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John Riches our Village Correspondent writes weekly reports about the village for the local media.  We are pleased to place them on our web site in order that those interested in Abthorpe can access the latest village news from anywhere in the world.

This page will keep the latest 3 or 4 reports.

On the Archive page we will store past articles and other pieces of particular interest.

Also, our newsletters can be downloaded on the Newsletters page.

 

 

5th August
Gigantomo.

Last year when we bought our vegetable seeds I inadvertently purchased a packet of Gigantomos claimed to be “the world’s largest tomato” and that you could feed your whole family with just one gigantomo as some will weigh between one and three pounds. Well – we didn’t grow any weighing three pounds but three of ours together weighed one kilo.

This year we decided to grow Gigantomos again just to see how large we could get them. “The Beast from the East” had just finished at the beginning of March when we opened the sachet in the seed packet. There were only eight seeds but they all germinated in pots placed in our bedroom on a south facing window sill. The seedlings grew rapidly and after a spell of acclimatisation in our greenhouse we planted each seedling in a large pot crammed with home-made compost from the heap in our garden. If we had to buy commercially produced compost our little project would not have been cost effective. But they seem to love our home made variety and zoomed upwards. We staked them, watered them and just watched them grow. Feeding them with added nutrients was not necessary.

Now it’s time to harvest them and we’ve done much better than last year. Many weigh one pound and the largest so far weighed-in at 18 ounces. The major problem is finding people to eat them as we have so many. Our neighbours declare that they are really tasty and some have asked for more.

 

22nd July
County Connect RIP.

“Northamptonshire County Council took the difficult decision to withdraw its bus subsidy in response to severe financial pressures, in February 2018. As a result County Connect will cease to operate after 21st July.”  That was how users of the dial-a-ride bus service learned about the demise of the service they use to travel to Towcester.

One villager who regularly used the service estimated that each time he travelled to Towcester as the only passenger it was likely to have cost the County Council £400. He recognised that this was not sustainable.

Now that the last County Connect bus has gone what is happening now to help the admittedly small number of villagers who do not have access to a motor vehicle? At the Abthorpe Annual Parish Meeting in May the Chairman Cllr Marna Perrigo stated that the Parish Council would endeavour to assist those affected and to identify alternative provision. At the same meeting County Councillor Ian Morris stated in his written report that “As a Council we have always ensured that the most vulnerable in our society are protected.”

Abthorpe Parish Council is working with other villages to understand if it can jointly offer a bus transport for villagers. Cllr Perrigo intends to update the village at the next meeting.

Ironically on Saturday 21st July – the very last day of the County Connect service – Jane Harries from Wappenham was presented with a timetable for Lawrence’s Bus Services that served our area. It showed that four bus routes served Abthorpe - one to Towcester and Northampton went four times a day on Wednesdays, five on Saturdays and twice on Sundays.  Two routes went to Greens Norton, Towcester and Northampton, one on a Thursday evening (is this a date night? market night?) and one three times each Weds and Saturdays.  Lastly there are three services serving Banbury, all on Thursdays (this must be market day). 

How times have changed since the 1940’s!
 

16th July
Fair waves the golden corn.

The most important even of the year out here in the countryside has already begun – The Harvest! Has the spell of very cold weather in February nick-named The Beast from the East, plus  the long spell of hot weather that we are now experiencing affected the crops of our local farmers? I asked one for his latest news of the harvest.

He explained that crops of winter barley have already been combined and despite the weather, yields were reasonable. His oil seed rape is due to be cut during the coming week. He doesn’t fully know what the quality and quantity will be like but he’s keeping his fingers crossed. The hay that has been cut and compressed into huge cylinder shapes is very dry and of a reasonable quality.

His winter wheat is not quite ready for harvesting and because lack of rain may have inhibited its growth he is very concerned. But he was philosophical and commented that the up-side of low yields was that he would be paid a better price.

We wish our local farmers a successful and profitable harvest.

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