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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.

 

 

2nd November
One wedding, one dog, two cakes!

The date is the first Saturday in August, the time is early in the morning, the setting is Oxbridge Meadows.  Enter one man, Bunny Hutchings, and his dog.  Bunny has arisen early in order to begin roasting the hog ready for a wedding celebration.  The marquee has been erected some days before, the tables laid out, the decorations complete.  Bunny sets about his work aware that everything must be perfect for this special day.  Elsewhere the bride Jessica Townsend and her groom Chris Davies are beginning to make their final preparations for their big day unaware of the drama that is about to unfold.....

With the hog roasting nicely on the spit, Bunny takes a moment to look around.  Where is his canine companion?  Bunny whistles and calls.  No dog appears.  With rising alarm, Bunny shouts louder.  Still no dog.  Now seriously concerned, Bunny pops his head into the marquee and a look of horror crosses his face.  A sheepish doggy face, covered in butter icing and cake crumbs, turns slowly to look at his master – he has found the wedding cake and, boy, does it taste good.

Fortunately no-one was around to hear and record what Bunny said at this point, but we can guess he did not say “Bother”.  Taking a deep breath he phones Katie, Jess’s mum, and breaks the news.  She does not say “Bother” either.  However, a rescue plan is necessary and what a rescue it was!  In the space of just 3 hours Elise, a friend of our New Inn chef Paul’s wife, became the heroine of the day baking and fully decorating a replica cake, and there it is sitting on its stand when the newly married couple and their guests arrive – blissfully unaware yet of the drama that had been playing out while the wedding service had been taking place. 
 

28th October
Hendrik ten Bruggencate was a Dutchman who, during the 1970’s and 1980’s lived with his family in a cottage opposite our pub in Silver Street. Rick as we called him used the old shoe factory next to his home as his workshop where he was very skilled at designing and making beautiful church organs.

My wife Joyce who admired Rick’s workmanship, asked him to design and make a dresser for our dining room. He duly obliged and in 1981 his dresser became part of our home where it was immediately adorned with china ware. Sadly both Rick and my wife have died and I am in the unenviable position of having to down-size into a much smaller property where there is certainly no room for Rick’s large dresser.

A couple of weeks ago I was round our pub enjoying a pint of Hooky when across the bar I noticed a lady whose features were vaguely familiar. She realised that I was looking at her somewhat quizzically, came over and introduced herself. It was Rick’s daughter Anna who was only a child in 1981 when the dresser was made. I explained my conundrum to her and asked if she would like the dresser her Dad made. “How could I refuse?” she retorted.

Anna came to look at the dresser and she was delighted. A few days later she and her husband arrived with a horsebox and after photographs and examining the carved lettering on the back that says “Made in Abthorpe 1981”  with Rick’s initials; the dresser was taken away. I have just received a thank-you note from Anna telling me that the dresser is already in their conservatory and they are delighted.

PS. Could the person who made contact a week or so ago about Canterbury, please call again? There’s a good story there.
 

20th October
Cobblers Classic Sportive.

Early on Saturday a steady stream totalling over 800 cyclists descended the hill on our Silverstone Road and at Abthorpe Crossroads a marshal directed some to the right and others to the left to pass through our village. All were taking part in the Cobbler Classic Sportive – a ride organised by Cycling Events UK that starts and finishes at Turweston Aerodrome. Three categories of a riding challenge were available for entrants. “Short” where riders are asked to pedal 26 miles, “Standard” 61 and “Epic” 103 miles that is a serious day’s cycling with entrants pedalling as far west as Napton-on-the-Hill in Warwickshire.

The entrants were young and old, female and male, very fit and less so. But all looked capable of achieving their goal. It is emphasised that the event is non-competitive, but as people like to know how well they had ridden, each carries a chip in their compulsory helmet.

The entrants in the short event completed their ride in 1 ˝ to 2 hours. Those going for Standard took up to 5 hours whilst in the Epic section the very fit managed the 103 miles in 6 ˝ hours although some took up to 9 hours or longer. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the event was very well organised with clear signage, and help available from the company’s support vans and paramedic motorcyclists.

The Cobbler Classic Sportive seems to have become an annual event for Abthorpe and the surrounding villages. Long may it continue.

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