Neighbourly Reflections

Before lockdown I was very much challenged by a talk at church about how we can love our neighbours; and in fact asking whether we even know any of them. We were asked if we took note of who moved in and if we welcomed people into the street. Jesus was big on telling people to love their neighbour, but I’ve never really looked at it terms of the people in my street – I’ve always seen my neighbour as relating to the people I work with, the parents of my children’s friends etc, because I spend time with those people. We don’t tend to have connections with neighbours other than living next door and sharing a hedge/fence! So the challenge was a good one …. and then lockdown happened!

We have lived in our current house for 24 years and in Ash Vale for 34 years since our marriage. We know our immediate neighbours but have not spoken to many of the others in the street for most of that time – even though there have been comings and goings along the road over the years. I guess the reason I have always used is that our street has only got houses on one side of the road – we can’t look in neighbours’ windows and be nosy! And it makes things a little less easy to connect with those we live side by side with. When we went into lockdown, to my shame I did not dash along to all the neighbours and check that they were all OK – I have followed the isolation rules as was demanded because we have an elderly relative that we have ‘bubbled’ with and so we were not involved with other community initiatives during lockdown. Covid has thrown us all onto a new horizon; giving us new ways of looking at our locality; making us re-evaluate how we work and how we connect with friends and our neighbours. We did become acquainted with one or two via a nod and a ‘Hello!’ as we walked past on our way to pick up shopping from the Village, but that’s about as far as it went.

As the restrictions started to lift in April and May, we started to think outwards again and realised that over lockdown there had been three houses in our little patch alone that had sold and now had new people settling in. Having two sons who also moved during lockdown I appreciate just how difficult a thing it has been for people to move and find out about a locality in these times of restrictions. So things had to change – I no longer wanted to be an ostrich. The best way I know of connecting with people is through food, so we decided to hold a cream tea in the garden which we could do within the restrictions. We hand delivered invitations and invited all the neighbours in the small section of street near our home – about 10 invites in all – and waited. Even though we had left it really late to invite people, we got responses almost straight away and had about 8 families accept the invitation. I was very pleased. The day we chose to host our cream tea was one of the hottest in the late Spring which meant that we could all gather in our shady garden and drink tea, prosecco, wine and eat scones to our hearts content; but more importantly it connected all the households who came together. People were initially hesitant, but by the time the afternoon ended everyone knew who each other was  and which house they lived in. It was the first event of what I hope will be a continuing trend – how can we progress this? How can we really be neighbours to our neighbours?

How have you connected with your neighbours this last 18 months? I would love to know other peoples’ experiences – I want to pick up creative ways to be a good neighbour – to do what Jesus told me to do.

By Jackie Scott

Do you have a story about how you got to know your neighbours, or people being neighbourly? The Parishioner would love to hear from you. parishioner@ash-vale.org.uk

What’s on in June & July 2021

What’s on at St Mary’s, Vale Rd, Ash Vale,

Sundays 10am –Join St Mary’s for our weekly Church Service. All are welcome, both on Zoom and in person. Wednesday Evensong  is back too, please contact the office for the latest rules and timings. Contact: Parishoffice@ash-vale.org.uk

Mondays 11am: Coffee Chat Zoom Join fellow parents and carers for informal coffee chat and friendship. (Term time only) Zoom ID: 520 880 119 / Password: Grownups Contact Alex: 07730 609446

Tuesdays 10am: Babies at St Mary’s Support Group We are open Tuesdays 10am-11am in term time for parents and carers with babies under 12mths. Booking is essential. Come and join us! Contact Alex: 07730  6094446

Thursday Café Once cafés are allowed to reopen we will be risk-assessing and reopening. Contact us for details.  parishoffice@ash-vale.org.uk

Sat 26th June: 7:30pm:  Poetry Night & Book Launch:  Chapel Poetry Group are launching their latest collection, and celebrating the winners of the “Mirror Mind” Poetry Competition. Join us on Zoom or in person at St Mary’s to hear some of the winning poems and celebrate with us! St Mary’s Church, 26th June, 7:30pm. Contact Alex: 07730 609446 for tickets, zoom links and copies of the book!

August: Summer Café: Fridays in the holidays at St Mary’s—keep an eye on the notices for details. Sign up to receive the weekly news parishoffice@ash-vale.org.uk

Summer Fair!  10th July 12-3pm Sneakin’ Suspicion are booked for an ‘end of COVID’ Gig – and the Wood Street & St Mary’s Team are cooking up a bit of a festival! See inside back cover for details.

Donations for St Mary’s: https://givealittle.co/campaigns/47eb21e6-c2b0-4a23-a526-8d13fd24fa56  Thank you!

The Chapel Project, Wharf Rd, Ash Vale

Chapel Arts Monthly Makes: Artists in Residence Debi & Jono Retallick host a ‘monthly make’ fundraising workshop for The Chapel, teaching all kinds of art and craft techniques. Email Debi for event details, Zoom links, and to book your place on the workshops: (&See page 26) Contact debiretallick@googlemail.com

Tue 1 June 4pm: Dragonflies

Tue 6 July 4pm: Painting with fibres

Chapel Kids Baby & Toddler Group: Wednesdays 11:30am: Garden Praise  Chapel Kids toddler group ages 0-4yrs at The Chapel in Wharf Road GU12 3AY (term time only, text us to book) Contact Alex: 07730 609446

Chapel Poetry Group Workshops: Join  the group on WhatsApp for chat with like minded creative writers, and join us on Zoom for a monthly poetry workshop. (Hopefully in person once regulations lift). Contact Alex: 07730 609446

Chapel Craft Group: Join us on Wednesdays in term time 8-10pm at The Chapel on Wharf Rd. Bring along your latest craft project and have a natter and a cuppa as we craft. We have been zooming but aim to be back at the Chapel as soon as regulations allow. Contact 07730 609446

Chapel Filmshare: Your local fortnightly Filmshare is starting back in September! If you enjoy tea, coffee and cakes and appreciate films you’re welcome to join us fortnightly at the Chapel from 7.30pm. To sign up to our e-mail newsletter contact: Dick Elsey at richard.elsey45@gmail.com or on 01252 694314.

Donations for The Chapel : https://givealittle.co/campaigns/8d80cd98-df9f-494e-9808-b8898744146f Thank you!

St Paul’s Church, Poyle Rd, Tongham:

Baby Plus :

· Mondays 4-4.30pm. Toddler Storytime  – stories, actions and songs

· Tuesdays 2.30-4pm Mum Plus— friendship and facilitated discussions

· Wednesdays 4-4.30pm. Toddler Storytime

· Thursdays 10.30am-12. Baby Plus  – Informal chat session for mums, with some singing and action songs for the little ones.

Baby Plus Contact: CommunityWorker@stpaulstongham.org.uk Or via the Church office: 01252 783081

Messy Church at St Paul’s :

· 17th June (pack with Facebook live introduction)

· 15th July (format tbc)

Keep an eye on Facebook / Website

Open Church Event:

Keep an eye on Facebook & the website for our “Open Church” for reflection, a grand opening of the ramp, and an outside event for the community (or we might combine this into one big  3-in-1 event!)

Web.: https://www.stpaulstongham.org.uk/

St Peter’s Church, Ash

27th June St Peter’s Day: Outdoor (weather permitting) service in the St Peter’s Centre garden, followed by a bring-your-own picnic lunch in the Rectory Garden.

St Peter’s Craft Evenings: At St Peters we have a regular craft evening which will relaunch in September. It’s a free of charge group which meets at 7pm on the 3rd Monday of each month. It’s a creative session where people bring along whatever craft project they have underway. We have some painting, card making, jewellery making and lots of keen knitters! Refreshments are offered as well as an evening of friendship. All ages welcome. For confirmation of the relaunch please check our website Web  saint-peters-ash.org.uk

Holy Angels, Ash

Youth Group: Our first face to face Youth meeting will be on Sat  29th May.  Rounders and picnic on the field behind Holy Angels Church.  2-5pm – praying for the weather and no further lock downs!!!  If you’d like to join our groups please get in touch.

Gloria:  gloria.benson14@gmail.com

All events listed above are subject to change, due to Covid-19 safety rules. Please keep in touch!

Sheep Trail List (send yours in today!) #AshValeSheepTrail

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took part in the Sheep Trail! We had a lovely time and we hope you did too. 💕🐑 The trail is now closed, but let us know which was your favourite sheep, we have a little prize for them! 🙂 text 07730609446

Can you find all these sheep? Why not see if you can find them all this half term? We have also hidden 17 sheep in the Parishioner Magazine, you can pick up a paper copy of it at St Mary’s.

  • Boaz & Ruth – You will find us in Alder Close, Avondale
  • Lamby – looking out from a window upstairs, Vale Croft, Lysons Avenue, by Ash Vale train station roundabout.
  • Shawn Minerva gilderoy – 362 Vale Road
  • Joshua (blue) Alex (red) Lulu (cuddly sheep) – Coverack, Horseshoe Lane GU12 5LL 
  • Shaun – White Lodge, Wentworth crescent. (Private road part. The big old White House as you turn in) 
  • Sheep – 67 Wentworth crescent
  • Delores – 42 Wentworth Crescent, GU12 5LE 
  • Maisy and Lewis – 19 Wentworth Crescent
  • Stephanie the Sheep – 85 Prospect Road
  • Lamby – Vale Road (between Penrose Gardens & Firacre Rd)
  • Woody – You’ll find me if you walk along the canal towpath between The Swan and The Admiral, and look across the canal!
  • Cedric, Cecil & Cyril – 203 Vale Road (Cyril said it was too cold outside so he’s peering out the window). They told us an amazing story, apparently their distant relatives were there with the Shepherds and saw the Angels on THE Christmas Day! Wow!
  • St Mary’s Flock – St Mary’s Church
  • Fluff – 14 Wood Street
  • Herbie (the herbivore! 😁) – 24 Wood Street
  • Flower and Petal, And one printed picture quoting Psalm 29 – 56 Waverley Drive
  • Cuddle and Trouble – 52 Firacre Road, Ash Vale
  • Cedric – 155 Vale Road
  • Daisy, Minty, Minnie, Herdy 1,2&3 – 91 Vale Road (2 sheep on flower border right of drive. Daisy and Minty. One on Gate post. Minnie.3 in windows. Herdy1, 2 and 3)
  • Sandra & Larry– 81 Vale Road
  • Lamb Lamb – 71 Vale Road
  • Sheepy, Sheeply & Sheepish (knitted) Lucy lamb and friends (paper sheep), Jane, Goblin and Cutie (Cotten wool sheep) – 60 Vale Road
  • Strictly come Lambing! Lancaster Close
  • Freddie & Love – 11 Lancaster Close
  • Bramble – 19 Lancaster Close, Ash Vale
  • Sheepaboo and Morph – 42 Lancaster close
  • “Fluffy Wooly” and “Princess Sheep” – Gloster Close
    Shaun and Timmy – Comet Close
  • Celandine Sheep – Wey Close
  • Baart and Baarbara – 45 Vickers Road Ash Vale GU12 5SE
  • One lamb – 46 Vickers Road, GU12 5SE (upper window)
  • Ernest Sheepleton and crew! 22 Shackleton close
  • Fluffy, Steve, Snuggles & Max – 29 Cody Close, Ash Vale
  • Baaaaaa-bara – Ash Hill Road (Near the Phyllis Tuckwell Shop)
  • Stump House Sheep rocks in the covid snake: Rocky, Stella, Fluff and Lammy 
  • Baaaa-tholowmew – Ash Hill Road (near the Kia garage)
  • Mike’s Flock – Cobo, Beetons Avenue
  • Bob the sheep – Murrell Road
  • 2 sheep – Longacre 
  • Shaun & Dawn (beautifully made by the Chapel Craft group) – 1 Grove Villas,  Grove Road,  GU12 5BD #ChapelCraft (Wednesdays 8pm)
  • Timmy – Wharf Rd (look up, I’m above Bet Fred!)
  • Chapel Flock – The Chapel, Wharf Road
  • Bah – 11 Foxhurst Rd (aptly named by L aged 2 😍)
  • Valentine – Collins Gardens, Ash
  • Ramsey, Eugenie and Lambert!- 14 College Road, Ash
  • Shadow – 2 Potters Crescent GU12 6AY
  • Zara & Sam Sheep, South Lane, Ash
  • lots of sheep – 35 Wyke Avenue (2 crafted ones and some cuddly ones!)
  • Upcycled Sheep – 16 Lincoln close Ash Vale
  • Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom, Woodland and Yardley- White Lane, Ash Green (go past Hazel Road to find the Ramsbottom flock)
  • Susie and Geoffrey – Yankari, Hazel Road, Ash Green

Keep them coming – If you’ve got a sheep on display, send us it’s name and location and we will add them to the trail. 07730 609446. The more the merrier, we have all half term to enjoy the hunt for the lost sheep!

Share your photos online with the hashtag #AshValeSheepTrail and tell us who’s your favourite, or why not comment here? 

Stay safe and have fun everyone! 

#AshValeSheepTrail #LostSheepTrail #LoveWhereWeLive #AshVale #Ash #AshGreen #HalfTermFun #SociallyDistancedFun #LoveYourNeighbours #Community

Snow on Ash Ranges in the 1980s

During the snowy winter of 1981/82 here in Ash/Ash Vale, along with everywhere else in Southern England, we awoke one day to find there had been a huge snowfall overnight and everyone was totally ‘snowed in’!  There was no way in, or out of Ash & Ash Vale, all roads were impassable until the snowploughs reached us with grit etc.  For that day we were all ‘cut-off’!  Those who did try to drive to work, found the roads where impassable & had to return home.  This was a day I shall never forget!

What a wonderful day of fun and laughter the day turned out to be!  Everyone (young or older, with or without children) made for the ranges!  We all took everything we could find to have fun!  We wore our boots, wellies, thick coats, gloves, mittens, and hats to keep our ears warm.  Sledges, toboggans, tin trays, and even ski’s were the ‘order of the day’! .  There were numerous snowball fights (between children & children, plus adults and adults!), several snow-men (or “snow-people” to be politically correct these days!) were built and children just enjoyed rolling in the snow, especially down the butts (but no damage was done, the snow was so thick)!  Everyone mixed in with the fun, regardless of their age. 

A couple of the menfolk built a fire (in a sheltered snow-hole) and managed to get a decent fire going. They then found sticks/branches, planted them in the snow with a line of string attached to make a ‘drying line’ for drying gloves!

As the kiddies (& adults) gloves became soaked through, they would take them to the fire, take them off and they were ‘pegged’ onto the line to dry out!  In exchange they received another ‘dry’ish pair of gloves, any gloves that fitted!

I am certain no child (or adult) went home that day with their own gloves, but no-one cared! It was a day nobody who was involved in will ever forget and will probably not happen again?  The ‘Community Spirit’ was definitely shown on that day.

By Pat Scott

Suffer the little Children and great big Animals to come to me

Christmas Eve in 1972 was a Sunday.  This is why the Sunday School at the Ash Vale Methodist Church planned a special Christmas procession on that Sunday morning. The idea of Mary and Joseph accompanied by a group of shepherds and the three Wise Men travelling to Bethlehem, appealed to the children and so a plan was hatched to produce something the people of Ash would remember and talk about for years to come.

I, as a new Sunday School Teacher, was one of the team elected to ensure the planned procession took place. My daughter, a newly recruited pupil at the Sunday School was also excited to help.

Many suggestions were considered and rejected.  The shepherds should have some sheep and if possible lambs with them. Wasn’t a new born lamb one of the gifts presented to the Baby Jesus ?  Enquiries were made but it transpired that sheep, and especially lambs, were not available, so this suggestion had to be shelved.

However, someone was found who could walk with the children whilst playing an accordion. For the next five weeks he, and the children practised their Christmas Carols.

We found an animal refuge that was prepared to lend us a Donkey for the day and they would deliver and collect the Donkey to meet our timing.

So on that Sunday Morning a transporter was met by forty, or so,  Sunday School Children at the end of Wharf Road and a Donkey was off loaded.

Now every donkey I had ever seen, and certainly all the pictures I had seen in the Children’s Bible were of a creature that was about half the size of a small pony In the Children’s Bible, Mary was the only rider and she overflowed on all sides of the steed.  The donkey that lumbered out of the transporter was huge.  About five feet tall with enough space on his back to accommodate the whole Sunday School. We opted for Mary and Joseph together with three companions to ride and the rest of the ‘tribe’ to follow singing  Christmas Carols.

Arriving at the Church we were met by the Minister, Bernard, who had thoughtfully brought a bucket and spade with him, in case of accidents. The idea was that the Children should celebrate Christmas and still be there when worshippers arrived for the morning service at 11.00 o’clock. And of course so would Mary, Joseph, the three Kings, Shepherds and, the Donkey.

Entry into the Church was simple enough, the doors were wide enough and it just needed a turn to the right and all would be well.  This was when Neddy displayed his thespian independence.  As soon as his front half was in, he stopped. He became rooted to the spot. I experienced my first example of an immovable object. We pushed, we pulled we pushed again, we offered carrots and pulled but to no avail. Neddy was not going in any further. But our attempts to put him in reverse were also no good. He had decided that he was there and was going to stay there. Front legs, head and shoulders in the Church and rear quarters firmly filling the doorway. Then, oh catastrophe, the congregation started to arrive. No way to get past this impenetrable blockage so they had to use Minister’s door and so were able to take part in the Service. Bernard was very amused but we faced to problem of getting Neddy out when his transport arrived to take him home.

By Mike Jacobs

No, it’s not cancelled! Christingle is coming to you!

24th December 2020  4:30pm-6:00pm

In the streets of Ash Vale, doorsteps & Zoom 

Join us on Zoom for a virtual Christingle, or join our roving carol singers to bring some Christmas cheer to our neighbours too! At 6pm we will finish off with bell ringing on our doorsteps to wish the whole community a blessed and peaceful Christmas. We will be collecting donations in aid of the Children’s Society online:  https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/

If you’d like the zoom link and a Christingle Kit to make at home, or are interested in joining in with the roving carol singing groups outside please get in touch asap on 07730 609446 or email parishoffice@ash-vale.org.uk

Please note—we will be following the covid rules, so the carols will be in households, bubbles or small groups according to the laws on the day.

#Christingle2020 #ChildrensSociety #ChristmasEve #CopingWithCovid #LoveWhereWeLive #AshVale #StMarysAshVale #ChristingleAndCarols