Thoughts from Abroad

O, to be in England
Now that April’s there!
And, whoever wakes in England
See, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!

Apt words indeed, as editorial fingers flash over the keyboard, not in springtimely Slip End but in more summery Texas USA, where the PN editor was on a brief business trip. Notwithstanding either distance or Bill Gates’ best efforts to stymie, and assisted by the wonder of e-Mail and Internet (grudgingly, it has to be admitted that Bill maybe has some hand in that…) this issue was largely put together thousands of miles away. 
Returning home just before Easter, here in south Bedfordshire things had picked up, with spring very much in the air. PN has, perhaps justifiably, been criticised for an increasingly gloomy outlook of late, so it is good to apply more positive perspectives in this issue. This comes largely due to the School items: PN’s photographer was invited to school for the Red Nose Day, when the children and staff turned out in colourful Fancy Dress: a most enjoyable and happy PN assignment!
Not all is gloom and doom from our Parish Council either, with news of a revamp to the tired looking and scruffy egg boxes in Front Street, a new-look Coronation Garden being planned (perhaps to include Slip End’s greatest (but perhaps just slightly dubious) claim to national fame, the commemorative plaque unveiled at the opening of the M1 back in 1959), Skateboards, et al… Worthy projects all, deserving local supportive effort: it is heartening to learn that Cllr Ken Crossett’s Skateboard plans are going ahead with significant help and interest, so many turning out last on a gloomy March evening, to hear Ken’s ideas. Also Cllr Geoff Daniels’ dream to get the Coronation Garden in better shape is getting help and encouragement from within the community. Great: there is even a glimmering hope in the editor’s mind that the condition of our grass verges (his pet whinge) may one day be improved … enough, back to Skateboards.
Perhaps the editor should have read the portents, as on a chilly and overcast February afternoon, he was invited by Cllr Ken to tour some of the Skateboard Parks with our local community police ladies. Thinking that a Skateboard was some sort of Danish open fish sandwich, he came away a little more educated. Still not sure of the technicalities he took away a deep impression from the skating youngsters. Many thousands of pounds are invested in all the gear and space and his initial concerns that all this could be wasted at the hands of the graffiti daubers or, that our youngsters would be pray to dope peddlers or worse were overridden by the kids who get great fun and enjoyment from their hobby. It seemed that if any miscreant were to show their faces they would be given short shrift! 
So it is hoped that springtime promise and hopes may grow into some which may become of great use and value to all of us: things which may help to improve our community lot in the coming months and years. 
But, for the time being, here’s a couple of shots from the archives …

This picture was taken on the opening day of the then new school in Slip End. Not sure of the year, but one of those young ladies is now Doctor Claire Willson, married now and practising in Cardiff. Can you spot any more?

And this picture? Taken in the early days of the Friendship Club who are now celebrating their 40th year – and still going strong! 

R.I.P. Common Sense
We mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair or meant to be easy. 
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the 10 Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I'm A Whinger and I'm A Victim.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not join the majority and do nothing…

Do you like rock music?

 Do you want to hear rock music played with explosive energy and passion?
Local band Imperial Vipers are releasing their very first single in April. Based in nearby Caddington, this group is gaining quite a reputation at local gigs and on tour, so check out their website for more details:
Planned for release in April is the Viper’s latest single, “Kick a Hole”. And an album is being finished off with just the vocal track to be added, so watch out for that too. 

Twelve of our Sunday school had a busy Mothering Day morning, learning about love, making cards, decorating cakes and doing up bunches of flowers to give out to everyone after the service. 
Our Lent course, ‘Christ and the Chocolateri’ was very well attended by Methodist and Church of England folk. We enjoyed the meeting and are looking forward to the 3 course Chocolate feast on 18th April.
Thank those who braved the sudden snow fall on the evening of Wednesday March 2nd to come into Church for coffee and a chat. We raised £26 towards the Church funds. The next coffee evening will be on Wednesday 6th April, so please pop along. 

A prayer for young people
Loving Father, help us to encourage the full participation of young people in our communities and churches.
Raise up from us a new generation of inclusiveness and respect so that every member of our society may feel loved and valued.
Empower and equip young people and help us to be open and ready for new experiences as we share with men, women, boys and girls of all ages.
Unite us as the body of Christ and may your Kingdom come in your Church.
In the power of the Holy Spirit we pray.

We are currently raising money to have the Church and school rooms rewired. Our next big fundraiser is our Flower Festival. The church will be open on Friday 15th April from 6 until 9pm. Saturday 16th from 10.30am until 4.30pm and on Sunday 17th 
from 10.30 until 4.30pm. Instead of a 
Sunday morning service we will be having an evening service at 6pm following the Flower theme with a ‘Songs of Praise’ with Bible readings and poetry. Why not come and join us to sing favourite hymns. We hope you will enjoy the flowers: join us in the school room, where tea and coffee will be served and home made cakes, preserves, books and gifts will be for sale.
Instead of the May coffee evening, Angela Smith from Caddington Hedgehogs will be coming to talk to us. This will be in the church on Wednesday 4th May, 7pm. Please put this date in your diary and come along. Tea and coffee will be served afterwards.
On May 7th at 9am a cake stall will be outside the Co-op in Caddington in aid of the rewiring fund.
Yours in Christ, from all of us at Aley Green Methodist Church
Ann Meader

You may recall a Public Meeting was called on 18th March to see if there is enough interest in the Village for a Skate Board Park and if there are sufficient residents willing to join an organising committee. I am pleased to say the answer to both questions was a resounding yes! It is a little difficult to say when the Park will be open for there is a lot of work to be done, but the Committee will keep you informed of the progress it is making through Parish News. Unfortunately though, it is unlikely to be ready this summer.
Seven adults and seven youngsters volunteered for the Committee. As fourteen is a little on the large side, two committees will be formed. The youngsters’ will have their own and put forward recommendations to the main one on the layout and equipment in the Park. They will elect two of their number to serve on the main body.
The first meetings will be in a week or twos’ time so that we can get ourselves organised and begin work. This will look at designing the layout and equipment in the Park, choosing a manufacturer, applying for grants and all the various consents that will be needed. The Committee will be liaising closely with both the Parish Council and the Peter Edwards Hall Committee as the Park will be at the Playing Field.
Fortunately, we have a number of technical experts who have said they would be happy to come to meetings and help. To give you an idea these are people who already have experience of building and funding a Park and who understand the intricacies of our Planning system. We even have some one who works at a senior level for a national charity and also a District Council officer who are experienced in raising funds. It is hoped that the whole project will be financed through grants.
Many of you will have seen Rebecca Ashfield and her colleagues from the Police Community Support Unit, delivering leaflets advertising the Public Meeting around the Village. I am grateful to Rebecca for the help she gave leading up to the meeting. Not least the day she spent driving David Kingston and I around many of the local Skate Board Parks so that we could take photographs and videos and speak to those using the Parks. This made our job easier with her being with us and gave me a lot of useful information which I was able to use at the Public Meeting. Rebecca too, has volunteered to help the Committee as she is in regular contact with her colleagues in surrounding places who already have Skateboard Parks.
Fifty or so attended the public meeting, many of them youngsters and other Youth Activities were discussed and will be considered by the Committees as a secondary issue to the Skateboard Park itself. Some of these plans are quite ambitious and if they are to come about will need a lot of help and support from the community. It may even be possible to get some of them going before the Park is completed! 
So, here is Slip End’s chance to do something different for its youngsters, as you read these pages in the months to come don’t be shy if you see something you know you can help with. Give me a call – without any obligation.
Ken Crossett (414168) 

Members Night gives the committee a night off. Mesdame Beale was in the chair with Mesdame Price, Hon. Sec. They presented Madame President Mrs Kalisz with a gift for all her efforts and hard work in the W.I. movement. It was lovely to see Mesdame Albon back with us again, keep it up Jenny. Mesdames Lecoq and Poole joined forces to run a very enjoyable and thought provoking quiz and the time flew by. The refreshments were lovely and in all, the ladies did us proud as always. A big thank you all. 
We meet 3rd Tuesday in the month at the Baptist Hall in Caddington 7.30, refer to the Diary Page for more information about our future dates. See you there
Patricia Crick.

On Wednesday March 16th we will be studying the stars as part of our Stargazers badge. Roy will be talking to us and showing us some slides and a video.
On 23rd March, we are all going to McDonald’s for an Easter treat: our thanks to Paula, Michael, Sandra and Hilary for transporting us.
After Easter will be meeting again on April 13th, when we will be continuing with our studies of the stars and planets.
Gillian Plummer, Brown Owl

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Village Diary