Update from St Mary’s Church and Ashridge

As we were unable to print and distribute the April edition of PPP, please find below the update from St Mary’s Church and Ashridge:

Update from St Mary’s Church: 

We are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world. New life is abundant, in the hedgerows, in our gardens and in the fields that surround our villages. We are experiencing lengthening days and warmer temperatures.

But this year is different as necessary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus are in place. The church is locked, and funerals can only take place in a limited way, services in the church have ceased but are happening very successfully through Facebook and on the phone. Do contact me if you would like to know more.

As those over 70 are in imposed self-isolation, children and their parents are learning to home educate their children and many people are working from home, we are having to live life differently.

But in all this there is hope. As I write this article, I am seeing members of our village communities offering time to help those who need it. Donations to our food bank have increased significantly and I have had many emails and phone calls from those wanting to help. If you know anyone who is experiencing hardship at this time get in touch with Babs Byrom 07860 780127 or myself 01296 668648 and we will arrange for a box of food to be left on your doorstep. All requests are dealt with confidentially. We are also working together with the Pitstone Covid 19 group and a group from Cheddington in this venture.

My prayer is that in these challenging times, God’s love would be known in these villages and that we would each be able to reflect something of that love in our own lives.

We are without a vicar at the moment but do get in touch with Babs Byrom, David Green or myself on the numbers above if you need advice or support from the church in any way. We are here for you if you need us!

Sandra Green – Licensed Lay Minister. St. Mary’s Church, Ivinghoe.

ASHRIDGE RAMBLINGS

STONE THE CROWS!

Europe’s largest conservation charity, The National Trust, is 125 years old.

This article was to have outlined Ashridge’s plans to celebrate this milestone, but the virus has put paid to all events for now. Once the Visitor Centre reopens, there will be an exhibition called “Ashridge through the ages”, which will be very well worth a look and will continue until the end of the year.

In the meantime, the constraints put on all of us bring into sharp focus for me and, I’m sure, many others, the importance of the great outdoors. At the time of writing, we’re still allowed into it once a day, and that is keeping me sane. The joy of buds bursting open, the first butterflies of the year and the green and blue carpets, are able, during those magical outdoor moments, to banish the virus blues. The Trust recognises this and has vowed to keep its countryside open as far as legally and practicably possible.

My spellchecker hasn’t heard of COVID and autocorrects it to CORVID – i.e. a member of the crow family. As it happens, crows are involved in the spread of another virus that infects humans. In the early 2000s, I was part of the Department of Health’s West Nile Virus (WNV) Surveillance Group. The reason for this was that my former (I have retired) team at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden monitors insects using a nationwide network of traps. Although primarily watching for agricultural pests, mosquitoes are caught, and these form an important part of the WNV transmission cycle. As with COVID-19, WNV can cause mild to fatal flu-like symptoms in humans. It also infects crows, in which it is usually fatal. Mosquitoes that bite infected crows can pick up the virus and pass it to humans, horses and a few other animals. Unlike with COVID, there has not been a major global pandemic of “CORVID-WNV”, largely because it cannot be passed from person to person by infection or contagion. It has to go via the crows.

Fingers crossed that we will continue to have access to our wonderful countryside and that we’ll get to see the exhibition soon.

Rikki Harrington