Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A huge congratulations to the bag-pack-ers who did a fundraising event at Sainsbury's to raise funds for Esh-based charity, Dorothy's Well.The day raised £900.00 for Dorothy’s Well Project, an Esh-based charity dedicated to providing fresh water wells and sanitation facilities to some of the poorest villages in Tanzania. Find out more at www.dorothyswells.org or click on the logo on the left hand side of the page. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

New! Esh Sewing Circle

The Esh Sewing Circle holds its first meeting this month on 19th November, from 2-4pm in the Cross Keys.

Whether you're a finger-pricking novice, a deft darner of socks, or a closet couturier, everyone is welcome to come along.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gospel Choir Concert

The Esh Gospel Choir will be performing at a concert on Saturday 23rd November, 4.00pm, at St George's Church, Cullercoats, NE30 4NS.

 Their repertoire includes lots of gospel classics, including Wade In The Water, Amazing Grace, Steal Away, and Oh, Happy Day.

All are welcome; for more information, please contact Steven Bradley, s.p.bradley@durham.ac.uk.
The Gospel Choir's rehearsal dates for the coming year are now featured on the Village Calendar. Rehearsals take place in the village hall twice a month; please contact Steve if you would like to get involved. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

2014 Village Calendars Now On Sale

The Esh Village Calendar 2014 is now on sale for £7.00 per calendar, featuring the winning photographs from the summer photography competition, as well as some super shots that didn't quite win, but came very close!

The calendars are A4 -size, wall hanging with a tough plastic cover, and contain all major UK holidays and religious festivals. They fit snugly into A4-sized envelopes and jiffy bags, making them excellent stocking fillers!

Our first run sold out within days, but we're happy to report that another delivery is due next week... To order, please email the Residents' Association (eshresidentsassociation@gmail.com) or pop a note through the letterbox of 11, Front Street, stating your name, the number of calendars you'd like to order, and your contact details.

We'll deliver them to you, and are happy to take cash or a cheque (made payable to Esh Village Residents' Association, please). We are not making any profit on the calendars but if the project is a success, we'll be featuring more Esh stationery - note cards, post-its, billboards... ideas on a postcard, please!

Litter Pick

Apologies for the late notice; a village litter pick will be taking tomorrow morning, Saturday 9th November, starting at 9am from the village green.

Everyone is more than welcome to come and join us. Just wrap up warm and bring some gloves and we'll provide the rest. Fingers crossed the weather holds...

Monday, 21 October 2013

REMEMBER: the clocks go back this Sunday!

Just a reminder that the clocks go back an hour this weekend... What will you do with the extra hour in the day?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Your Village, Your Voice

A quick reminder that the mid-Durham AAP, County Councillors, and Parish Council will be holding a meeting on Saturday 19th October, 2-4pm, at Quebec Village Hall for residents of Esh and Quebec to drop in and discuss the recent developments on the Village Action Plan. Although the Your Village, Your Voice money for Esh has been allocated to redevelopment of the children's play area, the AAP are keen to hear residents' views about the County Council Budget allocation.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Esh Village Residents' Association Monthly Meeting

A quick reminder that this month's EVRA meeting will take place tomorrow, Thursday 10th October, from 7.45pm in the Cross Keys.

Items on the agenda include the traffic issues in the village, the winter planting of the flower tubs, and, since it creeps up on the the best of us, plans for the village Christmas tree, lights, and carol services. Everyone is welcome to come along - meetings usually last about an hour, and the pub makes for a cosy gathering as the nights draw in!

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for details of the next litter pick. Now that EVRA owns its very own litter picking equipment, I feel one coming on...

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Your Money, Your Village, Your Views... Your Vote

You may remember the mid-Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP), the Parish Council, and the County Councillors coming to Esh as part of a region-wide project to hear residents' thoughts on life in their villages. Each village came up with an Action Plan to get to work on some of the issues highlighted by residents (you can see the Esh Action Plan by clicking here) and now the Partnership has dedicated £5000 to each village in mid-Durham to help move things along even further. 

The AAP is holding a joint meeting with Quebec village in the Quebec Village Hall on Saturday 19th October, from 2-4pm. They ask that as many residents pop in as possible to contribute their thoughts to how the money could be best spent. 

Of the projects flagged by Esh residents, the only project currently eligible to receive the funding is the renovation of the children's play area but the AAP are keen to hear what we might like to see developed on the site. They are also working together with the two village schools to collect their views. Further funds to support and maintain the project are in the pipeline and one of the objectives of the October meetings will be ask for residents' input into how Durham County Council shapes their budget allocation in the coming years. 

For more information, please see the village noticeboard, or contact the AAP team at mdaap@durham.gov.uk or telephone them on 01207 529085/ 529844. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Esh Photography Competition Winners!

A huge congratulations to the winners of this year's photography competition: Judy Gordon, Malcolm Gordon, Giles Gasper, Harrison Lee, and Jack Young. The standard of entries was extremely high and choosing winners was a tough call...find out more by clicking here

We're hoping to make the winning entries into packs of note cards to be sold in the 
village and perhaps even an Esh 2014 Calendar in time for Christmas stockings...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Esh Village Residents' Association Meeting

Just a quick message to say that the Residents' Association's monthly meeting takes place tomorrow evening, Thursday 12 September, at 7.30pm in the Cross Keys. Items on the agenda include next weekend's Heritage Event and the Area Action Partnership Plan - all are welcome!  

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Esh Photography Competition 2013

Entry to the village Photograph Competition has now closed - thank you to everybody who has sent in their pictures! 

We've had a great response and there are some fabulous shots in all three categories (under 11, under 18, and over 18) - it's going to be a difficult job to pick the winners. The photos will be on display in the Cross Keys over the weekend and judging will take place on Sunday, 15 September at 5pm - do come along, whether or not you've sent anything in - it would be lovely to see you! Andrew Heptinsall has kindly agreed to judge this year's competition - a professional photographer, Andrew specialises in architecture, tourism and editorial features and will be sharing some of his tips and tricks on Sunday. You can check out some of his work here

Monday, 26 August 2013

Forewarned is forearmed...

There have been two instances of thefts from oil tanks in the Hill Crest area of the village recently. The website www.stopoiltheft.com has plenty of advice on how to protect your oil from unwanted attention, including:

  • fit an Oil Level Gauge to your tank to alert you to an unusual drop in your oil level;
  • install locks on tank filler caps;
  • whilst you may not have a say on where your tank is positioned, it is wise to try planting bushes to prevent thieves getting to the tank easily or parking your vehicle so that access to the tank is restricted. Also if it is overlooked by a window or close to occupied property, most thieves will not take the risk of wanting to be seen;
  • make note of any unfamiliar vehicles looking suspicious. It has been known that thieves are following Oil Delivery vehicles around different households knowing that they may potentially have a full tank.
Please don't approach anyone who appears to be behaving suspiciously - call the police. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Take Notice!

Check out the latest addition to the village - a shiny new noticeboard! 

Shared between the C of E Primary School and the Esh Village Residents' Association, the noticeboard is designed to replace the old phone box for village and school notices and announcements. If there's something you'd like to put on the noticeboard, please get in touch at eshresidentsassociation@gmail.com

Please note that all notices will be subject to approval by the EVRA committee. 

Esh Village Residents' Association Meeting

A quick reminder that the Esh Village Residents' Association's monthly meeting takes place tonight, 7pm, at the Cross Keys

Items on the agenda include planning events and activities for next month's Heritage Weekend, the Photography Competition and the upkeep of the village environment (I feel another litter pick coming on...). Everyone is welcome - the more the merrier! See you there...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

An Esh Debut?

Spotted: a black squirrel on the eastern side of Esh village! 

Although there are technically only two types of squirrel in the UK, the native red (Sciurus vulgaris) and the North American grey (Sciurus carolinensis), a third variant, the black squirrel, appears to have trekked and swung its way up the country to the dizzy heights of Esh village. 

Black squirrels are actually grey squirrels with higher levels of black pigment (melanin) in their fur due to a genetic mutation. They were first introduced to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire in the late 19th century, but, either through escape or release, have slowly taken up residence across the country. According to the Black Squirrel Project, a study conducted by researchers at Angela Ruskin University, the mutated gene travels about half a mile a year, and to date there have only been seven sightings in County Durham; the sighting in Esh marking an eighth appearance. The Forestry Commission is also running a similar project, and both institutions ask that anyone who spots a black squirrel contact them directly. Esh is now marked on the Black Squirrel Project's map... although whether the squirrels are just passing though or here to stay remains to be seen... Keep your eyes peeled and do get in touch if you spot any more! 

Monday, 5 August 2013

A quick note...

St Michael's & All Angels, Esh with Hamsteels
... just to say that the Village Calendar has been updated to include church services at St Michaels & All Angels, Esh with Hamsteels for the coming weeks and more information about the WI meetings (monthly speaker, competitions, etc.). If there's anything you'd like including on the
Calendar or if the sharp-eyed notice anything amiss, please don't hesitate to get in touch by leaving a comment on the Calendar page or by sending a comment via the form on the Residents' Association page. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Your Village Your Voice Goes From Strength to Strength

Some of you might remember a post a month back mentioning that the Mid-Durham Area Action Partnership, headed up by Andy Coulthard, was working closely with the various communities in Esh - the schools, the churches, the Parish Council and the Residents' Association to name just a few -  to help facilitate communications between local government bodies and the village. 

Following a meeting in June between the AAP and Esh residents, an action plan was drawn up to help address some of the issues concerning villagers (the blocked drains - a popular topic around here! - dog fouling, overgrown verges, road safety, and horse droppings on the roads and pavements being just a couple). An up to date copy of the action plan can be found on the blog detailing the progress made so far... as you'll be able to tell from the plan, Andy and his team have been seriously busy in the last 6 weeks and made huge strides already! 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

BIG Lottery Funding in Esh

Lots of recent village projects, events, and collaboration with the two village schools, Esh CofE Primary School and St Michael's Esh Laude Primary School, have only been possible due to a generous grant from the BIG Lottery Fund. Check out the new slideshow on the Gallery page for a few shots of what the grant went towards...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Who knew road drains could be so exciting?!

From this...
To this!
Yesterday, a momentous happening occurred in Esh: the road drains were cleared! The Residents' Association had been in regular contact with the County Council for several months regarding the blocked drains and localised flooding, and yesterday afternoon all the accumulated surface debris, horse manure and mud was cleared out and the drains restored to sparking (and fully-functioning) condition... just in time for a downpour to give their newly-acquired drainage power a test-drive! A big thank you to the brave souls from the Council who grappled with the grates, the garbage, and the grime to free Front Street from the floods and floating manhole covers. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

This weekend...

Just a reminder that there are two village events taking place tomorrow, Saturday 21st June

Flowers in memory of Liz,
from the Residents'' Association

There will be a memorial service at the C of E church at 11am for the late Liz Porteus who passed away earlier this year. The service will be followed by a faith-lunch at no. 7 Front Street; for more details, please see the village calendar

Meanwhile St Michael's Esh Laude RC Primary School are having their Summer Fair tomorrow at the school. All are welcome to attend - fingers crossed the weather holds! 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Dorothy's Wells Project Tanzania

Jim and a happy child!
Dorothy's Well Project is an Esh-based charity which raises money to drill wells in Tanzania, providing fresh drinking water to people of Africa who otherwise would have to walk for up to three hours a day to collect dirty water. Founded in 2009 by Esh resident Jim O'Connor in memory of his late wife Dorothy, the project aims to reduce the frightening statistic that every 20 seconds, a child in Africa dies of a water-related disease.

Since the sinking of the first well at Machame, north eastern Tanzania, and building of latrines at Nkoraya Primary School, a further six wells and twelve latrines have been installed in rural Tanzanian communities, all of whom were in desperate need of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities.

Each well costs around £20,000 to sink, money raised through local coffee mornings, raffles, tombolas, bring and buy sales, lunches, supermarket bag packing, and Ceilidhs, as well as sponsored events including the Coast to Coast walk and the Boxing Day North Sea Dip, and more recently, a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro which helped to kick-start the funding programme for 2013. 

To find out more about the project and how you can help, please visit their website, www.dorothyswell.org or see their Facebook page. 

Monday, 17 June 2013


Following a very productive meeting with the mid-Durham Area Action Partnership and members of the Parish Council earlier this month (see post below), the AAP have written back to the Residents' Association with a comprehensive action plan designed to highlight specific local concerns and the intended means by which to address them. 

Issues raised by village residents included road safety (stationary traffic blocking main access routes through the village, speeding, road crossings, and overgrown verges obscuring road signs), dog fouling and horse manure on pathways and the road, the regeneration of the children's play area, and ideas for opening community-run initiatives such as a village shop. 

The action plan has its own page on the blog so that all residents can see what is planned and the partnerships involved - indeed, rumour has it that the drains are due to be cleared imminently... do watch this space! 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Road Drains in Esh

A less positive post today...has anybody else noticed the poor state of the drains in the village?!

Front Street is particularly badly affected - the drains are almost overflowing with mud, horse droppings and other general debris from the road - and several residents have been trying to remedy the situation outside their houses in an attempt to prevent localised flooding.

The County Council have been informed on a regular basis about this over the past few months to no avail, although the Residents' Association have repeated been assured that our concerns have been heard and that action will be taken.

Please add your voice to those requesting that the Council urgently attend to the drainage issues in the village by emailing the Highways Action Line at Hal@durham.gov.uk and quoting the following reference number: 32113867.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Esh WI Open Evening

This Monday, 10th June, the Esh Women's Institute will be holding an open evening starting at 8.00pm in the CofE Primary School. 

Will Marx will be singing "Songs from the Sixties" and all are welcome - so whether you prefer to rock it up to the strains of the Kinks, chill to the sounds of the Supremes, sing the Folsom Prison Blues, or head back to that cradle of British pop, the Cavern Club - it promises to be a fantastic evening! For more about the Esh WI, please see the Tourism & Leisure page. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Next Village Residents' Meeting

The next Esh Village Residents' Association Meeting will take place tomorrow evening, Thursday 6th May, in the Cross Keys at the slightly earlier time of 6.45pm

We will be at the meeting with the mid-Durham Area Action Partnership and Parish Council beforehand at St Michael's RC Primary School (see post below for more information) before moving on to the pub; all are most welcome to join us at the former and/ or the latter! 

As well as general updates on village life and goings-on and the contents of the forthcoming newsletter, the meeting will be discussing the possibility of financing and sourcing a village noticeboard... a more complex affair than one might think!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Your Village, Your Voice...

Last year, the Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) and local Parish Council undertook a residents' survey in order to assess the most pressing concerns felt by those living in the area. The survey revealed that Esh residents were most troubled by road safety, local employment, and environmental issues. 

On Thursday 6th June, the mid-Durham AAP staff team, County Councillors and Parish Councillors will be holding a 'chat and a cuppa' drop-in session in St Michael's RC Primary School between 4-6.30pm to discuss plans to improve the matters raised by the survey and to hear residents' views on how best to work more closely with the community on a variety of projects and initiatives. 

Members of the Esh Village Residents Association (EVRA) will be dropping in on the session from 5.45pm onwards to chat about the work we have been doing of late - namely the litter picks, the flower displays, the social and sport groups, and the grants obtained for the local primary schools- and to find even more positive ways to work with the County and Parish Councils on matters relating to road maintenance and safety. All are welcome to the session - the more the merrier! 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Litter Pick - Saturday 4th May

The recent (and continuing!) high winds have meant that even more rubbish than usual has been gathering on the verges and in the hedgerows around the village. The Esh Village Residents' Association have organised a litter pick this Saturday, 4th April, at 9.00am - everyone to meet by the seat on the village green. The Association have arranged the loan of litter pickers, high visibility vests, and refuse sacks from the Council so there's no danger that we won't look the part!  

Sunday, 21 April 2013

They're back!... But how many swallows make a summer?

With impeccable timing, the swallows arrived back in Esh yesterday, signalling that maybe - just maybe - summer is finally on its way. Traditionally, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the first passeriformes should be the sand martins sometime in March, followed by the house martins, with the swallows appearing in the second half of April. Aristotle might have been sceptical, the Greek philosopher being responsible for the saying, 'One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day', but here's hoping avian activites in Esh are to prove him wrong this year!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Wild Flowers

In addition to the amazing daffodils that traditionally mark the approach and entrance to Esh, the Residents' Association are planning to lay wild flower seed mats on the roadside verges which will give a lovely spray of colour to the banks on either side of the road into Esh throughout the summer months... We might even get a hive of resident bees too! Watch this space for details of when the Association will be out clearing and planting the verges - everyone is very welcome to join us! 

Esh Badminton Club

Last night, with lasers, precision measuring, masking tape and a mop, a full-size badminton court was marked out in the Parish Hall... meaning that the Badminton Club is now ready to be launched! The first meeting of the club will take place next Tuesday, 23rd April; for more information about membership, please visit the Tourism and Leisure page. To see the transformation of the court, from bare floor to a pristine white grid that Sport England would be proud of, take a peek at the slideshow on the Gallery page of the blog...See you on Tuesday! 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Durham Lumiere 2013

Durham County Council are looking for volunteer Festival Makers
to help run this year's Lumiere festival in Durham. The four-day festival, which turns landmarks such as the Cathedral and the city's medieval bridges into illuminated works of art, was a huge success in 2011 and this year promises to be better than ever. The event will run from 14th-17th November 2013 and the organisers expect even larger numbers to attend; 2011's Lumiere saw 150,000 people coming to Durham to see the cathedral's fire garden and the white flying figures over the Bailey.

The Council are running a volunteer drop-in session on 16th April from 5 - 7pm at the Gala Theatre in Durham for anyone who is interested in taking part: people of all ages are welcome, and there are lots of ways in which you can get involved. To find out more about the people behind Lumiere, visit www.artichoke.uk.com

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sad news...

Hmm, how ironic. Only yesterday we posted tips from Durham Constabulary on how to keep village property safe this summer, and last night the wooden owl sculpture by Hill Crest was damaged by vandals.

Why do people get a kick out of petty acts of vandalism? It isn't cool, it doesn't make you look big or hard, and it's disappointing to think that someone would derive enjoyment out of wrecking something that gives the rest of the village so much pleasure. The owls are a quirky feature around Esh and something to be proud of - let's keep them that way! 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Esh Happenings...

The next village Residents' Association meeting will take place this Thursday, 11th April, from 7.15pm in the Cross Keys. The meeting should last about an hour and everyone is welcome... whether you have something to raise or just want to listen! 

Meanwhile, the blog has been getting lots of interest recently (hello to our international visitors!) and is hopefully starting to represent a better picture of just how busy life is in the village - check out the Village Calendar for details of church services, coffee mornings, lunch clubs, the gospel choir, knit and natter... with more to follow soon! 

As always, please feel free to comment on what you find here - what you like about the blog, what you'd like to see more of - and if you have a feature you'd like displayed on any of the pages or included in the Calendar, please use the contact form to get in touch. 
With the arrival of British Summer Time, Durham Constabulary and the local Crime Prevention Teams are issuing seasonal guidelines on how to keep your home and property safe this summer. The longer days and lighter nights mean more opportunities for sneak-in thieves to strike, particularly as we tend to keep our doors and windows open in the warmer months.

Their advice includes:

  • Being careful not to leave vehicle and house keys on benches/ key racks/ windowsills near to windows, doors, or letter boxes where they can be accessed from outside;
  • Keeping bikes, toys, and gardening tools locked up overnight;
  • If you have items that won't stow away such as bbqs, garden furniture, and ornaments make sure they are secure and indelibly marked both inside and out;
  • Double check your doors, garage, windows, garden and vehicle before going to bed. 
For more information about policing in Esh village, including how to get involved with the local PACT (Police and Community Together) team, please click here.  

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Although the weather is yet to make its mind up as to whether spring has officially arrived or not (yesterday's newspapers were reporting a change this week towards warmer, wetter weather; today we're supposed to be preparing for more snow flurries), a moody sky or the longer sunsets can make for a stunning photograph... perfect for the Village Photograph Competition! I think my favourite view from the village is out across the valley towards the Penshaw monument - hills, houses, horses... and, as I write, heavy rain clouds... but then again, there are some great shots to be had too on the village green and lots of opportunities to snap the emerging wildlife... particularly of the wooden variety! I've put a few shots up on the Gallery page as a start - please do send any photos you'd like to contribute to the blog to the Residents' Association (the email address can be found here). The Photography Competition 2013 is open to everyone in the village; full details can be found on the Events page.

Monday, 11 March 2013

A quick reminder that the next Esh Residents' Association meeting will tale place tomorrow evening, Tuesday 12th March, at 7.30pm in the Cross Keys. Items on the Agenda include the launch of the Badminton Club, the Village Open Day and Heritage Weekend, and this very blog...  Everyone is welcome to come along - a cosy pub is just the place to hole up of an evening in this weather! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

One of Esh's newer residents...
Has anyone spotted this rather handsome specimen recently?

Hopefully everyone has received the Residents' Association's February update through your letterboxes with details of the Photography Competition, the Badminton Club, the Knit and Natter drop-in session and other events to look forward to as the weather (hopefully) gets a little milder... All of the information on the update can be found on this blog too, so don't worry if you've misplaced it.

Despite the latest cold blast, the tubs have been replaced and replanted in Hall Road and are just starting to show a flash of spring colour! Roll on March...

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Esh Village Green

Welcome to the Esh Village blog! This is a new project designed for the residents of Esh and for the visitors they welcome - a place to find out information about the village and surrounding area, to post ideas and feedback on what you've found on these pages, and to support and enhance the local community.

Esh is a great place to live, work and play. On the following pages you'll find out why: there's a full calendar of events from sports clubs to pub quizzes, information and links to local transport services and local businesses, tourism and leisure activities, and even a printable calendar of which wheelie bin to put out when.

Please feel free to send in any thoughts about this site via the contact form, which you'll find on the About page. Thank you for visiting the site - enjoy, participate, and see you around the village soon!