Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Monday, April 20, 2020

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Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise. Itís Monday the 20th April, and we are entering our 5th Week of lock down. This is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast for the Village.

Thank you all to the people who gave me more information after yesterdayís podcast about the second 305th memorial in the Village. Tina Hackett sent me a photograph of a painting she had purchased many years ago of the hanger on the airfield. She also had a spooky story to share of an old man waving from the control tower years after the airfield ceased operations. I would love to have photographs of the old hanger if anyone has any.

Aitch called me too. He was particularly worried by the idea that Northamptonshire County Council might be able to demolish our memorial for road widening. He pointed out that this was effectively blessed and consecrated ground and this cannot be allowed. I was able to reassure him with post-script that I didnít have time to talk about yesterday. Although it was unlikely that the road would be widened, the cashed strapped Northamptonshire County Council eventually did wake up to the fact that they effectively owned several building plots in the centre of a very desirable Village. They decided to offer the land on which the memorial stands for sale. The Parish Council was on to this immediately. Out Council still held some reserves from the original donations, kept back to maintain the memorial in perpetuity. Mark Hunter was able to conclude a deal with Northamptonshire County Council and we purchased the land from them. So folks our memorial now stands on Parish land. We have secured it for ever. So Aitch you can stop worrying, but isnít it lovely that we care so much?

In the course of the conversation with Aitch, I found out few more interesting facts. The cottage next to the pub where Ella lives, No 1 the Green, was actually part of a row of cottages which extended out as far as the road opposite Foot Lane. These cottages were demolished around the time Aitch was born. In the 1890s the land around the memorial was known as Reading Room Yard, as this was the location of the Parish Reading Room which was part of the 1919 estate sale by the then Lord of the Manor. When this site was cleared, it became the location of the road menders hut, effectively my predecessor as lengthsman. His job was to keep all the roads and footways in good order.

Aitch is always full of great stories and Iíve agreed with him that we will record them after lockdown ends. ďAdrianĒ he said, ďYouíd better get a move on, I ainít getting any younger and Iím effectively in the waiting room already. You never did capture Noelís stories before he died.Ē Aitch has a good point here so I am resigned to spending the winter afternoons in his kitchen drinking his damson gin whilst recording him. The things I have to do for this Village Ė what a sacrifice, I make!

As a result of yesterdayís podcast, I also made contact with Father Grant Brockhouse, one of Michelleís predecessors. Grant was our Vicar from 1998-2014 before he retired. As you know, I am not a Church goer but Grant and I worked together closely for the whole of his incumbency and he was also one of the Executors of Michael Foulgerís will with Mark Hunter and I. Grant now lives almost in the shadow of the Cathedral in Peterborough but has followed how the Parish is coping with the emergency. When Grant came to the Parish in 1998, the Bishop had asked his predecessor Eric Buchanan to prepare the Church for closure as the regular congregation had fallen to 6 people a week. The Church was no longer part of Village life.

Contrast that with the situation now. Even those that donít go to Church meet at the coffee and cake sessions each month. Snowdrop weekend draws in over a thousand. And now the daily podcasts and weekly online services draw in hundreds of people. The world turns full circle. All we need now is for Naomi to re-open the pub, Rachael to declare the Village Hall open and we can all get back to normal.

But I ask you what will the new normal be? During this emergency connections have been made that wouldnít ever have been possible before. Yesterday, I did very little (except walk that great big hound that Jonny has entrusted us with) and yet our Village group was buzzing with comments, questions, jokes and offers. My van run tomorrow morning will take me all around the Village, picking up and delivering. Itís a shame it takes an emergency to pull a community together but then again, sometimes thatís whatís needed to make you appreciate what weíve got.

There is talk of the lock down being gradually eased over the next 3 weeks. If it is, I hope we will all get to meet. I for one donít want to go back to all the old ways. I like this new community.