Derek Fowles
10 Lynden Close, Holyport, Berks, SL6 2LB

Tel: 01628 629538
Copy for the February issue of St. Michael's News to the Editor please, by Thursday 17 January.
From the Registers
04 November
18 November
Robyn Eales            
River Haselden-Davies                

03 November
12 November
21 November
30 November
Margery Ratnage
Eileen Walker
Michael Halfacre
Shirley Askwith
aged 96 years
aged 90 years
aged 90 years
aged 84 years
Parish News
Holyport W.I.
St Michael's Bellringers
From The Bray Magazine December 1918
Beyond the Village Green
Meetings and Events

Holyport W.I.

Our November meeting began with Jen our President welcoming everyone. A one minute’s silence was observed for Moira D a past member and committee member who had sadly passed away last month.

Although Moira had moved away from the area a few years ago, we were all very sad to hear of her death. Jen gave the apologies for absent members and Carole gave out the birthday posies.

Various dates were given out for our Craft, Poetry and Scrabble groups. Ann M will be starting a new Craft group. Ann will also lead a discussion on a book called "A Street Cat named Bob" for the newly formed book club. The group will meet on the 6th of December at Ann's house.

Diane reminded us of the service on the Green on Sunday 11th November to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1st World War would start at 12 o'clock.

Jen requested we all bring a raffle prize to our December meeting plus a wrapped present with a card inside with our name on. The committee planned to have a table top quiz also Carol singing and a demonstration on how to make a Christmas wreath for the door.

After a request for a review on the providing of refreshments for the evening, a book circulated to indicate preference on what we should provide. Results of which will be discussed at the next meeting. Wendy asked us all to sign a card for Judy Palmer our WI Advisor who has now retired after several years in this role.

Jen asked if there were any members of our Institute who had recently returned from a holiday abroad and would like to give a talk to the other members about it at some time in the future. Bryony said she would be willing to do this sometime next year.

Pat read out the Berkshire News, followed by Mary our Craft organizer for the evening. Mary led us through the craft project, a Christmas decoration for the tree using fabric to a Suffolk Puff design. Everyone present completed the work before retiring for refreshments. Pauline L our Secretary thanked Mary for her expertise, time and effort in helping us all complete our Craft item.

Flower of the month competition was won by Penny with Carole and Ann as runners up.

St Michael's Bellringers

Due to the repairs to the stonework on the tower we shall not be able to ring during December nor  for all the Christmas services as has been our custom in the past.   We shall however be able to ring on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.  Whilst we cannot ring at Bray we are holding our practices elsewhere, Cookham and another local tower.  We are also having a Christmas party on the last Thursday before Christmas, by kind invitation of James and Kathryn Gladwyn.

In  November we said farewell to Sam Maynard, our Deputy Tower Captain and ringer at Bray for nine years.  He and his family have  returned to Suffolk.  Also in November we welcomed the latest arrival, a baby son, Theodore Reuben, to Olly and Mary Cross.

From ‘The Bray Magazine’ December 1918

At a meeting held on Thursday, December 5th, in the Old Schoolroom, with Mr. West Neve as chairman. it was resolved that the parish of Bray should have its own War Memorial.  Two proposals were made:  1, “That a Wayside Cross should be set up in the village in memory of those who have fallen” and 2, “That a Public Hall should be built as a thankoffering for the service of all who have fought in the war and for the victory they helped to win.”  A very little discussion served to shew that both those proposals were welcome, and in the end they were unanimously and heartily adopted, and a committee was appointed to carry them into execution.

Christmas was quite a happy time, even though we didn’t have the expensive gifts the children have today.  If we were very lucky we had an apple, an orange, a bar of chocolate and a bag of sweets, and if some kind person gave us a tin of toffees, well, that was beyond our wildest dreams.

But we did have the luxury of a chicken for our Christmas dinner, a turkey being far beyond the means of most cottage homes.  Occasionally some kind employer gave one as a Christmas present, but very few did, I can tell you.

Then we would have some tinned fruit, or maybe some nuts, for these things appeared in the shops only at Christmas, and not every family could afford them.

One year my father won a goose in a raffle, and we had a wonderful Christmas, but I do remember my mother saying, ‘Oh, what a lot of grease!’  This found its way, I feel sure, on to slices of bread to feed us children long into the New Year.

Outings at Christmas were very rare indeed, at least in our family.  We never had the pleasure of going to see a pantomime, and parties among the poorer families of the village were few and far between, since nearly everyone found it hard to make ends meet anyway, without the added problem of feeding other people’s children.

My father being a building worker, through no fault of his own often found himself out of work during the festive season, with only the meagre dole money to struggle by on.

However, we did have one particular treat to look forward to - a visit to our Aunt Isobel, who lived in a wonderful thatched cottage at Fifield.  This was a ritual every Boxing Day without fail.  We’d set out from home to walk there in the partial darkness of the late afternoon, to arrive in good time for tea.  And we knew exactly what we’d get:  seedy cake, Madeira cake, plain bread and butter, and bread and homemade jam.  A very dull and uninteresting tea was had by all!

Aunt Isobel was a small Victorian figure, with white hair and a long black dress which reached the ground.  It was pulled in very tightly at the waist.  She wore white lace round her neck, and a big spotlessly white apron.  She was very abrupt, to say the least, with little or no sense of humour.

After tea, and with a glass of home-made elderberry wine clasped in our tiny hands, we waited for our annual treat, the playing of the musical box.  As we sat watching, as quiet as little mice, Aunt Isobel unwrapped the precious machine from its black velvet bag.  Soon the cottage was alive with tinkling music as Aunt put on record after record, from ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ to ‘Lily of Laguna’.

But it always ended much too soon, and despite our protests - ‘Please, one more, Aunt Isobel’ - the musical box was whisked away until Boxing Day the following year.  Then, as if by some form of consolation, she would give us another small portion of wine, followed by medlars.

I’m sure many of you have tasted the delight of a medlar, but for those of you who haven’t, perhaps I can describe it.  It’s actually like a small pear, or perhaps I should say a rotten pear, for that’s exactly what it looks like.  They grew on a tree in Aunt Isobel’s orchard and were rare even in those days, so I’m pretty sure they must be almost extinct by now.

Then Father would look at his watch and say it was time to go home, with something special to talk about when we got back to school.


Spiral bound book
 with photographs £10.00 

Audio book (on 4 CD's) £14.50


Meetings and Events for December/January

Womens’s Institutes

Thursday, 13th December and Thursday,  10th January at 7.45 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall

Moneyrow Green
Monday, 28th January at 2.00 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.

Music at Bray
Sunday, 9th December at 5.30 p.m.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Following sell-out performances in 2011 and 2013, Menotti’s festive opera returns with
the story of a lame boy who is paid a ‘significant’ visit. Christopher Douglas plays Amahl.

Tickets: £10 on the door

Maidenhead Heritage Centre
18 Park Street, Maidenhead.
For the Christmas season, what else but Toys?
12th January - 12 Things to Know About Maidenhead.

Mobile Library

Monday, 3rd December, 14th January
Holyport Lodge 11.00 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
Wednesday, 5th December, 16th January
Hanover Mead and Jesus Hospital 11 a.m. - 11.30 a.m.
Thursday, 20th December, 10th and 31st January
Brayfield Road 2.40 - 3.00 p.m.
Walker Road 3.10 - 3.40 p.m.