Sibford Scene Archive

Sibford Scene 022 February 1979

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Mrs Doolan's Close Encounter

(As related to Joey Woodall)

Mrs Doolan got out of bed on January 3rd at 6.15 a.m.

She looked out of the window to see if it was snowing and, to her amazement, hovering in the sky just over the trees beyond Cotswold Close, was “This big orange thing, as big as the moon”. She ran downstairs and it moved very slowly across the sky, up the valley on a level with the treetops. She opened the window a couple of inches to be sure she wasn’t seeing things and it speeded up and moved silently away in the direction of Wigginton.

Another lady who wishes to remain anonymous, not wanting to be thought “a loon”, got up to feed her baby at 6.15 a.m. on Saturday 6th January and saw in a similar position a motionless but extremely bright “thing”. On January 9th, again at 6.15, she saw the same very white, bright object, too big to be a star, and surrounded by haze. She called her husband who agreed it was something very odd.

All these sightings have been in Sibford Ferris, so turn your eyes skyward at 6.15 a.m. and let us know what you see.

Where are the snows of yesteryear?

The winter of 1946-47 brought the worst snow storms that many local people could remember.

It started about mid-day with sleet and a NE wind and continued for two days without a break.

The villages were completely cut off from all areas. The Brailes bus, taking Alcan workers home, was buried on the Turnpike (Shipston – Banbury road) but no-one was left in to suffer.

The telephone wires could not be seen beneath the snow. Local men walked over the hedges and fields to Epwell for their bread to the usual baker, Mr Griffin.

Sheep suffered mostly, not through lack of food but by the effect of the snow which caused their fleeces to ice up.

From door to door throughout the spell went the milk lady with her milk buckets, truck and pony and trap.

The snow was still lying under the hedges in April.

(Anon – unless you remember who the milk lady was.)

 

So you think that weatherwise, if not in many other directions, New Year 1979 is being tough. But, to date, this spell of Arctic is but a shower compared with 1963.

Starting on Boxing Day 1962, the Easterly blast, right from the Russian Steppes, carried a seemingly endless snow blanket until early March. Its only virtue was in the fact that soon all our windward draught holes were staunched. Drifts of seven feet were commonplace in Ferris main street, and, but for the lucky fact that Stewarts’ diggers made their daily foray to distant points, we would certainly have been marooned. Grange Lane was impassable to cars for some twelve weeks … and herein lies the only commendation for the “prairieing” (to the country lover) of farm land, in that wherever snow lay many feet deep to the leeward of hedges, then a few feet further over was a parallel strip of bare ground. I.e. hedges caused drifts.

I drove along Grange Lane on the first possible day and had an interesting experience. Adjacent to Neil Marten’s house, a tiny glint on the snow top near the hedge caused me to investigate. It proved to be the top of a car Wing mirror. Nuf Sed!

During the period only sporadic sightings of the resident birds or starving hares, pheasant or rabbits were made. The national population of common wren was nearly obliterated; but remarkably, some ornithologists think it may now be our most common resident .

Frank Rollett

It will take a while, but we’re gradually building up this archive of complete copies of all editions of the Sibford Scene since its inception in 1977.

Above, we’ve copied out one or two items that may be of historical interest. To see the whole edition, click on the front-page image to download it as a pdf.