Silent Sunday – 5am 27th July 2014 – Demolition of 3 Cooling Towers at Didcot Power Station

 This is the start of the demolition of Didcot Power Station which has dominated our skyline for the last 4 decades.

image

image

image

image

These towers have been in my town for the whole of my life so far and they were destroyed in 12 seconds

(months of preparations I am sure).

Some people are glad they are gone but that’s another chunk of our heritage that has been removed.

Eyes down for a full house – Lost my bingo virginity.

I am no longer a virgin, a bingo virgin that is!

I have had my first encounter with a bingo dabber. Four of us girls from work frequented the local bingo establishment.

When I was young (back in the late 70’s early 80’s) it was our local cinema and I used to go to Saturday morning pictures with my sister.

Anyway I digress.  I arrived and the same usherette from back in the day greeted me and gave me a registration form to fill in.  Paid my entrance fee and found the girls.   It seems that if you register you can sign in three other people so they were selling me the option of a cheap night out.

Form filled out and now to buy cards/tickets to play.  I didn’t have a scooby, a complete novice so just took the options given to me.  I ended up with three books of varying coloured pages, one big long strip, some link books and some national cards.

Sue purchased us all bingo dabbers mine was a pink one, though it turns out not a lucky one!

So the challenge began to try and understand the game.  First game was a single line, when that was won you went onto two lines followed by a full house to me a novice all the numbers crossed off.

We thought we were doing well until, a lady sat next to us pointed out that the winning numbers of each game were supposed to be crossed off on another ticket.  Well, we were bemused/confused but tried to catch up.  We have decided if we go again we must be prepared with crisps and sweets and snacks and maybe even a lucky mascot.

It was a bit odd, I was expecting tables to sit around but instead we sat in rows like at a test centre or on a train.

The bar on the other hand was cheap, cheap, cheap!  Maybe we should opt for bingo followed by a night out.

None of us won a thing but we did have a giggle.  I think we will go again.  It seems that they call bingo numbers most nights and weekends.

Bingo Night

Bingo Night

 

 

Freddie Perry Foundation – Fundraising cycle ride from Avesbury to Didcot – 53+ miles

20140326-204818.jpg

Freddie Perry Foundation Charity Bike Ride 2014

On 11th September 2013 our community was shaken to its roots.  We lost 10 year old Freddie in a road traffic accident. 

Freddie was the sweetest and funniest little chap.  He always had a cheery smile and a hello for everyone.  The children in the neighbourhood all played together, basketball, scooters, bikes football on the green.  The boys were always in each others houses.

In fact, we were just commenting today how the children all new each other and us parents all knew where the children belonged but did not necessarily even know the names of their parents.  We might have known each other well enough to say hello to in the street but not a come round for a cuppa type of relationship.

Since the accident we as a community have been brought much closer together, we have become much more of a tighter community and we all want to make our neighbourhood as safe as it can be.

There have been conversations with Councillors, Planning Officers and the like  but still six months later nothing has been resolved.  We don’t want much,   a safer environment for our children, our elderly and ourselves but sometimes it feels like that is just too much to ask.

Judith and Lea Freddie’s parents are in the process of setting up a charity, The Freddie Perry Foundation.  The aim of the foundation is to help with funding and raising awareness of road safety where children are involved. 

There is a lot of paperwork to be completed and this is an ongoing process at the moment to set up the foundation.

In the meantime though people are wanting to be involved and wanting to be raising money to help reduce the chances of this happening again.  Lea, Freddie’s dad said that they wanted to set up the Foundation so that Freddie’s death was not in vain.

So far there have been waxing events, bungee jumps and the latest event is a cycle ride (she says making it sound like a little leisurely ride to the pub)  from Avesbury to Didcot over 53 miles along the Ridgeway to Streatley and then back into Didcot.

The bike ride is taking place on Saturday 29th March.  It is being cycled by 5 lads the youngest being only 14.  Go Zac!!

The boys are hoping to arrive home at about 3pm.  So I shall be waiting for them to rock up to the pub.  If you want to come and support them please feel free to pop along to The Wheatsheaf, Wantage Road, Didcot from 2pm.

Hopefully we will be able to get fundraising pages sorted out soon so that you can get involved too if you wish.

Wildwood Kitchen is my absolute favourite place to eat in Didcot and I will tell you why….

I love having this little bit of the Mediterranean right on my doorstep.

Wildwood Kitchen

For me the atmosphere and menu are much more inspiring.  Its great for lunch with the girls, Saturday treat with the children or date night with the hubby.

I love that the meals are served on wooden boards with little wells to fill with balsamic vinegar.   They serve an amazing mozzarella and caramelised onion garlic bread (oops just dribbled onto my keyboard). Rip it up, share and devour.

I am vegetarian and usually opt for the homemade tart with roasted vegetables and a side salad or the mushroom risotto. Yum Yum, little glass of wine or a beer and I am in heaven.

Though, I am told that the calzone that is served at Wildwood  is the best one that friends have eaten in the UK and they actually compared it to calzones served in Italy whilst on holiday.  Surely, you can’t get any more authentic tasting than that.

Then once you have eaten your main course there is always dessert.  What is your preference warm waffle,  brownie or tiramisu?

I love Wildwood so much that much I have persuaded my team have their Christmas dinner there.  I think that the Christmas menu is fabulously different. No roasts but instead mouth watering festive burgers, brie and cranberry pizza, leg of lamb or pasta bake.

The service has always been great,  Neema and the team are welcoming and friendly and they have recently received a Customer Service Award.

Have a look at their website not only do they have a restaurant in Didcot, they have three others.  Shaftebury Avenue, London, Stratford upon Avon and Barnes.

Main Menu

Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates on menus and events.

All I want for christmas is an open fire or a log burner

I am in the process of setting the seed in my husbands brain to get the chimney swept and replace the old gas fire with either a log burner (dual fuel preferably) or an open fire.

You know what its like, you sew the seed, they think its a rubbish idea, the work gets done, everyone loves it, then its their idea!  Voila

I think that secretly I am an arsonist at heart.   I love open fires, camp fires, candles, barbeques and fire pits.  Though not particularly keen on bonfires especially when my washing is on the line!

My thinking is that as gas and electricity prices are rising and I hate being cold and that this is a better way of heating the house.  A friend of mine has a log burner and every time it is on she has to open the doors and windows because her house gets too hot.  That will do me.  I would much rather be too hot than cold.

Already I have taken out the old gas fire with the help of a friend whilst my husband was at work.  I cleaned up the opening and left the IPad on a few pages which sold log burners.

I thought I was doing well until he came home with another gas fire that his friend at work had given him.  Its not that its not a nice fire, it is.  Its just not what I want and what I want I usually get at some point (it may take a while).

Apparently he has a telephone number of a chimney sweep but not booked an appointment yet.  I’ll give him until the end of the week and then I will book one!

Unless someone wants to install one in my home and use it as advertising or a promotional home. 🙂

I can see my vision now

Christmas tree

Tinsel

Lights

FIRE

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas

A34 the road to nowhere?

A34

This afternoon we decided to pop to Bicester village and garden centre, or at least that was our plan anyway.

The A34 northbound was totally jammed all the way from Didcot, past Abingdon, past Botley and all the way towards Bicester.  We were beaten by the traffic and ended up at Millets Garden Centre instead.

I think that highways and road planners really need to seriously  think about the road systems in our area.  They are building more houses but it seems that they are not planning any more major roads.

I believe, there should definitely be another main route south from the M40.  Fridays are notorious for being a bad day to attempt the road but all it takes is one broken down vehicle and it comes to a halt!

Maybe the A34 should become a motorway rather than a dual carriage way?  Just a thought!

My sympathies are with those who have to commute and use this road on a daily basis.

What to do? cut the traffic or increase the capacity of the existing roads?

Who Knows?  Ideas on a postcard please.

Birthday Parties – Something different?

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

This year the boys wanted something other than the usual football/bouncy castle leisure centre birthday party.  So I trawled the net for other more appealing options and found a fantastic alternative.

In July my eldest had been away with school for a week in Wales and whilst they were away he did rock climbing, canoeing, abseiling and the like.  He came back full stories of the activites he had taken part in. So from here I started my hunt to see what options were available for his birthday party.

My brother recommended contacted Youlbury, which I knew as a Scout camp. I found their page and contacted Kathy for ideas of prices.  I was expecting to pay a fortune!  £££££ and was pleasantly surprised that actually it wasn’t.

The pack arrived by email and hesitantly I scrolled through the information to find the prices and was very pleasantly surprised. £9 for one activity of 1.5 hours or £15 for two which equated to 3 hours – yes 3 hours of activities and most of them are qualified instructor led!

Joe’s was the first party we held at Youlbury this took place in July and it was hot, hot, hot.  The boys who were all 11  and attempted the aerial trekking and archery.

Arial trekking was so high I was dizzy just looking up, they had to scale the climbing wall to the top and then complete the aerial course and then come down  the other side.  The boys had two instructors and my brother also helped out.  then they attempted the archery. Whilst the boys did archery my sister and brother built a fire and cooked their sausages.

IMG_3462

Leo’s was the  most recent party, which took place on Monday 28th October (yep the day of the potential 2012 storm which was supposed to rival 1987). Luckily, for me they didn’t cancel and we arrived with 8 boys aged 7 and 8 in tow.

The boys were very excited and attempted the archery using bows that looked massive in comparison to them.  They were led for both activities by Beth who had just passed her Level 2 assessment the day before enabling her to lead even more activities.   She controlled the boys so well I was very impressed. Safety talks and instructions were all listened to before the activity started.  Leo loved it and a couple of the boys managed to hit the bullseye!

 After a quick break for a wee, sandwich and a drink the boys were strapped into their harnesses for the crate stacking.

Beth advised that due to the weather if the crates were blowing over she would have to stop the activity.  Luckily the weather was sort of in our favour, the wind piped down but we did have a heavy shower but the boys did not fret and fuss they just cracked on and really enjoyed the adventure.  We did have one child who got upset and was adamant he  did not want to do the crate stacking activity.  All the boys had been strapped into their harnesses and as Beth was leading the safety briefing he decided that actually he may want to try so we strapped him up and  off he went.  It was decided that as they boys were small and as it was windy that 10 crates high would be adequate for them to attempt.  The child that was not so keen wanted to be the  second pair to attempt the stacks and he  loved it,  and wanted to do it again and again.  Such a turnaround!

Such a fab day yet again, even the weather didn’t put a downer on it and all the boys want to go back again.

We arrived at the camp at 9.30 and left just after 1pm. Definitely value for money.

In fact I am  thinking of having my 40th there and trying to encourage my work place to do a team building event there as it is great!

Here are the details of Youlbury Scout Camp.

Website:  http://www.scoutactivitycentres.org.uk/locations/youlbury/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Youlbury-Scout-Activity-Centre/109254055802828

Youlbury Email:  Katharine.Jolley@scouts.org.uk

SHOPPING – Pop up shops?

I had my first experience today of a POP UP shop. There are quite a few empty shops in our town and one is being used as a pop up shop.   I believe the point of the shop is that you rent it for a couple of months get noticed and either move into a shop in the town or move on.  I might have this completely wrong though.

What do you think of them? A good idea?  I certainly think so especially if they are completely different to anything we currently have in the town.

I remember a few weeks ago there was a photographer in the shop but now they have another retailer in.

I had driven past and saw some underwear in the window  and wondered what sort of shop this could be… first impressions I thought it was a burlesque, vintage,  maybe Dita Von Teese inspired shop.

Today was the day I walked past and my first impressions from a few drive by’s were so wrong.

The shop is currently being used as a pop up by two businesses Kuda, which sells items including handbags, scarves and jewellery and Pip & Pantamailon  which sells handmade products like lingerie, aprons, cushions and bunting.

As I walked into the shop I was greeted a lady who was happy to tell me about the products.  There are some beautiful knitwear items including two absolutely gorgeous dresses (neither of which would fit me 🙁 such a shame). There were also materials and ribbons, bunting, cushions and some fab little handmade note books. Which were made by a lady from Wallingford which is just a few miles away.  I purchased two notebooks for my boys as they are quite partial to a notebook for writing random sums or stories in.

I had to restrain myself as there were a few scarves and bits and bobs I could have quite easily purchased.

This shop won’t be around for long so I recommend that you get down to the Lower Broadway in Didcot and have a look.   (Opposite Barclays)

Just found this article too:

http://www.heraldseries.co.uk/news/10742984.Online_businesses_test_out_the_high_street_with_pop_up_shops/