Gaydon Parish Magazine March 2021

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Parish Council News

As I write this I am very aware of how much personal time our councillors put into their often thankless tasks. They are truly a hard-working bunch of unpaid volunteers (elected or co-opted). Having said that, there is a certain amount of pride in being in a position to help others, although you can’t please everyone all of the time.
AND we still have a vacancy for one more!
At the moment we are running with a temporary Clerk, Jo having stepped up from Minute Taker in the interim, until we employ a new Clerk. She is proving able and very efficient.
You will be pleased to know that after lengthy budget discussions we have managed to maintain our precept at last year's rate so there is no increase to yourselves from the Parish. However, the use of the Parish Office still remains of concern and any cost will have to be met from our reserves.
New Hotel
Another matter that raised strong feelings, especially amongst those living on the Old Warwick Rd, were the plans for the new hotel at the British Motor Museum. We were unaware, until Cllr Kettle advised us, that this hotel project was presented to SDC a few years ago and received interim approval. Since the meeting, we have heard from the designers that they have now dropped all ideas of using the Old Warwick Road. Therefore that road will remain as it is with no alterations whatever. The Traveller debate will continue, no doubt.
Street Lighting Project
I commend to you the article on page 6 from Cllr Claxton about our next project, Street Lighting. He has completed a great deal of research on the matter and would really appreciate your feedback, especially if you have a street light near you.
To finish, please note that the Cemetery on the Banbury Road will be closed to all members of the public on the 2nd April for one day.
(That includes walkers and dog walkers.)
I hope we can begin to look forward to an easing of restrictions when the time is right, but until then, abide by the rules and keep safe.
I really do not want to take any bookings for our cemetery that are Covid related.
Next Meeting will take place on Tuesday, 2nd March at 7.30pm. God Bless, John, Chair GPC

March Church Services

Dassett Magna Service Times on Zoom 
Every Sunday at 11am Sunday Service
7th and 21st March at 6pm Sunday Songs of Praise      

                  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 

Memorial Book in March 2021

                                        In Memoriam

                    John Checkley              8  March        2001
                    Monica Boultbee           16  March        1974
                    Edward Lovesey            19  March        1988 
                    Leonard Lovesey           23  March        1972
                    Betty Kirby               25  March        1990
                    Betty Hill                25  March        2003
                    Leonard Thomas            31  March        1983

Above appear the names of former Gaydon residents as they are recorded in the St Giles' Church Memorial Book. The relevant pages are displayed on the anniversary of their deaths when the church is open.

Gaydon Village Hall News

The next meeting of the Village Hall Committee will be held by Zoom on Monday 8 March at 8pm.

Census 21 March 2021

The census is coming. By taking part, you can help inform decisions on services that shape your community, such as healthcare, education and transport. It is a unique survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a snapshot of all the people and households in England and Wales - the most detailed information we have about our society.
It is important that you fill in your census questionnaire; wiithout the information you share, it would be more difficult to understand your community’s needs and to plan and fund public services.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the census in England and Wales and is independent from government. Your details are protected by law and information published is always anonymous.
Do not worry, government officials dealing with applications you’ve made, or payments or services you receive, cannot see it.
Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021 and you can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let the ONS know.
The ONS aim to make things as easy as possible for everyone, but if you need help taking part in the census, there are a wide range of support services available.
You can request support for yourself, or someone else, including
guidance and help in many languages and formats; a paper version of the questionnaire, if you prefer, or larger print; or guidance, for example, in braille.
There is a help area on the census website which covers everything from who to include on the questionnaire, to how to answer each question. If you cannot find what you need there, there is a dedicated contact centre where census staff will be on hand to give help over the phone, in a web chat or on social media.
The census asks you about your ethnicity, national identity and a voluntary question about your religion. For the first time, it also asks anyone aged 16 years or over about service in the UK Armed Forces; and a voluntary question about gender identity and sexual orientation.
It’s up to you to decide how you would like to answer each question. Do it in the way that you feel best represents you. Identify as you wish using search-as-you-type online and write-in options on paper.
If you need help or have any questions, visit

News from Bromson Hill Nursing Home

Bromson Hill happily confirms that all its residents and staff have been vaccinated - thanks to the NHS! Although occupancy levels are lower than what we normally expect at this time of year, we have witnessed a substantial increase in occupancy and enquiries in the last two weeks. We believe this is related to families having greater confidence about placing loved ones in care homes now that residents and staff have been vaccinated, and given the frequent testing that we undertake. We hope everyone in Gaydon and surrounding parishes is well. RM

The Vicar writes:

There are times in our lives when we look around and wonder, “Is this all there is?” Sometimes it’s a passing question, at other times it lingers. We look at our life, our circumstances, and we want more. Is that how it feels right now? A restlessness, a desire for something more, something different.
We often look at our circumstances as a picture. If it’s pretty, pleasing, and shows us what we want to see then God is good and life is as it should be. When we don’t see what we want we look for a new picture. The restless searching, the longing for more, the desire for meaning aren’t, however, usually answered by changed circumstances. Although they may help. It’s not about the circumstances of life. It’s about us. The answer is found within.
We don’t need to see new things. We need to see the same old things with new eyes. We don’t need to hear a different voice. We need to hear the same old voice with different ears. We don’t need to escape the circumstances of our life. We need to be more fully present to those circumstances. These are the transfiguring moments when the picture of our life becomes a window into a new world, new opportunities.
Most of us, I think, seek God in the circumstances of life. We want God to show up, be present, change something, make it better. But then there’s the God beyond the circumstances. Jesus - God with us - who walks beside us and at times often carries us. Here the pictures of life’s circumstances become windows, by which we move into the depths of God’s life, light, and love. Windows through which we step into a new world, a new way of seeing, hearing, and being.
Read Mark 9:2-9. Peter, James, and John suddenly see Jesus as he had always been. Not just a man they followed who did miracles, told powerful stories and about whom people talked, but Jesus the divine Son of God. God who is beyond the man and the circumstances. Jesus - God incarnate - God with us. But this change, or transfiguration, is as much about them as it is Jesus.
Whenever our picture of life’s circumstances becomes a window into new life we are transfigured. The view carries us, it’s spectacular - it lifts us. We don’t have to climb mountains to get that. Circumstances haven’t changed, we have and that seems to change everything. We all have times when we see life with new eyes, hear with different ears, and discover a window into another world and another way of being.
Faith is one of those moments. Faith is a mystery we seem to spend all our time trying to explain, but there’s part of all that, that should and must remain a mystery. Part of faith is believing in the inexplicable, in marvelling at the mystery. Faith is not just believing, it’s knowing. Transfiguring moments change, sustain, prepare, encourage and guide us into the future regardless of the circumstances we face. Every picture of life is an open window that says, “No, this is not all there is.” Open that window and be transfigured! Rev. Nicki Chatterton

Nature Notes for February

I mentioned the stunning display of Snowdrops at Chadshunt last month: the incredibly cold temperatures last week have delayed flowering but now they are in full bloom; and others are now peeping through our own churchyard. The contrasting milder temperatures have melted the last snows and even the buzzing of the occasional honey bee can be heard today around the hardy Hellebores, often known as the Christmas rose.
I was focused one morning during the cold spell on the top shelf of the trays fronting the village shop. At least three Blackbirds were sharing the crumbs from the bread deliveries with a flock of Sparrows some hours prior to opening. It was quite a task keeping unfrozen water available for birds for a few days and you could discern small footprints on the surface of frozen puddles. Many small birds perish at such times.
The public footpaths (or rights of way) seem to be being used a lot more now by walkers and dog-owners due to the present crisis and the heavy rain has reduced many of them to deep mud. It was once common practice to lay land drains on the smaller fields. These were of terracotta and sometimes pieces of them appear on the surfaces of heavy ploughing. A great deal of field enlargement began in the sixties when hedge boundaries were grubbed up and the drains often were not replaced. We are now reaping the dubious benefits of changes in farming methods. The soil structure has been damaged, too. One must hope that less input and minimal tillage may redress the decline. Many villagers are certainly getting to see our surrounding countryside, albeit by circumstance!
I have some new visitors to my garden, a couple of Jackdaws that are finding all the fallen Walnuts I had forgotten to collect last autumn. They rather adeptly break them open on a convenient path and the left-over fragments are scooped up by sparrows later in the day. I noticed that a number of Wrens were roosting packed tight in a small nesting box - gone now though, when the thaw set in. Roosting spots like bird boxes are often used by Blue/Great tits too. They may remember being reared inside a box during the previous year and so naturally utilise it as a safe place.
The mild spell may encourage overwintering Queen wasps and Bumble bees to emerge from hibernation. They are vital in forming new colonies. A tumbler and a piece of card are useful to evict them if they enter your house, buzzing loudly against your window panes exploring for prospective sites - as the weather continues to improve, I hope... Bernard Price

Stop Press Wildlife Alert

A Red kite male was seen hunting over Gaydon Garage this morning! Woodpigeons are already hatching chicks: the egg shells which they remove and drop away from the nesting site can be seen on the ground. Others are displaying to find a partner, with much nodding and tail-fanning. Also look out for the amazing courtship displays by Dunnocks (Hedge Sparrows) - a sharp piercing call and fanning of wings whilst ‘dancing' from branch to branch in your gardens now!

The Gaydon Street Lamp Project

As many of you know, some of the older streetlights in the village are beginning to fail at regular intervals. The Parish Council have been looking at replacing these with suitable lights that retain, to some degree, the elegance and character of the originals. At the same time, the new street lamps will have modern LED units which will reduce the running and maintenance costs; which come out of your council tax via our precept.
GPC are well aware of current concerns over light pollution and how nice it is to see the stars at night. However, there is the other side of the coin where we have to consider the safety and security of residents when out and about in the village after dark; especially those with poor eyesight and walking difficulties. We must endeavour to find a balance between both sides. We will try to look into the possibility of switching the new lights off during the early hours of the morning.
The replacement will take place in several stages and will be dependent on when the old lamps fail beyond repair and on the availability of funds. Unless we can source some outside funding it may be that we only replace one streetlamp each year.
The project does not apply to the lights on St Marks and St Giles.
Phase one will be to remove the 3 old lamps from the Banbury Road. Since the installation of the modern lamps on the west side of Banbury Road, these old lamps are surplus to requirements and expensive to maintain. These, along with one on Kineton Road (opposite Church Road), will be assessed for the possibility of refurbishing them and re-using the brackets with the new lamps.
Phase two will be to replace the old lamps as they fail, starting with the one opposite Church Lane.
As each lamp is replaced it will need to be assessed for any adverse effects on neighbouring properties and, where possible, have suitable masks added. The pictures show the type of lantern and, if the old ones can’t be used, a suitable bracket that have been proposed. If you have any comments on this project please contact Cllr Claxton
in writing at Briar Cottage, Church Road; or by email:

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday this year falls on Sunday 14 March so don't forget all those flowers and other treats that your mothers deserve. You are cordially invited to bring your mother to the Church service on Zoom at 11am on the 14th at

Neighbourhood Watch

Vaccine fraud activity is still ongoing and this is the latest message from Action Fraud:
"If you receve an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from@NHSuk and are asked to provide financial details or pay for the vaccine, this is a scam". The NHS will never ask for financial details in regard to vaccinations. IM

Seasonal Recipe

Easter Biscuits from McDougall's Biscuit Cookery Book
8oz or 250g Mc Dougall's Self-Raising Flour    2oz or 50g  raisins
5oz or 150g butter                             1 beaten egg
5oz or 150g caster sugar                        pinch of mixed spice
Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and pale.  Beat in the egg, then mix in the flour, spice and raisins.  Knead and roll out on a floured board, cutting into rounds.
Place on a non-stick oven sheet leaving plenty of space between the biscuits.  Cook for about 20 minutes at 160°C until golden.
A bit early for Easter but good for Mothering Sunday instead!


The Flag on the Green was raised to commemorate the Accession to the throne of HM The Queen on 6 February. It was also flown to wish Debbie a Happy Birthday. It was snowing on the 10th when it was raised to celebrate Bradley's 50th. Bernard James Price's birthday was marked on the 11th. The 19th was the birthday of the Duke of York. 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.

March Allotment News

Wow! Early parts of February felt like walking outside into a deep freeze with face-numbing winds and ice-cold air. Even the keenest of gardeners and allotmenteers could only manage small periods outside, before retreating to the comfort of our homes. It was well worth venturing out to capture my first harvest of 2021: Purple Sprouting Broccoli, it was delicious with a Sunday roast. I must note though, the plants looked rather sad from the effects of the recent weather. It seems even the hardiest of plants have been tested this year and, like us all, welcome warmer days.
Despite the conditions and ambitions for lockdown to finish, we have plenty to be excited about as we approach the days when bouncing spring lambs fill the beautiful British countryside; it is time to engage in spring planting. As discussed, you will have ordered all your seeds for the year and most folks will have enough for four years of sowing. ?. As the weather warms up get outside and prepare your soil, as now is a good time to get on top of any emerging weeds (the roots will be small and easy to abstract).
Thought for the month… ‘We are not all in the same ‘boat’. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some have canoes, and some are drowning. Just be Kind and help when you can’.
Special mention to the speedy progress made by Rachel and Ollie (assisted by two little helpers), having established raised beds and starting soil preparation on their new plot.
March Jobs:
Sow early Potatoes, Onions, Shallots, Artichokes, Rhubarb and any hardy seeds (Peas, Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Leeks etc.).
Harvest first rhubarb of the year and any remaining sprouts, celeriac, parsnips and swedes.
Sow indoor or outdoor depending on the seed variety.
Give Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Raspberry bushes a final prune.
Start preparing seed beds (when the soil is workable).
Tackle any weeds that have emerged.
Feed seedbeds with manure, compost, fertilizer etc.
Carry out maintenance on any garden equipment like lawn mowers.
Andrew Smith

A Postman's Tales

There are still a few copies for sale at £5 each. Proceeds will be for Millennium Group funds. Please contact the Editor if you would like a copy.