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September 2003


Beauty in abundance has been shown at the flower festival in All Saints’ in the wonderful colours of red, white and blue. A really magnificent display of beautiful floral arrangements, old photos and paintings of Odell, and various paintings by local and unknown artists made wonderful viewing time in the most peaceful setting of All Saints’.

Floral arrangements were by Mrs. Cheadle, Mrs. Dodwell, Mrs Freeman and Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Garon, Mrs Halton, Mrs Harrison, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Lewis, Lady Luke, Mrs. Ormond, Mrs. Shakespeare, Mrs. Sturridge, Mrs. Swift, Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Zaradin. The many activities of both the village of Odell and the church of All Saints’ were represented: the Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee, the Fete Committee, the Womens Institute, Yelnow Farm, Aid For Romania, Meeting Point, Sunday School and the Church Musicians.

The organ was played by organists: Anne Turner, Liz Lewis, Kath Cameron, Len Bora, Prof. John Crookhall, Dorothy Yusava and Toby Hudson, with Tim Lewis on trumpet, Anna Lewis and Carolyn Pugh oboe and vocals and Helen Butler and Rachel Hudson on violin.

A stream of visitors seemed to enjoy the beautiful creations and the ambience. It was a pleasurable two days and enjoyed by visitors and helpers alike, making the extremely hard work very much appreciated.

Thank you to one and all.

Anne Turner

Round and About

The Customs of Harvest

As we watch the seasons go rolling by the most gratifying of them all must surely be the Autumn, that season of mists and mellow fruitfulness so loved by the poets. Who amongst us can say that they are not moved in any way by the knowledge that the crops are safely stored away for another year?

The celebration of the harvest is steeped in legend and customs, some of them disappearing into the age of pre-history and many of them celebrated, in one form or another, right across the world. One custom we can still see observed on some farms is to leave the last row of corn standing, lest the final cut should bring misfortune. A variation on this is that the last row of corn be left standing so that those who had been employed in reaping that harvest could return with staves and beat the corn back into the earth. Alternatively, other regions favoured the saving of the last stook of corn which would be left standing in the field. Yet another version would be that the last sheaf of corn would be carried into the farmhouse where it would remain until the following year.

Basically, all the above would be carried out for the same reason. People believed that the spirit of the harvest lived in the soil and that if you cut the last of the corn that spirit would be denied the opportunity to return to the soil and the following year's harvest would be a disaster. Since, in earlier times, a failed harvest often meant starvation, such an occurrence had to be avoided at all costs. The last of the corn must be preserved for the following year - hence the preservation of the last stook or the last sheaf. The idea behind beating the corn into the ground was seen as a way of returning the spirit back to the land where it belonged.

As time passed by it was no longer practical to keep the last stook standing, or to bring into the farmhouse a sheaf of corn to over-winter. This is when the idea of the corn dolly arrived. The corn dolly would always be made from the last sheaf and always contain at least three heads of corn. The arrival of the combine harvester where the grain is disgorged straight into a trailer naturally brought to an end most of the above customs but it didn't bring an end to the corn dolly. Also, the harvest loaf helped to carry on the custom. Grain from the last cut, or last sheaf, would be specially milled into flour to be used in the making of the harvest loaf and, of course, what shape does the loaf take on, but that of a sheaf of corn - plus the little harvest mouse!

At the completion of each harvest it was the custom for the gleaners to take to the fields. In Odell the local school granted special gleaning holidays in order that whole families could take to the fields to gather as much of the fallen grain as they could find. Each evening people struggled home with bags heavy with grain which in turn they took to the local mill to be ground into flour and the flour resulting therefrom would be stored in great bins kept by the fireside. Diligent, or lucky, families could be kept in flour for most of the winter as a result of their labour. This practice was, of course, carried out in all rural areas and was an important source of food for the village families. In Odell the harvest failed twice, in 1340 and again in 1860, bringing great hardship to the village.

At the conclusion of each harvest Odell held a Harvest Home celebration when, for perhaps the only day in the year, the people could eat and drink as much as they could hold. Today we celebrate in a more modest fashion and call it our Harvest Supper when the food of the evening represents the bounty of the land in the form of roots, fruit and grain. Barbara Corley


It was obviously an excellent idea to change our B.B.Q date to August; after many years of poor weather we were again delighted to have a balmy summer evening on which to gather. The venue was Mandy Sharpe's, she had gone to a great deal of trouble to create a welcoming ambience, with candles and fairy lights lighting up the garden as darkness fell. Thank you Mandy. The bring and share food was excellent and the time quickly slipped away as we ate and talked the evening away - a delightful evening and a chance to relax with friends old and new.

Next month’s meeting

We will meet on Tuesday September 9th at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall, all welcome. Our speaker will be Sonia Banks of the Bedford and MK Waterways Trust with her talk entitled ‘Waterways for all’.

Hostesses and Competition

Our hostesses in September will be Rachel Halton and Kathy Dunn. The competition will be ‘A Photo showing water’.

Rachel Halton 720572

Moving On – Farewell to Derek and Doreen

After 18 years of running ‘The Bell’ in Odell Derek and Doreen have decided the time has come to move on. We shall certainly miss their familiar faces and wish to take this opportunity to thank them for all they have done for the village during their time here. Many of us have watched as ‘The Bell’ grew in popularity and became probably one of the most visited pubs in Bedfordshire under their expert management. We wish them well in their new venture – The Red Lion in Watling Street, Foster’s Booth (near Towcester) – and hope they will be very happy in their new home.

Derek and Doreen asked us to thank everyone for their custom over the years and say they’d like us all to visit them in their new venue!

‘The Bell’ is to be taken over by Nick and Debbie and their team (formally of The Falcon at Bletsoe) on September 2nd. We look forward to welcoming them to Odell.

Nick and Debbie will be providing a free buffet lunch in ‘The Bell’ on the 2nd and 3rd September, with their full menu being available from the 4th.


After collecting the above items for various charities for more years than I can correctly number I have decided to cease doing so as from the insertion of this notice in the September Parish Magazine. So I finally thank everyone for their participation over the years which has been much appreciated; I also thank the person who has kindly conveyed the above collections to Bedford for me.

Isobel Ross. 4a Horsefair Lane.

Odell Parish Council

1 Mr Richard Hall and Mr Nicholas Sturridge attended the meeting to hear about the proposals for the replacement of Odell Bridge. It is understood that the Environment Agency wish to replace the bridge because the abutments are becoming weak. It is proposed that the new bridge should be longer, and the abutments further apart, thus easing the flow of water, particularly in times of flood. It is therefore to be hoped that the level of the river will be slightly lower, causing less flooding to areas upstream, especially to houses in Horsefair Lane.

It was noted that the bridge lies on the route of the Great Ouse Valley Way, and for that reason too, the bridge must be pleasing aesthetically.

Mr Pitt of the Environment Agency is to attend the meeting on 15th September, to explain their proposals.

2 Bedford Borough Council is to be requested again to pick up litter through the Village.

3 It is proposed to hire a mobile speed warning sign from the Bedfordshire County Council. A training session will be arranged for councillors who will operate the equipment.

4 It was noted that Harrold Parish Council had decided to abandon its request for the Skate board slide. It was confirmed that Odell Parish Council would not request the use of the slide this year.

5 Water is to be laid on to the Allotment field. AWA have been invited to quote. The hedge is to be cut.

6 Bedford Borough Council will have an Energy Efficiency week –

22 nd to 28th September - and a display trailer will be available.

7 Mr Ian Sharpe of Little Odell is to be commended, as his request for a sign at the T Junction in Little Odell has been granted by Bedfordshire County Council. A sign is to be installed shortly.

8 Bedfordshire County Council announced that the footpath round the lake in the NE corner of the Country Park is to be diverted to permit drainage work to be carried out.

9 The accounts of the Parish Council have been prepared and submitted in the new approved format. A copy is available for any Parishioner wishing to see them.

10 It was decided to increase the annual donation to the Villager bus to £70.

11 A Questionnaire is to be circulated to all houses in the Village concerning the supply of Gas for domestic purposes. The supply is laid on as far as little Odell, and it is to ascertain how many houses would be willing to contribute to the cost of laying on the gas supply through the village.

Jonathan Harrison, Odell Parish Council

Village Hall News


If you have any ideas or can help with these let us know, and if you would like a venue for a private function, the very reasonable hire fee helps us maintain the hall.

It's still very much a hot summer whilst writing this report, so enjoy and make the most of it. After the summer break, we will be holding a regular Yoga session and later a Ceroc evening. Towards the end of the year we hope to have a live band as well, so watch out for future editions and posters.

The Village Hall now has a complete new ceiling, and thanks go out to all who helped replace the tiles, especially Paul Johns, Steve Robinson and Les Knowles who gave up a few Saturday mornings to do the work.

Dates for your diary!!

11th September - A regular Yoga session will commence on Thursday evenings from 7.30 until 9pm. A qualified and experienced instructor, Veronica Lafferty, will arrange the sessions. All participants need to wear suitable clothing and bring something to lie on. Cost per session will be £4, on a pay as you go basis. Contact Sue Robinson for details on 720113


20th September – Harvest Supper. 7.00 for 7.30pm. Tickets, £3.50, £2.00 concessions, can be obtained from Jill Cheadle 720261.

Waste Paper Collection

Thank you for bringing your waste paper to the bins. Though the return is small, every little bit helps financially and of course the waste is recycled.

Do please support our events, and do suggest to us your ideas for alternative activities.

Rob Lee (720730) on behalf of the Village Hall Committee.

The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

A Chorus of Disapproval.

Tuesday 23rd to Saturday 27th September, 2003 - A comic masterpiece by Alan Ayckbourn. Brilliantly constructed and as hard as nails!…this backstage peep at the attempts of an amateur operatic society to rehearse and perform the ‘Beggars Opera’ produces hilarious results. A riotous evening in store.

NB. September 24th Charity performance for Bedford Guild House 01234 352038.


The Village Trader, Sharnbrook (in person) – your local booking point

Central Box Office, Bedford 01234 269519*;

The Castle, Wellingborough 01933 270007*

*Credit/Debit cards accepted.

For Party bookings: Please phone Alison Bean 01234 781372

(10% discount for 10 or more, excluding charity performances)

Jesus Christ, Superstar

Friday 14th November to Saturday 22nd November, 2003 - Rock Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Matinee Saturday 22nd November, 3pm. £6 for which party discounts are available also.

Tickets as before.

19 Class Companion Dog Show

Sunday 7th September, Sharnbrook Mill Theatre grounds.

Entries from 11am on the day; judging from 12 noon. Refreshments, bar, stalls, raffle. All classes dog or bitch. Must be over 6 months. Rosettes to 6th place, trophies to keep. Schedules: Elizabeth Gibbs 781298; Theo Gibbs 782377.

Pedigree: Judge: Peter Gouldson (Paterack) Chairman, Bedford Canine Society.

Any Variety Puppy 6-12 months.

Any Variety Special Junior 12 – 18 months.

Any Variety Sporting.

Variety Non-sporting.

Any Variety Open.

(Trophies: Best Puppy and Best Exhibit Classes 1-5).

Novelty :Judge: Marian Everly, Writer and Puzzle Designer for Dogs Monthly Magazine and British Veterinary Association publications.

Newcomers – never to have won a 1st prize.

Unsung Heroes – rescued or re-homed.

Ear Appeal – most interesting pair of ears! (Companion Dog Club Members only. See below).

Young Handlers – 18 years and under.

Best Six Legs! – Go ‘em!

Mixed Blessing? – Best X-Bred.

The one the judge would most like to take home.

Fancy Dress – Anything goes! Dog(s) and Handler(s).

Most Appealing Eyes. Special class for Sharnbrook canine residents.

Senior Citizens (seven years and upwards).

Butt!…Most fascinating tail!

Most contrasting canine couple.

Like Dog – Like Handler.

Grand Finale – Friends United – Best collection of canine chums.

(Trophies: Best Novelty and Best Reserve Novelty to be judged from classes 6-19).

This Companion Dog Show is held under Kennel Club Rules & regulations. However, dogs need not be registered with the Kennel Club.

September Diary

7th 11.00am Companion Dog Show, Sharnbrook Mill.

9th 7.30pm W.I. Village Hall.

10th 10.30am Meeting Point, Liz Dodwell’s, Watermead, Harrold.

11th 7.30pm Yoga, Village Hall.

13th/14th Harrold United Reformed Church Flower Festival.

15th Parish Council Meeting, Village Hall.

20th 7.30pm Harvest Supper, Village Hall.

21st 10.00am Harvest Festival, All Saints’ Church.

23rd 10.30am Meeting Point, Jill’s, Rectory Farm, Odell.

28th 10.00am Celebration of Priesting, All Saints’ Church.

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the October magazine to Tricia Hudson (, Anne Turner 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.

Electronic mail address

email is jh at - I put it like this to avoid spam! - just retype with the 'at' being an 'at' sign and of course no spaces.

FAX number

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Last revised: August 30, 2003.