Monthly Archives: May 2017

Blewbury School: Habitats and SATs

May 19, 2017

This term is proving to be a busy one throughout Blewbury School, with all the classes undertaking different tasks whilst keeping a common theme – Habitats.

In Key Stage 1, Class One have been dashing all over the place with a trip to Farmer Gows activity farm in Faringdon, learning about the different animals and their behaviour. They have had an outing to release their frogs back into the wild having watched them emerge and grow from spawn, and next week are off to visit the farrier in East Hagbourne. After each trip, they report on what they have seen and produce some wonderful work.

Class Two have been looking at “mini-beasts”, or slugs, snails and stick insects to you and me, and will be moving to bigger animals and their surroundings later this term.

Class Three have made bug hotels from wood, bark and bamboo which has definitely been a hit with them, although the squeamish amongst us probably won’t be checking in anytime soon!

Meanwhile, in Key Stage 2, Class Four have been studying how various species adapt to their habitats and how they evolve to adjust to their conditions and environment. They have been studying the life cycle of butterflies and ladybirds and some flowers, whilst also learning about food chains and the water cycle.

Class Five have been studying the classification of living things and have had a go at pond dipping in the newly refurbished pond (thank you Gus Mills) to learn about aquatic life, particularly looking at how animals adapt to their surroundings and can camouflage themselves.

And Class Six… well, Class Six have been taking their SATs, the National Curriculum Assessments which all pupils must undertake. These comprise of four key areas, Maths, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, and are certainly no pushover, so, for those of you who are wondering, here are a couple of questions from previous papers….

“Identify the missing number. 12.5 ÷ ? = 7.5 ÷ 1.5”. Or how about this one: “how many vertices does a square based pyramid have?” Don’t worry if you are struggling to answer the questions because you would be in good company. Schools Minister Nick Gibb was asked this SATs question live on the radio. In the sentence “I went to the cinema after eating my dinner” – is “after” a preposition or subordinating conjunction?” Unfortunately, Mr Gibb chose the incorrect answer, which is why all the teachers at Blewbury School begin preparation well in advance of the tests so our children get a deep understanding of numbers, grammar and English, whilst maintaining the balance between achieving successful SATs results and imparting a well-rounded, experience-rich education!

My final words must be a resounding “good luck” to Class 3 who are just about to start their SATs as I write – aged 7!

Michael Evans Class 6 Link Governor

PS – the answers (to save you Googling them) are 2.5, 5 and subordinating conjunction.

The photo, courtesy of Eric Eisenhandler, shows images captured by video camera traps purchased for the school by Sustainable Blewbury.

Notes from the Allotments

May 30, 2017

At last, an appreciable amount of rain, although I’m not sure how far down it went as I haven’t been digging since it happened, but the soil has really hardened up since my last report. It is very heavy work carrying full watering cans from the tanks at the allotment, and to do everything takes about 20 cans….

The potatoes did catch a bit of frost, despite being earthed up, and the tops look a bit poorly but they will recover. The good thing is that the fruit had set on the gooseberries and the little pear tree, so there should be a reasonable harvest, although I did notice quite a few miniature gooseberries on the ground under the bushes….

Because of the drought (can we officially call it that?), everything is being really slow growing, and even germinating; still nothing from the climbing peas so I might cut my losses and plant the runner beans there as it has already been dug over and fertilised; they are doing well in their root trainers in the greenhouse and will just need hardening off before planting out at the end of the month.

One very evident sign of the lack of water has been an abrupt stop in the rhubarb harvest; everybody’s seem to be suffering, with the long stems falling over in seeming exhaustion, what a shame! Still, a good drink should revive them as there is about another month to go before we are advised to stop picking. One crop that does not seem to be affected is the raspberries, all growing vigorously and with flowers about to open, hurrah!

I am chronically short of time this year so have taken advantage of plug plants for the brassicas, which arrived yesterday; I’ve temporarily put them in small pots with some compost to let them recover from their journey before planting out. I’m growing cabbage, red cabbage (a first for me), sprouts and cauliflower. I’ve also bought some leek seedlings which are already about 10 inches tall, but they need to thicken up a bit before exposing them to the allotment, so in a large nursery pot for a little while.

In the raised bed, a magnificent crop of radishes has come up – but nothing else! Where are the carrots and parsnips? We shall wait and see!   Angela Hoy (angela.hoy@sky.com)

BLEWBURY WI NEWS

May 3, 2017

Hello again.

May is almost here, with all the beautiful trees in blossom and colourful spring flowers blooming. We can look forward to warm , sunny days and sitting in the garden. We would love to welcome any new Members to join us at the following May events.

  • Tuesday 2nd May 2017   Lyn’s Walk.   A local walk, mostly on paths. We will leave the Village Hall at 10.00am.
  • Tuesday 9th May 2017   Coffee at Style Acre with Cilla. 10.30am.
  • Wednesday 10th May 2017   Visit to Chalgrove Manor.
  • Friday 12th May 2017   Craft Evening at Liz’s.
  • Tuesday 16th May 2017   Scrabble at Susan’s   30pm.
  • Friday 19th May 2017   Talking Science Lecture at RAL Harwell: To Catch a Monopole. Dr Tom Whyntie. 1.30pm.
  • Wednesday 24th May 2017   Monthly WI Meeting at the Vale Room   00pm. Speaker Bruce Duncan. The Loan Soldier.

For more details of any of our events, or if you wish to join us, please ring Karen on 850219 or visit our web page, http://blewburywi.wordpress.com where you will find more information.       Love from Cilla.

Sustainable Blewbury

‘Emulating Nature’s Genius (sustainable engineering solutions)’ – a talk by Prof. George Jeronimidis, Monday 15 May, 8.00pm, Blewbury Manor Barn:

Studying how nature solves its engineering and materials problems provides inspiration for solving our own problems. Spider silk, a fly’s eye, a pine cone opening and closing, shark skin, a lotus leaf, a gecko’s foot … all were inspirations for engineers … but inspirations for what? Tickets from the Post Office, £6, including a glass of wine. All profits donated to the Village Hall refurbishment.

Blewbury Garden Market: Reopens (for our 8th year!) on Blewbury Service Station forecourt on Saturday 20th May from 9.30 to 11.30 am, with fresh produce, plants and seedlings, flowers, home-baked bread and cakes, free-range eggs, preserves and honey, all locally produced. We’d love more volunteers to help man the stall, please contact angela.hoy@sky.com if you’d like to join in!

Community Orchard – news: All the trees appear to have taken successfully. Even the weakest looking have buds and some, especially Morello cherries, are bursting out of their protective netting. In the wildflower area, the cowslips are also looking good this year. However, the unusually dry April weather has been a concern, so the Community Orchard Group (COG) organised a watering session, along with liquid seaweed fertiliser. Many thanks to the Mussons for water supply access and to members of the Hedge Laying Group who helped. We are always looking for more volunteers to join the COG. If you’re interested email John Ogden (jogden@blewbury.net).

We will be erecting a signboard in the orchard, and we expect it to be installed in good time for the Orchard Picnic day (see below). The whole village is warmly welcome to come along and help us to celebrate!

Community Orchard – grand opening and village picnic, Sunday 11 June, Tickers Folly Field, from 12 noon: Bring your own picnic. Brass band, licensed bar with local beer and soft drinks, and a cake stall. There will be fun activities for kids and more … full details in the June Bulletin.

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE

FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME

E-MAIL TEL NO.
Folding child’s high chair, metal with plastic covering. Large freestanding wooden tapestry frame.

Ann Dendy

ann@dendy.co.uk

850760

60cm freestanding electric cooker

c.10 sq m of limestone tiles in opus pattern

Ian Davies

davieees@gmail.com

07974 236219
A pair of bookcase glass doors 17″x 28″ and a board with frame suitable for attaching posters with blutac (not pins). 33.25″ x 21.25″

Brenda Hopkins

brendahopkins36@yahoo.co.uk

Child’s ”smarTrike” 3 wheeled orange bike, complete with all accessories and original box. For children from 10 months to over 36 months. Jo Lakeland jolakeland.48@gmail.com 850490
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (lydandmuz@gmail.com)

To find out more about Sustainable Blewbury, go to www.sustainable-blewbury.org.uk. If you’d like to get involved in what we do, or to receive our free Newsletter, contact us at info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk.

 

Post Office News

Well done to all of those who spotted our “April Fool” in last month’s news!

We are collecting the last “Active Kids” vouchers from Sainsburys’, for Karen’s girly guides, please bring them in!

We will be closed on both Monday 1st May & Monday 29th May, for the Bank Holidays. Allowances paid on those days will be paid early, usually the Friday before.

Some Bank cash deposits can now be made using your debit card! (Cheques in the envelope as usual.) Barclays definitely works! But almost all Bank accounts are online with us, & most building societies too.

We have some beautiful British Bird stamps out in Early May.

We now hold the bookings diaries & the keys for the Melland Room, as well as the Village Hall and Vale Room, the online diaries are available to view on the Blewbury Webpages, and then just email, using the link, or ring us to make a booking! (851777) Love from Karen & Angela

 

BELL RINGING NEWS FROM THE BLEWBURY TOWER

Our annual Easter Sunday Duck Race was a resounding success once again as 500 little yellow ducks raced along the stream in the Playclose in five heats and a final, ably assisted by bell ringers in wellies.

The sun shone and many of you turned out to join in the fun and cheer on your ducks. First prize for the fastest duck of the day (no. 444) went to Karen Brooks, with second and third prizes going to Andrew Forman and Meg Pryor. Penny, the fluffy duck from the “Guess the name” competition went home with her winner and new owner, Daniel Marsh. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who came along and made the event a success.

Learn to ring!

Try a new hobby to exercise both brain and body! Join a sociable team and be part of a great English tradition! A six week bellringing course for beginners in the local area (including Blewbury, Harwell, Chilton and North Moreton) starting on Monday May 29th is a really good opportunity to kick-start your learning with an initial period of intensive training. You will learn in a group, visiting different local churches for tuition, and you will aim to be able to handle a bell and begin to ring rounds by the end of the course.

For details see: http://onb.odg.org.uk/live/index.html or contact Susan Read on 01235 529779, read@tesco.net

 

NOTES FROM THE ALLOTMENT

It seems very early in the year to be praying for rain, but April has been such an extremely dry month with only a few spots of rain here and there. However, the soil has remained surprisingly workable and at least it does not entail having to de-clog your boots every few minutes, making digging much harder work.

The early potatoes (a red variety) are now showing dark shoots and it will soon be time to earth them up to promote more growth underneath (and also protect the tops from frost, which we have just had overnight so I hope they are all right!). The remaining second earlies and main crop are now all planted, with a row of beetroot along the remaining edge of that plot.

The one remaining brassica from last year’s not very successful plantings has finally burgeoned into a beautiful cauliflower and, being a winter cauliflower, has not suffered from yellowing caused by too much sun! A delightful surprise, and tasty too, with hardly anything else to harvest.

The fruit cage was constructed, hurriedly, as we could see that the gooseberries were already covered in tiny little flowers. We left the ends of the netting open to allow pollinators easy access, and can now see miniature berries forming. Lots of flowers also on the blackcurrants, redcurrants and the little pear tree, and the transplanted rhubarb is doing well enough to pull a few sticks without over-stressing it, delicious…..

Red and white onion sets have been planted in an area that was covered in black cloth, mercifully weed free. We need to keep an eye on them and replant any that the birds pull up – do they think they are worms? And some climbing peas (a new one on me) have now gone into the ground alongside them. The smell of onion is supposed to deter pests….. Hopefully the runner bean seeds sown in root trainers will start growing soon in the greenhouse, in time for planting out next month.

I’ve given the raised bed a good digging over and refilled it with some fresh compost, after which it was raked to give a fine tilth before sowing with parsnip and carrot seed. I’ve interspersed the parsnip with radish that not only gives a quick crop but also shows where the parsnips are, as it is notoriously patchy in germination.

Don’t forget the Compost Giveaway at Crowmarsh Gifford on May 13th! Angela Hoy (angela.hoy@sky.com)