Christmas 2013Outdoor Chrstmas tree illuminated with white lights and a group of carol singers

The village centre is now adorned with Christmas decorations with a tree in The Square and trees adorning shop fronts all the way down High Street. This is all down to the labours of a very small band and I wholeheartedly endorse the praise that Joe Young sent "Once again Nick and John are trimming Xmas trees, up ladders, making and connecting lights and consistently working behind the scenes. They neither seek nor get applause or thanks. Let's all put that to right....well done and thank you. You deserve the Village of Bagshot award for outstanding community service."

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BBC TV Pointless

Earlier this year our vicar, David Chillman, appeared with his daughter Isobel on the BBC TV quiz show "Pointless". If you are not familiar with the programme, it is a relaxed quiz that is transmitted at tea time on weekdays. The show starts with four pairs of contestants and after a series of knock-out rounds the winners get a "Pointless" trophy and a shot at the jackpot, which, if not won, rolls over.

The questions all have multiple correct answers. The unique feature of the show is that the objective is to get an obscure correct answer. The questions will have been trialled with 100 people and how many of them give a particular answer is that answers score - anything from 0 to 100. High scores are not good. For example, this programme started with a round about super models. Seven names were given as a forename initial and and a surname, the task being to give the forename. Some were pretty obvious, Kate Moss scored 95, while others scored as low as 1. Isobel and David scored 75 and 89 with Heidi Klum and Jean Shrimpton - but this was low enough to keep them safe. They progressed their way through the following rounds to win the Pointless Throphy.

Then on to the jackpot. The show's winners are offered five topics to choose from, Isobel and David had: athletics, authors, international politics, 19th century theatre, and pop music. They chose pop music, in no small measure because between them they spanned two generations. The question then revealed was "Name any 3 of the 50 all-time best selling singles in the UK 1952 - 2012". To win the jackpot one of them has to be sufficiently obscure that none of the 100 people had named it. They chose "Bridge over Troubled Water", "Albatross" and "Back for Good". Unfortunately, while they had all been chart toppers, surprisingly none was in the all time top 50. Titles that would have won (in the all time top 50 but not named by anyone in the panel of 100 people) included "YMCA", "Mary's Boy Child", "Is this the way to Amarillo?", and even more surprisingly the all-time best selling UK single would have won - Elton John's 1997 release of "Candle in the Wind".

Family reunion

I won't say I get inundated with requests to pass on a message to a long-lost friend or relative, but it does happen from time to time. I recently heard from Ann Roberson (nee Kircher) "Through this website a long lost second cousin was able to get in touch, his mother and my father were first cousins. We hadn't seen each other for sixty years and we arranged a reunion at my sister Marilyn's home in Lincolnshire. We had such a laugh, other cousins have also been in touch, so a big Thank You."  

PoW camp images

Stories about the local PoW camps have been a log running saga. James from the local council wrote to tell me about an aerial survey that the council recently commissioned and sent me some examples. The results are amazing as they cut through vegetation and reveal details on the ground. One example he sent is of the area surrounding the Chobham Road site and you can see the outlines of roads, buildings and all sorts. See for yourself, the detail is here.

Nursing House

Another long-running saga is the Maternity Home, which was actually a Nursing Home. It was established on the main London Road in 1921 by the Duke of Connaught as a memorial to his wife and daughter. I was recently doing some research into Church Road when I discovered in the 1911 census a large, 16 bedroom, house identified as "Nursing House". While the census does not actually tell us where it was, I think that it is almost certainly the building opposite the Vicarage that is now called Beech House. So did the village really have a nursing home prior to the Duke's? Or was it perhaps an obscure title for a house occupied by a wealthy invalid? For, despite its 16 rooms, there were only four occupants in 1911: Constance Maud Soames, a 46 year old spinster living off private means, two sick nurses and one house maid. Ten years earlier at the 1901 census Constance was living with her parents and several of her many siblings in the 36 room  Hall Grove House. If you can throw any light on this "Nursing House" , or what happened to Constance, I would love to hear from you.

Cole family of Broomdashers

Also in the 1911 census, but misplaced geographically, I found the entry for 86 year old William Cole, broom maker, with is 78 year old wife Mary, and their 42 year old son, also William.  Their address is given as a hut on the Poors Allotment.  They told the enumerator that they had been married 58 years and had eight children, all of whom were still living.  I wonder if Mary is Granny Cole referred to by several people in the page about the heath?  There are still several unanswered questions there.  Can you indentify just where these people lived?

Librarygreen ballon with Bagshot Village Community Library

It is several years ago that I reported the threats to close our library. Then there were proposals to turn it into a volunteer-run service - but after an initial flurry these seemed to fizzle out. But in the last few months it has all come together, and on Saturday 7 December it officially became Bagshot Village Community Library with a re-launch ceremony performed by the Chairman of Surrey County Council and the Mayor of Surrey Heath. About two dozen volunteers have been trained to provide a library service and they will have a back-up provided by the county  to answer and unusual queries.  Apparently ours is the seventh library in the county to become a Community Library.  

Following the official opening drinks and cake were served - the cake (seen below) being almost too good to cut.

The best story I heard of the day was the little boy who asked "Why is that lady dressed as a pirate?"

cutting a ribbon

a group of people with a lady Mayor in red robes a cake decorated to look like an old book

The library opening was on the same day as our Village Day with the High Street closed to traffic and various stalls and activities both in the shops and from stalls in the road. The day was rounded off by turning on the lights on the Christmas tree in The Square and singing carols around it (which is the picture at the top of this page).

The end of Jack's?

Jack's Fish & Chips on the bypass is arguably the most well known of our numerous eating establishments. So villagers were a bit taken aback to learn of proposals to raze the site and redevelop it as a Tesco store. As you will well imagine, some very mixed reactions to that name! While many will welcome some healthy competition for the one supermarket we have, this proposal comes hot on the heels of one to develop part of the former Waterer's nursery site as a Waitrose supermarket. I can see that when plans get submitted the local council's Planning Committee are going to be on the recieving end of a lot of lobbying.

The Fighting Cocks

Another 'end of' is the Fighting Cocks public house.  The building and business remains, but it has been rebranded taking its name from the near-by cedar tree.

Traffic chaos

With four sets of traffic lights within a mile length on the A30, traffic at peak times gets quite congested and slow.  Things are going to be far worse for the first half of next year as the water company are replacing a mile length of mains pipe along the A30.  There will be single line flow, controlled by yet more traffic lights, over two 100 yard sections half a mile apart, the working sections progressing along the length to to be replaced.

The need to replace the old pipe cannot be denied for I have lost count of the number of times it has burst, flooding the A30, and on at least one occasion a neighbouring business.  It is a shame that the water company cannot propose a less disruptive way of doing it.

RAOS WW1 memorial

The Royal Alexandra and Albert School at Gatton Park (the successor to the RAOS) is appealing for information about the Royal Albert school's WW1 memorial. It is to be expected that the school will have had some form of memorial to its former scholars who died in WW1, but the present school have no records of one. Do you know whether the school had such a memorial? And if it did, do you have any idea what might have happened to it when the school closed?

"To Protect It - Register It!

Through our local Neighbourhood Watch scheme I recently learned of a free property registration scheme that could help your chances of getting items back if lost or stolen. At www.immobilise.com you can register any items that carry a unique identifier (such as a serial number). The register is used by the police and other agencies to check property that comes into their hands.  I assume it is UK only, but other countries may have similar schemes.

I wish you, and those you hold dear, a Happy Christmas and may your hopes for the New Year be fulfilled.
Neil
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