It’s been an interesting month. By the time you read this, I’ll know whether or not my husband passed his driving test. It’s not often (if at all) you find a wife teaching her husband to drive. I think he will pass, but the road to this point has been a tad bumpy... for me, anyway.
It’s been a good marriage test and one I’ll be happy not to repeat. I have everything crossed that from here on in, I won’t have to be a car with him for a while. But enough about me, and my brushes with imminent RTAs, now autumn is here we can look forward to changing colours, changing weather and changing moods, from feel good to festive. I notice the Christmas cards are in the shops already.
In just a few days’ time, on the 3rd, The Crown Singers and The Ashford Baroque Ensemble, with conductor Paul Hedley, will be performing at Church of St James in West Hanney. The concert is entitled ‘Welcome to all the Pleasures’, a concert of choral and instrumental music including Monteverdi: Beatus Vir; Purcell: Welcome to all the Pleasures; and a selection of other fine choral and instrumental baroque music. Interval refreshments will be available. Tickets cost £10 and are available from Hanney Community Shop or call 01235 868250 or you can buy on the door.
You’ve only got a few more days to go and view An Elegant Society by Adam Buck, Artist in the Age of Jane Austen, at the Ashmolean in Oxford until the 4th. Well-known to collectors and Jane Austen enthusiasts, Irish artist Adam Buck (1759–1833) was one of Regency England’s most sought-after portrait painters. He worked in Ireland for 20 years, becoming an accomplished miniaturist; but moved to London in 1795 and immediately gained a roster of star clients including the Duke of York and his scandalous mistress, Mary Anne Clarke. This summer exhibition celebrates Adam Buck’s influence on Georgian art and style, showing more than 60 works from private collections including watercolours, small portraits and miniatures; examples of his decorative designs for porcelain and fans; and his prints. A new monograph on Buck, by guest curator Peter Darvall, accompanies the exhibition and will be the first major study of his work. For more details visit the website at www.ashmolean.org
From the 5th, residents in the Vale of White Horse will be able to put out small unusable electrical items such as toasters, kettles, irons and hairdryers with their grey bin for recycling. Any tired or damaged textiles or clothes that aren’t good enough for charity with their green bin for recycling. Items can be put in a tied carrier bag next to the bin on the normal collection day. The service is for unusable and worn out textiles – residents should give anything that is reusable to charity shops. Small electrical items are taken to a specialist site in Newbury for sorting, storing and processing into new items. Textiles are taken to a sorting warehouse in East London – any cotton and polyester gets cut into industrial rags, and any wool is shredded and made into felt or new yarn. Until now there has not been a way for residents to get rid of their unusable textiles without taking a trip to the county council’s waste recycling centres, meaning lots were putting them in their grey bin. Visit www.morerecycling.co.uk for more information about the service.
The Challows Royal British Legion, Women’s Section are holding a dance at the East Challow RBL Club on the 3rd, dancing to ‘Ressurection’, from 8pm until late. Tickets can be purchased at the door for £4.
The long established Three Pressed Men, who play a variety of instruments including accordions, will be performing at Wallingford Methodist Church at 7.30pm on Friday the 9th. The Fensoms, mother, father and daughter, have a more modern take with their folk repertoire. Refreshments will be served during the interval (included in the £10 ticket price). Proceeds will be split between two charities supported by the church, a clean water project in Uganda and Response, a mental health charity. Tickets are available from Wallingford town information office or call 01491 836649.
The NCT Nearly New Sale at Faringdon Leisure Centre is set to go ahead on Sunday the 11th October from 3.15pm to 4.40pm. Entry costs just £1 per adult. There will be bargains galore on baby and toddler clothing, toys, books, and equipment such as pushchairs, cots, and highchairs. For more information (including if you should wish to sell or advertise at this NCT sale) see www.nct.org.uk/branches/faringdon
Kids@Church is a fun, informal service in Wantage Methodist Church for primary school aged children (accompanied by an adult please) every month from 9.30 to 10.15am. This month’s theme is ‘Treasure on earth’ on the 18th. November’s service is entitled ‘You are very special’ on the 15th. If you would like more details contact Rev Martin Smithson on 01235 765421.
Danetree Vets is holding a charity open day on the 31st at their veterinary practice in Faringdon. Local charities will be able to have a table free of charge. Also there, will be local rescue people with owls, reptiles and bats for people to meet and learn about their care. The vets will be opening up the restricted area of their practice so people can see what goes on behind the scenes – take a look at the theatre, plus the dog and cat ward. For the children, there will be a fun question-and-answer trail. Entry is free but you will have to go along to the cake stall – as all the proceeds will be going to the charity the practice supports – the Wilderness Foundation (a rhino charity).
On the 17th,White Horse Ceilidhs present ‘iFolk’ and caller Ian Nichols for a stomping barn dance at Grove Village Hall. Theale Tattoo will provide the half time entertainment. No experience necessary as the caller guides you through the dances. There will be a licensed bar and tickets cost £7 for adults and £3.50 for under-16s. The fun starts at 8pm. For more details call 07855 548512 and visit www.whitehorseceilidhs.org.uk
The Icknield Way Morris Men will ring their bells and shake their sticks at the practice sessions in Grove Scout Hut this month. You can go along at 8pm on Wednesday 7th 14th, 21st and 28th, to see if it’s your kind of thing. New members are very welcome. Call 07855 548512 or visit www.icknieldwaymorrismen.org.uk
Runners can still enter the Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday the 11th. Wantage Counselling Service has charity places available and volunteers are invited to run for the charity that provides an affordable counselling service to the local community.Registration is £10 and all they ask is that runners raise around £75 or more for the charity. For further information visit www.wantagecounselling.org.uk/getting-involved/fund-raising
There’s always plenty of things to do at Wantage Library every month, so it’s only right I tell you all about them. On the 3rd, from 9.30am to 10.30am it’s The Chocolate Digestive Reading Group. This is for children aged 10 and 11. Newbies are always welcome and a parent or carer should drop them at the first session. Next, on Tuesday the 6th from 2pm to 4pm, it’s Knit & Natter. Go along and share your interest in knitting, crochet, needlework, tatting or any other textile work. Enjoy a chat over coffee and biscuits, then maybe borrow a book and get lots of ideas for your next project! These meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of every month. On the 14th from 9.30am to 11am it’s Rhymetime. Take your pre-schooler along for singing, musical instruments, action rhymes and very short stories. No need to book, just drop in. There’s another reading group, this time for adults, on the 15th, 11am to midday. They meet every month but I’ve been told that it is now full. Add your name to the waiting list or, to start a new group, contact the library.
There’s a special workshop on Saturday 31st from 10.30am to midday in celebration of the Wantage Betjeman Literary Festival. If you fancy yourself as a writer of magical realism or have a story that needs a publisher, British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition winner Megan Kerr will be giving tips from the top at this creative writing workshop. On to more regulars and every Saturday, 9.30am to 11am, and every Monday from 9.30am to 12.30pm, there will be free computer sessions, but you need to book in advance. Every Wednesday there will be a volunteer at the library to assist anyone who is interested in researching their family tree. Go along between 9.30am and midday, but don’t forget to book on 01235 762291. Last but not least, on the last Saturday of every month there is an all-day book sale.
Jigsaw Stage Productions are on tour from the 30th with their Big Variety Show, which takes a peek at each of the four seasons in Song (including sing-a-longs) Dance and hilarious Sketches. You will find them at the Old Mill Hall in Grove on Friday 30th and at Hanney Memorial Hall on Saturday 31st. The shows begin at 7.30pm and tickets will be on sale in Bretts pharmacy, Grove or call 01235 767509.
Changing Lives have opened a store in Wantage, at 4A Church Street, open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. All money raised goes back into the area. Just some people they have helped so far include a wheelchair for a lady who had a tumour on her spine, a young boy who had his oxygen tanks stolen and an adapted trike for a young boy. If you can’t make it to their new shop, they have another based at 60-62 The Broadway, in Didcot (call 01235 511792). Call the new Wantage store on 01235 762186.
On Sunday the 18th the renowned Christminster Singers from Oxford will present a concert of West Gallery Music in St Augustine’s Church, East Hendred, at 7.30pm. The concert, which is raising much-needed funds for the church, will also include traditional folk tunes played by several of The Christminster Singers on concertina, fiddle, flute, clarinet and accordion. West Gallery Music is the name given to the harmony singing tradition that flourished in rural English parish churches from the early 1700s until the mid-nineteenth century, before the widespread introduction of organs to country churches, and the singers were often accompanied on string and wind instruments. The concert will be led by Dave Townsend, who is a full time musician and singer, performing solo and with various groups including the Mellstock Band. He is an acknowledged master of the concertina, composer, researcher and collector of musical traditions, who has provided music for film, television and radio, published books, produced albums, and taught and lectured on many aspects of traditional music. Visit www.christminster-singers.org.uk Tickets (£8) are available from Jackie Francis on 01235 833473 or on the door. You can also book online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/christminsters
Swindon Choral Society will be singing Magnificat by C.P.E. Bach and Harmoniemesse by Haydn in Cirencester Parish Church on Saturday the 10th at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 and are available online from www.swindonchoral.org.uk; Cirencester Parish Church Centre; the Information Centre (Corinium Museum); the Information Centre in the Central Library, Swindon; www.wegottickets.com; Sound Knowledge; White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough or from members of the choir. There will be a retiring collection in aid of Cirencester Rotary Club’s Hope for Tomorrow appeal.
Hanney Royal British Legion will welcome Uptown Traffic, a ’60s and ’70s Rock ‘n’ Soul Band, on Saturday the 24th, from 8.30pm at Mill Orchard, East Hanney. Entry costs just £5 at the door.
The next East & West Hendred WI meeting will be at Snell’s Hall, East Hendred, on the 15th at 7.30pm. Entertainment will be provided by Peter Wentworth, a magician from Faringdon. For further information call Anne Pagett on 01235 797405.
The Friends of the Ridgeway Local Group are also hosting a talk on the 22nd; this one is The Secrets of Pennyhooks Valley. It’s being given by Neil Maw in the Old Town Hall at 7.30pm. There will be refreshments and a raffle, plus visitors are also welcome for £3.
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. For more details phone Jeff on 01235 868327 for more information.
On Friday 9th October, the Wantage Wildlife, History & Archaeology Group will meet in The Beacon, (Civic Hall) Portway, Wantage at 7.30pm. The talk this month is entitled Archaeological Adventures in South India by Dr Wendy Morrison. Wendy will talk about unearthing evidence for production and trade at Pattanam, Kerala. Visitors welcome (£3.50). Call 01235 751646 or 764258.
East & West Hendred meet at Snell’s Hall, East Hendred on October 15th at 7.30pm. Entertainment will be provided by Peter Wentworth, a magician from Faringdon. Call Anne Pagett on 01235 797405.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA