Great Bedwyn has its very own monthly magazine: "PARISH NEWS GREAT BEDWYN, LITTLE BEDWYN & ST KATHERINE'S". I contribute regularly with articles about The Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group. I also write the annual April Fools article. Here are my contributions.
2018: Great Bedwyn Archaeological Dig Usurped
It appears that the 2017 Great Bedwyn archaeological dig, run by University College London (UCL), has been usurped by a team from the University of Woolloomooloo, Australia. Unbeknown to UCL, Professor Salot Tucker (of the Woolloomooloo archaeology department) has since conducted his own survey with residents he contacted via Facebook.
“The residents of Great Bedwyn have really stepped up to the mark,” said Tucker. “Twenty five residents agreed to have one meter holes dug in their gardens and, during March, a team of contractors did the excavations. The results were staggering. Scratch the surface and Great Bedwyn literally bleeds archaeology.”
“Great Bedwyn has been inhabited much longer than we first thought. One hole in Farm Lane revealed a model of Muffin the Mule, indicating that the area was inhabited pre ITV. And another in Forest Hill revealed the door handle off a Morris Minor.”
“And it hasn’t just been our teams of contractors that have been unearthing artefacts. Just the other day a lady in Church Street contacted me. Whilst burying her pet poodle she unearthed the ring pull off a can of Tizer. It’s thought to date from 1978 and shows that the area has been inhabited longer than we first thought.”
Asked if owners were perturbed by having one meter square holes dug on their property, Tucker explained, “Not in the least. One property owner, in Brook Street, allowed us to dig twelve holes to a depth of two meters each. Initially we didn’t find anything, but when we went back a week later the owner had concreted in the holes for us and built an extension. Such was his generosity he even allowed us to take the spoil away for further analysis.”
A spokesperson for UCL said, “It is regrettable that two digs have taken place in such close proximity. This does sometimes happen; the rivalry between universities can get a bit intense at times. Professor Tucker normally liaises with us but for some reason has gone it alone this time.”
An exhibition of the finds will open on Sunday April 1st, 10 a.m. at the Cricket Club.
2017: Phone Box to be Revamped
BT have announced our village centre telephone box (a type K6 dating from 1936) is to be revamped and reinstated. Spokesperson Sally Adolfo said, “Under the ‘Area Participation Rural Initiative Local Funding Obligatory Openness Levy’ a sum of money has been set aside to bring the phone box in Great Bedwyn back into use.”
“With such weak mobile phone signals in the village,” she continued, “I’m sure the facility will have many takers. The phone to be installed will be on a new network and, for anybody that wishes to take a note, the new number will be 01042017.”
2016: Calling all Crochet Experts
Can you crochet and can you help us out on Friday April 1st to avert a potentially embarrassing situation?
The “Cheltenham Retired Ladies Crochet Society” have booked to visit the Bowls and Croquet club hut at 10AM on April 1st. When we took the booking we assumed they were just looking for a suitable venue for a day out. On receiving their confirmation letter, and cheque, it’s clear they are looking forward to a day of crocheting with likeminded people of Great Bedwyn. We haven’t the heart to tell them that they have mixed up croquet and crochet so we are calling on volunteers to join them for the day while masquerading as a local crochet club.
So whether your bag is chain stitch, slip stitch or a half double can you join us on the 1st? Tea and cake will be provided.
If you can help then please email me, Sally Adolfo, at Sally.Adolfo@hotmail.com
2015: Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to Fly over Great Bedwyn
Anybody up and about at 0653 on 01/04 is set for a treat as Thunderbird 1 and 2 will fly over the village. Thunderbirds, the cult 1960s TV series, is celebrating its golden anniversary and, as part of the celebrations, the iconic Thunderbird 1 and 2 will return to Slough where the series was filmed.
Head of celebrations, Ralf Polio, has said, “These fifty year old craft are currently housed in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC but will return home in 2015 for their golden jubilee. Unfortunately we won’t be cranking them up to the speeds seen in the TV series but these old ladies can still put on an impressive show. They will take six hours to cross the Atlantic and will make land at Bristol, UK at 0600 then follow the Kennet and Avon Canal then the Thames before landing at Heathrow at 0730. They’ll then be taken by road back to their original home in Slough where they will be on show for the rest of the year.”
We are informed that the timings are very precise to fit in with air traffic control regulations. So don’t be late and miss this F.A.B event!
2014: Parish News Prize Crossword Competition
Starting from April we are running a monthly prize crossword competition. This month the clues are all to road names or places in Great Bedwyn. So if you get stuck simply remember it’s a road name or place in Great Bedwyn. When you have completed the grid the prize will be revealed by the letters occupying the shaded squares. Simply write the name of the prize, your name and contact details on a postcard and drop it in the box provided in The Stores on or after the 1st of the month. The winner will be drawn on the 18th of the month.
Of course the answer spelt out that you've been an April Fool.
2013: Great Bedwyn to Get Metro Service
On February 18th the Department for Transport announced that Great Bedwyn has been selected to trial HDTODS (Hitachi Driverless Transport on Demand Service).
The new system is part of a research project between Hitachi and the DfT. It aims to bridge the gap between car and public transport by providing public transport on demand.
DfT spokesperson, Salot Tucker, stated, “We must apologise for the late notification to the residents of Great Bedwyn. Originally we’d chosen Ambelside in the Lake District but the gradients proved too great for the prototype vehicles. We switched to Great Bedwyn as it is flatter and offers a station and several bus stops to connect with the wider public transport network.”
The system requires little installation as the two Hitachi vehicles, deployed for this trial, are battery operated and rubber tired. They navigate by the latest GPS technology to keep them ‘on track’. They will follow fixed routes, one going clockwise and the other anticlockwise. The DfT have released the following map:
Each ‘stop’ will consist of two buttons on a short post; one for anti clockwise and the other for clockwise. When a potential passenger presses one of the buttons the appropriate vehicle will make its way to the ‘stop’. When the passenger wishes to alight they press an onboard button and the vehicle will automatically pull over. When a vehicle is not in use it parks itself. The service will run for a three month trial (starting 6AM on 01/04/2013), will be available twenty four hours a day and will be entirely free.
Steve Smith, Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group, said, “This has taken us completely by surprise but we welcome the move and are delighted that Great Bedwyn has been chosen to pilot this system. However, we are a little concerned that this might be a sweetener by the DfT to soften the impact of the loss of our direct Paddington services.”
2012: Olympic Torch to Come Through Great Bedwyn
The Olympic Flame will come within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK but for us lucky enough to live in Great Bedwyn it’ll come virtually to our doorstep.
A last minute change of plan has re-routed the torch from the A4 (between Marlborough and Hungerford) via Great Bedwyn to link up with the canal tow path to Hungerford.
Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, announced on February 20th that the flame would take a minor detour. “It’s a question of safety,” he said, “The A4 is simply too busy so we have had to re-route it via Savernake Forest.”
This means the torch will come into the village via the path behind Shawgrove, turn left onto Church Street, right at The Chains then via Brook Street to the canal tow path. It has not yet been confirmed who will be carrying the torch through Great Bedwyn but it’s rumoured to be Marlborough resident Sally Adolfo, who is being rewarded for her work with totally and utterly gullible people.
The torch should enter the village between 1130 and noon on Sunday April 1st.
2010: Pantomime Society appearing in the West End for a one show special.
West end impresario Ralf Polio, who lives in Great Bedwyn, was so impressed by The Pantomime Society of Great Bedwyn's recent production of 'Puss in Boots' he has invited the cast to perform a one off production at The London Hippodrome on Thursday April 1st.
All monies raised will go to the Retired Pantomime Horse Society. A spokesperson for the charity said,"We are delighted The Pantomime Society of Great Bedwyn has been given this opportunity and are even more delighted that we have been chosen to be awarded the proceeds of the event. Many people do not realise the poverty and suffering these horses can go through when their performing days come to an end. Some of them arrive here very disorientated and barely able to walk in a straight line. This will greatly help our work and hopefully raise our profile."
Note this was picked up by BBC Radio Wiltshire and the presenter, Matthew Smith, interviewed the editor of the Parish News, Andrew Hutchison. Here is the interview - as an added twist Matthew is my first cousin.