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Winter 2009

Fox Pond

   Betty Haynes, Chair

Almost winter again! The seasons have rolled through another year in the reserve. In the spring we saw a dramatic rise in water levels and our ponds were once again full and teeming with wildlife. Summer was very dry, the water disappeared and the ponds were dry again by autumn. Now, once again the ponds are filling. Thanks to Basildon Council Countryside Services, our ranger, Mark Williams and the efforts of the Society's monthly work parties, trees have been trimmed and undergrowth and meadows cut back and tidied. The refurbishment of Willow Pond was started in the spring and we hope to have it finished before this summer. Our thanks to all who helped.

There's still lots to do so we look forward to seeing you all in 2010! Enjoy the holidays!


   Membership Secretary, Weed

The current membership stands at 89 households, with a few subscriptions for 2009-2010 still outstanding. (If you didn't get a membership form with the newsletter then your subscription is up-to-date.) Several members have now opted to receive the newsletter in electronic format. If any others would prefer this method of delivery please email info@nbnrs.org.uk with a request.

   Web Site  http://www.nbnrs.org.uk

The village web site at noakbridge.net which hosts the Society's web forum was given a makeover at the end of August. Old posts have been archived, but they are still available for viewing via a link from the bottom of each page on the new forum.

We now have the results of the moth surveys done earlier this year and hopefully these will soon be published on the "Wildlife" page. Also two new galleries are planned to display some of the excellent photographs of insects in the reserve taken by our ranger, Mark Williams.

   Work Parties

Every third Wednesday in the month, 1pm - 3pm.


See you on Wednesday, 20 January 2010.

   Eastfield Road

There has been another proposal to build new houses in Eastfield Road, but Basildon Council has once again refused permission to build!


If you have been frightened or threatened by unleashed dogs in the reserve please report the date, time and details of the incident to the dog warden at 01268-294280 or to Betty Haynes at 01268-531365.


When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tuwhit! Tuwhoo! A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all around the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl -
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tuwhit! Tuwhoo! A merry note!
White greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

                          William Shakespeare


Whilst the poinsettia may not be a wild flower in the UK, it is native to Central America and is known as Taxco del Alarcon in southern Mexico. The Aztecs called it "cuetlaxochitl" (can you pronounce it?) and had many uses for it. A purple dye made from the red bracts was used in cosmetics and fabric, and a medicine used to treat fevers was made from the white sap. It was probably named poinsettia in the mid 1830's, after the man who introduced it into the USA from Mexico.

Joel Robert Poinsett, the first USA ambassador to Mexico in 1825, became interested in the plants after seeing them growing in the Taxco region in 1828. He sent them home to his plantation in South Carolina where he had greenhouses, and they were successfully grown there. He distributed the plants to botanical gardens and friends. One such recipient gave one to Robert Buist, a plants man from Pennsylvania, who may have been the first person to sell poinsettias under their botanical name Euphorbia pulcherrima, which means "the most beautiful Euphorbia."

Why do we associate poinsettias with Christmas? Maybe because it is almost impossible to buy them at any other time, but I think you will agree that the following story of an old Mexican legend is much more appealing.

A poor girl had no gift to give to the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve service. As she walked sad and empty handed to the church her cousin tried to cheer her up. He suggested that even the humblest gift would make Jesus happy, but she still did not know what she could give. However she noticed some weeds growing by the roadside and decided to pick them and made them into a small posy, but still she was embarrassed by her meagre offering. As she walked towards the altar she remembered what her cousin had said and began to feel better. She knelt down and placed her posy by the nativity scene and as she did so her tiny bouquet burst into bright red flowers and everyone knew they had witnessed a miracle. From then on these red flowers were known as "Flores de Noche Buena", flowers of the holy night. The shape of the poinsettia flowers and leaves are thought of as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, the colour red symbolising the blood of Christ.

Researched by Joan Fynn

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last updated - 16 August 2015
URL - http://www.nbnrs.org.uk/news0912/index.html