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Girton Parish News - July 2001

The Front Page.

When Girton had a Rose Queen

An old tradition in the North of England, the crowning of a Rose Queen, was brought to Girton by the Women's Institute in June 1959.

The ceremony began with a parade led by a fiddler and two drummer boys.  The Queen was attended by two maids-of-honour followed by the Rose Bud Queen and children in fancy dress.

The procession walked 'with suitable dignity' (according to the Cambridge Daily News report) from the W.I. Hall to The Close in Cambridge Road, then the home of the late Mrs Freda Leakey, the W.I. President.  The crowning of the Rose Queen and the Rose Bud Queen took place 'to the accompaniment of singing from the villagers'.  This was followed by Maypole dancing performed by pupils of the Glebe School.


Message from St Andrew's

We've paved paradise...

Some friends in Norway told us that if someone was moving to Bergen, a major sea port on the west coast of Norway, a traditional present for the occasion was an umbrella!  Bergen, you see, has a reputation for being rather wet.  But of the few times I have been there, I can only remember once being really wet.

It has been pretty wet here in Girton, too, over the past few months.  I am writing this as the washing has been out on the line for two days and got wetter for being so!  Remember those floods around the country last year and the year before?  Summer really doesn't seem to be hurrying to get here at all. 

They say that all this rain is because of global warming changing the weather patterns.  Over recent history, the atmosphere has warmed to produce more erratic weather patterns.  And possibly in the future, the Gulf Stream might shift thereby removing the means of warming our weather.  Without the Gulf Stream Britain's weather would be closer to that of places of similar latitude, such as northern Canada, which is very cold in winter.
Recently, George "Dubya" Bush, the American president, turned his back on the Kyoto Agreement, reneging on any intentions that his predecessor Bill Clinton had declared of reducing agents likely to cause climate change, such as atmospheric pollution, carbon dioxide etc..  His advisers, he claimed, said that there was no evidence that all these emissions caused global warming.

But that is hardly the point.  At the very beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis we can read that God created everything declaring "that it was good".  We can also read that humanity was also given stewardship over the earth.  And that stewardship is not a licence to abuse, but to look after and care for it.  We are actually charged with leaving the place in a better state than when we came here.  And that's not just for us, or our God, but also for the generations to come.

Irrespective of your beliefs, if any, it must be obvious that there is a lot of beauty, majesty and wonder in this world we inhabit, or even in the universe.  From the beauty of the smallest atom, to impressive snow capped mountain ranges; from the wonder of a new born baby to the mind bogglingly huge expanses of space where distances are measured in light years.

However, it must also be obvious that we humans are not doing too good a job at looking after our own house.
I recently remembered a 1960's protest song by Joni Mitchell.  The song was called Big Yellow Taxi, whose chorus contains the line, They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.  Joni, having flown into Hawaii late one night, was inspired to write the song the following morning on opening her hotel bedroom's curtains to see the scarred landscape of Hawaii before her.

Well, the number of times we have paved paradise and put up a parking lot is rather too many to mention.  The environmental damage, pollution and waste is perhaps more than the earth can bear.  We have not been good stewards of our planet.

The argument that we can't definitely prove the human causes of global warming is no reason not to do anything at all to minimise our imprint on the planet.  By the time we can definitely prove it, it will be far, far too late.
I regret many years ago not buying a book about the advertising industry.  From what I remember reading as I browsed in the bookshop, its thesis was that advertising's prime aim is to create wants and desires in people where there were none before.  "I didn't know I needed that," is the desired response.

What drives the modern world, the western materialistic world, is the creation of wants which are perceived as needs.  Wants and needs can be quite different things.  And there is a huge discrepancy between the western wants and needs and those in the Third World.  I need food, but do I need 2 televisions?  I need shelter, but do I need 2 homes?

Let us reassess our individual priorities of our wants and needs so that we can make our own local contribution, albeit tiny, to share in the good stewardship of this planet.  The ocean is made up of lots of little drops, after all.
Remember, our planet was made "very good" in the beginning: we don't want to be responsible for an end of term report of "could do better".  Do we?

Dugald Wilson, Reader

Message from the Baptist Church


The wet winter has resulted in many garden lawns being blighted by moss.  My front lawn is particularly bad this year and I have spent much effort trying to remove the moss, first with selective weed-killers and then raking up the dead thatch.  Removing moss is a time consuming process, but it makes me smile as I remember my Dad’s advice on the subject to a fellow gardener.

I was sitting with him one day in a pub when a friend, Tom Fletcher, came in hot and tired from working in the garden.  As he sat down with us, he explained that the cause of his exhaustion had been trying to remove moss from the lawn.  Even though he had just spent an hour raking up dead moss there was still some left in the grass that had survived the chemical weed-killer. 

“Oh I know the cure for moss,” said my Dad, casually refilling his pipe, “if you use this stuff you’ll never have any more trouble with that pest.” 
“Is it expensive?” enquired Tom sipping his drink.
“No,” replied my Dad, “the wife’ll buy it for you.”
“What’s it called?” asked the gardener, who like me was now intrigued to know what this cheap mystery product might be. 
Dad took a slow drag of his pipe and quietly uttered the single word, 
“Domestos!” spluttered Tom, spilling his drink in the process, “doesn’t Domestos kill the grass?”
“Oh yes,” agreed Dad calmly, “but it finishes off the moss a treat!”

There is no simple answer to removing moss while leaving the grass and I often think about that story while labouring in the garden.  It also crosses my mind when people ask me why it is that God does not sometimes intervene in a more dramatic way to stop evil in the world.  The short answer to the question is that I do not know.  God works on a bigger canvas and time scale than I could ever fathom or imagine, some day I might know, but at the present I don’t.  One thing I do appreciate though is that God is a God of love and does not lightly bring destruction on the world. 

In the book of Genesis, when God saw the wickedness of the city of Sodom he was determined to do something about it.  Abraham though, who had relatives living in Sodom, asked God to relent if he found fifty righteous people.  God replied that he would not destroy the city if fifty righteous people were present, and as, in subsequent discussion, Abraham reduced the figure down to ten, so God promised that for the sake of those righteous people he would not destroy Sodom.  The destruction did come on the city, but not before Abraham’s relatives had escaped. 

Gardeners have to be patient, as is God.  As it says in the Bible, “God is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”  (2 Peter 3:9). 

Phillip Staves

Message from the Girton Glebe School

We received nothing from the School this month..

Susan Baker, Headteacher

Last updated: 3rd July 2001