Outlook - May 2022


The magazine for the people of Hughenden Parish

Dear Readers

‘Ne’er cast a clout ‘til May is out’ was the warning always issued by my Granny when I was a child and no matter what the weather was doing, whether it was chilly or boiling hot, our vests and warm (often knitted) petticoats were not to be removed yet. How things have changed – and not just the knitted petticoats! 

Good Friday was one of the warmest days of the year so far and the sun shone from dawn ‘til dusk. As we sat in the garden, birds were singing all around us; robins, wrens, blackbirds, chaffinches, dunnocks, the tit family, even the kites and the crows were joining in, although perhaps not so melodiously, but nevertheless singing in their own way.

I was in the audience for the Singing for Ukraine evening at the beginning of April (see the report in the following pages) and how enjoyable it all was. It is a proven fact that singing makes you feel better. It lifts the spirits as well as exercising lungs, lips and no doubt, other parts too. I did find the warm-up exercise for lips a bit of a tongue/lip twister! Singing Popocatepetl repeatedly and quickly as you went up and down the scale, was quite a challenge! Undaunted, I shall be joining the choir when it resumes after the Easter break.

Traditionally choristers from Magdalen College Choir climb the tower of the college to ‘sing-in’ the Spring at 5.00 am on 1st May. Crowds stand below to hear them singing, their breath condensing in the cool morning air. What a way to start the day – and the month! I bet all those little boys (and sometimes girls too), are full of beans by the time they get down to ground level again. Later Morris Men from different troupes dance their way through the thronging streets of Oxford and everyone seems happy.

Have a lovely, happy and song-filled May. Perhaps you will spot some children dancing around a Maypole.

Sylvia Clark

Editor

The editors for the June edition will be Christopher and Jane Tyrer

(Not) From the Vicarage

Curiosity killed the curate (well, not quite!)

As this edition of Outlook goes to press, we are preparing to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. However, as I’m writing this, we’re between Good Friday and Easter Sunday; A time of waiting … but with the benefit of knowing the excitement and celebration of Sunday. When Jesus was crucified, the disciples didn’t have that advantage and so they had to wait for the festival weekend (Passover) to be over before continuing what they thought would be the next part of the journey of grief … but what turned out to be a completely unforeseen event.

I have to admit, I’m not great at waiting and so I seem to focus more on the journey than on the destination. Just as the Queen’s jubilee celebrates a lifetime of service and the events of Holy Week to Easter recognise Jesus’ ministry and journey to the cross, so a pilgrimage gives people an opportunity to consider the journey as much as the place they are headed towards.

Just before Palm Sunday heralded the journey through Holy Week, I was on leave and decided to walk the Archangel Way across the top of Dartmoor. This route, set up by “Devon Pilgrims,” winds its way from St Michael’s Church on top of Brent Tor to St Michael’s in Chagford. It takes in another 10 churches along the way and pilgrims carry a “passport” which they can stamp at each church along the way and record their progress.

I was curious to see how the different churches along the way welcome visitors and pilgrims and look forward to sharing some of those ideas back at our own St Michael’s as we think about how we can make people feel welcome as they come into church. Some were tiny churches in the middle of nowhere and others were in towns where tourists were regular visitors to the church building.

The slightly cryptic title to this article comes from an experience in the church in Sourton, where the Archangel Way travels along the Granite Way (disused railway) for a while. In the grounds of the church is a labyrinth and so we paused from the long-distance route to take some time to pray as we walked in the slower, more mindful way that people have for centuries.

During the previous day, my walking boots had rubbed on the back of my ankles and so that morning I had decided to walk in soft trainers with almost no tread (after all, it was only a disused railway!) … BAD IDEA! … I was on the top of a TINY grass bank above the labyrinth and slipped on the damp grass in my eagerness to discover what was below! It seems that knees DON’T bend sideways! The good news is that after a couple of days just walking on the flat, things were much better and I was able to continue on to St Boniface Way from Crediton to Exeter where Bishop Nick of Plymouth kindly signed my Pilgrim Passport!

The main things I think I learned are:

  1. A welcoming church is an open church.

  2. Pilgrims have as many ways of coming to our doors as purposes for their visit.

  3. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small church or a large cathedral, as long as the welcome is real.

Buen Camino, TJ.

Rev. Tracey Jones (TJ)

Curate

07939 536879

rev.​funkyfish​@gmail.​com

Connecting with the Cables

St Michael & All Angels’ Mission Link Partners, Jen and Kevin Cable, give an update about their continuning mission in Jaffa.

Dear Friends,

Here in Israel, for our first Easter in the Holy Land, we have taken the time to reflect on the months in Jaffa and to look forward.

As part of the ecumenical community here in Jaffa, we are celebrating Maundy Thursday with the Roman Catholic church for their service and The Gethsemane Watch. We are having some joint services with Immanuel Lutheran Church, where we hold our Anglican services on Sundays, joining in their service on Good Friday and them joining us on Easter Sunday. We are holding our own Easter Vigil with the lighting of the Paschal candle and Renewal of Baptism vows on Saturday night, once Shabbat has ended and the Lutheran congregation will also join us for that. This is always a powerful and moving service as we rush to celebrate the risen Lord at the first opportunity, just as the women rushed to the tomb at the first opportunity after Shabbat ended where they found the empty tomb. Our contract to hire the Lutheran Church has been extended until the end of June, and then once again it will be reviewed, and we may need to find another worshipping location.

As Pilgrim tour groups re start, we have enjoyed welcoming visitors to our services and have had anything from eighteen to forty people each week in total. We have also had several people from the UK and USA visiting us who are here on business and have found us through our website, joining us for worship while they are in Israel. You can have a look at our website at www.stpetersjaffa.com

Yesterday (11th April), we met with the Archbishop of Jerusalem, The Most Reverend Hosam Naoum, to review the last few months in Jaffa and discuss the ongoing plans for the restoration of St Peters building. As we process the meeting and pray, we look forward to being able to update you on the next steps, as we discern how the Lord wants us to move forward now that we have received the reports from the engineers and technicians. We hope and pray that as we continue to increase the Anglican presence in the community and show God’s love through our lives, that we will also be able to progress in having our own building to worship in and to share with the community. Please pray that we will clearly see the way the Lord is leading. Fr Kevin is already arranging the first team of contractors as I write.

Our Mums and babies’ group, Little Lambs, is doing well with seeds being sown through many conversations. We have had several weeks with between one and four babies coming to play, praying they will continue to come. It is our hope that through God’s love, our friendship and by offering support for the Mums and Dads and community, that the group will continue to grow. We aim to serve the community, and pray that the Lord will work through us as we share our lives with people.

Fr Kevin’s lecture at the Tel Aviv Academy on the history of the Anglican Church in Jaffa was postponed due to a funeral of a famous Rabbi, where a million people (yes, really!) were expected to attend, and so all local events were cancelled due to concerns regarding safety. We will tell you more after he has delivered it next month. However, the research that he did in preparation has been invaluable and has been a useful reminder that historically, all the churches’ projects in this area often take a long time before progress is seen. This study has reminded us, that whether we will see this growth or not ourselves, we must be obedient to the Call and go where the Lord leads us.

You may have heard of the recent attacks in Israel during Ramadan. The most recent one in Jaffa occurred whilst we were in Galilee for a few days with Jen’s daughter and Son in Law who were visiting from the UK, so we were well away from the area where it took place, which is nearby to our home. It has been a sober reminder of the tensions that are just beneath the surface even though things are generally peaceful on a day-to-day basis. However, in the light of these events, we have changed some of our shopping routes as both the area in Tel Aviv and Jaffa where the attacks took place are regular routes for us. We were in Jerusalem this week and were advised to avoid the Damascus Gate due to Fr Kevin’s Jewish ethnicity. Having family here has shown us how much we have learnt and settled in but is also a reminder as we explain and describe things to them that the community and country that we live in is a complex situation. We pray that we do not lose sight of that and continue to pray for all people in Israel, for peace, and reconciliation.

We pray for you all, that you too, may be willing to be obedient to where the Lord is calling you, persevere in sharing the good news of Jesus, that we may all know His patience, as we wait for the seeds of the Gospel to grow and for people to know the risen Lord.

We send you our Easter blessings and prayers as you journey through the Lord’s Passion and rejoice in the Resurrection.

Jen and Kevin Cable

Singing for Ukraine

The church, which had been especially floodlit in blue and yellow for the occasion, was the venue for a varied sing-along programme of modern songs led by the Hughenden Community Singers on 1st April to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukrainian Appeal. Over £1,500 was raised by the event.

The Community Singers, led by musical director, our own Richard Peters, took the audience through favourites from ‘When I’m sixty-four’, ‘Mamma Mia’, and ‘Any dream will do’ to classics such as ‘Loch Lomond’ and ‘Danny Boy’. The audience was in fine and powerful voice, being only slightly fazed when it came to the difficulties of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but truly coming to peak singing (and clapping) for ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’

Although the evening was light-hearted in the main, the tragic purpose for which the sing-along was held was not forgotten. A recording of the Ukrainian National Anthem opened proceedings, accompanied by a video of that beautiful country. Part way through, news footage from the war was played. A poem by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage entitled ‘Resistance’ was read by one of the concert organisers, Frank Hawkins.

Ample refreshments, including those donated by Penn and Tyler’s Green Social Club, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Walters Ash Co-op and Morrisons were served. The donors were thanked by organiser Liz Moseley, as were the Vicar and churchwardens for their permission to use the Church.

The Community Singers were only formed earlier this year, and this was their first public ‘outing’. It was a truly fitting and worthwhile event led by this new and valuable community resource.

Jane Tyrer

The Hughenden Community Singers meet on Monday evenings in Hughenden Church and can be contacted by calling Liz on 07768 790029. There are no auditions and all are welcome to join, (of whatever singing standard) including under 18s, if accompanied by an adult.

Resistance

It’s war again: a family
   carries its family out of a pranged house
      under a burning thatch.

The next scene smacks
   of archive newsreel: platforms and trains
      (never again, never again),

toddlers passed
   over heads and shoulders, lifetimes stowed
      in luggage racks.

It’s war again: unmistakable smoke
   on the near horizon mistaken
      for thick fog. Fingers crossed.

An old blue tractor
   tows an armoured tank
      into no-man’s land.

It’s the ceasefire hour: godspeed the columns
   of winter coats and fur-lined hoods,
      the high-wire walk

over buckled bridges
   managing cases and bags,
      balancing west and east - godspeed.

It’s war again: the woman in black
   gives sunflower seeds to the soldier, insists
      his marrow will nourish

the national flower. In dreams
   let bullets be birds, let cluster bombs
      burst into flocks.

False news is news
   with the pity
      edited out. It’s war again:

an air-raid siren can’t fully mute
   the cathedral bells -
      let’s call that hope.

Simon Armitage

Poet laureate

Ukraine - Children in Peril

We will all have followed the news about the war and suffering in Ukraine with some horror, especially in early April as images of atrocities and human rights abuses emerged. As Russian forces redeploy and reinforce, and as Ukrainian defences respond, it is hard to see a rapid end to this conflict.

Unfortunately, this is a nightmare that is unlikely to go away for some time. We are sure that you have been moved by the children who are in peril there, both within the country and beyond. There are huge numbers of children affected and, yes, some heartening stories have emerged – children travelling resourcefully on their own to reach relatives across friendly borders; babies and infants rescued by brave paramedics, and doctors who willingly put their own lives in peril.

However, according to UNICEF, in early April 4.3 million children had been displaced: more than half the country’s child population of 7.5 million. Some 1.8 million children had fled Ukraine, in many cases unaccompanied. Furthermore, about 2.5 million children were displaced internally. Indications are that many of these will soon have to be on the move again. Amongst them are up to 100,000 orphans who had been housed in nearly 700 children’s homes. According to Save the Children, many of these are disabled. Only a minority of them have been evacuated so far and there are concerns that many will be left behind in miserable conditions. Clearly, they need urgent assistance and safe relocation. However, as UNICEF and UNHCR have warned, they are also at grave risk of exploitation and abuse, and they need to be identified and recorded so that living relatives and guardians can be contacted and care arranged.

After an arduous journey to safety, two-month-old Andrii is among the youngest of more than 2 million refugees from Ukraine, but his aunt already looks forward to the day he can return. © UNHCR

Further afield in the region, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust is very concerned about the situation in Nagorno Karabakh, where Russian peace-keeping forces could be weakened by diversion to Ukraine. As it is, killings and pogroms continue across the 2020 ceasefire line with Azerbaijan, and there is renewed concern for the safety of the Rehabilitation Centre in Stepanakert, which we reported on some time ago.

Mission Support Group

How can we help?

Please do support the organisations working in the area, like UNICEF, Save the Children, as well as the other organisations in the Disasters Emergency Committee (www.dec.org.uk). Please do also pray for these organisations and their work. Please do also pray for a peaceful and rapid end to the conflict, and especially for the situation not to escalate or widen.

UNICEF

The informative UNICEF website (www.unicef.org.uk) includes pages calling for us to “Donate to Protect Children in UKRAINE”. It also points out some of the dangers for the millions of children and their families who are on the move, and it explains where and how UNICEF and others are operating in bordering countries as well as in Ukraine itself. UNICEF also gives very useful advice on how to explain the situation to our own children, who may see news and feel anxious: www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/emergencies/how-to-talk-to-children-about-the-conflict-in-ukraine

Save the Children is also working in the area. It is one of the 15 organisations under the Disasters Emergency Committee umbrella, to which many of us connected with St Michael & All Angels have already donated (www.savethechildren.org.uk).

A Silver Spoon!

The first time I met him face to face he gave me such an ear full. He ticked me off good and proper. He unzipped my motives, pummelled my actions and be-littled my words. And then he did some-thing that undid his entire tirade. He pointed right at my chest and declared, 'You can put that in your Pope and smike it!'

His words didn't bring the response he was seeking, for he read my confusion and I could see a gathering uncertainty arise as I envisaged him replaying his words back through his memory banks.

I couldn't stop myself from smirking at my colleague who had had to listen to my telling off, and we both began to snigger. It was the start of something quite special for there are not many men who, in their anger, can turn their mistakes around to laugh at themselves.

We learned something important that day; that our betters, our judges, our elders, they are people too, and you are as able to befriend a peer as someone twice or three times your age.

Where humour abounds, bridges of affection and friendship are easy to build. That the humour came in a moment of speech in one so sharp was just the beginning of a catalogue of exquisite reasons to laugh, and we grew fond of each other through our ability to hold ourselves and each other in this comic esteem.

Andy Hyde

Mothers' Union

From The Nile to Naphill – the Art of Brickwor

At our meeting in April we were treated to a most interesting talk about bricks given by Alan Jaycock. Alan's interest started after a visit to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam and he spoke of the wonder he felt when looking up at the brickwork there.

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

He explained that when bricks are made their size should be such that they can be held with one hand and the length must be no longer than two widths. Bricks have been discovered in many different places, some fashioned by hand and showing finger marks. We saw pictures of various examples of historical brickwork, e.g. the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the many temples in Myanmar, the Chrysler building and also of some of the 1,200 miles of Victorian sewers under London.

Alan told us that in 600 BC bricks were made using the fine river silt along the banks of the Nile. This was mixed with straw to bind them and prevent them from crumbling when they were baked in the sun. In 604 glazed bricks were used for the throne room in Babylon for Nebuchadnezzar. Roman bricks were a different shape altogether, being much flatter, almost tile-like, but they do look very attractive on a temple in Rome.

The development of English bricks began around the 11th century, although during the Tudor period Roman bricks were often used. Sometimes when a lot of bricks were dried in a kiln, the ones in the middle were burnt. The ‘burnt’ bricks were often used to make attractive patterns in the brickwork on buildings, Hampton Court Palace being an example. This was quite a skill. Tudor brick-work can be seen at Chenies Manor.

During the industrial revolution bricks were used to make arches supporting railways, a wonderful example of this being the GWR bridge at Maidenhead, designed by Brunel, which has the widest span in Europe and is now a World Heritage site. Wycombe Station has the biggest retaining wall in Europe; it holds up Amersham Hill.

Maidenhead Railway Bridge

Alan said that over the years the engineering of bricks and the skills of the workforce have been astounding. Hundreds of workers were used in building Battersea Power Station, and the postmodern pumping station at the Isle of Dogs is a wonderful piece of work, designed by John Outram in 1986 and known as the ‘Temple of Storms’.

‘Temple of Storms'

Bricks were once handmade in Naphill at a site behind Coles & Blackwell, now just a field.

Alan’s passion for bricks shone through in his fascinating talk. Who would have thought the simple brick was so interesting? He was warmly thanked.

At our next meeting at 7.30 pm on 3rd May our speaker is Joanna from Azalea Charity in High Wycombe. As usual, everyone is welcome.

Sara Badrick

Help for Mothers’ Union Diocese of Oxford

Do you have financial / accountancy experience?

Do you have a little spare time?

Would you like to support the biggest Anglican charity – well a small part of it! – in this Diocese?

Mothers’ Union, Diocese of Oxford is looking for someone like you to be our next treasurer. We are coping with the bookkeeping, but a qualified person is needed for support and advice to our team and to prepare our accounts for the Charity Commissioners.

Louise Butler would like to hear from you. To find out more, contact her at finance@muoxford.org.uk

Nature Quest

The Spring flowers have been glorious this year just as they are every year. Bright cheerfulness after the relatively drab times of Winter. I suppose everyone has their favourites: maybe daffodils (traditional? or some newfangled fancy variety?); snowdrops (now long gone); lily of the valley for its scent, though for me the wallflower scent is by far the best; currently there’s a magnificent cherry blossoming across the road; Arthur’s magnolia was magnificent until the frost browned its petals. My favourite garden flowers are the scarlet tulips which come up year after year.

But what about the wild flowers? Of course everyone loves bluebells, and they do so well in our Chiltern beechwoods. Lesser celandines just love the brightest sunshine. More exotic flowers like orchids are not ready yet. For me the dandelions are the outright Spring winners. They have a certain sentimental value because our tortoise used to love them, but I love them for their cheerful determination to flourish in the poorest of locations.

Maybe you’d like to continue on the flowers theme, but I’m onto something far less spectacular this month. Lifeforms can be large or small, attention-grabbing or unnoticed. Some have an obvious and useful role in our ecosystems: others can seem more of a nuisance. Our special focus this month is certainly useful, but very small, and a little can go a long way. It’s yeast. Jesus’s parable about the Kingdom of God: “A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with forty litres of flour until the whole batch of dough rises”. The exact amount of yeast doesn’t seem to matter: it will soon grow and fill the whole batch.

There are many kinds of yeast and they are all types of fungus. Yeasts exist naturally, for example on human skin especially the warmer damper parts: mostly harmless. Yeasts are part of the biodiversity of the intestinal flora and help support the immune system that is regulated by the gut. Other yeasts are on the skins of fruits like grapes. One particular kind of yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used for bread, beer and wine. In theory you could use exactly the same yeast to make all of these, but in practice you need to use specific strains of yeast for each of these products, because we are quite fussy about what we consider a good wine or a perfect loaf or a perfect pint. Professional winemakers will use slightly different yeasts depending on the variety of grapes and even on the ripeness or sweetness.

Making wine from grapes inevitably introduces some wild yeasts from the skins of the grapes, and these wild yeasts start the fermentation, but generally as alcohol is created, they stop fermenting and die, and the deliberately added yeast (being more alcohol-tolerant) then dominates the process, and the winemaker can control the quality and character of the wine.

Yeasts have one main process: to feed on sugar or starch and to multiply rapidly, and to leave waste products of alcohol and carbon dioxide. In bread-making the carbon dioxide creates bubbles in the dough which expand to give a light fluffy loaf. The alcohol just evaporates as the bread is baked. In wine-making the alcohol is retained and the bubbles of gas are allowed to dissipate; unless you want fizzy wines, for which a second fermentation is allowed in the bottle.

Yeasts also have many minor processes and create small amounts of other chemicals. These add to the character and complexity of the wine. The various strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast produce different proportions of these other chemicals. Getting the balance right is the key to an award-winning vintage.

Yeast cells are very small, poorly visible in an optical microscope.The scanning electron microscope image shows the details of the egg-shaped saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, just a few microns long. At this magnification a human hair would completely fill the whole image.

Yeast Cells

Yeast cells multiply by “budding”. A blob exudes from one side of the cell, and grows until big enough to break away, leaving a scar. The scars are easily visible in this image. The buds are less obvious.

Yeast has been part of human development for thousands of years, but little understood until Louis Pasteur’s research 150 years ago. More recently the whole genome of saccharomyces cerevisiae has been studied and the 700 or more strains identified. In the laboratory it is proving a useful vehicle for genetic modifications, for instance, to cause it to produce penicillin instead of alcohol. It equally has the prospect of creating new antibiotics, to replace the present ones to which the organisms are becoming increasingly immune.

So this Spring when you’re sitting with your glass of rosé, admiring your garden, or eating your sandwiches in a woodland glade, just remember those tiny yeast cells working away for your enjoyment, and thank God for their creation!

Mike Hill

nature@​hughenden​parish​church.org.uk

Boundary Well Beaten

The sun was shining on Easter Monday morning as we set off from the church in small groups or as individuals to enjoy our parish boundary walk. There were two routes to choose from, each covering part of the boundary. Most of us took the 7 mile option, while a few hardy souls chose the 12 mile route. Thanks to the meticulous planning of route maps by Mike Hill and Andrew Collard, there was no danger of anyone getting lost as we made our circuitous way to Great Kingshill Common, our lunch stop.

More people arrived by shorter routes or by car to join us at the common, where we all ate our lunch and exchanged stories of the beautiful countryside we had passed though. With new leaves opening on the trees, and bluebells and honesty coming into flower, we were all reminded how blessed we are to live in the Chilterns.

Great Kingshill village hall had been booked just in case of wet weather, and John Grainger kindly made cups of tea there for any of us who wanted them. After lunch, Mike encouraged us to join in what turned out to be an energetic and competitive game of French Cricket!

Just a two mile walk from Great Kingshill took us all back to the churchyard, where we gathered with the stones we had collected in order to build a cairn. Mike spoke to us about cairns being built to mark holy sites and to show the way in difficult territory. He placed twelve stones in a circle to represent the twelve apostles, with a stone in the centre to represent Jesus, and we each then added our stone, as well as a piece of stone from the church tower and a stick to represent a pilgrim staff.

We are all very grateful to Mike and Andrew for organising the walk and we look forward to next time!

Charlotte Tester

Spring Credo

April stole a march on May
And bent with white the cherry bough
As if to say
‘Sweeter and more lasting blossom comes,
Be patient now’.

A strange season, this.
Spring comes in disguise
With May masked in November’s mist.
The cat slumbers on in timeless trance,
Its haunches heave unhurriedly like earth’s sluggish pulse,
And agitated birds await their cue.
Once, as the sun briefly stirred,
A damp and desultory cuckoo-call rose up from Cockshoot Wood.
A transitory beam swept through the copse in search of life -
But gaunt and stiff as headstones stood the trees.
In cemetery silence still they freeze.

It is hard to keep faith;
To hold fast to a creed and believe in life eternal
And never-failing resurrection day.
It is hard, especially hard,
When May-day blows the same bleak wind
That’s hurled its hatred south since leaves were stripped;
The same bitter breath that reeks of death.
Death has been in season far too long.

Yet I have seen the violets, white and blue,
And greens of every hue break slowly through
This cold and sodden corpse we call the earth.
And now at middle-mark of May
I sit and watch the miracle at play.
The tree puts on its best for Whitsun Day,
Like an Easter-bride who oversleeps
And now is quick to dress and haste away,
Knowing that her lover will have stayed.

I am the lover, and I wait.
Early or late, I know my love will come,
And we shall be as one.

Green breaks the old and crumbled clay, made new;
And all the dreary dread of death is fled.
I believe in miracles made manifest in May
I believe in resurrection day.

Ron Cretchley

The Mindful Gardener

We made it through January, temperatures are on the rise, and planting season is upon us.The Hughenden Valley Climate Group have put together a few thoughts on how all of us can make a difference to the way we think about our gardens this year.

Bee Friendly: Include as many bee friendly plants as you can in your garden: lavender, catmint, sage, fennel, hollyhocks, anemones, geraniums, borage - the list is endless! If you want to get really busy on behalf of the bees, ask the government to do their bit by telling them not to lift the ban on bee killing pesticides: www.action.greenpeace.org.uk

Hold back from tidying your garden too early and wait for temperatures to rise. Cutting back and clearing disturbs those insects still sheltering from Winter. Most Bumblebee Queens nest just below the ground or under piles of brush until Spring when they emerge.

No dig gardening has been talked about for some time now and has really begun to gain attention in the gardening world. Our soil is full of beneficial microbes and organisms, in turn providing plants with nutrients and promoting water retention. Soil health is at the heart of a great garden and a better planet. Further resources include Charles Dowding’s website: www.charlesdowding.co.uk, Anna Greenland: www.annagreenland.co.uk and Huw Richards on YouTube.

Permaculture is the development of agricultural eco-systems so that they are self-sufficient and sustainable In terms of our own gardens, this can simply mean collecting rainwater or home composting but can also include using green manure (fast growing plants that are used to cover and protect bare soil and then tilled back in to enrich it) or discouraging insects without using chemicals: “You don’t have a snail problem - you have a duck deficiency!” Alfalfa, buckwheat, fenugreek and mustard greens are some of the many green manures out there and companion planting can also help with insect problems (you really don’t need to buy a duck!)

Finally, please consider supporting the Climate Group’s seedling swap in Spring and look out for further details on our Facebook page. We have been collecting and saving seeds over late Summer and early Autumn of 2021 to share and we are hoping these will be in the village shop when it reopens. If you happen to have any seeds to donate, please do get in touch via Facebook, particularly if you have more than you need from a packet you buy for this year’s planting.

Happy Gardening from all of us at Hughenden Climate Group.

Around Our Church

How many of you have noticed/wondered about/tripped over the bell in the corner near the vestry?

I have tried and failed on several occasions to read both the card that explains it, and the inscription around its edge. So naturally, I asked David Cornwall.

He told me that this is the top part of the old 7th bell, when all the bells, apart from an old tenor bell (which was kept as chiming bell only) were recast in 1952. This original bell was cast at the Wokingham Bell Foundry between 1460 and 1490.

The inscription should read Sancta Maria, Ora Pro Nobis (Holy, or Saint, Mary, pray for us) but the N is missing. (Hope we got a reduction in the price!).

The card reads, in rather beautiful calligraphy: ‘Crown and canons of old seventh bell’. The crown is the top of the bell, and the canons are loops of bronze encircling the top of the bell, equally distanced from each other: the part of the bell by which it is suspended from a beam. So now you know!

Jane Tyrer

Bookends

‘Trollopian’. Do you ever use that word? I wondered whether maybe I had made it up but no it is indeed a bona fide word. When I employ this term it is usually when commenting on happenings in churches, or more frequently cathedrals. I am meaning that the situation is reminiscent of something in Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers. This is a sequence of Victorian novels concerned with a cathedral community and the goings on and machinations of those within and without the Cathedral Close. Much is made of ecclesiastical titles: archdeacons, minor canons, vergers, sacristans etc. Power, control and status are much sought after and who takes tea with whom is carefully noted. Despite being written in the middle of the 19th century, it is very easy to find contemporary stories of disputes between deans and bishops in English cathedrals that mirror those of which Trollope wrote.

I had thought these books were called the Barchester Chronicles but it seems that this was the overall title given by the BBC when they dramatised the stories in the 1980s. Also, please note that we are in Barsetshire not Borsetshire, where the Archers reside in Ambridge!

Over a century later, a distant 5th generation niece of Anthony Trollope, Joanna of course, wrote a book using subject matter her predecessor would have recognised and with which he would have been familiar. ‘The Choir’ was an early book in a series of work that became called Aga Sagas. I looked up where this term originated and it was in fact first used by the critic Terence Blacker, writing in Publishing News in 1992. What does it conjure up for you I wonder? It was supposed to tell the reader to expect middle class characters, often quite well off, usually living in pretty villages or small prosperous market towns. Although Joanna Trollope became very tired of the phrase coming up in every interview and article, it is in fact fairly accurate. There are indeed many Agas!

I suspect many of you read these books several decades ago but maybe not so many of you still have them lined on your bookshelves. I do and I have been enjoying visiting them again.

In ‘The Choir’ the cathedral in Aldminster has problems, financial among others, and there are several different proposed ways of solving the seemingly rather intractable difficulties. Church and cathedral roofs often feel intractable don’t you think? One radical thought is to get rid of the cathedral choir and its associated costs. I remember, on first reading, thinking that something like that would never happen but of course recently, in pandemic and lockdown times, at least one cathedral took the opportunity to do just this, relying heavily on words like elitist and irrelevant.

Joanna Trollope adds to the mix a failing marriage, an affair with the organist and a Dean with troublesome children. It is good reading.

I notice that in many of her books Trollope has a female character who is slightly (or sometimes wholly) out of place. In this story and in another church based one, ‘The Rector’s Wife,’ they do not fit in with the perceived views of others as to what is deemed ‘right’ or appropriate within a church setting. The author seems to enjoy describing rather colourful, exotic or maybe hippy clothing, hair that is definitely not permed or set, and attitudes that have a disregard for the way in which things have always been done. These women often feel misunderstood, overlooked, undervalued and can’t quite see their way forward. I can see the appeal of writing them into the stories and putting them in settings and scenarios that might otherwise be rather staid and even dull.

Reading these books again three decades after they were written, it is interesting to see how society has become significantly more tolerant and open minded during that period of time. In ‘A Village Affair,’ a lesbian affair rocks not only a family but the whole community. I don’t think that would happen today. Nor do I think that the organist in ‘The Choir’ who has an affair with a chorister’s mother and plans to marry her after her imminent divorce, would now be required to resign his post.

‘The Choir’ has several almost eternal themes with which it wrestles. Do we spend money on church meaning the building or church meaning the people? How do we make religious establishments open, accessible, welcoming to all? How do we preserve what is good and precious from the past whilst being forward looking and open to the new? The characters in Joanna Trollope’s book cover all sides of this dilemma. They are brightly coloured and their personalities are fully described. The reader gets to know them and cares what happens next.

I really enjoyed this re-reading and there are several more stories on the shelf waiting for me.

Susan Brice

May Recipe

Yoghurt loaf cake with orange curd and almonds

I usually look for recipes that I have done for years and are established favourites but this month it is a recipe that I have only recently found in the Guardian magazine.

This super moist cake was delicious and easy to make, but also has an important lesson in it! I have baked for so long that often I read the ingredients and quick read the recipe. In the ingredients for the cake it had 230g yoghurt and when I put it in the bowl with other ingredients I thought it was a lot of yoghurt; I should have checked then but didn’t. Then when I started to assemble the other ingredients I saw that only 80g went in the cake. Big mistake!

I hate waste so then I had to work out the other ingredients in proportion to that large amount of yogurt; so with 8 eggs I had to make 3 cakes. Lesson: always check the recipe before measuring the ingredients together! The rest of the yoghurt in the recipe was to mix with the curd for serving. In the original recipe your own orange curd is made, but this is quite hard work and just as easy to buy a jar. I have now changed how it reads in the recipe below. It is a delicious moist cake that keeps well.

Julia Grant

Ingredients


140g plain flour

70g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

200g caster sugar

2 tbsp orange zest (2oranges)

1 tsp lemon zest

80g thick-set Greek yoghurt

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla paste

125ml olive oil

To serve:

20g toasted flaked almonds

150g Greek yoghurt

150g orange curd (could use lemon curd if preferred)

Method


  1. Preheat oven to 190°C, gas mark 5, and fan oven 170°C. Line a 20cm x 7cm loaf tin with baking parchment.

  2. For the batter: put the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, sugar and both zests in a bowl with a pinch of salt and mix well.

  3. In another bowl mix the 80g of Greek yogurt, vanilla paste, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour this wet mixture into the flour mix and gently incorporate, trying not to over mix.

  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

  5. Gently remove from the tin and cool.

  6. To serve mix the yogurt and orange curd together and spread on the cake, topping with the almonds. Only do this if you are going to serve and eat on that day. If you wish to keep the cake longer I would suggest serving the yoghurt mix separately.

Sheffield Park and Garden

On a recent visit to East Sussex to see family members for the first time in three months, we went to Sheffield Park and Gardens, an estate now owned and managed by the National Trust.

Described as a “place of light and water”, the visit is to a garden of considerable beauty, with water, springs and landscape to amaze. The original house, Sheffield Park House, has been sold off after conversion to substantial apartments, leaving the substantial gardens and parkland to wander around and enjoy.

The original estate predates the Conquest and was given by King William to a half-brother. The house and park feature in the Doomsday Book of 1086, named as “Sifelle”, translated as a place cleared for sheep grazing. By the Sixteenth Century, it was owned by Thames Howard, Duke of Norfolk and uncle of Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII stayed there (of course…). Later still in the 18th and early 19th centuries, it was home to John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield and then his descendants.

It was the1st Earl who commissioned the seemingly ubiquitous Capability Brown to landscape the gardens and parkland and they have retained much of their magnificence to this day. It was at the House that substantial parts of Edward Gibbons’ 12-part history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written. When Gibbon died in 1794, he was buried in the nearby church at Fletching. Another well-known post Victorian author, Virginia Woolf, wrote “Reflections at Sheffield Park” there too. James Wyatt, the architect (1746-1813), redesigned the House and, in particular, was responsible for the huge Gothic window which dominates one end of the property. When visiting on a briskly cold day, we wondered about the heating bills for the occupants of that end of the House that includes the extant window.

The zenith of the property’s history was during the time of the 3rd Earl of Sheffield. Whereas the 1st Earl was engaged in agriculture and the 2nd in having a quiet life but supportive of the local community (he gave a new school to the village of Fletching and a new organ to the Parish Church), the 3rd was a force to be reckoned with, developing the landscape, extending the gardens from parkland and becoming a renowned cricketer. It was on the cricket pitch at Sheffield Park that W G Grace captained a team that played an Australian Touring Team over two days (and lost). “Cricket in the Park: The Life and Times of Lord Sheffield 1832-1909”, by Roger Packham tells the full story.

When the 3rd Earl died in April 1909, unmarried, but in the south of France with his “secretary”, the estate was effectively bankrupt. The House and Park was purchased by one Arthur Gilstrap Soames, an old Etonian, who undertook a thorough modernisation of the gardens. Every season has its moment of glory and visitors can marvel at each time of the year as the grounds and arboriculture mirror the particular period.

When Arthur Soames died in 1934, his widow struggled on, but the War brought troops and military occupation. She surrendered the house and estate to a nephew, who tried to restore the considerable war damage to the House but, eventually, gave up and sold out to a property company.

The National Trust began to purchase the land parts of the estate in 1954 and, in the years since, has restored and acquired acreage. There have been setbacks; the devastating storm of the 16th October 1987, (remember Michael Fish?) bringing winds of in excess of 100mph, destroyed over 2000 trees. But, over time, the gardens have been matured and original areas, once sold off, have been purchased back by the NT. It is now very much as it was in its heyday.

It is a long walk round – best done slowly … there are cafés!

Christopher Tyrer

Bell Tower Restoration Works

As part of the Restoration Works, it was found that the Finial Cross and Cockerel Weather Vane were seriously corroded. The Restoration Works were mainly required due to rot to the timber work, caused by water leaks. The main leaks were through the lead valley gutters and a minor leak, due to corrosion of the Steel Cross Finial.

Original finial

A replacement Finial has been made in stainless steel copying the original design, as near as possible and is corrosion resistant. The fixing detail has also been re-designed to ensure no water leaks are possible in the future. The old Steel Finial is not being discarded but will be fixed to a wall in the Mothers' Union Garden for all to enjoy.

Derek & Shirley's grandson with the Cockerel

The copper Cockerel Weather Vane was in very good condition but was green due to copper oxidisation. A decision was taken to apply a gold leaf finish to the Cockerel. This was done by acid cleaning to remove oxidisation, then a metal primer was applied. Three oil-based undercoats were applied and finally two coats of a gold leaf paint treatment, which we have been informed, is harder wearing and longer lasting than gold leaf itself. We trust this is the case and the Cockerel will adorn the top of the Bell Tower Steeple for many years to come.

Derek Brown

Mothers’ Union members were delighted that at their meeting in April, Derek brought the finial and the gold cockerel to show them. We all look forward to seeing the golden bird in place atop the tower once the scaffolding is removed.

From the Potting Shed

Dear Friends,

Always something to worry about isn’t there? It feels quite self indulgent to be thinking about the health of my new seedlings when there’s all sorts going on in the world. And, if you have a garden and it is important to you, then maybe we should just remember to be thankful that we are fortunate enough to have our own small piece of paradise.

I’ll remind MacGregor about that when he’s bringing me stories of slugs, beetles and the dreaded R-word (rabbits!). May can be like a time of war in his vegetable garden and it’s bad for his blood pressure. I took him some camomile tea yesterday afternoon as it is supposed to be so calming. Not so in this case. He dropped his hoe, waved his arms around and demanded his usual PG Tips. When I reached the kitchen door he called out that he was sorry he’d shouted at me and might there be a piece of shortbread.

Maybe I’ll have the camomile tea.

Happy gardening,

Yours,

Cecily MacGregor

Jobs for May

  1. Prune spring shrubs after they have flowered … things like forsythia and chaenomeles.

  2. Clear duckweed and blanket weed from ponds.

  3. Check for nesting birds before trimming hedges.

  4. Seedlings and small new plants can be hardened off by putting them outside in daytime and bringing them in at night.

  5. Beware frosts, particularly if you are in the north of the country. May can be treacherous around where I am.

  6. Tomatoes for the greenhouse can be planted now and ones for outside a little later in May. Make sure all your grow bags and compost are peat free. I don’t think garden centres should still be allowed to sell peat myself.

Florence Nightingale Hospice

Midnight Walk Returns For One Last Night

Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity’s annual Midnight Walk returns to Aylesbury for the final time after a two year hiatus on Saturday 16th July.

Since it began in 2010, the Midnight Walk has seen hundreds of men and women come together and take to the streets of Aylesbury, walking over 50,000 miles and raising over £650,000 for the charity over the years. But this will be the last opportunity to take part in the event.

The charity is hoping its local community will support their Farewell Midnight Walk, with walkers joining them to remember loved ones and support their local hospice as they walk the final miles for one last time.

Walkers can choose from 5 mile or 10 mile circular routes – both starting from Aylesbury College at midnight on Saturday 16th July, with refreshments at pit stops along the way. Each walker will also receive a commemorative Farewell Midnight Walk 2022 T-shirt, as well as a Finisher’s medal and complimentary breakfast at the end of the walk.

For more information and to sign up, please visit www.fnhospice.org.uk/midnightwalk or call 01296 429975.

Florence Nightingale Hospice is located at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and provides first class specialist palliative care which is accessible and free of charge to those with a life-limiting illness in Buckinghamshire. The Hospice also provides other services such as the FNH@Home services, providing end-of-life care for patients in their homes, Florrie’s Children’s Team respite care for families, the Day Hospice and Bereavement Support.

Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity commits to fund over £1,000,000 of hospice services each year, supporting local in-patient and at-home palliative care services.

May Edition


VIEW

Outlook is published monthly and contains information about our church services and activities, local events, news from the vicarage, pages for children plus a variety of articles sent in by individuals ranging from wildlife, cookery, poems, thoughts, humour and observations about this and that – in fact there is a mixture of the spiritual and secular which is right and appropriate, all being part of God’s world.

‘Outlook’ goes to many homes where sermons do not, so it is to be hoped that as well as being informative and entertaining it will always show something of God’s love and compassion, forever constant in this rapidly changing world.

It has been remarked that the magazine reflects the loving relationship that exists in our congregations, and we do so warmly welcome you to share in this.

The magazine can always be found on the shelves to the left of the font. Please do pick one up every month as it will contain all the up to date information you need as well as useful telephone numbers and administrative information.

Outlook Editorial Team


Sylvia Clark

01494 562801

Jane Tyrer

01844 344650

Chris Tyrer

01844 344650

Susan Brice

01494 445899

The magazine is published monthly, except for August and January. Articles for the magazine can be sent to mag​@hughenden​parish​church​.org​.uk. The deadline is the 15th of the month. If you would like one delivered then please contact Andrew Cole.

Andrew Cole

Magazine Distribution & Delivery

01494 442191

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