You know you’re a proper grown up when you decide to throw a summer party for your entire family. This will be my first time – and possibly only time to impress. They’re travelling three hours or so to see us so I have to make it worth their while. We have all kinds of entertainment planned, from archery to garden boule (that’s posh bowling I’m told) – let’s just hope the Bank Holiday weather forecast brings me good news otherwise we’ll all be cooped up in my tiny living room eating summer salad and oven-cooked sausages crying into our Pimm’s – or that might just be me….
Wantage Male Voice Choir was formed almost 25 years ago and since then, they have entertained in many concert and other venues, as well as local care homes, where they’ve shared their happiness with the residents. To ensure the choir continues for another 25 years they are looking to recruit new members. Also, with effect from September, rehearsals at the Hanney War Memorial Hall will start at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of each month and will be adapted specifically to accommodate new members and provide a lead into full choir membership. The ability to read music is not essential, but deriving enjoyment from singing is. Find out more from Jeff on 01235 868327.
Last but not last, as part of Wantage Summer Carnival, Sustainable Wantage is building a cardboard city on Saturday, 29th August, from 10am to 1pm. If you’d like to help create (and decorate) houses, cars, chairs, etc, from cardboard boxes in preparation for the next day’s event do go along. For more information on all these events see www.thewantagemix.wordpress.com
On 26th August, Grove Horticultural Society will be having a presentation in Grove Village Hall (OX12 7JY) at 8pm entitled ‘Ancient Woodlands’ by Mr D Miller. Doors open at 7.30pm and entrance is just £3 to non-members. Everyone is welcome.
Staying with Grove Horticultural Society, a note for next month. On 5th September, they will be staging their Summer Show at Old Mill Hall on School Lane, (OX12 7LB). The doors will be open to the public at 2pm and it’s free to get in. Exhibitors can get into the hall from 8am until when the judging starts at 10.30am.
It’s celebrations this month for East & West Hendred WI. Their monthly meeting at 7.30pm on August 20th will take place at the usual place, West Hendred Village Hall, but this month there will be a special birthday party. Jim Mitchell and co. will provide entertainment – ‘Two Blokes and a Piano - Flanders and Swann Recaptured’. Visitors are also welcome to go along to join in the celebrations. For more information contact Anne Pagett on 01235 797405.
When I first read about a ‘Singalong Supper’ I had visions of visitors to this one having to actually sing for their food. But that sounds a bit mean, so I’m guessing you eat your two-course supper and after have a singalong with Derek James at the keyboard. If you fancy it, it’s on Friday, 4th September at the Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall, Uffington, and tickets are £20 each. They’re available from John on 01367 820542; Jim on 01367 820559, Geoff on 01367 820668 or Ray on 01367 820242.
We’ve done singing, how about some dancing now, at Hanney Royal British Legion on Saturday, 22nd August. The Nitelife Duo will be playing rock and roll from the 50s through to the 70s, as well as some pop ballads. The fun starts at 8.30pm and it costs £5 at the door.
On Wednesday, 12th August, from 10.30am to 11.30am it’s Wild & Wacky Storytime for children aged between three and 10. Again, you can pick up free tickets from the library. It’s the Thursday Reading Group on the 20th, from 11am to midday. Even if you’re not a member you could still go along to check out what it’s like and potentially join up. Children between three and 10 are catered for again on Monday 24th August, 10.30am to 11.30am. this time it’s High & Mighty Storytime, with record-breaking stories and crafts. Pick up your free tickets from the library. Those record breaking achievers who have read six books and completed the library’s summer reading challenge will receive their medal at the awards ceremony on Friday, 28th August, 10.30am to 11.30am. A further medal ceremony will be held on Saturday, 26th September. Don’t forget, that every Saturday from 9.30am to 11am there are free one-to-one computer sessions at the library. Call 01235 762291 to book your free 45-minute taster. If you can’t make Saturdays, there are also sessions every Monday, 9.30am to 12.30pm, call the above number to book. If you have ever wanted to research your family tree, then go along to the library on a Wednesday from 9.30am to midday as a volunteer will be available to help you carry out your research. This is another one-to-one opportunity, so call the library to book on 01235 762291. Last but not least, let’s not forget that every last Saturday of the month there’s a book sale – so go along and bag a bargain.
Until 12th September children across the county can discover weird, wonderful and wacky records from around the world by getting involved with Record Breakers Summer Reading Challenge 2015. Children will be encouraged to read at least six books over the summer holidays and on their reading journey there will be opportunities to explore astonishing real-life achievements and world records, collecting rewards such as wristbands, medals and certificates. The challenge can be achieved in just three visits to the library. All they have to do is join their local library and it’s free! There’s also a reading challenge for adults too.
Throughout the challenge on Mondays Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Grove Library there are lots of events to enjoy, such as the Jellybaby Jenga competition. Open to all, this is a timed competition to see who is the champion Jellybaby stacker in Grove Library. It’s only one entry per person, so you may want to practise at home. For younger visitors there’s a colouring competition to design and colour a certificate or medal to award to a World Record champion of their choice. Designs will be displayed in the library (and may be taken home at the start of term). You can meet a former Guinness World Record Holder at the library on the 6th August, 2pm to 3pm. We’ve not been given the name of who it is yet – contact the library to find out. Just into September, and on the 2nd, at 2.30pm, the prizes will be awarded to the winners in the Jellybaby Jenga stacking and colouring competition.
Have you heard about The Mothership Network? It’s a national online database for creative and entrepreneurial mums. Happy to offer their skills to others, or promote their existing small business and its products, the network makes juggling family commitments and building a dream business that little bit easier. They meet for coffee mornings, workshops and generally network, so find out where and when online at www.themothershipnetwork.com
For the first time, Blenheim Palace is displaying the iconic Battle of Blenheim painting, attributed to Jan Van Huchtenberg, on loan from the Churchill Family. Initially on loan until December, visitors to the Oxfordshire World Heritage Site will be able to see the painting which has always been hung in Sir Winston Churchill’s Dining Room in his Hyde Park residence. Visitors will be able to see up close the historic victory that was fought and won by the 1st Duke of Marlborough, giving Blenheim Palace its name and the Duke and Duchess their vast estate – a gift of thanks from Queen Anne. The painting depicts The Battle of Blenheim, 1704 and shows the arrival of the Duke of Marlborough to receive the submission of Marshall Tallard. You will need a palace, park and gardens ticket to see it though, which costs £22.50 for adults, £12.30 children and £18 concessions. See www.blenheimpalace.com
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 August and have a go.
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 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/
It’s about time to register for Bike Oxford, in time for Sunday, 13th September. Following on from positive feedback the routes will follow a very similar course to last year. With a choice of 25, 50 and 80 miles there should be a suitable challenge for riders of all abilities. The event this year will start and finish at The Cherwell School (Harlequins Rugby club) on Marston Ferry Road, Oxford. The school has huge cycling fans and have the highest proportion of students who cycle to school in the UK They might have a new venue but they’ll still be the same (if not better) post-ride atmosphere back at the event village. Riders can relax and reminisce with friends whilst enjoying post-ride food, a well-earned pint of Hook Norton from their pay bar and take your bike to Beeline Bicyles who’ll be on hand to give your bike the once over. See www.bikeoxford.co.uk for more details.
South Stoke Open Gardens and Church Flower Festival will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August from 1pm till 6pm. WI tea and cakes served in the village hall and Perch and Pike pub offering lunches. Free parking in recreation ground with community village shop selling plants, ice creams and children’s activities organised. (Weather permitting!) Admission costs £5 for adults, children free (includes entry to all gardens and church flower festival). Tickets available at recreation ground and church lynch gate. Proceeds will go to St Andrew’s church and village hall.
It’s Didcot Stamp Fair and Auction at Didcot Civic Hall on the 30th August. A number of dealers have already booked this event, which has been running for many years. It starts at 9.30am and runs until 2pm. Entry is free. For more details call 01235 833516.
The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxon and Wildlife Trust are hosting an event at Parsonage Moor Nature Reserve near Abingdon on Sunday, 16th August. Join Peter Creed to see some of the rare fenland plants of the reserve, including the beautiful flowers of the Grass-of-Parnassus. The walk will also take in the nearby Dry Sandford Pit Nature Reserve, one of the richest sites for insects in Britain. To join in with the walk it costs £6. To book, call 01865 788 300 and for more details see www.bbowt.org.uk/whats-on
Whalebone’s Seasons tour features high-energy acoustic music alongside haunting atmospheric tunes on acoustic guitar and fiddle. They are playing at Woodlands St Mary Village Hall on Saturday, 29th August. The show includes brand-new material, inventive interpretations of traditional music, rock classics and original material from their two international award winning albums, along with tall tales, folklore and myths which inspired the music. It starts at 7.30pm (doors open 7pm) and admission costs £5 for adults and children go free. For tickets, call 01488 71971.
Ever wondered how grain is turned into flour? Well now is your chance to find out by visiting the restored working mill at Coleshill, near Swindon, SN6 7PT. Go along on 9th August, 2pm, and you can also explore the replica Second World War Operational Base, which will be open in the afternoon. The restored mill is perched by the side of the pretty River Cole. Pick up a recipe leaflet to rustle up a yummy loaf, biscuits or cakes. Entry for adults is £4, children £2 and a family ticket is £10. National Trust members free. Call 01793 762209.
The Trust is also organising a Bug Hunt at Snelsmore Common (RG20 8AP) on 14th August. For £5, families will be able to discover what lives in the wildlife pond and search the surrounding area for bugs and other wildlife. Booking is essential for this one on 01635 874381. See www.bbowt.org.uk/whats-on Snelsmore Common, Wantage Road, RG20 8AP.
On 17th August, Stockfest is back for its third year and looking better than ever. The village of Stockcross, near Newbury, will be hosting a unique series of events, including workshops, talks, walks and tours. New this year is the Big Music Weekend on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd August. Local bands will get the chance to play alongside professionals recognised on BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio 2 and on the festival circuit. Headliners are Big Boss Man, fresh from the Isle of Wight Festival and championed by Cerys Matthews; The 3 Daft Monkeys, festival favourites and regulars at Glastonbury and The Rev Ferriday and the Longdogs, a blues band who are supporting Mick Ralphs this summer. Add in a gourmet food stall, real ale, pop-up entertainment and a Busk Stop and it’s a winner. Full details can be found at www.stockfest.co.uk or pick up a brochure from Newbury Tourist Information Centre and various venues in the area. There are 30 events going on in the village of Stockcross over two weeks at various venues.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA