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September 2012   


Happy Birthday to:

Christy Vyvyan – who will be 13 on 13th September

Sarah Jane Holden-Postles , 9 on 19th September, and

Daniel Bridgman whose birthday is on 25th September

And to everyone else with a birthday in September!

Round and About: Quarter Days 

It will soon be Michaelmas.  That does not mean very much today but in mediaeval times Michaelmas was one of the most important religious festivals of the year. 

Michaelmas is one of our Quarter Days and these "Days", as mentioned above, marked four of the major festivals that divided the mediaeval year.  The "Days" roughly correspond with the two Solstices at Winter and Summer and the two Equinoxes in March and September.  Whilst they are not commonly celebrated today they were very important dates in the calendar year of our ancestors. 

Quarter Days are traditionally the days when servants were hired and fired and wages were paid.  It was also a time when tenants had to pay their rents to their landlords.  In the towns it would be rented premises for the purposes of business and trade and also for living accommodation.  In the countryside, apart from household and business premises, tenant farmers also paid their dues.  In some instances this practice still holds today. 

The Quarter Days have also had a strong influence on many of our ancestral folk traditions and have, indeed, carried on down through the ages and can still be recognised in a number of our modern-day are our Quarter Days? 

Lady Day (25th March); Midsummer Day (24th June); Michaelmas Day (29th September) and Christmas Day, known to our ancestors as "Yuletide".  In addition to the Quarter Days our forebears celebrated four other festivals known as Cross Quarter Days, which fell on dates between the Quarter Days and these dates were known as Candlemas, May Day, Lammas and All Hallows.  Although the significance of these dates has now waned it is still interesting to note that: 

LADY  DAY is the traditional name for the Feast of Annunciation of Our Lady and it is the first of the Quarter Days recognised in the year.  A traditional date for drawing up contracts between landowners and tenant farmers and the time for hiring labour.  Lady Day is also the traditional Feast Day for Our Lady of Walsingham. 

MIDSUMMER DAY celebrates the Summer Solstice which usually falls on 21st. June.  On Midsummer Eve in the Middle Ages it was the custom for men and women to leave their home, each carrying a lighted candle, and carry the candle to their church where they would keep "vigil" all night.  In later years it became more a time for dancing and making merry. 

MICHAELMAS celebrates the Feast of St. Michael and corresponds roughly with the Autumn Equinox.  It also marks the shortening of daylight hours.  It was traditional to celebrate the end of harvest at this time; to celebrate the fact that the food, crops and fruit had all been safely gathered in for Winter and was now carefully stored away in the barns.  Meat and fish would have been salted and stored away for the hard days ahead.  Many of the men who had been hired on Lady Day to work on the land all summer long would now be paid off as little work would be required in the coming season.  Similarly the tenant farmers, with money in their pockets from the sale of crops and livestock, were now in a position to pay the wages of the workers now being laid off and - not least - to pay their rent.  Michaelmas was recognised nationwide as "the day of reckoning".  In some towns it was the day to elect the new Town Mayor for the coming year.

 YULETIDE or (CHRISTMAS DAY) was traditionally a period of twelve days (now recognised as the twelve days of Christmas) and started with the Winter Solstice, usually on the 21st. December.  Yuletide was considered to be the turning point of the year when the sun begins to return to the sky and the days slowly get longer.  In Saxon times they celebrated the idea of Mother Earth slowly waking up and coming back to life.  It was a time for peacemaking, a time to put aside old quarrels and to celebrate a fresh new year coming in.  It was a time to plan for the future; a season to celebrate everything that was good - a time for peace and goodwill. 

The significance of Quarter Days is now limited, although leasehold payments often fall due on the traditional dates and the legal profession still acknowledges several aspects of the old calendar.

  Barbara Corley     

 Did you know…...there is a Zumba class in Harrold? 

Zumba Fitness, the worldwide dance fitness phenomenon that uses Latin and World music to create a dance workout, is easy to follow and great fun.  Our slogan, ‘ditch the workout, join the party’ is so true - come and see for yourself! Classes run every Monday (except Bank Holidays) at 7:30pm in the Harrold Centre. 

According to NHS Choices, it is recommended that adults do 75 minutes of ‘vigorous-intensity aerobic activity’ every week.  Zumba falls into this category perfectly, and in my classes you can exercise at a level that feels right for you.  The sessions last for 1 hour including a warm up, whole body workout and stretch. 

Why not come and try my weekly classes at the Harrold Centre? If you quote this article when you sign up you can have your first class for £3, normal price is £4.  For more information email me at or visit my website

The Freightful Truth about Bananas… 

‘Food miles’ is a phrase many of us haven’t heard of in a while.  According to statistics from recent years, we can assume that this is because levels of pollution caused by transport of food are decreasing- this is certainly what is inferred by the DEFRA 2011 report on food transport indicators.  But do the small numbers really count when we’re still looking at millions of kilometres and tens of thousands of kilotonnes? 

The giant for distance to pollution ratio is air transport.  Although air freight food only accounts for 1% of food tonne kilometres and 0.1% of vehicle kilometres, it is responsible for 13% of food transport CO2 emissions.  A reduction in the numbers of imported green grapes from the USA and South Africa and green beans from Kenya has brought air kilometres down from alarming 2007 heights of 34 million, yet a glance from the chalky English skyline outside to the brightly coloured tropical fruits spread gloriously over the shelves of our supermarkets is an ominous reminder that today, air freighted foods are far from becoming a rarity.  Yet considering the impact that reducing imported fruit and veg alone can have, (half of a 4% fall in the volume of all food imports in 2009 was due to reductions of imported fruit and vegetables) it’s hard to see why there aren’t more apples in place of guava fruit. 

Although fruit is by no means the only imported foodstuff, a reduction in imported fruit can make a considerable difference and is something we can all invest in.  Those of us living in the countryside are surrounded by fresh, seasonal produce all year round, much of which is free.  Over the course of the summer, pick your own strawberry initiatives have been springing up across Bedfordshire, not only providing a delicious alternative to foreign supermarket fruit, but also a fun trip out, with the promise of a sumptuous pudding at the end of the day.  Some of us are lucky enough to own a blackberry bush, many of which are already bearing small, juicy berries- and although it doesn’t promise to be a great apple season, there are a few trees now laden with the rosy fruit.  Farm shops are also an outlet for local produce, but are overshadowed and threatened by the supermarket giants.

With food transport responsible for 1.8% of the UK annual CO2 emissions- that’s 10 million tonnes, air freight expected to double in the next 20 years and the effect of atmospheric pollution painfully clear in the earth’s climate change, food miles are something we all need to be aware of.  Let’s bypass the ‘world foods’ aisle, swap half-price for home grown, and save the world together, one parsnip at a time.              Olivia Evershed 

For more information on the difference between organic and sustainable, visit:


 We welcome any comments on this or related issues.  Please send your comments to the magazine email address at the bottom of the page.

News from Outreach

Following a well attended Bring and Share in April the Outreach Committee have the following suggestions for future events:

We hope to have sufficient numbers to go to see The Phantom of The Opera in November.

Saturday 1st December: we are planning to go to Wimpole Hall for the Christmas Event.

13th December is the Christmas lunch.

If there is sufficient interest we will organise a holiday to one of the Warners resorts in March 2013. 

If you are interested in any of the above please contact Val Wallbank on 07528 264035

W.I. News

In July members welcomed solicitor Isobel Mann.  Isobel studied for her law qualification by attending night school for six years and working full time during the day. 

Eighteen months ago she decided to set up Mann Solicitors Legal in Strixton, Wellingborough, specialising in Elderly Client Law.  Have we all made a Will? She talked about the importance of making a Will, Powers of Attorney, Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney, Care Fee Planning, and Trusts to protect our assets.  Isobel offers a free initial meeting to discuss how she may be able to assist you.  She can be contacted on 01933 664877.


In August members, husbands and partners met at Stoke Bruerne and boarded a canal boat named Charlie.  We were greeted by Skipper Mike and his mate and set off on a two hour trip on the Grand Union Canal travelling leisurely through the Blisworth Tunnel and then on towards the marina.  On board we celebrated Audrey’s 80th Birthday with Lynette’s delicious chocolate cake.  The canal was busy with holiday boats and obviously some live aboard boats carrying bikes, pots of flowers and even some vegetables!  This trip was then followed by a meal at the Navigation Inn.


The next meeting will be held in the Visitors’ Centre at Harrold and Odell Country Park on Tuesday 11th September at 7.30 when Janet Munro will talk about the History of the Park.

Hostesses Barbara Corley and Jenny Cuddeford

Advance Notice – there will be a WI Jumble Sale in the Village Hall at 2.00pm on Saturday, 13th October.  Start saving your jumble now!

New members are always welcome andif you need any more information please ring Rachel Halton on 720572

Jane Eshelby


Table Tennis

We restarted Felmersham and Radwell Table Tennis Club three months ago.  A group of us play in Felmersham

Village Hall every Tuesday at 7.30pm.  New members are very welcome.  £3 per session.  For more information, please ring Anne Smith 781780.


Village Hall News

Friday 7th September: Beer Festival from 6.30pm

Saturday 8th September: Beer and Sausage Festival, from 6.30pm.

Tickets from Rob Lee (720730) and Nikki Freeman (720893).




Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS

Email:  Website:

Tel: 01234 720016


News from Harrold-Odell Country Park


The park has been in the full swing during the recent summer holidays and now, with the children about to return to school, we can look forward to the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.  It would be nice if that came after an Indian summer.


The big news is that the bird hide we lost to an arsonist back in April has been rebuilt!!  Thanks to all of you in the communities adjacent to the park, regular visitors, the Borough Council and strangers alike, we have raised enough money to get started.  Members of the Friends group have been heavily involved with the planning and construction.


Peter Hall from Carlton, the woodsman who has been charged with the reconstruction, has been kind enough to commence work, even though the full £15,000 replacement cost has not been fully raised as I write.


Above: the beginning of the reconstruction of the bird hide


The old hide was made of shiplap.  This one is seasoned oak from Yelnow Farm near Odell.  We wanted a building that blended with its surroundings and be long lasting.  It is also slightly bigger than the old one, helps with wheelchair access and we’ll be able to bring parties of school children in for teaching.  

We plan to kit out the interior again with information boards identifying the wildlife.  The Friends of the park are mounting a fund-raising campaign to raise the last £5,000 needed to complete the project so more donations would be very gratefully received. 

The Friends of the park have almost finished the new bike parking facility to the rear of the café.  It is available to use while we wait for the first layer of gravel topping to bed down.  All that remains to be done is to lay some finer material on top and it will be complete.  At the same time they re-vamped the wood processing area outside the workshop.  This project has been paid for out of car park donations.

Due to a major underground electrical fault the bike racks by the front entrance of the café had to be dug up so that the Electricity Board could rectify the problem.  The surge of current had caused the fire alarm system to blow and the café lost several of their appliances so it was serious.  Thankfully everything is now fixed but we will have to replace these bike racks when we have the man power.

We are the proud winners of another Green Flag Award for the excellence of our greenspace.  This is the 4th year we have won and we have to demonstrate progress and improvements each time.  Our thanks to everyone from the Friends group who give up their time every week to help us with the work.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

As I write this (Mid August) I have just heard that we have been successful in bidding for some of the last funding to come from WREN, a not-for-profit organisation associated with helping to turn old landfill and quarried areas into community places. 

We have wanted to develop the play area adjacent to the café by adding additional facilities to the small clatter bridge and log for quite a while.  Indeed, there have been a few comment cards submitted by visitors on this very theme.  We already have a playground at the Odell end but this is really for 8 – 13yr olds.  We also have a small skate park for teenagers.  What we lacked was an area for the tiny tots so we put in a bid for funding some additional equipment.  It is this we have successfully achieved to the tune of £11,500 with a further £2,000 being contributed by the Friends of the Park from car park donations.

It is anticipated that work could commence sometime in September by the playground company Sovereign who originally installed the clatter bridge.  We are hoping to get a multi-play unit that will include a slide.  The Borough Council will look into funding some fencing to stop dogs from entering the playground once everything has been installed.  Watch this space. 

The beehives Richard has installed on the island are progressing but the dreadful summer we’ve had has affected the amount of honey the bees have been able to produce.  We won’t have a crop this season but we’re looking to the future.  If you see him skipping across the lake in his coracle, you now know what he’s up to. 

For those of you who fish, we have been getting some very big fish indeed landed.  The fishing here is via a season ticket only.  The fishing isn’t easy but the rewards are great when you do catch.  We have carp over 30lb, pike to 30lb, big tench and bream – all from the lakes but there are also big barbel, chub and perch in our stretch of the river Great Ouse.  Take a look at our website on for more info or call in for a look. 

Dates for your diary 

Health Walks – Leader Janet Munro.  We meet every other Thursday outside the front entrance of the café at 10.30am.  We walk for an hour with the option for coffee and a chat in the café afterwards.  Call 01234 720016 or e-mail for more info.

September 13th & 27th, October 11th & 25th 

Friends Task Days – Meet at the Ranger’s Office on the last Monday of the month (a week earlier if a bank hol.) at 10am.  We undertake a variety of conservation tasks according to season.  We provide tools, gloves and refreshments and you need to come in appropriate old clothing and bring a packed lunch.  For more info please call Richard Dowsett or Janet Munro on 01234 720016 or e-mail

September 24th, October 29th

Janet Munro Ranger

Wanted - local artist requires small room to use as a studio.  If you can help please contact Christine (720234 or e-mail: 

Senior Citizens’ Autumn Lunch

Tuesday 16th October

Village Hall

12.30 –for 1.00pm 


The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

 Cash on Delivery 18th - 22nd September  

A full on farce by Michael Cooney, son of the acknowledged master of the genre, Ray Cooney.

An assortment of characters including a DSS fraudster, an alcoholic DSS Inspector, a comatose hospital porter, a confused lodger, a bewildered councillor…and a washing machine with a mind of its own, contribute to a cautionary tale of complex intrigue, which becomes increasingly ridiculous and bizarre……

’Frantic, witty, absurd and hysterically funny’’

An amateur production by arrangement with Samuel French Ltd 

Tickets for Cash on Delivery will be available at:

Sharnbrook Post office – in person

Bedford Central Box Office – 01234 269519*

10 % discount for 10 or more (excluding Charity performance)

*2 wheelchair spaces, easier access seating Rows A – C: hearing loop Rows A –E. 

West Side Story 16th – 24th November^ at 7.30 pm

Saturday Matinées 17th & 24th at 2.30 pm

NB: NO performance on Monday

‘…one of the greatest musical masterpieces of all time’.

Advance booking available during Cash on Delivery, only at The Mill Theatre.  

On sale at Box Offices from 1st October

Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim:

Music:Leonard Berstein:

Book: by Arthur Laurents, Original Conception by Jerome Robbins,



Summer School 2012

The Sharnbrook Mill Youth Summer School commemorated its 10th Anniversary this year with a week of singing, dance, drama and music.  The Mill takes pride in its commitment to developing young talent in the local area and is seeking to develop further opportunities over the next 12 months. 

The theme this year was Heroes and Villains and the students met for the first time on Monday morning and participated in a series of workshops and activities that culminated in a performance in the theatre on the Saturday evening.  

The students were, as always, a pleasure to work with and made the week great fun.  If you are interested in participating in the 2013 Summer School please contact Paul Wildman via email



5th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane Smith’s, Horsefair Lane

7th 6.30pm Beer Festival in Village Hall

8th 6.30pm Beer and Sausage Festival in Village Hall

8th 10am Flower Festival in St. Mary’s, Carlton

8th 10am Historic Churches Trust Bike n’ Hike

8th 7.30pm Choral concert in St. Mary’s, Carlton

9th 2.00pm Flower Festival in St. Mary’s, Carlton

10th 5.30pm Monday Club at Rectory

10th 8pm Pilgrims meet at Rectory

11th 7.30pm W.I. meets at HOCP

13th 10.30am Health Walk, HOCP

15th 9.45am All Saints’ Amblers meet at The Bell

17th 3.30pm Fusion meets at Harrold URC

19th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jill’s, Rectory Farm

24th 10am HOCP Conservation Tasks Day

27th 10am Health Walk, HOCP


3rd 10.30am Meeting Point at Jane Eshelby’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Newton Bromswold.

6th 10am Decorate All Saints’ for Harvest Festival

6th 7pm Harvest Supper, Village Hall

 Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the October magazine to Tricia Hudson (mag1 at or Catherine Corkery by September 12th at the latest.  May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted.  Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.








Alex Stubbs Flooring 

Carpets, Vinyls, Laminates, Safety Flooring, Adaptions, Refits, Repairs 

Supplied and Fitted 

07976 260572

01234 240954


Great local pubs

The Bell in Odell

As Featured in the 2010 Good Beer Guide 

With the relaxed charm of a village local and a varied menu of

quality, home-cooked food you won’t find any gimmicks here

 just a Great British Pub! 

Abbot Ale, IPA & Changing Seasonal & Guest Ales 

Telephone 01234 720254


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Last revised: August 25, 2012.