The Prattler – Editors Notes – July & August 2020

Editors Note

This Prattler covers the months of July and August. The next one will be published on
September 1st by which time hopefully we will be more or less back to normal with our
clubs and activities.

Thanks are due to everyone that has helped and entertained the villages during the
lockdown. The community spirit of the Heyfords is alive and well.


The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle,
Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and
Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future
issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford
Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as
our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

Advertising in The Prattler

Advertising costs per month:
£5 for a small business card advert
£10 for a quarter page
£15 for half a page
£30 for a full page

For more information and examples of advertising visit:

The Teddies of Watery Lane

The Teddies of Watery Lane


John and Rosemary would like to thank all who supported our teddies. After 64 days we felt it was time to put them away to stop them becoming boring.

We have had great feedback from everyone. We would like to thank those who dropped cards etc in, also the great ideas and props without which we would not have been able to carry on for so long.

Many thanks,
Rosemary and John

Photo Gallery: Lockdown Teddy Bear’s Tales #1 “No time for a picnic”

Photo Gallery: Lockdown Teddy Bear’s Tales #2 “Mayday”


The Story of Heyford (Extra): Dear Diary – July 1955

July 1955

Dear Diary,

It’ll be the factory fortnight soon. Dad will spend his first week decorating as usual. The walls and ceilings are quite stained after a year, probably because my parents both smoke, as do most grown-ups. I dare say we’ll have the chimney sweep come first or it would be a bit of a waste of time decorating. The second week we may go on one of Mrs. Hilliers’ day trips to the seaside, although they are long days.

Last year we went to Blackpool in a boarding house for a week, but I know we can’t afford to go again this year. If we ever do go again I’ll be able to swim because the school are taking us for lessons at Midsummer Meadow outdoor pool. The water is heated by the cooling towers but the air can be really cold when you get out. The bottom is really rough to your feet and the water is murky sometimes.

I love our village green, especially in the summer because so much happens there. It’s the largest village green in the county and it’s great after it’s been mown because we can build dens. The grass won’t be there long though because they’ll want to play cricket at the weekend, so somebody will clear the cut grass away.

Mrs. Blaney has taken over the running of the Post Office from her dad. She was a school teacher once so I bet she knows most of the people in the village.

I was nearly late for school this morning. Dad had borrowed my school pen to write to his brother in Northampton. He is thinking of emigrating to Australia on the £10 package being offered to British citizens and dad wants to talk to him about making this drastic decision. The letter was on the table with the 2 ½ d for a stamp but no pen so I’ll have to go without it. He probably wrote out his bet with it. Does he know how hard it is to get a pen?

Mum was messing about taking the milk off the step before the birds pecked through the lid, then she stopped to talk to Mr. Wigley, the road sweeper, so the bell was ringing before we even reached the green. I ran the rest of the way. Blimey, I’m 10 now so I don’t need her to come with me, but she’s got a little cleaning job and she starts at 9 o’clock when I start school. It’s not like she spent hours in the bathroom as she only has what she calls “a lick & a promise” when she’s going to work.

I’m school monitor this week so I’m to give out the milk at break time and we are having a group photograph in front of the school, with all 70 of us in it, this afternoon. That should be a laugh, trying to get us all looking the same way and smiling. I think we might have country dancing with the boys this afternoon – they hate that. After the holidays I shall be on my last year at Bliss School because they are to build a new secondary school at Duston and those over 11 who don’t pass the 11+, and no doubt that’ll be me, will go by bus. Can’t wait.


Letter published in The Prattler – July & August edition 2020


Letters: Dina Anstead 1922 to 2020

Dinah Anstead -12th March 1922 to 7th June 2020
Age 98

A memorial to a wonderful neighbour and friend.

Dinah moved to Furnace Lane with her husband and son in 1965 next door to Joan and Alec Kirkbride. They were neighbours for over 55 years and no one could have had a better neighbour and friend than Dinah over those years.

Ann and Frank Smith also became close friends when they moved into Furnace Lane and indeed Dinah was well loved by all her neighbours.

On her 98th birthday Dinah very proudly thought she was the oldest resident in Nether Heyford. She loved living in the village and being part of village life.

Her wish was that she would end her days here in the village and she peacefully passed away on 7th June in her own home.

A truly lovely lady, she will be sadly missed by her family and friends.

Joan Kirkbride

Published in the July & August edition of The Prattler 2020

Letters: Rose Hip Picking in Bugbrooke – June 2020

Rose Hip Picking in Bugbrooke

During the Second World War when at school, and into the early 1950’s, we were encouraged to go out into the fields in the autumn to pick as many rose hips as possible, from the hedge rows and such like. For every pound of Hips in weight we were paid thruppence (3d). We were also given badges to the ones that had collected the most.

One very tall Home Boy, named Richard Macconachie who lived with Mrs Polly Wooding on the Gayton Road up Camp Hill used to always be able to pick the most nearly every time, when he took his collection to school. I suppose it was due to his height and reach that had something to do with it, as he did not have the problems that us smaller built people had. We would hand them over every morning at the start of class and they would be weighed and tipped into large sacks ready to be taken away. We would get some money for collecting them, I used to put my money into buying saving stamps for my savings Book, that also took place in morning assembly.

The favourite places for us lads to go collecting these rose hips, was the side of the tow path along the canal and the railway banks. There were so many of them to pick and at times we had quite a job carrying them back home, due to the weight of them. Every spare minute we would be out and about picking them, the hedges on the banks between Bugbrooke Wharf and Jimmy Rainbows level crossing were absolutely full of them and also on the bushes and hedges up on Bugbrooke Downs. Us smaller boys found it quicker and better to help one another and to share the money from what we had picked. We found that we could pick as many as our elders and at times even more, especially when one held the briers down while someone else picked them. By doing it this way we were to be rewarded by earning more money for our savings.

We would use all sorts of tins with handles on them along with Wicker Baskets all shapes and sizes, the best for collecting them in, and anything to make it easer to carry them home. We found that old army Haversacks, or even empty sand bags as they were small and comfortable to carry them in were good. We took old walking sticks with us to pull the highest briers down so that we could pick them. One lad always took a very short ladder with him and his partner and they carried them back home using this small ladder like a stretcher. Some people took small hand carts for it could be quite a burden to get them back home or to school.

It was not only Rose Hips that we were paid for collecting, but Black berries as well. The rose hips were the most popular one to be picked though, as you could earn more money by doing so.

A little of what life was like when a small boy and what we got up to.


Published June Edition 2020

Letters: Hair problems when self isolating by Sue Townsend – June 2020

Hair problems when self isolating by Sue Townsend

I know there are many ladies out there
Who are currently bemoaning the state of their hair
I was due a cut over 4 weeks ago
But obviously cancelled for reasons we know
So now my short and funky style
Has bitten the dust for quite a while
Whilst my hair may be thin, thanks to Gran’s genes
It grows at full gallop, just like Jack’s beans
So now it looks like a low flying cow, darn it
Has done what comes naturally on top of my Barnet
It’s now curling over my collar and ears
And I know it won’t take that long til it reaches my rear
Himself has offered to give me a Grade 3
But to be quite honest, do I trust him? not me
The thought of what could happen, I just couldn’t bear
If he ended up giving me a full Lionel Blair
But on the positive side, I’m so pleased to say
That I gave up on colouring, resigned to the grey
It now must be hard for those who kept fighting
To continue with colour and even highlighting
For now they must worry and constantly fret
About having to join “The Badger Babe” set
With an increasing white line on top of their Napper
Where once they were well groomed, and glossy, and dapper
So maybe my friends, use this enforced quarantine
To give up the fight, you know what I mean
Just think of time saved, extra dosh in your purse
By accepting your grey, things could be much worse
By the time all us oldies are allowed to run (well shuffle) free
Your hair could quite easily have grown down to your knee
So a quick salon cut could solve all your care
As you then revert to your natural hair
When all this is over, the busiest folk
Will be the hairdresser girl and the cute barber bloke
The only consolation is that, and this I would share,
Even the best hairdresser can’t cut their own hair.
So maybe before our isolation comes to an end
Take a selfie of your hair to send to your friends
Then have a competition to see who looks the worst
I’m sure the pics will make us laugh fit to burst.

Published June Edition 2020

The Prattler – June 2020

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle,
Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and
Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future
issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford
Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as
our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.


Heyford Singers – Desert Island Discs – June 2020

Desert Island Discs – your choices

Below is another selection of favourite music chosen by one of our readers. We
thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening to this choice, so thank you Mick.

Jill Langrish

Mick Watts’ Desert Island Discs – May 2020

I never realised quite how difficult it would be to choose just 8 pieces of music – almost every piece brings back memories of certain times and places. I have chosen 8 classical pieces and 8 more popular compositions and as the choices are so tenuous have placed them in alphabetical order. If pushed for just eight I would choose those with the *.

*Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor
Abba – I have a Dream
*Carly Simon – No Secrets
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major
*Dire Straits – So Far Away
Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
*Joaquin Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez
Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
*Ludovico Einaudi – Divenire
Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
*Steeleye Span – Thomas the Rhymer
Fairport Convention – Sir Patrick Spens
*The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
Ludovico Einaudi – Andare
*Wagner – Overture to Tanhäuser
Ludovico Einaudi – Oltremare

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 in C Minor is arguably the best piano composition of all time. Such virtuosity required to play. First heard it live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, conducted and played by Vladimir Ashkenazy. A bit disappointing really as he was seemingly not able to give his full attention to either the orchestra or the piano and his antics rather distracted from the overall performance. But then, quite recently, I heard both piano concertos 3 and 4 played by Krystian Zimerman with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein, which were absolutely sublime and would be an extremely hard act to follow. Those are the recordings I have chosen.

On the other page so to speak is the contemporary concert pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. I have several of his CD’s and had tried, with limited success, to replicate some of his compositions on our piano. My excuse is that he must have a very large finger span. Anyway, I went to the Birmingham Town Hall to see his concert with my elder daughter and having fought our way through a jam packed Christmas market only just made it in time. It was as expected a brilliant performance and it was just as if his hands were hovering over the keyboard yet this magnificent sound was produced. I would need to play 8 hours a day for 10 years of lockdown to come close.

What can I say? Virtuoso guitar performances by Mark Knoppler. Just magical. We used to put the Brothers in Arms audio cassette on when we travelled down to Devon when the girls were quite young. They always said “can we have the Whoo Hoo song” (The Walk of Life) and they laughed and giggled for ages. It certainly delayed the cries of “are we nearly there yet”. With so many people in enforced isolation the song I have chosen could be rather apt but the Brothers in Arms track would be just great as a finale.

The sheer volume generated by The Who is almost enough to blow your brains out. A classic.

And the Overture to Tanhäuser by Wagner always makes my neck hairs stand up.

Last year we went to The Stables at Wavendon near Milton Keynes to see the 50th Anniversary tour of the reformed Steeleye Span, wondering if they may have lost a bit of magic. We need not have worried as they were great. Jessie May Smart, the classically trained violinist in their latest line up brought a new dimension to the band and harmonised well with Maddy Prior. Again a difficult choice of their repertoire – The Wife of Ushers Well and 700 Elves just losing out.

Carly Simon is in another class act – she had such a vocal range. A recent TV programme entitled ‘No Secrets’ was indeed apt and showed that she certainly led a full, uninhibited life as many of her songs portray. Her voice is still fantastic.

Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez is for me one of the most relaxing guitar pieces ever. You can close your eyes and be transported.

Mick Watts


If you would like to find out more, visit the Heyford Singers page or our website:

 alternatively come along to one of our rehearsals in Nether Heyford Village Hall.



Letters: Sheila Maud (Humphrey) Beharrell – June 2020

Sheila Maud (Humphrey) Beharrell

Regretfully we are announcing the passing of Sheila on May 13th, just short of her 95th birthday in June. She was the last of her generation of Humphrey who moved to Labrams Yard on Church Street. Previous residents/tenants of the property included her brother Ron and family, May, and Arthur. Dunkley, Connelly, Buck, Collins, Barnes, and Gilkes also resided on the property at one time or another. Probably there are others. Her niece, Jean now resides in one of the Humphrey cottages on the property.

Some villagers may also recall the family business of E.W.Humphrey Ladder Manufacturers. This has been documented in the Prattler and the Heyford History.

The Story of Heyford: The Humphrey family and ladder making V1C8

Sheila worked at The Beauty Counter of Adnitts Department store (now Debenhams) Northampton. She then progressed to being an accounts clerk at the hospital guild.

Sheila, from time to time recalled her childhood. The Humphrey family kept dairy cows, Sheila and her niece Jean were often tasked with distributing milk to Heyford villagers. She had a pet lamb, ‘Betty’ who was missing one day upon returning from her day at Bliss School, evidently in latter years realising the pet was part of the family larder. She recalled as a teenager the drone of the aeroplanes on their way to bomb Coventry in the Second World War.

The Humphrey family were very involved with the Baptist Chapel in the village, Sheila along with sister May enjoyed being a Deacon and part of the weekly flower rota at the Chapel. Both Sheila and her step daughter Trudi were married in the Chapel. Besides flower arranging, Sheila embraced singing with the Heyford Singers.

In her latter years Sheila endured Cancer, and after the death of her husband Albert found it increasingly difficult at home at Ladder Cottage. After a nasty fall in her home in 2015 – at her request – she moved to Bethany Homestead in Northampton where mother Alice spent some convalescing time.

In these challenging times, Sheila has sadly become another statistic of our current pandemic. We will hold a memorial to commemorate Sheila’s life when time allows.

Jean, Trudi, Glenn, and Family

Published June Edition 2020