Author Archives: Jan Everton Browne

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!

April Blog 2017

23rd March, exactly a month ago, into the second evening of Pride and Prejudice! It seems such a while ago now as I am sitting here in magazine mode, watching the finches as they try to get the best position on the feeders. What a fantastic time was had by us all. After the wonderful start of Wed. performance, as I said in last month’s magazine, we wondered if it could get any better. Each night was a complete sell-out and brilliant in all ways, maybe a few changes here and there! Only adding to its uniqueness while providing such entertainment to all, on and off stage. It was slightly more serious in the marquee this time as due to the challenge of the script one could observe characters taking moments to study their words, as I think we all did, while fleetingly being able to watch scenes on the monitor. No costume changes this year, well except for Mr Darcy for the lake scene!! The ladies still haven’t quite got over it, everyone looked fabulous. I have to mention Martha, who apart from helping Mum with some changes of scenery, playing Georgiana, did the most wonderful job of the horses head ‘On the Road to Gretna Green’ Those of us who were able to be at the back of the hall for quite a bit, laughed and became part of the audience each night, brilliant. Last night arrived, how sad, a puddle in the marquee had to be avoided as the rain had got through, however, all the excitement of the previous nights was there and more besides. We had all risen to the challenge, loved every minute of it, such a feeling of community that brought everyone together. To all those amazing people behind the scenes that make the whole production look and sound so good, a Big Thank you. Sunday a working party got the marquee down and into the hall before the rain started once again and in the next couple of days all was back to normal. Some of the scenery has been left as of course this is Jane Austen’s year with some excellent forthcoming events in the village.
Singing started in the village hall on 7th March, where Marilyn led us gently back in! accompanied by Paul on the keyboard. A great way to start, who knows what will be coming next!
10th March, the Book club met to discuss ‘The Last Runaway’ by Tracy Chevalier. A fast-paced, satisfying read. In the evening a jolly group from the village went to the Haymarket to be thoroughly entertained by the production of Northanger Abbey. Just to get a little more of Jane Austen! There were parts that had us laughing maybe a little louder, as certain parts had a resemblance to P & P.
Saturday 11th Steventon Players had their first Film Club evening. Mamma Mia! with on-screen lyrics. It certainly was a very jolly, feel-good film that had us all joining in with the lyrics, even though most had seen it before. We enjoyed drinks and nibbles and at half time we were all treated to a choc-ice, lovely. Well done Sue for organizing this and we look forward to the next one.
Friday 17th a few joined Rev. Julia for a service at Oak Lodge to almost a full house. It had been decorated very lovely with balloons and bunting to celebrate Dame Vera Lyn’s 100th Birthday.
U.F.O. and Ukuleles are both up and running once more, the latter needing to be dusted off! We have the Easter Market to look forward to on Saturday 8th at 10.00am in the village hall. That evening at the Anvil, a few from Steventon and North Waltham are singing with Basingstoke Choral Society, also joined by Croydon Philharmonic Choir for Bach’s St Matthew Passion, conducted by North Waltham’s wonderful conductor David Gibson. If you have a spare evening, please come, as it will be wonderful. Tickets still available.
We have had some spectacular sunrises, a joy to behold. The blackbirds are singing, bird activity is on the increase, daffodils in abundance, spring is truly here, a beautiful time of the year. The rain has stopped, Mike has been out cleaning road signs and I will have to pop out to fill the bird feeders up once again. Emily has her ‘Marathon for Mum’ coming up on 23rd April, which we all wish her the very best. Still time to sponsor, which I am about to do now, as with everything going on have forgotten to do so.
I think the fire will be lit tonight as a definite chill in the air, the clocks go forward this weekend, wonderful. Cake making for the freezer, first event Easter Market. Great.

February Blog 2017

December was a very joyous month, full with a variety of Carol Services and lunches. Prior to then, on 26th November, was the Christmas Fair. Everybody threw themselves into the spirit of Christmas and the village hall was soon full, which made it such a success and raised almost £500 for Naomi House. Well done all and a big thank you to Lisa, also for your delicious sloe gin!
The Family Service on the 4th started December off with the children playing a very active roll and afterwards enjoyed sharing tea together in church. The Book club met on Friday 9th at the Fox for our Christmas meeting, a very festive time had by all. We did manage to discuss ‘Calico Joe’ by John Grisham which got a score of 5.1, great if you like baseball! The flower ladies had once more come together on the morning of the 16th and decorated the church beautifully. Each arrangement set off with a red candle in it’s centre awaiting the day to be lit. On the morning of the 18th was the Crib Service, families coming together, some dressed rather differently! The script this year was written by Charlie Palmer, we all awaited with baited breath! Especially when we thought Mary was going to be played by Charlie dressed up, as that was the name on the script, wrong Charlie! Baby Jesus, Nick and Charlie’s baby daughter, Araminta, was beautifully behaved and won the hearts of all. Brilliant service, casting great, especially the very Gaelic King Herod with the amazing accent, well done Jamie.
Many children got the village hall buzzing with excitement for the Children’s Christmas Party. A wonderful time was had by all, well done Shona and friends for all the organization.
Christmas lunch for the over 60’s on the 19th was a tremendous occasion and one that was thoroughly enjoyed by all who were able to attend. The village hall looked beautiful with it’s many decorations and greenery, the tables looked fabulous too. Even all the cooks and helpers felt the same, thank you to all, especially Rachel for making it such a success for the second year. I must just say all the food was excellent, however, a special thank you has to go to Sue Carter for the most succulent and delicious turkey crowns, which Sue had cooked and donated for the Christmas Lunch. Also the Christmas puddings were exceedingly good. Thank you to Paul and Marilyn for the music and songs/carols which everyone joined in with so well. The very happy faces that left late afternoon said it all.
Singers and Ukulele players joined Rev. Julia at Oak Lodge for the Christmas Service on the afternoon of the 22nd. Wonderful to see the room so very full with lots of family and friends that were able to join loved ones. A very jolly time was had by all. The evening saw our beautiful little church lit up and full for the Carol Service, which was wonderful in every way, followed by mulled wine and nibbles in the village hall. The choir went on to enjoy a bring and share supper hosted by Paul and Marilyn, which rounded off the day superbly. A lovely evening, thank you.
Thank you so much Simon and Lisa for hosting the village Christmas Eve drinks which definitely put everybody in the Christmas spirit, excellent evening.
Christmas morning saw St. Nicholas’ church bursting at the seams for this very special and joyous service. Wonderful.
It is now onto Steventon’s Pride and Prejudice!!!! Rehearsals, panic! It will be all right on the night !!
2016/2017 has been a very sad time for some. All our thoughts, prayers and the love of family and friends will be with them always.

October Blog 2016

Flowers and garden produce once again decorated St. Nicholas’ in all its splendour for the Harvest Festival on Sunday 25th Sept. The delicious lunch that followed was held in the marquee next to the church. A very jolly time was had by all to celebrate this special time of the year. The auction of the produce afterwards, rose just over £100, so thank you to all for your generous donations, also for the Food Bank donations.

Sunday 2nd Oct. the Benefice Choir led the singing for Deane’s Harvest Festival, once more a joyous occasion.

After a life changing experience in May, Emily signed up to run the Blenheim 10k on 2nd Oct. for the British Heart Foundation. She completed this in a grand time of 56 minutes which was brilliant. Along with her cousin, Jennie, they raised £1,750 for this charity. Well done. After hearing Emily’s heart-breaking story they offered her a place in the London Marathon 2017. Emily has to raise no less that £2,500 for the British Heart Foundation’s charity that needs help and support to research all forms of heart disease. An incredible feat to accomplish, but one she will easily rise to with the love and support of family and friends. Emily’s link is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Emily-Bown2016 for all those who would like to make a donation. Good luck Emily with your training programme.

On the evening of Tuesday 4th the village hall was taken over by ‘The Regency Dance’ company. An excellent evening full of laughter, as we all tried to be quite serious while gazing into each other’s eyes as they did, easier said than done!

Saturday 9th Oct. at Queen Mary’s college Basingstoke Festival of Choirs held a Bob Chilcott workshop, organized by Marilyn. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day and even came away with Bob’s own compositions for Christmas.

Friday 14th the Book club were invited to have their meeting at Anne & Geoffrey’s at their new home in Lindford. We all enjoyed a tour of the garden and bungalow before settling down to a slice of delicious cake, thank you Marilyn, and coffee during a discussion on ‘The Go-Between’ by L.P. Hartley. A highly recommended read, with an overall score of 7. It was lovely to see Anne & Geoffrey in their new surroundings and to see them both looking so well and happy.

UFO has started up once more with a great variety of works, including new kneelers for the church that have been designed by Dorothy. They might take a while but worth the wait. Ukulele’s are on the strum once again and singing has definitely got a ‘Pride & Prejudice’ theme!

Very many congratulations to Nick & Charlie on the birth of their beautiful baby daughter, Araminta Emily France’s Martin. Born on 22nd Sept. and weighed 5lbs 7ozs. Molly the spaniel seems very happy with the new addition too.

A warm welcome to Sam & Jon Walsh and their two springer spaniels Jake & Elwood, who have moved into 5 Wheatlys Close. We hope you will be very happy here in Steventon.

The veggies are gradually disappearing and we have done our best with the apples as they have been so sweet this year. I must say the horses have certainly enjoyed them too! The birds are gradually coming back to the seeds and nuts, ladybirds are making their way into the warmth of the house and the owls are having a competition with the pheasants, quite wonderful to listen to. Stunning sunsets and sunrises. Wonderful. I must just go and give the fruit another stir in preparation of the Christmas cake, also sloe gin needs to be made!