After a long period of glorious autumnal weather and impressive tree colours of every hue and shade, the temperature is dropping and a bitter wind is beginning to accelerate leaf fall. In the past few days, the arrival of small flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings from Northern Europe is an indication of colder times ahead. Many insects die off now; the last wasps and blue bottles are the hardiest but even they will succumb eventually.
The obvious solution for many species is hibernation. The autumn butterflies will often enter a safe shed or house and spend the winter in a state of semi-torpor until springtime. My own experience was rather dramatic last week when a large Queen Hornet entered my kitchen, a very large insect whose flight was accompanied by a deafening drone! However, they are in fact very placid and I gently removed her to my garage. I have a small nest of them in an old bird box every year, probably twenty individuals in all. In summer, they spend most of their time in the tree canopy feeding on flies and mosquitoes. They are quite scarce now, often killed off when mistaken for wasps which are more aggressive. I have a couple of Small tortoiseshell butterflies in my house too, wings folded and motionless - a bad year for them so need care to survive the Spring.
The recent blue skies have encouraged our local pair of Ravens to stay around the village, where they arrived about four years ago - a sight I thought never to see in the Midlands but they have returned after years of persecution. Buzzards, Kites and the occasional Kestrel all take advantage of the open fields to spot prey. I even saw a Barn Owl hunting the field behind the church recently, when at dusk they appear almost pure white and Ghost-like. The rough tussocks of the old pasture are ideal places for field mice.
One villager had the luck see our local Fox around the pavements of Church road and you can also expect the odd pheasant in the garden, seeking safety away from a local shoot. I recently heard that Kingfishers are still regular inhabitants of the allotments in Kineton (I was investigating the 'no-dig' methods there which are very impressive and sustainable). The nearby River Dene is a good place to see these birds, I was told.
I ventured forth today to collect some Medlars from a local tree. These fruits need to be 'bleated' so this was a ideal time to pick them. They're a strange-looking 'mediaeval' fruit which must be rotted (aka bleated) before you can make the delicious fire-red jelly with its unique taste. The most expensive jam in Fortnum's food hall, so well worth the effort! Bernard Price
The Library will visit the Telephone Box at Gaydon from 1.35-2.05pm on Monday 10th December.
Village Hall Tuesday 18 December at 7.30pm. The Gaydon Choir will be singing carols round the village from 7pm onwards, finishing at the village hall at 7.30pm for more carols with mince pies and mulled wine. Come along and have a good sing!
On Sunday 23 December at 2pm several of us will be meeting in Gaydon Church to get the church ready for the Crib Service on Monday and Christmas Day on Tuesday. Help is always welcome! You can bring flowers and greenery if you like; or just help us decorate the church with what we have already. There will also be plenty of dusting and hoovering available. Julie Rickman
Christmas Eve at 6pm. The children's service by candle-light tells the story of the Birth of Jesus with Carols and Bible readings. When the service ends the village Christmas Cake is shared out amongst the congregation.
After the very enjoyable and well-attended Apple Day the committee is busy planning for next year. In order to get a balance we will be consulting with other groups in the village to ensure that there is a clear timetable to ensure there are no clashes and a variety of events to suit different interests.
The committee is made up of longer-term residents as well as someone who has lived here for two years and others who arrived two months before the first event. Catherine Johnson is secretary and she posts on the Village Facebook sites.
Our constitution, which was adopted at the re-launch meeting in September, states our aims and procedures and we are in the process of opening a bank account. Look out for our posts! We are hoping to hold a fête in the summer and a couple of other activities before then. Debbie Price, Chair
MESSsage to all Dogs Dear Dogs, We all love you very much but beg you to remind your owners that we hate DOG MESS, especially when it is left on the pavement in front of our homes. Please get them to clear it up! Signed, Disgruntled Resident (name and address supplied)
On Sunday 2nd December there will be P@THWAY PRAISE at Temple Herdwyke Community Centre. Starts at 4.15pm with refreshments and informal worship. See www.dassettmagna.org.uk
Rich Christmas Gingerbread Ingredients* 5oz/140g Best Butter 2tsp Ground Ginger 4oz/110g Dark Brown Sugar 1tbs Water 6oz/170g Golden Syrup 1tsp Grated Lemon Rind 7oz/200g Organic SR Flour 2 Free Range Eggs Method Put the butter, syrup, brown sugar and water in a saucepan on a low heat and stir until the butter has melted. Mix together the flour, ginger and lemon rind in a bowl and pour onto them the contents of the pan. Beat them well by hand or machine. Break the eggs into the bowl and beat them in. Grease and line a loaf tin or 8"/20cm cake tin. Pour in the mixture and cook for about 45 minutes at 160°C, a very moderate oven. Test with a skewer and leave the cake in the oven a little longer until done. *Stem Ginger If you like little blobs of sweet ginger in your cakes, chop up a few pieces very small and stir them into the cake mix before you put it in the tin. (Don't confuse it with Root Ginger!)
Parish Council Meeting Mon 17th 7.30pm Village Hall Village Carols Tues 18th 7.30pm Village Hall Christmas Eve Crib Service Mon 24th 6pm St Giles' Church Christmas Day Service Tues 25th 11am St Giles' Church Library Mon 19th Telephone Box Pilates Tuesdays 6.15pm Village Hall Yoga Wednesdays 6pm Village Hall Tai Chi Weds 7.30pm & Suns 1.30pm Village Hall Cake & Crafting Circle 2nd & 4th Suns 5pm St Giles'Church
The flag on the Green was raised in honour of Armistice Day on the 11th day of the 11th month. It was flown to celebrate the 70th birthday of HRH Prince Charles on 14 November.
We are pleased to announce that Jo Drury has won the membership prize this month; a voucher for Flower Thyme in Kineton. Well done, Jo, and many thanks to Flower Thyme for their generosity.
The prices for Carpenter's Christmas turkeys etc are now available in the shop. Order early and remember that the meat is the same price as at the farm shop but if you order through us we get a small discount, which of course helps the shop to keep serving the community. Our very best wishes for the festive season!
Change of Councillors
At our last meeting Emily Leadbetter was co-opted to the Parish Council. We wish Emily well in this new role. Unfortunately, there has been yet another resignation, that of Cllr Mrs Annette Conway. Annette has been a great inspiration to the Parish Council, working with the play area working party to try to get it refurbished for today's children. She has also built up a very good relationship with our neighbourhood watch co-ordinator. She is a committed resident who works for the good of our parish and we thank her.
The Parish Council is grateful to the Millennium Group for the cabinet for the defibrillator and is now liaising with e.on to try and get authority to use the power supply in the telephone box.
The main focus in November has unfortunately been the illegal encampment on the stopped-up Warwick Road. Our Clerk has been liaising with a number of local authorities: the Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the District Council and the County Council. There is a traffic regulation order on the land that was occupied by the travellers and we tried to get it enforced but unfortunately there was confusion as to how to enforce it. It has now been confirmed that the Police are unable to enforce it and any future encampments would need court orders obtained by the County Council. In the meantime, Cllr Isobel Seccombe, the leader of the County Council, has said that she will cover our parish whilst our
County Cllr Chris Williams recovers from his illness. We are liaising with Cllr Seccombe for ways to try to stop any further encampments. We thank her for any assistance she can give. We also owe thanks to our neighbourhood watch co-ordinator who has been very helpful in monitoring the site, keeping us updated and helping to move the travellers on.
No details yet on the design or location of the bus shelters on the Banbury Road. We have asked to be kept updated.
The Parish Council does not have an official facebook page. The community facebook page was set up by a resident and is administered by residents.
We have received the results of the play area inspection report and unfortunately the equipment has been rated with a medium/high risk. The recommendation is that the equipment should be replaced or removed. This means that the Parish Council will need to re-examine the playground and decide whether to close it or invest in some equipment to replace the existing things.
Next meeting will be on Monday 17 December at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
Sunday 2nd 9.00 Holy Communion BCP Northend 10.30 Morning Prayer Fenny Compton 10.30 Holy Communion Gaydon 6pm Advent Carol Service Farnborough Sunday 9th 9.00 Holy Communion BCP Farnborough 10.30 Holy Communion Fenny Compton 10.30 Morning prayer Gaydon 10.30 Morning Prayer Northend 4pm Christingle Northend Sunday 16th 9.00 Holy Communion BCP Gaydon 10.30 Morning Prayer Farnborough 10.30 Morning Prayer Fenny Compton 10.30 Holy Communion Northend 3.30pm Carols by Candlelight with the Bishop at Burton Dassett Sunday 23rd 10.30 Family Crib Service Fenny Compton Christmas Eve Monday 24th 6pm Crib Service Gaydon Christmas Day 8.45 Holy Communion Farnborough 9.45 Holy Communion Fenny Compton 10.30 Family Carol Service Northend 11.00 Holy Communion Gaydon Sunday 30th 10.30 Group Holy Communion Northend
There will be a Compline Service at 7.30pm on Wednesday 5th at Northend; Wednesday 12th at Farnborough; and Wednesday 19th at Fenny Compton.
Thursday 20 December at 7.30pm
There is something a little odd about having to write a Christmas letter on the weekend when I have been watching fireworks and have just marked Remembrance Sunday. These days you don't see many bonfires and the major firework displays rarely make any mention of the history of the celebration. This is regrettable to my mind, as traditions are important and like Remembrance Sunday, help to give us our national identity.
We now prepare for one of the greatest festivals - Christmas: a celebration of light in the darkness, of God's goodness and his intervention in human history. Christ's birth changed the world forever and faith in him changes lives to this day.
Through the centuries, traditions have evolved to celebrate Jesus's birth and many of them still speak to us of the good news of the angels. It's important that we make a stand against anything that seeks to obscure the real message of Christmas, whether it be the dreaded 'happy holidays' or 'season's greetings' in cards; or the replacement of school nativity plays with pantomimes (though I do enjoy taking part in a good pantomime!). All these modifications, perhaps imperceptible on an individual level, unite to undermine the traditions of Christmas.
Strip away all the clutter of our Christmas traditions, much of which we rightly enjoy, and you have one simple question. If the shepherds and wise men truly bowed down and worshipped the new born king and if all those who followed him in later life were correct; if those who were taught by him and who witnessed him after the darkness of Calvary and in his resurrected state were right in their conviction that he was the Son of God, a belief that led many of them to martyrdom, then how should we respond this Christmas?
For those who either don't believe a word of it, or who just can't face thinking about it, I simply say: have a great holiday, enjoy family and friends, pop a cork and make merry. To those who are open to exploring further I say: do all those things, but in addition, come along to church for one or more of our celebrations, listen to the message of the angels; it's good news from across the ages, and it might just be
To those who have already received the good news from Bethlehem into their hearts I simply say 'O come let us adore Him'! Christmas brings light into the darkness of troubled lives and a turbulent world.
It speaks to us of a loving Heavenly Father who sent His own Son to show us a better way. I can think of no better cause for a celebration than that.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year! Reverend Nicki Chatterton