The Tintern Village Website

Grantley's Diaries

Summer 1999

The Football Club held their annual dinner at the Royal George Hotel on Saturday June 12.
This year the team celebrated the first and second teams both winning their divisional championships. It is thought that this is a first for the village.
Everything was expertly presided over by Dave Ball, assisted by Gary Mackie. They presented a stream of awards to :
Player of the Year : Dan Savage
Manager's Player : Ross Jones
Player's Player (1st Division) : Darren Luff
Player's Player (2nd Division) : Sam Marmont
Top Goal Scorer (1st Division) : Darren Luff and Gareth Moore (joint)
Top Goal Scorer (2nd Division) : Steve Prettyjohn
Most Improved Player : David Drewell
Most Sporting Player : Matthew Shorrock

The Club also held its annual duck race from Brockweir Bridge to Tintern Promenade. Always a popular event, with the proximity of the local wildlife it has become necessary to point out to visitors that the competitors are actually plastic ducks, since last year when two indignant, if well-meaning, old ladies telephoned the RSPCA.

The Longest Day Cricket Match took place at The Anchor on Saturday June 19. Play started at 4.52am and continued until dusk at 9.32pm.
Among those taking part were vicar Phil Rees and MP Huw Edwards, a strong supporter for some time. Ten-year-old Ian Butt distinguished himself by playing for most of the day and taking four wickets into the bargain.
The event is expected to raise more than 500 towards the all-weather sports pitch at Llandogo. The organisers would like to thank everyone involved, including people who were just passing, from milk-men to motor cyclists, who were cajoled into taking part.

During the day more than 800 runs were scored for just over 60 wickets.
The batting award went to Dave Heritage who scored a magnificent 101 and the bowling to John Milton-Whatmore who took 10 wickets.
Special thanks are due to the Anchor, which provided players with refreshments. The weather was fine and at the end exhausted stalwarts returned to the bar.

The Abbey Mill hosted the teddy bears picnic recently. Entertainment included a magic show and balloon man with picnicing on the river. A lovely sunny day brought out crowds and Chris and Shelley Rastall's superb organisation ensured that it was a memorable day.

Remember the old golf club socials at the Beaufort Hotel? I bumped into Nick Niclaasen who ran the place for years during the 60s and 70s.
Just about every dinner dance was held there, including the Hunt balls, the Mistletoe ball and many others. Nick was a master at mass catering and things were almost guaranteed to run smoothly with him in charge.

In those days I was playing for the resident Robin Reece dance band. It contained wonderful characters like pianist Maurice Price and bass-player Charlie Black who never allowed the fact that he was blind to limit his musical ability or sense of fun.
Nick also ran The Anchor for some time. He still visits the village and is referred to affectionately as "Mr Nick". Now an incredibly fit-looking eighty something, he has the same dry sense of humour as ever. He confided in me: "If I'd known I was going to live this long I'd have looked after myself better".
His daughter Jenny runs the Grape Escape wine bar in Chepstow.

A little piece of Tintern disappeared with the passing of Henry Arnold, well remembered in the village for, among other things, his occasionally slightly eccentric sense of dress, his monocle, a tremendously outgoing personality and the habit of referring to you as "dear boy", whatever age you were.
Part of his legacy is a plethora of memories that still bring a smile to people's faces - that can't be bad.

There has been a long-standing rivalry between myself and mine host at The Anchor over the subject of our ever-expanding waistlines.
This increased in intensity when I fell over and broke my ankle and he put about a scurrilous rumour that I had fallen into the road and had to be coned off as a mini-roundabout until the lifting gear arrived to get me up!
So I am delighted to report that on his recent visit to Earls Court he experienced some difficulty at the entrance, having been mistaken on more than one occasion for Pavarotti.
He is now on a sponsored slim to raise money for the local surgery. Ha! a fine sop to the doctors to avoid their wrath! We shall see!

Eeyore, Twopence, Ronnie and Frodo are four donkeys belonging to HAPPA (Horse and Pony Protection Association) who have come to Abbey Passage for summer grazing. They are all in their twenties but appear to be enjoying retirement, no doubt helped by lots of cosseting by their newly acquired foster family of David, Jane and their daughter, Claire.

Meanwhile, Lord Damon of the Abbey, the Highland bull calf who arrived in January, is growing at amazing speed. He and Claire have become good friends and she has managed to get a head collar on him. The next step will be to persuade him that a leading rein can be good fun too.

The village surgery is now well settled in its new home at the old police station.
The new premises are a huge improvement - light, spacious and comfortable. It is a well deserved step for what has always been an exemplary small community practice, with doctors and staff offering a personal and sympathetic touch second to none and where seemingly nothing is too much trouble.

The scheme of part-time manning of the police station with community volunteers is gradually becoming more known and used.
Manned on a Wednesday and Saturday, it offers visitors and locals help and information. Inevitably much of it revolves around tourist information and directions but they also have an impressive display of crime prevention literature. It is hoped to eventually to expand the scheme's hours and scope.

Tintern faced chaos when a burst water main disrupted traffic for more than twenty four hours. There is no doubt that the village roads, built to take far less traffic than is using them, are just not up to it.
The Second Severn Crossing diverted a great deal of traffic away from the area, resulting in a drop in revenue and business closures locally, but the rise in tolls has meant heavy traffic using alternative routes. Huge lorries thunder through at all hours of the night, showing scant regard for the peace or safety of residents and destroying the road surface, as has been patently demonstrated by the regular need for repairs.

Edited somewhat from the Grantley James Diary. Thank you Grantley