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March 2008

Celebrating Burns night in the village hall


Happy birthday to:

Liane Fulford on the 4th

And to everyone with a birthday in March.


Round and About  

Swan Lake

 As you enter the Country Park from Horsefair Lane the bridle path takes you between two lakes.  On your right is the large lake whilst on the left is, for the purpose of this article, what I shall call Swan Lake.

This is the smaller body of water and usually supports one pair of swans and a quantity of ducks.  Over the years this stretch of water has seen one misfortune after another befall the swans trying to make their home there and over the period I have known the park, this probably involves three pairs of swans.  Sometimes it has been pure heartache to watch as one tragedy after another has pursued these lovely birds.  Sometimes it has been the parents that have perished, sometimes the cygnets.  I have seen young, inexperienced parents abandon brood after brood.

The young pair I refer to above finally raised a successful family, perhaps five years ago.  At last, I thought, things are finally going right, but the following Spring one of the parents was killed.  The survivor remained all that summer and autumn, solitary and mourning.  The swan was a picture of misery as it grieved for its lost mate.  For two more years this faithful bird returned each spring, alone, remained for a while and then departed.  From here on in, I shall call this bird the resident.

Two years ago things began to look brighter.  There was a companion bird.  The resident and the new companion built a nest and last April they proudly ushered four little balls of fluff on to the open water.  For about a week people looked on and smiled.  I heard several comments about how nice it was to see cygnets on the lake again.  Then disaster struck.  Last year the weather was foul and May came in wild, wet and windy.  For several days the cygnets sought shelter on the backs of their parents but one day there was just one swan on the lake.  A few days later the park flooded and it was a week before I could view the lake again.  Just one swan, and so it remained all summer.  What was it that had destroyed this young family, predators or weather?  It is unlikely that weather would have taken all five birds in one night and I sadly suspect it was foxes.

Once again Swan Lake was home to one lonely, grieving swan.  This lovely bird languished away the summer and autumn months and then returned again in January - still alone.  The only consolation seemed to be found in joining the little group of ducks for company.

Towards the end of January amid torrential rain, the country park flooded once again.  As the water began to subside I witnessed a sequence of events to which I have put my own interpretation.  Maybe I have let my imagination run away with me but I record the events that followed together with my own explanation. 

I entered the meadow one afternoon to discover a swan resting on the grass alongside the lake, but with the hedge between.  As I entered the field the swan took flight continuing down the field towards Harrold, and settled on the water flooding the lower end of the field.  This is not unusual when the area is flooded and I thought little of it.  A short while later four swans passed overhead and they, too, landed on the flood water.  This was soon followed by an extraordinary scene as the four new swans began to attack the first bird which, eventually, took off and returned back towards Odell.  Amazingly the other four swans also took off and pursued the first one in an aggressive manner.  By now my attention was fairly caught.  The four swans were clearly picking on the solitary bird which, from now on, I shall refer to as the survivor.

The survivor banked and came back towards me, suddenly diverted and landed on Swan Lake.  The four other swans also turned and after taking a number of circuits around the small lake, they too landed on the water.  All was quiet for a short while before that familiar sound of threshing wings and violently disturbed water came to my ears and I realised that the bully boys had set upon the survivor once again.  When I reached a position where I could see what was happening I could see all the birds bunched up in one corner.  I have seen swans kill another

before and I was not at all keen to see it happen again and so I hurried on my way, fearing the worst.

The following day I passed Swan Lake, as I always do, and I looked to see whether there was any sign of the previous day’s battle,  but only ducks were present.  The following day, however, I could hardly believe my eyes.  Not one, but two swans, in quite close proximity, sat upon the water.  Now, I wondered, was this two of the bully boys claiming possession of the lake or was it the original resident together with the survivor - two birds in need finding solace in each other’s company.  When I reached the flooded meadow what met my gaze but four swans swimming happily on the flood water.  This seemed to rule out of the equation the question as to whether the bully boys had taken up residence on the lake.

At the time of writing the two swans are still together on Swan Lake and I would like to think that these two birds have a future together.  One is almost certainly the original resident as I occasionally see it in the company of the ducks, whilst the other holds back a little.  Swans do not usually choose ducks for companions but when alone they provided the only company available.  Now, however, with two swans once more on the lake, whether as a mating pair or as two companions, let us hope happier times have returned for the birds on Swan Lake.

   Barbara Corley

Senior Citizens Fish and Chip Lunch.

The annual Senior Citizens Fish and Chip lunch will take place on

Wednesday 5th March

at 12.30 for 1.00pm

in the Village Hall.

Please note that no invitations will be sent out.


February’s meeting was saved by one of our members. Our speaker Sorrel Pinder failed to turn up so we are indebted to Joyce Knight for stepping into the gap. She attends a fitness class in the Harrold Reform Church most weeks and took us through some of her regular exercises. Thank you Joyce. Our competition was a poem on Balance and Flexibility and was won by Carol Ormond.

Next Meeting

This will be held on Tuesday 11th of March at 7.30 in the Village Hall. Our speaker will be Major Alan Gilmore; his topic: ‘Training an Intelligence Officer’.


Write the 1st paragraph of a new James Bond novel


Jane Eshelby and Jill Cheadle

Rachel Halton 720572

Harrold Pit Run 2008


Harrold's 26th Pit Run will take place on Saturday 19th April 2008.

We thought we'd get this date in your diary now! This year the event will be themed St George's Day with plenty to keep all ages occupied. So…

Runners - get training

Clubs/charities - get organised

Fun runners - get a costume sorted

Businesses- get in touch

Everyone - make sure you're around!



In memory of the late Avril Brittle.

Odell Parish Council

Notes of Odell Parish Council Meeting 21 January 2008

Local Questionnaire: 112 questionnaires were distributed; of these 34 have been returned – 29 adults and 5 children. The information is being collated and will then be published.

Castle Wall: Mr. Chamberlain responded promptly to our letter of concern regarding the bulge in the wall, and has now sent a copy of a response from the Estate’s insurers dated 18th December which asserts that the wall is not currently unsafe, but recommends that frequent inspections are made to check for any sign of worsening of the bowing.

Village Hall Update: There was some discussion regarding the current position regarding the lease and it was agreed that information would be sought from other parishes regarding a suitable document. The position regarding the car park is still ongoing and funding for this was discussed. To pay outright from the Parish Council’s funds would leave insufficient in reserve to cover annual ongoing costs; an option to impose a one-off increase in the Precept was considered inadvisable in the current uncertain financial climate so it was agreed that the owner be asked if he would accept payment in two instalments – one from this year’s budget and one from next. This would allow a 12 month period for funds to be accumulated for the second payment.

Disabled access and playground: Following Cllr. Cheadle’s personal conversation with the Planner regarding possible resolutions to this impasse, Peter Bull has now stated that an application [for the disabled access] could in principle be considered providing an undertaking [planning obligation] is prepared that would prevent the work from taking place until a new play space is available for use. The Borough Council’s Legal Services Unit is willing to draft such an undertaking for the Parish. Details of title and evidence of agreement in principle from the County Council regarding the play area would be required. The initial County Council required approval has been granted and a proposal incorporating all the Council’s requirements is to be prepared. The Planners are insisting on a litter bin being provided but the County Council would not be willing to service this – the Parish Council would have to find a suitable solution. This will be pursued.

Disabled parking spaces at village hall withdrawn.

Northend Farm – erection of new gates etc. withdrawn.

Outline permission granted for erection of 4 dwellings at 119 Odell Road.

Nuon Renewables – notice of Appeal.

The Lodge, High Street – notice of Appeal.

Castle Farm House – installation of solar panels refused.

Highways: there is concern locally that the ‘Flood’ notices are not being properly controlled; individuals are not allowed to remove them and the County appears to be leaving them in situ ‘in case it rains again’. The County Council will be notified of the local strong feeling about this and will be asked to regulate the notices more accurately according to the flood situation.

Community Fund: The limitations within this document for the funding make it almost impossible for parishes to find suitable areas locally where the money could be used. As there is no flexibility to go outside the proposals, after much debate the following possibilities were agreed:

i) No. 3 – litter clean-up @ £100 per visit. Constraints apply but we will submit a request for 4 visits within the 12 month period.

ii) No. 7c – Youth Activities – Dance & Music. £100/two hour session with a minimum of 10 participants. Mr. R.Dobbs will be approached regarding the suitability of this for his group.

iii) No. 17 – Monitoring Study for Speed Activated Signs - £200-£500. Speed monitors will be installed for a prescribed length of time.

Community Leader’s Fund: Cllr. Gershon has the small sum of £227.27 available to each parish and requires the nomination of a worthy group. The Parish Council proposed the Luncheon Club as the most worthy and suitable recipient and their details will be forwarded to Cllr. Gershon.

Country Park

Cllr. Halton was unable to attend the last meeting which appeared to be very short. The ‘No Cycling’ signs and notice board have still not been erected but the work on the building has been completed which has greatly improved the facilities. The Heritage Lottery Bid is to be resubmitted under a different Lottery heading. The skateboard facility has been approved by the County Council. The next meeting is on the 13th March.

After considering all the possible financial implications for the coming year, it was agreed that a Precept of £4000 should be put forward – an increase of only £100. There is little room for manoeuvre within the Budget as the annual accounts show incomings and outgoing are almost equal. Increased bills, particularly grass cutting, take up any surplus so a small annual increase is felt to be more acceptable than remaining static and then having to impose a very large increase.

The sum of £300 was again written into the Budget for the Luncheon Club, should this be required.

A Play Area Management/Information day is to be held at Shuttleworth on 1st March. Cllrs. R. Halton and A. Sharpe volunteered to attend.

A Funding Workshop is to be held on 11th March at Clophill; as the Parish Council will be approaching the WREN and Biffa organisations the Clerk will attend this.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Monday, 17th March.

Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7DS


All the events are free but donations are welcome.

Please contact us for further details.

Thursday 6th Mar 10am – 1pm

Making Obelisks

Using materials from the Park make an obelisk for your garden. It will help support your plants and flowers or just use it as an architectural statement!

You will need to register for this as places are limited.

March/April (throughout the school holidays)

Easter Colouring Competition

Colour in a butterfly or a fish. Prizes for the best ones at the end of the holiday. Collect yours from the Discovery Room in the Visitor Centre.

Easter Sunday 23rd March 2 – 3pm

Easter Egg Hunt for the under 7s.

All children must be accompanied by an adult.


Friends of Harrold-Odell Country Park Conservation tasks 2007

Come and join in with practical work to enhance the park for wildlife and visitors on the following date:

Monday 31 March Monday 28th April

10am – 3pm

Wear warm clothing and footwear.

Hot drinks provided.

Come for an hour or two or stay as long as you like.


Marvellous Medieval May at Bromham Mill!

Medieval May Celebration at Bromham Water Mill, Bromham Sunday 25th May and Monday 26th May 2008 open 11 until 5 both days with last admission at 4 pm.

Fun for all the family and a chance to sample life in the 15th century in the living history camp. Our unique working watermill is also open on both days with information about country crafts and the Bedfordshire


Attractions include:

· music and dance

· medieval pastimes

· cavalry displays

· armoured knights

· archery displays

· medieval combat display

· medieval crafts

· childrens competition

· food and refreshments

· picnics welcome

· car parking.

Adults £5.50/Children and Concessions £3.50

Tel: 01234 720016



Village Hall News


If you have an idea 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.

Burns Night 2008

Everyone who attended this event enjoyed a great evening. Once again we were fortunate to be able to enjoy the musical and lyrical skills of Martin Cameron as he piped in the haggis and treated us all to a rousing rendition of Robert Burns’ ‘To a Haggis’ before the eating, drinking and dancing began. We are also grateful to Keith Rose who once again was our caller for the Scottish dancing.

Doreen and Leslie would like to thank everyone who gave of their time and effort for the recent Burns Night Supper. It was a great success and we were able to raise £585 – our biggest total ever. It has been donated to the North Beds Alzheimer Society; they will use the money for their new ‘Music for Memory’ Project and it will enable them to continue their support for people in Bedford affected by dementia. Once again a big thank you.

The Time of Our Lives Music Theatre is returning to Odell by popular demand.

This year the theme of the show is ‘Cool Britannia’ – a light-hearted look at British life, culture and eccentricities through music, dance and stand-up and sketch comedy.

When? Saturday 15th March

Time: 7:30 for 8:00pm

Tickets: £12.00 from Nikki Freeman 720893.

Book your seats early as tickets for this event are always in great demand.

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 Reg. Charity No 242164


11th – 15th March 2008 at 7.45 pm

The Importance of Being Earnest - The Classic Comedy of Manners

Definitely not to be missed!

Tickets available from

Sharnbrook Post Office (in person)

& Bedford Central Box Office 269519

Advance Booking for our Regional Première of the musical

The Fix: 16th – 24th May at 7.45 pm

will be available, only at Theatre, during The Importance of Being Earnest


5th 10.30am Meeting Point at The Rectory

5th 12.30 for 1.00 Senior Citizens Fish and Chip lunch, Village Hall

6th 10.00-1.00pm HOCP making obelisks

6th 10.30am Coffee Morning for St. John’s Hospice, Rose Cottage, Felmersham.

7th 10.00am Women’s World Day of Prayer Harrold URC

11th 7.30pm W.I. Village Hall

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

15th 7.30 for 8.00pm Time of Our Lives Music Theatre, Village Hall

17th 8.00pm ‘Journey of anger’, service at URC Harrold

17th 8.00pm Odell Parish Council Meeting, Village Hall

18th 8.00pm ‘Journey of tricky questions’, St Mary’s Carlton

19th 10.30am Meeting Point, Jill’s

19th 8.00pm ‘Journey of hospitality’, St Peter’s, Harrold

20th 8.00pm The Lord’s Supper, Re-enactment, All Saints’ Odell

21st 2.00pm An Hour at The Cross, URC Harrold

22nd 10.00am Church Decorating, All Saints’

23rd 10.00am Easter Sunday Holy Communion for all, All Saints’

23rd 2-3.00pm HOCP Easter Egg Hunt

31st 10.00-3.00pm HOCP Conservation Tasks

31st 7.45pm PCC Meeting at The Rectory

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the April 2008 magazine to Tricia Hudson (mag1 at odellbeds dot net) or Catherine Corkery by March 12th 2008 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.

Are you seeking a challenge?


Mid Beds Citizens Advice Bureau is looking for volunteers who would like the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing ones.

Located at offices in Biggleswade, Ampthill and Chicksands, CAB advisers interview clients face to face and on the telephone. They advise on a wide range of issues including debt, benefits, housing, employment and family matters.

Advisers receive free formal accredited training with all expenses paid. As well as advice-giving, the service has volunteering roles in support of fundraising, publicity and recruitment.

All sorts of people volunteer for the CAB, but one thing that unites them all is that they find it challenging, rewarding and varied – and you never stop learning.

If you would like to join a friendly team, please contact Jenny Hedges, Bureau Manager on 01462 819570.



Great local pubs

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Last revised: March 02, 2008.