At long last our letter to “The Villager" to express our appreciation of the forty years of happiness we enjoyed whilst living in Brightwell-cum Sotwell.
We always said that if you have directions to The Old Barn it takes 45
minutes to find it. Without directions its 3/4 of an hour if lucky! It
was just as well we met Philippa Lay in October 1968 when we had an
appointment to view. We kept coming out on the High Road, which took all
the traffic before the by-pass was built, either just behind or in
front of a steam traction engine. Nobody had ever heard of the place but
luckily, Philippa, a very little girl then, knew just where we were
looking for and was able to direct us.
We eventually moved in in April 1969, and were made very welcome by our
neighbours. We had a golden Labrador as part of the family and "dog
walking" soon introduces you to lots of like minded friends. Being
invited to share an allotment proved another way to meet people in the
village. I remember saying to Basil, "what ever you do don't get
involved with the new Village Hall Project, it's a real subject of
controversy." However, at an AGM of the Hall, I was pleased as punch, as
a newcomer, to be invited to join the Committee. I remember taking on
the Treasurer's job after a very wet Fete when we still had halfpennies.
Counting all those wet coins was not much fun. At one time, between us,
we had 5 financial Village jobs after it was found that Basil was an
accountant and I could add up.
Another highlight of our 40 years was the formation in 1995, of the
Environment Group. Many of us had a very happy time surveying the hedges
and ditches of the Village. These surveys became part of the Parish
Conservation Plan of 1998. We also enjoyed the evening meetings where we
learnt not only about environmental matters but also bats and owls with
live creatures to handle. To our great surprise the Group presented us
with a leaving present – a Birds’ Dining Table and it has given us
tremendous pleasure. So far we have been visited by great tits, coal
tits, blue tits, chaffinches, robins, a spotted woodpecker, blackbirds, a
pair of ring doves and a couple of woodpigeons. Our other present from
the Village, a lemon tree, is looking well and has two small lemons on
it which we are keeping a careful eye on. So thank you all for such
truly original gifts.
Our thanks too, to everyone who very kindly sent us "Good Wishes in your
New Home" cards. We are so lucky to have found a lovely spot to live,
overlooking a backwater of the Thames, in Abingdon. If you are in the
area please come in for a cup of coffee and a piece of Old Barn
shortbread, we would love to see you. Once again Brightwell-cum-Sotwell,
thanks so much for a great forty years.
Viola and Basil Crowe
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