Author Archives: Jan Everton Browne

July Blog 2018

Back to Sunday 24th June, flaming it certainly was! After the working party set up marquee, gazebo’s etc. in the morning, we all returned in the afternoon for the grand opening of this year’s Fete. The gardens looked beautiful, the different arrangement of stalls and games worked brilliantly, there was even a very welcome breeze coming up from the valley. Tables and chairs had been dotted around under as much shade as possible for those to partake in tea and cake. A beautiful and stunning setting for this very English event. This year the Fete broke all records as a total of £2631 was raised, which is shared between St. Nicholas’ Church fund and the Village Hall. Well done to all who were involved, as this couldn’t happen without you. A special thank you to Harriet and Simon for once again welcoming us all and watching as their gardens were transformed. Also for the very welcome refreshments after all had been restored to their former glory later in the day. Thank you also to Dawn and Ahmed from Horseology with their very well behaved ponies which gave so much pleasure to so many.
Saturday 30th Oakley Bowling Club celebrated 40 years with a Garden Party at Malshanger. Steventon Ukulele group had their first ‘Gig’! and provided live entertainment before a very welcome tea. Musicality followed, David, Bryn and Theresa sang a medley of songs, mainly from shows, in all a very entertaining afternoon. We were treated by Sir Michael and Lady Colman to a walk around their wonderful grounds and gardens, the beautiful variety of trees providing much needed shade. We look forward to our next ‘Gig’ !!
July arrived feeling even hotter and on Sunday 1st Susan Hewetson-Brown from Ashe Warren Farm, held the RDA Driving day which consisted of around 30 carriages and ponies/horses of different colours and breeds. A wonderful sight to behold and I was very privileged to be driving one pulled by a beautiful piebald called Ben, one of Susan’s ponies, the other a lovely grey called Tess was also being driven, as Linda and Liz shared the drive with me. 12 miles long, plus a shorter route for those who preferred, all through beautiful countryside. What a marvellous event and of course all proceeds go to RDA. A big thank you to all who helped and especially to Susan.
Wednesday 11th the Jane Austen Society of North America visited St. Nicholas’ and enjoyed a talk by Michael Kenning before a walk around the grounds and refreshments outside under the shade. Such a lovely group, for some this was their second if not third visit.
Friday 13th was a special Book club meeting as we had lunch, which we supplied ourselves, hosted by Chris, which was to be held in her lovey garden. Yes, the only time it poured with rain! We still had the most delicious lunch and great time, thank you Chris. ‘Old Filth’ by J. Gardam, the clue is in the name. Filth – Failed in London Try Hong Kong, is the nickname that was bestowed on Sir Edward Feathers, a retired judge. He made his fortune in the Far East but now lives in Wiltshire. However, there is inevitably a double meaning. Secrets that have festered for more than a century are about to see the light of day. A score of 6 was given, worth a read.
Sunday 15th was the 200th Anniversary of Dean and a United Benefice service celebrated with Bishop David. 44 in all enjoyed the evening service also, afterwards, outside for delicious nibbles and wine which were very much appreciated.
Monday 16th Coffee & Cake morning was well supported, tables and chairs were outside in the shade for us all to enjoy, I think maybe it could have gone on longer as it was so lovely.
Sunday 22nd was Jane Austen Evensong. A really lovely service, with an extended choir! Afterwards the choir and partners enjoyed a delicious supper out in the garden with Paul & Marilyn, watching the sun set, a wonderful way to end the day. Thank you.
Ukes and singing are still going ahead as much as possible during the holidays. Many of Steventon Singers have been made very welcome at other choirs as we are all singing in the Basingstoke Festival of Choirs in September. Voices Together, a truly great event, so do book your tickets soon if you would like to come as they sell out fast. The date is Sunday 30th Sept. 7.00pm at the Anvil. Have to fill up the water for the birds, plus hedgehogs as I have just seen it is empty, yet again. It is the time of day now where is goes quiet as the birds find cooler places, as do we all…..Everything is struggling now in the garden, we have even started putting buckets outside the back door to put the washing up water in for watering later in the evening…Just like the summer of ’76! Lost track of how many BBQ’s we have had this year, amazing. Also first year it has been so wonderful to swim in the sea!
Enjoy, all too soon the children will be back at school and short days will return.

May Blog 2018

While the rain continued into April and all of Easter, we were thoroughly enjoying beautiful weather in Cyprus!! Very sad for the children during their Easter holidays as waterlogged gardens and countryside made it unable to participate in many outdoor activities. There were two glorious days after we arrived home where temperatures soared and BBQ’s were having a first airing, wonderful. The flowers in church still smelt and looked stunning after the flower ladies had decorated every nook and cranny for Easter Sunday, the Easter garden also quite lovely. I’m sure once again it was a very special occasion.

After UFO on Thursday 5th it was decided to stop further meetings until September, however, Chris has a few outings planned for those who are able to make it. The first being a visit in May to Chawton House, where the Jane Austen Quilt is on display.

Sunday 8th the second week of Easter, Matins was held, led by Marilyn and Linton, as Dave and Julia were on a well earned rest. A very cosy service of 10, including choir, enjoyed the jolly service, all of us in the front pews.

Friday 13th the Book Club met at Sue’s. After much chatting, delicious homemade cake and coffee in front of a lovely warm fire, thank you very much Sue, it was thought the discussion of the book should take place! ‘The Winter Queen’ by the Russian author B. Akunin gave an insight during the era before the Revolution in 1917. A score of 4.8 was given.

The evening of the 13th Steventon Film Club, in the village hall, was the venue of ‘Saving Grace’ with Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson and Martin Clunes. An hilarious film, thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. During half time Rachel brought over choc ices to be enjoyed during half time, lovely. Thank you Sue, I wonder what the next one will be, a hard one to follow…..As Chris said, it filled her with inspiration and spent all day preparing her greenhouse!!

Monday 16th Coffee and Cake in the village hall was another great success with friends and neighbours which brightened up the morning with much laughter and chatter. Great cakes.

The evening of the 16th was the Annual Parochial Church meeting. Dave Foster retired as treasurer after many years of service, which we all thank him so very much for all the time and effort he has put into doing such a brilliant job. Dave will still be very much involved as a Deanery Synod representative and I am sure much more! Shona Grisalier has gallantly taken over as treasurer which is great. Linda Sennett retired as secretary and was replaced by her husband Tim, Tim stood down as the Electoral Roll representative and was replaced by Linda! Quite a fun evening.

Thursday 19th was the evening of the AGM Parish Council. Apart from other business, which can be viewed on the village web site, the Defibrillator and Plaque in Sally Bown’s memory was on display and has now been fitted. A huge thank you to all who have been involved.

Saturday 21st the village hall gradually filled for Breakfast Together, opened with a prayer by Rev. Julia. After delicious bacon baps, croissants and coffee, the guest speaker, Roger Brynel, from the Christian Blind Missionary spoke about their work in central Africa and Uganda. This is of course driven by Christian values, transforming the lives of people with disabilities, their families and communities in the poorest places of the world. Cataracts, especially amongst the very young, was quite astounding and sadly a very common disability.

A very jolly group on Monday morning of the 23rd helped erect Julian’s marquee for the Bluebell morning. After a very welcome coffee we were treated to a guided tour of the wood and its secrets by the very knowledgeable and lovely Julian. The bluebells will be perfect for Saturday.

Tuesday 24th in the afternoon a group of 38 Australian boys aged between 15-18 plus 4 adults from St. Gregory’s Collage, Sydney visited St. Nicholas’. They were on an English History tour, how wonderful to come to Steventon. Marilyn gave an excellent shortened talk regarding Jane Austen and family after which a small group stayed to take photos, we all then treated to the organ suddenly being played, Amazing Grace plus a few more short pieces. The boys had all behaved brilliantly according to one of the tutors, throughout their trip and were next looking forward to visiting London, Westminster Abbey etc. They finished their visit at the village hall where a delightful array of cakes greeted them along with fresh juice or tea. Quite a joy to behold.

How wonderful to see the lambs gambling in the fields, bird song, especially the blackbirds and robins is a joy. The brilliant colours of the leaves as they burst forth. Blossom appearing everywhere. The primroses have been a sight to behold, so very beautiful. The most fabulous time of the year, we just need the weather to go with once again! If it carries on like this we will be lighting the fire once again. Maybe not such a bad idea for tonight!

April Blog 2018

Gazing at the sunshine it’s hard to believe only a few days ago snow had covered the every view! However, back to the end of February, Thursday 22nd. A small group from the village joined North Waltham at St. Michael’s church for an evening with Garth Hewitt whose voice and guitar playing were inspirational as he took us through a journey with songs of hope and justice for uncertain times.

Friday 23rd saw the ladies from the book club go walkabout up to Sindy’s where we were all made extremely welcome. As we luxuriated in sofas by the fire, sipped sherry and were treated to an array of nibbles while we thoroughly enjoyed the film of last month’s book we had read ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’. Thank you so very much Sindy, also for the delicious choc ices we enjoyed at the interval. What a very lovely way to spend an afternoon. Also thank you to Susie for thinking of it and providing the DVD.

On the morning of Monday 26th ‘Coffee & Cake’ was held in the village hall. What a very special time it was, a few only meeting each other for the first time, how wonderful that was. Maybe ‘Chat’ should be added to the title as there was plenty of it and what better way than with a slice of cake! This was also held on the 19th March, not as many made it due to the snow and icy roads!! However, we were very surprised to see as many as there were. Once again a very relaxed and jolly morning.

The first lot of snow arrived for the beginning of March. Schools were closed, much to the enjoyment of the children! UFO on Thursday 1st was held at Amanda’s with the excellent help of Millie. A good morning was had by all, as was the delicious cakes and coffee. Thank you Amanda and Millie.

Friday 2nd had us all wondering if the show would go on! ‘Steventon Entertains?’ certainly did! The audience was down a little due to the amount of snow, however, Saturday’s show was completely different as everybody had managed to get there. What can one say, a superb show. From start to finish it was brilliant, also this was the first time those who were participating actually got to see the other performers. It was just as brilliant and funny as we watched it again on Saturday as we were all sat at the back of the hall. A big thank you to everyone who put so much time and effort into the performances + Tim for superb lighting effects and slides to accompany the Pothole song, Paul for accompanying where needed on the keyboard. The list could go on, thank you to all who helped in anyway, just goes to show what a wonderful community there is in Steventon. Also of course to Marilyn, who has that magical way of getting us inspired, sometimes when we don’t know it!! So watch this space…..Who knows what will be next year’s Steventon production!!

Sunday 4th at 6.00pm Evensong was a very special and intimate service, as there were only a few the choir joined the congregation in the front pews. The evening of the 8th North Waltham W.I. held its 82nd B’day in the village hall. A bring and share meal was enjoyed by all and Trisha Lewis talked on the W.I. in the 1960s in Hampshire, a fun evening.

The Book Club on Friday 9th was held at Linda’s, where we discussed ‘The Lakehouse’ by Kate Morton which was given a score of 6.3. Thank you Linda for your most delicious Hummingbird cake and coffee, a very enjoyable morning.

The Men’s Fellowship on Friday 16th was held at Test Valley golf club. A few villagers joined North Waltham for an excellent evening, good food, good company and an excellent talk by Keith Evans about his career as a pilot in the R.A.F. and civilian airlines.

The snow returned on the 17th overnight, just as much as before, however not as strong winds thank goodness and now has near enough completely gone. The daffodils gradually restored to their former glory and primroses opening their beautiful faces up to the sunshine. Easter is soon upon us and spring has sprung! Apparently there are 80 million Easter eggs produced in the UK every year! The biggest chicken egg ever laid was by a White Leghorn in New Jersey U.S.A. on 25th February 1956. It contained a double yolk and double shell….good gracious and weighed 454g. Happy Easter…

January Blog 2018

The Christmas Fayre on 25th Nov. was a great success raising almost £700 for Naomi House, amazing for such a small village to have managed to improve on last year’s total. All credit to Lisa and all those who helped in any way. The following evening a very multi-lingual Choral Society performed ‘A Night At The Opera’ fantastic, best one ever, along with the wonderful Erica Eloff.

December 3rd St Nicholas Celebration Service followed by tea and cakes started the month of celebrations off well. The evening of the 6th many from the Ukulele club joined the Folk Group at Overton for their Christmas meeting. A brilliant evening full of songs and laughter all with the theme of Christmas, except for ours!! We did Dixie Darling which was very well received and very different!

The Book Club met at the Fox to discuss ‘The Damsel in Distress’ by PG Wodehouse. After much redesigning of the Bar, which we seemed to fill, in a short space of time a score of 4 was given. We then settled down to enjoy delicious cheese soufflé amongst other delights and to have a good natter, which meant changing seats at one point as there were so many of us! The evening saw many from the Uke’s go along to the Jam session at the Viables, once again a very relaxed and informal evening.

Saturday 9th a few from Steventon joined Marilyn to sing for the Mayors Carol Service at St. Michaels, Basingstoke, followed by mince pies and mulled wine. The following evening of the 10th the choir were joined by North Waltham to celebrate at Deane Carol Service. This was followed by nibbles and mulled wine, thank you Deidre and helpers.

Saturday 16th the village hall had been transformed for the Children’s Christmas Party with tree, lights and tinsel much to the delight of all. Well done Shona for yet another success.

Sunday 17th was the Crib Service. Another great service full of fun and laughter, some great acting. Alexandra making her parents, Laura and Graham very proud as baby Jesus. That afternoon Rachel and friends sorted out the village hall for the following day, the Senior’s Christmas Lunch. What a fabulous time was had by all. As usual the tables looked amazing with crackers, decorations and candles. The food was fabulous, thanks to all the cooks. A special thank you to Sue Carter for her succulent turkey crowns and delicious Christmas puddings. Also to Mouse Harrison for her donation. This year we had Fiona Burchill from Fleet, who used to be a librarian in Basingstoke, came along and told a few very funny and expressible stories. Thank you to Rachel for coordinating this great event. Tuesday 19th a festive group joined Rev. Julia for a Christmas service at Oak Lodge plus festive songs which all thoroughly enjoyed. That evening was the Singalong, open to all for wine, nibbles and a good festive sing. Very enjoyable, thank you to Marilyn and Paul. Friday 22nd the flower ladies met in the morning to transform the beautiful little church into it’s Christmas glory. Thank you Chris, also for the mulled wine, coffee and nibbles. The evening Carol Service looked quite magical with all the candles lit, the choir had expanded, also Steventon Singers came to sing the Christmas Gloria, which was all so very wonderful. All back to the village hall for nibbles and mulled wine where everyone could catch up. The choir all enjoyed supper back at Paul & Marilyn’s afterwards, thank you so much to you both.

Thank you so very much to Charlie and Rachel for hosting Christmas Eve drinks. Once more a magical time. Christmas morning, I’m sure many were woken early! The turkey was stuffed and ready to go into the oven. Steventon was lucky enough to have Christmas Day service at 10.15 so the beautiful church was once again full for this very special and joyous service.

So here we are now in 2018, singing has started up, as have Ukes, book club, UFO. Many events coming up to look out for in the Parish Mag. Decorations all down, time for finding the items we put ‘away’ for Christmas! Some of the turkey in the freezer for another time! Have made sausage rolls and mince pies for the last time yesterday……Horror as I discovered there was no sloe gin!! Lets hope it is a good year for them this year. Definitely a day now for lighting the fire with a good book.

December Blog 2017

The wind is due to turn from South to North, Scotland already has snow on the hills, looks like December will certainly bring us into Winter! We were all very snug for UFO on Thursday 2nd November at Sindy’s where we put the world to rights whilst crochet, knitting, card packing and Susie’s amazing doll making…Can’t wait to see the finished product in all her glory. Thank you Sindy for your delicious refreshments.
Saturday 4th was the most beautiful night for the bonfire, a starlit sky and full moon graced us all night. Many thanks to Darren and Ted for building the bountiful bonfire and also overseeing the great fire pit. This year the fireworks lasted far longer, which of course was brilliant, superbly coordinated by Jeff and Mike, well done. Everyone had brought a lovely lot of nibbles, enhanced by Tony’s mulled wine, as good as ever, thank you. Thank you from us all Graham and Laura for this great venue, you were missed. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and so lovely to see so many of Steventon’s new residents, a great time was had by all.
On the evening of Friday 10th most of the Ukulele group took up the invitation to join the monthly Jam session at the Viables. What a great night, no pressure, just play and sing as many as you wanted from the 20 music sheets. All very informal, stopped for coffee halfway, also it meant our fingers took a break!!
The following evening on Saturday 11th the Rolling Supper took place. The village hall gradually filling up with everyone waiting for Charlie and receiving their information of where we were going for each course, always such fun as no one has any idea before.…Once again a brilliant evening was had by all. Wonderful company, excellent food, ending the evening back at the village hall for coffee, chocolates and lots of chatter! Well done Charlie for organizing such a wonderful event. All proceeds will go to Basingstoke Food Bank.
The following morning, Sunday 12th, Holy Trinity & St Andrew in Ashe was full for this very traditional and moving Remembrance Service, where Dave Foster gave a splendid and thought provoking sermon.
On the morning of Friday 17th, Rev. Julia took the service at Oak Lodge where the residents and some family members were able to take communion and enjoy some lovely hymns. A new gentleman had a particularly wonderful voice, as he said, not bad for 97! Our next visit is at 2.00pm 19th Christmas Special, extra singers always welcome, just let Julia or Marilyn know if you are able to come. Santa hats etc. a must!!
Friday 10th Sindy hosted the Book club, where we discussed “The Soldiers Return” by Melvyn Bragg. Brilliantly written and very well worth a read, there are 3 sequels which will be very interesting to see how Joe’s life matures. Thank you Sindy for the very welcome fire that greeted us, also your delicious homemade cakes and coffee. Our next meeting is at the Fox to discuss A Damsel in Distress by PG Wodehouse, amongst other things! And of course to maybe have a cheese soufflé or Turkey dinner…..So many decisions!
All the walkers I’m sure would have noticed by now, the much needed new gates that have replaced the wooden ones over the line. Large space now for off-road pushchairs! Also very easy now for anyone with any disability or fear of heights!! We have to thank the Parish Council and especially Paul and John along with a few from Overton, for installing them.
Singing is in full flow, great to see a few new faces. Christmas songs are being rehearsed also the odd one for next year sometime!! Always a surprise in store on these evenings, excellent. Much to look forward with all the different Carol Services in the Benefice, the Crib Service on 17th followed by the Carol Service at St. Nicholas’ on the 22nd with mince pies and mulled wine afterwards. Squirrels are busy burying acorns, blackbirds are back to enjoy the fallen apples and it is a race to keep filling up the bird feeders. The cows are back in for the winter and the leaves have almost all fallen. Time for restocking the freezer for the coming festivities and thinking caps on for that ‘different’ present to buy!! A thought for those who are by themselves this Christmas, as we all enjoy being with our families and friends. Time for the fire to be lit, feet up and enjoy a sloe gin maybe, mince pies have to be sampled!! Merry Christmas to all and a Healthy Happy New Year.

November Blog 2017

Here we are at the end of October, still relatively mild but definitely on the change. Quite a busy month starting on the 5th with U.F.O. at Chris’s, which was a very inspiring meeting. The final stitches were put in place for the Jane Austen Community Quilt project. A 9 inch square was beautifully designed by Dorothy of St. Nicholas’ church and grounds and has been skilfully and lovingly embroidered by ladies of the U.F.O. It was taken to Chawton at the end of that week by Marilyn, where squares from all over the world have been arriving. They will eventually be sewn together to make one large quilt and will be on display at Chawton House Museum sometime in 2018. I’m sure when the date is known Marilyn will publish it in the Parish Magazine, so watch this space……Thank you Chris for your delicious cakes and coffee.

With Jane Austen still at the forefront, Saturday 7th the concert that was so brilliantly performed at Steventon in the summer, Jane Austen in Words and Music, was performed at Chawton House. The beautiful oak panelled room with the most magnificent fireplace was just the perfect setting, very intimate and atmospheric. The quality of the instrumentalists quite outstanding, so wonderful to hear the Jane Austen Suite once again, quite an outstanding evening. Once again, a big thank you to Marilyn and Paul.

Friday 13th the Book Club met at Linda’s to discuss The Examined Life by Stephen Grotz. A very interesting read with short snippets into a psychoanalysts past meetings with patients. A score of 7 was given. Thank you Linda for your delicious cake and coffee.

Tuesday 17th in the village hall, Steventon Players A.G.M. was held followed by singing where a few more were able to join us. A very jolly evening, enhanced by a glass of wine!

Friday 20th was the anticipated Film Night. La La Land was enjoyed by all, great dance and music, a very family feel good film. A glass of wine was offered as we arrived and choc ices arrived in the interval, lovely. This evening was provided by Steventon Players, thank you Sue for organizing it.

Breakfast Together on Saturday 21st in the village hall was terrific, all places taken. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the bacon baps, croissants and coffee, great company and a lot of chatter. However, when the special guest Revd. David Williams, the Bishop of Basingstoke stood and started to speak, silence! He is quite an amazing, charismatic man who’s belief, love and understanding radiated throughout his too short time with us. Maybe he will be able to come back some time in the future.

Ukes started last night, 24th, thank you Chris and John. A great evening, very uplifting and full of fun, good to see Caroline has joined the group.

Frank Houghton, who lived at 9 Wheatleys Close, was 96 on the 24th. Just to let you know he has moved to Bishops Waltham House, Bishops Waltham. We have been to see him on numerous occasions and we can certainly say that he has settled in wonderfully. Has made a best mate, Ed, who like Frank is quite a character, so between them both they keep the very caring staff on their toes! He is looking so very well and is looking forward to receiving his telegram when he reaches 100.

A very big welcome to John and Linda Smith who will be moving in to No.9 as soon as possible and hope they will be very happy here in Steventon. A warm welcome also, to Graham and Laura who have moved into 2 Stonehills. All the very best wishes go to Nick on his move to Laverstoke and new adventures. A few from Steventon are singing with Basingstoke Choral Society at the Anvil on Sunday 26th November, 7pm. A Night at the Opera, with the New London Sinfonia, conducted by David Gibson. The wonderful Erica Eloff is one of the soloists, it will be a fabulous concert, do hope you could make it.

The sun is shining, goldfinches on the feeders, bluetits greedily feeding on the nuts. Pheasants calling in the field and owls competing with one another in the darkness. The clocks go back at the end of the week! Winter is on its way. The colours are gradually changing, some quite spectacular. Still veggies in the garden, best sprouts to date due to excellent netting, so no caterpillars! One thing I will really miss is Driving for the Disabled which has now finished for the winter, for R.D.A. held at Susan Hewetson-Brown’s in Ashe. It will resume in April, such a wonderful organisation with so many happy helpers. A very big thank you to Susan who is an inspiration to us all. Luckily the ponies still have to be exercised so we can enjoy taking them out and getting together over a coffee afterwards. I think the fire will be lit tonight…..Maybe a glass of something warming.

September Blog 2017

Who would have thought it was that long ago since Breakfast Together in the village hall, Saturday 24th June. Not a large gathering but a very enjoyable one, hopefully a full house for 21st October. The evening of 24th saw the rain stop in time for wine and strawberries on the lawn before the concert at Douai Abbey, by Basingstoke Choral Society. Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini, wonderful soloists, Mark on piano and conducted by David Gibson, a fabulous evening.

The fete on Sunday 25th was once again a wonderful occasion, all the stalls bursting at the seams. Numbers slightly down, however, this did not have any effect on the enjoyment had by all. Over £2000 was raised to be distributed between the St. Nicholas’ church and the village hall. Thank you Dawn and Ahmed of Horseology, your ponies bring such joy to the children. A special thank you to Harriet and Simon for the opening their lovely gardens once again for this great event. To all those who helped in any way and last but not least, Rachel P. for coordinating everything these last few years in such a splendid way.

Into July and on 12th a jolly group turned up and got stuck in to rubbing down and painting the metal railings outside the church from 1.00pm. We enjoyed Joyce’s delicious buns that Nigel brought with him during our break. As with anything, many hands make light work!

Saturday 15th was the official opening of Jane Austen visitor centre and book exchange, the ribbon was ceremoniously cut by the Mayor & Mayoress of Basingstoke. A willing band of helpers who worked very hard in transforming the telephone box did a fantastic job. Bunting and flowers surrounded the area, with many there to greet them, all in costume of the era. Quite an amazing sight, which just started the many events to come!

Sunday 16th was Evensong at 4.00 in St. Nicholas’ a truly wonderful service in every way. Friday 21st a group went to Oak Lodge for a service lead by Rev. Julia which everyone enjoyed. The gardens looked particularly lovely this time of the year.

Thursday 27th from 9.30 the flower ladies arrived. This beautiful little church looked simply breath-taking, stunning in fact by the time everyone had finished. The smell of flowers and herbs was fabulous. Dear Jane, the ‘Green Lady’ outside was amazing and stood up to the wind and rain that fell upon her during the whole time she was there, well done Dorothy. Friday 28th the Mayor & Mayoress were the first visitors to arrive at church for the Flower Festival and Art Exhibition. With paintings by Dorothy Dent and Jillian Smith beautifully positioned around the church, just added the final touch to this truly wonderful event. The village hall was host to a Local History exhibition by North Waltham, Steventon, Ashe and Deane History Society, from Jane Austen time to modern day, accompanied by some great photographs, also a wonderful display of artefacts from Pump field found by Richard Oram. An art exhibition by Lydia Fee adorned the walls, plus Jeff Dodgson had many beautiful framed pictures and cards etc. of photographs around Steventon. Also of course, in the marquee, tea and coffee was served accompanied by the most delicious home-made cakes, where one could take the weight off the feet and sit and enjoy it all. Saturday 29th in church at 1.00, a short play of 5 characters depicting the history of the church took place. At 3.00 Steventon Singers enthralled the audience with some well picked pieces by Marilyn. Sunday 30th was Ashe Park open gardens with a Jane Austen theme! The gardens were spectacular once again. Steventon Players performed a potted version of Pride & Prejudice on the grand terrace! We didn’t need the umbrellas in the end as the weather held. Paul Wright and Michael Kenning played some very suitable music of the era to everyone’s enjoyment. A spinet player, plus more than 100 Regency dancers, entertained us on the croquet lawn. It certainly a wonderful sight to see so many in full dress walking around such a superb venue. Thank you so much Laura and Graham and for donating the tea & cake money to Steventon’s Jane Austen Festival. After a break on 3rd August a group met at the Watermill for dinner followed by ‘A Little Light Music’ in the theatre. Absolutely brilliant. Then it all started again from 4th to Sunday 6th August, ending with a Thanksgiving service with a packed church, wonderful. Followed by a B-B-Q and wine in the grounds, bought and paid for by Steventon Players, a tremendous end to a great festival. It has been well supported which has raised valuable funds for the village, even visitors being seen into the night on occasions! A truly incredible time, one we have all thoroughly enjoyed. I think ‘Jane’ would have been exceedingly pleased.

Back to normal now, battling with the veg. garden. I have never known courgettes like it, curly Italian ones, they have taken over. Plus the outside cucumbers are astonishing, must be all this rain!! Harvest Service & lunch coming up on Sunday 24th Sept. Friday 20th Oct. is Film Night and Saturday 21st Breakfast together….really good dates to put in your diary, see you there. Enjoy the rest of the summer, September/October too hopefully. Meanwhile back to another idea for those courgettes!

August Blog 2017

Wow, what a difference a day makes! Lovely cool breeze this morning, Parish Magazine deadline! Flaming June, it certainly has lived up to its name this year.
On the evening of Wednesday 7th, the Haymarket once again held the ‘A Place to be Proud of Awards’. Steventon Players were asked to perform a short sketch from ‘Pride & Prejudice’ during the first half of the awards. The scene at Longbourn House where Lady Catherine de Burgh tells Rev. Collins to find a wife, was chosen by Marilyn for the five minute performance! Unfortunately Philip was not available as Lady Catherine de Burgh, Charlie was ‘volunteered’ and did a grand job. Mike and Linton were the two other ‘Girls’! Sindy once again as Charlotte Lucas, also Dave as Rev. Collins. Dorothy was the narrator. After what seemed a daunting experience, everyone rose to the occasion, did brilliantly and loved every minute. Big stage next then!!
Thursday 8th in the afternoon a working party arrived at St. Nicholas’ Church, to have a tidy up of the Church grounds, Remembrance garden and railings. Julian also arrived with his mower. A big thank you to you Julian for keeping the grass neat and tidy all year. After a couple of hours all had been completed, plus the marquee had been erected. Joyce treated everyone to her famous cherry buns accompanied by cherry brandy, a great combination.
The evening of Saturday 10th at St. Nicholas’ Church was the concert of ‘Jane Austen in Words and Music’. What a most fantastic evening it was. Everyone was blown away with the performance. Michael Kenning on harpsichord, Theresa Lunn soprano, Paul Wright on organ and Dorothy, narrator. Victoria Stapleton on violin, Judith Barnby on cello, Rosalyn Jones on flute and clarinet, Deborah Lock on flute. The exquisite sounds of violin, cello, flute and clarinet, especially for the Jane Austen Suite, stunning. When Paul and his daughter Victoria played together, breath-taking, it brought tears to the eyes. During the interval everyone mingled outside while bubbles and canapes were served. Of course there had to be a little of the Steventon way! As every now and again Mike and Jeff, dressed as the butlers, made an appearance….’The Battle of Prague’ at the end, a performance of the original version for piano, violin and cello, but in modern-day ‘ Steventon style’ will never be the same again!! There should be some great photos on the village web site.
The Steventon Book Bench has arrived for all to see, up by the St. Nicholas’ Church, beautiful. During singing in the village hall last night, someone popped in to ask the way to the church on the Jane Austen tour! There have been quite a few extra visitors already, no doubt many more to come as the time goes on. Especially towards the end of July and August for Steventon’s Jane Austen Festival, wonderful.
The new Jane Austen Visitor Centre has almost been completed and a grand official opening date will soon be announced.
A busy weekend coming up. Breakfast Together in the village hall. The Rossini summer concert at Douai Abbey and on Sunday the village fete. Let us hope for lovely weather to continue so everybody can thoroughly enjoy their days.
Baking tomorrow!!! As will a lot of us I’m sure. Jan Everton-Browne

June Blog 2017

A fall of large snowflakes took us all by surprise at the end of April, luckily the weather perked up wonderfully for the Bluebell Coffee morning on Saturday 29th. The bluebells were stunning, the garden beautiful, the stalls overflowing. Such a wonderful social occasion for friends, family and visitors to enjoy these wonderful grounds. Thank you very much Julian and Sally for giving us all so much pleasure. It was of course fantastic to raise over £1,000 for St. Michael’s Hospice, the best ever. Well done to all who helped.
The following morning, 30th, over 100 people, including children, arrived at Warren Farm to take part in the Fun Walk/Run of either 5k or 10k in Sally’s memory and to raise funds towards a defibrillator for the village. A tremendous time was had by all, including the 20 or so dogs of all shapes and sizes! Many children, some very small, ran the 5k at amazing speed contesting a very tight finish, however, Orlando Kennedy and George Stephenson arrived first. Ollie Palmer and Rory, winner and runner up were the first home for the 10k. Darcy Atkinson was the first girl home. They all did brilliantly. We were greeted at the finish with a glass of bubbly and a very delicious bacon roll, expertly cooked by Peter Harrison on the Bar-B-Q. A very big thank to Suse and Simon for organizing the event and for setting out such a great trail. Also thank you to Peter and Mouse for letting us all walk and run through fields and woods, wonderful. A grand total of £1387 was raised.
May arrived and on Thursday 4th a group from the village visited Tufton, Church Cottages and The Smallholding owned by Jane and John Huxford. Their gardens are opened for charity in the National Garden Scheme. Amazing gardens, gentle exercise, delicious cake and tea, which were enjoyed outside in the barn. All topped off by the sight of 20 orphan lambs gambolling around in the adjoining paddock. We all went home with plants and very happy faces, thank you Chris for organizing this most enjoyable visit.
Friday 12th was the book club meeting. As nobody had read the book, it had been agreed to hold the meeting at the Fox for coffee. Well done Julia, excellent idea, exchange books and put the world to rights, a lovely social morning.
The evening of Friday 19th a jolly group of villagers went off to the Haymarket to see Monty Pythons ‘Spamalot’ performed by B.A.T.S. Excellent. Songs, dance and laughter from start to finish. I do believe Marilyn might have been taking notes!!
Sunday 21st was a beautiful day for the Rogation Walk. A total of 4.2 miles through glorious countryside visiting Deane, Ashe, Steventon and finally North Waltham where we ended to share lunch together. Fields and crops were blessed and even Bob the skewbald as he made his appearance for extra strong mints, with the beautiful church of Steventon in the background.
There have been some fun Ukulele practices and also singing every other Tuesday evening. A busy time in the garden now. Willow seed like snow, blew across the garden leaving a fine layer over the lawn. A swallow flew low to the grass and quickly scooped up a feather to add to its collection in the nest. Baby robins are being fed by the parents, blackbirds hurriedly collecting a beak full of worms, a wonderful time of the year. There have been quite a few swarms of bees around. One that swarmed in the hedge was quite amazing to see, around 25 thousand bees, thankfully taken away by the bee keeper, but fascinating to watch while this was expertly performed. Everywhere is looking beautiful now with new life and sublime shades of green. Hot weather forecast, unusual for a Bank Holiday!! Bar-B-Q time and get together with family and friends. Enjoy.

May Blog 2017

Bacon rolls, croissants, good company were all enjoyed for Breakfast Together on the last Saturday in March. Dave Foster gave a very informative talk on Basingstoke Food Bank. We were amazed at how many organizations are involved to help all those in crisis, plus nearly 3 ton of food per month is donated, long may it continue.
Saturday 1st April a working party had a good clear out under the stage, amazing what one finds! Apart from the dust! So much room now for extra storage! Plus, very accessible now.
Thank you so much to Laura and Graham for hosting the most splendid evening at Ashe Park on Friday 7th. This was of course the grand showing of Pride & Prejudice in all its glory! The only time we were all able to watch from start to finish and my, did we all enjoy it. The Citations and Oscars were given at the end, amongst very enthusiastic and appreciative clapping. The evening ended with Charlie receiving an Oscar for the most outstanding script. Wonderful. The best ever!
Saturday 8th was the Easter Market. After a slow start the village hall soon started to fill up and everyone enjoyed all the Easter goodies, local food and crafts. A total of £510.94 was raised with the Guess Who Picture Quiz proceeds going to Basingstoke Food Bank. Another successful Easter Market thanks to Rachel, fabulous Easter Egg Hunt too in your tremendous garden. Many thanks to all who made and donated all the wonderful cakes and of course to Emma for her beautiful Easter cake, that was won by Philip & Caroline Sykes. That evening a few from the village sang with Basingstoke Choral Society and Croydon Philharmonic Choir at the Anvil for their concert of St Matthew Passion. Wonderful. So very moving and emotional, tremendous soloists, great conductor, need we say more!
Palm Sunday, the following day, St Nicholas’ church was the start of the story of Easter, palms blessed, ukuleles accompanied the singing of the hymn before a lovely walk across the fields to North Waltham and St. Michael’s to hear the completion of Jesus’ journey.
Tuesday 11th an evening service at St Nicholas’ for a Devotion for Passiontide in words, pictures and music. Images of great works of art were shown and talked about by Wayne Jefferson.
Friday 14th a very jolly group joined Rev. Julia for an Easter Service at Oak Lodge, lovely to see them all once again.
Saturday the flower ladies transformed St. Nicholas’ church for Easter Sunday. Ladies were coming and going at different times from 9.30am. Flowers looked beautiful everywhere, fabulous.
Sunday arrived, the smell of the flowers greeted you when the door was opened. A packed church was simply wonderful, excellent service. Very amazing this year as Paul had to play the organ at Old Basing and Tristen, Paul and Marilyn’s son, played here at Steventon in his place. Also Victoria, their daughter, joined the choir, so a very family time for all. Dave had the children involved during the service and there was an Easter Egg hunt outside after the service, great fun for young and the not so young!
On Friday 14th Hannah completed the Elementary Freestyle Silver in the National Winter Dressage Championships 2017. Her courage and determination over the year has been inspiring. Against a large class, horse and rider became one, to produce a fabulous result with a great score of 71.5 and 5th place. Sandro’s Storm, ‘Stanley’ at home, never looked so good, Hannah looked amazing too. Well done.
Sunday 23rd was the day of the London Marathon. Emily’s challenge was finally here and all her courage and training paid off. Emily completed the marathon in 4hrs. 55mins. Still with a beaming smile at the end. A most fantastic feat and to raise over £8,000 so far for British Heart Foundation, is very remarkable. Well done to you too Emily. You have both worked so very hard and have made everybody so very proud and Mum would have been with you both all the way.
It has started to rain, the fire has been lit, dinner is on the go. An evening in is called for. I can start to think of walking all the Easter Eggs off in the morning!