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A Week on the Estate: Memories, Carols & Brussels Sprouts

With Christmas nearly upon us, it’s a time of celebration at South Ormsby Estate. A fine time was had by all at the tenants’ party, held in the New Room with rousing, a-capella entertainment provided by Louth’s Zero Degrees Chorus.

 

The hard work required to manage the estate doesn’t stop. At Harden’s Gap, a ditch was maintained with a digger to ensure effective field drainage. In the Walled Garden, Brynn and helper Leah braved the cold and gloomy weather to keep everything spick and span.

 

Brynn’s job-list included pulling nettles and roots out of a small, enclosed section so that it can be made into a useful herb garden. Despite the solstice, the garden is still just about yielding produce – while spent fruit and vegetables are being cleared, the Brussels sprout crop will be harvested just in time for Christmas.

 

Brynn also helps to fuel the biomass boiler, keeps the drains clear of dead leaves, feeds and cares for the chickens, and collects their eggs. One big cockerel does not appreciate Brynn’s efforts – pecking at his feet and running at him when he gets within range.

Inspired by the floral tribute to Adrian Massingberd-Mundy arranged by Jacqui Rhodes, several of our social media followers kindly shared their memories of the Squire.

 

Christine Spring (née Maidens) told us: “I remember the Squire would give Christmas parties at the Hall for the South Ormsby school-children. Along with my siblings, I went to the school back in the early 70s until it very sadly closed. We were allowed to play in the estate land around near the school. Such happy fond memories of those days. It is great to see that little has changed; not like so many other built-up places that lose their character.

 

Denny Caretti said: “I went to South Ormsby School in the 1960s. My father worked on Manor Farm. The Squire was like royalty to us. In the summer, he regularly brought strawberries to the students of the school and we feasted on them. I remember him watching from a distance with great satisfaction. I’m so pleased he preserved the village. It hasn’t changed in decades. Such a beautiful, tranquil place.”

 

Grazia Caretti said: “Like my brother Denny, I also lived in South Ormsby and attended the village school. So many memories of the Squire – especially at Xmas, when we would go to the Hall to sing Christmas Carols. The Squire always invited us into the Hall for a glass of Sherry!”

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas – and to warmly remember those who can’t share it with us – we’re particularly looking forward to the Christmas Eve carol service at St Leonard’s Church. Delightful musical accompaniment will be provided by estate tenant and St Leonard’s organist and treasurer, Anne Walters.

 

Anne has been playing keyboards for more years than she’d care to remember. She began learning the piano at the age of 11, and was brought up in the Methodist tradition, her two organ-playing grandmas taking her under their wings. She was warned long ago not to pick up a guitar – guitar strings create tough fingertips, whereas pianists need sensitivity of touch.

 

In retirement, Anne is kept busy by her music – particularly in December. In the build-up to Christmas, Anne will accompany seven carol services up to Christmas Eve, and will then give herself a well-earned festive break. She plays as far afield as Mablethorpe, Sutton and Spilsby, and is in demand for weddings and funerals year-round.

 

An accomplished organist, Anne can coordinate two keyboards and two pedals, although most of her local commitments don’t have more than two keyboard parts. She doesn’t need to practice the popular hymns – she knows them off by heart – but she takes care to rehearse novel pieces of music, particularly for weddings.

Originally from Messingham, Anne trained as a secretary in London then returned to Lincolnshire. Apart from a spell in Australia, Anne spent much of her working life in this county, first as a secretary at the Scunthorpe steel works and then as a school secretary.

 

Both Anne and husband Richard come from farming families, so rather like the rural life. Anne finds rural congregations very appreciative and she’s got the local church wardens well trained.

 

All of us at the South Ormsby Estate would like to wish all of you a joyous, warm and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year.