I’m starting to think November is the new December... Back in the day, the Christmas festivities didn’t get into full swing until the first chocolate from the advent calendar had been wolfed down. Now, as this month’s Ramblings will testify, it seems the run-up starts as soon as the Guy Fawkes Night bonfires have gone out. Talking of getting ahead of ourselves, I couldn’t believe Valentine’s Day cards were on sale in my local shop the other day. Now, I like to plan ahead, but surely that’s going too far? In case I forget, Happy Easter!
Talking of getting ahead of ourselves, I couldn’t believe Valentine’s Day cards were on sale in my local shop the other day. Now, I like to plan ahead, but surely that’s going too far? In case I forget, Happy Easter!
I begin with a lecture that’s taking place on the night of the day this good magazine starts being delivered so apologies in advance if you don’t read this in time. In case you do, The Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire is hosting its 1,750th meeting on Monday 2nd. The Bernard Tucker Memorial Lecture, held jointly with Oxford Ornithological Society, will be given by Dr Ken Smith who will be speaking about initiatives over the last decades to bring about the recovery of populations of scarce or declining bird species in the UK. His talk will be held in Exeter Hall, Kidlington and will start at 7.45pm. Admission will be £2.
Also on early this month is the next lecture in The Tea and Talks series run by St Margaret’s Institute. It will take place on Wednesday 4th and will see Anita Pepper talking about Western art collections at the Ashmolean Museum and Christ Church Picture Gallery. The event at the Polstead Road centre runs from 1.30pm until 3.30pm and will cost £1 to attend.
An annual lecture to promote public understanding of science takes place this year on Friday 6th at Oxford Playhouse. The Simonyi Lectures are a series of annual lectures in the city set up in 1999 by Professor Richard Dawkins. For this year’s event Professor Melissa Franklin, the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University, will give a talk entitled Putting the Higgs Boson in its Place, followed by discussion of her work at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The lecture starts at 5pm. Tickets are £7 and can be booked online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com or by calling 01865 305305.
Blackwell’s in Broad Street is hosting a series of events as part of The Philosophy Festival from Monday 2nd to Saturday 7th. The event, run in conjunction with Oxford University Press, will feature a philosophical balloon debate, lunchtime ‘Philosophy Bites Back’ interviews, and panel discussions, debates and talks from a host of prominent and well-known philosophers. Guests include Nigel Warburton, Julian
Triskaidekaphobics beware! (it’s a fear of the number 13, just in case, like me, you didn’t know!) Everyone else is invited to an evening of music played by Wolvercote’s own Strollers on Friday 13th in Wolvercote Village Hall. The evening in aid of St Peter’s organ appeal will see a mix of covers performed from folk to popular classics. Doors open at 7.30pm and there will be a bar. Tickets cost £10 or £8 for concessions and will be available on the door, or in advance by calling 01865 559316.
Staying with music and The Oxford Studio Orchestra’s autumn concert in Summertown this year has a Nordic theme in honour of the 150th anniversary of the births of both Sibelius and the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. The programme for the concert on Sunday 8th will consist of Nielsen’s Helios Overture, Sibelius’s ever-popular Finlandia and Karelia suite, and Grieg’s Symphonic Dances. It will be held in St Michael and All Angels’ Church in Lonsdale Road and will start at 3pm. Entrance costs £8 or £6 for concessions, with accompanied children free.
The Jazz at St Giles series sees two great concerts coming up this month. Italian alto sax player Tommaso Starace will perform on Saturday 7th and violinist Chris Garrick will be in action on Saturday 21st with the Budapest Cafe Orchestra. Both concerts are at St Giles’ Church and will start at 7.30pm. Tickets costing £15 or £13 are available on the door from 7pm with proceeds being donated to charities supporting children in war-torn countries around the world.
Back by popular demand, Sunday Jazz is on again at Blenheim Palace with performances of live classical and contemporary jazz most weeks from now until the palace closes for Christmas. Performances will take place from 10am until 12.30pm in the Water Terraces Café. For full details of who’s performing when see www.blenheimpalace.com
If you’re male and like to sing, Oxford Harmony wants to hear from you! The welcoming, enthusiastic group, which sings in styles ranging from barbershop to modern ballads and everything in between, rehearses at Cumnor Old School Hall on Wednesdays at 7.45pm. To find out more see www.oxfordharmony.co.uk or call Mike on 01235 831352.
The last in a series of public lectures at Summertown United Reformed Church takes place on Friday 20th when the subject is homelessness in Oxford. The talk will be given by Katrina Horne, project director of The Gatehouse, and will be held in the rear hall of the church at 3pm. Tickets cost £5 and available on the door, with proceeds in aid of the church building fund.
Calling all artists! If you are one of those creative people who use the time as the evenings draw in to pick up a paintbrush, sculpt pots, carve wood or create delicate jewellery and you’d love to show more people than just family and friends then, although it seems early, now is the time to think about taking part in Oxfordshire Artweeks for 2016. Registration is now open at www.artweeks.org , and will close on 31st December.
And for all those who enjoy the fruits of other people’s creative labour you will be happy to hear that Oxfordshire Artweeks is once again hosting its festive event this month. A whole host of artist exhibitions and open studio events will be taking place across the county on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, offering lots of unique and stylish gifts, and sparkly arts and crafts for Christmas. To find out what is happening near you see www.artweeks.org
Some of the county’s leading craft makers and designers will be showcasing their wares in Woodstock in the run-up to Christmas. The popular Oxfordshire Craft Guild’s selling exhibition will feature jewellery, textiles, ceramics, treasures and keepsakes by more than 25 artists. It will be on at The Oxfordshire Museum from Saturday 14th to Wednesday, 23rd December. Admission is free. The guild is also staging shorter exhibitions in Chipping Norton Town Hall from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th and at the arts and crafts market in Broad Street, Oxford on Saturday 5th and Sunday, 6th December.
Crafts and gifts will be on plentiful supply at a Christmas fair in Botley on Saturday 21st. The fair takes place at St Peter and St Paul Church Hall from 10am until 2pm and is being organised by The Friends of St Lawrence Church, in North Hinksey. Entrance is free and light refreshments will be available.
Adderbury will once again be hosting its traditional Christmas market on Saturday 28th. The event at St Mary’s Church from 11am until 4pm will see cards, crafts, perfumes and unusual gifts and jewellery on sale. There will be homemade soup or hot dogs for lunch, tea and cakes in the afternoon in Church House, or mulled wine and mince pies in the church and Santa will be in his grotto from 11am until 1pm and 2pm until 4pm. It is the 11th year of the event, which has raised thousands of pounds for Katharine House Hospice every year plus other local charities. For more details see www.adderbury.org
Help is at hand if you are looking for a gift for a loved one who is experiencing cancer or ill health. Serenity Hampers, set up by cancer patient Alicia Dent, can provide compassionate and practical gifts to help people recover from their treatment and to live life in comfort. It also donates a percentage of all sales to Cancer Research. To find out more see www.serenityhampers.com or contact Alicia on 07985 577550.
A real team effort helped LVS Oxford, a school for children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, host a fantastic fundraising coffee morning. The Begbroke school opened its doors to the local community for the event which was the culmination of a project which involved literacy (instructional writing for creating cakes), maths and numeracy (via weighing amounts of ingredients and of course counting the proceeds), cookery and history, as the background of Macmillan was researched. Preparations also saw residential learners going out to buy ingredients one evening for their classmates to bake with, and special sessions teaching the children how to deal with the public. The school, which opened last September with 16 learners and now has 43, raised an impressive £367.50 for Macmillan Cancer Support - the most money it has raised for charity.
Oxford’s new Alliance Française is organising a French language visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum on Saturday 14th. The visit is for children aged five and over, starts at 2pm and costs £4 for a family. The Alliance
Française d’Oxford is a not-for-profit organisation independent from the French government. Its mission, common to all Alliances Françaises, is to offer French classes for all ages and abilities and to promote the enjoyment of French and Francophone cultures through classes and events. To find out more see www.af-oxford.org
Next up and knitters are needed - the Big Knit is back. The campaign asks knitters to make tiny hats for the top of Innocent smoothie bottles. For every ‘behatted’ bottle sold, 25p will go to Age UK to help keep older people warm and well in winter. For more details, and knitting patterns, see www.ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire/bigknit . Hats should be sent to The Big Knit, Age UK Oxfordshire, St Edmund House, 39 West St Helen Street, Abingdon, OX14 5BT, by Friday, 4th December.
Didcot Choral Society present Michael Haydn’s Requiem in C, described as ‘the most beautiful piece of music you’ve never heard’ in December. This takes place on Saturday, December 5th, at 7.30pm at St Peter’s Church Didcot, Newlands Avenue. Tickets are £10 (£8 concessions) on the door or in advance from the Didcot One Stop Shop or call 07915 094842.
We have some wonderfully creative people out there, not least members of the International Feltmakers Association. On the weekend of 21st and 22nd November, from 11am-5pm, it is well worth taking a trip to gaze on the beauty of a display of work and demonstrations by members of the Reading Group, Region 5, at Sonning Common Village Hall in Wood Lane, RG4 9SL. If you’d like more information about the association, visit www.feltmakers.com
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA