Outlook - December 2021


The magazine for the people of Hughenden Parish

Dear Readers

Helen Peters described the service we attended a couple of weeks ago, as an All-In service, rather than the usual ‘all-age service’. Whatever it was called, we found it joyous and uplifting. This view appears to have been shared by many others, evidenced by comments received. The theme was ‘transformation brought about by God’, and this was given life by the bible story read by a group of our young people, the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, which Olivia and Emily helped Helen read, and the address ably given by Cordelia Thompson which linked the two. The worship band was augmented by singers Zoe, Chloe (shown rehearsing in our picture) and Teigan, and prayers were led by the Rippon family.

Helen taught us to sign some of the hymns, and we even made butterflies. Many of the congregation may not have noticed a real butterfly flitting about the chancel during the singing (still, incidentally flitting on Remembrance Sunday).

As we move through Advent, we will be considering the transformation a child brought to our world 2,000 years ago, and how we can be transformed by meeting him today. Our Christmas services (set out in this magazine, and in the leaflets delivered throughout the parish) provide a variety of different ways for us to encounter all that Christmas means, as a result of that long ago Bethlehem night. We hope that you can share some of them, as the difficult year 2021 draws to a close. If you are uncertain about being in a crowd, but would like a quiet time in church, it is open in daylight hours. Some services are also live streamed.

The whole Outlook team hope your experience of Christmas is a blessed, joyous and peaceful one, and we wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Jane and Christopher Tyrer

Editors

The editor for the January edition will be Susan Brice.

Pat on the Back: Your own Outlook is pleased to record being awarded 21st place out of 300 entries in the A5 section of the National Parish Magazine Competition.

Outlook is now going to be produced each month so there will be a January edition, regular contributors please note!

From the Vicarage

Surely it can’t be nearly Christmas? Already! I wonder, how organised are your pre-Christmas plans this year? Have you pulled out your Christmas jumpers from the darkest recesses of the wardrobe, risked life and limb by climbing into the loft to rescue your Christmas decorations, started panicking about being weeks behind with your gift buying, and tried to find a last-minute advent calendar for your godchild, before realising that you have left it too late, and they have all sold out?

Christmas comes but once a year, so it shouldn’t take us by surprise, and yet it still does.

Last Christmas was a difficult one for many. We were in the midst of one national lock-down after another, and the vast majority of us were not able to spend Christmas day with our wider families, unless they formed part of our bubble.

Very few services took place in our Church, and those that did were severely curtailed due to necessary health & safety restrictions.

Spending less time with those closest to us, gave us the opportunity to experience a deeper appreciation of those annual customs which we have so often taken for granted. When all the tinsel was stripped away, a quieter and simpler Christmas was enjoyed by many, even in such circumstances.

As you will read elsewhere in this publication, we are offering a wide range of in person services at Hughenden Church this Christmas, and I would like to extend a personal invitation to you and your loved ones to come and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with us.

As you gather around the dinner table and pull crackers with your nearest and dearest on the 25th, I invite you to pause for a moment to give thanks to God that he has brought us through the past  year, although for many that has been at a great cost.

At Christmas we celebrate the most important birth in human history – that of the Christ Child, born in a stable, under a bright shining star, who was worshipped by Kings. He was sent into the world to reveal the full extent of God’s love for us, and the world is so much richer for his life, death and resurrection. So why not make room for Jesus at your Christmas meal this year? Happy Christmas & God bless you.

Rev. Keith Johnson

Vicar

Home: 01494 257569

Mobile: 07772 642393

keith​the​vicar​@gmail​.com

Nature Quest

Nature Quest Christmas edition! A feast of possibilities! Shall it be reindeer’s feeding habits? Or pollution from candles, from frankincense and myrrh? Or using the remains of your meleagris gallopavo (turkey) on Boxing Day?

No, let’s work with our favourite carol - “The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay”. No, I don’t mean excited children would sleep better laid on hay on Christmas Eve. I mean the strange fact that most creatures need periods of sleep, rest or inactivity: whether babies or adults, animals or dried seeds. All have times when nothing much happens.

On a longer time-scale Exodus 23 verse 10 says we should leave our fields fallow every seven years, let them have a rest, just as we should rest on the sabbath: not exactly modern agricultural practice, nor modern use of Sundays, but good advice.

For a moment let me hark back to our unwelcome guest of last month, the glis glis or edible dormouse. One has definitely been despatched, but no more have been heard or caught. Can it be that just one little creature made all that noise?! Or did it have friends or family? The ‘dor’ of dormouse means sleep. Don’t say they’re just asleep in some warm corner of our nicely insulated roof! Grrr! Apparently they hibernate from November onwards, so now there’s no chance of catching the little so-and-sos, nor of knowing whether they’re still there.

I mentioned seeds. You’ll know about the sower who went out to sow, in Jesus’s parable. Notice He doesn’t say when the sower went out to sow. Of course not! Everybody knew when you sow seeds: just before you expect the Spring rain, ready to start them growing. Sadly with Climate Change the right time is becoming more unpredictable, with disastrous consequences for harvests and for those who depend upon them. But whether in the traditional climate or in the recent confused climate, many seeds naturally ‘sleep’: from the time of ripening until suitable conditions for re-growth. Some can sleep for many years, like poppies, only bursting into life when the ground gets disturbed. Or as with the silene stenophylla:  buried in permafrost for 32,000 years and recently regenerated. But most only sleep a few months.

silene stenophylla

Seeds in the wild don’t collect themselves into nice dry paper packets to wait for next Spring, they have to let loose and hope for the best. Some prefer to sleep through frost and snow; others have a tough skin to protect themselves; whilst others just produce so many seeds that surely some will survive. A few will start growing in Autumn, slowing down during Winter and really get going when the weather warms up.

Inspired by the recent Countryside programme about trees and the need for trillions more trees to be planted to avert some consequences of climate change, I’m doing an experiment in the garden, using my sleeping tree seeds. I’ve collected acorns, conkers, sloes, rowan berries, etc, (a dozen or more) all to be planted and carefully labelled in little rows. I’ll count how many there are of each one and see what percentage germinate. I’m sure none will grow until next Spring, so I’ll need to be patient.

You might ask what I’m going to do with all the ones that grow. Plant them all and save the planet! But where shall I plant dozens of seedling trees? Trees will grow tall and wide and need space to develop. We could accommodate a few in our garden, but nationally and internationally we need to set aside thousands of acres for new forests, and I don’t see where or how that will happen. A tricky problem: I’ll have to sleep on it!

Meanwhile I’ll leave you to ponder the child asleep on the hay; not why a new-born should sleep in such a bed, but that here was the Creator: of hay and babies and sleep and everything.

May the same Child and God bless you as you sleep and as you wake.

Replies/comments to nature@​hughenden​parish​church.org.uk

Mike Hill

Nature Quest 2 …

… or and additional recipe?

Knowing of Mike’s battle with the pesky-but-pretty glis glis, and as long term readers might recall, our own similar battles over the last few years, a headline in the news caught my attention last month: Police carrying out a drugs raid on a cannabis farm in southern Italy have seized a stash of 235 frozen dormice - said to be a mafia delicacy.

Glis glis

After finding cannabis plants, and making drugs arrest, apparently the Italian police found cages of dormice and freezers filled with carcasses.

Wildlife groups say baked dormice are served to honour high-ranking gangsters at banquets organised by the powerful Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia clan.

The protected animals are illegally trapped in the woods of the Aspromonte hills and sold ‘to mobsters and restaurants’, according to an Italian wildlife protection organisation.

Edible dormice (glis glis) were a delicacy in ancient Rome. They were fattened in cages before being gutted, skinned and stuffed with pork mince, ground pine nuts and garlic and then baked. They are still eaten in Croatia and Slovenia and considered a delicacy.

Perhaps if there IS a turkey shortage at Christmas…

Jane Tyrer

Christmas Hope

A Crown of Hope

Hop the hoop of holly
Mistletoe under beam
The time of winter's barren decree
Ivy twined round every tree
And all the ground between


Hop the hoop of holly
Come shoot your failing fortune
With nothing to lose
Between ancient yews
So strike up your merry tune

Hop the hoop of holly
Among the hellebores
The final moulting of the old man's beard
Upon all field hedge silver tiered
It has been your endless joy

Yes hop the hoop of holly
Come step on through the door
Upon the blood red berries step
Our final choice, his promise kept
An end to life's long war.

Andy Hyde

Old Man's Beard

Upon those gliding Downs
Where sweep of slope
And line of field
Draw vague pleasantries.
Upon briars and thicket
Thorn and scrub
Billows of cloud
Come trembling, feathery down
That silver lining come to earth
Highlights in the shadowy gloom
The old ragged man
In those grey months
Leading a traveller in joy
To Christmas

Andy Hyde

Diocesan and Deanery Synod Reports

Diocesan Synod

The Diocesan Synod met on Saturday the 13th November 2021 by “ZOOM.”

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Olivia Graham, let the opening worship with a reflection on her experiences at COP26, where she had sent the previous fortnight. She read a poem written by the delegate from the Marshall Islands, threatened with being overwhelmed by rising seas which will submerge their nation of small islands, beneath the waves. She reflected on poverty – food, water, drought, hunger, homelessness, a theme taken up in the Presidential Address of the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft.

The most important part of the session was a talk by the Archdeacon of Berkshire, the Venerable Stephen Pullin, on the report “Addressing Poverty and Inequality” (bit.ly/3Du00Qt). It makes compelling reading and is available on the Diocesan website. In our Diocese, with 812 churches in 29 Deaneries, serving a population of 2.4 million people and 283 Church of England schools, serving 60,000 pupils, there is an abundance of need, largely hidden. There is also a huge and impressive array of engage-ment by churches and individuals to tackle the issues.

The remaining time was spent approving the draft Budget for 2022. The Chair of the ODBF made it clear that there would be no additional demands on Parish Share, as given to the Deaneries; but that the Deaneries themselves were charged with the allocation amongst the parishes. Deaneries were best placed to see how the burdens would be distributed most equitably. There were also reports from the ODB of Education and from the Development Fund.

Deanery Synod

Deanery Synod met on Tuesday the 19th October 2021 at Holy Trinity Church Hazlemere. It will be recalled that Holy Trinity has spent the last two years or so undergoing a major refurbishment into the Trinity Centre. It is very impressive and, especially so, was the presentation on sacrificial giving – visionary giving, fellowship giving and legacy giving by their congregation. It is a remarkable testament to how a parish, working together, can raise a huge multi million pound fund to rebuild their church, which was in a dangerous condition, engage the faithful and renew their mission.

It was announced that the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, will be visiting the Deanery and Deanery Synod on the 28th April 2022.

Christopher Tyrer

Living in Love and Faith

Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

Tuesday Evenings 7.15 – 9.00 pm at St. James Church, Downley

4th, 11th, 18th, 25th January 2022 | 1st February 2022

Contact Helen Peters to find out more or to sign-up - 01494 716772

Like Father, Like Son?

Over lockdown, I decided I would like to qualify as a football referee. My dad has been a referee for several years and so it’s something I’ve always been interested in, but you must be 14 to qualify. As I did my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award last year, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. While I played football for my physical section and volunteered with the cameras and live stream at church, I needed just this to complete my award.

Qualifying as a referee involves online modules and two in-person courses with other trainees before completing five games. Unfortunately, due to lockdown, courses didn’t start up again until September so I had to wait until then. In the meantime I took the online modules which teach the laws of the game in-depth. When courses resumed, I was quick to sign up for one in Aylesbury. This involved a Thursday evening, which reinforced the skills learnt online and allowed us to study them with others, and a full day session a couple of days later, which also involved practical training, outdoor activities and scenarios. The group involved a mix of others of my age and adults and was led by an experienced referee. After the course, you must complete 5 games to be officially qualified and added to the refereeing list for the local FA. However, as I’m obviously limited to children’s games – U11s to U14s – it was much harder to find games.

After some complicated administrative problems that took a while to be resolved, I was registered but struggled to actually get games. There is a short supply of local games available at this age groups as parents can often officiate. I also don’t want to stop playing football, and Naphill, the club I play for, train on Saturday mornings and play matches on Sundays, leaving little time for refereeing!

As it happens, the first game I was offered to referee was for my own club, Naphill. Although my dad usually refs our games, he was away and we had too many players so it seemed quite suitable for me to takeover. So, using one of my dad’s old refereeing tops that was far too big for me, I refereed my first game. Without my dad to offer his expertise, it was quite nerve racking, but I enjoyed it and it mostly went well – although the away team knew I usually played for Naphill and complained I was biased! Overall it was pretty calm game, although my team unfortunately lost late on.

Most games at this age are played on Sunday mornings so I have struggled to find games that don’t clash with church. However, I found a church league that play games on Saturday morning so hopefully I can be awarded more games on Saturday. There is a shortage of referees in grassroots football, so I hope I can keep doing this in future, as a way to keep being involved in football despite limited talent as a player!

Orlando Thompson

Hughenden Community Singers

Ever wanted to sing just for fun?

Then come along and join HUGHENDEN COMMUNITY SINGERS! A new choir, starting Monday 15th November 7.30 - 9.30pm. There is no need to be able to read music, or to have sung before, and there are no auditions. We will be singing a wide variety of music and plenty of refreshments will be provided.

Everyone is welcome, including under-18s with parents, and there are no fees. St Michael & All Angels has kindly lent us the church to practice in on Monday evenings. So the acoustics are great, and there is plenty of space to sing and park!

To get more information, or sign-up, contact Liz on 07768 790029 or email evmoseley@btinternet.com

Open Doors

Serving persecuted Christians worldwide

Happy Christmas. From Open Doors … but what makes a HAPPY Christmas? Presents, Christmas trees and decorations, gathering with others, food, church; or is it simply celebrating the birth of Jesus? Certainly, looking at the Christmas adverts it is hard to find anything about Jesus at all. And what of us? Where do we look to find our happiness this Christmas? There is no doubt it has been a tough couple of years since we celebrated in 2019 but none of it has changed the reality of what happened 2,000 years ago.

Jesus’ birth was celebrated with no Christmas trees and decorations; no evidence of a family gathering, no special food, no church and his presents were a foretaste of his future role and death. It was though, celebrated by rich kings and poor shepherds, humans and angels, all worshipping at the miracle of the baby born.

Jesus was born into poverty. Most persecuted believers around the world are poor.

Jesus was born under an oppressive regime. Many are born under a regime that persecutes Christians to various degrees.

Jesus fled his home and spent his early life as a refugee. Many have been pushed from their homes to live in camps or compounds.

One of the things I have learned with my contact with persecuted Christians is that despite their difficulties they have a simple faith that focuses on the cross, that believes God is in control and can be trusted as they look forward to eternity with Jesus. This leads to a focus on thankfulness.

“We wait until January and my birthday to celebrate Christmas and Christ's birthday, In this way we don't raise suspicion and the celebrations don't sound unusual to our neighbours.”

Alya, Iran

Let us be thankful that we can celebrate Christmas openly.

In Nigeria more than 1,000 children have been forcibly taken from their schools across five northern states in the past year. More than 600 schools have been closed for fear of further attack. Leah Sharibu (nearly 4 years) and many of the Chibok girls (7th year) remain in captivity. How will they feel this Christmas?

Nigeria

Let us be thankful that our children are safe from kidnap.

“In Myanmar, the fighting is intense in Christian areas in Falam Township in Chin State, and Kachin State. It’s alarming because believers’ families are forced to hide in the forest – migration in the Chin State is happening in droves and the towns have become completely empty. There is nowhere to hide but the jungle.”

Myanmar

Let us be thankful that we can celebrate Christmas in our homes and churches.

In addition to severe shortages of fuel and inflation, recent attacks in north eastern Syria by Turkey have forced Christians from their homes and reinforced the perilous situation facing the country’s believers.

Syria

Let us be thankful that we can celebrate Christmas in safety.

“Christians are experiencing the same difficulties and hunger as other North Korean people, But they pray for others. They find peace in their prayers to God. North Korean authorities learn that they can’t destroy their faith in God by imprisonment, torture and execution. In the darkest land, continually facing hunger, holding on to their faith in God and following Jesus is their strength, hope and light.”

North Korea

Let us be thankful that we can celebrate Christmas in freedom, with plentiful food.

So, as we celebrate Christmas anew, let us be thankful for all we have and not forget those who suffer for Jesus across the world.

John Barringer

Open Doors

www.open​doors​uk.org

Shelter

Shelter is one of charities we will be supporting as part our Christmas giving this year particularly enabling church members to donate through our Christmas Collection should they wish to do so.

Home is a human right. It’s our foundation and it’s where we thrive. Yet every day, families are forced to endure unsafe living conditions and cramped temporary accommodation. Thousands of others sleep on the streets.

Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe, stable home and to fight for everyone affected by the housing emergency.

Last year, there were 309,349 calls to Shelter’s helplines and across the UK, more than 250,000 people are homeless and stuck in cramped, unsuitable temporary accommodation. Thousands of people sleep on the streets each night.

Shelter supports those facing bad housing and homelessness with our specialist advice, legal services and campaigning to make sure we are there for those who need it, and to tackle the root cause of the housing emergency. We couldn’t do this without the support of our amazing fundraisers, so thank you.

There are various ways in which our parish could support Shelter, some ideas include:

  • Campaigning There are campaigns now live where people could sign a petition. Support Shelter by writing to your MP, signing their petitions or becoming a Housing Emergency Response Operative (HERO). Your voice is powerful.

  • Volunteering Shelter has different volunteering opportunities available at different times of the year. Volunteer and you’ll make a real impact in the fight against homelessness and bad housing. Whether you’re looking to meet new people, use your skills or develop new ones, there are all sorts of fun ways you can get involved.

  • Fundraising at events or doing your own thing. Shelter has fundraising places in events, but also can provide support on things like coffee mornings, bake sales and other fundraisers that might work for our parish.

Dear Lord, as we look towards our Christmas celebrations and think about our own families, help us to think about those who won’t have a home to celebrate in this Christmas. We pray that the 128,000 children who are homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas in Britain will find a safe home. Thank you for the work of charities like Shelter and the Wycombe Homeless Connection. Please bless their housing advisers working on helplines to support people struggling with bad housing and homelessness, even on Christmas Day. Amen

Find out more about Shelter and how you can support them in their website: england.​shelter.​org.uk

Mission Support Group

Mothers' Union

At our November meeting our speaker, Judith Smith, gave an extremely interesting and informative talk on her work as a volunteer in prison chaplaincy at HMP Send near Woking. Judith took up this work after retiring as a teacher and has now been doing it for four years.

She felt enormously privileged to go into the prison and meet members of staff and women prisoners who come from all walks of life, e.g. cooks, cleaners, administrators, grandmothers, mothers, daughters and elderly ladies in their seventies and eighties. Many of these women need lots of support and a good listening ear. Working within prison guidelines the chaplaincy team shows love and care to people who often have never experienced this in their lives. Many have been in refuges, have been afraid and without any form of nurturing and have often made wrong choices which have adversely affected their lives. Some prisoners, however, are literate and are able to study and achieve qualifications whilst serving their sentences.

Judith told us that of the 79,000 prisoners in the 117 prisons in the UK, around 3,000 (4%) are women and some 17,000 children are consequently affected. If they are without supportive family members, the children are taken into care and sometimes adopted.

Many prisoners have long sentences and some are ‘lifers’ but they are able to work in training programmes which cover a variety of occupations, i.e. in kitchens, in gardens, hair salons, painting and decorating and some even train as baristas. They are paid between £12 and £15 per week for this work which is spent on toiletries or to top up their phones, etc. Retired women are paid £5 per week. The women are offered basic English and Maths tuition, also business qualifications and IT. There is also a library, a WI branch and the Watts Gallery runs an art project in prison, some women being able to sell their work. So there are lots of activities for the women.

… self-harm has increased among prisoners, particularly since Covid

Sadly, self-harm has increased among prisoners, particularly since Covid when they were confined to their cells for 23 hours a day. They do have mental health support which is often better than that offered outside prison.

Judith told us that chaplaincy at Send is at the centre of the prison and covers all faiths and none. All women are visited as they arrive. The Managing Chaplain is an Anglican priest who is assisted by vicars from outside and a large team of volunteers. Special services are held at Christmas and Easter and all prisoners receive a Christmas gift. There are many courses such as Alpha, bereavement courses, money management courses, as well as courses to help women cope with life after they are released.

Making Connections is a mentoring programme which is open to all prisoners and aims to give them a second chance and support them with their rehabilitation. Women are contacted six months before release and assigned mentors whom they meet on a weekly basis. Judith has become a mentor and now works in this area, helping women to help themselves. Few have ID or bank accounts so assistance is given in this area. They work through a programme which will help them when they are released. Funding for this work comes from The Nazareth Way, a charity founded upon Christian principles to support the work of prison chaplaincies and the prisoners they serve.

This was a most enlightening talk and Judith finished by asking for prayers for prison chaplaincy and their work around the country.

On 7th December at 2.00 pm in church we will be celebrating our Advent Communion Service, followed by tea/coffee and mince pies in Church House. We will be collecting items for Wycombe Women’s Refuge which our MU branch supports each year. This year they have requested long life food items, e.g. pasta, rice, biscuits, tea, coffee, long-life milk, etc. As always, anyone is very welcome to join us.

Sylvia Clark

From the Potting Shed

Dear Friends, how did we get to December so quickly? Many of us will be happy to see the end of 2021 and we can only hope for better in the months ahead. However, we still need to eat don’t we? Did you make your Christmas Pudding on Stir Up Sunday I wonder? Ruby was round, ready to stir and wish. She finds it more fun at my house on that day as her mum buys her pudding from Asda.

I did try and teach my daughter to cook but apparently failed miserably. So, I remind Ruby that it only works if she keeps her wish secret … and she tells me anyway, in a loud whisper. She would like 10 squishes (no, I don’t know either) and ice cream for breakfast everyday. I’m about to discuss these choices when MacGregor comes into the kitchen and Ruby insists that he stirs the pudding as well.

‘What did you wish for Grandpa?’ Ruby asks.

‘Warm boots and no more pesky rabbits eating my cabbages,’ he replies.

Oh dear, so much disappointment. Always best not to have too high expectations I say.

Maybe time to escape into the garden. Take your time with the lovely plant catalogues and brochures when you are sitting down with a cup of tea. So, how would you like to change your garden a little next year? What went well and what needs a different approach? Maybe you could plant a small tree or plan a new pond. Could you think about throwing away the pesticides or purposely choosing peat free compost?

Gardeners are always optimists thank goodness, we are always looking forward and planning ahead with joy and anticipation.

So I wish you all a Merry Christmas and here’s to the spring. We know it will come.

Yours,

Cecily MacGregor

Jobs for December

  1. Remove faded leaves and dead flowers from any remaining pelargoniums.

  2. Place bird feeders near roses as the birds will also eat lingering aphids.

  3. Move houseplants to sunny windows so that they get as much light as possible.

  4. Now is the time to plant bare root roses.

  5. Rake up fallen leaves in borders as they could be sheltering slugs.

  6. Nice idea to plant a fragrant winter shrub on your front doorstep. Try a chimonanthus or my favourite, a daphne.

Edie Sadler: Childhood Reminiscences

In last month’s Outlook, we promised some reminiscences from Edie. Here are some extracts from an interview conducted in 2013 with Edie, by Alison Gieler for the National Trust West Wycombe Project and the British Library Oral Project. Edie is talking about her early life in West Wycombe.

We had three churches. St Lawrence on the hill and St Pauls in the village, the Wesleyan Chapel and the little Congregational Chapel. The Wesleyan Chapel was very well populated with children, a busy thriving Chapel. The Congregational was not quite so busy, but it was regular.

The Congregational used to have small concerts with poems and monologues, and yes I think they had a balcony in the little church- and yes that was quite well populated in the early part of the nineteen thirties. And of course we had the Wesleyan chapel where we had regular concerts and a wonderful harvest festival, and all our Christmas parties were in the Wesleyan Chapel, because it had a big school room beside the Chapel inside, and of course sadly to say, now that is all offices, and the congregational now is the Band residence, and there is another church now up Church Lane, but in the thirties it was part of the chair factory. And it was only restored – I think you will have to ask the Trust about that.

My Aunt Mrs Elliot who lived at the top Fern Cottage, (in West Wycombe) let sledges and did teas on the hill. Not in the winter in the summer-time.

West Wycombe

They were shaped like the back of a chair, with a seat, and we children in the village, that was our playground – West Wycombe hill. and we all knew every tree and every bush, and the sledges never did any damage to the grass. And in the holidays, bank holidays and in the summer months, my aunt did trays of teas for anyone who liked to come and buy at the door.

School days were very happy days at West Wycombe school. Every November we had the big bonfire just below the mausoleum, which was well known as you could see it from well down Wycombe. And we never had accidents, and it was well organised by Mr Belsham the headmaster, and it was greatly looked forward to.

And we always had what was Empire Day in those days down in the meadow, near the pedestal, where the old village hall was, and wonderful days then we had the races, and the cricket was held there. The cricket was a great attraction in the summer-time. The local village cricket team played the other villages, Bradenham was our greatest rivals, and of course all the Bradenham and Bradenham Road children went to West Wycombe school. They had to walk to there.

We had four pubs in the village in those days. The George and Dragon, which was also the venue for the coalman, he collected his coal from the bottom of the yard and it was delivered, Mr. Smith his name was. Then The Swan, which has been for at least three generations that I know of. And then the Plough, which was just an alehouse, it was not wines and spirits. Just beers and lemonades. Then the bakers was very busy baking their own bread, and delivered round the villages. And my Uncle Mr Elliot who was at Fern Cottage in Church Lane was one of the Bakers there. I’m going back a few years.

Up at the school we had five teachers. Mr Belsham was headmaster. Cecil Saunders was the next, Miss Major or Maggie Major as we called her, bit of a tartar, and Miss Wren, then Mrs Robinson, who taught the little ones. She had a wonderful way with the five to six year olds, they had their own little percussion band, and always played on Empire Day, the tambourine and the shakers, and little drum, but how she taught them – it was really wonderful. Oh, we had wonderful days.

West Wycombe Hill was not banned then, like it is now, and all the boys played football in the winter on the front, and cricket in the summer. We girls sat there playing Dabbers – you have a little circle of stones and pick one up and throw and catch it.

So then of course, every Friday afternoon, we were took off up to the top of the hill, took the goalposts or cricket stumps in the Summer, played up there. But the older village lads camped up there in the August time, but we never made a mess, we were taught, that we just didn’t do it. And it was like through the churchyard, we’d run through there, but we never went near a grave, never went off the path, or anything like that. I mean it was a short cut through, there were different ways, three or four different ways, and like we’d play hide and seek, and in the Winter time we had two or three groups we’d play ‘Jack, Jack show the light’. That was  there would be three groups of us, and you’d divide up, and the first went, showed the light, you went to try to find it and they’d moved, and then the light would come on somewhere else, a torch. Yes, we had wonderful times, well we didn’t have television then.

… I never thought the Thirties would end. To me they said the bad old days, but in the village everybody knew everybody else. There was a little bit of gossiping I expect, but some of us didn’t even lock their doors at night. And everybody was there to help each other.

… The Caves  were given to Mr Fryer, his family for something that he had done, This is something I don’t know, whether he had worked for Dashwood in years gone by, but they were given to him for his lifetime. And that was another thing we children did. He would let us go down there when other people were there and of course we knew the caves, and very naughty, we blew the candles out sometimes. And it is dark down there. And he always stood by the front of it, and of course there was the big iron gates, not like it is now, and the caves went back to the Dashwoods after he died.

The toys we had were yoyos, spinning tops, skipping ropes, and in the playground we had the hopscotch, that sort of thing. And the other thing we played in the playground, someone was the fox, and we were the lambs, I can’t remember what it was called now though. The fox chased the lambs. There was one we played in the road, called ‘Stones’. We’d pile up a little pile of stones, we’d have so many on each side, threw the ball and knock them down, and you’d got to build them up before others could touch us. Oh, it was a great game, that was. But as I say we made our own pleasure on the hill. One or two of the fir trees on the hill, a fir tree has very bendy boughs, and you could climb up and that would swing us down, like a seesaw, and we had great fun doing that, but we never broke it, or anything like that. Lady Helen Dashwood, Sir Francis’ mother, very much associated with the village. She was at all the Christmas parties, with her and her mother. But she did associate with the village very, very much. I mean she came to the school at different times, on Speech days and things like that.

Our thanks to Alison Gieler for use of the transcript: Eds

National Churches Trust

Keeping Churches, Chapels and Meeting Houses Alive

The National Churches Trust is delighted to support the Parish Church of St Michael & All Angels, Hughenden with a substantial grant towards the Bell Tower Project; repairing and preserving the belltower, its bells and its mission in the 21st Century.

The National Churches Trust work is dedicated to keeping church buildings open throughout the UK so that they can be used for worship and for community activities. Our support for churches also means that their architecture and heritage is safeguarded for the future.

We receive no direct financial support from government or church authorities and rely on the support of the public to continue our vital work. Thanks to the generosity of our Friends and supporters, since 1953 we have provided over 12,000 grants and loans and ensured that churches, chapels and meeting houses throughout the UK have remained in good repair and with modern facilities to ensure that they can serve the needs of local people.

Please do consider supporting us today by becoming a Friend of the National Churches Trust. Friends receive invitations to our events, including church tours; a subscription to our bi-annual Friends Newsletter and regular Friends e-newsletters; a complimentary copy of our Annual Review and a range of offers including discounted home insurance.

New Friends receive a free copy of ‘Treasures of English Churches’ by Dr Matthew Byrne, a beautiful and inspiring book of photographic portraits.

Other ways you can support us include:

For more details please visit website www.national​churches​trust.org, contact 0207 222 0605, email info@nationalchurchestrust.org, or write to us at: National Churches Trust, 7 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QB.

With many thanks,

Luke March DL

Chairman, National Churches Trust

Bookends

You will be relieved to know that I have survived my reading crisis (see last month’s Bookends.) I have found some feel-good books and I want to tell you about them.

The first is ‘Sweet Sorrow’ by David Nicholls. This is for me the antithesis of Sally Rooney writing about young love. It is highly competent, confident writing that is funny, piercingly observant and of course achingly sad, as most books are with this subject matter. I recognised the title as being a quote from Romeo and Juliet. “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” sighs Juliet from her balcony and this is an indication that this particular Shakespeare play weaves its way through the whole book, not as any sort of metaphor (as nobody dies at the end of the story) but more as a framework onto which the whole plot hangs.

I have loved this play since being a student. It was the time of the Franco Zeffirelli film and myself and my friends could quote chunks of the script, particularly the big romantic speeches. Now it greatly added to my enjoyment of David Nicholls’ story. It is the 1990s (that is in the story, not when I was a student) and Charlie Lewis is having a tough time. His home life is rubbish and school has been difficult. Now he has left and he is not at all sure what comes next. He meets Fran by chance and becomes involved in her youth theatre group. The book gives us Charlie, 20 years later, telling the story of what happened. An Observer review says that this is a rare offering: “a popular novel of serious merit.” That is exactly it. Sweet Sorrow is funny, nostalgic, gentle and beautifully written.

The second book is ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig. Have you ever wondered what your life would have been like if you had made one different decision, one different choice? What other career, other experience, other relationship might you have had? Nora thinks her life is going nowhere but in the wrong direction, and she decides she has had enough and is going to end it. She finds herself in a sort of friendly purgatory.

It is in the form of a library full of books that contain other possible lives that might be hers and she is given the opportunity to try them out. At this point the book reminded me of the film ‘A Wonderful Life’ with Jimmy Stewart. It is on my list of favourite Christmas films and I shall watch it sometime in the next few weeks. In the film the character is shown how his life is a force for good and how he improved the lives of others. Nora has a slightly similar experience, realising how even the smallest kind act can have an effect out of all proportion. She learns what is really important in life and that there is always potential. Nora was a philosophy student and there is a tranche of quotes from Camus and her favourite Thoreau among others, about the business of being alive. As an inveterate over-thinker myself, I did like the idea of : for goodness sake just live your life, try to live it well but don’t be consumed by angst, guilt and hand wringing. A lesson for me definitely and a lovely read.

So, the third book is a strange one: ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ by Ruth Hogan. I knew nothing about the author but I remember finding the title appealing. It made me think of St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things (not to be confused with St Jude who is the patron saint of lost causes. A very different matter!) As it happened this thought was very prescient as the central character is indeed named Anthony and his house is called Padua. St Anthony of Padua you see. Anyway, this book is entertaining, sometimes funny, although I will admit to on a couple of occasions thinking no, this is one step too far, my belief in this writing is stretched to its limit. The author employs a selection of literary devices. There are stories within stories. There is a parallel narrative going on which doesn’t join up with the main story and provide resolution until almost the end. The first sentence is also the very last sentence. Many authors seem to find this ploy very satisfying. Added to which there is more than a hint of the supernatural. You do need to concentrate somewhat!

Anthony loses the love of his life before he has even married her and the idea of loss runs throughout the book. It might be a missing jigsaw piece, a dropped glove, a biscuit tin of cremated ashes mistakenly left on a train or the more ephemeral loss of hope, love or friendship. All the hanging threads are sewn together at the end of this slightly old- fashioned book. I use that term as a comment rather than a criticism. If you are in the mood for something slightly different, then maybe you would enjoy this.

Obviously this has not been a Christmas column as such but I would like to bring one title to your attention, should you be looking for a small bookish gift, small in both size and cost.

‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas. There are many editions on Amazon. Mine is now about 30 years old and was a present from a small son, thus doubly precious. I love the cover with artwork by Edward Ardizzone. It is still available and is simply a delight.

Susan Brice

Devon Delights

During a recent visit to Devon, we stayed in Tavistock and visited three National Trust properties, two in Devon and one in Somerset about which we were wholly unfamiliar. Indeed, one – Buckland Abbey, we found by chance having taken a wrong turn (blame the map-reader, who overruled satnav). This article is designed to bring to the discerning reader some information about these places and commend them to your interest and to a visit if or when you are in their localities.

Barrington Court

There has been a house on this site since Doomsday and it was occupied by a series of important families through the ages, the occupants suffering the usual setbacks and worse, including heirs killed on the Crusades, unwise marriages (one, the Earl of Bridgewater married Lady Katherine Howard, aunt of Henry VIII’s unfortunate fifth wife) and the almost compulsory dispossession, at some stage, for treason.

By the early 20th Century, it was in ruins. Gifted to the National Trust as one of its earliest properties, it was leased out to the Lyle family who restored it to its, now, present splendour. It has been described as “the final and most free expression of pure Gothic design as applied to secular buildings.”

The House is interesting but, in my view, not especially so: it is in the grounds and gardens that its true beauty is to be found. It is still a working estate but the Lily Garden, the White Garden (similar to Sissinghurst and just as lovely), the orchards and the Kitchen Garden are musts to see, even though it is something of a trek around the place.

Situated near Ilminster, other places of interest nearby include Coleridge Court, Fyne Court, Lytes Cary Manor, Montacute House and Tintinhull Garden.

Buckland Abbey

Founded in 1278, originally for the monks of the Cisertcian Order, it was a place of prayer, contemplation as well as work and service and support to the local communities.

Come the Dissolution of the monasteries, the last Abbot surrendered it to Henry VIII in 1538 who, in turn gave it to the Grenville family. Sir Richard Grenville, a soldier and ship’s captain turned it into a mansion and then sold it to Sir Francis Drake, who had made his fortune by plundering the Spanish plantations, convoys and assets. After Drake’s death in 1596, it went into a decline, although fortune has favoured it to this extent, in that it has survived pretty intact and unchanged. It is set in a quiet and peaceful part of Devon.

Central to the visiting experience is the Great Barn. Dating from the 15th Century, it is huge and testifies to the enormous amount of produce that was stored, ripened and kept within its long and narrow confines. The Drake family did much to preserve the existing estate that they acquired from the Grenvilles.

The last Drake, Lady Elizabeth, inherited the estate from her father in 1915. She and her husband, Lord Seaton, restored much of it, not neglecting the needs of the local community. It was she that discovered and restored what, to me, is the jewel.

During restoration work in 1917, the site of the original High Altar of the monks was discovered. It had been part of the servants’ quarters. Lady Seaton had it restored into a chapel dedicated to St Benedict and the Virgin Mary and Pope Benedict XV’s authorisation is affixed to the wall (not the current Pope Emeritus but his namesake predecessor). Still used as a worshipping place, the organ (hand pumped) is played at the, now, occasional services by a local enthusiast. When we visited, they had just held a Harvest Service and the hymn book was open at “We plough the fields and scatter..” There you are, dear reader: some piece of religion to satisfy the editors … !

Inevitably it suffered a devastating fire, but the repairs were completed in1940, despite the war. However that was by far from the end of it. When the National Trust acquired the Abbey, it needed very substantial repairs, from death watch beetle to general decay. It opened again for the Festival of Britain in 1951.

On the 19th July 1988, 400 years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada it reopened in its current restored condition. The peace remains as I think it must have been all those years ago.

Coleton Fishacre

Check it out – that’s the right spelling! In the 1920, Sir Rupert and Lady D’Oyly Carte were sailing round the Devon coast (as you did in those days). Rupert was the son of Richard, who formed the D’Oyly Carte company, famous for staging Gilbert and Sullivan operettas at the Savoy Theatre, next to the Savoy Hotel, which the family also owned.

They started to build this elegant and time dated house from 1923 and it naturally sits in the landscape, house and garden blending into the estate that the family created. In the ordinary expectation the house, estate and creation would have been expected to pass down through the family, as it did for a while. Rupert and his wife Dorothy had two children – Bridget born in 1908 and Michael born in 1911. Tragedy struck in October 1932, when Michael was killed in a road traffic accident in Switzerland. The description of it and what followed are given in the newspapers at the time in the kind of details of journalistic invasion of privacy that one might have thought only came much later.

Sadly, the tragedy finished the marriage of the parents in 1936 and, when Sir Rupert died in 1948, Bridget sold the property, to Rowland Smith a car dealer in London who, with his wife kept it going until 1982. when it was passed to the National Trust.

Walking into the house today, one is transported back to a vision of the 1920s. It is as if the house party have just gone out, perhaps to the local towns or for a swim. Entirely in keeping with that period, even the music playing fits, the place resonates as to what it must have been like in happier times when the D’Oyly Cartes lived there.

It is a magical place and well worth a visit. The grounds are extensive and the views out to sea magnificent. It is one of those places that repeat visits are more than worthwhile.

Christopher Tyrer

December Recipe

Almond Cake with Sparkling Clementines

By time you read the magazine it will be nearly Christmas and yet another strange year has nearly ended. Hopefully this Christmas we can have our family and friends visiting and we can celebrate and plan to prepare our season favourites. I have finally nearly had our new kitchen fitted and can start to cook again, much to my husband’s relief!

This cake has a lovely festive feel and is a family favourite, very moist and light. It can be frozen for up to 3 months, the clementines can also be frozen in their syrup for up to a month. For anybody who has not tried to make caramel before it is a good one to try.

Julia Grant

Ingredients


100g / 4oz ready to eat dried apricots

175ml / 6floz clementine juice (you need about 6 to 8 clementines)

100g / 4oz softened butter

100g / 4oz caster sugar

2 eggs

50g / 2oz self-raising flour

175g / 6oz ground almonds

½tsp. vanilla extract

2tbs slivered almonds

For the clementines:

8 clementines

175g / 6oz caster sugar

5tbs Cointreau or Grand Marnier (orange juice can be used if you don’t want to use alcohol)

Method


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C, gas mark 4, fan oven 160°C. Butter and line the base of a 20cm / 8in round cake tin.

  2. Finely chop the apricots and put in a pan with the clementine juice. Bring to the boil for 5 mins and then cool.

  3. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs and flour in a bowl for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then fold in the ground almonds, vanilla and cooked apricots with their juice.

  4. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Scatter the almonds over and bake in the oven for 40 - 50 minutes until firm to the touch. Cool on a rack.

  5. For the clementines, squeeze the juice from 2 and set aside. Peel the remaining clementines, removing as much pith as possible and put in a heatproof bowl.

  6. Put the sugar in a saucepan with 6tbs cold water. Gently heat, stirring carefully until the sugar is dissolved. Then increase the heat, stirring as it rapidly boils until it turns a light caramel colour.

  7. Remove from heat immediately or it will carry on getting darker! Add the clementine juice and Cointreau. Return to the heat until the sauce is combined and smooth. Pour onto the peeled clementines, and then leave in the fridge for up to 24 hours to marinate them.

On the Day: Dust the cake with icing sugar. To serve put a wedge on each plate with a clementine. Spoon the sauce over the top and serve with Greek yoghurt or cream. Yummy!

Leaving A Legacy

Making a Real Difference

All churches rely entirely upon the support of generous Christians. Our giving is vitally important and helps sustain mission both here in this country, and overseas.

For example, through our church buildings and parish clergy and our wider parish ministry: as measured by every ill person visited, every confirmation course run, every assembly taken, every bereaved family comforted, every baptism celebrated, every sermon preached, Eucharist celebrated, and every person shown the love of Christ through our care, comfort and compassion.

It may seem a sombre topic, especially at this time of year, but if we consider what we want to happen after we are gone, we may like to consider whether – and how – to leave a legacy to the church.

We acknowledge with grateful thanks two recent legacies received by our Church:

  1. From the Dibden family and

  2. From the Will of the late Michael Noakes.

We pray for the Dibden and the Noakes families at this sad time.

Your Gift

Beyond our regular lifetime giving a gift in your will can be a final and powerful expression of your gratitude and thanksgiving towards God and can help transform your local church’s future.

We pray that as you plan how to distribute your estate, you will feel encouraged to remember your church family and we invite you to consider how a gift in your will could help the Church meet the needs.

Christopher Tyrer

How To Make A Lasting Gift

No matter how large or small, every gift can make a difference. There are two basic ways, either a share (a percentage) or a fixed sum.

To leave a share of your estate (Residuary Bequest):

This is the gift of all or part of the value of your estate (after debts, other legacies and liabilities have been met). This has the advantage of automatically keeping up with inflation.

To leave a fixed sum of money (Pecuniary Bequest):

You can choose to leave a sum of money, which you can arrange with your solicitor to be increased in line with inflation.

The suggested wording for a bequest is EITHER

‘I give ____ % of my residuary estate‘

OR

‘I give the sum of £ ____ pounds only’

and in either case:

‘free of all taxes to the Parochial Church Council of the parish of St Michael and All Angels (registered charity Number X78339) in the Diocese of Oxford for its general purposes, and I declare that the receipt of an officer of the Parochial Church Council shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors and trustees.’

A Christmas Gift

It’s not easy getting the right Christmas present for others, especially in these uncertain times. However, the Magi’s gifts were entirely appropriate and help us to understand God’s gift of Jesus to us.

‘On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.’ (Matt 2:11). These were the expensive kind of gifts that visitors from the east would bring: gold, frankincense (a plant gum resin used in incense) and myrrh (another resin used in perfumes).

Who is He?

Gold is a gift for a king. In Jesus, we see a king in baby clothes. The worship of the wise men was costly, not only in terms of their gifts but for their lives.

Why did He come?

Frankincense was used by the priests in the temple in offering sacrifices. Jesus, as the ultimate priest, is the one who came to bring God and man together. He could do this because He is both divine and human.

What did it cost Him?

Myrrh was used to embalm the dead. This gift reminds us that the baby of Bethlehem would die on the cross to give His life for us. The wood of the crib and the cross are the same wood!

What are we going to offer Him this Christmas? Jesus is Christ, the king who comes to rule our lives; He’s Lord, the One who knows what it’s like to be human as well as divine; and He’s Saviour, who enables us to be friends of God.

“At Christmas time, when we receive presents that we don’t really need, God offers us a gift we cannot do without.”
J John

From the Parish Pump

December Edition


VIEW

Outlook is published monthly and contains information about our church services and activities, local events, news from the vicarage, pages for children plus a variety of articles sent in by individuals ranging from wildlife, cookery, poems, thoughts, humour and observations about this and that – in fact there is a mixture of the spiritual and secular which is right and appropriate, all being part of God’s world.

‘Outlook’ goes to many homes where sermons do not, so it is to be hoped that as well as being informative and entertaining it will always show something of God’s love and compassion, forever constant in this rapidly changing world.

It has been remarked that the magazine reflects the loving relationship that exists in our congregations, and we do so warmly welcome you to share in this.

The magazine can always be found on the shelves to the left of the font. Please do pick one up every month as it will contain all the up to date information you need as well as useful telephone numbers and administrative information.

Outlook Editorial Team


Sylvia Clark

01494 562801

Jane Tyrer

01844 344650

Chris Tyrer

01844 344650

Susan Brice

01494 445899

The magazine is published monthly, except for August and January. Articles for the magazine can be sent to mag​@hughenden​parish​church​.org​.uk. The deadline is the 15th of the month. If you would like one delivered then please contact Andrew Cole.

Andrew Cole

Magazine Distribution & Delivery

01494 442191

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