This year we have an ecumenical Christmas card from all four churches in the village. Here is your electronic version, delivered with all the seasonal greetings.
would like to wish you
a very happy Christmas
and invite you to join with them
"Unto us a Child is born,
If you are thinking that four churches (Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Evangelical) is a lot for a village of just over 5000 inhabitants, then you are right, it does spread the population rather thinly! There are Anglican churches in all the neighbouring villages, but the other churches each serve a large area. Mind you Anglican churches are not all alike and more than a quarter of St Anne's regular congregation come from outside the village because they like our middle-of-the-road style.
Bagshot will have two midnight services on Christmas Eve, and no less than five services on Christmas morning.
I mentioned in the last newsletter that we had had quite a bit of rain late in September. That dried up and October was very warm and pleasant - in fact it has been the warmest October since records began about 250 years ago.
You may recall that last time I included a picture of some orange dahlias, I thought twice about it because they should have been ending. In the event I picked the last blooms in November. We had a light ground frost about 2 days into the month but no air frost until the 9th when the dahlias finally keeled over.
I took this sky scene on the 9th November as the sun was beginning to set, overlooking some of the heath and woodland in the west of the parish. We have, on occasions, had lovely clear blue skies right into December - though the penalty is either a frost or fog come the morning.
The trees have been exhibiting the most amazing colours as one by one the different varieties have had their leaves turn from their summer green. It is the beech trees that are the most spectacular of all, sometimes turning almost red, but sweet chestnut, which was the first to turn, produced some exeptional shades, and the silver birch turned a real gold colour.
The experts tell us that the deep colours and the length of time that the leaves have stayed on the tree is due to the sugars and starches that they have built up during the long warm autumn.
The first of these pictures was taken by the side of the road to Bracknell and the second in the Crown Estate woods behind the church where we see two silver birch trees among the pines and dead bracken.
These are not the best colours I have seen, this year. I have to admit that the best were not in Bagshot but the beech woods on the outskirts of Windsor Great Park - seen as I drove to work - but perhaps the warm glow of sunrise helped to accentuate the scene.
A campaign has been gathering speed (if you will pardon the pun) to get the speed reduced on the A322 (the Bracknell to Guildford road) as it goes past the village. This section of the road has been dubbed by some as "death mile". In the last published statistics the police acknowledge 42 accidents in 45 months - more recently the accident rate seems to have been a lot higher and local councillor Meurig Williams is quoted as saying "There have been so many accidents along here that it's almost becoming a weekly occurance." The most recent fatal accident was in August, and a local resident says there were 4 more accidents between 25 Sept and 9 Nov. At the time of putting this part of the newsletter together (late November) there are three separate places within about 1/4 mile where the crash barrier is waiting to be repaired - and it was only earlier this year that the barrier was completely renewed! This aerial photo shows where several of the accidents have occurred. Non-UK readers please remember that we drive on the left, so traffic has driven down from Bracknell & Ascot on a dual carriageway road with a 70 mph speed limit to be confronted with a quite sharp right hand turn as the road goes under the A30 and for a short while runs parallel with the railway line before turning to the left to cross the railway. The local Council's chief highway engineer is quoted as saying that they have been "analysing accidents ... (to see) ... why they have occured and what we can do to stop them." It should be perfectly obvious that 70 mph is too fast through a bend that is virtually blind.
The last 'update' newsletter was at harvest, revisions to the web site since then are:
home pages: Bagshot, St Anne's Church
The latest newsletter is here