JAN 2001
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Our main fundraising event of the year, the Christmas Bazaar was one of the most successful in our history. We raised around 900 which will be used to improve facilities and equipment for the children. A huge thank you to everyone who came on a wet November day and supported us so well. The Pre school Nativity Play was also well attended, not only by parents and grandparents of the little stars, but also members of the Flamstead Luncheon Club and youngsters from Flamstead school nursery. It was very well received and the children performed brilliantly, particularly considering how young they are.....the oldest isn't yet 4!
The staff and committee will be meeting in the New Year to plan our Easter Fayre, and further details will be put in the Village News as soon as plans are finalised.
C. Gibson
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Why not take an allotment in the New Year - after all, what have you got to lose ? A few pounds maybe - that's the rental of course, but can also be trimmed off the waistline. Think of the benefits - exercise in the fresh air come rain or shine; convivially swapping horticultural horror stories; the thrill of watching things grow and then trying to find your plants in amongst them; and the satisfaction of bringing home your own produce - along with several of nature's assorted creatures. Nothing is more satisfying than the flavour of own-grown veg, coupled with the knowledge that you have a fridge / freezer and, er, well, various shelves in the garage all brimming with produce waiting to be eaten. Or given away - no, bartered: why not swap your excess beans for a cabbage and a couple of beetroot ? Tempted ? The Flamstead Gardens Association seeks to welcome you with open arms - and once aboard and digging for victory over the odd weed, you can tap into the varied sub-plots as oft portrayed here in Clods and Sods.
These play out like a real-life soap (one of the few commodities never in fact seen on the site - another benefit).
Take some of the characters in the plot: one of the most assiduous, known as King John, is like a human combine harvester in action. Each row of produce is laid out with such precision that he can walk backwards up and down between them guided by his SatNav cap, arms outstretched, planting with one hand and plucking with the other, whilst dragging one heel to make a new furrow - into which, guided by his trouser leg, seeds are dispensed from a flow-regulated hole in his pocket. Other allotmenteers once hired a mole to spill the beans on his horticultural secrets, but the King smoked it out and banished it beyond the bolting chicory which marked the boundary of his domain.
Knowing how nature hates a straight line, which is in any case the shortest distance between two points, wiser planters sow in gentle curves mirroring the natural curvature of spacetime. This achieves a far higher yield per row, since of course the meandering lines are that much longer.
Even computer technology has its place: CDs make excellent bird scarers -even more effective than Cecil, who has doubtless scared a few in his time.
Never one to plough a furrow too long in one place, he moves from seed-bed to seed-bed covering as many plots as he can in the hope of winning the annual prize by the law of averages. Canny operators like Dr Plotman claim EU set-aside grants for substantial portions of their allotments, which are then respectably allowed to run wild. Anyway, enough muck-shovelling - well almost: still got to put some where the spuds will go next year ! Will you join us ? Just ring Peter on 840691 to reserve your plot.
You know it makes sense.
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Lessons from the Exile
From disaster to discovery
Five centuries before the birth of Christ, Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonians, the Temple was destroyed, and many of the cities inhabitants were taken off to exile in Babylon. This disaster, described by some as the crucifixion of the nation, also led to its resurrection, for out of it came a new understanding of God, the vision of Israel as a "light to the nations" which was later applied to Jesus himself, the growth of synagogue worship and the assembling of the books of the Old Testament. This fifty-year exile led the Jewish people to re-think their faith and gave them a new understanding of God.
Yet it was bitterly painful at the time, as a whole generation lived as strangers in a strange land. Even when they were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, it was Cyrus the Persian who made this possible, and Isaiah called him the Lord's "anointed" (Isaiah 45,1). The lesson that God could work through people of many nations was being taught and learned.
In a series of twelve articles, I shall consider the Exile in Babylon and what came out of it, and particularly what it has to say to us today, 25 centuries later.
Ian Yearsley
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Removal of waste is likely to become a major issue in the next few years. Currently all the waste that is not recycled is sent to landfill. It is estimated that by 2007 that the current landfill site will be full. This means either finding a new site or possibly the prospect of incineration.
Two years ago DBC started it's rECOllect Service. To collect newspapers, plastic bottles and metal cans from houses. This was done by householders sorting the waste into plastic boxes that were especially provided by DBC.
The rECOllect service has been very successful. When you combine the rECOllect waste sent to recycling with material collected from "bring sited" that are situated around the borough the total amount that is recycled has risen from 5.9% in 1998 to 7.8% in 1999. This increase is particularly noteworthy as the total amount of rubbish collected by DBC went up by 8.8%in the two years to a total of 52,108 tonnes.
DBC expect that the total amount of rubbish will increase. So it is vital that we make every effort to increase the level of recycled material and decrease the amount that we send to the landfill.
Recycling in Flamstead
There is a "bring" collection site in the car park of the Sports and Social Club for the collection of drink cans and brown, green and clear glass bottles. The rECOllect collection service for papers, plastic bottles and cans was started in Flamstead approx. 18 months ago. Collections are made from the boundary of a property, once a fortnight, on the same day as your refuse collection.
At present 172 households (out of 510) put out recyclables for the rECOllect collection. This is approx.34% of all households.
If you are NOT already on the rECOllect collection scheme, but would like to be, please contact the DBC, Cupid Green Depot (phone 01442 228666). They will arrange for you to get the two plastic containers for the collection.
Please note. If you live in one of the flats in Flamstead, you cannot join the scheme at the moment, this is because of Health and safety issues. However this may change in the future.
One final thought many people, particularly children, collect "silver foil" This is used to be collected by some of the charity shops, but this has since ceased. However it can be given to Liz Dorer in Hemel Hempstead, who uses it to fund the Swan Hospital. She can be contacted on 01442 251961.
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Several people in Flamstead know of my interest in antiquarian cookery books. It seems to me that many people today know more about foreign food than the delicious dishes that our own forefathers ate. So this year I am going to be giving you "a taste of the past".
In January, our minds turn to marmalade, when we see the Seville oranges make their brief appearance in the shops. But marmalade is not the only preserve you can use them for. The following receipt appears in most 17th and 18th century cookery books -
Once you have tried these, you will never buy shop ones again. The flavour of home-made is infinitely better. You can use this receipt for any citrus fruits - whole kumquats are good - just prick them all over with a darning needle to let the sugar in.
Lemons and oranges are the most useful, but I urge you to use Seville oranges, when available, rather than sweet ones. Sevilles give a vastly superior result, turning translucent. Squeeze out the juice carefully, so you don't damage the peels. Keep it for another use. Cut the peel in quarters. Put them into a large pan of water & simmer them until tender. Your nail should pierce the skin easily. There's no need to change the water several times. Drain well.
Now use a teaspoon to scrape all the pith from the inside, leaving the peels. Some people leave the white pith on, but our ancestors were particular about these things! Take care not to break the outside skin. Put the peels one inside the other in a large basin.
Now for the syrup - this will have reduced by about half by the end of the process. So you will need to make enough to cover the peels in the basin, with about as much more again, to allow for this. Make stock syrup in the proportions of 1 lb of granulated sugar per 1 pint of water, by dissolving the sugar in the water over a gentle heat until quite clear. There should be no trace of any sugar crystals in the syrup. Bring the syrup to the boil & pour it, BOILING HOT, over the peels in the basin. Cover and leave to one side - not in the fridge. I rest a small plate on top to keep the peels under the syrup. The next day, drain the syrup from the peels, bring it to the boil again and pour over the peels, once again. Cover & leave. Repeat this daily for about 10 to 12 days, until the peels look translucent. Keep the basin in a prominent place in the kitchen, so you don't forget them!
You can now pot them up in their syrup in preserving jars. Highly recommended.
Marian Pochin
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Candlemas Day - February 2nd is the Christian festival of Candles commemorating the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is so called because of the practice of blessing candles and carrying them in procession.
Most religions include lighted candles as part of their worship. In Jewish homes a lighted candle burns on the Sabbath and on the anniversary of the death of a family member. The Hindu festival of Diwah is essentially a festival of light, celebrating the triumph of light and good over darkness and evil.
Buddhists use candles at their main festivals celebrating the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death.
In Japan it is believed that the spirits of dead ancestors pay a visit to the family home during their summer festival. Candles are lit and entertainment provided for the benefit of the unseen visitors.
With the coming of Christ the Light of the world it was natural that lighted candles should be the symbol of the Christian faith. Whether or not we feel that candles are helpful in public or private worship we must surely agree with an old Chinese proverb. "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness"
Alice Odell
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Theme - Winter Darkness
Consider how you feel when the nights draw in and the weather gets colder. Do you look forward to cosy evenings relaxing by a warm fire? Or does the winter mean long evenings alone because friends don't visit in the dark? Remind yourself that God knows your situation and is present in it. Allow room for his love and praise him for his faithfulness.
Contemplate any difficulties you face or have faced recently. Do the represent a time of darkness for you? If so, are you aware of support or busy trying to cope alone? Remember God helps us to pass through the hardships we face. It is not his design that we should be destroyed by them. Rejoice in the signs of his grace around you. Accept and blossom in the love God has for you. Together you can cope with anything.
Confess any wrong that might be hindering your growth. The moment you confront it you are forgiven and empowered to overcome it. Thank God for his gracious forgiveness.
God of Light
Drive away all darkness
From our lives
So that we may reflect your goodness
And so lighten the darkness of others.
Thank you Lord.
Beryl Hunt
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The Reverend John Green, who will be licensed as priest-in-charge to the Parishes of Flamstead and Markyate on July !8th 2001, has written the following article giving a brief outline of his life.
I was born in Croydon towards the end of the war. In fact my first birthday was VE Day. I became a choirboy when I was 8 so from an early age I got used to going to church three times on a Sunday (Mattins, Sunday School and Choral Evensong). My love for the Church and for music comes from this time and has stayed with me. My mother was musical and I remember sitting with her as she ironed in our breakfast room, listening to 'Madam Butterfly' on the wireless. I am still passionate about opera and go as often as I can afford either the time or money.
I passed the 11+ and went to grammar school where I learnt Latin, French and German, which I took at A level. I also found that Astronomy was the only science I could cope with then. I joined the Junior Astronomical Society, meeting Fred Hoyle and Patrick Moore, both relatively young men. I went on a school trip to France and Belgium in a coach, my first of many trips to the continent. I love travel especially to Italy and Germany.
At University in Exeter (1962-5) I studied German and French and then, after short spells as a tree surgeon and a shop worker, I started working as a teacher. I was 11 years in East London, taught in Canterbury and two schools in Croydon (back home.) It was while I was Head of Modern Languages at Shirley High School that God's call came. Although I was statistically rather old (in my forties!) my selection went ahead without too many hiccoughs(hiccups? - I love words too). I studied two years in Cambridge at Westcott House, did three years in Tadworth (Southwark diocese) in Surrey and have been at St George's School as Chaplain and Head of RE for nearly five years. I got my MA in Pastoral Liturgy at Heythrop Collage, London (1994-6).
My hobbies are my friends, art and architecture, OPERA and food (yes, I can boil an egg and can even do better than that). While I was in Parish, I did the visiting and look forward to doing this again in Markyate and Flamstead. I can't wait to get stuck in, although I will have to see my exam classes through the academic year. I hope this gives some idea of me as I see myself.
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It was some time since anything was written about the dog dirt in the village. Recently the amount seems to be increasing and is causing distress to some of the villagers. A plastic bag and a small shovel are all that is needed to help to keep Flamstead clean and where bins are not provided there is the dustbin at home -suitably wrapped in the interest of our bin men. Also concerning many villagers are dogs in the Churchyard where many of their ancestors are buried in sanctified ground. A short time ago I saw a dog undergoing obedience training in the Churchyard which, I am sure, many people would think inappropriate.
This magazine goes into two out of three homes in the village. Let us hope that the offenders are not all members of the one third minority.

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