Dear Reader

The warmest March day on record followed by flurries of snow on Easter Monday; the weather seems to reflect how our lives have been turned upside down over the past year. In 2020, the May/June issue had to be abandoned completely as we tried to understand what had hit us and how we were to proceed and adapt to the changes of circumstance. Thankfully, one year later and with a successful vaccine rollout well underway, we can begin to map the road out of lockdown and into a summer of freedom.

It is my sincere hope that the valuable lessons learnt from this unusual time in our lives will remain with us forever; that we remember to treasure what really matters: nature, birdsong, the beauty of a flower, the sound of laughter, family, friendship and the feeling of a hug from a loved one - that we never take those for granted but show our gratitude where it is due.

As this issue of Village Connect is distributed, the next step of the easing of restrictions will allow our small, independent shops to open again, and pubs and restaurants will be able to serve us outdoors. They have worked relentlessly with renovations in anticipation of this, and we must now show them our full support as best we can. Our stunning country houses will open for the season initially with pre-booking only: Boughton House (page 20) has double May celebrations in store; Deene Park (page 26) has regular weekly openings; Kelmarsh Hall (page 48) has introduced a fairy walk and wilderness woodland; Delapré Abbey (page 50) has added fine dining when permitted; and blossoms are bobbing on branches at Lyveden (page 58).

The pandemic has forced many to think outside the box, reassess values and act on inner passions. Two results of this are both mobile and environmentally friendly: Ralph the Refill Van (page 24) supplies zero-waste products to your doorstep, and Back to Basics (44) is bringing their shop on wheels to a village near you so you only buy what you need to avoid food waste. Another impact of the pandemic has been the revitalisation of community spirit, of caring for each other and our surroundings, and the major role nature has to play in our wellbeing. Two inspirational Oundle initiatives have sprung from this: Save Fletton Field (pages 62-63) and Blooming Oundle (pages 70-71) planting kindness and growing community.

So let’s plant seeds of kindness this summer and grow our community together.


Vivi Sant Cole

Village Connect

Hillcrest House

Church Hill



NN14 1AH

Tel: 01536 744700