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“Boudicca in a Cottage”

“Boudicca in a Cottage”

A tribute to Angie Cooksley 1937–2017

On Wednesday 15 February, friends and family gathered at Geddington Church to celebrate the life of Angie Cooksley, who died peacefully on 2 February aged 80. This is the family eulogy that we would like to share with those who were unable to attend the service, or for those present who requested to read it again. Please do feel free to share with anyone who would like to read it. It was read at the funeral by Angie’s granddaughter.

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Please click on this link to read the eulogy:
Boudicca in a Cottage A Tribute to Angie Cooksley

Geddington – A life in words and memories – February

Welcome to February 1929

The Holding sisters continue to live in The Bungalow on Kettering Road; Carrie works as a tailoress and applies her skill to everything from evening gowns to corsets. Daisy, struggling with ill health looks after the young boarders who stay with them during term time at St Alban’s School, Geddington.

January has been a long month and much of it has been spent looking after their father so the two sisters were pale and weary as they anticipated February and the start of spring.  Daisy  mentions that three of the old elms on the New Road have been cut down. ‘it seems a pity but I suppose they really were not safe on a main thoroughfare’

How topical given the recent storms!

Sadly the winter was to remain harsh and cold and the reality of life with no central heating and limited water resources gave the sisters the pain of chilblains, the misery of damp beds and the dreariness of frostbitten days. There was some fun though and, at the end, a larder full of marmalade and a garden full of snowdrops and spring bulbs.


February   28 days

1st: The heavy rain I wished for came last night and, like many another wish fulfilled it was not exactly perfect. For oh! how the wind blew and the rain beat on the roof and windows. We were all restless.

Somehow we have felt tired and off colour all day. I finished my book and listened to the Boxing Match at the Albert Hall between Phil Scott and Sandwina. Was it depraved taste? I like to experience most things and judge for myself.

2nd: Candlemas Day.  There is nothing like work,especially housework when one feels rather grey and so we bustle about and clean up generally. Just before dinner, as I was expending my energy polishing floors , I was surprised by a tap at the back window and there gazing at me in a scared manner was a gander! Poor old boy he didn’t like leaving his familiar farm yard but I hear he has settled down now in his new home with his two wives.

3rd: St Blasius, the patron saint of throats. Colder but bright and beautiful. Sitting listening to the Wireless Service I heard Cowper’s beautiful hymn ‘Oh for a closer walk with God’ and at once I was in a little old summerhouse at the end of a worn, flagged path in an old world garden at Olney. In thought I had gone back to a sunny summer evening not so long ago when Little Sister and I sat there after hearing stories of the poet.

I think to myself how many famous men and women began life in a tiny village. The towns need the villages, and the villages the towns.

4th: I think this must be the sharpest frost of this very cold winter. Nearly everything in the pantry was frozen and we had ‘frozen mutton’ for dinner. Whilst watching for our daily Carrier, a most marvelous person by the way, I noticed more spikes of bulbs pushing up through the frost bound soil. I have just been complimented(?) Joan (a child boarder) has asked me if I was alive 600 years ago and did I know Queen Eleanor?..The children have no idea of age and I have been trying to explain to them the allotted three score years and 10. They were greatly interested in Great Grannie Croft’s photograph.

6th Wednesday: A lovely bright morning. I discovered I needed a few things from town badly. Well, it really was time to buy Seville oranges for the marmalade and off we sallied! It was delightful to step from our warm cosy ‘Bus right into the Picadilly Cafe and to sit sipping coffee and eating cream doughnuts. The shop next door was a galaxy of splendour. Golden oranges, gleaming lemons and grape-fruit, lettuce, celery and all the things my soul loves. Bowls of snowdrops, hyacinths, sheaves of tulips, baskets of mimosa and there in a gilded cage in the corner, a pair of brilliant green love birds.

11th Monday: The children come in all aglow and rosy from their exercise in the chill air. I wish I looked as fresh and happy when I am cold! Whips and tops are the great thing now. Marbles are quite a secondary consideration.

12th Pancake Day: We had our Pancakes last night! The very sharpest frost we have had for many winters. Everything frozen. It seems the best thing to take the children for a run after tea. They are surprised to find I can really spin a top. We run races to keep warm. The new moon was high in the sky. Ominous cracks are heard in the red water tank.

13th Ash Wednesday: Winter tightens its grip. We keep fires going and the stove is in requisition. What shall we do if it lasts? The brook is frozen and this morning the children were sliding on it as they came from church.

14th St. Valentine’s Day: The scene is more wintry than ever as the air is full of feathery snow. Our ruse of sending the kiddies valentines is quite a success. They are properly deceived and duly delighted. The icicles still hang from the eaves in spite of the sunshine. The eggs were frozen in the hen roost. Roast potatoes and hot drinks send us all warm to bed.

16th: We are constantly hewing and melting ice.

18th Monday again: Quite early the marmalade was on a-boilin’.  So severe and cold was it we were glad to light the stove to assist in warming up the icy air. All the water, hard and soft, is frozen and we are as careful as can be of every drop. As soon as the girlies come from school they are off to play in the Wood Yard. Eagerly they remove the ‘ice-berg’, otherwise the solid block that was once a zinc of soft water. They are resplendent in ‘camphor bags’ suspended by a cord round their neck.  A preventive of colds I presume! May the charm work.

I am obliged to sit with my feet in ‘mustard and water’ sipping hot grog.

This water business is as worrying as a Summer’s drought. Soft water a solid block and when we do manage to hew it and thaw it, it is dirty and acid. Hard water pumps frozen, or otherwise out of gear, and the village well such yards away. The dykes so far are full of frozen mud. So nasty is the water we cannot wash our faces clean. Today Little Sister gave me some of her lavender water and I cleansed my skin with that!!



And Now For Something Different – Part 2

Here is something else we don’t see very often, even though we live in a rural county, more 4-legged beasts, but this time SHEEP!

Watch out for the shepherd’s crook.

Many thanks, again, to Frank Harding, for being in the right place, at the right time, and having the right equipment!

Buccleuch Meadows Wildlife Pond

A seriously interested group of eight people met on a very wet evening, to discuss the next step in the revival and renewal of the wildlife pond in the Meadows.

Chaired by Nick Batchelor, Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, the discussion first covered the reprise of the Wildlife Trust’s recommendations and then an update on the site clearance by the GVFB during January – considering some of the weather that we had in January, the members of the GVFB who did this work should be highly commended for their efforts!

The meeting then went on to discuss the planting of the areas that needed this most and it was decided that the sloping bank should be addressed first.

The sloped bank and log piles

The plants that were to be used would all have to be native species, as suggested by the Wildlife Trust, some of which could be transplanted in small quantities from other areas of the Meadows. Other plants can be purchased at a reasonable cost, but it was made plain that these plants must be suitable for wildlife ponds – not all the plants used in garden ponds are suitable, or native *.

The Wildlife Trust recommended that this work should be carried out during February, weather permitting, as some wildlife would be making its way to wet areas by then.

The course of the old river. Fed by natural springs, so still used by nature if not by man.

However, the whole of the Meadows is a designated flood plain and although it’s been a particularly dry winter so far, there are still lots of damp and wet places in the Meadows, not to mention the River Ise and the old river bed near the path,

However, in order to give a home to those insects and mammals that would be attracted to the pond, a date was set for the first plantings to take place on 18 February. If the weather is not suitable, then an alternative date of 25 February was suggested.  Who will be doing the transplanting? Several members of the group offered their services, well, we did start this post with the words: “seriously interested people”.

Other useful suggestions that cropped up during the meeting included contacting:
– Brigstock Country Park as a source of information and possibly plants, if they are doing a partial pond clearance at any time,
– Boughton Estates, for the same reasons,
– Asking for donations of plants from village residents, subject to the proviso mentioned above *.
The Wildlife Trust recommend the following plants for wetlands and water margins: Water Mint, Gypsywort, Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Water Chickweed and Water Forget-me-not, as well as less common species such as Mare’s-tail, Bur-marigold, Golden and Marsh Dock. By no means a complete list, but the pond isn’t a very large one, by any measure.

Northamptonshire Biodiversity Records Centre

Finally, the subject of recording wildlife was touched on. When (and not if) wildlife is seen not only in the pond, but throughout any part of the village, then the following organisation is the one to go to, to record the sightings:


One last comment: any work in the Meadows, donated by the Duke of Buccleuch to the village, are subject to the approval and permission of the Parish Council. Nick will take a report of the meeting back to the February PC Meeting on Monday 13 February, where it is hoped, the suggestions and decisions will be ratified.


Geddington – A life in words and memories – January

As January draws to a close and we begin to look forward to spring and the cycle of life in this New Year, here is a glimpse of the start to the new year of 1930 through the eyes of Daisy Holding and her sister Carrie.

Daisy reflects on Januarys gone by, including the one of 1911 when her mother passed away; the one from 1914 which turned out to be such a significant year and the one in which she started her diaries and the annual celebration of her birthday.

Daisy had a special talent, through her writing, of preserving the images of people and places, some of which have gone forever, some have altered with the times and a few which are still part of the fabric of the year.


January 1930 – As a Birthday treat Auntie took us to the Talkies. Little Sister sat up sewing until long past midnight and it is a pouring wet morning. Not the best beginning.

Our good grocer, Mr Lewin, informed us we were in the best place and he certainly seemed loth to leave us! ‘A cheerful fire, flowers, a glass of sparkling wine and choice biscuits to say nothing of a cigarette and a bevy of beautiful ladies’ (??)

I wonder how it is our feet nearly always turn towards Weekley fields on Thursday afternoon in the hols! But so it is. ‘Adam’ our gardener showed us round his nurseries and we came home richer by a sheaf of golden and red chrysanthemums.

Little Sister and I trip into town to espy sale bargains…in the afternoon we all sally forth to buy more bargains. Auntie is bent on visiting the great Shoe Sale. And we did! What a boon it is to have small hands and feet especially when one’s income is small too! Little Sister and I purchase a pair of lizard shoes each, greatly reduced. We are not quite sure if they are a pair, but they’ll do us a good turn!! Last week it was gloves we were gloating over.

Daffodils and Rhubarb in the shops!

I go to call on Grace Hipwell during the evening. She is so ‘just so’ and dainty in her appearance and home I feel quite homely and hefty in my pullover, tweed and brogues! It is amusing when I remember that Grace, a widow and only a wife for a short spell in wartime, and I ,an old maid, were discussing marriage problems!!

This morning we were up betimes getting ready for Mr Sweep once more. Saturday and yesterday I almost abandoned the idea of having the Parlour walls decorated. This morning now the sun is shining I am all anxious to interview Mr Lewis and choose shades. So many repairs need doing, I tell him I shall be ruined. He laughs and says ‘you’ll get over it’.    Our ‘Tea Rose’ room – doesn’t it sound delectable?   Well! It really does look nice. I tell Mr Lewis I ‘may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb’ and I’ll have some window sills for my precious plants. Now I am informed my outside needs painting!

24th January 1930

A bird is singing sweetly as we prepare breakfast.   I   go to town to buy Seville oranges for marmalade – 1s 3d per dozen ( approx new 6p )         Auntie buys us golden daffies for Mother Dear. Little Sister and I take them this afternoon. The snowflakes (snowdrops) are blooming.

January has flown and we have been much blessed. We are certainly cleaner and dryer than we were at the commencement of the month. The roof has been repaired, the parlour decorated,’my outside’ painted and lots of odd jobs done. School has begun and we have got though a certain amount of needlework.  I can see I will soon be getting busy in the garden.

The first month of the year is generally trying but I always feel it is a new beginning. The ‘waking up’ is already evident. Even though we may yet have wintry weather, Spring is on its way with the hopefulness and freshness.

A ‘Glad New Year’ to all.




Wildlife Pond, Walter Buccleuch Meadows

Wildlife Pond Meeting

Our last article on the Wildlife Pond in the Meadows, published on 24 December, mentioned a meeting that would be held in January, to consider the next steps.

Parish Councillor Nick Batchelor has announced the date and venue of this meeting and sent out the invitations. Nick has said,

“The invitees are:

Representatives from the Parish Council
Residents who have shown interest from the outset and throughout
Representatives from the GVFB
We are hoping for at least one or two residents with experience of ponds and identifying water species, as transplanting some species from the immediate vicinity is the key and main item to be discussed.

Nick stressed that, “We will only be discussing the next steps and not events to date.”

The meeting is to be held on
Tuesday 31st January at 7.30 in the Village Hall.


  1. Welcome and scene set
  2. Confirmation and reprise of WT Recommendations
  3. Update on side-project – clearance works
  4. Next steps – the transplanting
    i.  Extraneous works in addition to transplanting
    ii. Identifying the species to plant
    iii. Identifying the ‘right time’ regards weather and thus, timescale.
    iv. Agreeing the work party
    v. Method statement and approvals
  5. Registering endangered species
  6. AOB

Nick finally commented, “Whilst the meeting is open to the public, participation will be limited to invitees with vested interest/expertise, and on the planned work party, so we can expedite matters.”


Now for something a little different!

A visitor to the website has sent us a puzzle. He has a silver medallion with the word Geddington on it, so naturally sent it to Geddington’s website to see if anyone can identify it.


Actually, it might not be Geddington as only the letters GEDD  are shown, but it’s worth asking the village .

There are two images – front and back (or to be numismatically correct – obverse and reverse) and as you can see, it is not much bigger than a 20p piece. The engraved letters read, from the top:

(it might have another letter in front, but it is worn at that point,

At the bottom, the engraving is: C.U. followed by an assay mark – the middle mark is a Lion, denoting silver, but the other two marks are illegible.

The obverse side shows a copper-coloured shield, surrounded by a belt and buckle, topped with a crown.

It’s been mounted on a key-ring, although it is not known if this was the original idea.

If you have any information, please get in touch with us via our email, which is:, and I’ll pass the information on to our enquirer.


The Woodland Pytchley Hunt

A Hunt is an iconic scene that we see less often these days, but in January the ford was the place to be if you wished to see this once typical countryside scene.

Our thanks to Frank Harding
for all the images and the video.


The Precept

The Facts
The Whole Facts
And Nothing But The Facts

Actually, the ‘Whole Facts’ might be a bit difficult, unless we allow this Post to fill the website with gigabytes of information, so let’s just say, the ‘Basic Facts’.

For many years, Kettering Borough Council gave the Parish a sum of money in the form of a grant. This was for the Parish Council to spend on the general running of the three Parishes – Geddington, Newton and Little Oakley. In 2007, KBC announced that they would stop giving the grant, at that time £10,900, but to help Parishes come to terms with this, the grant amount be reduced over a number of years. The difference would have to be made up by the villages’ rates payers and it would appear on the annual Northamptonshire County Council Tax Demand, that we all receive in March. This, then, is the precept. The amount that each of us rate payers pay, depends on which Rate Band we are in.

As the grant was reduced, so the Parish Council has gradually increased the precept from the original £3000 to £9000 in 2015.

At the January 2017 Parish Council meeting, a proposal to increase the precept from £9000 to £20,000 was made and passed.

This raises two basic questions:
1. Why now?
2. Why this amount?

The simple answer to question one, is ‘Capping’. All tiers of government have a cap on their spending, and the amount they can ask their rate payers. All tiers except Parish Councils: they have no cap.

A Private Members’ Bill to introduce Parish Council capping at 2% was raised in Parliament in 2013, but it failed to get through. However, it is seen by many that it will passed in the near future.

What happens when a cap is in place? If there is not enough money in the Parish Council’s bank accounts, the Parish Council would have to seek funds to pay for any projects that the village would like them to undertake. There are a number of ways to deal with this, amongst them:

  • Grants aids, from businesses etc
  • Borrow the money
  • Ask the villages if they can raise the precept (this would be done via a referendum)
  • Reduce the number of projects
  • Proceed with smaller projects

This brings us to question 2: why this amount?
The Parish Council have used the information passed on to them from the Parish Plan committee, in which there were three projects proposed for the immediate/long term future (to see these read the Minutes on the Parish Council page.) Although there are no costings for these projects in the Minutes, the precept increase would help to increase the Council’s reserves, so that future projects can be successfully completed.

In a Freedom of Information Request, concerning the proposed precept increase, the Parish Council said:

“The current thinking (of the Parish Council) is that we increase the precept from £9000 to £20,000. This will give the Council the funds over time to complete the projects without putting an unnecessary burden on residents to complete the work in one year.”

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