September is with us with it that dreaded back-to-school feeling. That sinking sensation of counting down the last few days of freedom that I had when I was younger has returned now I’m a mum. And, while I’m sure this will soon be tempered by the peace, quiet and tidiness of a child-free house, at the moment I am wishing we could have the last six weeks all over again. And, at least I can console myself with the fact that it will be Christmas before we know it. I know this is true because I’ve received my first festive Rambling...
We start this time with a few events coming up in the first week of the month. You can find out about Oxford’s historic waterways at a talk organised by the Friends of Abingdon Museum. The lecture on Thursday 3rd will be given by Mark Davies who will contrast the importance of the River Thames and Oxford Canal through stories of waterside landmarks, characters and events. It will be held at St Helen’s Church Centre at 7.30pm. All are welcome and there is no need to book. It will cost £3 for non-members.
Abingdon’s Old Station House care home, next to Waitrose, is holding a fundraising fete on Saturday 5th. The event, which will run from 1pm until 4pm, will feature a barbecue, musical entertainment, lots of stalls and opportunities to win great prizes in a grand raffle. It is being held to raise funds for the house’s activity programme for its elderly residents.
And enjoy an evening with the Brize Singers at Southmoor Village Hall on Saturday 5th at 7.30pm.
Don’t forget Sutton Courtenay’s village show on Saturday 5th in the Village Hall, Frilsham Street. There are more than 70 categories in photography, sewing, cooking, knitting, flower arranging and craft, and the deadline for entries is midday on Friday 4th. The show on Saturday will be open to the general public from 2pm. Visit w2.suttoncourtenay.co.uk
You can take a walk on the pink side as Against Breast Cancer holds its second Breast Walk Ever. The walk on Sunday 6th will follow the River Thames from either Abingdon or Wallingford to Beale Park in Pangbourne with walkers able to choose between a half or full marathon course. The event will be raising funds for the charity’s ground-breaking research into improving early detection and increasing survival rates after diagnosis. For details see www.breastwalkever.org or call 01235 534211.
And your youngsters can let off some steam at a children’s fancy dress fun run on Sunday 6th. The 1km race around the top of the Wittenham Clumps is open to children up to the age of 11 years (younger children, or groups of, will need to be accompanied on the run). The race starts at 10am and there will be prizes for the best costumes. If you want to stretch your legs with a longer distance, there is a 10km run for adults starting at 11am. Walkers as well as runners are very welcome to take part. It’s free to enter the children’s event, and £12 to enter the 10km, but please register in advance at www.earthtrust.org.uk or by calling 01865 407792. All funds raised will go toward supporting the Earth Trust’s work.
Have a chat about your favourite books over tea and cake at Abingdon Library as part of the summer reading challenge for adults. The Great British Book Off will take place on Tuesday 8th from 3pm until 4.30pm. It is free to attend but you do need to book a space in advance – ask at the library for a ticket.
St Helen’s Church in Abingdon is staging Storytelling for Harvest on Saturday 19th. The event, from 10.30am until noon, is a chance for pre-school and primary school children to hear folk and Bible tales about harvest. There will also be craft activities on offer. The event is free.
Historic buildings in Abingdon will be throwing their doors open to the public as part of the town’s annual heritage open day on Saturday 12th. Sixteen properties will be open for free as part of the open day which is this year celebrating 150 years of the unveiling of the Albert Memorial in Albert Park. Attractions on Saturday will include a Victorian bowls match at the park, and in the Market Place from 11am various Victorian characters will be entertaining the crowds, including the Ragged Victorians - The Great Unwashed, an award-winning living history group. There will also be four guided walks around the town on Sunday 13th, and exhibitions in the Library, Abingdon Museum and the Community Shop. For full details of what’s on and the buildings taking part see www.abingdonheritage.co.uk
Abingdon will be in the pink again on Saturday 26th to help raise awareness of – and funds for – a charity campaigning to beat breast cancer. The town’s annual Splash of Pink event will run from 10am until 3.30pm in the Market Place and feature a host of fun activities, including live music and dance performances as well as raffles, stalls, games and competitions. Staff from Against Breast Cancer will also be on hand to teach women how to carry out better self-examinations. As usual shops around the town will be invited to compete in the pink window competition. The event is organised by the Abingdon Action Group of Against Breast Cancer and will help kick off breast cancer awareness month in October. For full details see www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk/splash
Many clubs and societies kick off their autumn programme this month, including Abingdon Camera Club. The club, which meets on alternate Thursdays at All Saints’ Church Hall, Dorchester Crescent from 8pm, welcomes all those with an interest in photography, from beginners to enthusiasts. The cost for non-members is £3. To find out more see www.abingdoncameraclub.org.uk
And for fun, fitness and friendship, how about giving Abingdon Scottish Country Dance Club a go? The club meets most Monday evenings at the Northcourt Centre, Northcourt Road, from 8pm until 10.15pm. Beginners are welcome, no partner is necessary, and you can start any week. To find out more give Hilary a call on 01235 528154 or pop along to one of the meetings, with a pair of soft shoes. Full details can be found at www.abingdonscdc.wordpress.com
Abingdon Hockey Club is aiming to start the new season with a bang at a club day, open to all, on Saturday 5th. It’s a chance for anyone interested in playing to meet the teams and enjoy a game or two. It runs from 10am until 1pm at Tilsley Park with a session for juniors and beginners from 10am until 11am followed by skills challenges and a mixed ability tournament 11am until 1pm. www.abingdonhockey.org.uk
Abingdon and District Branch of the National Trust Association is holding its first talk of the new season on the work of The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance. Eleanor Green will give the talk on Tuesday 22nd about the service provided by the only dedicated air ambulance for Oxfordshire, which has attended more than 15,000 missions to help those in need since its inception in 1999. The meeting will take place at Trinity Church, Conduit Road (please note the change of venue) and will start at 2.30pm. All are welcome and it will cost £3 for non-members to attend. For more information, call Ruth on 01235 524119 or Barry on 01235 521372.
A lecture about the varied work of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy takes place at Abingdon County Hall Museum on Wednesday 23rd. Malcolm Kear will give the talk called An Unusual Career at Culham recounting some of his experiences from 40 years of working at the research centre. The talk, which starts at 7pm, is part of CCFE’s 50th anniversary celebrations, which also include an exhibition at the museum tracing the history and development of research at Culham. Star Power – 50 years of Fusion Research at Culham is on display until Sunday, 18th October. Spaces limited. Call 01235 523703.
Sunningwell and Bayworth WI is looking forward to a return visit by local historian Liz Woolley, who will talk about Oxfordshire and the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. The meeting will take place on Thursday 10th in Sunningwell Village Hall, starting at 2pm. All local ladies are welcome. Entry is free for WI members, and a small donation is requested from non-members.
Back to Abingdon and you may remember earlier in the year people were asked for their views on how Abbey Meadows could be improved. The results of the survey are in, and show overwhelming support for the retention of the park’s outdoor pool. More than 3,100 people took part in the district council consultation, with more than 80 per cent voting for option A, which would see the pool retained along with a number of improvements to the area. Both of the other two options would have required the outdoor pool to be removed. Following the consultation, the council has agreed to appoint a project manager to investigate the cost of retaining the pool and delivering the most popular improvements using the £500,000 budgeted for the project. Alongside retaining the pool, residents were also keen to see a number of improvements to the wider area including new picnic tables and seating, refurbished changing rooms, adventure play equipment for the over 10s, enhancing the splash pad and improving the kiosk. The council hopes that some of the improvements will be in place by the time the pool opens for business next year.
And Abbey Gardens has again been awarded Green Flag status for the seventh year running. The Green Flag is a national award given to parks and green spaces across England and Wales by Keep Britain Tidy. Sites compete annually to be among the best green spaces in the country and need to demonstrate year-on-year improvement.
More good news – Abingdon Country Market has found a new home. After searching since the start of the year, the market will now be held at the Day Time Support Centre in Broad Street, close to Poundland, starting on Saturday 12th. The market, every second Saturday of the month, features homemade cakes, preserves and vegetables in season, and runs from 10am until 12.30pm.
Just a quick note to let you know that Abingdon’s Visitor and Community Information Centre will have a temporary new home. The centre will be relocated to the rear entrance of Abingdon County Hall Museum in the Market Place from the start of the month while the Guildhall is closed.
A quick congratulations to PC Ian Dring, based at Abingdon Police Station, who has scooped a Thames Valley Police Community Policing Award. PC Dring, who covers Southern Oxfordshire, was recognised in the community contribution of the year category.
Clifton Hampden and Burcot residents are being urged to give their support to a bid for ultrafast broadband. As we went to press just 25 more orders for the service provided by company Gigaclear were needed for the firm to go ahead and get both villages connected. Residents can order now at www.gigaclear.com/ordernow
Can you go the distance to fight heart disease in Oxfordshire? The British Heart Foundation is holding its annual half marathon and 10km races at Blenheim Palace on Sunday, 4th October. Both routes start in front of the palace before winding through the estate. The event also offers a 2km family fun run finishing in front of the palace alongside the 10km and half marathon runners. Call 0845 1308663 or visit www.bhf.org.uk/Blenheim
Oxford’s Sobell House Hospice is appealing for people to take part in an autumn walk at Farmoor Reservoir. The five-and-a-half-mile walk on Sunday 27th costs £10 to enter and all money raised will help the hospice to continue its work providing palliative and end-of-life care to the residents of Oxfordshire. To sign up either complete an application form at www.sobellhospicecharity.org.uk or call 01865 857007.
Or for a much less strenuous way of raising funds for a good cause, you can catch up with some friends over a cuppa in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity is asking for people to host a coffee morning in aid of its work. All you need to do is invite some friends, and ask them to make a donation for the coffee and cake you serve. This year the official coffee morning date is Friday 25th but you can hold yours on whatever date is most convenient for you and your guests. For full details and to sign up for a free kit see www.coffee.macmillan.org.uk
Just another reminder about a campaign by a local couple encouraging people to register as blood stem cell donors. Arun Kumar and his wife Helen, from Wheatley, have launched an appeal for people to register as potential donors with the Delete Blood Cancer UK charity after being told their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Elsie, who has leukaemia, needs a blood stem cell donation to survive. The family is campaigning to raise awareness of blood stem cell donation to help find a perfect match for Elsie and others like her. To find out more, or to request a swab kit, see www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk/en/a-match-for-elsie
Get a fix of the ocean without having to leave Abingdon (or even get your feet wet). The Ocean Film Festival World Tour, which features a selection of ocean-themed short films from all over the globe, is coming to Abingdon for the first time as part of its UK tour. The festival, which originates in Australia, features two hours of footage taken above and below the water’s surface documenting the beauty and power of the ocean. The tour will visit Abingdon’s Amey Theatre on Tuesday, 6th October. Visit www.oceanfilmfestival.co.uk
Show your support for Abingdon Community Hospital at a coffee morning on Saturday 26th. Organised by the League of Friends, the fundraiser takesplace at St Helen’s Church Centre, 10am until midday and all are welcome.
Now it’s not often you get the chance to take to the water in a 40-foot long decorated Chinese dragon (well, unless your life is way more exciting than mine!) But this month you can do just that at The Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper’s annual dragon boat day at Rye Farm Meadow on Sunday 6th. The fundraiser usually see 30 teams of 16 rowers taking part in 250-metre sprint races on the Thames. There is also a fun fair, food and drink stalls, and a craft fair making it a great day out for all. Races start from 10am. To find out more see www.abingdondragonboats.org.uk
Staying with a watery theme (a bit tenuous, I know), a new exhibition about the River Thames opens at Abingdon County Hall Museum. The Thames: Shifting Perspectives features the work of HapticArt, a group of nine stitched textile artists, who have created a diverse display for the museum which re-imagines the natural and social world of the Thames. The exhibition opens on Saturday 12th until Sunday, 20th December.
And for an event guaranteed to make your eyes water (see what I’ve done?!) head to Millets Farm on 5th and 6th for its Chilli and Food Fiesta. The festival will feature exhibitors, traditional Mexican live music, tastings and chilli plants to admire and buy. Admission is free. Millets is also staging a fun, family dog show on Saturday 19th. The third annual show will feature a range of classes , including my personal favourite - the best biscuit catcher! There will also be stalls to browse at the charity event which is supporting the Guide Dogs. For full classes, which cost £3 per dog to enter, see www.milletsfarmcentre.com
Radcliffe Piano Trio will give the next Abbey Chamber Concert. The concert will be held at St Nicolas Church in Abingdon’s Market Square on Sunday 20th at 3pm and will last an hour. Tickets, we available on the door, will cost £10, or £9 for concessions, and accompanied children can enter for free. There will be free tea and coffee and an opportunity to talk to the musicians after the concert.
Lastly, ABCD Film Society in Abingdon gets going again for its 40th season next month with 22 screenings coming up before Easter. First up is the brilliantly quirky The Grand Budapest Hotel on Thursday, 1st October. The rest of the programme sees the society stick to its well-established formula, with films from many different countries - about half are in English and about two thirds are recent productions. Other special events will include Susannah Brough, art director of Sixteen (2013), talking about her work, and the National Film Theatre pianist Andrew Youdell returning to accompany the Buster Keaton comedy Our Hospitality. There will also be speakers on a Japanese classic, a recent Polish film, Ida, and a classic French crime drama. Call 01235 521976.
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