So, how’s your summer been faring? I must say, September confuses me, because some of the lovely people who send in Ramblings refer to it as autumn now, when, in my mind, it’s definitely still summer – mostly because I’m clinging to the thoughts of long days and sunshine.
Technically, autumn starts on the 23rd, so it’s fair to say, then, that some of what you will read below is in summer and some autumn. Mind blowing. Anyway… I’m digressing… my summer’s been great, thanks. Even though I haven’t been abroad we’ve still enjoyed lots of garden parties, outdoor theatre, country shows and concerts. I’m definitely beginning to think winter sun is the holiday direction I’m taking from now on – otherwise I’d miss out on marvellous events such as these…
An imminent event now, and on the 5th, Grove Horticultural Society will be holding its Annual Summer Show in Old Mill Hall (OX12 7LB). Doors open at 2pm and entry is free. As well as stalls selling fruit and veg, you will also be able to find flowers, cakes, handicrafts, photography, refreshments and there’s a raffle too.
Staying with the society, on the 23rd they will be having a presentation by Mr M. Way entitled ‘Barley, Beer and Barrels’ in Grove Village Hall (OX12 7JY). I wonder what that’s all about? Doors open at 7.45pm for the speaker at 8pm. Entry is £3.
East and West Hendred WI will be getting together on the 17th at 7.30pm at Snell’s Hall, East Hendred. The speaker, Ian Jones MBE, will talk about his time as a bomb disposal expert in the British Army and Metropolitan Police. Visitors are welcome to this one. For further information contact Anne Pagett on 01235 797405
On the 5th, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm, Wantage Parish Church of SS Peter and Paul, is opening its doors for a rare opportunity to climb the bell tower. In the Nave you will find a bit of ‘This and That’ on their stalls which include jewellery, bric-a-brac, homemade jams biscuits cakes and lots more. Delicious cream teas will be served under the tower throughout the afternoon.
Faringdon & District U3A hold their monthly meeting on Thursday 10th in the Faringdon Corn Exchange at 2.30pm. The speaker is Michael Bull who will talk on ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Antique Collecting’. Michael is a regular speaker at other U3As in the Thames region. This afternoon is free to U3A members and £1.50 to visitors. Information from the chairman; faringdondistrictu3a.wordpress.com or call 01367 241241.
The next Nearly New Sale is coming up on the 26th, at Old Mill Hall in Grove. You can now register to sell your unwanted bits and bobs online at www.nct.org.uk/branches/wantage-grove Doors open at 10am, so get there early to bag the best bargains.
Cover band Move It will be playing the Hanney Royal British Legion on Saturday 26th. There promises to be tunes for everybody as they sing rock and roll and popular music from the last 50 years. Entry costs £5.
Kids@Church – a fun, informal service in Wantage Methodist Church hosts a fun, informal service for primary school aged children (accompanied by an adult please) every month from 9.30am to 10.15am. The next ‘Kids@Church’ is on the 20th, entitled ‘A new beginning’. Following this will be ‘Treasure on earth?’ on the 18th October and ‘You are very special’ on 15th November. For more details, contact Rev Martin Smithson 01235 765421.
RSPB Vale of White Horse Local Group begins a new programme of talks on the 21st at 7.30pm in Didcot Civic Hall. Dr Pat Morris, an established author and entertaining speaker will talk about ‘Extinct Birds’. Dr Morris was a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London. New members and visitors are very welcome.
The Wantage Wildlife History and Archaeology Group now, and their meeting will be on Friday 11th at The Beacon at 7.30pm. The illustrated talk will be about the BBC Natural History Unit: ‘Behind the Scenes of Wildlife Film Making’ by Roger Jones. Roger formerly directed wildlife films as a senior producer and was involved with the series ‘The Natural World’ and ‘Wildlife on One’. Visitors are very welcome, and for more information call 01235 751646 or 764258.
Pegasus Theatre is holding workshops at Wantage Library on Thursdays starting this month. It’s an opportunity for young people to develop their artistic skills and find their voice, ending with a performance in the library on Saturday, 5th December.
While we’re at the library, I’ll give you a brief overview of some of the events they have happening this month. On the 9th, from 9.30am to 11am and 10.30am to 11am, it’s Rhymetime when you can bring your pre-schooler to the library for singing, action rhymes and short stories. There’s no need to book. The Summer Reading Challenge comes to an end this month too, and on the 26th there will be a medal ceremony for the record breaking achievers who have read six books. It starts at 10.30am. Every Saturday from 9.30am to 11am and Mondays from 9.30am to 12.30pm, there are computer sessions in the library. Just call 01235 762291 to book your free One-to-One, 45- minute taster. If you’ve always wanted to know more about your family tree, you should go along every Wednesday, 9.30am to midday, when a volunteer is there to help you with your research. Call 01235 762291 to book. Then there’s the book sale, which is held on the last Saturday of every month – you wouldn’t want to miss a book bargain!
A heads-up, as South Oxfordshire District Council and its largest social landlord, Soha, are starting a benefits initiative before it is made compulsory. They’re running a pilot programme which will see people paid their housing benefit directly, rather than the current method of payments being made directly to their housing association.The trial is in preparation for the introduction of Universal Credit, a national change which will see people receive one regular combined benefit payment (including housing benefit) rather than money paid separately for each benefit they are entitled to. The pilot will help the district council and Soha gauge what resources needed when Universal Credit is rolled out to the whole district. Those invited to take part in the trial will need to make arrangements to pay their rent from the money they receive, however they will be provided with additional support from Soha to ensure things go smoothly.
Wantage Male Voice Choir was formed almost 25 years ago and since then, they have entertained in many concert and other venues. To ensure the choir continues for another 25 years they need to recruit new members with effect from this month. Their rehearsal at the Hanney War Memorial Hall, starting at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of each month, will be adapted specifically to accommodate new members and provide a lead into full choir membership. You don’t need to be able to read music to join, by the way. Call Jeff on 01235 868327 for more information.
There’s another appeal for singers too, this time from the Thames Valley Chorus, who meet on Tuesday evenings. The group is under the leadership of new musical director Liz Croft, who is running a Learn to Sing in Harmony course starting on Tuesday the 15th. It will run for four consecutive Tuesday evenings ending with a performance for family and friends on 6th October. So, if you are male, and you fancy a go, it costs £10 to help cover the costs of music and teaching materials, payable at the first session. Go along to Waingels College, Woodley at 7pm and finish at 9.45pm. To register visit the website at www.tvchorus.co.uk and complete the registration form or phone Peter on 01491 641021.
Citizens Advice is providing Pension Wise appointments at Abingdon and other bureaux in South Oxfordshire, giving people access to free and impartial pension guidance in their local area. Pension Wise is a new government service designed to help people understand their pension options and empower them to make the right choices for themselves. Free face-to-face Pension Wise appointments are available to book now at Abingdon bureau. The 45-minute appointments will be tailored to individuals, taking into account the value of their pensions and their plans for retirement. Information and general guidance is obtainable online at www.pensionwise.gov.uk To book an appointment call 0300 330 1001.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the WI and to celebrate Grove WI are having an Open Day on Saturday the 12th. The Open Day will be held at Grove Village Hall, from 2pm to 4pm and will showcase craft made by the WI, the archive of Grove WI through the ages and lots of information about what today’s Grove WI are all about. Of course, there will be homemade cream teas, as well as a book stall, raffle and homemade cake stall.
The next NCT Nearly New Sale at Faringdon Leisure Centre, won’t be until Sunday, 11th October from 3pm. Entry costs £1 and it’s a great chance to bag bargains galore on baby and toddler clothing, toys, books, and equipment such as pushchairs, cots, and highchairs. Visit www.nct.org.uk/branches/faringdon
Wantage Methodist Church on Newbury Street is extending an invite to their Open Weekend from the 25th to 27th. The original chapel, built in 1845, has been refurbished to make it a more welcoming and flexible space for worship in the 21st century and to offer an attractive venue for community groups. After much fundraising and planning they are very pleased that this new light and airy space will be ready for worship use in September. The Chapel will be open on Friday 25th, from 7pm to 9pm, Saturday 26th, from 10am to midday and Sunday 27th, from 2pm to 4pm. Refreshments will be available and there will be displays of the life and work of the church.
Following the success of a Wallingford folk evening last year, the same Oxfordshire bands will return to for a repeat performance to aid two charities. Tickets go on sale early this month for the evening with the acclaimed Three Pressed Men supported by the popular musical family group, The Fensoms. Three Pressed Men, who play a variety of instruments including accordions, will be performing at Wallingford Methodist Church at 7.30pm on Friday, October 9th. The Fensoms, mother, father and daughter, have a more modern take with some of their folk repertoire. Proceeds from the event will be split between two charities being supported by the church, a clean water project in Uganda and Response, a mental health charity. Tickets are available from the Wallingford town information office or call 01491 836649.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA