Gaydon Parish Magazine January 2021

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We wish our Readers a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Parish Council News

I am writing this on Christmas morning, and all is quiet at the moment, a time of celebration of that distant birth so long ago and in a distant land. A time of peace and harmony, for the moment anyway. In the background Cliff Richard is singing Mistletoe and Wine and a phrase sticks in my mind: “ A time to rejoice in the good that we see”.
Probably difficult at this time of spreading pandemic, but I see villagers coming together and volunteers ever coming forward to help their neighbours. There is a village helpline that residents can reach out to, an active WhatsApp group responding to calls for help; and a list of others too, ready to help.
*See the New Helpline at the end of this article.
As ever, I am truly thankful for a team of Councillors who do not hesitate to step up to the mark and help when needed - sometimes a thankless task, for as volunteers all, we occasionally tread into areas of uncertainty and the odd mistake happens. I am also conscious of the Arnold Baker book on Local Council Administration on my bookshelf; it only has 1085 pages. I am thankful of the help from our Clerk, Ian, and our Minute Taker, Jo.
So as we go into a better New Year (it can’t be worse than 2020), we have a brand new Play Area that is getting much praise; and an Orchard Area for residents to enjoy and eventually benefit from its fruitfulness. And an area in the middle of these that can be utilised for gatherings like fêtes, etc., restrictions permitting.
Looking forward, we have a Cemetery that needs some loving attention together with procedural and recording updates. The driveway to the Field needs some longer term solution; there is a request for outside adult exercise equipment; street lighting needs updating; and site(s) required for 16 new homes from the Gaydon Housing Needs Survey.
A new contract for Village maintenance has to go to tender. We must not forget the perpetual problem of speeding traffic, and the outlook of ever-increasing traffic as our neighbours' new housing takes shape. The new-build at the British Motor Museum, a hotel to go with its conference facility, brings to light the problem of the Old Warwick Road and its occasional unlawful occupiers. Bringing it back to full road classification as a feeder road to the hotel for staff, maintenance and deliveries, would make it unsuitable for our uninvited guests and the problems they bring with them; but would provide a quiet walking area and cycle way for residents.
We will start looking into the budget for the coming year and set the precept, trying to keep spending down while meeting the essentials. Luckily, we do have a very efficient fund-seeking councillor to assist with external funding. We also thank our local businesses for their offers of help with practical matters. A big thanks to our village shop and its volunteers, our flag officer (even if she is RAF!) and our local pub whose food is exceptional. Please make sure you all support our local businesses and industries.
Happy New Year and God Bless! John Davies, Chair GPC

The Paper Boy

Thanks to all my customers and a Happy New Year to All! Andy Thomas


The flag was raised on 18 December to celebrate the birthday of Jean Godfrey; and on the 21st for Jonathan McCaughan's birthday. On 30th November it was raised for St Andrew's Day. Have you got something to celebrate? Contact Siobhan Hannan on 07780 678582 and she will raise the Flag for you. The cost is a donation of £5 to Church funds.

January Allotment News

The year of 2020 is now over and is one that will be remembered for many years to come. Our thoughts focus now on the new calendar year; with winter solstice behind us, the countdown to glorious spring begins.
The Gaydon fields and footpaths provide strong evidence that we have had intolerable amounts of winter rain during December, with sodden and marshy conditions underfoot. I notice these wet conditions have particularly suited pests on the allotments, such as an annoying population of slugs tucking into my winter Kale! In these wet winter months, only those lucky enough to own a heated greenhouse can start 2021 planting such like: celery, celeriac, herbs and onion seeds. Without a greenhouse, the upcoming weeks can be spent working on rotation plans and selecting the seeds of your preferred mouth-watering delights.
Tip: If you still have Brussels sprouts in the ground they may start to look a bit leggy and become vulnerable to being blown over by the wind. If this is the case, then either stake them or earth them up. Remember to start picking the bigger sprouts from the bottom of the stalk first. Happy New Year! Andrew Smith

January Church Services

Dassett Magna Service Times on Zoom 
        Sunday  3rd             11.00am    Holy Communion                     
        Sunday 10th             11.00am   Holy Communion   
        Sunday 17th             11.00am    Holy Communion                      
        Sunday 24th             11.00am    Holy Communion         
        Sunday  31st            11.00am   Group Service                                  
Zoom Midweek Services Every Week
           9.30am           Monday to Friday          Morning Prayer
           6.00pm          Monday to Friday         Evening Prayer            
The church zoom services can be accessed by going to 


The start of another new year of Parish Magazines prompts gratitude to all the people who enable its production: the advertisers, the Parish Council, the contributors, the deliverers and the technical and editorial team. Thank you all for your help and support! Editor

A Postman's Tales

Postman Ted provides many insights into the olden days here; and the centre-fold is a pre-war map of Gaydon, very different from today's village layout. There are about 20 copies of A Postman's Tales available for sale at £5 each. Proceeds will be given to the Millennium Group to put towards some Great Event in the future when villagers can meet in public once more. Please contact the Editor if you would like a copy.

Nature Notes for December 2020

The end of December is proving rather bleak weather-wise, with leaden skies occasionally pierced by a sunny interval but never clear enough to view the Star - a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn (thought to have been the star of Bethlehem) which is expected to appear just before dusk on the south west horizon.
Many villagers will have noticed the very large flocks of cackling Jackdaws circling the village and adjoining fields. It’s not clear why they do this, possibly a mating ritual. They are highly intelligent birds; a fact I noticed today when some landed in my Walnut tree this morning. Much-outraged Woodpigeons (in my garden for generations) clung solidly onto their perching spots, not intimidated by the interlopers. Soon this paid off. I walked towards the tree and the Jackdaws took off, while the Pigeons who know me well remained. They often start nesting early in January leaving a tell-tale clue of white eggshells well away from the actual nest.
I am a great fan of Radio 4 and never miss ‘Tweet of the Day’, even though it’s broadcast at 5.50am. This week, it was such a pleasure to hear ‘The Diary of Bret Westwood’ who has been recording changes to his ‘local patch' of countryside for the past 40 years. Last week, though, he diverted and spoke about Reindeer. I have seen them wild in Lapland myself (Norwegian cousins) but facts about them emerged that I never knew. Females grow antlers (the only deer to do so) and their whole body surface is covered in fur, even their noses in order to survive sub-zero conditions without problem.
The legend of Santa Claus may have come from hallucinating Shamans, holy men, who consumed mushrooms. Hence the Bizarre images of Sleighs in the sky pulled by Reindeer; and the red and white mushrooms that even resemble Santa's famous hat. Rudolph with his red nose was a 20th century addition!
Your childhood is often a time of inspiration for the rest of your life. My grandfather was a keen bird watcher, veterinarian and farmer and the first nature programmes were on the old Home Service. I listened to the great Ludvic Koch whose early recordings included birds like Curlews, common in the UK countryside then but rarely heard now. I was lucky to hear Corncrakes, too, on our farm. My Grandad was keen to teach me to cut hay and plough, always avoiding their nests.
Peter Scott, who founded Slimbridge wildfowl reserve, still expanding even now, began the first nature TV series called 'Look’. Today, Chris Packham is a similar inspiration to a wider audience.
My Christmas presents, then, were the classic Collins 'British Birds’ - now much worn from use - and a pair of huge 'U' boat commander's binoculars (how did I carry these as a child?). My uncle had been a Norwegian naval officer in the war and I had always admired them. My best sighting through these was a Red-backed Shrike in the Wyre Forest, known as the butcher bird and now extinct in Britain - reserved for another article.
There are some much-improved natural history presents for children nowadays. My grandaughter loves the 'Den kit company', Forest School kits to encourage children to explore outside. She is constantly identifying insects and birds even at five years old, so highly recommended. Wishing everyone a Great Outdoor New Year!
Bernard Price
P.S. A photo of a garden bird sighting I received recently is possibly a Reed Bunting.