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October  2000

DSCF0024.JPG (136663 bytes)Bees and butterflies abound in Ann Turner's garden, Horsefair Lane

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The end of Pooh Sticks – as we know it?!

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September’s meeting saw members pitting their wits against each other in a quiz set by their president. It was an enjoyable evening with the breaks between rounds giving people the chance to catch up on what each had been doing since our last meeting in July.

Next Month’s meeting:

Our meeting in October will give us the opportunity to find out about the work of the Citizens Advice Bureau when Linda Wood will be present to talk to us and answer our questions.

We meet on Tuesday October 10th at 7.30 in the Village Hall. All welcome - either come along or phone me on the number below if you want more details.

Hostesses: Joyce Knight and Audrey Demsey

Competition: How many words of 4 letters or more can you make from Citizens Advice Bureau.

Rachel Halton  720572

Autumn by the River.

Tickets are now on sale from any W.I. Member for you to join us and the Riverside Singers in celebrating 'Autumn by the River'. The venue will be the Village Hall and the date Saturday October 21st at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are 8.00 , (6.00 for concessions), and includes a three course meal. We look forward to having your company.

Rachel  Halton, 720572

Village Hall Update – September 2000

Unfortunately we felt the need to cancel our Queen Mum’s birthday party. I’m sure she didn’t intend to be born when everyone else was on holiday but we’ll reconsider holding it next century!!

As you will be aware there is a paper-recycling bin in the car park, which provides a small but welcome income. Unfortunately the recycling firm no longer find it a viable proposition and a new firm is offering us 20 per tonne if we can fill TWO bins every week. A tall order! It is therefore unlikely we will continue with this scheme and ask you to continue your recycling efforts using the council’s orange bag scheme.

We would like some new members to help us on the committee particularly as we enter a period where the future of the hall will require some serious work. Do please consider if you can help in any way. We are a small but committed team, good fun, slightly eccentric (some more than others) but badly in need of new ideas. If you have some time to give let any of the committee know or come to our next meeting in the hall on 30th October.

November 4th – Dance

Dennis Love will once again provide the music, you can provide the dance! This was a much-enjoyed event last year even though attended by a small number. You can dance or sit and enjoy the music. So if you would like to join in but feel unable to get into the hall let us know and we will ensure this is not a problem.

There will be a licensed bar and tickets kept to last year’s price of 3. (available from Pat 720594, Rob 720730, Chris 721060 and The Bell).

December 2nd – Disco

Music from the 60s to the current chart. We will have a bar and a good time dancing away a cold night in readiness for Xmas. Tickets priced at 4.50 and available from early November.

We are looking to hold a Hallowe’en evening and children’s Christmas Party. Watch out for details nearer the time.

We are still waiting to have further discussions regarding improved access to the hall. In the meantime if anyone is wishing to use the hall but is worried about the steps etc, let us know and we can make arrangements to ease your access.

Thank you for your continued support. The hall can be booked through Doreen Wheeler, tel:720358

Rob Lee tel:720730

Round and About

A Summer’s Tale

Over the summer months I have found myself closely following the fortunes of three families as I take my twice-daily walk in the Country Park. Firstly, there is the family of swans on the silt lake (the small lake on the left as you enter the park from Odell), then there is the family of swans resident on the river below Chellington Church and lastly, a family of great crested grebe who took over a sheltered patch of river between two great willows.

The silt lake has provided a haven to a pair of young swans who, over recent years have had mixed fortunes in trying to raise a successful brood. Their biggest problem, it seems to me, and probably due to their inexperience, appears to be a lack of commitment. This year, however, I feel that they have come of age. Their perseverance does them credit. In the spring the river broke its banks on two occasions, flooding the surrounding area and it was during the first flood that my young pair were nest building. As the rain fell and the water level rose they kept adding another layer to their nest; it grew higher and higher much to the amazement of passers-by. When the water level finally receded four eggs were deposited in the nest. As time passed the water levels began to rise again and it became a race to see whether my gallant pair could hatch their brood before the nest was flooded out. Once again passers-by began to take an interest in the saga being acted out on the little lake, as the swans began to add more material to the sides of their nest in an effort to hold back the rising water. One morning three fluffy young cygnets appeared on the pond with their proud parents, but the remaining egg was not forgotten. Although the parents left the nest for periods of time together, usually one bird was still sitting on the remaining egg. The water continued to rise and finally flooded into the nest and the last egg was abandoned.

In the meantime the tiny cygnets were called upon to hike across the meadow to the river, on a daily basis, ploughing their way through a jungle of tall spring grass, surely a marathon on those tiny legs. Whatever the cause, one of the cygnets was lost and for a short while the adults took to permanently staying on the little lake until their remaining young were sufficiently well-grown to enable them to manage the daily trek.

Meanwhile, down by the riverside, on the neck of land that extends into the river below Chellington Church, an older pair of swans proudly produced four cygnets to the scene. The cob was fairly distracted by the heavy traffic created by the other resident birds of the area and was constantly driving off the geese and repelling the ever-present gosling creche. About three days later he was gone. There was only one swan in attendance and the cygnets took to sheltering in the reeds as the remaining over-watched swan carefully protected them. At first I thought that the second swan was having time out, but as the days passed it became apparent that some kind of tragedy had taken place. Each day I anxiously scanned the river, fearing that the cygnets had been abandoned. I could not imagine that one lone parent would take on such a task as trying to raise four young cygnets from just a few days old, but each day, there she was, carefully shepherding her brood.

I went looking for the cob, as I assumed that it was the male that was missing, and I did not have to search far. I found him on the edge of the little headland, just yards from where the family still pulled out to rest each day. Danger, when it had come, had obviously approached from the meadow rather than across the mud. The cob, as I mentioned I am assuming it was the male, advanced to meet the danger, face to face, and had obviously paid the ultimate price. He had, however, given his mate enough time to get the little family launched on to the river and to safety. She did not let him down. He did not die in vain. As the days passed into weeks she guarded her offspring from the ever -circling rooks and crows, the marauding pike and the attentions of a fox that prowled the river bank day and night and did not even seem to mind how many people saw him. This gallant pen bravely faced up to the task of raising her brood as a single parent and against all odds she only lost one of the cygnets. The remaining three grew and thrived under her watchful eye.

My third family, the great crested grebe, were also on the river but seemed to nest rather late. I did not know that they had any young until one July day I noticed that one of the grebe had a crooked back. Fearing that the bird was injured I hung around watching to see how it managed until I realised that the distortion on the back of the bird was because a young grebe was nestling under the wings of the parent and the hump was the tiny head peering at the outside world. I only ever saw the one youngster and it was probably two weeks before I saw this baby independently sitting on the water but as I approached, quick as a flash, the tiny creature disappeared under the protective wings of its mother, always in close attendance. As the days advanced this youngster grew, not only in size but also in boldness, and ventured further and further from its mother’s side. When it grew too large to hide on her back it would shoot off into the reeds, and then, quite suddenly, the entire family was gone, and I never saw the grebe again.

As summer passed into autumn my two families of swans continued to prosper. As I write this item the cygnets are still with their parents. The silt lake still remains the home base for the young swans and their two offspring, whilst on the river I sometimes see the three cygnets swimming on their own, huddled together for security, but on other occasions mother is in attendance and they are more venturesome. The five cygnets are all but grown and are beginning to turn white and at this time the usual course of events would be for them to leave the protection of their parents and strike out on their own, joining one of the large bachelor flocks in the area. I cannot help wondering what will happen on the river. Will my single parent drive off her young or let them stay with her over winter offering them the benefit of her experience? Will she winter alone or keep them by her for company and mutual security?

I have to add, however, that there have been two single swans on the river all summer and while the cygnets were young they kept their distance but now they are beginning to show a growing interest in my single swan...could it be that they have come courting! Barbara Corley

Used Stamps, Tin Foil, Milk Bottle Tops and Silver Paper.

Once again I thank everyone who, during the year, has handed in to me any or all of the above items; I am grateful to everyone who has participated. I also wish to thank the people who have taken the collected items to Bedford for me. Unfortunately charities I have contacted no longer accept tinfoil etc. as it is no longer giving a worthwhile return. I shall continue to collect any tinfoil but it will go to any commercial re-cycling. The Bedford branch of ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind Association’ has closed so I shall now send by post any stamps given to me to the ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind Association East Anglia Regional Centre at Woodford Green. It is required that stamps have an envelope margin of approximately " to " around each stamp. Many thanks to all who wish to continue to participate.

Isobel Ross

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The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook

"Chase Dark" Friday 10th to Saturday 18th November, 2000

The world premiere of a dynamic, original musical.

Written by Kaye Vincent and Kaye Tompkins (two of our current Mill Trust members), "Chase Dark" provides an opportunity to see an original and exciting new work.

"Chase Dark" treads a fine balance between deft humour and chilling revelation. The score ranges from exquisite ballad to rock, gospel, rhythm and blues.

This piece has attracted the attention of publishers and promises a bright future – see it here first.


Friday 10th November: Charity night on behalf of Bedford Ladies Circle. Please contact 01234 781210 for tickets.

Monday 13th November: 7.00. All other nights: 8.00.

Bookings may be made one month beforehand from:

Bedford - Central Box Office, Harpur Suite - tel: 01234 269519

Wellingborough - The Castle Box Office - tel: 01933 270007

(Both of the above accept credit card bookings).

Sharnbrook -by returning your booking forms in person to The Village Trader, 28 High Street.

Group Sales - Alison Bean - tel: 01234 781372 – 10% reduction for parties of 10 or more.

Enquiries/Mailing list 01234 782377

All performances start at 7.45pm. Seats can be reserved.

The Start of Autumn

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Autumn started off very well – the scout hut and field on a warm Saturday morning (23rd September). Don’t forget – clocks change on October 29th.

October Diary

2nd 7.00pm Emmaus Road Show, Bedford School.

7th 10.30am Guide Dog Assocoiation Coffee Morning, Rectory Farm, Odell.

10th 7.30pm W.I. in Odell Village Hall.

11th 10.30am Meeting Point at Jenny Cuddeford’s, 36 Grange Gardens, Sharnbrook.

14th 7.30pm Jubilee Sailing Trust Supper, Watermead, Harrold.

21st 7.30pm Odell WI Evening with Riverside Singers, Village Hall.

22nd Skips on the Village Green

30th Village Hall Committee Meeting at Odell Village Hall.

31st 10.30am Meeting Point at Doris Bannard-Smith’s, Goodly Heritage, The Bury, Pavenham.

November Diary.

4th Dance at Odell Village Hall with Dennis Love.

11th 7.30pm Concert in aid of The Children’s Society, St. Paul’s Church, Bedford.

15th 10.30am Meeting Point at Eileen Shakespeare’s, Corner House, Wymington Park, Rushden.

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the November magazine to Tricia Hudson (, Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by October 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.

wpe9.jpg (16298 bytes) Excellent Bed and Breakfast Accomodation at the Oakley Arms in Harrold (2 miles from Odell by car, or 1 mile through the Country Park) , call +44-1234-720478 for more details (mention the Odell Web site!).

Electronic mail address

FAX number

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Last revised: September 30, 2000.