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Wyenot News - The weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 95 - 10th May 2006
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This Week - [Tarrant's Way Visits Ross-on-Wye - Congratulations Alan and Jennifer]
[Ross Mayor Making - Fifth Grammar School Reunion - A Mother's Pride]
[Wilton Ducks - Topical Photography - Letters - 25 Years Ago]
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Wilton Ducks

A bit like Aylesbury Ducks but from Wilton (though I haven't tried the test which involves a finger and a very surprised duck). I took these two photos of a duck with her ducklings from the beer garden of the White Lion Inn, whilst dropping Tina at work and enjoying my lunch on a hot and sunny Sunday morning, 7th May. They are a bit bright as the sun was on the wrong side of the river and I tried to adjust accordingly.

Actually, come to think of it, I haven't seen many ducklings this year on the River Wye at Ross. This might just be because I have changed my nature watching area slightly down stream since last year. I am also wondering whether otters eat duck. I have only ever seen them eat fish but I have heard otherwise.




Calling all Communities! Connect your village to the World through ICT!

Community Access Point (CAP) can be a total village resource giving personal Internet access, accessibility to jobs and learning opportunities, local news and village information, leisure and hobbies. It can also link to council services, library services, the Citizens Advice Bureaux (offering private real-time video-cam interviews), volunteering opportunities etc. - the possibilities are endless.

The Community Access Points project can offer rural community venues ICT equipment (computers, printer, scanner, cameras, webcams, projector, screen, software for virtually any purpose etc.), broadband connection and support to establish your own locally run ICT facility. And it's all free! If you're keen to see this type of resource playing a central role in the heart of your community life, Herefordshire's newest ICT (Information and Communication Technology) project may be able to make it happen.

If you think your community can benefit from a Community Access Point, or if your Parish Plan has identified new facilities as a priority, Herefordshire Council wants to hear from you. Expressions of interest are welcome from anyone living in a rural community, who would like to find out more about obtaining this resource for your village.

So if you like the idea of your friends neighbours or community groups using the Internet for pleasure, leisure or work at a community-run web-enabled Access Point, contact us today to find out more. Call Mike Truelove on 01432 383461 or e-mail:

Mike Tuelove
Community Access Points Liaison Office

Dear Alan,

Looking at the website today, I have to agree with “Pete from Canada” that the news from good old Ross is always good to see (however much there is).

Living out here in California it is good to see the faces of people that we used to see in town, and the news of all of the local events. Keep up the good work.

Best Regards,

Pat Hughes
Logistics Manager
ODC - Nimbus

Thank you for that, Pat. It is good to know that Wyenot News is being read in California. There's a story from closer to your home below. Ed.

Twenty Five Years Ago

I realize that this has absolutely nothing to do with Ross-on-Wye but having watched the recent coverage of the 25th Anniversary of the event on NASA TV I thought I would cover it anyway - one month late. Becoming increasingly aware of my own mortality of late, I just feel like taking a few hours out to escape back to memories of a time gone by. The frightening thing is - although this happened a quarter of a century ago now, it seems as if it were only yesterday!

Twenty five years and one month ago I was in the USA to watch and photograph the first ever space shuttle, Columbia return to Earth and I think this has to be one of the most exciting events I have ever witnessed! Trouble is, it took place near a God forsaken town in the Californian Desert called, 'Barstow' - and it was. A right one! (I said that in my best Cockney-French accent.) It was as hot as Hell with no shade whatsoever, other than my little blue tent and the car I had hired at Los Angeles airport, a black 'Plymouth Champ'.

My travelling companion was Graham Taylor and we arrived at Edward's Airforce Base three days before the landing, camping in the desert with just rattle snakes for company. That is, until the American media arrived and discovered that we were 'Limies'. What a bunch of plonkers they were! We were interviewed by the San Francisco Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Times, both of which misquoted us as saying the space shuttle was 'dandy'. Can you imagine that? It was difficult enough just now bringing myself to type the word. I would never have said it!

Continued . . .

Somewhere in Death Valley. An aptly named place if ever there was one! Temperature 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Being among the first ten or so people to arrive at the landing site, we were able to choose the best position to watch the event and so we set up camp as close to the fenced off landing strip as humanly possible. The runway was simply black lines painted on a dried up, prehistoric lake bed. People started to arrive and we made friends with two Americans of a similar age to ourselves.

With our new found friends time passed quickly. We spent the days drinking beer, lots of water and listening to REO Speadwaggon on the car stereo. The song, 'Time for me to Fly' always takes me back to this event. The nights we spent getting up to adolescent male stuff. (No, not that!) There was a small gap in the fence, just wide enough to get the car through and the desert nights were totally black. I don't think I have ever experienced darkness like it! Under cover of this darkness, we squeezed our two cars through the gap, turned the lights off and bombed up and down the runway at velocities approaching warp speed. There was absolutely nothing to hit - just completely flat lake bed for ten miles. After these little excursions, we would head back towards the lights of the campers, flick the headlights on quickly to find our way back through the fence and watch the police cars converging on the runway and round the perimeter of the camp site. With the bonnets of our cars almost smoking with heat, each time we prayed that this would not be the thing which would give us away. I hate cars now and have little time for 'boy racers' but have to confess that, back then I was one.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember the names of the American friends with whom we shared this rather dangerous experience but they are pictured below. If either of you see this web page, please get in touch.

Continued . . .

Space Shuttle flight ST01, Columbia returns to Earth. Photo taken whilst standing on the roof of my car. The reflection is caused by a mirage.

The other memorable total darkness antic was 'flashguns across the desert'. In the distance, in the photo below, you might just notice another fence. This was where the television crews were camped and at night, both camps would set up telescopes and large mirror lenses. We would then fire camera flashes through the lenses at each other and the result was like a scene from Star Wars. Thousands of blue flashes streaking across the desert.

When the time for the landing finally arrived, numbers on the camp site had increased from the initial ten of us to around one hundred thousand spectators and the atmosphere was just out of this world! TV helicopters filmed constantly and the American Airforce were showing off their flying skills to the crowds. It was as good as being at a Pink Floyd concert and better than any other air show I have ever been to.

My Dad was either in Cape Town or Athens on business at the time of the event, I cannot remember which. Wherever it was, he saw night-time fireworks as the spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere. We compared notes and times when we next met and twenty minutes after he saw the first signs of re-entry, three loud sonic booms occurred over California followed by a sudden eerie silence. 100,000 people held their breath as we watched Columbia, accompanied by two white chase planes, grow from a tiny white dot, almost immediately overhead in the perfectly blue sky to the recognizable shape of a spacecraft before gliding silently to a perfect landing on the desert bed. The cheer that went up was just phenomenal as the spacecraft touched down, decelerating on the ground for probably five miles, eventually slowing and coming to a halt.

What a fantastic moment! On the camp site, and probably on board the Shuttle too. It was one of those moments which will be etched on my memory for the rest of my life. Perfect strangers began hugging and kissing one another like Woodstock revisited. This was followed by the traffic jam! 100,000 people all wanting to drive their cars through the same exit. First in, last out. That used up the rest of the day so we found a motel to get some rest before heading for Boulder City, Nevada to see my friends from a previous visit, George Ann Hollingsworth and LaWana Wood (no relation).

Between our cars and by the fence with a gap, Myself, Graham Taylor and our American friends. Photo taken with my camera by a friendly German.

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