Castle Coop News

Stop Press! Read about all sorts of sleepy village news from Barbecues and Clear-up Parties to a Police Chase down The Street!

Cinema Society Outing: Mr Turner

Posted by on Nov 13, 2014 in Castle Coop News | 2 comments

Cinema Society Outing: Mr Turner




Cinema Society Outing: Mr Turner

(from our Film and TV correspondent, The Graf von Blommenhön)




There was an excellent turn-out from the Castle Coop Cinema Society members for November’s cinema outing; three cars were needed to transport us all to Basingstoke to see Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, last Sunday afternoon.

Mr Turner











Image credit:

Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.( – written by Entertainment One.)

In this YouTube video posted below,  Mike Lean describes his take on Turner and the excitement he’s derived as a director from making the film.

YouTube video posted by The Tate.


Colonel Pyncheon was especially keen to see how the film depicts Turner painting ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ which the artist bequeathed to the nation in 1851. Having helped the picture be recognised as the UK’s favourite painting by voting in the poll organised by BBC Radio 4  in 2005, Col. P periodically goes up to London to the National Gallery where it is hanging.

Most of our group greatly enjoyed the film and would recommend it to others but it was noticed that unfortunately both Lady Egality and Lady Liberty fell fast asleep fairly early on.

Cinema outing

Next Castle Coop Film Society Outing:

Suggestions are welcome for our next cinema outing. Possible choices are:

N.B. The Imitation Game, Testament of Youth and Suite Française are earmarked as films the Castle Coop Cinema Society might wish to go and see when they are released.

Yours faithfully,


Signature The Graf grey




Film and TV Correspondent: Although the Graf always summers in Scandinavia, he is back in Castle Coop and as Chairman of our Cinema Society would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone who wishes to become a virtual member.






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Bonfire Night!

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Castle Coop News | 2 comments

Bonfire Night!

Bonfire Night!


Castle Coop villagers turned out in force on Saturday night to watch poor Guy Fawkes get burnt-up once again. He had been placed on top of a simply enormous bonfire right in the middle of the village field by the Graf who had to lean out of a cherry picker to get high enough to do it.  It was pretty eerie to see the glow of the bonfire’s flames reflected in the windows of the houses which line Castle Coop’s Street.

Bonfire for Fireworks Night!



Gathering round the bonfire, we all toasted our cheeks while we ate hot dogs and burgers.

A fantastic display:

Colonel Pyncheon and Sir Burford Brown then  lit up the sky with a simply amazing firework display; how incredible it is to think that fireworks were invented so long ago in 7th century China!

Castle Coop fireworks


Yours feeling sorry for poor Guy Fawkes,

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The Castle Coop Smoke-Off Coup!

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Castle Coop News | 2 comments

The Castle Coop Smoke-Off Coup!


The Castle Coop Smoke-Off Coup!






Précis of Events leading up to the Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off:

  •  Sir Plym organises an Autumn Clear-Up to take place in Castle Coop.
  • Apart from Lord and Lady Nudge (absent on a motor -tour in Bavaria), all the villagers promise to help.

              N.B. Thanks to Sir Plym’s magnificent organisation co-ordinating rakes, hedge-cutters and  wheelbarrows, Castle Coop now looks like a model village.

  • Sir Burford Brown & Sir Plym hold forth on the merits of the gas barbecue in the Ox and Moose.
  • The Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall in the Ox and Moose hold forth on the merits of the charcoal barbecue in the Ox and Moose.
  • Sir Burford Brown & Sir Plym throw down the gauntlet to the Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall  who pick it up immediately.
  • Lady Egality buys a magnificent Smoke-off Trophy to be presented by Trev the Rev to the winning team.
  •  The Blue team (Sir Burford Brown and Sir Plym) & the Red team (the Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall) both conduct a fiercely fought campaign publicising the merits of their chosen fuels.





Please read the following questions and tick a) b) or c) to complete this quiz:


The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke -Off: What Happens Next?

a) In carefully monitored conditions, Sir Burford Brown and Sir Plym cooking on gas in the Blue Corner are voted to have barbecued the most delicious sausages and burgers.

Trev the Rev presesents them with the Castle Coop Smoke -Off Trophy.

Smoke Off trophy blue


b) In carefully monitored conditions, the Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall cooking on charcoal in the Red Corner are voted to have barbecued the most delicious sausages and burgers.

Trev the Rev presesents them with the Castle Coop Smoke -Off Trophy.

Smoke Off trophy RED

c) Neither of the above.


To all those who are on the verge of ticking either a) or b), here is a clue as to the correct answer:

Brown-owl-cropped-for-sidebar 1



Brown Owl orchestrated a Barbecue Smoke-Off Coup!

Yes she really did … it was a totally brilliant surprise coup!


Brown Owl’s Wild Card entry – the Brownies toasting marshmallows  for us all on a bonfire – made toast of both the Blue team and the Red team.

Declaring the Brownies victorious, Trev the Rev presented them each with a Camp Fire Badge and Brown Owl who was blushing with pride, held the Castle Coop BBQ Smoke-Off Trophy aloft.  As our dear vicar pronounced, there are times at a barbecue when nothing ” tastes quite so good as a well toasted marshmallow!”

Mmm, yum – ambrosia!

toasting marshmallows2


Yours wondering if any other village has a Brown Owl quite like ours…

LLH signature


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The Castle Coop Campaign Trail!

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Castle Coop News | 4 comments

The Castle Coop Campaign Trail!

The Castle Coop Campaign Trail:



There has been frantic last-minute campaigning for tomorrow’s Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!



In the Blue Corner:




Sir Burford Brown & Sir Plym on their soapbox outside the Village Hall.


In the Red Corner:


Red Corner



The Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall setting up their sandwich board outside The Ox and Moose.


It’s extremely exciting!

Yours hoping like mad that rain doesn’t stop play tomorrow,

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The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Castle Coop News | 4 comments

The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!


The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off!

On Saturday, Castle Coop will be a hive of activity.  All the villagers were asked weeks ago by Sir Plym to save the date for the Autumn Clear- Up and Barbecue


Lord and Lady Eftie Nudge were to have waved the flag to start the Clear-Up officially at 10.30am but unfortunately they have taken the Bentley on a vintage car rally in Bavaria and so won’t be able to attend.


Ld & Lady Nudge in Bavaria

Everyone else has promised to bring their rakes, strimmers and wheelbarrows; by Saturday lunchtime all the old summer growth which is making the village look so messy, will be cut back and tidied and the churchyard, the verges and the hedgerows should be in immaculate order ready for the winter… Hurrah!

2014-10-23 10.28.11


No-one is really thinking about the Clear-Up however because immediately after it, inspired by the Great British Bake-Off , we’re going to hold our own exciting cooking contest: The Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off ! 

Although we won’t have  Mary Berry to preside over it or the G.B.B.O’s sumptuous marquee, we will have contestants and a prize!

The Blue and the Red Corners:

Sir Burford Brown & Sir Plym will be barbecuing in the Blue (Gas) corner and the Chairman of the Village Hall & the Agent will be barbecuing in the Red (Charcoal) corner.

Ever since an Ox and Moose Friday night session back in September when Sir Burford Brown (who only moved into Castle Coop during the summer) dared to lecture the Agent and the Chairman of the Village Hall about the superior qualities of a quick, clean, gas barbecue over its ‘messy & slow’ – what??? charcoal counterpart,  there have been two rival camps in Castle Coop. Both the pro-gas and the pro-charcoal factions have been tireless in their campaigns to canvass support for their cause.

The C.C.B.S.O. Trophy:

Everyone involved in the Autumn Clear-Up will be asked to test out sausages and burgers cooked by both the Reds & the Blues in carefully monitored conditions.  A democratic vote will decide which barbecue method we all think produces the most delicious results and Trev the Rev will then present the victors with  a magnificent Castle Coop Barbecue Smoke-Off Trophy.

N.B. Strong views as to gas v. charcoal barbecues expressed by the readership of TAH will be read out by Trev the Rev on Saturday.


 The magnificent trophy which Lady Egality has just bought online:

Smoke Off trophy













Yours getting ready for an epic smoke- off,

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One Lovely Blog Award

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Castle Coop News | 4 comments

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award!






What a thrill!
Dear, kind, lovely Emma Gray  has passed on  a One Lovely Blog Award to all of us here at The Awesome Hen Editorial Office!
onelovelyblogaward 2
Emma is a Tory staffer at Westminster and a novelist and we met online via Twitter (@emsie1979) when she tweeted a link to her blog, .
She’d written a fabulous post about a friend who was about to Pedal2Paris too in aid of the Royal British Legion!
Thank you Emma so much for such a kind thought.
 LLH Over the Moon PLAIN
One requirement of the One Lovely Blog Award is to share 7 things about us all.
One Lovely Blog Award Rules

 Item 1

Almost everybody at The Awesome Hen plays Botticelli except for the Agent who refuses to do so.  I am  fanatical about it and will play at the drop of a hat. It is a game of skill with lots of tension thrown in  -unless you play with Lady Sebright or Brown Owl.
For those of you who don’t play Botticelli, I warmly urge you to study the rules immediately and become a new convert.

 My sister (another aficionada) & I discovered by chance that if you choose Dr. Crippen as your famous Botticelli person, you invariably win the game. I don’t know why this is so but it’s a pretty sure thing. N.B. if you choose Florence Nightingale, Lady Gaga or Nelson Mandela, you’ll lose. Every time.
 Florence Nightingale








The best place for playing Botticelli is anywhere one’s opponents are completely captive. A carefully chosen location ensures  no-one can just drift away claiming that there’s a spot of vacuum cleaning that just has to be done. A stationary chair-lift stuck on its way up to the top of the ski slope fits the bill perfectly.

Chair-lift Botticelli

The absolute instant my opponent tells me the letter their famous person’s name begins with, every single famous person I’ve ever heard of flies out of my head. Even on ‘C’ names, when Churchill or Eric Clapton ought to be fairly obvious. IMO this gives the game the required element of exciting panic which is necessary for the game’s  A* ranking as I have to bluff like mad until I can think of someone to ask about.

Item 2.

Lady Sebright was a ballet dancer in her youth. Whenever she chooses a famous person, Lady Egality and I have to put ourselves through hoops trying not to guess the answer too soon as we pretty well know in advance  it will be either Margot Fonteyn, Nureyev, Anna Pavlova or Darcy Bussell.


Item 3.

The Chairman of the Village Hall  prefers WW1 British generals to ballet dancers. If you should ever find yourself playing Botticelli with him, you may be sure he’s thinking of General Kitchener if chooses a ‘K’. I once told him my famous person began with an ‘H’ and he was absolutely incredulous when he found out that I was thinking of Thomas Hardy and not Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. If the C. of the V.H. feels on a roll, there a good chance he may throw a French or American general into the mix just to keep us on our toes.

Item 4.

Right now, Colonel Pyncheon is anxiously waiting for the first frost so that he can nip out and pick a bucketful of frosted sloes with which to begin making this autumn’s ‘Sloe Glow’. Hurrah! We all depend on him like mad to do this for…it is a truth universally acknowledged in Castle Coop that if one has  a hip flask full of sloe glow to hand when playing Botticelli, it improves the chances of dreaming up devious indirect questions enormously.

hip flask 1

Item 5.

Wikipedia states in black and white (& bits of red) that ” The game takes its name from the famous person having to be at least as famous as Sandro Botticelli, who is also the answer to the archetypal question, “Did you paint a picture of Venus rising?”, referring to his painting The Birth of Venus.”

In Brown Owl’s opinion, this is ‘ just Wikipedia being silly Gloria dear, and  it’s extremely sheepish of you to want to fall in with this vulgar modern obsession with celebrity status’.  As she always insists we all choose someone who lives in Castle Coop, the selection field is narrowed somewhat and Botticelli games played with Brown Owl are very short indeed.

Item 6.

The Agent refuses point-blank to play Botticelli with me which is a source of sorrow. Our views about Botticelli are not compatible.


Item 7.

If any reader would care to play online Botticelli with me, I should be thrilled! I’ve thought of someone already whose name begins with M or perhaps you’d like to start? Please let me know immediately if you’d like to play!


The most important & best requirement of  the award is to highlight those whose Blogs I admire and enjoy.

I should like to pass on the One Lovely Blog Award

onelovelyblogaward 2

to each of these fab Bloggers below.  All  have given me heaps of pleasure reading their blogs as well as much valued support to all of us in Castle Coop. I urge you to click over to the websites of these lovely bloggers if you haven’t discovered them for yourselves already!


British Detectives (@BritDectives) British Detectives

Jo Sandelson (@josandelson) Heirraising

KateVowles (@KateVowles) The Globetrotting Guitarist

Lisa Jarmin (@LisaJarmin) How to be a Domestic Disgrace

Mrs Nige (@Mrsnige) Thinking of You and Me:




 Yours  longing for someone to offer to play #Botticelli  (@ladylibertyhen)  – no selections to be based on Castle Coop villagers, WW1 generals or ballet dancers please,

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