Dec 2000
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December Reflections
Well, Christmas is here again, with jingling tills and shops full of tinsel and crackers. With boxes of chocolates and those fancy foods we would never think of eating at any other time of the year. With lots of drinking and with those appeals to our pockets for donations from all sorts of worthwhile charities, that we could never hope to respond to.
So much pressure on us all to spend, and be one of the crowd, to eat drink and be merry. We seem to have experienced it all before. Yet there will never be another Christmas quite like this one. This first Christmas of the 21st Century, and some of the people we celebrated with previously will unfortunately, no longer with us. So what can we do to make this year a really special season - something we can remember.
Well, first, can I suggest that we start by clearing away so much of the commercial and social trimmings that have become the normal these days. That we 'get back to basics' as some politician once put it. That we concentrate on why we celebrate - where it all started. That we go back to the Bible and to those wonderful stories of the Nativity, the Birth of Our Saviour.
Born of the Virgin Mary. And then we can turn and be truly thankful to God our Father, for the gift of his Son, - made flesh for our sake - however we understand it. And then too we can truly celebrate. Then we can embrace our loved ones, sing the carols, consume the Christmas pudding. Then we can really enjoy the singing and the message of Christmas, either on the radio or in the church. Then we can find time to see light in the eyes of our children as they open their presents. And maybe, we can also find time to remember those, so many of them, for whom this season is less enjoyable than our own - the lonely, the unloved, the hungry and sick.
But whatever you do, and however you celebrate, I hope you will remember just what you are celebrating and may God's Blessing be with you all, especially at this festive season and always.
Fr. George
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ENVIRONMENT: There are 340 households in our Parish who do not use the Re-Collect scheme- this is the fortnightly collection of cans, plastic bottles, and paper by the District Council. So to encourage you lot (66%) to be more environmentally switched on guess what? Yes we are going to canvass you to join the minority to become the majority.
LIGHTING: After lots of complaining by Parishioners and our Clerk, Eastern Electricity has repaired the light on Chequers Hill and is sorting out the other out-standing issues. Review of the light at the bottom of Trowley Hill, to improve its performance is being undertaken.
CRIME PREVENTION: Please do not forget to come to the inaugural meeting of the Neighbourhood Watch on the 7thDecember at 8p.m. At the village hall. 85 People filled in our original requests it will be worth your while.
YOUTH: Two young ladies have offered to be youth club leaders, and the Sports Association is prepared to help in this area. So all is left is for the youth of the Village to unite, subject to their Parents approval or assistance and have a regular get together. Contact the Sports Association or the Youth Parish Council at the Pavilion on the first Tuesday of the month.
MILLENNIUM: We have permission to clear and plant trees on the land at the end of Parsons close and below Linnins Pond, and we will be working with Countryside Management to plan it properly. It does mean that the sites will no longer be there for those lazy people who dump their rubbish.
COMMUNICATIONS: We are very hopeful that in the New Year that there will be very basic training on the use of PCs at the Village Hall. This will be for all ages, even Grandparents.
Do not forget our web site: -
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CURTAINS: Our grateful thanks go to Doreen and Eric Edwards who with the help of Mr Parry, have taken down the red velvet curtains which divided the Bell Tower from the Nave. Doreen has used the top half to make a pair of more manageable curtains to hang in a lower position. The curtains have been cleaned by Berkhampstead Cleaners and according to regulations for curtains hung in a public building, they have been fireproofed on both sides.
Treasurer Needed! Due to pressure of work our PCC Treasurer Mr Brian Hoskin, is having to step down at the AGM next Spring. Ideally it would be good if there is someone who feels they can serve the church in this way, to contact Brian who will be only to pleased to instruct and ease them into the job starting as early in the New Year as possible.
Contact Brian on 01582 840111
ORGANIST! If there is an organist living in the village who can help us by being available to play at services when our regular organists are unavailable, please contact Julian Taunton on 840338 or Jean King on 841648
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Now that we're into December our main fundraisers of the year are behind us. The Nearly New Sale last month was successful despite the fact that the torrential rain kept some people away. Those who came happily snapped up the bargains in children's clothes and we plan to hold another one in the Spring.
As I write, the Christmas Bazaar is still a week or so away and preparations are almost finished. I hope it will prove as popular as in previous years. There'll be an update in the January edition of the Village News.
Our advertising and word-of-mouth publicity has led to an increase in numbers at the Playgroup, and we now have more than twenty children attending. We will lose some to the school nursery after Christmas, so are continuing to try to attract others to our friendly Pre school.
Our main events in December are the Children's Party on Thursday 14th when Santa will be making an early appearance, and the Pre school Nativity in the last week of term. Parents and Grandparents are invited to the nativity and we'd be happy to welcome other visitors. If you are interested in coming, please contact Carol Gibson 840922. There would be no charge, but donations welcome.
C. Gibson
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Flamstead JMI School News
As we head towards Christmas again it only seems a few days ago that we were sitting in the garden at home thinking about the new autumn term. Much has happened in school this term. We have a new Head Teacher, Mrs. Thornton and we learnt that we are to lose Miss English who has been drawn to the bright lights of Harpenden! We are working hard on the school Christmas productions. These are to take place at the beginning of December. Actual dates can be found in the weekly newsletter.
The P.T.A. has worked hard recently on events involving the village. Some of you may have attended a very wet firework display. Even if you were not with us I am sure you heard it. We would like to take this opportunity of saying "Thank you" to the people in the village who always support our events even if they do not, actually, have children attending the school. Without you the events would not be so much fun and we would raise far less.
We do realise that parking around school is restricted and appreciate that local residents may be caused inconvenience during events. We will obviously try to keep this disruption to a minimum. If, however, you do suffer a problem please do not hesitate to contact us.
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Cycling for Deaf Kids
John Fountain of A1 Pestmasters has pledged to raise over 4000 to support deaf children and their families by undertaking a gruelling cycle trek across Rajasthan (India) in February 2001. The 58 year old from Flamstead who has signed up with global Charity Challenge to support the national Deaf Children's Society and their families across the United Kingdom.
Why India? And why on a bike? John has undertaken other challenges in his life, raising 4,260 for the NSPCC & Spastic Society by helping to pull an old cargo barge from Little Venice to Stoke Bruin along the Grand Union Canal and being part of a team to cycle from Liverpool to Luton in one day for the Luton & Dunstable Cardiac Appeal, so the challenge of raising the money for a good cause and the personal physical challenge of cycling in India has great appeal.
John says "It will be tough and I need to do a lot of training between now and setting off but I'm determined to succeed and raise as much money as possible for deaf children and their families, it will be a journey of a lifetime." Each day will consist of up to seven hours in the saddle through tough but spectacular and colourful scenery - a perfect way to explore the amazing country at close quarters. The total journey length is 500kms or 310 miles and Claire Rowney of the National Deaf Children's Society praised John's efforts, "Were thrilled that John is joining this unique adventure. His energy and commitment will help us raise money that is desperately needed to fund our advice, information and support services for the deaf children and their families across the UK."
John adds "It will be a far cry from dealing with pests - other than those encountered en-route. I need to raise 4000 or more and am appealing to Village Voice Readers to support my fundraising efforts for deaf children." If you are of a mind to pledge your support please contact John of A1 Pestmasters on 01582 840004 or send a cheque made out to National deaf Children Society (NDCS) Cycle India, 14 High Street, Flamstead, Herts. AL3 8BS
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With Christmas approaching, there is nothing quite as relaxing , when it comes to creating a soothing, festive atmosphere, as candlelight. Once upon a time the only candles found in peoples homes were kept under the stairs in case of power cuts. But nowadays it has become very fashionable to use candles for lighting and decoration.
Television programmes and magazines have promoted candles with images of rooms filled with them creating that special lighting effect. And of course, design fashions aside, whatever your religion, certain occasions and festivals wouldn't be the same without the subtle sobriety of candlelight.
But, please be aware that they are a serious fire risk in your home (as is any naked flame), and need to be treated with a little thought and respect.
There were 2020 fires in the U. K. last year that were caused by candles (a 56% increase on five years ago) 12 of these claimed lives and 805 of them caused injuries!
Tea light candles can be particularly dangerous if not used properly and have been identified as the cause of a number of property fires due to lack of understanding. They must NEVER be used as a 'stand alone' candle. Once the wax has melted in the little aluminium cup, it is possible for that cup to reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees centigrade. This is more than enough heat to melt the top of your stereo, plastic bath, or television set, allowing the candle to drop through and ignite the hot plastic on its way.
Candles and Christmas trees definitely do not mix. Any one who has thrown evergreen cuttings on a bonfire will know how ferociously they burn. A Christmas tree is an evergreen, and it will create a ferociously burning fire within seconds in your home if you get a naked light near it! (Even flame retardant treatment cannot guarantee your safety)
Enjoy your candlelight in safety:
  • Don't underestimate candles
  • Always use candleholders that were designed for the purpose
  • Never place candles on plastic or other easily combustible surfaces
  • And never leave the room unattended without extinguishing the candles before you leave.
If you have any questions regarding this article, or on any other fire safety issue, please feel free to ring Hemel Hempstead Fire Station on 01442 265028 where either myself or one of my colleagues will be glad to assist.
Sub Officer John Print GIFireE Green Watch, Hemel Hempstead Fire Station.
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When they replace furniture, many people have difficulty disposing of the old items. The careless dump it, while the more thoughtful often see no alternative but to take it to the council tip. Charities deadline offers because they have no resources for collection. There had to be a better way, and in recent years over 330 towns in the United kingdom have acted to tackle the problem.
Nearly 200 of these non-profit centres belong to the Furniture Recycling Network (FRN), a coordinating body for projects which collect a wide variety of household items to pass on to people in need. Most of the furniture collected is passed on without being refurbished or modified, which means that it is furniture re-use rather than the literal definition of recycling. The process is constructive in three ways:
  • People helped are on low incomes; many are being re-housed and need basic household items.
  • Many projects offer work experience and training for their volunteers to improve their prospects of achieving paid employment.
  • Re-use prevents a vast amount of furniture going to landfill and local councils also save on the cost of waste collection.
All projects collect furniture free of charge using their own vehicles. Funding usually comes from several sources, with 80 per cent now getting grants from local government. Projects also benefit from the landfill tax paid by companies which dispose of their waste at landfill sites. Other income comes from furniture sales and sometimes the National Lottery.
Richard Featherstone is Project Director of FRN, which was established. in 1989. It provides training and support to local projects, deals with bulk collections from companies, campaigns to raise awareness and lobbies the Government on relevant issues. Guidance is available for people who want to explore the possibility of setting up a project or wish to help an existing one.
Readers who have furniture to dispose of can get details of projects in their area from FRN at Unit 3, Pilot House, King Street, Leicester LE1 6RN
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Flamstead & Trowley W.I.
'Women in Roman Times'
The evening began with the singing of Jerusalem; three visitors were welcomed and a birthday button hole was presented to BERYL WRIGHT.
Mr JOHN BRODERICK was then welcomed by president DELIA RAMAGE and his illustrated talk on 'Women in Roman Times' began.
An outline of the hierarchy of the traditional Roman Familia was presented to us, with the man at the head of the household, in charge of all living descendants - sons, grandsons, great grand sons, all their wives and children and all their slaves. They were usually divided into several households scattered over the Roman Empire. One man could be in control of sons in their fifties, grandsons in their thirties, great grandsons in their teens. This Patriarch had such power that he could sanction the death of wayward family members and hold control over all their property.
This was the male dominated set-up that women had to endure. Women could not buy or sell property, could not make a will and could only inherit a very small portion of the estate. These conditions became less onerous as time went on. Marriage was preceded by an engagement with an exchange of rings, often with clasped hands design. Marriage was usually an arranged affair with love being accidental rather than the norm. There were formal ceremonies where the woman passed into the total control of her husband. Eventually it evolved that women could be kept under the partial control by her birth family which protected her from abuse and enable easier divorce.
Occupations open to women were the traditional jobs with Hairdressing topping the list. From pictures available it was an extremely creative and artistic trade with very complex styles.
Nurses, wet Nurses and midwives were high on the list. Retail trades employed women and were sometimes owned by women - they were allowed to go into business. Then came professions with Dealers, Wholesales, Doctors, these were more likely to be the midwives and herbalists rather than Doctors as we know them as all Roman medical books were written by men. In Finance there were women pawnbrokers, Finance operators and Shipping Investors.
One tomb depicted IVOLIA - a freed slave who got into the shipping trade and made a lot of money, as only the rich could afford the style of tombs Ivolia had with a carving of a Roman vessel. The oldest occupation in the world also thrived in Rome usually in the slave and poor ranks of Society.
Fashion for the society classes was graceful and elaborate with complex hairstyles often incorporating real hair pieces and jewellery. Jewellery varied from simple pearl earrings (for pierced ears) to heavy necklaces, most women wore jewellery. Emeralds and pearls seem to have been the most popular stones usually set off with gold. Signet rings were worn usually for identification purposes. Dresses were usually draped around the body and clasped at the shoulder with a special shoulder pin. There were women portraits but these were usually painted shortly before death so they looked ill. They were purely to adorn the sarcophagus and there are some excellently preserved samples. For sport soft leather bikinis were popular. Women usually exercised at the Public baths. One such bikini was unearthed at Shadwell in Essex.
Mrs ANNE BISSON thanked Mr Broderick for a very illuminating talk giving us an insight into the lives of Roman Women.
Refreshments were served by JULIE SCURFIELD and MARGARET WATSON with the usual array of cakes. The business followed and at the end of the evening the Competition for a 'Roman Relic' was announced.
DERYN BOURNE was first with her Amphora. DELIA RAMMAGE was second with a splendid home made soldier. LORNA FOUNTAIN was joint third (three pieces of pottery) with BRENDA RANDALL (a Roman style pin). Voting had been by coins and raised 2.31 for pennies for Friendship.
The next meeting on October 12th has Mrs SHEILA PARKER (an ex-Vernon girl) Speaking on the Rock and Roll Years. The competition has to be a 'Sixties' Photograph. Visitors are welcome to try us out at what promises to be a lively and nostalgic evening.
Julie Scurfield.

The Annual Meeting began with Jerusalem, apologies for absence were received and the president Delia Ramage introduced Sue Draper to us. Sue was to witness committee elections and count the votes.
The minutes were read and signed, Birthday button holes were given to Marian Pochin, Deryn Bourne, Barbara Welch and Pam Modlen.
Elections began, the existing committee all agreed to stand plus two new members who had been elected and agreed to join. They were Audrey Meritt and Marion Pochin. Delia Ramage was re-elected as president.
The 'Pudding Stone' was on display, Flamstead & Trowley having won the group competition and the report on the Autumn Council meeting was read out - details of these later in Part 2. We decided our Christmas get together should be in quieter January, something to look forward to. The venue to be arranged.
Mrs Doreen Edwards detailed the Financial Report informing us that our membership is down slightly and that we would welcome new members. Doreen told us where our competition coin votes go after sending to the A.C.W.W. This supports women in the Third World covering such places as Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong. In the latter two places money is made available to enable young girls to learn skills in order to avoid the prostitution trap. In Africa the money helps to open wells, by providing the means to bore wells and provide basic machinery to work the wells i.e. the donkey and wheel method. The Financial report was agreed and signed.
The Presidents Report was read by Delia Ramage detailing events from the past year including sadly the deaths of two members. We have had some excellent speakers and several self organised evenings which were very successful. Delia thanked her committee for all their help during the year - Carole Putman for the birthday buttonholes, Audrey Meritt for keeping the register, Marion Pochin and Denise Woods for organising the monthly competition and Doreen Edwards and Beryl Wright for opening their homes for committee meetings.
The December meeting is a Christmas Party with Mince Pies and Mulled Wine. Members are requested to bring a small wrapped gift with them to be distributed during the evening. The Competition is a "Christmas Cracker".
Refreshments were provided by Karen Palmer and Julie Scurfield. The Competition "The W.I. needs...." Was won by Audrey Meritt and raised 3.70 for the A.C.W.W. W.I.
Group and County Meetings At this point I would like to enlarge on other aspects of the W.I. Each village is not an isolated island as each institute belongs to a group of three - four institutes. The groups hold meetings and competitions. Flamstead and Trowley join with Redbourn and Kingsbury (St. Albans). The October Group meeting was hosted by Redbourn. The business had a wider perspective and the speaker of a high calibre. In this case Liza McKelland, an actress with many roles under her belt. She came to speak on bead work that she enjoys whilst resting between parts or even waiting between acts. She brought many pieces to be passed around for examination. Big houses, cathedrals, gardens, factories, in fact anything can inspire her. One item, a collar for a child's party dress was inspired by the Peter pan animals in Kensington Gardens, another, a travel bag idea, came from Port Sunlight. The most spectacular was a bed spread made from costume materials swept up from plays and panto's each square had a memory of where or what play and who had worn the costume.
Redbourn treated us to sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea. During the evening the competition for the aforementioned 'Puddingstone' was displayed. 5 preserves had to be displayed and included Raspberry Jam, Redcurrant jelly, Three Fruit Marmalade, Apple Chutney, and any pickle (we chose Beetroot). Our staging was an upset antique Jam Kettle with preserving sugar, cinnamon, cloves and fruit cascading out. All displays were imaginatively Displayed. We were delighted to win and hold the 'Pudding stone' until the next group meeting. Kingsbury came second and Redbourn third. Flamstead and Trowley are hosting the next meeting in March 2001. when Peter Russell will be talking about 'Royal Memories' from his work as Butler at Kensington Palace.
October also brought Counties Annual meeting held at Harpenden Public Hall. Mrs Jean Curl. V.C.O. chaired the meting. The business covered everything you could think of with information and reports on Arts, Crafts, Christmas, Nature. There was a presentation of awards and certificates. I had no idea there was so much to do. And so much to aim for.
The speaker was Mrs Georgie Perrot from the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. She gave us an insight into the background of the Royal Ballet, and the founder member who she referred to as "Madam", "Madam" is alive and well aged 103 years and still takes an active interest in the Ballet School. Mrs Perrot had brought a tutu with her, they cost 1000 to make but are expected to last 25years, similarly with the elaborate jackets the men wear. They were very strongly made and are refurbished from time to time.
The W.I. has an extensive book shop which was on display. Also on display was the Hertfordshire W.I. Triptych including a square from each institute. It had been stitched and mounted to great effect.
Ladies, come and try your local W,I. You will meet friendly people and made very welcome. Enquiries to Doreen Edwards tel. 840551.
Julie Scurfield.
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