Isn't friendship important ! Coming back to Slip End on 30th April to join in the celebration of Roger Duncombe's life meant that Dorothy and I were able to chat with old friends as if the last time we had met had been only yesterday. The church was packed, with people standing at the back and showed how much Roger had meant to his families - his relatives and his church, village and Round Table friends. What was also so good was to see how well Joy Daniel has been received into village life; she has been the vicar for almost a year now and seems to have integrated so successfully. We appreciate that all the more having just come to the end of a year-long interregnum here at St Martin's Sandford; our new vicar is due to come at the end of May and so it has been a case of paint brushes in action redecorating the vicarage from top to bottom. Some of you will vividly remember doing much the same at St Andrews vicarage a year or so ago, I've no doubt.

Last time I wrote I mentioned the change of colour of the local buses that I had noticed - and I see they have done it again ! I imagine the Palmer buses now serving the village are a successor to the school contract buses run some years ago by Stuart Palmer - they were green ex-London Transport double-deckers and I notice the ones serving the village now are short wheel-base single-deckers which are nippy but not the most comfortable, particularly when negotiating bumps in Chaul End Lane or Cutenhoe Road ! Still, with traffic as it is now in Luton it is more convenient to avoid the jams and parking problems by taking the bus. 
I was glad to see that Finnigan's has reverted to its previous well-established name, the 'Rising Sun' and although the get-together after Roger's funeral service was well catered for at the Frog and Rhubarb I can't help feeling that it would be so much more becoming for it too to revert to its former name, the 'Royal Exchange'. Grenville Williams
Thank you Grenville - it's good to hear from you again, please keep in touch with Parish News - we do like to hear how ex-villagers are getting along.


11th May - Codicote

After meeting outside St Andrew's Church at 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon, we took two car loads over to Codicote for a very pleasant two and a half mile walk through open countryside, woods and along the River Mimram.
There were still plenty of bluebells to be seen and the weather stayed fine. We encountered lots of stiles to cross and perfected various styles of our own to climb over them (photographic evidence has been edited). 
We ended the circular walk back in Codicote, where we sat in the garden of 'The Goat' to sample their refreshing beverages, before heading back in our cars to Slip End.

Meet outside Church at 2.30pm (2.00pm during the winter)
On the 2nd Sunday of the month.

June 8th Water End 3 miles
July 13th Redbournbury Mill 3 miles
Aug 10th Wingfield 3½ miles
Sep 14th Potten End 2¼ miles
Oct 12th Northchurch 3 miles
Nov 9th Whipsnade 3 miles
Dec 14th Ayot St Lawrence 2 miles

Sue Wiltshire


Photo of Anne Spencer at the
election count

Councillor Anne Spencer has represented Caddington, Hyde & Slip End at South Beds District Council for the past 12 months and was re-elected on May 1st with the highest number of votes in the whole District. Anne re-joins her 2 District Council colleagues, Cllr's Ruth Gammons and Penny Jones, for a 4 year term of office.
Anne, who is also the Chairman of Hyde Parish Council, has taken a strong interest in rural issues and sits on both the Planning Committee and the Rural Management Committee at the District Council. Issues such as dumped cars and fly-tipping are a major problem in our villages and the District Council is allocating additional resources to both removal of rubbish and speeding up the time it takes to remove dumped cars.
The election result was: Anne Spencer (Conservative) 892, Michael Fielding (Labour) 413, R Larkman (Liberal) 168. The turnout was 29.9%
You can contact Cllr Anne Spencer by phone or e-mail - 01582 713267 / anne.spencer@southbeds.gov.uk  
Cllr Richard Stay 

On 3rd May a group from St Andrew's set out for Brixton and Camberwell, where they would be visiting 7 churches within the area and a chance to learn about the challenges that they face. Luckily the weather was fine which was a good omen and we collected our maps and questionnaire and received our first stamp (to prove you'd been there) from St Pauls Church at Lorrimore Square. The poor vicar there seemed to be on his own (it was quite early) and after arranging flowers, leaflets about the church, and tidying up, he proceeded to offer refreshments. The church endeavours to welcome and support those settling in London and has two congregations. The Anglican congregation is now significantly West African and a Pentecostal Church largely West Indian. The London Ecumenical Aids Trust is also based there with a training worker within the Black Churches of South London. After a quick photo shoot we were on our way.
Onto Christ Church in North Brixton which was very impressive. Over the last 20 years it has undergone a resurrection experience, from a church facing closure to a vibrant centre open almost every day with a Café and second shop on site. Vincent Van Gogh lived in the parish when testing his vocation to be a missionary. The building is 100 years old this year and also boasts an outside pulpit built for a time when the busy traffic of Brixton Road was less noisy! (could be useful on a sunny day when St Andrews Church is colder inside than out!)


Stockwell Green United Reform Church was next and this building was converted to a chapel twelve years ago from being a builders merchants. The original building was being gnawed by woodworm but it was a listed building and has been acquired by a Muslim community. Alongside this busy thoroughfare we found a remarkable expanse of concrete mounds used for skateboarding and cycling which was being well used as we passed by.

Skate park for the local youth community

At the next church, St Matthews of Brixton Hill we found a multi-racial and socially mixed Anglican congregation. There are many sources of concern in this area, including gun crime and visible homelessness. What interested us was the clever use of the building which would have closed due to financial insolvency. Southward Diocese leases some of the space beneath the church which now serves as a restaurant, bar and night club called The Bug Bar.

The day of the walk clashed with another big day for Brixton and we were amazed by some of the sights which we met along the way as there was also a Cannabis Rally going on around Brixton. Music could be heard for miles around and the police were ever present to prevent any trouble. 

Corpus Christi was another impressive building which was set up in the 1880's and the congregation members come from all parts of the world. They have a service on Saturday evenings and four services on a Sunday. At this point we parted with the men and the ladies took the short route to the next church which was Railton Road Methodist Church where the ladies enjoyed a nice rest and some lunch. This church is in one of the most famous roads in Brixton as it links with Herne Hill. In recent years this area has undergone a transformation as new shops and eating places open up.

The ladies waiting patiently for the men!

We thought the men were taking their time but discovered that they had managed to visit several drinking places on their way! 

The final church was Denmark Place Baptist in the centre of Camberwell. The church was formed in 1825 and recently celebrated its 175th anniversary. Several people lived around here; the poets John Ruskin and Robert Browning and Prince George of Denmark (husband of Queen Anne) had a residence here and Denmark Hill named after him.
Finally back to St Paul's and a well-earned cup of tea. It had been a very interesting day and we had managed to see just a small part of some of the problems that are faced. Amid such chaos and diversity it is important for people living in the area to find meaning, identity and belonging through these communities. 

Finally - passed some unusual statues in a park near the church and the local youngsters wanted to get in on the photo shoot! A good day out. Sue Cowell

Exhausted and enjoying a
well-earned cup of tea.

On Saturday 10th May.
For our annual outing we had decided to visit "The Home" of Mother's Union.
This large London building stands prominently on the corner of Great Peter
Street and Tufton Street in the heart of Westminster, a few moments walk
from Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and The River Thames.
Not wishing to drive and park in London, we took advantage of Thames link
trains special Day-save train tickets, and "Let the train take the strain"
(or however the saying goes!)
We scheduled our "Home" visit for the afternoon slot, this gave us time to
leisurely travel and have the opportunity to see other places in the
morning. Our initial plan was to visit Westminster Abbey and then sit by the
Thames for lunch.
As we approached Westminster Abbey, we were greeted by Morris Dancers. Their "Horse "had an uncanny habit of creeping up behind folks and nosing his head quietly over an unsuspecting shoulder. It was at this point l realized l had left my camera at home!
Having arrived quite early in the day, we were able to go straight into the
Abbey. These days a charge is made. (details from their web-site)Once inside
there is a set route to follow round the Abbey but you can go at your own
hare or tortoise pace. There is much to see and puzzle over, like why do
some of the child effigies carry a skull? And who decided which writers
should be remembered in the poets corner? We found the answers to some of
our questions when we visited the small museum situated in the cloisters.
The museum can be visited without going into the Abbey. Also in the cloisters is a small refreshment stall, -we all recommend the hot chocolate!
After the Abbey tour we stopped off in the Abbey shop, then clutching our
purchases we strolled towards the Thames for lunch. However the sun had
vanished and the wind was sharp, so we found a sheltered spot by the Jewel
Tower to sit while we had a quick bite of lunch.
On arriving at Mary Sumner House we were welcomed with a hot cup of tea and
a brief introduction to "The Home". Should there be a situation where we are
unable to leave the building, we were reassured we would be relatively safe
in the lower conference hall as the walls are twenty feet thick! (Not so
sure about six floors of rubble descending on us though!). Our tour started on the fifth floor, to which there was a lift, -for some of us. On each floor we first visited the rooms, then whilst sitting down with
a cool drink, we were given a brief explanation of the various ways the
rooms were used and the jobs that various workers do. My favourite place was the lovely peaceful Chapel, where you could just sit, be still and feel refreshed just by being there. Such a contrast with
Westminster Abbey, which although is also primarily a place of worship, is
such a busy, somewhat noisy and bustling tourist place. In this Chapel we said "midday prayers" even though it wasn't midday in London. Somewhere around the world it would be midday, so we were joining in spirit with those members. This helped us to remember that the Mothers'
Union is a worldwide fellowship; indeed far more members are to be found
outside the United Kingdom.
There were many wonderful things to see as we walked around the house, I
especially enjoyed the various pieces of needlework. The most impressive was
a large hand sown tapestry, which had been made by a president of the M.U.
as she toured the world during her term of office. Folks travelled by sea then, so that is how she had had the time to complete it! Another large wall hanging was made up of small designs, each one
individually made by the diocese which it represented.
All of us had plenty to talk about as we journeyed home, indeed such a good
day was had, we've even started thinking about our next trip. So watch this
space, look out for details of our forthcoming events and remember you don't have to be a member of the Mothers' Union to come along.

We next meet at 8pm on Thursday 12th June.
Our theme is Childhood Keepsakes, if you have an object you would like to
show us bring it along, otherwise just turn up. We are meeting at Edie's
home 8 Crawley Close.
Mary Barker

In case anyone missed the recent news from the local paper - didn't they do well!

Finding one of her students making faces at others on the playground, Ms Smith stopped to gently reprove the child. Smiling sweetly, the teacher said: "Bobby, when I was a child, I was told that if I made ugly faces, it would freeze and I would stay like that." Bobby looked up and replied, "Well, Ms Smith, you can't say you weren't warned." 

Two monkeys walk into a bar and order a couple of beers. The barman had never served monkeys before, so he was a little taken aback. He decides to ask his manager so runs up to the office to speak with him. "Fred, there are two monkeys downstairs ordering beers. What do I do?" Fred: "Serve them you idiot. Oh, but wait: Monkeys are stupid, so charge them twice the price. They won't know the difference." The barman goes back down to the bar, serves up the beer, and charges the monkeys double. Later in the evening, the monkeys are still nursing the same beers while the barman's tidying up. Curious, the barman comments "Say, we don't get a lot of monkeys around here…" The monkeys look at each other, and then one replies: "Well, with prices like these, it's no wonder!"

A schoolteacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of is body. It fitted under his shirt and was not noticeable. On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with deskwork. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest. He had no discipline problems with any of his students that term.


The Other "IF"

If you can dress to make yourself attractive
And not make puff and curls your chief delight;
If you can swim and row, be strong and active
But of the gentler graces lose not sight.

If you can dance without a craze for dancing,
Play, without giving play too strong a hold.
Enjoy the love of friends without romancing;
Care for the weak, the friendless and the old;

If you can master French and Greek and Latin
And not acquire as well a priggish mien;
If you can feel the touch of silk and satin
Without despising calico and jean:

If you can ply a saw and use a hammer,
Can do man's work when the need occurs;
Can sing when asked without excuse and stammer,
Can rise above unfriendly snubs and slurs.

If you can make good bread as well as fudges,
Can sew with skill and have an eye for dust,
If you can be a friend and hold no grudges,
A girl whom all will love because they must.

If sometimes you should meet and love another
And make a home with faith and peace entwined
And you it's soul - a loyal wife and mother
You'll work out pretty nearly to my mind.

The plan that's been developed through the ages,
And win the best that life can have in store.
You'll be my girl, a model for the sages,
A woman who the world will bow before

It would be great to have some contributions from more of the local clubs and activity groups next month. Preferably by e-mail or on a disc or CD (It takes a long time to type all the hand-written articles). So, Cubs, Beavers, Playgroup & Toddlers, Cricket Team, Tennis Club and anyone else please bear it in mind. There are lots of villagers out there just waiting to hear what you are all up to!…...

Village Diary