Posted on

Sunday Email: Issue 32

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Hello and welcome to the 32nd issue of this regular Sunday email.

We’re now back in lockdown and our lives will be massively restricted for the next four weeks. The government has declared that the lockdown will automatically end on 2 December and at that time we’ll return to the previous three tier system. That means we should go back to tier 1, the lowest level, but it’s difficult to see how anyone can know how things will be at that point. If the rate of infection and deaths has dropped because of the sacrifices we have all made then a tier 1 status would be fine, but if things aren’t massively improved we could be pushed into a higher tier. It’s going to be a long four weeks.

Due to the pandemic, Remembrance Sunday commemorations across the UK today will take a different form with many ceremonies curtailed or moved online, and many cancelled because of the difficulties around social distancing. The service at the Cenotaph in London, which is typically attended by thousands, will be stripped back in order to limit mass gatherings. The BBC’s coverage of the Cenotaph event in London broadcasts from 10.15am. The Royal British Legion confirmed that the event will be ‘closed to the general public’ for the first time in its history. In a statement the organisation said, “We are encouraging people across the nations to ensure Remembrance Sunday is still marked appropriately by taking part in remote and socially distanced Remembrance activity. We hope that millions will join a two minute doorstep silence at 11am.”

On Remembrance Day – 11 November – millions of citizens across the Commonwealth will pause to mark the 102nd anniversary of the signing of the First World War armistice. We can all commemorate this important day by again standing in silence on our doorsteps for two minutes at 11am as a mark of respect. And, if you are passing Jubilee Gardens in Topcliffe at any time it’s worth taking a look at the village memorial, which includes a wreath placed by Topcliffe Parish Council on behalf of all villagers.

I hope you find the email contents interesting and informative. As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think Topcliffe and Asenby residents might like to hear about.

Doug 07785 223707

Lockdown underway

It’s worth repeating the main restrictions we all face now that we are in lockdown again:

• People must stay at home except for specific reasons. These include work which cannot be done from home, childcare or education, exercise outdoors, medical reasons, essential shopping, providing care for

vulnerable people or for volunteering, and visiting members of your support bubble.

• Meeting indoors or in private gardens will not be allowed, but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in a public place.

• Pubs, bars, restaurants have had to close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery (in a change of the rules this can now include alcohol).

• Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, have had to close, along with entertainment venues and personal care facilities such as beauty salons.

• Single-adult households can continue to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, and children can move between homes if their parents are separated.

• Schools, colleges and nurseries remain open.

• Furlough payments at 80% are extended to 31 March 2021.

• Those classed as clinically vulnerable are advised to take ‘extra precautions’ but will not be formally asked to resume shielding.

• Overnight stays, staying in a second home, and holidays are not allowed – including in the UK and abroad – although there are exceptions, such as work trips.

• People should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.

• Places of worship have closed for services other than funerals. But people can attend for individual prayer. Weddings are only allowed in “exceptional circumstances”.

• A maximum 30 people can attend a funeral, although it is advised that only close family members should attend.

• Elite sport are allowed behind closed doors.

Nine things that are different from the March lockdown.

  1. You can meet one friend… with your children. In March, you could only meet others from outside your household in a very limited set of circumstances. Meeting another person socially wasn’t allowed until May. This time, you can catch up with a friend in an outdoor public place, like a park or beach, as long as you socially distance and neither of you is self-isolating. And this time, children of pre-school age are not included in the two-person limit, so those looking after youngsters can still have social contact.
  2. Schools and universities are staying open…the government has emphasised that it is prioritising education – so schools, colleges and universities will all remain open, as will nurseries and other childcare. They closed back in March and while studies continued online, many students did not return in person until September.
  3. Public toilets will not be closed…the government has specifically said that public toilets can remain open. This also applies at visitor attractions like gardens and castles, if they are normally available to the public and are sufficiently separate. During the last lockdown, many councils did not reopen their public toilets when allowed. People with young children and long-term health conditions were particularly affected, and with pubs and restaurants closed, many complained they were forced to relieve themselves in public places.
  4. ‘Bubbles’ exist…many people are going into this lockdown as part of a support ‘bubble’, a concept which didn’t exist back in March. It means that an adult living alone or a single parent family can mix freely with one other nominated household of any size. A household with children under 13 can also form a childcare bubble with another household to help with informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare. This must always be between the same two households. However, it’s unclear whether one or more people from the second household can provide the childcare so in the case of grandparents there’s confusion as to whether only one of them can do it.
  5. Click and collect services will be available…non-essential shops are closing once again, but this time click and collect – where customers order products online and go to pick them up – will be allowed. Click and collect involves minimal contact, and could help shops to keep more workers employed. Garden centres can also stay open this time, as can waste and recycling tips.
  6. Sitting on a bench is allowed…in the early days of lockdown, sitting on a bench could be interpreted as breaking coronavirus rules – unless the person was taking a break from exercising. Sunbathing or reading outdoors were also not permitted. This time, the government has not placed any time limit on recreational activities, with the prime minister suggesting that meeting a friend in the park for a walk or sitting on a bench and eating a sandwich was perfectly fine.
  7. You can take unlimited exercise…the message is very different now to March, when people were told to take only one form of exercise outdoors a day. The government is mindful of obesity, mental health and other problems caused by lockdown inactivity, and the risks of coronavirus transmission are generally higher indoors. The new lockdown guidance says "…you can and should still travel to… spend time or exercise outdoors. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary". Only essential travel was permitted in the spring, but this was open to interpretation, with one police force criticised for sharing online drone footage of ramblers.
  8. Dentist and opticians are staying open…dentists and opticians were only open for emergency appointments at the start of the last lockdown. But they can open as usual this time, as can chiropractors and osteopaths. Boots Opticians and Specsavers say they will operate as normal, while the British Dental Association has confirmed that dental services will be available.
  9. Nobody will formally shield…about two million vulnerable people had to shield in the last lockdown, meaning they stayed at home. The aim is to strike a balance between practical measures to keep people safe, while reducing the harm caused to their wellbeing and mental health. However, the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, including organ transplant patients and people with certain cancers, have been told to take extra care to minimise contact with others, including working from home. They have been advised not to go to shops, but can still exercise and go to school.

Book a Coronavirus test locally

Testing sites in North Yorkshire are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. The Department is asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms. This is important to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

This list only shows the testing sites closest to where we live. These are government operated sites and they are open between 11am and 3pm. The full list of North Yorkshire sites can be viewed on the county council’s website at

  • Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Sunday 8 November – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Monday 9 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 10 November – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering,
  • Tuesday 10 November – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Wednesday 11 November – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Thursday 12 November – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 13 November – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering,
  • Friday 13 November – Northallerton – Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. If test sites are fully booked they will not appear on the government’s website. To book a test visit:

In certain cases, home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house. There’s a link on the North Yorkshire County Council website to request a home test –

Community Support

Community support and voluntary organisations are handling a massive increase in demand for help. It’s recognised that not everyone has family, friends or neighbours to check on them. If you or someone you know needs help you can call North Yorkshire County Council on 01609 780780 every day between 8am and 5.30pm. You can also check out this website to search for local organisations:

Library services

North Yorkshire County Council’s directly operated libraries and community libraries are closed but they are offering a ‘select and collect’ service. Home library and super-mobile library services are running as normal. The record office in Northallerton is closed. Find more information on

Household waste and recycling

Household Waste Recycling Centres, including our nearest one at Sowerby, will remain open, with some restrictions, during lockdown. But you should stay at home as much as possible so please only use them if you have to. Find more information on

Buy local when you can

One important thing we can all do during this crisis is to buy local when we are shopping online. We can look to local businesses, and there are hundreds of great local businesses and retailers registered on the North Yorkshire Buy Local directory. This is a great place to start for whatever you need: food deliveries, Christmas presents or trades people. Pleased do look close to home first.

News from The Elm Gallery

Since re-opening after lockdown, the gallery has been doing things differently to keep everyone safe. We only allow one person / couple or bubble in at any one time, so that you get an exclusive viewing of the gallery. A notice is put on the inside door asking people to wait outside until the customers come out. Occasionally, we’ve had a queue! We have a tall perspex screen round the counter and door handles, hand rails and the card machine are sanitised after each customer. We have an automatic hand sanitiser just before you go into the gallery.

  • Late night opening – At this time of year, we would normally open late on Wednesday evenings for people to shop for Christmas and we would provide free wine and nibbles. This year, we can’t do that due to Covid restrictions. As we live in the same building as the gallery, we would be happy to open the gallery for shopping for you and anyone else in your ‘bubble’ any evening of the week, provided you arrange a time in advance with us. The same safety precautions would be in place in the evenings as during the day, so face masks must be worn and hand sanitiser must be used. No-one else would be allowed in during your visit so you would have the gallery to yourselves. A great way to buy Christmas gifts!
  • Mondays and Tuesdays – We are normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and in normal times, we would go out for the day. However, most weeks now we are at home on Mondays and Tuesdays and would be very happy to open by prior arrangement for a specific time if you would like to visit on those days. Please contact us on 01845 577316 or 07709 223920 if you would like an appointment.
  • New website – Dave has been very busy recently creating a new website, which is far better than the old one. Our online card and print sales are directed through our two Etsy shops, which are linked to our website. The web address is: You can find lots of information about the gallery, including which original paintings are for sale. There’s an Exhibitors’ page which will give you a good idea of the range of hand made things we sell.
  • Liz’s Bags – The bags that Liz makes have been selling very well in the gallery. We now have a new page on the gallery website which shows all the bags that are currently available to purchase . She makes at least three new bags most weeks and they make lovely gifts! You can see the full range of bags here:

For those of you who use Facebook, we have a gallery page : and we put regular updates on there about new stock in the gallery. For example, recently we’ve got a lovely range of etched drinking glasses (including a large gin glass!), dichroic glass jewellery, log baskets and lots of new ceramics. If you’ve never been to the gallery, do pop in and see what we’ve got. We have many things which would be perfect Christmas presents, including many which are under £20 and some that are under £10.

Friends set up school lottery

There’s a small group of parents and others who work tirelessly to support our local school – Topcliffe Church of England Academy. In normal times they organise a wide variety of events and activities to raise funds to boost the school’s resources and help ensure local children have the best possible school experience. In these difficult times extra-curriculum activities can’t go ahead but that’s not deterred the Friends of Topcliffe School from looking for ways of raising cash. Jenny Bumby, who has two daughters at the school, says: “We have set up our school on the National School Lottery site and we hope to raise much-needed funding to enhance the school experience for local children. There are cash prizes every week and a jackpot of £25k. It’s a great way to donate money to your local school and hopefully win something yourself. I hope residents will give this initiative their support and I’d be very grateful to anyone who signs up for even one ticket. Our first draw is on the 5 December.“

The Milk Churn Farm Shop

• Customers may order meat and veg boxes, as well as fresh bread, dairy products and fish, via the telephone and we can make arrangements for collections or deliveries to Topcliffe and Asenby households. We’d be grateful for a couple of days’ notice before food boxes are ready. Payment is preferred by bank transfer, but cash can be accepted if necessary. Ring 01845 400446 to order and talk through the payment steps. You can see what is on offer by visiting

• Orders for Christmas are now being taken. This includes free range turkeys, turkey crowns, real Christmas trees, handmade wreaths by Lavender & Bee, plus everything for a full festive lunch or dinner. Examples of the Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes that can be ordered are now on display. Both have a gluten free option.

• Orders are now being taken for Christmas hampers from The Little Yorkshire Hamper Company, the Milk Churn’s sister company. There’s a fantastic range of hampers in a wide range of sizes and prices. Call in at the farm shop for more information or to place an order. Alternatively, check out the hamper website at

In order to keep customers and staff safe the number of people in the shop at any one is being restricted to two. Carers can accompany the person they are looking after. It would be appreciated if only one representative of larger family bubbles would enter the shop at any one time. Current opening times are Monday to Saturday 9-5pm, Thursday 9-1pm and Sunday closed.

St. Columba’s Church

Because of the lockdown St Columba’s is closed for private prayer and is unable to organise services, including today’s planned Act of Remembrance. It is expected that the scheduled Choral Evensong at 6.30pm on Sunday, 6 December will be the next service, unless the rules regarding church openings change in the meanwhile.

Royal Mail Christmas Stamps

The Nativity scene in one of the spectacular stained glass windows in Topcliffe’s St Columba’s church features in a range of stamps issued by Royal Mail for Christmas postings. Six parish churches from across England are included in the new set. I hope to be able to tell the whole story about how this came about in the December edition of The Tattler.

Postal deadlines at Christmas


Friday, 18 December………………..2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For

Monday, 21 December…………….1st Class and 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail Tracked 48*

Tuesday, 22 December…………….Royal Mail Tracked 24*

Wednesday, 23 December………. Special Delivery Guaranteed

International Standard

Friday, 4 December…………………. Australia and New Zealand

Wednesday, 9 December………… Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central and South America, Far and Middle East

Thursday, 10 December………….. Canada, Cyprus and Malta

Friday, 11 December………………. Greece, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia) and Turkey

Saturday, 12 December………….. Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, USA

Wednesday, 16 December ………Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland

Friday, 18 December………………. Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

Thirsk Garden Centre remains open

The government has recognised the importance of gardening for people’s mental and physical health. Most garden centres in our area will continue to operate, including Thirsk Garden Centre on Blakey Lane. The centre’s opening hours are Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm. The Coffee Shop, which will be closed throughout the lockdown, will be offering a take-out service. The owners say they can assure all customers that safety is the centre’s highest priority.

‘Life in Lockdown’ Project

The Jennyruth Workshops in Ripon – which many readers will have given support to from time to time – has an interesting new project underway to collect stories about peoples’ lockdown experiences. The idea is to create an archive that will be available for future generations. They are looking for submissions from people of any age from Ripon and surrounding villages, including Topcliffe and Asenby, and all entries in the archive will be anonymous. If you would like to be included in the archive just write about how you have managed during the last and current lockdowns – perhaps highlighting things like how you and your family coped, what you did to keep fit and avoid boredom, whether you felt lonely or kept active by volunteering in the community….and what your hopes are for the future. You can email your thoughts to

Please don’t impede the refuse collectors

A longstanding issue about badly parked cars causing difficulties on bin collection day came to a head last week when recycling bins in East Lea were left uncollected because the refuse collectors couldn’t get near. Apparently similar problems regularly occur in the Back Lane/East Lea area as well. It’s difficult for car owners who don’t have off-street parking and want to park as close as possible to their home, but this is an appeal for everyone to think of others and to keep the roads as free of cars as possible, especially on bin collection days. (Don’t forget that if a refuse lorry can’t get near, it’s likely a fire engine would have exactly the same problem!).

We can all join the fight against online shopping fraud

Andy Fox, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer attached to the Economic Crime Unit at North Yorkshire Police will be hosting an online event later this month about the increasing prevalence of online shopping fraud, how to spot it and how to stay safe. It’s being organised in partnership with North Yorkshire Trading Standards. Andy says: “With the country placed into another lockdown I know many of you will be increasing your online shopping in the run up to Christmas. Fraudsters are aware of this and I do expect to see a rise in online fraud over the next couple of months. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now established retail events which will see North Yorkshire residents spend millions of pounds online and I’d like to ensure residents are well prepared to recognise and avoid fraud.”

This online event, which will take place on Wednesday 25 November between 6:30 – 8:30pm will be conducted over Microsoft Teams. Do not worry if you do not have Teams installed on your computer. All attendees will be sent a link and you can join the meeting through your web browser. Full details will be circulated to all those attending prior to the event. If you wish to attend please follow this link.

Parish Council Meetings

• Topcliffe’s Parish Council met online last Thursday (5 November). Minutes are available on the village website at All enquiries to the Clerk by email at or any Parish Councillor.

• Asenby’s Parish Council meeting will be held online on at 7pm on Wednesday, 18 November. Information will be available before the meeting from the Parish Clerk via email on and details will also be made available on the village website at

The Angel

The Angel is closed to customers but offering an ‘Angel at Home’ take away meal service – Wednesday to Friday 5 until 9pm (order from 3pm), Saturday 3 until 9pm (order from 1pm) and Sunday 12 noon until 8pm (order from 11am). See their website- – for more details and call 01845 578000 to pre-order.. Their latest tantalising offer is buy a main course, get the second half price on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The Swan

Closed for the duration of the lockdown.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Refuse – Mondays 9 and 23 November • Recycling and green bins – Thursday, 19 November

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Recycling – Mondays, 9 and 23 November • Refuse – Mondays, 16 and 30 November • Garden waste – Thursday, 19 November

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay at home, keep safe and remain well.