Feb 2002
 
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THE VILLAGE OF THE YEAR COMPETITION
 
Flamstead won the Hertfordshire Village of the Year Competition in September 2001 and to commemorate this, there was an unveiling of the "totem pole " at the top of Chequers Hill. This was followed by a presentation by the judges and the cutting of a celebration cake in the Village Hall.
Winning the Hertfordshire competition meant that Flamstead was entered into the Eastern Regional Finals along with the winning villages from Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. It also meant that we had to enter another written submission and make another presentation to the judges.
The judges came to see us at the end of October, we were the last of three villages that they saw on the day, so it was not surprising they were somewhat late in arriving in the village.
So as they could get a good overview of the village we took them on a guided tour in the Care Bus, which we had on loan for the day. This was then followed by presentations by members of village organisations and by Parish Councillors. The judges then had an opportunity to talk to the villagers who were present.
The organisers had latterly told us of an addition to the competition, which was a new section on IT or Information Technology, so both our submission and presentation included this topic.
If we had won the Eastern Regional award for the competition we would have then gone forward for judging as a finalist in the competition. However this was not to be and so in early December three of the Parish Councillors, who had been involved in organising the submissions and presentations, attended a luncheon at the London Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square for the award ceremony. We all hoped that Flamstead would at least get a Regional Category Award!
HRH the Prince of Wales made a good speech and presented the prizes and John Humphreys ( the radio and TV presenter) was the MC for the event. Once again Flamstead did not get any of the awards, but the attendees did get the chance to talk with representatives of other villages about how they approached the competition and what they had done in terms of submissions and presentations. Hopefully this will help for our entry in 2002!
The Parish Council would like to thank all those people and organisations in Flamstead who:
  • Helped in the production of the submissions with information about their organisations.
  • Gave presentations at the two judging sessions.
  • Came to listen to the presentations and stayed to talk to the judges.
  • Allowed us to use their photographs / literature and work samples for our displays.
  • Helped to provide refreshments at both the judging sessions and the Awards presentation in September.
  • Provided parking spaces for the Awards presentation.
  • Helped in placing the "totem pole" at the top of Chequers Hill.
  • Provided the FPC with a celebration banner.
In 2000 Flamstead won the "Community" Category in The Village of the Year Competition and in 2001 we were judged to be the Best Village in West Herts and the Best Village in the whole of Hertfordshire.
 
Lets hope we can do even better in 2002!
 
P. Milson
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A TASTE OF THE PAST
 
These delicious tarts are the creation of Charles Francatelli, who was Chief Cook to Queen Victoria in her younger days. Filberts are hazelnuts.
 
FILBERT CREAM TARTLETS
 
Line 24 tartlet moulds with short crust pastry (about 8 oz. flour and 4 oz butter).
For the filling -
8 oz hazelnuts or toasted chopped hazelnuts
2 oz. butter
4 oz. caster sugar
4 medium egg yolks
A liqueur glass (20 ml) liqueur or brandy. Francatelli used white noyau, a strong almond liqueur. Substitute kirsch, maraschino, brandy, or an orange one would be good.
 
For the icing -
2 oz. icing sugar
Another liqueur glass of the same alcohol.
If you cannot find ready toasted hazels, put the whole nuts on a baking tray in a moderate oven (180C) for 10 minutes. Then rub them briskly in a tea towel to remove the skins.
 
Set the oven to moderate (180C). Grind the nuts finely in the food processor with a dessertspoon of water. Add the butter, the caster sugar, the egg yolks and the alcohol.
Divide into 24 portions and fill each tartlet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. They puff up slightly.
 
Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a small saucepan, mix in the second glass of alcohol until the mixture is smooth. Now dissolve it over the gentlest of heat. Whilst it is still warm, brush it over the tarts. It should be a transparent glaze - like a sheet of ice (hence the name). Put it to dry in a warm place, such as the airing cupboard or the oven set at its coolest setting. If the oven is too hot, it will go white, but this matters not a bit! Delicious morsels either way!
 
Charles Francatelli 1862
Marian Pochin
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Fr. GEORGE WRITES...
 
I have seen Scripture embodied in art – I wonder if any others of you saw it. It is a metal sculpture of a bird by artist Fiel Dos Santos, which features in Christian Aid’s exhibition at the Oxo Tower in London, showing sculptures made from weapons. The charity supports a scheme that gives Mozambique villagers hoes, bikes and sewing machines. The scriptural point about this is that it is made, like many of the exhibits, from weapons of war. The hoes, sewing machines and bikes are exchanged for arms which are transformed into art. “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares” (Isaiah 2.4.) In the beginning was the Word. This is one wonderful example of the word becoming flesh, a reality in Isaiah’s vision and in Dos Santos’ creation. It is a charming bird, the tail formed from the stock. How are we to help such projects?
 
This month sees the start of Lent and we shall mark its start with services on Ash Wednesday (13th February) and then as a special discipline we shall have a study group, open to anyone who is interested, every Wednesday until Holy Week. We shall be studying the course which the Archbishop of York, among others, has produced called “In the Wilderness”. It looks interesting and gives us a reason to meet together and learn together. We shall finish with Compline, a short Night Service, after which we shall disperse to our homes. This is another way of making the words of God a reality for our lives. It can also help us with our Lenten discipline and build a sense of fellowship between one another.
 
I look forward to Lent every year, as it gives me the framework to examine my life, see what is just words and empty phrases and do some serious thinking. It must lead to action, of course. Perhaps the work of Christian Aid, which allows the developing world to do just that, by supporting projects which are home grown with expertise and advice, and, yes, our money, so that the recipient communities retain their dignity and are helped to grow in independence while their standard of living grows. We must set ourselves targets like this, so that those of us who have expertise and talents can help those who have not. We have to grow as a community and we need each other to do that.
 
Our task in Lent is to see how we, in Flamstead, can make God’s Word a reality in our village – for all the inhabitants, not just those who go to Church. We all need each other. Let us learn how to help each other.
 
God bless you all.
 
Fr. John Green
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