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Autumn Term 2011 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter

Autumn Term Review

Term began on Monday 12th September with subs up to £1.50/week, a complete smoking ban whilst at Club and a section of the hall screened off for the next phase of building work. Will this give us our long-awaited storage room? Watch this space. The DVD show was Kung Fu Panda or somesuch and a small number of us watched it in the hall. We’ll get a really good one for next time, honest. Helpers and drivers lined up to complete their updated CRB checks with Garry and Tim was keen to get a few Christmas Draw tickets distributed. We need to sell a good deal more than usual because it looks as though we have abandoned a Christmas Stall this year. Everyone else seemed happy enough drinking coffee and chatting.

We enjoyed a great cooking activity on the 19th. Led by Jemma most of us made cookies in Fitzwaryn’s new show-home-style kitchen. Everyone except Tim and Elva got the correct ‘breadcrumb’ consistency with the flour, sugar and butter mixture. Sorry Elva - my fault - sticky putty not ideal. Well, we then had a choice of additions: white chocolate, chopped dried apricots or chopped glacé cherries. Elva doesn’t like apricots and the chocolate had run out so it was glacé cherries. Sorry again Elva that I went off to do some pointless paperwork and forgot to remind you to take them out of the oven after 10 minutes. I'm sure you will be able to do some great charcoal sketches. It didn't help that Patrick’s helper Barry had been a hotel chef and they produced the perfect consistency which made Elva and Tim quite nervous! Anyway most produced delicious results and went home happy. Champion Christmas Draw ticket seller John C took £300’s worth of tickets away to sell - and he will sell them. Brilliant John, thank you.

We had bingo on Monday 26th. Tim bought far too many prizes and ended up taking about a third of them back to the larder at Pocock Towers. This, of course meant that the bill for the Club was quite a bit less but the Pocock weekly shopping bill was considerably more. It’s going to take quite a while to use up all those tins of fruit and glitter pens. We had a bit of a low turnout of members owing to holidays but we managed six ordinary games plus two ‘last-person-standing’ games. Winners of full house prizes: Amanda Williams (big jar of Nuts and Cadburys Chocolate Fingers), Elva C (8 cans of Diet Coke), Jack C (‘Flushed Away’ DVD), Steven W (Cadbury’s Roses), Kevin L (‘Get Smart’ DVD) and Molly A (Chocolate biscuits). There were also lots of line winners including Linda Sturmer, John M, John C, Chris R, Laura S and Ian B. Winners of ‘last-person-standing’ were Emily H (big box of Licorice Allsorts) and Steven W (Cadbury’s Roses). Better luck next time to those who didn't bribe the caller.

On Monday 3rd October Pam booked magician Edmond Quigley, a 16 year old from Abingdon, and he was absolutely brilliant. He was a little bit late, as he’d been for auditions for Evita in Oxford, clearly a keen performer. He started with a spoon - he managed to bend it, just by touching it, straightened it and then snapped it, just by gently rubbing it. Then he did a card trick which was amazing - Kevin picked a card and we could all see it, he placed it in the middle of the pack. He placed the pack on the table and the card Kevin had chosen moved itself out of the pack! Spooky! Next, Jack C volunteered to help with the magic bag - he held the bag while Edmond made small lights appear - from behind Sarah Fearnley’s ear, from under his foot etc - about 8 altogether - and placed them in the bag Jack was holding. Then he put his hand in the bag and pulled out a string of lights - amazing! Next was a trick with a glass of water, which he changed to red, white and green and back to water! He then used 2 small pompoms and made them disappear and then double up to four by moving them from hand to hand! He then did another card trick, helped by new member Daniel. This time he placed the cards on Daniel’s hands and again the chosen card moved itself out of the pack! After this, Edmond went round the individual tables, showing more card tricks and pompoms, right in front of our eyes. We gave Edmond drum rolls at the appropriate times, slapping the tables or our knees. We used magic words we all knew - Abracadabra and Hocus Pocus. For the finale, Edmond set fire to a 10p coin, wrapped in tissue on top of the deck of cards. All the cards had a hole burnt into them, apart from the one that Kevin had selected. It was truly a ‘magical’ night, and we would love to see Edmond again. We were pleased to welcome possible new member Charlene who is a friend of Laura. (Reporter Debbie Warren - thanks Deb)

On Monday10th October, we had a very popular couple of craft activities in the hall led by Lisa and Jemma. One involved starting with a felt bag and decorating it with stick-on felt designs including lettering. So we had a large number of spectacular, personalised bags to take home, although on some the lettering seemed a little randomised: ‘dad be a enemy admired’ seemed a little sinister but it is to be hoped that it meant something nice to someone. The other activity used a card-making kit and embossing machine and these kits have a fantastic assortment of stick-on designs in gold, silver and all the colours of the rainbow, So some splendid designs resulted particularly from Elva, Ian, Marianne, Penny, Sarah W and many others. Brian H brought along a DVD ‘Graeme Le Saux shows us stuff about football’ or somesuch, (Yawn) so we had to wheel the TV into the centre of the room. This ran out before 9pm so we had time for a bit of one of our old Club DVDs of a 1991 trip to Chessington World of Adventure which was slightly more popular! John C came in with his first batch of £225’s worth of Christmas Draw tickets - well done John absolutely brilliant! School head Barbara was in for a meeting and showed us our new storage room which is almost complete!

On Monday 17th Janet came to visit us from the Earth Trust based near Didcot. We had a large crowd gather in the hall to hear about how to save energy in our homes. Janet also had a bike which when pedalled lit up 6 light bulbs. John C, John M, Sarah W, Stephen W, Jack C and even helper Jemma had a go. They managed to create over 400 watts of electricity between them. (Mind you, Jemma does quite a bit of competitive running (see Facebook!). We then had to guess how many watts were needed to boil the kettle and a hair dryer which Janet had bought along to show us. We had a good guess but we were out by miles - with the hair dryer needing 1,875 watts and the kettle 1,600 watts. Stephen told us that he boils the kettle 40 times a day for his cups of tea which was a lot of electricity! Janet showed us her "Electricity Energy Usage Monitor". We then went to look inside the Energy Bus, fitted with solar panels, a wind turbine and interactive displays. The wind turbine was working very hard as it was so windy. We had quite a discussion about energy efficiency light bulbs! We finished at 9pm so the rest of the evening was spent socialising. (Thanks to Jemma Howland for this report)

After a break for half-term, the Halloween Disco fell on the correct date, the 31st. We had an excellent turnout of the most amazing and well thought out costumes which left most helpers rigid with inaction .. er sorry that should be fear. Kevin Legge had a superb Michael Jackson outfit including a fabulous black curly wig and Marianne C was the Phantom of the Opera. Emily Humphries was a fantastic black bat and Charlene was a Halloween Princess. There were lots of scary witches: Molly, Chris, Sophie, Anthony, Laura and both Sarahs and Patrick came as Dracula. Jim Shoemark and the lads powered up Electroloom Disco and provided a marvellous evening of dancing. Winners of best costume were Linda Sturmer for the ladies with her excellent red devil costume and Brian H for the gents who came as ‘Death’. Best dancers were Caroline Burson and Daniel.

There were fireworks on November the 7th - well it was our closest Monday to November the 5th. Tesco were doing their usual excellent deal on display boxes (BOGOF) so there was a large number for Tim and Garry to fire off at the end of the car park. They kept a fairly rapid relay of lighting the things which was quicker than usual because the car park lights were on and it was easier to see the fiddly little fuses. Probably just over half of us braved the slight November chill and enjoyed the usual selection of Roman candles, fountains, rockets and little things the flare up for about 3 seconds. Everyone had a sparkler at the end and nobody grabbed the wrong end. In fact nobody died at all so we marked the risk assessment form as a successful evening. Afterwards Jemma and her team provided steaming plastic mugs of soup (tomato and chicken) which were utterly delicious and warmed us all up.

A massive event of biblical proportions occurred on Monday 14th November and it wasn't the karaoke competition. Yes, at last, School Head Barbara Harker handed over the keys to our new storage room! Yippee! At last we can begin to get some decent equipment and materials and have somewhere nice and dry to store them. The room is large, dry, well-lit and with power supply - brilliant! Lisa once again organised a superb karaoke night and most members joined in the fun. We had renditions of Michael Buble, Queen, Cliff Richard as well as lots of Christmas songs to get us into the spirit early (well, it is only 5 weeks away!). Third prize went to Sarah W, second prize went to Jack C and first prize to Kevin Legge. Some of the others socialised with coffee etc. There were no birthdays this week. Letters were given out to members, to let them know about the fund-raising we are doing on 26 November at Sainsburys, because we want to encourage some members to come along too.

After a bit of a gap Andrew Harwood organised another great ‘The Price Is Right’ contest sponsored by the Argos catalogue on Monday 21st. This was great fun as usual as one team guessed the price of something (the price had been cut out) and the other had to say ‘higher’ or ‘lower’. The vast range of items selected and cut out from the catalogue included a cup-cake maker, a Christmas tree, a cross-trainer, a dart board, a bike, a tent, a hair drier, a fish tank and a washing machine. We had two teams: The Apprentices (Sophie, Kevin, Penny, Ian, both Sarahs, Laura and Chris) and The Angels (Emily, Linda, Marianne, Dick, both Johns, Jack, Mandy and Charlene). Just for a change and between rounds we had listing games: how many types of shoes or biscuits or hats or colours can you write down in about three minutes or when Andrew said stop. The Angels won all of these rounds and managed 35 types of shoe, 30 hats and 41 colours! Well at the half-time interval, Angels were leading 8 points to 6. By the end, they had increased their lead and won by 15 -10. But they did have more people in their team.

On Monday 28th we were treated to another performance from ‘Harmony Inspires’ with their conductor Sandra Helm - fourteen gorgeous ladies who do close-harmony singing and whom we haven’t seen at Club for two years. They were all identically dressed in black shoes and trousers, white shirts and colourful black chiffon scarves with iridescent music motifs. They make a fabulous sound and entertained us with such numbers as ‘Walking With My Baby Down By The San Francisco Bay’, ‘I Love Coffee, I Love Tea’, ‘Wear My Smile’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Candle On The Water’, ‘That's What Friends Are For’ and then ‘Happy Birthday’ specially for Jack C. They then mingled with all of us in the audience and began a somewhat early Christmas session with songsheets and all of us joining in. We probably did the whole range of carols and the non-religious stuff including ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘We Three Kings’, ‘I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus’, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Overall a lovely evening which got us in the mood for Christmas.

We had the traditional carol concert and Christmas draw on Monday 5th December. Wantage Silver Band put on another exemplary performance for us and we were pleased to welcome drivers, parents, carers and others in the audience. The first half was a wide selection of music from their general repertoire and after a break and the draw, the second half was devoted to Christmas music. During the break we served delicious mulled wine and mince pies to everyone. The band sportingly allowed many of us to take the baton: Laura Sykes conducted ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’; Brian H (dressed as Father Christmas) conducted ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ and ‘Jingle Bells’; Marianne C did ‘Hark The Herald Angels’ and Jack C conducted ‘We Three Kings’. Other conductors included Dick Prior and John M and Elva C bravely stood in front and led the singing at one point. The Christmas Draw made a profit of £759 and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude for this to John C who single-handedly sold £426’s worth of tickets. The first prize of £150 went to a ticket sold by Anne Alderson and bought by ‘Emma’. So congratulations to her. Veteran Club driver Malcolm Cherrill sold 5 winning tickets and Committee member Pam Evans won a Christmas pudding and five free haircuts! Thanks of course to everyone else who bought and sold tickets and donated prizes.

We finished the term a little earlier than usual on Monday 12th December with Electroloom Disco (great stuff Jim!) and a food-filled Christmas party, much to Mark’s concern. This is always a bit of a dodgy combination but we escaped again with no projectile vomiting - unless the take-home drivers know different! No, sorry Elva, no Pass The Parcel or other games - there wasn’t really time. Ask again next year - but the week before if possible. Tim and Anne unloaded their respective lofts and transferred most of the materials and equipment purchased from the Oxford Community Foundation Grant earlier in the year into our lovely, new, warm and dry room. Don’t forget to check it out you craft organisers! There was the usual exchange of Christmas cards and frantic writing of spare ones for those you may have forgotten. But at least everyone went home with a lovely Christmas present, beautifully wrapped by Anne Alderson. This year everyone got a lovely scarf with little pocket things at each end for cold hands, fags, keys etc.

Emily, Linda and Marianne after two hours of bucket shakingThis fine trio braved the cold draught in the lobby at Sainsbury's Wantage on Saturday 26th November to shake buckets and collect money for the Club. We had a rota of volunteers doing a couple of hours each throughout the day and many members and helpers supported the event. It had been organised by Parent Committee member Clare Collier and she roped in her family too on the day, so a big ‘thank you’ to them. As a result of their efforts we raised a magnificent total of £408! A big ‘thank you’ to Sainsbury’s too!

The picture shows Emily, Linda and Marianne after two hours of bucket shaking. Thanks to Emily for the photo!

Notice Board

Don't forget, parents and carers, to let us know when members will miss Club. Last-minute problems cannot be avoided but when you know in advance please give Garry a call on 01235-764222. We cannot afford to send our volunteer drivers on wild goose chases!!

Parents! Don't forget to let us know about any medical problems which members may have or medication which they may need to take. We try to update medical forms regularly but we can never be up-to-date on everything. We should also be told if there is anything else which could be relevant - eg any foods to be avoided etc. Also, should we restrict any members on what they purchase at the coffee bar - even though these days it only serves low-calorie drinks. The onus is on you to tell us - we can’t be expected to guess! Thanks!

Drivers!!

Thank you for all you hard work bringing our members to and from Club in all weathers. You really are the lifeline of the Club and without you it could not exist. Please let us know when you’ve swapped runs.

Final Newsletter

This will be my final newsletter after 29 years and 87 issues - certainly for a while. I would like to thank you for your interest and express the hope that someone else will take this on. I have a significant new commitment for up to three years and will no longer be able to get to Club as regularly as I have done in the past and this will make keeping up with the news quite difficult.

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