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On line edition to keep YOU informed about what goes on in OUR Village. Things of interest that people within our own Community do. Articles written by our residents to give an insight of what is available. This publication can only be as good as YOU make it by subscribing articles to it.

This is our FIRST CONTRIBUTION - a short story written by Barbara Townsend

The Aeroplane that couldn’t fly. Lined up ready for their first ever flight, the new little aeroplanes stood in a blaze of colour. With their brightly painted wings and shiny wheels, they stood proudly at the end of the runway, waiting patiently for the signal to take off. One by one, they raced down the runway. Each little aeroplane pointed its nose into the air and up and up they flew to join one another in circuits around the airfield. Bradbury was last. He raced down the runway, pointed his nose up into the air and.... nothing happened. He couldn’t leave the ground. Bradbury was left behind. The other aeroplanes flew round and around the airfield, proudly showing off their new flying skills. Poor Bradbury turned and trundled slowly back to his hangar, while the others laughed at him. “Come on slowcoach,” they jeered. “You can do better than that.” However, Bradbury was too unhappy to try again. “Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow,” he said to himself sadly. Bradbury spent the night inside his hangar and he was all alone. The others had moved to a hangar for aeroplanes that could fly. Bradbury felt very ashamed. “Something must be wrong with me,” he said sadly. “I will never be able to fly.” The next day, engineers arrived at Bradbury’s hangar and began checking him over. Miles, one of the engineers, had helped build Bradbury and was very fond of him. He was determined to help Bradbury into the air to join the other aeroplanes. “Don’t worry old chap,” he said merrily. “We’ll sort you out.” They checked his engine, they checked his wings, they checked his dials, and they checked his propeller. “Not sure what’s going on here,” said one engineer. “Very strange,” said another. The engineers were baffled. Why couldn’t Bradbury fly?

“Let’s change his wheels,” said an engineer. “That should fix it.” Bradbury was hoisted into the air by a large crane so his wheels could be removed and replaced. The engineers began loosening nuts and bolts. Soon Bradbury was standing on the floor wearing his shiny new wheels. The engineers stood around Bradbury looking very pleased with themselves. “I think he’s ready to try again,” said Miles. “Come on old chap; let’s show them what you can do.” Bradbury stood at the end of the runway waiting for the signal to take off. He was very nervous and anxious to do well as all the other aeroplanes were watching him. Bradbury raced down the runway on his shiny new wheels, pointed his nose into the air and... nothing happened. Bradbury could not take off. The other aeroplanes laughed and laughed at him. Poor Bradbury was so ashamed that he raced back to his hangar to hide. Miles followed quickly behind him. “Never mind old chap,” said Miles, “I have a wonderful idea.” Bradbury no longer cared what the engineers did to him. He hardly felt his engine being taken out and he didn’t care that his propeller was being removed. Bradbury was miserable and wanted to be left alone. When Miles and the other engineers finished working on Bradbury, they put a cover over him and left him alone until the morning. The next day, a tow truck came into the hangar and attached Bradbury. Slowly and gently, they rolled out of the hangar and headed down to the runway. Bradbury couldn’t see anything because of the cover, but he heard the other aeroplanes laughing and jeering at him. “Get a move on,” they shouted. “We want to see the aeroplane that can’t fly,” they chuckled. Bradbury didn’t want to try again; he wanted to go back to his hangar. Then, the cover was taken off and Bradbury could see Miles smiling at him. “You look great old chap and this time, you WILL fly.”


Miles, proudly. “Go for it old chap!” Bradbury’s engines fired up with a mighty roar. He raced down the runway, pointed his nose into the air and shot up into the sky like a rocket. Nobody was laughing now. “Thank you Miles!” shouted Bradbury, darting across the sky. Bradbury was FLYING.

Bradbury didn’t understand, but he noticed his propeller had disappeared. Now, attached under his wings, were two shiny jet engines. “WOW!” said Bradbury. “WOW!” said the other aeroplanes, shocked and surprised. “Bradbury, this is your big chance to show all the others what you can do,” said

e-mail: The right of Barbara Townsend to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Alfie’s Adventure His latest life lost was a few weeks ago, in the snow, when he took off after something (who knows what?) into the waste ground behind (what’s the name of the vfactory?). That was the start of another nightmare for us, and I don’t think he was too comfortable either. Although we hunted high and low, along with many other people from the village, who were marvellous, there was no sign of him from Friday afternoon until a ‘phone call from Gavin at 11 p.m. On Sunday. Someone in East Sands had heard a dog barking late that night. We rushed over and there, trapped by his dog coat, was little Alfie, huddled at the bottom of a garden, only a few yards from where he disappeared.

This is the story of a dog with nine lives. When we acquired Alfie from the Dogs’ Trust in 2009, he had probably already used up several of these lives. He had been a stray, then was taken to a dog pound in Wales, from where he was rescued by the Dogs’ Trust. He was half his present weight when we bought him, so must have been lost for some time – in January too. He has always been very good in the house; clean and never tries to steal food. He cannot have been badly treated, as he loves people, especially children. HOWEVER, nothing is perfect, and his vice is chasing small creatures, especially pheasants. He risked being shot by a gamekeeper in the grounds of Chatsworth a few years ago (another life gone?), when he slipped through a hole in a wall, from a lane into a pheasant-rearing area. The first we knew about it was when pandemonium broke loose. To our horror, he had jumped a low fence round a pen, and pheasants were running and flying in all directions – you can imagine the noise. This was dog heaven, but our worst nightmare! Fortunately he has never managed to catch one.

Amazingly, apart from being very hungry and thirsty, he was none the worse for the adventure (it took us a lot longer to recover!). Many people have asked us what breed he is, and we usually say ‘probably terrier cross hound.’ I’m beginning to think there’s also some small part that’s cat!

Sue Shires


Report from the Burbage Parish Council Village Maintenance Team The last few months have been a busy time with three projects being taken to completion.

The first of these was the surfacing of the footpath from Taskers Lane to Burroughs Drove. This is turned what has traditionally been a muddy quagmire whenever it rained

into a nicely surfaced path free from overhanging vegetation and wide enough for a parent with a buggy and a toddler long alongside to use comfortably.

A second major project has been the initial work on restoring Seymour Pond. A vast amount of sedge and floating Canadian pond weed was removed to leave a large expanse of clear water. An

area of sedge was retained as it was known to be being used by moorhens. It was pleasing to note that no sooner had the work party finished, but that the moorhens returned to the sedge where they are believed to have started nesting. This is the first stage of the renovation with further work planned for the autumn.


Photos of the pond before and after


A final smaller but important project

A smart metal tree guard has been erected around the Jubilee oak to protect it from possible damage. The oak has also established itself well, although because it is much slower growing than the other trees, it will still be at least another year before it appears out of the top of the plastic tree guard

Has been completed on the banking alongside the pavement that runs from the Withies to Three Horseshoes pub. This has been cut back so as to reexpose the full width of the tarmac.

The Jubilee trees are now one year-old. They have done really well with some of them already out of the top of their 1.2 m (4 ft) high tree guards having started out no more than 40 cm long. Some unfortunately died, but they have recently been replaced. .

During the winter two areas on Barn Meadow were cleared and planted with wildflower seeds. It will be interesting to see how well these grow and whether we get the hoped for display of colour as the summer progresses.

Improved signage of the footpaths around the village has now being completed and it is hoped that this will help both visitors to the area and indeed residents to find their way around the network 6


‘I stayed in this house’ she said, ‘because of the bluebells’

hears when approaching a rough sea with waves crashing on a sandy shore. The wind added to the rain’s bite and as she walked down the lane it was apparent instantly that her shoes were not up to the job ‘needs must’ she muttered to herself and, head down, plodded on.

The window was smeared with rain, winter rain. The type of rain which if it had more energy would turn to snow, but today sapped of energy it remained as rain. Incessant rain.

Pulling her coat tighter around her, as she walked Fiona amused herself by recalling the lovely weekend she’d just had with her best friend in Norfolk. She lived near Cley and for four days in the bracing January weather she and her friend had walked along the windswept beaches with the dogs and children in tow, shopping at Burnham Market, and maybe just one too many coffees in local farm shops. Fiona had gone to school with her friend Gail in Salisbury, but then ten years ago Gail had married Peter and upped sticks to Norfolk where Peter made his living as an artist of some renown. They had a perfect life, he was successful in a career cum hobby, she was a devoted mother and wife and they seemed to have it all. Fiona and her husband Colin ostensibly had it all, but they were both career people. He worked for a big multinational that saw him away from home a lot, and Fiona worked for a PR company in London. Recently she’d been allowed to work from home and that had taken some of the commuting strain out of their relationship, one which after 5 years of marriage looked set for failure. Certainly there were no children in her life ‘I’m too busy for that’ Colin would say when Fiona mentioned that they were now both in their early forties.

This would be the day when the car broke down in a remote lane miles from anywhere in deepest rural Wiltshire. The last signpost had said something like Wexcombe but not knowing where that was in relation to towns she knew, it made no difference to Fiona’s sense of desperation and frustration. ‘I’ll just try it one more time’ Nothing, the key was turned and nothing. ‘Agggghh, this car isn’t going anywhere’ Rummaging about in her handbag, she found her mobile phone and started to dial her husband. Hearing nothing she looked at the phone, ‘call failed’ flashed over the screen. ”That’s odd” she thought and looking closer noticed the telltale signs of being in an area of no mobile reception. ‘Oh that’s all I need, now what do I do?’ She took a deep breath and then peered out of the car window, a window smeared with rain, to a landscape of wet ploughed fields and standing water. To her left a small oak copse, the overhead trees dripping raindrops onto her car roof like some percussion musical. Ahead and behind her car, only the single track lane she’d driven along after stupidly taking a wrong turning near Hungerford.

Fiona missed Gail. Unlike friendships made later in life, a friendship from schooldays has a strong and unbreakable bond. So the invite to visit contained within Gail and Peter’s Christmas card was just the impetus she needed. “Pete’s going away to Spain after New Year on a painting trip, I’m at home, come and visit and we’ll have a long girly weekend”. At first Fiona thought it’s a long way to go in the winter, but her husband Colin insisted she went. “It will be good to be with Gail, just the two of you” he said. And he was right. They’d laughed and drunk wine and played with the children and slept in the same bed giggling with the dogs in bed with them. Such a perfect weekend in the middle of winter, but now she was 50 miles from home and walking along a deserted Wiltshire landscape looking for help.

In the 20 minutes she stared out of the window the landscape which now surrounded her showed no sign of life, except her; no car passed, not even a farmer heading home to his warm inviting house, probably a wife and children, fire roaring in the grate and a warming cup of tea. “What I’d give to be somewhere warm now drinking a hot cup of tea” she thought. “Well girl, there’s no use sitting here, no knight in shining amour is going to come and rescue me this day, and as the light is beginning to fade, I’d better walk to the nearest house and see if I can summons help” Bleak though the weather looked inside the car, outside it was a lot worse. A low growl of a wind had begun to sway the trees by the car, a wind-borne sound which from a distance reminded Fiona of the low roar one

To be honest in any other circumstances the walk along this deserted lane in foul weather would have pleased Fiona. She was an outdoor girl at heart, who 7

way to the next house at the edge of the village, nearly 4 miles further on’

somehow had drifted into an indoor job she hated. The feel of the rain on her skin was refreshing. The wind whipped puddles ahead of her into a series of vibrating mirrors. But she was also worried. The light was rapidly beginning to fade and still after 10 minutes walking she could see no sign of life, no houses, not even the sound of a distant car. She was just beginning to wonder how long it would be before she found a house when as she rounded a corner there ahead of her a light. It was a good mile away, but from this distance what looked like an old thatched cottage stood by the lane, its porch light dimly lighting the way.

Fiona tried not to look crestfallen. Had she really found the only house in Wiltshire with no telephone in her time of need? But on the plus side the lady, who Fiona discovered was called Mrs. Beddoe, looked genuinely happy to have a stranger in her house overnight, she seemed very kind and as by now it was almost dark, Fiona didn’t really have an option. Mrs. Beddoe showed Fiona into the warm lounge which she’s seen from the outside and immediately her cat came and entwined herself around Fiona’s legs.

‘At last’ she said, quickening her step and in no time it seemed she found herself at the gate of a lovely old thatched cottage. Herringbone brickwork filled the gaps between stout oak beams, the thatch old and moss strewn, making this look more like a woodland shelter for the many animals which presumably made their home in there, rather than a house. Best of all, the entire cottage was surrounded by a garden which merged seamlessly into the surrounding woodland. Even in the semi light and now driving rain, Fiona stopped and thought “this is beautiful, the sort of house I’d love to live in”.

‘Sit yourself down Fiona’ Mrs. Beddoe said. ‘I’ll pour us a whisky and hot water, that should warm you up nicely.’ Fiona sat in a very comfortable arm chair, her legs stretched out towards the blazing fire and while she sipped her whisky, Mrs. Beddoe chatted about her life. She’d been in the military intelligence service just after the war and had travelled across North Africa and Europe helping the allies rebuild a war-ravaged landscape. But all that changed when in her 50’s she met and married a local farmer at an out of the way place called Buttermere on the Wiltshire Hampshire border. Sadly he died just a few years after they were married and that is how she came to be at this cottage. It belonged to the farm and she had been left it in his will to live in rent free during her lifetime.

Hesitating for a brief moment she opened the gate and walked up the flagstone path. As well as the porch light, a room to her left was illuminated. Rather than knocking on the door, Fiona thought best to just check who lives here. She wanted help, but tales of lone women being abducted by strange men were rife in the national press. Silly I know but best to be careful. She need not have worried. Through the window she saw a woman knitting a red scarf in front of a fire. She was probably in her seventies and her cat was curled up next to her by the fire. Fiona noticed the fire, it was bright, strong and most inviting when viewed from the ravages of a winter’s day without. She retreated to the porch and knocked on the door, noticing a small sandstone plaque overhead, AD 1790.

‘I’m so glad he did that’ she said ‘otherwise I’d have had nowhere to go. I’m very happy with my books and my cat. We live simply and quietly but it is the woods and landscape that surround the cottage that is my first love now; it is so beautiful in spring when the woods are alive with bird song and carpeted with bluebells. Maybe you can visit me again and see for yourself ’ By now Fiona was feeling almost restored to her former self, and inwardly made a note to take up Mrs. Edward’s kind offer of another visit in the spring when the bluebells come into flower. Even on a bleak day in January when her mind was on her broken car and getting home, Fiona could tell the landscape was stunning. Mrs. Beddoe was a wonderful host and said a few times how lovely it was to have a visitor in the house again after so many years. At 8pm she provided a light omelette supper before they both retired to bed well before 10 o’clock.

‘Ohh hello, my name’s Fiona and my car’s broken down about a mile or so over there’ she said pointing in a vague direction to where she’d walked from. ‘Do you possibly have a telephone I could use to summon help?’ ‘Oh my dear girl’ said the woman at the door ‘you look frozen. Come in, come in and warm yourself. This is no day to be outside. I’m afraid though I don’t have a telephone; I live on my own here and have few friends so never saw the point of having it installed after my husband died. I am though expecting a visit from my son first thing in the morning; he has a car and can help you I’m sure. You’re welcome to stay the night. Apart from my son, I haven’t had a visitor here for years so on a night like this I’d welcome the company. I’m sorry I haven’t a phone for you to get help sooner but it’s a long

Fiona lay in her bed in the spare room listening to the storm which had developed outside. The cold rain of the afternoon had now turned to wet snow. The snow wouldn’t settle but as she lay there listening to the howl of the wind through the trees around the cottage she welcomed Mrs. Beddoe’s generosity. It was a shame she couldn’t get home that night but she was warm, felt really at home here and she could think of a lot worse 8

places to find shelter in on a day like this. She got up and opened the bedroom window curtains; wet snow was sliding down the glass in great gusts as the wind blew from the east. Getting back into bed she watched the snow fall, letting the forces of nature envelop her as she closed her eyes for the last time. She woke after a deep sleep to the aroma of cooking downstairs. Mrs. Beddoe had obviously been up for a while and was making breakfast. Eggs, bacon, fresh bread and tea. The house felt lived in, it felt warm, and not for the first time during her visit Fiona felt more at home here than in her own home in Salisbury. “What was it?” she wondered as she came down to breakfast “what is it that makes me feel so at home here?” Mrs. Beddoe beamed a smile and motioned her to the table. My son will be here soon” she said “so eat up quickly and then he’ll help you with your car” And he did come, a good looking man in his early forties, with a gentle pleasing manner much like his mother and instantly Fiona felt she’d known him all her life, almost like a sense of déjà vu of someone she’d know years ago. After the introductions he said he’s drive Fiona to a garage about 6 miles away and they should be able to come out and tow her car back there and she could also contact her husband from there. She’d forgotten about Colin, he must wonder where she is. How could she have forgotten about her husband so easily? Hastily Fiona made her goodbyes to Mrs. Beddoe and then joining her son in his car the pair set off to the garage. The snow overnight had settled in the fields but the roads were clear. A small herd of deer, startled by an early car, gambolled across a white ploughed field and leapt through a hedge. But the wind and bad weather of yesterday had turned into a blue-sky winter’s day. As they drove through the countryside the sun’s warmth began to melt the snow on branches which fell in small drifts onto the road. Overhead a red kite glided lazily across the sky. The garage was just opening as they arrived and with the help of Mrs. Beddoe’s son, the garage mechanic was told where Fiona’s car could be found but then her son said he must leave now and get back to his mother. The mechanic then apologised to Fiona that he couldn’t leave the garage for about half an hour, not until the owner arrived to look after the place; but she was welcome to stay and wait. Obviously she had nowhere else to go and so not wishing to delay Mrs. Beddoe’s son further she said goodbye and asked him to thank his mother once again, adding, ‘tell her I will come and visit her again, when the bluebells are out’. As he drove off back down the road to the cottage he cheerily waved out of the driver’s window and was gone, and Fiona felt a

pang of having lost something, but she didn’t know why. “STOP! STOP STOP!!” shouted Fiona and with a deep lurch the garage recovery truck skidded to a halt on the wet lane. They had been retracing her morning drive along the lane, the same lane she’s walked along the day before. The truck had now stopped outside the cottage which had been her place of refuge last night. Except it wasn’t a cottage now, it was a ruin. The thatched roof had collapsed in on itself, a small oak tree grew out of the hole which had once been the window of the lounge she’d relaxed in, the gate was off its hinges and a huge crack was zigzagging through one of the herringbone brick panels on the wall. Fiona’s heart was pounding, her mouth was dry. “This can’t be” she thought. ‘What’s wrong?’ asked the mechanic, ‘why have we stopped here?’ For a few moments Fiona couldn’t speak, but then she got out of the recovery truck and ran around to the cottage as if by running towards the cottage, it would be miraculously returned to how she remembered it just an hour ago. The driver looking worried and confused now, also got out of the truck and came towards her by the porch ‘are you okay?’ he asked. ‘I was here last night’ Fiona said, ‘I slept in this house’ The driver looked baffled. ‘You must be mistaken; this house has been derelict for over 30 years, maybe it was another house you stayed in on another lane’ ‘No No’ said Fiona, ‘it was this one’ she was feeling hysterical now. ‘I remember the herringbone bricks, the woodland surrounding it and there look above the door in the porch, I remember this plaque AD 1790. I don’t understand how this can be’ ‘Come on’ said the driver, we can’t stay here this is a godforsaken place, they say bad things happened here one winter’s night years ago and ever since people hereabouts have avoided the place’. ‘I’m telling you’ She said ‘I stayed here last night, how else would I be here standing next to you by a recovery truck heading down here to collect my car? You saw me being dropped off by the son of the cottage owner; he was coming back here to collect his mother.’ ‘Well I can’t answer that. I’m afraid I didn’t recognize the man you came with and I know most people around here’ he said ‘but I’m telling you this house has been derelict for years, ever since the previous occupant was killed in her kitchen’ ‘Killed in her kitchen, you mean murder?’ ‘Yes’ he said ‘It was long before my time here but when I passed this cottage for the first time I said to someone

it would be a lovely place to restore and live in as it’s in such an idyllic spot, but they warned me off with the story of what had happened here. If I can remember the poor woman who was murdered lived alone. Her husband had died some time before. I think she was called Mrs. Beddoe’.

something like a large spanner. By his body lay a small bunch of bluebells tied up with some red wool. The police estimated he’d only been there a few days as the bluebells in the woods were still in flower.’ ‘I always remember that’ he said ‘such a strange thing for the killer to do, leave a bunch of bluebells by the body’

Fiona shot him a look of horror. He went on ‘Apparently it was stormy winter’s night and some say the old lady had a visit from a woman who it was thought was the wife of the woman’s son. Apparently the couple had rowed as she was leaving her husband having met someone over East Anglia way. There were rumours that she was pregnant, but not with her husband’s child, so his temper had flared up and he attacked his wife so she fled their house near Salisbury and the police believe she was on her way to her new lover. But for some reason she stopped at the cottage. Why this was is a mystery, some say it was to warn the old lady she was leaving her son, others that she was frightened about what he would do next having already attacked her. But whatever the reason, the old lady put her daughter-in-law up for the night. But in the morning the husband arrived at breakfast time and in the ensuing row he’d killed his mother in the kitchen before driving off with his wife’ Fiona was now ashen faced and only half taking in the horrific events the mechanic was now saying to her. ‘The police never did find the couple’ he said ‘where they went remained a mystery until 18 months later, when in springtime the car belonging to the couple was found in a woodland lane, not far from here, a very remote spot few people ever drive along, near a small clump of oak trees. In the boot of the car, the police discovered the remains of a young man who had died they believe from a single blow to the head with a heavy blunt instrument,

He went on ‘ever since then no one has come near to the house so it fell into disrepair, which is a shame as it would make such a lovely family home’. Fiona had tears in her eyes now; she was confused and not a little frightened. That story, her night in the cottage, the bluebells, she didn’t know what to say. After a while the mechanic taking her silence and tears as shock on hearing the story put a comforting arm around her shoulders and led her down the garden path towards the truck. ‘Come on this is no place to stay and linger’ he said ‘it’s got an air of sad melancholy about it lets go. It’s a strange thing remembering this story I’d forgotten all about it for years’ before adding ‘Hop in; our car is just around the corner’ Fiona only half registered these last words; “our car” surely he meant ‘my’ car? She must have misheard him; her mind was playing tricks now. Yes that must be it. So full was her head of the tale she’d just heard, the ruined cottage she couldn’t explain and the old lady being murdered she wasn’t thinking straight, she just wanted this nightmare to end, get back to the car and home to her husband. Her mind was so preoccupied with these facts that as she reached the truck and began to climb inside, had she looked she’d have noticed some writing on the side of the vehicle….



Burbage Good Companions Club In November 1963 The Club was founded thus in 2013 it will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its foundation. At The Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 20th February, in anticipation of the Anniversary Celebrations a, new Chairman and Secretary were voted into office, Glenda Pearce: Chairman and Susan Goalby: Secretary. The Treasurer Jean Bierschenk will look after the finances, two committee members have retired while the others have all expressed their wish to continue to serve The Club.

Chairman Glenda Pearce outlined the programme of events planned for the coming year. She thanked Mary for her work saying she would be a hard act to follow. Mike Vardy, the driving force behind Burbage’s street parties to celebrate the Royal Wedding and Golden Jubilee Celebrations, gave the Club a comprehensive address on the planning and execution of the events. He outlined his ancestry, youth in the New Forest and business progress that led him to reside in Burbage and his desire to unite the Village.  The events concluded with a profit that will be used to place a circular seat around the Jubilee Oak Tree on East Court Green. 

Mary Powell, Chairman for twnety years, reported another busy and satisfactory year with membership increasing to one hundred and nine, with finances in a healthy credit: Despite many changes over the years she had greatly enjoyed her time as Chairman. She thanked members of the Committee for their support over many years, in particular Joan Dobson for running the raffle for forty-two years. Mary was presented with a number of gifts in appreciation of her many years service.

THE NEXT MEETING: Wednesday 20th March 2pm in the Village Hall

when the speaker will be Graham Palmer on Aldbourne Bell Foundry.

Open studios 2013 The 2013 West Berkshire Open Studios will run throughout May. Two Burbage artists will be exhibiting in their studios at home; Debbie Blount and Helen Colling. Both are open to visitors each weekend in May. Further details available from open studios website and brochures listing all artists and events should be widely available from April. More information also in the April edition of Burbage News



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