Clubs & Societies


November 22, 2017

Bell ringing, as has been said before, encompasses many things – a skill, a hobby, a challenge and social but to name a few – and our activities this month have covered many of these.

We started November with a quarter peal rung on the evening of November 1st to celebrate Dick Street’s significant birthday and the arrival of Richard and Gill Loyd’s first granddaughter.

November 4th saw some of the bell ringers travel to Oxford to ring at 5 different Oxford towers some with 10 bells which was a new experience for some, the day concluded with an Indian meal enjoyed by all those who took part.

November 11th was The Branch Social, a barn dance held in Harwell Village Hall and a good time was had by all those who attended.

November 12th Remembrance Sunday heard the bells rung half muffled in memory of all those who had lost their lives or been injured in 1st & 2nd World Wars and in conflicts since.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is being performed in Blewbury Church at the end of November and the beginning of December, so there will be some changes to our normal ringing pattern of Friday and Sundays. There will be no ringing for Sunday morning services on 26th November and 3rd December and no Friday evening practice on 1st December. There will however be ringing for the choral evensong on the evening of 3rd December, do listen out for the bells. You are most welcome to come and see what ringing is all about any Friday evening 8 – 9.30 pm.


With winter nearly here it is not the best time to be digging the allotment as the soils are glutinous. Digging wet soil acts to compact the soil even more, so hopefully, you will have dug your allotment over in October.

I have completed mine and my new raised beds made this a fairly easy and enjoyable task. One of the allotment owners has a no dig policy, with the idea that the worms will do the business of redistributing the soils and matter and the worm holes will provide drainage. This is also a well-established farming practice, as it is thought that if you plough soils you disrupt or destroy their structure. Also by ploughing or digging you expose the soils to the oxygen in the air. This mineralises the organic nitrogen into highly soluble ammonia and nitrate and this can then get flushed away into our streams when it rains. This means you lose the essential nitrogen required for plants to grow. Hence farmers have to put fertilisers or compost back onto the soils to replace this natural nitrogen. A bit on the daft side from a farming perspective as nitrogen fertiliser is expensive.

As part of the cleaning up on the allotment I have a mountain of dead plant remains and quite a few woody weeds, which were growing up amongst the sweetcorn and the asparagus bed. Getting rid of these weeds is not straightforward as they have lots of seeds so you don’t want to distribute these over the allotment. Also many of the plant remains such as cabbage stalks and sweetcorn material are thick and woody, so composing these is not so straightforward. So it’s best to chop these up, not an easy task without the proper tools. I have a garden shredder at home so I am taking back the woody plants and shredding these to add to the compost or just dig back into the soils as direct compost. The weeds are best to burn, to avoid spreading the seeds everywhere. Having a small fire on the allotment is a bit of an annual ritual and generally results in a lot of smoke, not much fire, and you inhaling lungful’s of smoke!! The wind always seems to change direction, to give you a full frontal blast of bonfire smoke. Not good for your lungs and asthma, or for the environment really, but it does mark the passing of an allotment year. There are still many jobs to do on the allotment and it’s a good time to prune the soft fruit. Soft-fruit crops are excellent to grow on an allotment and being perennial, they are easy to maintain once established. Pruning is not that straightforward as different varieties need different approaches. Generally you remove the dead canes in the autumn and trim back to say 5 strong canes in the spring. Raspberries and other soft fruits are great to grow on the allotment even if many get eaten before you get them home. On the Blewbury allotments, one allotment owner has about 100 productive raspberry canes and almost none were picked this year. So this proved to be a great magnet for kids to snaffle a few. I would have been worried but with such a mass of fruit unpicked it seemed reasonable for a few to get eaten in this way.  Paul Whitehead

Annual Village Leaves Clearance

November 15, 2017

Sunday 3rd December 2 to 4 pm

This is an annual event, organised by Sustainable Blewbury with support from the BVS and Parish Council, and sponsored by The Blueberry.

We all use the footpaths: joggers, dog walkers, pub goers, people going to the Garage or Savages, etc. If everyone who uses the footpaths helps out we can clear them of slippery leaves very quickly. Last year we had a lovely afternoon, with lots of families and individuals enjoying themselves. There will be an activity for children at the school beforehand, and afterwards volunteers will enjoy coffee, tea or juice with fresh, home-baked cakes at the Blueberry. If you would like to contribute a cake, please contact Lesley Ogden at

Meet at the Playclose at 2 pm. Bring a rake or leaf shovel and wheelbarrow if you have them.

Thanks to Bernard Mattimore for the photo


At our October meeting we were so enthralled by the latest historical finds from round the village that we never did get time to collate the Walks books, so that will be top of the agenda at our next meeting.

We will also discuss how we can have closer links with other local history groups. Harwell for example is having a series of talks for a year starting on November 15th in the Cherry Hall, details available from Audrey. But a member of our own group will be giving a talk in Wallingford next month about the archaeological finds in Blewbury, see the details below, or

Our next meeting is Tuesday November 14th at 8pm in the History Room, Parsonage Lane. If you want to know more about what we do, contact either Mark or Audrey 850427 or

Talk: ‘Blewbury – A Saxon Surprise in a Test Pit and a Roman Religious Site on the Downs’

Dave Carless and Lindsey Bedford will be giving a talk in Wallingford on Wednesday 8th November, about findings from two volunteer digs in Blewbury in 2015/16. The two projects led to the discovery of an early Saxon sunken featured building in a back garden through test pitting, and the investigation of crop marks on the Berkshire Downs which English Heritage recorded as a possible Romano-British temple. The sunken building, being cut into chalk, was well preserved and yielded some lovely finds and the possible Roman site delivered its own surprise in the form of a deep shaft.

The meeting is at St. Mary’s Church, Wallingford, starting at 7.45pm for 8.00pm. Parking is available nearby in the Waitrose car park (free at that time of the evening). There is a charge of £4.

Blewbury WI


Hello to everyone. Autumn has arrived. Very beautiful but will keep us very busy with all the fallen leaves to sweep up and the garden to put to bed. But we can look forward to bonfires and fireworks to keep us entertained and the following list of WI November events will keep us happily occupied. All new members will be made very welcome to join us.

  • Wednesday, 1st Lyn’s Walk. Leave the Village Hall at 10am for a local walk which will probably finish up at Style Acre.
  • Wednesday, 1st Scrabble at Lin Page’s. 7.30pm. Please ring first.
  • Friday, 3rd Craft Evening at Liz’s. 7pm. Please ring first.
  • Monday, 6th Mah Jong at Steve’s. 2.30pm. Please ring first.
  • Wednesday, 8th Coffee at Style Acre with Trish. 10.30am.
  • Wednesday, 22nd WI monthly meeting. Craft evening making Christmas items. Vale Room 7.30pm.
  • Friday, 24th Talking Science Lecture at RAL Harwell. 1.30pm. Pressing FIRE on the most powerful laser in the world. Dr. Ceri Brenner.

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, where you will find more information.  Love from Cilla


 Your Local Village Gardening Club

It’s reminder time for everyone – our ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING takes place on WEDNESDAY 1ST NOVEMBER in the VALE ROOM at BLEWBURY VILLAGE HALL. It commences at 7.00pm for 7.30pm which gives you time to have a complimentary glass of wine and some nibbles. Look forward to seeing you there.

Tickets are now available for our ANNUAL SOCIAL which takes place on SATURDAY 2ND DECEMBER (7PM – 10pm) at UPTON VILLAGE HALL. This year will be “A London Evening” with delicious home made food (those with special dietary requirements will be catered for), quizzes, games and lots of fun and we have some very special entertainment!! Tickets have been held at last year’s price of £9 per person. Tickets are available from Karen at Blewbury Post Office or ring Margaret Maytham in Upton on 01235 850126 or contact Eileen on 01235 510095.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the above events.

We are in the process of planning our programme of events and visits for 2018 and this will be available soon. We are planning a visit to West Green House Gardens in Hartley Witney and a trip to Wisley – the details will be announced in the new year. Our Annual Summer Show will take place in July and we are re-arranging the classes for the Children’s Section to try and encourage more of them to take part. Full details will be available at the beginning of 2018.

DID YOU KNOW ? Thrushes love the berries of the rowan tree and distribute the seeds in their droppings. The rowan used to be carried on ships to ward off storms and was also planted on graves to stop the dead returning to haunt the living!! Happy Gardening Eileen


The issue of slugs is ever present and I was at Blewfest enjoying the music (wasn’t George Long amazing – where did he get that voice from) when inevitably there was a mini cloudburst.

So I was sheltering in the beer tent, funnily enough, when a girl tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘slugs’ to me. I recognised her as the owner of an adjacent allotment which absolutely immaculate and very productive, in fact makes mine look like a scraggy mess. I have watched her allotment go from nothing to near perfection over the past two years. So she said that Slugo, the non-poisonous slug pellets, were good but she had a better solution, namely frogs. She has a small pond in her garden in Cossicle Mead and she collects frog spawn and grows frogs. She then put them on her allotment where they spend the summer eating all the slugs. Amazing and brilliant plan I thought. So I have decided to accumulate a few old sinks or washing up bowls, plant one in each of my eight raised beds and grow frogs to control the slug population. So if you have any spare washing bowls save them for me!!

There are still lots of veggies on people’s allotment and my leeks have been great this year so I carefully picked mine and took them home last week. My son who had come back home for the weekend saw them and said ‘great Dad — fresh veg from the allotment, perfect’, and nabbed the whole lot and disappeared back to Bristol to cook leek soup. So there go my leeks I thought, but how amazing that a veggie hating ex-teenager now has turned into an allotment veggie leek lover. What more could you want for from your kids.

Well it’s coming to the end of the summer so time to clear the allotment and hunker down for winter. Also, time to pick the fruit on your apple or pear trees. I have two small trees, each of which has two varieties which were grafted together. Unfortunately this year there was almost no fruit, which I can only account for a frost in late spring or a bit of overzealous pruning last year. Other apple trees on the allotments seem to have done well however, with five trees planted by Mike Edmunds producing amazing quantities of fruit. These were varieties of eating apples and cookers, available to anyone on the allotments to pick. Mike was one of the most generous of people and he had a Blewbury allotment for over forty years. He passed away in 2015 and is greatly missed.

Bridge Club

The AGM was held on Thursday 5th October ahead of a shortened session of bridge.

Susan Tilbrook and Steve Quinn resigned as Committee members and thanks go to them for their contributions in the past – particularly to Susan for all her hard work collecting subscriptions and maintaining the membership lists. Also for acting as lead co-ordinator at the Christmas parties. Sarah Donne and Mick Moore were elected to the Committee and our thanks go to them. All Officers and other Committee members were re-elected unopposed.

After some discussion about the £1 additional table money which has been charged as a contribution to the Village Hall Refurbishment Fund it was overwhelmingly agreed that this should continue.

Cupholders are asked to return their cups to the Treasurer, Colin Field, no later than the end of the month.

A heat of the Children in Need Simultaneous Pairs will be held in the club on Thursday 16th November. It is hoped that as many members as possible will turn out to play that evening and to be as generous as possible with their contributions to this worthwhile charity – all funds raised on the evening, including what would normally be a contribution to the EBU for Pay to Play, will go to Children in Need. Anna Gudge, who organises the hands and the results, normally appears at the BBC event on the Friday evening to present a large cheque! Over £70,000 was raised by bridge clubs last year and now Anna’s organisation, ECatsBridge, is an official partner of Children in Need in recognition of the large sums raised in the past by the bridge-playing community.

Finally, it is with great sadness that I have to report the recent death of Gillian Hewitt-Taylor who was a keen supporter of the club over many years, a committee member, and contributor in many ways to the successful running of Blewbury Bridge Club. Our thoughts are with her many friends and family at this sad time.

Michael Allen  851870


September 22, 2017

We hope that many of you heard the Peal of Morville Delight Major (with 5088 changes in the order of the bells) rung in 3hr 5min on 23rd August to celebrate the life of Jim Blond who, during his life, contributed so much to bell ringing. The Peal was beautiful to listen to and was an inspiration to those of us who are still trying to improve our ringing. Thank you to Colin Turner and his band of ringers.

Our learners are making fantastic progress, we are very fortunate in Blewbury to have teenagers wanting to learn and continue the tradition of bell ringing not forgetting the experienced ringers who are teaching them. As an aside it has reduced the average age of bell ringers at Blewbury considerably!

We continue to ring for Sunday service and practice night is Friday 8-9.30pm, a warm welcome awaits anyone who would like to come and see what ringing is all about.