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Village News

Blewbury Local History Group

December 1, 2020

1066 or 1914-18 are dates we all know but when did you last chat in a room full of people, hug a friend, or visit a pub or a cinema on a whim? How has your life been different in 2020 from before?

We hope that some of us have been keeping diaries either in words or pictures or sounds. Let people in the future know what life was like during this pandemic. The group would like to keep records of peoples lives during this strange period so if you’ve been recording it in some way please let us know; you can send anonymous items if you would prefer. For example I’ve noticed neighbourliness, a couple of unexpected acts of kindness, lovely birdsong which might have simply passed by in normal times. Contact any of us listed below.

Next meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 8th at 8pm by Zoom. Contacts: Audrey 850427 or audreyrosettalong@gmail.com and Mary, m-gaines@outlook.com and Roger Murphy at roger.murphy65@gmail.com.

Bridge Club

Congratulations to Hilary Strang and Jane Boszormenyi who were the top ranked Blewbury pair, nationally, in the recent Thursday night Children in Need Simultaneous Pairs charity event. Well done to them.

It has been agreed to suspend the £5 membership fee for the new playing year which commenced on November 1st. All club competitions have also been suspended – while face-to-face bridge is not possible all Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions will be played as Match-pointed Pairs on Bridge Base Online. Please contact the Chairman if you would like to take part and are not already registered. Club Funbridge sessions will also continue to run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Fridays for novices, over extended hours of 10.30am to 10.30pm for maximum flexibility.

There will also, unfortunately, be no Bridge Club Christmas Party this year. However, the Wessex League has re-commenced, also on line. Blewbury has lost its first match in Division 3 to Wantage.   Michael Allen 851870

 

Blewbury Croquet Club

Our AGM was held by Zoom this year, on Tuesday 17th November. As well as approving the Accounts for 2019 and re-electing the committee (with one change), we agreed not to increase our subscriptions; as a thank you to members who paid full fees for this year’s reduced season.

2021 fees will therefore remain at £150 for individual adult membership, £35 for under-25s, or £270 for family membership (any number of people living at the same address). We also have a “Distant Member” rate of £80 per person, for members living more than 30 miles away.

And we’re currently running a winter offer: if you join us at any time before the start of next season, your initial subscription will last through this winter as well as all next membership year – i.e. until end-March 2022. We normally keep our courts open for play throughout the winter, unless waterlogged or covered by snow/heavy frost. Although now closed during lockdown, we expect to be allowed to open them again at the same time as other such outdoor sports facilities (e.g. tennis and golf).

Scarily good scarecrows!

September 16, 2020

From the Blewbury Village Society:

What fun Worzel’s Weekend was! Thank you to the 24 households that put time, energy, and bundles of creativity into their scarecrows.

We know that many people greatly enjoyed walking the scarecrow trail, and it was wonderful to do something as a community in a year of many cancelled events. Judging was made enormously difficult by the high quality of scarecrows across the board, but the three winning entries are shown here. The main photo above shows On The Beach at Bankside, winner of ‘Most outstanding in their green field (most imaginative use of junk materials’. Next, below, is Woody on Staycation at Brooks End, ‘Overall Winner & Most Shared Scarecrow #worzelsweekend’

And finally, here is Amity Island at 2 Eastfields, winner of Furthest afield (on holiday) scarecrow and most ingenious choice &/or representation of a holiday destination’!

To see the complete set of scarecrows, head over to the BVS Facebook page.

Winners will receive their prizes in due course. Thank you to Style Acre tea room for sponsoring our Most Shared Scarecrow category with a voucher.

While we aren’t in a position to put on our usual autumn events (Comedy Night and Bonfire Night) due to COVID, the BVS Committee is resuming our monthly meetings to start brainstorming and planning what we can do as soon as conditions allow. We would be delighted to have some new faces and fresh ideas on the committee – you can commit as much or as little time as you like with no pressure. In a usual year, we put on a wide range of events in the village for all ages, and depend on many volunteers to make them happen. If you would like details, please contact us at blewburybvs@gmail.com.

Richard Blackford introduces ‘Blewbury Air’

August 5, 2020

Our local composer in residence, Richard Blackford, not only writes beautiful music; now he films it too!

For his first foray behind the camera, he has produced a seven-minute introduction to his recent piece for piano and cello, Blewbury Air. “This is a love song to the village of Blewbury, where I’ve lived for many years,” says Richard as he cuts between beautiful shots of village wildlife and scenes from the studio where his composition was recorded by pianist Adrian Farmer and cellist Rafael Wallfisch.

Blewbury Air has three movements: On the Water’s Edge, Incantation with Bells, and The Wind in the Branches. While  these are all strongly contrasted in mood, Richard says that “they have an overall lyrical, positive and sunny – sometimes playful – feel”.

To watch the film, click here.

Coronavirus in Blewbury

May 15, 2020

Here are the main Coronavirus-related news items notified so far; there are more inside the  recent issues of the Blewbury Bulletin. Information affecting the wider area can be found on the Local Government news page on this website.

THIS WEEK’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Blewbury Post Office is open again following the refurbishment.

Opening times are Monday to Fridays, mornings only, 8.30am to 12noon, with a 10 minute break at approximately 10.30am.

• Information on Church activities

St. Michael’s Church is now open for private prayer at the following times:
Wednesdays: 10am – 12 noon  and Saturdays: 3pm – 5pm
A steward will be on duty. Please note that social distancing must be maintained.

Regular Sunday Services, evening prayer (Compline) and groups are continuing online and by telephone.  The clergy are available if people have questions, would like to talk, or would like to ask for prayer for themselves or someone they care about.

For full details, click here to view/download a PDF file containing the latest information from the Churn Benefice.

OLDER STORIES

  • Recycling centres open on 18 May for essential use

Oxfordshire County Council will re-open Household Waste Recycling Centres on 18 May, for essential use. Essential use means waste that cannot be stored at home, or would cause harm to health if stored.

There will be new site rules to ensure social distancing and the safety of residents and site staff. This includes reducing opening hours to 8am – 4pm to allow for cleaning, limiting the number and size of vehicles coming in and contactless payments only.

Queues are likely, so if it can wait, please do. If it’s waste that can be disposed of legally and responsibly in another way, such as weekly kerbside collections or district council collection services, please do that.

Full information about the changes to recycling centre rules can be found on their website – www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wastereopenquestions

• Bulky waste collection service reopens

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have reopened their paid-for bulky waste collection service for large household items and are also issuing a warning about fly-tipping while other outlets for domestic waste remain closed.

The bulky waste collection service was temporarily stopped to allow the councils’ waste contractor, Biffa, to prioritise the important kerbside household collections while members of their waste collection crews were off sick or self-isolating. Biffa has now built up sufficient resilience in its workforce and can now provide the paid-for service again. The situation is being regularly monitored and residents should be aware that if staffing levels fall the service may need to be suspended again.

With household waste recycling centres still closed, along with charity shops and their donation banks, there are fewer places to dispose of unwanted items that do not fit into kerbside collections.

The councils have issued a warning to anybody tempted to fly-tip – this includes leaving rubbish next to litter bins – that they will investigate and prosecute anyone found to be responsible.

  • Croquet Club open

Following the Government announcements in May, Blewbury Croquet Club has  reopened to its members on a restricted basis, following strict precautions – on both social distancing and cleaning – as guided by the English Croquet Association. For now, no visitors are allowed on our premises, but we sincerely hope to be able to open our gates to prospective new members again before too long.

See our website www.blewburycroquetclub.org.uk for details, or contact David Long, Club Secretary, on 07484 360169

• Please stay away from Trim Trail on Tickers Folly Field

Unfortunately there are some visitors still using the Trim Trail equipment at Tickers Folly field. None of the equipment should be used for the foreseeable future. Please be aware that the virus can remain on surfaces and be contagious for many hours.

Please protect yourself and others by not coming into contact with any shared surfaces. This includes, but is not limited to, all community play and fitness equipment.

Should you have any contact, thoroughly wash your hands directly you get home.

Chris Lakeland, Chairman Blewbury Parish Council
Email: BlewburyPCChair@gmail.com

• From the Parish Council:

In the current circumstances, when the vast majority of children in the village are being home schooled and taking exercise breaks in their gardens, the Parish Council asks residents to be considerate and not light bonfires.

BLEWBURY GOOD NEIGHBOURS

We continue to organise shopping and prescription collections, run errands, and organise phone call rotas, or help with computers and communications. If you need help with any of those things, call Karen on 07825 154842 or Lydia on 07801 932393. To register as a volunteer, join the Facebook group Blewbury Good Neighbours; we’d love the group to continue, as we know that everyone needs a helping hand sometimes! Thank you to our wonderful volunteers, you are all amazing!

PARISH COUNCIL

The April Parish Council meeting (April 8th) and the Annual Parish Meeting (April 22nd) will proceed as required by law, but in a highly restricted form. More details on page 18.

BLEWBURY FLYING SQUAD

Following Government advice on social distancing and non-emergency hospital visits, and taking into account the fact that many of our drivers are themselves members of at-risk groups, the Flying Squad service is regretfully suspended until further notice.

VILLAGE HALL AGM

In view of the current restriction on public gatherings the AGM will be held as soon as possible after the reopening of the Hall following refurbishment, subject to government guidelines prevailing at the time.

BELL RINGING

Ringing at St Michael’s is still suspended. Hopefully when ringing is allowed to recommence we will send a powerful message of joy, hope and relief once the crisis has passed.

BULLETIN STOP PRESS SERVICE

If you would like to receive urgent village news and information by email, you can sign up to the Bulletin Stop Press service on the home page of this website. Powered by MailChimp®, all emails are blind copied so no addresses are shared.

Please note that the Bulletin’s coronavirus coverage does not, and will not, include advice on the virus itself, or on how individuals should respond to it. For the latest, most reliable information on these health-related issues, we recommend tuning in regularly to national and local broadcast news, or visiting the following websites (web addresses shortened for convenience):

Public Health Englandhttps://bit.ly/2WmUEUv

Department of Health and Social Carehttps://bit.ly/2WthCci

Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK Government responsehttps://bit.ly/3aWAV1U

Please note that information on these sites is frequently updated, so should be checked regularly for the latest advice.

On the Bright Side

April 19, 2020

In the words of Eric Idle from the gospel according to Monty Python ‘Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad, but always look on the bright side of life!’

None of us have ever experienced anything like this before but experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it. This is a time when we realise who our true friends are, those people who know you well but like you anyway. Blewbury has come up trumps in this time of adversity and talking of trumps, try telling Melania that social distancing is a bad thing.

Yes, even in Blewbury there are acute shortages caused by panic buying of avocados and goji berries and millennials shooting a line of bread flour but there are alternatives. Find something small and barely alive, put it on top of rice and strap it up with insulation tape – bingo, sushi! Or a cabbage from Savages, you know, that vegetable that’s as big and as wise as a man’s head. Going back to The Life of Brian – what did the Romans ever do for us, well they brought us tinned tomatoes, that’s what.

As well as bringing the community closer together, there have been other spin-offs, some good some bad. I no longer have to have as many meetings, where minutes are kept and hours are lost. Skipping the twentieth century we have embraced the twenty-first by having a Parish Council Zoom meeting which was ‘interesting’. But I have to say that I miss my twice weekly walk to the Blueberry with my mate Elphin for a couple of pints of Guinness, other makes of dark frothy beverages are available. This in spite of it now coming out of cans and brought to life with a vibrator. We would saunter along Watery Lane with his little legs trying to keep up in spite of doing four hundred Fitbit steps every hundred metres. He follows Ogden’s Law which states that the sooner you fall behind, the longer you have to catch up. But if I am inspired by anyone at this time to ‘always look on the bright side’ it is Elphin. In spite of a pretty ropey year before this mess he has still managed to come up with cartoons to amuse himself and others as he self isolates in Longridge, his house (see picture above).

So, no negativity. If we are all sensible, this will soon be a bad dream.  Chris Lakeland

Blewbury Good Neighbours Group

April 24, 2020

We now have over 200 lovely volunteers.

If you need a prescription collecting, some shopping done, a letter for posting or just need a friendly phone call, please ring Blewbury Post Office 01235 85177 or see the printed Bulletin for Karen or  Lydia’s mobile numbers and we will then find a volunteer who will call you back.

Woodlands pharmacy now requires a written letter of authorisation to collect on someone’s behalf, so please have a note written out & ready! Please don’t think you’re ‘being a nuisance’, because when we are poorly, we will be relying on you!

Stay safe. Love from Karen and Lydia 

Postponement of the Duck Race

March 30, 2020

The situation regarding events held during the Coronavirus epidemic is constantly changing.

As we have now been told that the progress of the pandemic will cover the next two months, the bellringers have decided to postpone the annual Duck Race, which was due to take place on Easter Sunday.

The Duck Race will now take place on Michaelmas Sunday, 27th September.

If you have already bought tickets for the Duck Race and would like a refund, please can you take them back to the Post Office or, alternatively, any ducks that remain sold will be entered in the race in September.

We know that this is frustrating and disappointing, but we feel that it is the most sensible approach to take as caring for our health is far more important. Gill Loyd

New Table Tennis Facilities

The Blewbury Table Tennis Club is now just over one year old and we are very pleased with everything that has been achieved in that time.

Over the last fifteen months we have held regular Tuesday evening club sessions and over 70 different individuals aged from 6-90 years of age have participated in our club sessions. In the early days we played on tables generously loaned by four families in the village. With generous support from the Tony Loy Trust and the Vale of the Wight Horse Active Communities Fund we now have four top quality Cornilleau Table Tennis tables, which are a joy to use both because of the quality of the playing surface but also because they are so easy to fold up and wheel around when they are not in use.

As well as our regular Tuesday evening club sessions, we have also now established a regular Tuesday afternoon After-School Table Tennis Club at Blewbury School, and both clubs have benefited from specialist coaching from a fully qualified Level 3 Coach, who visits us every now and then. On top of all that we have recently, almost seamlessly, been able temporarily to move the sessions for both Clubs from the Village Hall to Blewbury School Hall.

Sadly like so many other groups we are now suspending all Club activities as a response to the Coronavirus situation. We are however looking forward to being able to welcome new members to both of our Clubs once we start up again in the refurbished Village Hall – hopefully very soon! Roger Murphy, Club Chair