme, High Hall Residential Home and the Day Centres, the site contains a comprehensive photo library of pictures taken throughout the development process.

“I started posting photos on the website for Sycamore Close Rebuild several months ago”, explains Mrs Kershaw. “Residents whose windows overlook the building site are very helpful in letting me take photos of the development.”

“Building work surrounds us now, and will do for the foreseeable future”, says warden, Christine Thwaite. “We want to keep residents up to date with what is happening, and now the building work is well under-way, things are changing all the time.”

By early 2007, the original sheltered housing will have been demolished, and residents of Sycamore Close and nearby High Hall Residential Home will be living in 40 self-contained flats.

A day centre, treatment room, assisted bathing and Buggy Park plus community facilities such as a dining room, lounges, laundry room and hair dressing salon will also be constructed over the coming months.

The initiative means Ida Millin, who has lived at Sycamore Close for the past nine years, can keep family in Australia up to date with the progress of work on her new home.
“My son Martin lives in Perth”, explains 91 year old Mrs Millin. “I think it is marvellous that he can look at his computer and see exactly what I can see from my room, and probably more. He likes to know how things are getting on.”

“This is an IT project which really involves the residents and day centre members”, added District Council ward member, Councillor Yvonne Peacock. “As well as keeping residents and their families in touch with what is happening here, the project is, in effect, creating a local history archive.”

In fact, local history is a theme running throughout the website. Sycamore Close resident Stan Brook has his own pages, chronicling his life. From growing up in West Burton, to serving in World War Two, and then returning to Upper Wensleydale. Stan has recorded it all, complete with digitally restored photographs.

“We would also welcome information about the history of High Hall” says Angela Kershaw.
Residents will move out of High Hall Residential Home (the former workhouse), which was built in the early 1800’s, once the new extra care scheme is complete. “We want to find out as much as possible before it closes, as we are compiling a complete History of High Hall from beginning to end, so I would welcome anyone with an interesting story to tell, or old photographs, getting in touch with us.”

You can e-mail Angela at angela@kershaw.org or Tel: 01969663652

Bainbridge Extra Care Housing.

How it is coming along! Well it's only June but already Sycamore residents have been given a choice of the bedroom furniture they would like in their new flats. Light oak, dark oak or white.
Some people thought they were only getting a wardrobe but there is a chest of drawers too.

The weather has been good for building work.

Ground floor windows are in place and looking good.

The electricians and plumbers have begun putting in the services.

The roof trusses have arrived and are already being put into place.

Almost all of the stonework to the second floor is now completed.

Sycamore Close Day Centre

Hotters Shoes

A sale of good quality shoes and slippers was held at Sycamore Close on Wednesday 26th May We opened to the general public as well as Sycamore Close and High Hall residents in respect of an open house policy that we try to follow here at Sycamore day centre.

When we move into the new building it will become a lot easier for us all to join together for special events.

It was a great success. Friends met up for coffee and a chat. We sold quite a few pairs of shoes and slippers and ‘The Shoe Box’ is going to come back again in the winter.

The coffee and home baking were supplied by Christine the warden.

New mini-bus

New community mini-bus arrived in Bainbridge on Friday 20th May 2005.

It is a bright yellow bus so we will not be mistaken for anyone else and it has already been nicknamed the yellow banana.

Sycamore day centre arrived in the mini-bus on the village green at 11.25. We felt quite honoured.
We had the inauguration ceremony on the village green with the day centre, sponsors, and committee members, well wishers, John Blackie, Yvonne Peacock and William Hague who kindly agreed to officiate.
William gave a speech and wished us well with our new bus saying that it was the third bus he had officiated at for UWIPS. That is a lot of fundraising.

There was an opportunity for everyone to have a good look at the new bus.

A superb buffet was laid on at the village hall by the mini-bus com-mittee. Ann Hall did the catering (many thanks).
The day centre got an extra treat. As there was such a lot of food left I asked if we could take some back with us for afternoon tea. No problem.
We took the food back to the day centre and made up a lovely tea for everyone to take home with them. Waste not want not.

The mini-bus is used primarily by High Hall and Sycamore Close Day Centres but will also be available for hire. Contact Booking Secretary 01969 650918

Sponsors for the new community mini-bus were:-

  • Bainbridge Millenium Fund
  • The Jack Brunton Charitable Trust
  • Community Transport Association
  • Yorkshire Building Society
  • The Hawes Toll Trust
  • Leyburn & Mid Wensleydale Partnership Ltd
  • Jacqui and Roger Marsden
  • Richmondshire Area Committee
  • North Riding Dales Licensed Victuallers Association
  • Rotary Club of Wensleydale.
  • Upper Wensleydale Newsletter
  • Hambleton and Richmond Rural Transport Partnership
  • The Stewards of Bainbridge Manor

Mystery tour Friday 27th May 2005

Our very first outing with the new mini-bus. Not quite the mystery tour we had planned.

We were a little late setting off so we decided to go to Aysgarth Falls and then to the Coppice Coffee Shop for tea and cake or an ice-cream or both. Liz ordered fruit cake with Wensleydale cheese. I’m sure there must have been favouritism as her cake and cheese were huge. I wish I had ordered it.

Karen has just bought some new square plates in black gloss and they look fantastic. After tea Mary went into the café and bought several cakes and some home made chutney to take home for later.

The weather forecast had been poor but we were lucky it was very warm and we were able to eat outside on the decking.

Decimus Durham

Every year in May when my mum was a very young girl she used to be taken to Thoralby Feast with friends and her cousins who were quite a bit older than her. They would give her fairings. They teased her and tried to get her to use her fairings to buy fruit from Decimus Durham’s fruit stall.

Dorothy’s mum was not taken in as she knew that the lovely polished fruit and apples on his stall had previously had paraffin dripped all over them from his leaking lamps. Decimus used his not too clean handkerchief to clean off the paraffin and polish the fruit, but goodness knows what he left on the fruit from his hanky.
by Dorothy Lambert

Mary Johnson Fancy Dress at Hawes Gala

This year at Hawes Gala the theme was VE day 60th Anniversary celebrations.
In 1975 Mary Johnson entered in the fancy dress with friends as Captain Mannering in Dads Army.
In the past Mary has taken part in the fancy dress many times including once as Ena Sharples from Coronation Street fame.

A few months ago Mary brought in some photos of herself dressed as Captain Mannering to put on her web page along with other bits and pieces about what she is doing now.

Last week we made some A4 posters of the photos and went round some of the shops and hotels in Hawes and the proprietors were only too willing to display them for us in their victory window displays.

So Mary was able to enter the fancy dress once more, this time by proxy.

PS The photos generated a lot of interest.

Stan and Dr Pickles

The Influenza Epidemic of the 1930s.

I was sat out on the flags in West Burton with my arm around my dog, his name was Topper when Dr. Pickles (in a new window) pulled up in his car and said “Now Stanley, can you do a little job for me. Can you walk over to the surgery at Aysgarth and bring some medicines back.” I said yes I could and away he went.

My mother said when you go, go by the fields and see if you can find a rabbit in the walls. That I did but I didn’t find a rabbit.

I got to the surgery and Madge the dispenser put all this medicine into a foot square box that had been used for carrying bottles. She took out all the compartments and filled it with medicines. She tied it all up with string and made a string handle for me.
Then she gave me another bag, one that was used by game keepers I think to carry ammunition. This she filled with bottles and tablets and then I set off for West Burton via the garage, across the field over the bridge and up into the village. They weren’t so heavy when I left Aysgarth but when I got to West Burton they were a ton weight.
To get over the styles I put the boxes on the bottom flag, stepped over the style and then hauled them through. It wasn’t so much as I couldn’t lift them as that I was frightened in case I dropped them. I would sit down for a bit, have a talk to the dog and then carry on again.
I was a bit annoyed with the dog as he was usually a daddio at picking up rabbits in the wall backs but this time he didn’t catch anything.

The string had cut my hand even though Madge had wrapped the string with corrugated cardboard.
I met my father on his way home from work and he said “where have you fetched that lot from” I said “the doctors” and he said “nivver”. He couldn’t believe I had carried them all that way.
This was in the 1930s when I was only 13 years old.

Most of my friends contracted the flu and respiratory complications but I was lucky and didn’t catch anything. Fortunately no-one actually died during the outbreak.
By Stan Brook

80th Birthday Celebrations

Dorothy Lambert celebrated her 80th birthday with us on the 18th of May The Marsetts Minstrels provided the entertainment.

We had a super party and a beautiful cake was provided by Dorothy’s daughter Heather.
We catered for 30 people including some Sycamore Close residents, High Hall, (residents and day centre) and Dorothy’s niece.
We took lots of photos which were put on the web that same evening so family and friends who couldn’t be there were able to see what a great time she had. We also printed out the Photos and took them up to Dorothy the next day so she had the pictures with her when she went to stay with family.

The Marsett Minstrels are a group of musicians and singers who tour the dales bringing music to groups like ourselves. We always have a great time when they come to entertain us and our members have asked if we can have them back at Christmas.

A Memory

This little piece was recited by my daughter Valerie when she was just three years old.
It was at a mining village’s chapel anniversary.
It still brings a smile to my face.

I have a lovely home with every single thing
A mother and a father, a front door bell to ring
A dining room and kitchen, a bedroom and a hall
But the baby in the cradle is the nicest thing of all.
Margaret Cotton

High Hall News

At last spring is here and we have had a bit of good weather which tends to cheer everyone up a little. We have also taken delivery of our brand new mini bus. It is bright yellow so by now I should think most people have seen it up and down the dale.

At the beginning of the month there was a trip over to Swaledale to enjoy the views then coming back via Reeth and having an ice cream on the green.

Last week they though they should have a trip out in the new bus so they went out for a ride around and over to Kearton Hotel for a cream tea or whatever took their fancy.

It was a lovely Bank Holiday weekend and travellers were passing through to go to Appleby so some of us went to the green to look at the horses and lovely caravans.

Norman and Richard watched from the seats outside the Rose and Crown. We are now having regular bingo and dominoes on Wednesday afternoons in the lounge. Come along and win a prize.

It’s nice to have the light evenings, let’s hope we can look forward to a nice warm summer so we can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.


By Percy Bysshe Shelly 1792-1822

The sun is set; the swallows are asleep
The bats are flitting fast in the grey air
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep,
And evenings breath,wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.

Letter from Lucy (My christening)

My auntie Marnie has been to America and when she came back she brought me a real American Indians moccasins made from deerskin.
They are very comfy so I’m looking after them.

On the 12th of June my mummy put a posh frock on me (she even put one on herself) and I went to church. When we got there I sat right at the front with mummy and daddy. I had a quick look round and I could see my grandma and auntie Marnie and some more of my friends and relatives.
I thought ‘this is a bit funny’. We did a bit of singing and then I was taken to a big stone thingy full of water and the vicar picked me up. She let me play in it and I got wet. Then I thought this is fun and I wet the vicar. We had a good time. Everyone looked very happy.

After church when we went up to Horrabank, I looked in the house and there was lots of food and even more people. I thought, huh! we are having a party but it’s not my birthday.
I trotted outside and there was a pub in the shed with lots of beer. Everybody was smiling.

Later on when we had eaten the food a big cake was put in front of me with a dog and chickens on it from my auntie Barbara. Ooh! Yummy. Then they gave me a big knife to cut it with but I’m only small and it was too heavy for me so I got some help.

People also gave me lots of presents. Mummy says I can’t have them all at the moment as some she has to keep until I am a big girl.

I have been paddling in my stream to keep cool and the tadpoles have been nibbling at my toes. Mummy bought me a fishing net so I can catch them. She said if I wait a bit they will turn into tadpoles with four legs and then I can call them frogs.

There are a lot of funny things happen around me that I don’t understand yet but when I am two I think I will.

By from me Love Lucy 2005 xxxxxx



Tom did not want to have his face washed. His granny said that she had washed her face twice a day ever since she was a little girl.
Tom looked at her face and said “I know and look how it’s shrunk”.

The railway station

‘Ticket Sir?’ said an inspector at a railway station to a man who had been a season ticket holder for many years and felt that he was well known enough not to have to show his ticket.
‘My face is my ticket,’ replied the man a little annoyed.
‘Indeed’ said the inspector rolling back his sleeves and showing a powerful fist. ‘Well my orders are to punch every ticket that comes onto this platform.’


Dolly Parton says “If you want to see a rainbow you have to put up with the rain”

Learn to Laugh

Whenever you laugh, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which have an action similar to morphine - they make you feel good.
Be sure you laugh every day so you will feel more able to cope with life’s challenges.

A good way to unwind each evening is to watch something funny on the television or a book of humour or old radio comedy programs.
Sometimes even everyday life can have it’s funny moments.


  • Pour a little milk over the surface of a sauce to stop a skin forming. When ready to use just stir in.
  • When making a flan, take the eggs out of the fridge a good hour before using. Cold eggs need longer to set.
  • To help remove garlic from the breath try chewing some fresh parsley sprigs.
  • When skinning fish wet and dip your thumb and forefinger in salt to give a better grip on the tail end of the fish.


Chuck away those plastic pizzas from the supermarket and get out your stotties or bread buns to make these delicious quick and simple pizzas.

Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden

Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden was commissioned by Frank Sayer-Graham (1859-1946). He was a local landowner who traded in silver rabbits fur which he farmed at the purpose built warren, below the renowned Lady Hill, to the west of Aysgarth. It is reputed that he supplied the last Czar of Russia with fur for a stole. He also exported rare gull’s eggs to Europe.

Upon his father’s death, Frank and his first wife Mary moved back to Frank’s childhood home, Heather cottage (opposite the rock garden) and proceeded to convert it into a state of the art Edwardian house, embracing the Arts & Crafts movement of the time.

Frank’s overriding passion however was for things horticultural. He planted fields of tulips and daffodils as well as at least two plantations of trees around the village. Rose Cottage (renamed Springhill) was his own private nursery.

The Rockery in 1907 with seating in front of the rockery

It was of course the era of the great plant hunters, such as Reginald Farrer, who were bring new and exciting plants into the country for the first time.

Over in York were the famous alpine specialists and nurserymen Mssrs. James Backhouse & Son whose nursery at the time was larger than Kew.

Rock gardening was undergoing a popular revival and the Backhouse nursery led the field of building walk-through Rock Gardens, typically in large estates, to house the new and fashionable plants, that were arriving from overseas, in a natural setting.

At the Backhouse nursery at Acomb was their own show piece Rock Garden and also an underground fernery. Sadly the nursery was demolished in the 1950’s.

In 1906 Frank Sayer-Graham commissioned Backhouse to create his own personal Rock Garden complete with mountain stream and pool.

The development took the best part of 8 years, the rock being brought down from Stephen’s moor at Thornton Rust. Each boulder was transported on a low horse-drawn cart.

The construction was overseen by one of Backhouse’s top foremen WA Clark:
‘Was paid £1 a day, always wore gloves, carried a small gavelock(crowbar) and went home every third week’

To the rear of the Rock Garden, Frank planted a vegetable garden, his own personal touch. As the sign says on the gate this was very much a private garden.Locals who remember Frank all bear testimony to the fact that they were not welcome in his garden.

This is a photo of Herbert Robinson who was gardener/handyman to Mrs. Sayer. His nickname was Bonar Calino after a famous film star of the time.
Herbert came from Newbiggin in Bishopdale and was employed by Mrs Sayer to re-plant and look after the rock garden. He also made quite a few alterations to the layout of the rock garden. Children of the time recall Mrs Sayer-Graham rapping on the windows of heather cottage if they even touched the railings.

Following Franks death, the Rock Garden has had several owners. In 1988 when it was proposed to demolish the Rock Garden and develop the site, there was local uproar and English Heritage had it emergency Grade 11 listed, highly unusual as listing normally only covers buildings.

One owner, determined to make it a money making venture selling garden gnomes. Having spent good money on a TV advertising campaign the venture was doomed to failure, as the local youth armed with air rifles deemed the gnomes as good target practice.

Evidence of dismembered gnomes was uncovered during restoration.

The Restoration

In 1998 we bought Heather Cottage, which came complete with Rock Garden. Little did we realise what we were taking on. Self seeded Ash and Sycamore trees covered much of the rock threatening to undermine its structure. Brambles and nettles ran amok, particularly in the vegetable garden.

The rockery looked more like a rain forest. Railings were in need of repair, 10cm of stone wall had vanished, the stream and pool defunct.

Following extensive research, we soon began to appreciate the Rock Garden not only as a unique piece of Aysgarth’s history but as being of national horticultural significance too. We resolved to return it to its former glory for the benefit of not only ourselves but others too.

As with all these things though, it soon became apparent that the main stumbling block was money. The following 3 and a half years were spent searching for funding. Just as hope of ever finding money was fading The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund stepped in with an 80% grant.

Once the grant was obtained the National Park Authority donated their consultancy time, the Royal Horticultural Society and Nat West Bank Made contributions as did some local villagers. We have personally funded the remainder and undertaken to maintain the Rock Garden for 10 years.

The restoration began in October 2002 and after extensive replanting completed in April 2003. The garden was officially opened in July 2003 by Eric Robson and both the restoration and opening were filmed by Tyne Tees TV.

The two-part documentary “The Secret Garden” was first screened in September 2003.

Answer to brain teaser 12

Crossword Answers Across:

3 Camel hair; 8 Tack; 9 Trac-ings; 10 Tulips; 12 Pen; 15 Eaten;16 Mill; 17 Still; 19 Tire; 20 Axiom; 21 Act; 25 Berths; 26 Mona Li-sa; 27 Tree; 28 Portraits.

Down: 1 Statuette; 2 Sculpture; 4 Arts; 5 Erase; 6 Hail; 7 Iago; 11 Puns; 12 Paint; 13 Miniature; 14 Old Master; 18 Lake; 22 China; 23 Polo; 24 Last; 25 Bait.

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A Leaf From Sycamore-June 2005
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