The next meetings will be at 8pm on Monday 8th July and 'provisionally' Tuesday 6th August at the Stonewater Common Room. All residents welcome (but please let us know ahead of the date if you're coming)!!
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Saturday, 24 December 2016

Boxing Day Walk


We will be having a Boxing Day Walk around historic Abingdon-on-Thames starting at 11am outside the Guildhall, er, on Boxing Day! (please see map attached)

The walk will take around 90 minutes - just in time for lunch! Cost £10 per person (£8 over the over 60’s). Cash on the day please.

Places are limited so please let me know as soon as you can how many are coming.  Further details on the web site.  Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Gardening - Christmas 2016 (with extra cheer)!!

GARDENING AT CHRISTMAS - There are those that wish to combine the celebrations of Christmas with useful gardening – so here is a list that combines both.
  1. Open bottle of Champagne, drink a glass.  Thus refreshed, pop outside and prune that conifer back a bit.
  2. Have a second glass - that was hard work - you deserve it.
  3. Outside again and do a bit of weeding - throw the weeds over the fence to next door - they’ll never notice.
  4. Have another glass!
  5. Time to move that ... shrubby thing - you know ... that green thing ... dig it up and move it over there … by the glassy thing ... greenhouse - that’s it!
  6. Have another ... oh it’s finished - best open abuther nottle ... erm … another bottle.
  7. Now, those pigeons on the fence … if I can just – yes, got one ... perfect shot - knew that empty bottle would come in useful.
  8. Pay for next door neighbours gazebo repairs in the New Year.
  9. Slump in armchair happy in the knowledge of a job done well.
  10. And another thing ... wotsit ... waserr ... oh yes ... Chrissy Merrymas! ...hic....

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Abingdon Drama Club Juniors

The Abingdon Drama Club Juniors offers young actors from Abingdon and the surrounding area a chance to hone their acting skills in a fun, nurturing environment while meeting other young people from a variety of local schools.

Classes include a combination of drama games, improvisation, devising scenes and even writing original work.  Students build essential vocal and physical skills as well as mastering the essentials of acting including, objective, subtext and characterization. In-depth study of plays and playwrights supports learning, particularly for those who are interested in GCSE Drama. 

The ADC Juniors Drama Classes meet during term time and the cost is £80 for a 10 week course.  The timings for this term are as follows:

Juniors 1 (Ages 11-13) Sundays from 2.30-4pm
Juniors 2 (Ages 14-15) Sundays from 4-6pm
Juniors 3 (Ages 16+) Fridays from 5.30-7.30pm

Performance Club (available to all ages after 1 term of class) Sundays from 6-7.30pm
LAMDA Club (all ages) Thursdays from 4-7pm

Friday, 2 December 2016

Neighbourhood Watch - Thames Valley Police alert

Following a spate of 14 thefts from motorway services in Berkshire, drivers using stations, particularly those along the M4 in Berkshire, are being warned that thieves could be using technology to prevent people locking their vehicles and then steal from them.

People are being warned to make a manual check that doors are locked before leaving their vehicles.

This advice follows a spate of 14 thefts from vehicles at motorway services in Berkshire. In many of the cases there was no obvious sign of a break in and no damage was caused to the vehicles as items were stolen from them.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Fallen Tree




The dead tree on the green has fallen in the night because of the wild weather.  The council workers arrived in the morning on Longfellow Drive as its obstructing the road, and which will be closed for the clearance.  A neighbour's car had a very lucky escape.

Thank you Jill for the photographs.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Stonehill Community Gardens


More and more people are looking to grow their own fruit and vegetables and we are very lucky to have some wonderful projects in our area.

In 2015 Edible Abingdon (contact carbon.cutters@gmail.com) started growing produce for the community on a strip of land in Abbey Meadow between the Ice Cream kiosk and the river, and this year they expanded to grow vegetables and herbs using old-style recycling bins in a wonderful sunny site beside Old Station House.  It has been a great hit with residents, and the public, who are encouraged to pick the produce and have really enjoyed the fresh vegetables.

Edible Abingdon's aim is to encourage more people in the community to grow some of their own food, to show that lots can be grown in small spaces and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by eating less imported food.  Growing your own produce is good for you, there are more nutrients in fresh food, it's cheap, all you need are seeds and compost, and it's fun and children see where food comes from.

Stonehill Community Gardens is just off the Drayton Road down Oday Hill, and they are creating a vegetable garden and holding garden-themed events.  It is a garden for everyone and it is open every Wednesday from 11 till 3 for everyone keen to be outdoors, to learn and share skills and make friends.

 More information from Rachel at info@stonehillgardens.co.uk 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Tesco path cracks

It has been noted that cracks have started to appear in the newly laid path that runs to Tesco by the river Ock.

Accounts

The TFLRA accounts for 2015 / 2016 have been examined by an independent examiner and are available for viewing if anyone wishes to.


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Gardening - the Garden in Autumn 2016

Martin Gulliver writes - As the weather turns cooler, plants will slow down but there should still be plenty of colour.  Go out and buy some perennials that are in flower now and you know you’ll have colour this time next year.

There will also be plenty of winter bedding available now – pansies and violas especially.  They make very good hanging basket plants too.  Most hardy bedding should last until the first frosts.  Clear fallen leaves from beds and lawns and compost them.  Put them in a plastic bag, pierce a few holes in it and by next year you should have valuable leaf mould!  Raise permanent containers off the ground to aid drainage, and wrap tender ones in bubble wrap or fleece.  Other perennials can be cut back and split up now.  Discard the older central part and plant out the fresher outside growths.  Leave seed heads on plants as they provide valuable food for birds ... and can look decorative when frosted.

Some light pruning can be carried out - mainly just to keep larger shrubs in shape.  Those that you normally prune in spring, eg roses and buddleia, can be cut back by a third to prevent them loosening their roots in the wind, before the main pruning next year.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lost Key

A key has been found on the Masefield Crescent playing field.  It is very easily distinguished, so will be obvious who it belongs to.  Please contact 12 Masefield Crescent to identify it.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Gardening - Summer 2016

Martin Gulliver writes - What you do this summer depends very much on the weather - it would be nice to sit back and enjoy the garden, but being British we know that rain and sun will combine and the garden will burgeon, so...
  • Keep on top of weeding and deadheading.  With the latter, as a general rule cut back to a lower bud(s)
  • Trim the lawn regularly – little and often is best. If we get a hot spell and it goes brown, don’t worry – it will recover.
  • Sow more salad crops if you are that way inclined...a few seeds once a fortnight will ensure a regular supply.
  • If you have a greenhouse, keep it well ventilated. Water the floor in the mornings to keep the air humid and prevent red spider mite. 
  • Keep containers well watered, especially hanging baskets.  In holiday time bring them all into the shade while you are away – they will survive with one or two watering in the week.
As perennials flower and fade, cut them back hard and you should get a second flush of growth.  Herbs can also be trimmed to keep them tidy, and the trimmings can be dried or frozen for future use.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Good Neighbours Scheme

The North East Abingdon Good Neighbours Scheme now covers the whole of Abingdon and they are always looking for new volunteers to offer help and support to elderly, vulnerable and isolated people in their own homes.  Tasks include shopping, gardening, collecting prescriptions, light housework and befriending. If you can offer any amount of time from an hour a week upwards, your help will be very welcome. to find out more, call 07956 019611 or email gns.nea@gmail.com.  You can also visit the Good Neighbours website at www.neagns.co.uk

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Tesco River Path update

The Vale District Council have confirmed that they will arrange for the removal of the broken down barbed wire fence along the newly refurbished river path to Tescos.   We reminded them that there was a danger to children or dogs running over the barbed wire where it was lying on the ground, especially now that the path is used even more.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Walk on the Wildside


With the warmer, sunnier weather my partner and I look out at our garden from different perspectives.  He tuts at the size of the buddleia and how it is taking over the garden.  I look at it and sigh at how many butterflies and other insects I can count in one go.  He is happy to humour me.  When the weather is calm and hot, take time to look for these essential pollinators when out and about.  I have been amazed at the variety of species I have spotted along the hedgerows around the fields of Mill Road.  Last year I took part in the Butterfly count http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/  and logged the species I spotted in one hour (15th July- 7th August 2016).  I was impressed with the number of people who had logged onto the website in our area.

You could make some ‘moth candy’, to get your children interested.  What you need is ; a big pan, a jar/pot, spoon, thick paintbrush, torch, brown sugar, treacle, fruit juice, water and cola.  Heat the ingredients in a pan on a low heat, stirring constantly until everything has dissolved, adding more water if it looks like sticking.  Stir until the ‘moth candy’ is thick and gooey.  When it has cooled, put it in a jar and using the paint brush add it to various objects around the garden; walls, tree trunks, fence posts or even an old sheet/towel or rope on a washing line.  When it is dark, go out with your torch and you hopefully will be amazed at the variety of moths.

Moths and butterflies are part of the order Lepidoptera, which means scaly wings.  Fossil records show moths date back to 140 million years and butterflies 40 million years.  Moths tend to be more plump and robust bodies and when at rest most keep their wings spread flat or folded like a tent over the bodies, whilst most butterflies fold their wings straight up above their back.

The local Wildlife Trust has lots of exciting children’s events in the summer including a Happy Valley picnic (8th May), Oxford Festival of Nature (1 -14th June) and Night Time Safari ( 10th June).  Visit bbowt.org.uk/whats-on, for the full list of events.

Finally Dry Sandford nature reserve is a great place to spot butterflies and other insects around the ancient fossilised rocks that were once under the sea. You could even pop into the local pub afterwards to sample their ‘local nectar’.

By Max the Wildlife Watcher

Friday, 27 May 2016

Visit to the Energy Recovery Facility at Ardley ERF

I have sometimes wondered where everything goes that we put into our rubbish bins and, although I have always been an avid recycler and done the usual separated recycling, I would feel guilty about putting anything into the rubbish and on into landfill.

Then, through Abingdon Carbon Cutters, I heard about a visit to the Energy Recovery Facility which opened last November at Ardley, just north of Bicester where they have a new way of dealing with all the tons of rubbish we produce.

I visited it recently and was amazed.  It is a huge facility built by Viridor using state-of-the-art waste management technology developed in France and Germany.  We were welcomed with a very interesting talk, then split into two groups, donned protective clothing, and given a guided tour.  It was fascinating to see the massive 35m high structure and the miles of piping and cables.  The whole visit was really informative, very clean and not at all smelly, as I had expected!

The facility has two huge furnaces where the rubbish is burnt at 850ºC.  The hot air is then pumped out, cooled and purified and the steam produced during this process generates electricity, about 29 megawatts (MW) of which 3 MW are used to run the plant and the rest is fed into the National Grid.  This amount is capable of producing enough electricity to run 38,000 homes, and the infrastructure is already in place to provide central heating for Bicester Eco Town in the future.

This self-contained process produces about 10,000 tonnes of ash per year which is used for road building and can also be processed into carbon neutral breeze blocks for use in construction. Brilliant!

What is more, in the future they may be able to dig up and use the old landfill sites, and they can also burn the horrible plastics that can't go to into the recycling.

I have had to re-adjust my recycling habits since my visit as I wasn't aware of the different types of plastics and the way they should be recycled.  Plastics that make a 'crinkly' sound,i.e. salad bags, crisp packets, etc., I have now learnt, should go into rubbish.  The recyclenow website gives some more up-to-date information on what things go where.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit and tours can be arranged by contacting Alexandra Pyle, Waste Recycling Officer at the Vale on 01235 540566 or e-mail
Alexandra.Pyle@southandvale.gov.uk

The next visit will probably be 4th August.  Viridor also have a great Visitors Centre, organize school visits and engineering apprenticeship schemes.

https://viridor.co.uk/assets/REDESIGN/ABOUT-US/PUBLICATION-PDFS/VIRIDOR-ERF.pdf

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Gardening - the Garden in Spring 2016

Martin Gulliver writes - This is very much dependent on the weather - Spring can come early or late but this is a general guide:
  • As snowdrops fade, split them up to increase stock.
  • Prune and feed roses - cut back any dead or diseased stems and cut remaining stems back to a couple of outward facing buds above the ground on hybrid tea and floribunda roses.
  • Cut back and feed perennials - they can also be split now when new growth is apparent.
  • Sow hardy annuals now either direct in the ground or in pots to plant out later.
  • Feed all borders – weed them first then apply a mulch.
  • Top dress containers - scoop off the top 2” of soil and replace with fresh, and give them a feed.
  • Start sowing early veg, including carrots, parsnips, radish and spring onions.
  • Early potatoes that were chitted in February can be planted out now.
  • Try sowing a few salad crops...sow in succession to get a steady supply.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Plant Swap


For all Tithe Farm and Ladygrove gardeners!!  There will be a Plant Swap on Saturday 21st May on the driveway at 39 Masefield Crescent between 3pm and 5pm ... 'come rain or shine'.  Bring along your extra plants, surplus seedlings or spare cuttings and be ready to 'swap' ..... all for FREE!!




Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Neighbourhood Watch - Policing Update May 2016

Cycle theft: There have been four reported cycle thefts from Abingdon town centre over the last month.  Please make sure you lock your bike if leaving it unattended.

On Sunday 10 April, PCSO Ali Blood attended The Freewheeling Spring Cycle Festival.  She spent the day security marking over 100 bicycles and offering crime prevention advice.  If you would like to have your bike security marked or would like more information on how to keep it safe, please get in contact with the neighbourhood team.

Shoplifting: There have been a few shoplifting offences over the last month.  The neighbourhood team will continue to patrol the town centre shops on a regular basis to try and deter theft.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB): On the whole ASB is still on the decrease.  We are still carrying out high-visibility patrols to disperse and deter any groups.  If you witness any ASB please call our non- emergency number 101 to report it.

Purse theft
: After several purse thefts were reported recently in Waitrose, Abingdon, PCSOs Ali Blood and Susie Shepherd spent much of their time during the first two weeks of April speaking to customers and handing out crime prevention advice and purse bells.  The neighbourhood team would like to remind you to keep your valuables safe and secure when you are out.  If you would like more information on safety and security, please get in contact with the neighbourhood team.

Parking close to road junctions: 
We have received complaints about cars being parked on Shelley Close, too close to the junction with Northcourt Road.  If you are using the facilities at Northcourt Road please park considerately.  It is advised that you do not park within 10 metres of a junction.  Any vehicle found to be an unsafe distance from the junction will be liable for a £30 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).  Parking near to a junction restricts a driver’s view of the road when pulling out and is also unsafe for pedestrians wanting to cross.

Community engagement:  On 20th May PCSO's Sylvia Davies and Clare Eddery will be attending Ambitious Day at Rush Common School in Abingdon, where the children will be learning about ‘ People who help’.

The Abingdon PCSO's have been attending Junior Citizens at the Oxford Fire Station over the last month. Year 6 children from all over Oxfordshire, including Abingdon, are put through different dangerous scenarios including internet safety, house fires, railway lines and stranger danger. It is a fun and interactive day and the children are taught how to keep themselves safe and call the emergency services.

'Have Your Say' meetings:

Have Your Say meetings are an ideal opportunity for local residents to speak to their local police officers and PCSOs about any local issues, no appointment is necessary just turn up and speak to your local officers. Upcoming Have Your Say meetings are:

•  Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 11am – 11.45am at the Vale of White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, Audlett Drive, Abingdon with PCSO Sylvia Davies

•  Saturday, 28 May 2016, 11am – midday at Peachcroft Christian Centre, Lindsay Drive, Abingdon with PCSO Sylvia Davies.

Further meetings will be publicised locally and on the force website at www.thamesvalley.police.uk

Contact us:  If you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non-emergency number 101 or if it is an emergency then dial 999.  You can also contact us via email: AbingdonTownNHPT@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.  Please note this email address cannot be used to contact Thames Valley Police to report crimes or for any urgent matters.  To view information on your neighbourhood team visit the Thames Valley Police website at: www.thamesvalley.police.uk. Receive free local crime alerts and crime prevention advice by registering at www.thamesvalleyalert.co.uk today.  This allows anyone who signs up to choose what updates they receive and how they would like to receive it.

Winter Quiz Results

Thank you and well done to all who entered the Points of the Compass quiz in the last newsletter – the winner was Jacqueline Scott of Wordsworth Road who won a box of chocolates.  Well done Jacqueline!!!The answers are: (1) Northern Lights, (2) East of Eden, (3) South Australia, (4) South Pacific, (5) West Side Story, (6) Southern Cross, (7) Great Western Railway, (8) North Sea route, (9) Eastenders, (10) South Pole, (11) La Fanciullia del West, (12) North Korea.


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Councillors News - To Mark the Queens 90th Birthday

On Wednesday 11 May the honorary Freedom of the Vale was awarded to the Abingdon based 3 Regiment RLC, 4 Regiment RLC and The Rifles.

The award was made at a special meeting of Vale of White Horse District Council by Chairman Cllr Mike Badcock.

To mark this prestigious honour scrolls were presented to representatives from each of the regiments.

White Horse leisure and Tennis Centre

Visitors to the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre in Abingdon are set to benefit from a major programme of investment, which will see the current gym substantially extended, new state-of-the-art fitness equipment installed and a new crèche area created.

The new gym space, which will be extended by 290sqm, will boast £136,000 worth of new kit.  This will include the latest Technogym ‘Excite’ equipment comprising treadmills, recline bikes, crossovers and synchro machines – offering a full cardiovascular workout.  The additional space and new equipment will mean that up to 50 more customers will be able to use the gym at any time.  In addition, all fitness equipment currently located in the existing gym will be replaced and upgraded thanks to a further £246,000 investment.

A new outdoor crèche area is also planned, devised to give young children more space in which to play, while their carers are using the leisure centre’s other facilities.

The gym changing rooms will be refurbished with the introduction of new showers, toilets, wash basins, lockers, paintwork and lighting. The main entrance to the building will also be improved thanks to the installation of an impressive new canopy, while public art will also be installed throughout centre.

The roof of the extended gym area will be an environmentally friendly ‘Green Roof’ featuring plants and vegetation to absorb any rain water that falls on the new building.

The £1.7million improvements are being funded by Vale of the White Horse District Council and GLL, which operates the council’s Better leisure centres.

The work is due to start on Sunday 15 May and is expected to be completed just in time for Christmas.

Cllr Charlotte Dickson, Cabinet Member for Leisure at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re very keen to ensure our leisure centres provide residents with the best experience and facilities possible.  This £1.7million investment from the Vale and GLL will make a huge difference for people visiting the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, especially those using the gym.  There will be much more room and new equipment meaning many more people can be accommodated at peak times.”

Ben Whaymand, Partnership Manager GLL, said “The White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre is a fantastic community facility. The work comes at an exciting time when we are investing £1.7m by extending the existing gym, and introducing state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

“The gym changing rooms at the leisure centre will also receive an upgrade as part of this work.
“This will be a massive difference to the existing facility offering a wider range of equipment for our customers, and adding benefit to their membership.”

Abbey Meadows Project

Thanks to a £615,000 investment from the Vale, Abingdon’s Abbey Meadow is set for a major overhaul. Following a significant public consultation last year the Council has announced a reburbished pool building with a new changing area; an extended children’s splash area; two new exciting adventure playgrounds; new picnic seating; new public toilets open all year round and a new multi-use games area.  The majority of work will begin after this year’s summer season.

Recycling

Keen gardeners in the Vale of White Horse can take advantage of some of the district councils’ upcoming offers and discounts.

Existing garden waste customers can leave double out for collection between 16 and 20 May.

Any extra garden waste needs to be in an open box or bag by the brown bin, but not in trade bags as waste crews won’t empty these.

If residents sign up to the garden waste service in June or July, they’ll get ten per cent off their annual fee.  During this time existing customers can get the discount off their annual fee for an extra bin.

Councillor Elaine Ware, cabinet member for waste at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This is the perfect time to sign up for our garden waste service.  It’s very simple – you just put your brown bin out on the same day as your green bin, and we’ll come out and collect your garden waste.  If you’re having a bit of a spring clean, make the most of all the waste services we have to offer – we collect small electrical items and textiles, too.”

I welcomed the freeze in charge for brown bins in the budget earlier this year, together with the freeze in council tax for the 6th year running this represents a real cut in the Vale element of the council tax while at the same time maintaining a high level of service, with your help we can be the number 1 recycler in the country.

I know many of you are concerned about the refugee situation and how decisions made at central government might affect us.  As I understand it there will be a small number of families coming into the Vale over the next few years under the Syrian response.  From a personal view I am pleased to hear that compassion is at the heart of our response.  Last week Host Abingdon launched – an inspirational Q&A with Patrick Kingsley, a journalist who has worked  over the last years reporting on the migrant  crisis

To finish with a quote from the evening

“the history of Europe and the USA is one of migration”