Greg's Occasional News & Views

1 March 2020

We had our first (and hopefully last?) smattering of snow on Thursday. We awoke to a smidgeon of a sprinkle, like icing sugar dusted across the garden. Thankfully, it was mostly gone by about noon and in its place we had more rain. Quelle surprise!

The rain and flooding further north of us continues unrelentingly. We might have a morning of bright clear sunshine but it inevitably gives way to more dark and stormy clouds, gale force winds and lashings of rain. The Guardian had some photos on Thursday which show that even those places which have some sort of flood defences have been overwhelmed. It’s been weeks now and folks are still under water. It must be thoroughly, thoroughly miserable.

Like many small villages, Moreton Pinkney suffers from a common problem – folks drive much too quickly through the village. There is only the one road through the village but it happens to be moderately busy as it’s one of the routes from Northampton to Banbury. Not the main route but still a popular one and certainly the one which the large flour lorries use to transport their goods from the flour mill in Bugbrooke to the Fyne Lady bakery in Banbury.

The village has one radar speed sign which a volunteer moves from one end of the village to the other from time to time. This flashes the approaching vehicle’s speed as an inducement to encourage folks to slow down! It was decided some little time ago to purchase a second sign so that they could be permanently placed at both ends of the village and then intermittently moved to other locations within the village. Volunteers are required to recharge the sign from time to time and re-site it. Naturally, Ms Playchute volunteered herself and me! So, on Thursday afternoon we had to trot along to the village hall to be trained and inducted in the dark arts of maintaining a speed camera sign.

I have to confess, I have little sympathy or patience for those who exceed the very generous 30 mph speed limit through the village. I was hoping that the training would enable me to connect the radar sign to a set of metal spikes which could be flung into the road whenever an approaching vehicle was exceeding the speed limit. Alas, the training was restricted to how to charge and maintain the sign in working order – nothing more exciting than that.

We wandered up to London on Friday with our good friend Vicky to attend a couple of exhibitions. Firstly, we made our way to the Saatchi Gallery for the current Tutankhamun exhibition which was stunning. We never saw it the last time round and this is the final time these artefacts will be in the UK. They are due to go on permanent display within the Grand Egyptian Museum which is currently under construction in Cairo. The exhibition has more than 150 original objects from the Tutankhamun’s tomb, 60 of which have travelled out of Egypt for the first and final time.

From there we went a couple of stops along the underground to the Natural History Museum where we had tickets to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. Penny and I have been to this particular exhibition many times over the years and it is always wonderful. Some of the photographs are simply unbelievable, and most annoyingly, the photographs taken by children and young adults are generally substantially better than any photograph I have ever taken!

And yesterday we continued our march towards repaying those kind souls who have entertained us during our construction project. Our very good friends John and Indrani came across for lunch, having postponed their visit of a fortnight ago due to Storm Dennis. We also invited some old friends from Radway/Edgehill, Lynne and Martin Cook. They live in a splendid spot on the edge of the hill just above where Tommy Gibbins used to live.

And speaking of our construction project, we’ve had two batches of workers this week! The electricians came on Tuesday to finish off a couple of little bits and on Thursday Fernando the tiler came with one of his crew. We’re inching closer and closer to the finishing line but still frustratingly slowly.

Lots of love to you all,



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