100 Things I’ve Loved About Charlton

  1. Soaring red kites circling the house. Screeching. “Hello beautiful”.
  2. Counting parachutists as they emerge from the clouds.
  3. Confidently recognizing which seedlings in the garden are weeds.
  4. Striking up conversation with every dog walker. And stroking every dog.
  5. Watching first hand the farming circle of life: from newborns to on our plate.
  6. Feeling like you’re in Bridgerton as you walk past the old Cotswold stone houses.
  7. Playing ‘Guess the crop’ at the first sign of shoots emerging in the local fields.
  8. Silence.
  9. Afternoons in the Clumps- our own hobbit shire.
  10. Walking with the dogs around the playing field. Yes walking. 🙂
  11. Red and pink and white Valerian everywhere- the prolific and thankfully beautiful Charlton weed.
  12. The field of curly-horned Jacob sheep. Kepler’s favourites.
  13. Helping neighbours and the help from neighbours.
  14. Emerging through the arch into the overgrown church yard.
  15. Saying hello to everyone, and everyone saying hello.
  16. The friendly, very slow, old guy who delivers the village newsletter. Still helping, even when walking is difficult.
  17. Delicious chocolate brownies from the Rose & Crown. Our pudding every time.
  18. The lone trees standing tall in the open landscape. Silhouettes.
  19. The mighty Longhorn cows with their long horns!
  20. Feeling a part of the community. A population of a mere 300.
  21. Holding my breath as I watch the loop-the-loop plane practice its stunts. Especially when it turns off its engine and drops.
  22. Spotting the first lambs and calves and hatchlings each Spring.
  23. Picnics in our very own secret fort- Rainsborough Camp.
  24. Nosing into the living rooms of the houses, whose windows lead straight on to the pavement.
  25. Reading ‘Nature Notes’ in the village ‘Link’, then searching for whatever flower is mentioned.
  26. Being awoken by the very loud dawn chorus.
  27. Colourful sunsets. Pink skies. Red skies. Yellow skies. Orange skies. Purple skies.
  28. Looking out the window as snakes of reception children post invites to the school teas.
  29. Watching the seasons change on our daily dog walks. Living so close to nature.
  30. Impromptu after-work tonics in the sunny beer garden.
  31. Spotting grazing deer from our bedroom window. A reward for waking early.
  32. Countryside traffic jams. Tractors or sheep.
  33. The excitement of Grand Prix weekend, when buses, buses, buses roll through the village.
  34. Living somewhere long enough to know the calendar of village events.
  35. The picturesque scene of the stables tower. Only viewable from the southern fields.
  36. Feeling regal whilst walking through the avenue of trees.
  37. The village grapevine. Chatting over the fence. In the road. Mid-walk.
  38. The tiny postbox that isn’t wide enough to post anything in, unless you bend it!
  39. Badger holes. And the occasional fleeting glance of their occupants.
  40. Chimney sweeps!
  41. Munching on handfuls of the sweetest plums ever, scrumped from the village hall grounds.
  42. Smiler. Always smiling and waving and walking.
  43. Playing old fashioned games at the very traditional and wholesome village fete.
  44. Trading homegrown vegetables with friends.
  45. The alarm and panic whenever there are Nottingham Knockers in the village.
  46. Tracking and chasing the chip van on its website, as it circles the village on a Friday night.
  47. Repeats of the same topics on the village Facebook group ‘Charlton Chat’- dog poo, school drop off parking, and we need a village cafe!
  48. Spotting a fox or hare darting across the field, and being thankful Kepler hasn’t seen it.
  49. Buying tea and delicious homemade cakes at every village event. But bring your own decaf tea bags.
  50. Feeling like a real local as you move the secret fence panel that allows you to sneak in to the Poppy field.
  51. Slowly learning the names of the wild flowers. Heal all. Speedwell.Cowslips. Ladies bed straw. Dog rose. Cranesbill.
  52. Horses trotting through the streets. Kepler mesmerized. Big poos on the road.
  53. Boxes of old books in the bus stop book swap.
  54. Waving at farmers in their tractors. And combine harvesters. And quad bikes. And bale stackers.
  55. Feeling like a naughty school child as we walk straight past the ‘No Entry’ signs in the fields.
  56. Smiling at the optimism of the ice cream van who still turns up on wet Sundays.
  57. The village Christmas tree. Actually the whole village at Christmas. Beautiful fairy lights.
  58. Polite children who always ask before they stroke dogs.
  59. The beautiful cottage garden at Fox House.
  60. Closing the windows to block out the wails from the cows on the day they’re separated from their calves.
  61. The excitement of the village getting cut off whenever it snows.
  62. The guy who is always mending his cycle. Never riding it, always mending it.
  63. The haunted house. Only spotted once. Very spooky.
  64. Waiting for Cynthia to put her bins out first, so we know which one it is this week.
  65. Remembrance day services at the very bumpy and grassy cemetery. The same faces.
  66. The viewing spot where you are close enough to see the faces of pilots, as they take off mere metres above your head.
  67. Feeling a little sad for the lone swan in the pond. Its partner recently gone.
  68. Green bows. On trees and lamp posts and garden gates. To remember Harry.
  69. The large field margins. Wide enough for my scooter to scoot around. Accessible heaven.
  70. Sunbathing in the Hidden Pasture.
  71. Never being able to spot the bramble covered trig point, until you’re upon it.
  72. Collecting blackberries and elderflowers and sloes in *new* dog poo bags.
  73. Watching dry stone wallers heave large rocks around. There’s always one being repaired in the village!
  74. Whenever I pass it, thinking about when the School House was on the news. Something to do with damp.
  75. The Wild Woods. Winding paths, steep drops, secret dens.
  76. Looking backwards towards the grain store and farmland from Astro Phill Hill.
  77. Stars. Wide open skies. Stars.
  78. Children sledging in the sledging field.
  79. Selling poppies, door to door, each November. Enamel pin badges were always the best-seller.
  80. Being followed by bats. Swooping around your head.
  81. Racing to close your windows when the muck spreading starts.
  82. The moans and demands for ‘someone to do something’ on Charlton Chat!
  83. Wild rabbits scurrying down holes. Lottie’s nose a-twitching.
  84. Pre-school walks: tiny people in hi-viz jackets.
  85. Sitting in village hall meetings and feeling like I’m part of a team again. Contributing again.
  86. Always forgetting that we live atop a hill, until walking a field across and seeing the views for miles.
  87. Knowing a Lord and a Lady!
  88. Laughing along to the village pantomime. It’s surprisingly hilarious!
  89. Berating myself for, once again, forgetting about school kicking out time, as I try to maneuver my scooter and dog through the crowds.
  90. Trying to hold my breath whilst scooting at full pelt, whenever we’re near fields of bright yellow rapeseed!
  91. After ten years, still getting confused about the correct pronunciation of the neighbouring villages. Anyho? Croughton?
  92. Thatched roofs. And occasionally getting to admire the skill of the thatcher at work.
  93. Escaped sheep. Escaped cows. Escaped dogs. And folks coming out to help.
  94. The high of successfully skidding and sliding my scooter through the mud. Rally driver Marshall.
  95. Being pushed out of the mud, when my rallying is a little too ambitious. It happens every Winter.
  96. The confusion of living on a county border. An Oxfordshire postcode, governed by a Northamptonshire council.
  97. The Church Lane circuit. For many years one of only two dog routes I could join in.
  98. Finding field mice in the garage. And house. And garden. And once, a little shrew in the bathroom!
  99. The secret World War gun posts. Dirty and smelly. But fun to explore.
  100. Villagers that became friends.

I’ll miss you Charlton. Thank you for the last ten years. 🙂

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