Parish Council – July & August 2020 Meetings

Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the July 6th and Aug 3rd, 2020 Parish Council meetings were held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice. At this time there is no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is likely that meetings will take place online for the rest of this year. Parishioners wanting to participate in the Public Session should check the Agenda on the Public notice boards, or the Website, for the meeting ID on Zoom.

Due to difficulties experienced by Councillors unused to using the internet, a reduced number of Councillors attended the online meeting, but a quorum was achieved and was supplemented by the District and County Councillors.

Illness and unfamiliarity with IT have meant that the number of Councillors at meetings has fallen, and the anticipated election in May was postponed until next year, and this may well have bought an influx of new Councillors. We are able to co-opt new members, subject to them being eligible. The Parish Council does need some active new members, preferably familiar with IT – so if you feel that is you – please contact me or the Chair.

Reports from the District and County Councillors.
Cllr Phil Bignell reported that the Forum has yet to re-open, and that Covid 19 was something of a problem in several wards in Northamptonshire. Further measures were being considered by Government, but action and advice by local health officers has averted this.

Lights.
The required 3 Quotes had now been received and an application made for funding from the New Homes Bonus; the result of that application is awaited.

Roads and pavements.
The jitties between Watery Lane, Middle St and Manor Walk have been cleared up, as has the one between the memorial Green and Church Lane.

The Green and Play Area.
Grass in good condition. Play area has been re-opened and one of the fixtures has been repaired.

Playing Fields. In good order. Tennis courts have been re-surfaced.

Youth Club will remain closed until at least September. Trees had been cut down adjacent to the Youth Club.

Planning. An application for land behind Denbrook was proving controversial and a report had been put in to the Planning Dept at SNC.

Reports on effect of Covid 19 emergency. Whilst there are still restrictions, the lockdown has largely been lifted and most people are back at work. The volunteer effort to distribute food parcels and prescriptions has been largely stood down. All those involved in that effort should take a bow – we can be very proud of them and that this village got its effort together very rapidly and effectively with a mixture of residents and Parish Councillors involved. Indeed, it was so effective that Heyford became a hub for other villages to collect from.

It may be that there will be no further need for such an effort, or we could just be in a pause period before there is a second wave of Covid 19. The Parish Council will look at the readiness of the village to cope with another potential lockdown at the September meeting. The Parish Council are grateful for the work of all the volunteers during this emergency and are proud of the community spirit that it has engendered.

Reporting Highway and Footpath Issues. The Clerk will report issues that Council is made aware of, but Council would encourage residents to use the FixMyStreet service to report issues themselves as there will then be no time lag and first-hand reports are almost always better than 2nd or 3rd hand reports. The service can be found here: www.fixmystreet.com  It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.

Parish Council meetings in 2020 will continue to be on the first Monday of each month, (unless a Bank Holiday) and start at 19:30. The next one is an online meeting  Monday September 7th.

netherheyfordparishcouncilAugust2020_list

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the Councillors please visit:

Nether Heyford Parish Council Website 

SOFEA Nether Heyford emergency community larder

The community larder deliveries have now ceased after 15 weeks. We hope you found the deliveries useful. If circumstances change and you experience an emergency situation around food or medicine supplies, please do not hesitate to contact one of us and we will endeavour to help and support you.

Charles Kiloh & Lynda Eales 07779 900860 | Jez Wilson 07761 672376 | Sue Boutle 07500 636009 | Faye Brassett 07827 707599 | Rev Stephen Burrow 01327 344436

“Thank you for your support for the Emergency Community Larders that were put in place with your help at Lockdown.  Since then 1588 food boxes have been delivered into Nether Heyford with the help of your local volunteers.  Thank you for your help in communicating this project with and supporting your own village during these unprecedented times.
Thank you again for your part in the Emergency larder, together we delivered 17084 food boxes into 74 villages with over 500 volunteers and 20 charity partners.  A truly magnificent South Northamptonshire response to a global crisis.
It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with you.”
Miranda Wixon – SOFEA
News: 
Could COVID19 have found a cure for loneliness in South Northants?

About My Area 25/08/2020

Volunteers deliver more than 17,000 food boxes to isolated people in need across south Northamptonshire during lockdown‘It’s just been incredible that people want to help each other – it’s been a very uniquely Northamptonshire project’

Daventry Express 27/08/2020

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 27/08/2020

Links: heyfordprattler.org/coronavirus | netherheyfordparishcouncil.org.uk

SOFEA:

SOFEA

Website: www.sofea.uk.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SOFEACommunityLarder
Email: communitylarder@sofea.uk.com
Donate: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sofeacommunitylarder

Nether Heyford Volunteers

Allotment News – September 2020

Community Use
It has been so good to welcome villagers to the allotments. They are often residents who have never visited the site or who came along when it was an overgrown wilderness. Their comments and general surprise at how productive and attractive the allotments look have been most encouraging. One long standing resident of Heyford said to me the other day: “Last time I came here it was a jungle and all a bit depressing really. Now look at it! The allotment holders must be very proud of what has happened”.

The sharing barrow in the community picnic area has been used by allotmenteers to off-load excess produce (particularly courgette’s). It is good to share and exchange what would otherwise be wasted. Even more encouraging, has been the increasing number of allotmenteers and villagers who have taken the opportunity to cut some of the beautiful flowers on offer. Virtually all of these flowering plants originated from donations, so many thanks if you were able to give us something earlier in the year. When you come to tidy up your seed box in the winter or begin dividing plants, do spare us a thought. Those items could be the basis of next year’s bounty.

If you are picking flowers, try to use a pair of scissors or snips and, if time allows, give the plants a drink, using the watering cans we have left out in that area. A water cistern can be found nearby.

Soft fruit in our community fruit patch has been better than we anticipated, particularly as the bushes and canes were only cast-offs and did not look too promising when we planted them during the winter. Do feel free to pick fruit from this area if it looks ripe. We know for a fact that many villagers have already used this resource to make jam, fill a freezer box or even produce gin!

Allotments are cool?
We recently dug up the early potatoes on our own allotment, enlisting the help of our grandchildren. There is something quite magical about a child’s face when they unearth a large clutch of potatoes from the soil. For them it must be like finding buried treasure. As we finished and surveyed our haul, Nick, our eldest grandchild said: “You know grandad, allotments are really cool aren’t they?” I gave him a hug, there and then.

People used to have this stereotypical view that allotments were the preserve of old men in tweed jackets and flat caps. Those wise souls of more mature years are still a vital part of the growing community, but as Nick so wisely noted, allotments are “cool” and have attracted a far wider group of people. This has become so obvious in Nether Heyford, for our allotments are now tended by people of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds. They have all discovered the joy of growing their own fruit, veg and flowers and long may it continue. Perhaps, as I approach another big birthday, I may even need dig out my tweeds and flat cap!

Weather
Despite the ridiculously hot weather we’ve experienced during much of the summer, the crops on the allotment have held up well – due in no small part to all the watering that allotment holders have done. However, we have found that cropping has advanced, in many cases by as much as a month. We are already picking autumn fruiting raspberries from our own allotment and sweetcorn is in danger of “going-over” if we don’t get a move on! I suspect that is a trend all gardeners will have to come to terms with as our planet warms.

Fruit Trees
A recent inspection and some routine maintenance of the fruit trees in our community orchard has revealed that all the trees, planted just eighteen months ago, are thriving. Earlier infestations by aphids have all but disappeared – largely due to the increasing number of predators like ladybirds and wasps. The excessive use of pesticide just isn’t necessary if you wait for nature to take its course. New growth on the trees is strong and they are beginning to take on that classical shape which should herald good harvests in the coming years.

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com (01327 341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

The Story of Heyford: Rev Henry Isham Longden and Mr Fred Potter V3C10

Henry Isham Longden was born at Lamport Rectory on 26th September 1859. Following the death of Thomas Crawley in 1897 he became Rector of Heyford where he remained until his own death in 1942. He was a popular man in Heyford and in 1943, one year after his death, a book about his life entitled ‘A Northamptonshire Rector — The life of Henry Isham Longden’ was published by Joan Wake. The following is an extract from this book relating to his time at Heyford.

A Northamptonshire Rector – The life of Henry Isham Longden

Except for a brief interval during the war of 1914-1918, Heyford was Mr Longden’s home for the next forty-five years. The population of the parish was about 800. His rectory, though commodious and comfortable within, is externally an unattractive mid-nineteenth century building of local ironstone, overdone with gables and plate glass. The beautiful old church lies only some 100 yards away. His church services were, as to be expected, on the high church pattern. He introduced a choral communion service on the first Sunday of every month, at which he officiated investments, then rarely seen in a country church in the Peterborough diocese. He did not, however, indulge in extreme practices of a ritualistic type. The biretta which he had worn as a curate was discarded for a mortar-board on Sunday mornings. Though ready to suffer and possibly to fight for his opinions as other clergy had done, there was no occasion for it – his bishops left him in peace.

In the musical part of the services he was faithfully and ably assisted by Fred Potter, a man of musical ancestry and himself of no inconsiderable musical gifts. Fred had learnt to play the organ at the age of eleven, and officiated voluntarily as a boy at Shangton Church. At Heyford he became honorary organist and choirmaster, and so remained for forty-five years until his master’s death.

Mr Longden always attended the weekly choir practice and wrote out the lists of hymns and chants himself. Until the later years he taught in the Sunday School. On the friendliest terms with his parishioners, he took an interest in the social as the religious activities of the parish. One of his first acts was to collect funds for a church room which after six or seven years he succeeded in building. He founded a village cricket club, and for years was a member of the eleven. The village lads were very fond of him and he corresponded with many of them during the war of 1914-18. He had one or two pupils at the Rectory during the early years, including the Crawley boys from Stowe-nine-churches Rectory.

From the beginning Mr Longden always farmed his own glebe, though the management was left largely in the capable hands of Mr Potter, whose whole heart was in the work. A great reputation was made with the Heyford strain of Berkshire pigs, as also with the hunters, bred and trained on the place, for which purpose a short ‘steeple-chase’ course was laid out. The Hunters’ Improvement Society’s Show at Islington in March, at which many prizes were won, was an important annual event, which was much enjoyed by both master and man.

The Rectory garden, too, except in Winter time, was always ablaze with masses of flowers. The greenhouse also was full of carnations, begonias, cyclamen, and other flowering plants, all under the care and supervision of Mr Potter. He had from the first days at Shangton always lived under his master’s roof, but when in 1901 he married Miss Bertha Nightingale of Pattishall, he moved to a cottage in the village. This arrangement did not last long, and in 1902, to everybody’s satisfaction, they were allotted pleasant rooms at the Rectory. The bacon-curing, butter-churning, and domestic work of the house were carried out by this devoted couple. The affection and respect which they had for Mr Longden was heartily reciprocated, and the party at the Rectory was essentially a happy and contented one.

Rev Henry Isham Longden with Fred Potter

All the Longden children had been taught to ride at Lamport Rectory, but though he kept a horse at Shangton and was always fond of riding, as a young man Mr Longden did not shew any sporting proclivities. After a few years at Heyford, though not actually ill, his health was not up to the mark and Potter suggested that an occasional day with the hounds might do him good. He had bought his brother Arthur’s mare when the latter went out to the South African war in 1899, so now had a suitable mount. Mr Longden agreed, his health improved, and he soon developed a great love of the chase, though he was rather ‘a parson who hunted’ than one of the old-fashioned type of hunting parson like his great-grandfather the Rev. Vere Isham.

Heyford lies just inside the Pychley country, on the borders of the Grafton, but though he would take an occasional day with the former pack, Mr Longden always considered himself a Grafton man. The masters liked to see the sport patronised by the cloth, and Mr Longden’s ‘cheery courtesy and inveterate love of little jokes,’ as Mr Cruft writes, ‘made him ever welcome, even to the most anti-clerical followers of the hounds.’ Well-mounted and well turned-out in top hat, black coat and white cord breeches, he arrived at the meets accompanied by Potter, who besides enjoying the sport quite as much as his master, was thus able to school – and sell – the young hunters bred at Heyford Rectory. Then General Livingstone-Learmouth came to live at the parish, and for eight years after the war Mr Longden hunted regularly two days a week from the middle of November right through the season. (He never cub-hunted). The General used to drive him to the meets, Potter going on with his horse. One day with the Pychley – the meet was at Cottesbrooke – hounds had a great run from Maidwell gardens by Kelmarsh, Arthingworth, Braybrooke, nearly to Brampton Ash, and finally killed not far short of Market Harborough. The General was galloping along beside his Rector. “Padre, I can’t go on any more,” he called. “no man ever stopped in the middle of a run in the Pychley country!” shouted back the parson. Both sportsmen were in at the death, and rode home together the many weary miles to Heyford, gruelling their horses at the Ismays at Hazelbeach on the way.

Then one sad day in the March on 1928, when hounds were running near Preston Capes, someone inadvertently slammed a gate in front of Mr Longden. He tried to pull up but there was not time. His horse swerved and jumped the gate-post, throwing him onto his head on the hard road. Only his top hat saved him from breaking his neck. Potter was with him in a moment and took him home. This was the end of the hunting. The old horse was turned out to grass and Mr Longden was no more to be seen with the hounds. He was then in his seventieth year.

Fred Potter

The relationship between Mr Longden and Fred Potter was obviously a very close one. Joan Wake’s book includes an appendix headed ‘Faithful Service’ which includes the following words written by Canon F. S. Keysell, Vicar of East Haddon, and formerly Vicar of Weedon.

“No record of the late Rev H. Isham Longden at Heyford could be complete without a reference to his trusty servant and faithful friend for 50 years, Mr Fred Potter. In his early days at Heyford Mr Longden used to drive a horse and trap, but with the coming of motor cars and the increase of road traffic and consequent inconvenience, Mr Longden, like many others, though he never went in for a motor car, decided to give up driving and took to a bicycle. It was then, and not till then, that Mr Longden, acting on the advice of Potter decided to take to hunting, for though he had always been fond of a horse, he had never previously appeared in the hunting field.

Potter, who had always been a good judge of a horse, was soon able to fix the Rector up with the right sort of mount, and not feeling it advisable for him to go alone, decided that it would be in the best interests of all concerned that he should accompany his master in the capacity of second horseman. Henceforth for many years the Rector and his groom were generally to be found at meets of the Grafton hounds on Mondays and alternate Fridays, with an occasional meet of the Pychley on Saturdays thrown in. Though Potter made it his first business to see that his master was in the same field with the hounds not only at the meet, but also when they were running, and though he always seemed to be in the right spot when a lead was required over a difficult jump, yet at the same time Potter was generally to be found here, there, and everywhere. Did any rider take a toss and let go his horse? Potter was always there to catch the animal, and if need be to render first aid to its owner. Did anyone at the tail end of a hunt forget to shut a gate? Potter was always there to do the needful in time to prevent any cattle from straying. Did anyone lose their bearings and not know how to find their way home or the place where they had left their car? Potter was always there to tell them, and if necessary to point them by the shortest cut.

Potter soon came to be recognised as an authority on horseflesh, and it became widely known that in the stables at Heyford Rectory there was sometimes to be found a useful, well-trained type of hunter for sale. Would-be purchasers, however, were warned that it was no good going to Heyford with that object in view on a Sunday morning (which alas! had become the fashionable day for such transactions), because at that time the Rector would be standing in the pulpit and Potter would be sitting at the organ, where for many years he acted as voluntary organist and trainer of the choir.

A nasty hunting accident some fifteen years ago when he was then about seventy years of age ended Isham Longden’s hunting career, and Ruby, the much loved horse which had carried him so well for many years, was turned out in the Rectory field where he was allowed to end his days in peace.

Fred Potter, on the right

Photo lent by Charlie Masters

Potter, however did not allow himself to be downcast because he had no more days to look forward to in the hunting field, but turned his attention to gardening (with the exception of an occasional day’s shooting) and soon the Rectory garden became as well worth a visit as had been the stables in earlier days. On one occasion he was showing the beauties of the garden to the writer of this article. Potter remarked to him “There can be no such thing as a groom-gardener, you must be one or the other – you must concentrate!”

The passing of Isham Longden in the early summer of 1942 meant the breaking up of the home in which Fred Potter and wife had for over 40 years devoted themselves heart and soul to all that concerned the well-being of their master and friend, but it has not meant the breaking up of Potter.

The latest report about him is that he is now farming at Heyford on his own account, for though he is old in years he is still young in mind and body. His many friends will wish him every success and if, when the war is over and the country has settled down, ‘Grafton Mondays’ come into their own again, all followers of the hounds will know that there is one farm in that county at all events on which they can be sure of a hearty welcome, and on which the gates and fences will be in good order, and there will be no barbed wire to obstruct. Potter has, and always has had, that mark of the true sportsman that he likes to share his pleasures with others and to enable them to enjoy to the full the things which he has enjoyed so much himself.”

The words of Canon F. S. Keysell, former vicar of Weedon

The memories of Bill Nickolls

A number of local people still remember Mr Longden and Fred Potter, and talk about them with affection. Mr Longden was a kind man who could relate to people of all ages and backgrounds. If you were unwell in hospital he would visit you, ‘even if you attended chapel rather than church!’ The church in those days (19205 and 30$) was well attended. It was normal to go three times a day – morning service at 9.00am, bible classes in the afternoon and evening service at 6.00pm.

Bill Nickolls particularly remembers the choir. It was a full choir, singing all parts. Some of the attendees were Harry Eales, Fred Goodman, Mr Pearson, Charlie Foster, Nell Nickolls, Freda Tebbit, Doll Collins, Ethel Barnes, Bill Nickolls, ]o Nickolls, and ]ack Nickolls. Choir practice on Friday evenings Was run by Fred Potter who was a skilled and knowledgeable musician. He also made it fun. He used to send out to the shop for some sweets and they sometimes played games.

The will of the Rev. Henry Isham Longden

Henry Isham Longden suffered a stroke and finally died in the arms of his friend and servant Fred Potter on Sunday April 26th 1942 at the age of 82 years. The following details from his will are reprinted here from a newspaper cutting (date and source unknown).

‘The Rev. Henry Isham Longden of Heyford Rectory,.who died on April 26 last, left £11,168 9s 1d gross with net personalty £9,725 8s 7d. He left certain furniture and his horses and crops etc. to his faithful friend and servant Frederick W. Potter, and £1,500 upon trust for him for life, and then upon trust for his wife for her life. £300 upon trust to pay the stipend of the organist of Heyford Church. £100 to the rector and churchwardens to provide an additional bell for the church, and £50 to complete the church room.’

Fred Potter

Fred Potter moved to a house in Church Lane and kept a small dairy herd in the field opposite (now known as Rice’s paddock and partly built on). He continued to farm and to produce milk for the villagers. He died at Nether Heyford on November 10th 1964, aged 87 years and was cremated at Milton.

~~

Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 3 of 4 | Chapter 10 of 17 | Page 20 to 24

TheStoryOfHeyford_NetherHeyford_Footer

Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

Parish Council – June 2020 Meeting

Nether_Heyford_Parish_Council_2019

Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the June 1st, 2020 Parish Council meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice and is the first interruption in public meetings in the history of this parish. At this time there is no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is almost certain that the next meeting will also take place online on July 6th. Realistically, it would seem unlikely that any public meetings will be held before September. The August Meeting is usually restricted to Planning and Finance. Parishioners wanting to participate in the Public Session should check the Agenda on the Public notice boards, or the Website, for the meeting ID on Zoom.

Due to difficulties experienced by Councillors unused to using the internet, a reduced number of Councillors attended the online meeting, but a quorum was achieved and was supplemented by the District and County Councillors and one Member of the Public.

The Parish Council are very grateful for the work of all the volunteers during this emergency and are proud of the community spirit that it has engendered.

Reports from the District and County Councillors. Cllr Adam Brown reported that the first meeting of the West Northants Shadow Authority would shortly take place on Zoom, with potentially 130 Councillors. This will also be on Youtube. The first meeting of the Shadow cabinet would be on June 9th, as part of the process moving towards the full authority on April 1st, 2021. NCC are expressing concern about the unexpected additional costs of the Unitaries.

Country parks and waste centres are re-opening.

Cllr Phil Bignell reported that SNC were not looking to re-open the Forum for the time- being and could not see normality returning this year.

Reports.

PCSO – reported concerns about groups of people of all ages not maintaining social distancing on the Green.

Lights – Quotes had now been received from Sparkx and Balfour Beatty, and one was expected from Aylesbury Mains. The next stage would be to apply for funding.

Roads and pavements – In poor condition, many repairs needed. Hedge near the canal bridge on Furnace Lane was overgrown. Resident to be contacted. Holes had appeared in the grass around the bungalows in Hillside Rd.

The Green and Play Area – Grass in good condition. Play area not able to be reopened as yet. Play Area had been inspected. There were no items in need of  immediate attention, but a number to monitor.

Playing Fields – In good order. Tennis courts being re-surfaced.

Trees – Some wind damage in churchyard and cemetery.

Allotments – Waiting list of 3, allotments felt to be in good order.

Footpaths – Church Lane to river had been reported as in poor/dangerous condition, but Councillors had walked it and found it in reasonable and passable condition. A tree had been felled blocking the permissive footpath from the canal to Weedon Rd.

Youth Club will remain closed until at least September. Trees had been cut down adjacent to the Youth Club.

Planning – An application for land behind Denbrook was proving controversial and a report had been put in to the Planning Dept at SNC.

Reports on effect of Covid 19 emergency – No additional report, situation much the same as last month. Although restrictions starting to be lifted, but online meetings likely to be the norm for the time-being. Large table could be removed to Youth Club to discourage gatherings.

Internal Auditor report and External Audit. The internal Auditor’s report was positive, and made some minor points that the clerk would endeavour to follow up. Council accepted the report, and agreed the annual general report for submission to the External Auditors.

Reporting Highway and Footpath Issues. The Clerk will report issues that Council is made aware of, but Council would encourage residents to use the FixMyStreet service to report issues themselves as there will then be no time lag and first-hand reports are almost always better than 2nd or 3rd hand reports. The service can be found here: www.fixmystreet.com  It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.

Parish Council meetings in 2020 will continue to be on the first Monday of each month, (unless a Bank Holiday) and start at 19:30. The next one is on July 6th.

NetherHeyfordParishCouncilMay2020_List

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the Councillors please visit:

Nether Heyford Parish Council Website 

Revitalising the Allotments – July & August 2020

Revitalising the allotments

Sharing

I was pleased to report, in last month’s edition of the Prattler, that allotment holders had been generously sharing their surplus plants with other allotment holders. That has continued throughout June with more and more excess being offered. What a generous group of people we have in our growing community. I am sure that when excess produce is forthcoming later in the season, there will be fruit and veg to hand out too. I won’t even attempt to guess how many oversized courgette’s are likely to appear! An old wheelbarrow now sits proudly in the picnic area and hopefully by the time this article goes to print, there will be a sign attached directing you to place all surplus items there.

It has been encouraging to see more and more villagers making use of the picnic area. It is a tranquil place to sit and while away some time.

We are also encouraging people to visit our community flower patch (clearly signposted) and, if they so wish, help themselves to some cut flowers. Cutting carefully should enable everyone to have a bunch – so bring a pair of scissors or secateurs. Sweet peas benefit especially from regular cutting and will continue to flower all season if that happens. Later in the year we are hopeful that we may have sufficient soft fruit to offer to you as well. Just keep an eye on the notice boards at the entrances to the allotments and on the large shed in the middle of the site.

A spare watering can be found by the sweet pea wigwam, so if you are cutting flowers you might also give the plants in that area a drink. Every little helps.

Links to the past

We were very pleased to accept a donation of old tools from two allotment holders who found them at the back of their parents’ garden shed. They’d once rented an allotment in the village and it was wonderful to think that the tools were “coming home” and again being put to use. If you are a new allotmenteer or just want to make use of some unusual hoes and hand cultivators, let us know. They are stored in the community shed and available to borrow.

If you too have any unwanted garden tools let us know; someone can probably
make good use of them.

Wildlife

One of the joys of working on the allotments is the amount of wildlife you see. Even if we do seem to spend a lot of time and effort protecting crops from greedy pigeons and butterflies anxious to lay their eggs on our tasty greens, the benefits from creating a rich and diverse eco-system far outweigh any small loss of produce. It has been wonderful to see more and more people visiting the allotment wildlife area, created and curated by Dave and Pauline Musson and Mark and Mary Newstead.

An indication of the richness of our eco-system has been the presence of more frogs, toads and hedgehogs on the allotment. They are beneficial visitors to allotments and gardens, hoovering up large quantities of slugs and snails. A note of caution however: try to avoid using larger gauge netting to protect crops as it can snag and trap hedgehogs. One conscientious allotment holder recently spent an hour disentangling one of our prickly friends from a piece of netting before taking him off to the vet! I am pleased to report that the hedgehog made a full recovery and when set free, limped off across the allotment site to find more slimy treats for dinner.

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Bill Corner (sue.corner@sky.com 01327 342124), Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com 01327341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

I believe in the life enhancing virtues of
pure earth, clean air and blue sky.
Octavia Hill – founder of the National Trust

Revitalising the Allotments – June 2020

Revitalising the allotments

Having spent over forty years teaching, I grew very accustomed to the sound of little people’s voices and since retirement I have missed that more than I realised. The situation has been compounded by the fact that we can’t even hear the cheerful sounds that emanated from village school at playtimes.

So, what has all that got to do with allotments you might be asking?

Well, I am pleased to say that another benefit of having virtually every plot on the allotments occupied is that we have many more young families joining us and they bring children with them. It is refreshing to hear and see them enjoying the outdoors, learning about growing things and appreciating and respecting the hard work of others. With a little guidance it is amazing how quickly children learn where not to tread! A particularly special thank you must go to the young people who have assisted on the community plot, whether that is simply deadheading bulbs that have “gone over” or more strenuous tasks such as digging, watering and moving soil and compost.

The current lockdown meant that a project about growing and sustainability, that we were setting up with the village school, had to be postponed. However, the allotments and the school are not going away and we are hopeful that when the climate is right, the project can recommence. If Coronavirus has taught us anything it is the importance of valuing the natural world and the provenance of food (and so much else we’ve taken for granted). There is so much to look forward to.

Where did that come from?

All that fine weather in April and early May really did convince a lot of people that it was safe to put out tender plants. What a mistake. Nature is nothing if not fickle and I am sure that by the middle of May a lot of allotmenteers were suddenly donning warm coats and saying “Where did that come from?” Beans, potatoes and young sweet corn plants were scorched by late frost. Some plants will recover, but where they won’t I suppose we always have the reopened garden centres. Gardeners learn from experience and dead plants teach us a valuable lesson.

The Community Orchard

Fortunately, the fruit on most of the trees in the orchard had set by the time the cold snap arrived so we are hopeful that this will not have been affected by our inclement weather. Cherry trees have been netted against marauding birds – although we’ll perhaps remove the covers once most of the fruit has been picked, just to give them a little something to snack on.

A big thank you must go to the volunteers who not only keep the grass in the orchard under control, but those who water and weed around the trees.

Sharing

We have a large table in the middle of the community area that has been used to display any plants that people have spare and are quite happy to share. A big thank you to the good souls who have recently left young lettuce, strawberry plants, assorted brassicas and seed potatoes. Where possible we will advertise what is on offer by posting a notice on the blackboard by the shed and on the notice boards at the allotment entrances. Do feel free to add more spare items as well as avail yourself of plants that others have left.

If our amazing growing experiences this season result in an excess of produce and you have nowhere or no one to give it to, do make use of the sharing table. It is good to share and allotmenteers are generally a generous lot.

Pathways

A big thank you to all the allotment holders who are able to keep their pathways mown and tidy and special thank you to Bill Corner for the conscientious way that he strims all those other areas that need attention. It really has been a feature that has changed the allotments so dramatically. Some pathways have, over the years, become increasingly narrow, which means that getting a mower along them is impossible – hence the need for a strimmer. Plot holders can, in a small way assist Bill by trying to ensure that any row markers or cloches are not set right against the path edge, thereby making it easier to strim and avoiding accidental damage to their equipment. If paths could be reinstated to their original width that would be even better, but I think that is an issue for the future and we are not even going there yet!

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Bill Corner (sue.corner@sky.com 01327 342124), Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com 01327341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”
Audrey Hepburn

Parish Council – May 2020 Meeting

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Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the May 4th, 2020 Parish Council meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice and is the first interruption in public meetings in the history of this parish. At this time there is no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is almost certain that the next meeting, will also take place online on June 1st. Parishioners wanting to participate in the Public Session should check the Agenda on the Public notice boards or the Website for the meeting ID on Zoom.

Due to difficulties experienced by Councillors unused to using the internet, a reduced number of Councillors attended the online meeting, but a quorum was achieved and was supplemented by the District and County Councillors and one Member of the Public.

The May meeting is the Annual Meeting of the Council at which the Chair is elected, and councillors’ responsibilities apportioned.

Election of Chairman & Declaration of Acceptance of Office. Charles Kiloh elected as chair.

Election of Vice Chairman and Acceptance of office Lesley Dilkes elected as vice – chair.

NetherHeyfordParishCouncilMay2020

Public Question Time Jez Wilson reported on volunteer activities during the emergency, and wondered whether councillors were happy with the website. Councillors thanked him for his efforts with food parcels etc during the last months.

Cllr Adam Brown reported that NCC were looking to re-open tips. He reported a tremendous response to the coronavirus all round, but 200 plus deaths. There had been a severe impact on NCC Finances that they would look to central government for help. On Local Government Reorganisation the first meetings of the Shadow authorities were due to take place. Highway repairs were still being carried out.

Cllr Dave Harries reported that SNC finances had been in good order; but that the Emergency had severely affected all Council incomes and felt central government would have to plug these revenue holes. He expressed concern for Councils who were less well placed.

Cllr Phil Bignell reported that the first virtual Planning meetings had taken place, and re-iterated that no site visits could take place. He encouraged applicants to send photographs with applications.

Annual Parish Meeting. There had been no Annual Parish Meeting due to the Covid 19 Emergency and the meeting was postponed until the situation improved.

Reports. Lights AW reported that it was hoped that quotes from Aylesbury Mains and Balfour Beatty would be forthcoming. AW had consulted the latter regarding “Smart Management” but it was not felt that this would be cost effective in such a small lighting system. NHB scheme had been reopened. DH cautioned that the wording on an application would need to be carefully considered.

Roads and pavements. It was noted that repairs were still being carried out, but that some areas such as Hillside Road were in very poor condition and were not being attended to.

The Green and Play Area Inspection due. The Play Area was still locked up, but it was felt that the inspection should go ahead. CK continued to do weekly inspections.

Allotments Allotments were felt to be in the best condition for years. There were no empty plots now. LE commended DM for work on the wildlife area.

Footpaths Felt to be in reasonable condition; apart from the section between Church lane and the river footbridge which had subsided and was felt to be dangerous.

Churchyard Tree work has had to be paused.

Joint Burial Board There had been complaints about the grass and foliage in the cemetery. CK would check this.

Covid 19 Emergency reports Leaflets had been delivered. It was reported that food parcel distribution was proceeding well and now included Upper Heyford. Medications from Bugbrooke surgery were now routinely delivered. It was felt that village volunteers were on top of the situation. Councillors thanked Jez Wilson and Faye Brassett for their efforts.

Internal and External Audit Clerk reported that the AGAR forms had been received from the External Auditor PKF late because of the Emergency, and that the Internal Audit would take place remotely. It was hoped to keep within the standard timeframe, although deadlines had been relaxed.

Further Grant Funding for Church Roof In light of NCALC advice, the Chair felt that further contributions should not be made; as Council had been advised that it was unclear whether such donations could, or should, be made to a religious organisation. Council were, however, obliged to take responsibility for the Churchyard, and there was a power enabling them to pay for the upkeep of the church Clock.

Reporting Highway and Footpath Issues. The Clerk will report issues that Council is made aware of, but Council would encourage residents to use the FixMyStreet service to report issues themselves as there will then be no time lag and first-hand reports are almost always better than 2nd or 3rd hand reports. The service can be found here: www.fixmystreet.com  It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.

Parish Council meetings in 2020 will continue to be on the first Monday of each month, (unless a Bank Holiday) and start at 19:30. The next one is on June 1st.

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Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the Councillors please visit:

Nether Heyford Parish Council Website 

Crafty Club – May 2020

As these are unprecedented times I thought I would reminisce about the Crafty Club.

In 2001 I had to retire from my full-time job due to a family crisis.  Then in around 2005  due to a chance meeting in the village, the Crafty Club was “born”.

I met two ladies (Tracey & Jude) in the village who were, at the time, attending a sewing class that was not all they expected.  From this simple conversation came the idea of opening our own craft club – but where?

Tracey, who worked in the local hairdressers, suggested asking her boss if we could use the premises on a Monday afternoon for this club, and so we had a venue.  At the time, (somehow) we managed to find six other ladies who were interested in joining our newly formed club.

Tracey, Jude and myself decided we would start at the beginning of 2006.  Then again, fate seemed to intervene as I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of 2006 so I missed the first few meetings.

Following on my surgery, and feeling 100% better I joined the ladies on a Monday in the local Hairdressers. Thinking back and remembering the nine of us sitting in a circle with each person bringing our “crafts”, brings a smile to my face.

Sometime later other crafters were asking about our club, and it soon became obvious we would need larger premises. That said, the group was too big for the hairdressers, but not big enough to fund bigger premises at a large cost.

One member of the group suggested approaching the Baptist Chapel with a view to using their “meeting” room and so enquiries were made to see (1) if it was available on a Monday between 12.30 and 14.30 and (2) how much it would cost.  Both questions were answered favourably, and so the Crafty Club was officially opened to anyone and everyone.

The three photos are of some of the original members busy in the Baptist Rooms.  Unfortunately three of them are sadly no longer with us – maybe you remember them

Some original members

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Photograph 1 – Mrs Wright, Mrs Wright’s daughter, Mrs Mattacola & Sue Madeley 

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Photograph 2 – Rachel Dunkley, Mrs Wright’s daughter, Mrs Wright & Mrs Mattacola

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Photograph 3 – Joan Eales, Olive Peck, Pam Green & Elaine Oldroyd.

[Mrs Wright, Mrs Mattacola and Olive Pack have since passed away]

From the start of the club having nine members, we have grown over the years and now have between 25 – 30 people on the list with an average of 20 attending on a regular basis.  Over the years we have unfortunately lost quite a few of our members as well as several moving away from the area.

The first Christmas the club arranged a Christmas meal at the Narrow Boat, which seemed to be well liked.  Following on from this the small “committee” decided that we could just as easily cook a Christmas dinner, with portions to suit all and so between 2011 and 2013 this was arranged in the Village Hall.

The party involved singing including carols, plus various poems/antidotes, with a “Secret Santa” present.   Between 2014 – 2016 we returned to the Baptist Rooms for our Christmas meal, as it was felt to be much more “cosy”.

From 2017 the club moved to the Village Hall, as the Baptist Rooms were proving too small with the ever-increasing membership.

Christmas 2017 it was decided to have a Buffet which was pre-ordered from M&S, and this proved very popular especially as there were little or no plates etc to wash!

During the last two years we have added some really “challenging” – although amusing games to the party which appears to have been a big hit with all the ladies.

Christmas 2016 the club decided to hold a Christmas Fayre in the Baptist rooms, with the ladies showing and selling some of their fine handicrafts.

One of the tables from this Craft Fayre

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With this success in mind it was decided from 2017 to date to hold an annual Christmas Fayre in conjunction with the W.I. who provided the refreshments and helped with a cake stall etc.

At the Christmas 2019 Christmas Fayre it was with trepidation that the Tree Festival was “resurrected” in the Baptist Rooms along with the Fayre in the Village Hall.  There seemed to be a steady stream of people coming to “inspect” the trees (which were all artificial and therefore identical) with the aim of voting for the best decorated tree. NetherHeyfordCraftyClub5

Since 2017 there are now “Workshops” organised throughout the year which have proved very popular, as it gives the ladies a chance to try new skills without too much outlay.

2020 is the start of the 14th year the club has been running and until this present pandemic the club is still thriving.

So to all you crafters and future crafters – take care and stay safe – see you all when this current crisis is over.

Chris Phillipps

Revitalising the Allotments – May 2020

I promised, in my last article that this would be a Covid 19 free area and I intend to stick to that, although I suspect that increased activity on the allotments may have just a little something to do with “that which will not be named”.

Bloomin’ Lovely
The allotments have never looked better. If you have had a chance to wander past the site on Watery Lane as part of your daily walk/exercise you can’t have avoided seeing so many well tended plots. If you have not ventured that way, then do so, it looks a treat and is testament to all those people who have worked so hard to make it happen.

The fact that so many people have more time on their hands is I suppose a factor, but I’ll skip over that. I would like to think that this has more to do with the good people of Heyford and nearby locations realising that growing your own fruit and veg is good for you and the planet.

Trees are in bloom, the ground has been tilled and sown with seed, the grass has been mown and things are starting to grow. Even more sheds are springing up from the earth!

And bird song, particularly on the calm sunlit evenings with which we have been blessed, has never sounded so loud and life affirming. It is a tonic and puts a spring in your step.

The Community Orchard
All the trees we planted just eighteen months ago have survived the winter and are flourishing. If the blossom on the trees and the number of foraging insects that we have seen is anything to go by, then the chances of trees producing some good fruit this year are high.

A big thank you must go to the volunteers who not only keep the grass in the orchard under control, but those who water and weed around the trees.

The pruning of the cherries and plums will take place in May – a little later than the apples and pears, so as to avoid a fungal disease called Silver Leaf.

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Bill Corner (sue.corner@sky.com 01327 342124), Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com 01327341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
We are now in the unusual position of having almost no vacant plots available. A group of us joked a year or so ago that one of our targets should be to arrive at point where we had to create a waiting list for an allotment. Fanciful we thought, impossible, some cautioned. Well, we are almost there. As I write this article (16th April) we have just half a plot available for rent. The waiting list could become a reality. If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
— Margaret Atwood