I went to a nudist camp last weekend. OK, that’s not the entire truth, but it used to be a colony for those who preferred to socialise unclothed. Owned by the Hemingway family, it was in north Devon and often frequented by the rich and famous. For us it served as a very pleasant escape for a birthday celebration. I guess June is when we all start enjoying the outdoors (fully clothed) and looking forward to holidays we’ve been planning since we returned last year. As you’ll see
this month, there’s plenty of festival inspiration in this edition and reading through the many, many Ramblings you have sent in, June is certainly the month where events begin to be planned in for the great outdoors. Bring on summer, I say!
There’s another Freecycle Live event happening on Saturday, 6th June, 10.30am to 2.30pm, as well as the launch of Streetbank. It’s at the Mix, Wantage, and all you need to do is bring usable items you no longer need and take anything you could do with. You can’t bring electrical items. You will also be able to find out more about Streetbank’s share network in the area and sign up to post your own offers and requests. See www.thewantagemix.wordpress.com for full details.
Also at The Mix, on Saturday, 13th June, 2pm to 5pm, there will be a Vintage Fascinator Workshop, in association with Madame B’s. The following Saturday, from 9.30am, there will be a plant sale with a selection of veg and summer bedding plants from the Wantage Market Garden Project. There aren’t many details on this one, ‘Tetra pack crafts’, on the 27th from 9.30pm. See www.thewantagemix.wordpress.com for full details.
Steventon Choral Society presents Songs for a Summer Evening. These are two concerts on Thursday, 4th June and Saturday, 6th June, to be held in Steventon Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. The pre-concert bar is open from 7pm. Tickets costing £8 include interval refreshments (accompanied children free) and can be obtained from 01235 848292 / 01235 834015 or Steventon Post Office.
Faringdon Grand Peace Fete is being held this year on Saturday, 4th July, 2pm to 5pm at Clock House, Coleshill. Visitors can expect games, stalls, crafts, circle dancing, a raffle with great prizes, books, Tombola, White Elephant, circus workshop teas and curries, brilliant music – and a lot more. Visit www.faringdonpeacegroup.org.uk or call 01367 241707 or 01367 710308 for more details.
This is a double first. The East Pointers are at St Nicholas Church, Baulking on Friday, 12th June. The group are out of the eastern seaboard of Canada and are purveyors of adrenalin-fuelled celtic roots tunes. This will be their first tour of the UK. It will also be the first concert in the recently revamped church at Baulking. There’s going to be a real ale bar too. Tickets are £13 from 01367 820282. Support will come from local trio Eclipse. All proceeds will be donated to the church.
Sculptor Beatrice Hoffman www.beatricehoffman.co.uk and photographer Julian Parfitt www.julianparfitt.viewbook.com are opening for the first time their house, studio and garden for Oxfordshire Arts Weeks (site 339 - 341) in Garford (OX13 5PF). Also on display will be sculptures by Beatrice’s students, created by children and adults alike over the last year – see www.beatricehoffman.co.uk/eduation of ‘Sculpture Workshops UK’ (Facebook) for details.
Stanford Drama Group will be performing Speakeasy by Jane Quill at Stanford in the Vale Village Hall from Thursday, 2nd July, to Saturday, 4th July. The story centres on Keith, who has a problem, but then so do Bettina, Rachel, Mary and Michael. They all attend a self help group run by Gary in the local community health care centre on Canvey Island. Come and observe how the group gets on discussing the issues in this engaging comedy, which contains strong language and adult humour. Tickets are available from Stanford Post Office costing £6 on Thursday, £8 on Friday and £12 on Saturday (includes food). Doors open 7pm for pre-performance drinks. For further details, call Evone or Barry on 01367 710400.
Entries are now open for athletes wishing to take part in the annual Wantage Triathlon, which takes place on Sunday, 14th June. Now in its 16th year, the event is hugely popular attracting about 180 athletes from across the UK. The triathlon consists of an 800m indoor swim, 35km bicycle ride and 12km run which will see its competitors cross diverse terrain across three separate counties. The toughest part of the contest is considered by many to be the run up Smith Hill and the fastest competitors to scale the obstacle will win special ‘King and Queen of the Hill’ awards. All competitors will receive a medal and T-shirt at the finish line, while medals will also be awarded for the top three in each category. On the day Wantage Leisure Centre will be open from 7am for competitors to register and collect their race packs. To enter, visit www.better.org.uk/wantage or call the team on 01235 766201.
The next meeting of East & West Hendred WI is on 18th June at Snell’s Hall at 7.30pm. Expert brass rubber Dave Maycock will give a talk and encourage people to try their hand at brass rubbing. Visitors are welcome too. For more information contact Anne Pagett on 01235 797405.
The second instalment of the fun-filled Great British Tennis Weekend returns in June as thousands of families hit the tennis courts for free. On the 13th and 14th of June, venues up and down the country will open their doors as the nation goes tennis-crazy in the lead-up to a fantastic summer of tennis. Held over a series of three weekends, the campaign aims to inspire people to get on court and take part in a variety of activities. Players will be able to experience Cardio Tennis, Mini Tennis, coaching and much more – all for free. Last year, more than 1,000 venues hosted an event with over 50,000 people playing tennis for free in all corners of Great Britain. The next weekend after this one in June, is Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August. To find our further information on where your local event is visit www.lta.org.uk/gbtw
Folk for Ms Ceilidh with the Diatonics and caller Emma Wooders in Old Mill Hall, Grove on 5th June. The doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are £9 adults, £4.50 under-16s for a stomping barn dance including half time display from Cornucopia British and Appalachian Clog Dancers. No experience is necessary, and proceeds go to helping MS sufferers. Call 07855 548512 for more details or visit www.whitehorseceilidhs.org.uk
Now I have a correction to make, and an apology to Nigel Wilkinson, treasurer of Faringdon Folly. In the May issue in the Ramblings I said that entry to the folly is free, but it isn’t. So you need to know that the charges are £2 for adults, 50p for children between 11 and 16 and under 11s are free.
The Friends of the Ridgeway Local Group is having a talk by Bill King on 18th June on ‘Dad’s Underground Army - the Auxiliary Units at Coleshill’ at 7.30pm in the Old Town Hall, Faringdon. There will be refreshments and a raffle. Visitors can go along for £3.
Ever thought of taking up badminton? Now’s your chance as you can have two free evenings of play at Fairford Badminton Club. All you need to do is go along at 8pm any Monday during July and August and have a go.
The Wantage Silver Band is busy over the next couple of months. Let’s hope for good weather too, as these are in the open air at Bandhall Grounds, Tugwell Field. First, on Sunday, 7th June, Academy Brass; Sunday 28th, Concert Brass; Sunday, 5th July, Youth Brass and on Sunday, 19th July, it’s Wantage B Band. There’s also going to be a barbecue, cream teas and bar.
Also, The Wantage Band, conducted by Phillip Bailey, will perform at Didcot Civic Hall on Saturday, 20th June at 7.30pm and Wantage Parish Church on Saturday, 18th July at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 adults, £6 concessions from Regent Bookshop in Wantage, Brett’s Pharmacy in Grove, or from Ann Chadwick 01235 770378 or via the website www.wantageband.org
Do you play an orchestral instrument to at least grade 6 level? The Thames Vale Youth Orchestra is auditioning for new players for the 2015-16 season, with concerts in St Helen’s Church, Abingdon, and the world-famous Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. The TVYO plays large-scale orchestral works to the highest possible standard in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Rehearsals are held on term-time Monday evenings from September to May in Abingdon.
St Mary’s Church in Childrey is hosting its garden fete on Saturday, 20th June at 3pm in the beautiful gardens of Childrey Manor, near Wantage. There will be all sorts of stalls, games and competitions, music and dancers, Lizzy’s Lizards and other displays, and lots of nice eats and drinks. And when you need a rest, have one of the wonderful cream teas.
As ever, there’s lots on at Wantage Library this month. On the 2nd, from 2pm to 4pm, it’s the all new Knit and Natter event, for those interested in knitting, crochet, needlework, tatting or any other textile work. On the 6th, The Chocolate Digestive Reading group gets together from 9.30am for an hour. This is a reading group for children aged 10 and 11. Also for little ones, on the 10th, it’s Rhymetime from 9.30am and also 10.30am for an hour.
They can enjoy singing, musical instruments, action rhymes and very short stories. There’s a reading group for adults on Thursday, 18th June, 11am to midday. Another new event, on the 24th, from 10am to 2pm, is the drop in by Oxfordshire Association for the Blind. Go along for help and advice. Don’t forget the computer sessions ever Saturday and Monday and every Wednesday, from 9.30am to midday, you can go along to research your family tree. Finally, on the last Saturday of every month there’s a book sale, so drop in and bag a bargain.
The Wantage Wildlife, History & Archaeology Group meet on Friday, 12th June at 7.30pm in The Beacon (Civic Hall) Portway, Wantage for an illustrated talk entitled ‘The Green Man Trail in Oxfordshire’ by Tim Healey. Tim is a historian and writer and will tell the audince about the mysterious leafy mask or face with plants streaming from the mouth, eyes or nostrils which can be found in many churches in Oxfordshire as well as Oxford colleges. Visitors are always welcome. For more information call 01235 751646 or 764258.
Faringdon Bridge Club has announced it will be starting bridge lesson for beginners from this summer and is calling for expressions of interest from anyone who is thinking of learning this wonderful game. The teaching will follow the English Bridge Union syllabus and will lead to achieving a competent standard for playing in a club, and at home with friends. No previous knowledge or experience is necessary – just an interest in playing cards!
Faringdon Bridge Club meet at 7pm every Monday evening (including most Bank Holidays) at the Old Crown Coaching House, Market Square, Faringdon. Visitors and new members are always welcome. If you are interested, contact either Faye Slade, chair of the club on 01793 782935; Françoise Stacey, secretary of the club on 01367 241813 or Malcolm Higgins, teaching on 07788 582244. You can also visit www.bridgewebs.com/faringdon/
The beautiful Downland village of Letcombe Bassett is hosting its Gardens Open afternoon on Sunday, 14th June. Wander round the gardens and take tea in the village hall from 2pm until 5.30pm.
Fernham’s Fabulous Fete takes place on Saturday, 20th June, midday to 4pm. There will be a barbecue, real ale, tea and cake, bric a brac, cake, book and plant stalls, ‘barrow of booze’ raffle, lots of games for adults and children, children’s sport races and parking available. Best thing is, entry is free!
Wantage Lacemakers are holding their annual Lace Day on Saturday, 13th June in the Steventon Village Hall, 10am to 4pm. Lace suppliers will be there, S.M.P., Lacewing Designs, J & G Hudson, R. Taylor and The Bag Ladis. The local lace makers together with ladies from other lace groups will also be there. Entry is shoppers £1, children £2.50 and adult lacemakers £4. Wantage Lacemakers cover Abingdon, Drayton, Didcot, Wantage and Faringdon.
Wantage Choral Society is giving their summer concert in Sparsholt Church at 7.30pm on Saturday, 27th June. They will perform the world premiere of Didcot Haiku composed by their conductor, Paul Burke, based on short poems written on passing through Didcot station, and Songs and Cries of London Town by the Choral Society’s president Bob Chilcott. Interval refreshments will be kindly provided at Sparsholt Manor by Sir Adrian and Lady Swire. Tickets are £10 on the door, £8 in advance and under 16 free. They can be obtained from the Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage, from members of the choral society, on 01235 798349 or at the concert door.
Car-booters will head to Carterton Lions’ next sale on Saturday, 27th June. It will run from 9am until 12.30pm at the Recreation Ground, Alvescot Road, Carterton. Entry is free and pitches cost £6 for a single, and £12 for double or trade. For more details call 01993 772241.
The Great British Tennis Weekend returns this month, with thousands of families set to hit the courts for free. On 13th and 14th June, venues will open their courts to the public. Visit www.lta.org.uk/gbtw
Finally, for the third year running, Care Home Open Day is back. This year it’s on 19th June, promoting the themes of ‘The Arts and Valuing Staff’. Supported by a group of leading care providers, associations, charities and care regulators, Care Home Open Day aims to reinforce the connections care homes have across their communities, as well as challenging misconceptions about residential care and showcasing the excellent services that are at the heart of communities across the UK. Care Home Open Day is growing year-on-year, with more care homes signing up to take part each time. Find out more at www.carehomeopenday.org.uk CP
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA