Category Archives: village-blog

November Blog 2019

Harvest at the end of September seems ages ago now especially as I have just put the fruit into soak in brandy in readiness for out Christmas cake! However, that was full on as early that morning the flower ladies were at the church early and decorated it beautifully for the Harvest Service on the Sunday. Over to Jackie Osmond’s in North Waltham for her coffee morning in aid of McMillan Cancer Support. Amazing support, wonderful to see so many, the weather was fabulous so everyone could be outside in their lovely garden. Well done Jackie, what a wonderful amount to be raised, your cakes were very delicious too. In the evening Harvest Supper was held in the village hall, brilliant, delicious food, excellent company, plus a picture quiz to keep us busy, thanks to Charlie. Thank you to Rachel, also for making the hall look lovely with flowers left over from decorating the church. A wonderful time for all to come together and share in this special time. Harvest service on Sunday morning finished everything off perfectly.

Into October the rain had come just in time to soften the stubble fields for the ploughing match at Stoken Farm on Saturday 5th. We got there a little late due to the rugby! But all was still going along brilliantly, the sun was shining and smiling faces were in abundance. Nick and Katie’s son, Jack, had just completed his section and his face was glowing. First time at ploughing and he did brilliantly, great to see, so well done Jack. Fabulous to see a different view of the village and surrounding area from up high in the field, a great event, thanks to Matt and Tamsin. The overall winner of the ploughing match was Pete White.

Sunday evening of the 6th the United Benefice choirs joined Ashe and Deane for their Harvest Service at Ashe. A lovely service with delicious refreshments afterwards, thank you.

Friday 11th the Book Club met at Sue’s for a very chatty morning, full of laughter whilst sipping coffee and eating yummy cakes! Thank you Sue. ‘Years of Wonder’ by Geraldine Brooks was eventually discussed. This was based on a true story of the plague in the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, the year was 1666. Excellent read, an overall score of 8 was given. In the evening the village hall became the venue for the Film Club, thanks to Sue once again, where we all thoroughly enjoyed watching ‘Fisherman’s Friend’. Brilliant, uplifting and very amusing, filmed in the gorgeous Port Isaac, about a Cornish cappella group who hit the big time, eventually! With their debut album of Sea Shanties. Choc Ices were thoroughly enjoyed at half time, thank you Rachel.

September’s and today, 21st Oct. Coffee and Cake mornings in the village hall have been great, a wonderful time for friends and neighbours to get together for a few hours of catch up over delicious cakes and coffee.

U.F.O. has once again resumed after the summer as have Ukulele’s, nails have had to be trimmed and Ukes dusted off!

Stunning sunrise a few weeks ago, it took ones breath away. The owls are now heard returning to roost around 6.45 in the morning as they call to one another. I spotted a flock of yellow hammers while out walking down the track, a joy to behold as I had not seen any for quite a while, we even had a yellow wagtail in the garden. A funny sight a while ago, the first rain for a month, we looked out and around 7 pigeon’s all stood in a rough line, lifted one wing up to gather the droplets then lifted the other wing to do the same, then repeated the sequence!!! Hilarious… Talking of pigeons, Peg Leg, as many of you know, surprised us by eventually, after all these years, produced two babies! I am sad to say he looks the worse for it as they never stopped pestering him for food. I think this may be his last year…The fire has been lit, clocks go back this coming weekend, lots to look forward to. Rolling Supper, Christmas Fair on the 23rd November, do come along if you can, plenty of goodies to buy, great company, Christmas cake raffle and much more. Autumn colours are beginning to bring beautiful changes daily, so wonderful, makes one stop and take it all in and try and remember not to take it all for granted. The bird feeders need replenishing, looks like the lawn needs yet another mowing, hedges have been trimmed, fire going and a cuppa on the go. Bliss…

July Blog 2019


What an amazing day it was for the village fete. Weather perfect, no cakes melting! Or any    individuals either! A fabulous scene was set for the afternoon of the 23rd June and before long the beautiful gardens were full as everyone mingled between stalls, games and under the trees for delicious cake and tea. A steady trickle of children, also some adults, enjoyed their ride on the ponies, much to the delight of all. Thank you to Dawn and Ahmed of Horseology for providing two very well behaved ponies once again. The hotdogs and burgers kept Tony and Matt exceptionally busy on the B-B-Q. A record amount was raised this year of £2752.85 before expenses so thank you to all who helped in any way. This will be distributed between St Nicholas’ church fund and the Village Hall. Also a special thank you to Simon and Harriet for once again welcoming us all at Oakdown House as their gardens were transformed for this wonderful village event.
On the evening of Tuesday 25th singing could be heard flowing from the village hall as once again we joined Marilyn and Paul for an evening of fun and song.
Saturday 29th the Basingstoke Choral Society, which includes singers from Steventon and North Waltham, held their concert, ‘A Feast of Favourite’s at St. Michael’s Church, Basingstoke. Soprano Lucinda Cox was amazing as was the solo trumpet player Crispian Steele-Perkins. David Gibbons once again producing and excellent concert. On the same evening Mike and Jeff were with Marilyn and Paul over in Blackmoor. ‘Sweet Even’ a Musical Prelude to the Tercentenary in 2020 of the birth of The Rev Gilbert White was being performed by The Akina Ensemble with Bernard Whelan as Gilbert White. This performance was held at St. Matthew’s Church in aid of The Friends of St. Matthew’s Church. Victoria Stapleton, Paul and Marilyn’s daughter, is first violin of Akina Strings which was formed in 2010 by the four versatile young professional musicians. They have established a reputation for providing exquisite and captivating musical entertainment for weddings, corporate events and other special occasions, amongst many more prestigious events. Also entertained newly-weds George and Amal Clooney…..The group now also embraces a number of additional occasional players, including Marilyn on clarinet and Paul on organ and piano. How very wonderful for them and of course very special. Anyway….Mike and Jeff were required during the ‘Battle of Prague’ the performance being the original version for piano, violin and cello. Bursting of the balloons as the cannons were sounded, amongst many other antics, were performed by the duo and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Friday 5th July Rev. Julia took the service at Oak Lodge accompanied by a few Ukulele players as Paul and Marilyn had a well earned holiday. A very full and jolly service had by all, lovely to see Joyce and to spend time having a chat.
Sunday 7th was the day of Ashe Warren Farm Carriage Drive. Fabulous day with 35 entries which was wonderful. Beautiful ponies, some pairs, including Shetlands, a delight to behold, who all thoroughly enjoyed their day which was by kind permission of Sir Michael & Lady Colman and Sir Timothy & Lady Sainsbury and of course Susan Hewetson-Brown. All in aid of Newbury Pony Driving for the Disabled on their 20th Anniversary of this event. Beautiful routes through farmland and woods, also past the most stunning lavender fields and wild flowers. On a perfect day who could ask for more.
Book Club was held at Sally’s on Friday 12th. Where we discussed ‘Flight’ by Isabel Ashdown and a score of 8 was given so definitely recommended. Thank you Sally for the most delicious and beautiful cake, which was consumed during a very jolly gathering with much laughter.
Jane Austen visitors on different dates have been to St. Nicholas’ this month, 6 groups, including a large number of very jolly Italian ladies, many who did not speak any English!! The youngster of the party did translate! Also a coach full of JASNA visitors who enjoyed cookies and elderflower refreshments outside before departing. Sunday 14th was also the Summer Fayre at Chawton House with stalls, talks, workshops and plenty of Regency entertainment, celebrating Jane Austen and the village of Chawton. Steventon’s St. Nicholas church also had a stall which did well, good to meet so many people from many countries. That evening Jane Austen Evensong was held in Steventon’ St. Nicholas’ church where the choir enjoyed extra singers, especially the male voices….One being Tristen, Marilyn & Paul’s son, who is over from Canada with his choir, perfect. The service was taken by the new Priest in Charge from Overton, James Russel. Thank you also to Paul & Marilyn for inviting the choir back for supper which was enjoyed in the garden as it was so lovely.
Coffee & Cake on Monday 15th was amazing as a large number gathered together with much chatting and laughter, the most for a very long time. Thank you for the delicious cakes everyone had made and especially to the washers-up, thank you..
The colours are changing in the fields, harvest is not far away. Swallows are ducking and diving in search of insects and the bats can be seen as we enjoy evenings outside this time of the year. The chickens suddenly saw to their delight a swarm of flying ants emerging from one of the large flower pots, they quickly tried to peck away as many as they could before they had all flown away! The pigeon that was sitting on her nest, left hers and promptly sat herself on the doves nest in the next tree, how extraordinary! Peg-leg the pigeon, yes he is still alive, is very confused and doesn’t know where to put the next piece of twig!! The hawk is still around which we think is the reason the goldfinches have dropped in numbers. Veggies are doing well, though the water butts are now once again getting very low. B-B-Q maybe once again this weekend? Enjoy this wonderful time of the year.
Jan Everton-Browne

June Blog 2019

Flaming June! Maybe not. I think everyone has now benefited from this deluge, the water butts are now overflowing and the farmers should be happy with the crops swelling, so let’s have the summer back please. As I look out of the window as the rain falls, it is hard to believe this time last year we were all enjoying vastly differently temperatures!

All changed back in April just before the Bluebell coffee morning on Saturday 27th. What a wonderful morning it was, despite the rain, which did clear, high winds and cold a record amount was raised for St. Michaels’ Hospice, £1,435.00. Wonderful that so many braved the elements and turned up to enjoy the gardens and beautiful bluebell woods, thank you to Julian once again, also for your knowledgeable and very jolly tours. A most fabulous chocolate layered cake, stunningly decorated with iced bluebells, made by Sally, was auctioned and made a wonderful amount of £50. Well done to all and to Chris for organizing this special event with Julian’s blessing once again.

Now into May and on Friday 10th the Book club met up this time at Linda’s. This was after the sheep with their lambs had entertained us on their journey from before the tunnel up past the farm to their new grazing! We discussed ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, excellent. A score of 9 was given, the highest yet! This was after we had celebrated Sindi’s birthday with a delicious light Victoria sponge filled with strawberries and cream. Thank you very much Linda. That evening the ‘Oscar’s’ took place in the village hall. Panto came to life once again at this black tie evening, awards were given out. Nibbles and wine were enjoyed by all as each celebrity relived those wonderful nights! Everyone was fabulous, however, only so many Oscars are given. Wonderful Shona as Josephine. The dancers, Sue, Chris and Rosina…who could forget those fish net stockings!! Charlie for his writing and also, how could we forget Sir Joseph Porter! Tim for best newcomer as Captain Corcoran. Paul and Tim for all the special effects, lighting and music and last but not least, Rachel for all her fabulous and spectacular set design. A tremendous time had by all. I believe something is already in the pipeline for next year!! Watch this space… Also a bit thank you to Paul for the amazing DVD he has once again produced, there may be some left if anyone would like to buy one, so very professional.

Saturday 11th Breakfast Together was held in the village hall, delicious bacon baps and croissants, lovely to see so many enjoying themselves. After which, Wilf Hardy, from Christian Aid, gave a very interesting talk, accompanied by slides, of the various areas they can reach out to and help so many. All donations of the morning went to Christian Aid.

Monday 20th Coffee & Cake was well attended in the village hall, a big thank you to all those who baked, a great time to once again to catch up with fellow villagers.

Sunday 26th the weather was kind for Rogation Walk to each of the churches in the benefice beginning at Deane and ending at North Walham for final prayers followed by a bring & share lunch together. A special time for all to enjoy the beautiful countryside, led by Rev. Julia. Thank you to Barbara Purkiss for organizing lunch arrangements, plus refreshments.

Now into June and the Book Club met this month on Friday 14th at Rosina’s. A delicious chocolate cake was made by Sally especially requested by Julia. It was wonderful indeed to see Julia looking so well and once again back into the fold! Eventually ‘Underground Railway’ by Colin Whitehead was discussed and only a score of 6 was given. Thank you Rosina for your hospitality and refreshments.

May Blog 2019

On the evening of Friday 29th March, Steventon Film Club hosted another great evening’s entertainment in the village hall. The film, ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society’, definitely one to be recommended. Thank you Sue for organising this very enjoyable event once again. Thank you to Rachel for supplying the very welcome choices in the interval.

Thursday 11th April the Book Club group got together to discuss ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. A score of 8 was given and one to be highly recommended. Thank you very much Marilyn for hosting, also for the delicious cake which arrived bright with candles to celebrate Julia, Sindy and Sue’s birthdays.

Friday 12th arrived, a very sad day, Linton’s funeral service. St Nicholas’ church, a very special place in Linton’s heart, was full. The choir sang the Anthem ‘Thou Knowest Lord, the Secrets of our Hearts’ by Henry Percell, one of Linton’s favourites and the Recessional music was sung by Steventon Singers, ‘Keep You in Peace’ by Sarah Morgan, another that he loved. A wonderful service for a wonderful man, who will be greatly missed by us all.

Saturday 13th saw the sun shining for the Fun Run/Walk in aid of ‘Afgan Connection’ – Transforming young lives in Afghanistan through education and sport, a charity that Suse works for. Also in aid of St Nicholas’ Church repairs. Many thanks to Peter & Mouse for once again welcoming all to enjoy the splendid countryside around Warren Farm and for providing the Bacon Baps and Prosecco at the finish.

On the morning of the 14th, Palm Sunday, the journey started at St Nicholas’ for a short service, accompanied by the Ukulele’s, before all setting off to walk to St Michaels at North Waltham where Rev. Julia continued the service, enjoyed by all.

Monday 15th was the Easter Coffee & Cake held in the village hall. The hall was abuzz with so many able to come together and enjoy the delights of the morning. A beautiful decoration of Flowering Redcurrant branches with delicate painted eggs suspended from them that adorned the table which was covered in delicious cakes. The highlight has to be said, was Linda’s mouth watering ‘Hummingbird’ cake, delicious. Thank you to all.

Tuesday 16th in the evening, St Nicholas’ Church held a beautiful Devotional Service led by Rev. Julia. Full of readings, poems, read by many different people, hymns and two anthems sung by the choir. A continuous service with just a few pauses of silence of reflection, lovely.

To those who love to hear the continuous advancement of Sandros Storm, or as we know and love, Stanley. Hannah took her beloved horse to compete in the Winter National Championships, a feat in itself! On Friday 5th they competed in the Medium Silver Winter Championships and came an amazing 10th out of 30. Sunday 7th saw them up against it in the Advanced Medium Bronze Area Festival Championship where they came a brilliant 6th out of 35….A very proud and ecstatic Hannah who couldn’t praise her fabulous ‘boy’ enough, who had tried his heart out and loved every minute of it. Well done to you both, you have worked so hard, can’t wait to hear what is to come next. Lisa and David Knoxx’s nine year old Knoxx’s Figaro won the Advanced Medium Gold and the Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Gold, ridden by Dannie Morgan. A fantastic time in Steventon, huge congratulations to you all.

Let us all enjoy this wonderful weather, amazing for this Easter. BBQ’s all round maybe, sounds like a great idea. Can’t wait to get outside, enjoy.

November Blog 2018

What an eventful month this has been, however, back to the end of October on Saturday 27th Breakfast Together in the village hall was well attended. Bacon baps, croissants and coffee enjoyed by all while the room was filled with chatter. While finishing our coffee, Dave Foster took us through “A Journey of a Lost Sheep who was Found”. After starting with “Now are you sitting comfortably, then I will begin” those magical words from Listen with Mother all those years ago! Dave had us all captured as he took us through his journey with his own words and great pictures which led to the faith he has today…

Thursday 1st November U.F.O. met in the afternoon at Rachel’s where various articles were worked on as we sat around the very cosy fire. Thank you also for the very delicious cakes that accompanied the equally delicious coffee as the meeting turned more raucous with our discussions and great fun as only the ladies can do!

Friday 2nd a jolly group joined Rev. Julia for a Remembrance Communion service at Oak Lodge, very important. Also so lovely once again to catch up with familiar faces.

Saturday 3rd was the village bonfire, a great evening, thank you very much to Graham and Laura. A good turnout, lovely nibbles and mulled wine. Fireworks expertly set off by Jeff and Mike. Fabulous bonfire thanks to Darren.

Sunday 4th in the afternoon, just as the evening sky was beginning to settle in, St Nicholas Church began to fill up for All Souls Service. Candles shone in every window, we were also invited to light a candle from the Easter candle and place it on the cross in front of the altar in memory of loved ones. A most beautiful and moving service.

Book group on Friday 9th met at Marilyn’s to discuss “The News Where You Are” by Catherine O’Flynn. We all thoroughly enjoyed the delicious cake and brownies, thank you very much Marilyn. Also the very yummy chocolate cake Susie had made to celebrate Marilyn’s Birthday. Unfortunately one couldn’t say the same about the book!! A score of 4 was given which says it all….

On the dark, damp and very still morning of Sunday 11th at 6.00am, 46 villagers, including children, gathered together around the village triangle to hear Laurence Quinn play “Battle’s O’er” on the bagpipes. The rain had stopped at that precise moment as we stood in silence and listened to the haunting and spellbinding sound. After a two minute silence, Romy read a letter her father had written shortly after his 21st birthday and the evening before he was shot and seriously injured, not a dry eye was left after this very moving time. The village hall was awaiting, warm and filled with the smell of coffee and assorted croissants, thank you to those got up extra early to make this so very welcoming. Laurence got up on stage and treated us all by playing “Highland Cathedral” Wonderful. Later that morning at Ashe, the church was full for the Remembrance Service, most apt for 100 years on as all those were remembered.

Tuesday 13th in the evening, Steventon Players held their A.G.M. where the committee found themselves re-elected! There followed a run through of the script for next year’s Panto, very funny, I won’t spoil it for you, come for yourselves and find out!

Saturday 17th Yes, that time of the year again for the Rolling Supper. Once again a fabulous evening, wonderful company, great food and a smashing end to the evening at John and Shona’s for coffee where we could all catch up and relive our evening! Well done Charlie, another great success.

Sunday 18th Basingstoke Choral Society, which involves those from the village, also North Waltham, sang their hearts out at the Anvil as they performed “No More Sorrow” by Will Todd followed by Karl Jenkins “The Peacemakers” dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives during armed conflict throughout the world. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Anne Frank to name a few, whose text he used in this work. The beautiful sound of the violins, especially the soloist, were exquisite within the New London Sinfonia orchestra. Just one of the most stunningly beautiful concerts we have had the great pleasure to be involved with.

Here we are now almost at the end of November, much ahead to get planned and many a kitchen having delicious Christmas aromas as the baking begins…The temperature has at long last dropped as winter is set to come upon us. The colours this autumn have been magnificent, breath-taking in a lot of places. Goldfinches in abundance are taking great delight in the sunflower seeds as are all the birds now. A magical time of the year is coming upon us with much to look forward to. As for today, it is late afternoon, the sun is going down, the dog to walk, dinner and definitely a fire lit. Maybe a little sloe gin as we relax in front of the fire and enjoy a much needed night in! All the very best wishes for the season ahead…

October Blog 2018

September ended with the most amazing concert at the Anvil on the evening of Sunday 30th. Basingstoke Festival of Choirs ‘Voices Together’ featured ten choirs and one children’s choir from St. Mary’s CE Junior school, also Vocal Point and the Heritage Light Orchestra. This fabulous evening brought together hundreds of enthusiastic singers of all ages. After the National Anthem was sung the lights were dimmed, one loud note was played then Wham! The very powerful ‘O Fortuna’ led the way and the rest of the evening flew by with a wonderful mix of music, some of which gave you goose bumps, spectacular. Too many people to mention who give up so much of their time to organise these events, but have to mention David Ogborn Chairman of Festival of Choirs and of course our very own Marilyn Wright who is Secretary.

October kicked off with the Quiz Night on Friday 5th. This was held at Steventon village hall in aid of All Saints’ Church, Deane which was also organised by a brilliant team from Deane. A group of us from the village, took up one table, Marilyn came up with our name of ‘Larks Descending’ which we thought we might very well do!! However, we came joint 4th out of 10 teams which we all considered pretty good. A very enjoyable evening, which also included an excellent Ploughman’s supper and wine.

Sunday 7th was Deane’s Harvest Evensong with United Benefice choir, after the service we were all treated to delicious nibbles and wine while catching up with others during this special time, thank you to those who provided such a bounty.

Friday 12th the Book Club met at Barbara’s to discuss ‘The Sunrise’ by Victoria Hislop. Some had not read it, those who had were not that thrilled, however, two gave a score of 8! That is why it is so interesting to hear the varied differences of opinions and makes for a great discussion. A score overall of 5 was given. Thank you Barbara for your hospitality, and giving us another lovely and different view from your conservatory.

On the morning of Sunday 14th here at St Nicholas’ church, Holy Communion service was taken by Rev. Ron Corne while the organ was played by Matt Trigwell. A very well attended service and good to catch up over coffee afterwards.

Monday 15th was Coffee and Cake morning in the village hall, which indeed was even more welcome on a very damp, grey day. Excellent turn out which was wonderful to see. The next one is of course the Charity Christmas Coffee & Cake on Saturday 24th November in the village hall from 10.00am. It will be wonderful to see you all there.

Singing and Ukulele have now started in full, ‘Panto’ keeps coming into mind!!! UFO is starting up once again after the long summer break. Some of us from the village, also North Waltham, are singing with Basingstoke Choral Society, the next concert is on Sunday 18th November at the Anvil, 7.00pm. ‘The Peacemakers’ by Karl Jenkins and ‘No More Sorrow’ by Will Todd, a most stunning piece, unlike anything we have done before, beautiful. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Driving for R.D.A has come to an end as we finish for the winter, although the ponies are still exercised twice a week, weather permitting. A few events are organised for us all to get together, with of course Christmas lunch to look forward to. A big thank you to all who give up their time to help and especially Susan Hewetson-Brown for providing the beautiful venue, her ponies and so much of her valuable time.

There have been some stunning sunrises and sunsets. The sound of the owls still calling as the rose streaks started to appear on one particular morning was quite spectacular. Autumn colours are upon us and can only get more intense, red berries in great bunches reluctant to relinquish their hold on their branches. The crunch of boot on beech nuts and the crisp sound of fallen leaves. A truly wonderful time of the year. This weekend will be the soaking of fruit in brandy for the Christmas cake, just the start! Most likely the fire will be lit as it is supposed to be getting colder, lovely.

September Blog 2018

On the evening of Thursday 6th September in the village hall, Tracy Colmer gave an excellent talk and demonstration on Adult Basic Life Support, Paediatric Life Support & Choking, Anaphylaxis & Epipen, plus Look & Listen with our own D-Fib. We were invited to try out various methods for ourselves, with some amusement when at one point we had to then get off our knees and creak back up straight!! On the morning of Tuesday 11th Kate Baker went through everything once again to a full hall, brilliant. Thank you very much to Rachel for organising the training with her colleagues from Southampton Hospital.

Friday 14th the Book club met at Linda’s warm sitting room and enjoyed delicious homemade lime and coconut cake, cookies and coffee whilst putting the world to rights and eventually discussing ‘A Fine Balance’ by Rohinton Mistry. A well written book with very believable characters, however, it painted a very sad and disturbing portrait of the time. Some parts hard to read, peppered with moments of real brevity. Unlikely characters brought together in the mid-1970’s in India. A score of 6 was given.

Monday 17th was once again Coffee and Cake morning. Delicious cakes enjoyed by all while catching up with one another, thank you to the cake makers. All are most welcome, the next one is on Monday 15th October.

On the evening of Tuesday 18th singing took place in the village hall, rehearsals for the concert this weekend, 30th. Quite a few of the ladies have been joining ‘The Bells’ ladies choir at Elisfield through the summer, they joined us for the evening and by way of a thank you we provided drinks and nibbles for all. A great evening, Neil played the keyboard, as Paul was playing with the Basingstoke Male Voice Hospital choir, where quite a few of Steventon’s men also went. Those of you who are going to the Anvil on the 30th are in for a real treat!

On the morning of Friday 21st St. Nicholas’ the flower ladies worked their magic with beautiful arrangements throughout the church in readiness for Harvest Festival. Two Canadian ladies turned up later with Phillip Hove on a Jane Austin Hampshire Safari and were very impressed by all the floral arrangements, a perfect time to visit. A little later that morning a group of jolly singers joined Rev. Julia for a Harvest service at Oak Lodge, so very good to see Joyce, also enjoying the service with us.

Harvest Festival Thanksgiving service on Sunday 23rd was wonderful. So lovely to see so many families, also the children, as they were very much involved. Martha and Amelia shared the drama, with great gusto and feeling. George read the reading brilliantly. After the service we all gathered together for a shared lunch at Litchfield Grange. Due to the forecast the night before it was decided not to put up the marquee. Tables were laid out in the beautiful barn, plus tables for all the delicious food that arrived. However, we all took our plates of food outside as the sun had come out to shine so beautifully. The Woodsiders Band guided us all through the routines for the dances extremely well and a thoroughly good time was had by all. ‘Sunny Jim’ turned up for us all to have a Mr. Whippy with flake, for pudding! Phil is his name, he took over the family business from his father and Sunny Jim has now been going for 50 years. Highly recommended for any event. A very big Thank You to all who brought such delicious plates and bowls of food to share and of course an even bigger Thank You to Peter and Mouse for their hospitality and company in such wonderful surroundings.

Going back to 1st July on a very warm morning, Graham and Laura set off from Ashe Park on their epic journey. Home to Rome! A tremendous and courageous feat, a most amazing experience. Just a very short account:- Number of footsteps taken between them=5.3 million. Number of miles walked from Ashe Park to the Vatican=1,450. Number of types of food scavenged en route of natures bounty=11. Number of friends who joined them at some point en route=37. Number of blisters lanced=6. Number of different beds slept in=76. Number of eggs boiled in hotel kettles=18. Number of figs plucked=67. Number of boots worn out=6. Number of consecutive days same shirt worn=75. Number of time shirt washed=74. ‘The Keeper’, Graham and ‘The Scribe’, Laura should indeed be very proud of their accomplishment. It has indeed been a great pleasure to all that have been kept up to date over all their long days accompanied by such fabulous pictures. It would make such a wonderful book, you would have no shortage of buyers! Congratulations.

Produce in the garden is coming to an end, frost has got to the courgettes which have been amazing. The number of cucumbers off our two plants have now risen to 55, incredible. We have succumbed to putting the heating on! Also there has been one fire lit, I’m sure there will be another quite soon. Hey Ho, next month the clocks go back, not until the end though. Long may this lovely weather continue for us all to enjoy.

His Future Was Unknown’ That was the headline in the Horse & Hound on the 6th September. Hannah brought the Champion, Sandro’s Storm, back from competing in the British Dressage Bronze Advanced Championships at Bury Farm Equestrian Village on 25th-26th August. Stanley’s future was unknown as the vets didn’t know how the jaw would react to the surgery to remove a bone cyst from his jaw bone. However, over time as the scan this year showed, it has filled in with bone and shouldn’t cause him a problem.

Hannah pulled up from 5th in the 1st round to take the title on the 2nd round by 0.41%. Absolutely fabulous as they have both worked so hard, while also combining a full time job.

Congratulations…….Extra carrots for Stanley.

August Blog 2018

The sound of Church bells ringing is such a wonderful sound, I hadn’t realized just how much of a work out you could get at the same time!!! Sunday 29th July was the Benefice service at All Saints’ Church, Deane. I went with Carla early, as she is one of the Campanologist’s, I was invited up into the wooden structure called the Castle and sat quietly, in awe, as they went through their set pieces. There are eight bells in total, six ringers this particular evening, the precision and concentration was quite amazing. Alan Purkiss, the Tower Captain, just said the odd word and instantly the sound changed, brilliant, all of you.

Saturday 4th August the Ukulele group had their 2nd ‘Gig’ to celebrate Dave and Julia’s special Birthdays which we all thoroughly enjoyed. A fun filled afternoon with their family and friends, very delicious cakes and tea, plenty of shade to help us keep cool. Dave and Julia’s son played with us too which was a treat. One favourite was an English Country Garden, which was changed to Dave and Julia’s Country Garden, great fun. A lovely picture was taken to keep as a reminder of a very special day……

Friday 10th Book Club met at Julia’s to discuss ‘Birds Without Wings’ by Louis de Berniere. A score of 5 was given. The sensors of opinion was, too historical, longwinded and very sad. However the company was great, fabulous cake, made by Sally, blue with white dainty flowers and the most beautiful rose, the sides decorated with delicate sugar lace. It also tasted delicious. Thank you to Julia for hosting.

Wednesday 15th a large group of jolly villagers went to the Watermill Theatre to see ‘Sweet Charity’. Thank you to Marilyn for the block booking, what a fabulous evening, always such a beautiful setting especially on a summer evening.

Friday 17th was the Communion service at Oak Lodge. A slightly different one as the music was supplied by the Ukulele’s!! as Paul and Marilyn were away. We arrived early to set up, so started by singing and playing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ which coincided with Rev. Julia’s arrival….how apt….

The following morning, Saturday 18th the jolly band of four, John, Mike, Jeff and Nigel, made their way down to the village hall. Armed with brushes etc. painting of the Bus Shelter began. Then onto the garden fence, the picket fence, then the bench and finally the notice board!!! Anything wooden was painted! It all looks grand, well done chaps.

Coffee and Cake was thoroughly enjoyed on Monday 20th at the village hall whilst catching up with friends and neighbours.

A wonderful piece of news was the arrival on 20th July, of baby Cosima, sister to Araminta and of course daughter to Nick and Charlie. Huge congratulations to you all.

A vast temperature change this morning, the grass is growing once again and everywhere is greening up. Mowers can once again be heard after remaining silent for so long! The tomatoes have been so very sweet and in abundance this year. We are up to our 40th outdoor cucumber, from just two plants, unbelievable and the one curly courgette plant has taken over one of the veggie patches…..they have loved the sun. A sunflower, as high as the runner beans, has grown from a seed that must have been dropped by a bird and looks amazing, such a thick sturdy stem, must take a picture. Enjoy the Bank Holiday, hopefully we will get to see the Red Arrows while enjoying a glass or two in the garden.

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!