Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Listen to this Podcast

Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise. It’s Tuesday the 5th May and this is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast.

As usual the keen eared listeners of Chelson-cum-Cawcud were quick off the mark yesterday. Mark Hunter, Clerk of the Council, was first in with a correction at 08:43 – hoping to beat Aitch to it. At the end of yesterday’s podcast I said that we were entering into our 6th week of lock down. Oops again, as Mark pointed out, this is actually the 7th week. My only defence is that us pensioners don’t know one day from the next, let alone what week it is.

Then at 14:07, Stephanie Chadwick pointed out that I was wrong about maypole dancing being completely out of date. I had forgotten the Wateryard community on Water Lane. After Steph and Chad refurbished Maynard Baxter’s cottage, they threw a May Day party for the residents of Wateryard in 2012. They’ve continued this ever since. The May Day party includes Maypole dancing. This year is the first year they have missed since then. Steph sent in a brilliant picture which will be added to the Parish Council history web site. There is a young (well relatively speaking) Jim Stopps in the background of the picture holding one of the maypole tapes. So I think this means that Jim Stopps was actually dancing!

Jim Stopps also contributed another Maynard Baxter story late on Sunday. I’m beginning to realise that Jim also spent time in Maynard’s kitchen like me. Maynard told Jim of how he learned to swim. Maynard and his mates dammed the stream across the road from the end of Water Lane in what is now Ray Knight’s dog training field. They managed to flood the field to a sufficient depth for them to swim in the pond. Now that shows great initiative but I am not sure how Ray’s grandfather reacted at the time though.

Sharen Hegarty then sent me a fascinating newspaper article from August 1980 in which Maynard Baxter also featured.

Maynard pointed out that the people of Chelson-cum-Cawcud had a reputation of being very lucky. Disaster has struck the Village many times but no-one has died in these disasters.

In 1924 fire struck the thatched cottages in St Georges Row. Someone had to cycle to Higham to summon the fire brigade to their first fire in 5 years. No one was hurt. Maynard Baxter’s father was one of the first on the scene.

In 1956 the houses on the High Street were thatched and also caught fire. Again, no one was hurt but there is a Baxter in that picture too.

Also in the 1950s the Alms Houses on the sloping green at the top of Water Lane fell down like a pack of cards. Only one of the houses was occupied and the lady involved had popped to the post office. When she returned, her house had fallen down. She wasn’t hurt but did struggle to retrieve her possessions.

And then in 1970, the old Village Institute on the site of the JST storage yard collapsed under the weight of snow on the roof. Luckily again no one was hurt.

And then we had the uranium scare in 1995. 900Kg of depleted Uranium was found in drums fly tipped on Carr Farmer’s land opposite Chelston Rise. When the farmer tried to sell them for scrap, a radioactivity detector was set off at the scrap yard and all hell broke loose. I remember driving home from Bedford and being stopped by a soldier in a full hazmat suit and told to turn back. Fortunately again no one was hurt.

In 1998 two of our local lads sloped off for a crafty smoke in one of the barns next to Top Farm by the pub. The climbed up on the haystacks out of the way of everyone. When one of them flicked their cigarette stub away, the wind blew it back and it dropped right down between the bales. 5 minutes later the lot went up. It was a conflagration, I remember that I was driving back from Milton Keynes at the time and could see plume of smoke in the sky from as far Olney. It just got bigger as I approached the Village. The barns were completely destroyed and the result was Disbrowe Court.

The young lads escaped unhurt and were seen running off, but to their credit, they came to see me next day. They were sitting on my doorstep when I came home and wanted to confess what had happened. The flames licking around their feet had been terrifying and they’d had nightmares the night before. But at least they escaped unhurt. However, the local fire chief certainly had a few words to say to them!

Between 2001 and 2008 there were four major fires that burned at the World Rubber tyre recycling plant just across from Chelston Rise. These fires burned for months and cost hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, but again no one was hurt.

And last year arsonists set fire to Keith Carr’s barn on Bidwell Lane, completely destroying it. All the horses in the livery had to be moved to safety and we minutes from houses being evacutated. The fire service needed so much water that the taps in Chelston Rise ran dry. But again no one was hurt.

Mark has recorded all these incidents on the Parish History site and when you read them you have to wonder about our Village. Are we indeed charmed? We have 230 houses in the Village. How can so many incidents happen in such a small place? And more importantly, how lucky are we that no one has ever been hurt in these incidents?

So Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise, we know that we can face adversity and overcome it. We have faced emergencies before and triumphed. We can do the same with Covid-19.

Thanks you