Easterly winds blew more frequently than usual during February, so the mean average temperature for the month was below the long-term average. We often woke up to find a covering of snow, but fortunately the amounts were much smaller than in January. This was not the case in Scotland however, where lying snow was reported as much as a metre deep in places. The garden bird tables and feeders were often overloaded with small and larger birds seeking food and water in the sub zero temperatures.

Some of the village organisations who book external speakers do not plan to meet during the first two months of the year while others continue throughout the year. The WI entertained Amanda Wood who recounted her seven and a half days and night continuous Trans Siberian train journey across Russia on the Red Train.

The Friendship Club, whose members are over 55 years, met twice during the month. Once to open a ‘Little Box’ supplied by Oxfordshire’s Museum Service at Woodstock which contained related items of memorabilia and these always bring to mind memories and provide a basis for lots of discussion. Also, all those whose birthdays fall during February and March celebrated with a Big Birthday Party.

The Sibfords like to welcome new residents to acquaint them with all the services, schools, clubs and societies that are active in the villages. There is a booklet called ‘Welcome to Sibford’ and this was updated and rewritten during the month so that the information is as accurate as possible and can be delivered on a personal visit by one of our two village ‘welcomers’.

Valentine’s Day was celebrated as usual on 14th February followed on 17th by Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of the 40 days of Lent in preparation for Easter. Lent courses and a series of Austerity Lunches were set up throughout the Wykeham Benefice, embracing not only the Sibfords but the villages of Swalcliffe, Broughton, Tadmarton, Epwell and Shutford as well. Sibford School children have been busy fund raising for their chosen charities by having a non-uniform day, a hunger lunch and a cake sale.

Committee meetings for many of the village organisations took place during the month including the Fielding Day Centre, Sibfords’ Society, Horticultural Society, 1st the Sibfords Scout Group, WI and the Domesday Survey steering group. Exciting progress had been made with the new village website design and it is hoped to be able to ‘go live’ next month.

All-in-all a quiet month in the villages – the cold weather had ensured the duration of the drifts of snowdrops.  Colourful crocus, hazel catkins and other bulbs are emerging bearing the first signs of a most welcome spring following a severely cold winter.