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Spring Term 2008 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter (No. 76)

Spring Term Review

Term began on Monday 7th January 2008 with the usual gentle start involving a general club evening (GCE) with film show. Bit of a GCE-lite really. We were short on helpers so getting most of us sitting down for Tim’s boys’ Christmas DVD was opportune. The main feature was the just-released ‘Simpsons Movie’ which went down fairly well although the jokes do come very fast for some of us. Because the film is just 83 minutes there was time for a B-feature and Tim had brought along an old favourite which many had not seen before ‘The Plank’ which featured more old stars than you can shake a tub of popcorn at. This caused much hilarity and the evening might have been better if we’d just played ‘The Plank’ twice! The rest of us drank coffee and sat and chatted about our Christmases - we didn’t even get the cover off the pool table!

Monday 14th January was the much-loved termly bingo session. Many fantastic prizes were purchased by Andrew Harwood and Tim croaked out the numbers as a result of a lingering cold of some sort. Well, many went home with prizes. Stephen Buckle had to hire a Pickfords low-loader to get it all away! We managed seven games including the usual stand-up game where the winner is the last person to get their first number.

We had a GCE on Monday 21st, the main feature of which was industrial scale gingerbread biscuit manufacturing. Knowing how excellent Sabine’s recipes are there was a good turnout and most of us went home with gingerbread stars and various other shapes - but no gingerbread men! I think the PC brigade had something to do with this - we had no gingerbread women cutters so it would obviously have been discriminatory. Ye Gods! We had a lot of new small games out in the hall and there was a successful fire drill. We are thrilled with our games compendium in its beautiful wooden box and Mark is particularly fond of a laser-activated shooting game.

On Monday 28th January the whole club enjoyed our annual visit from Icknield Way Morris Men who kept us entertained with a varied programme of folk music and dances under the ‘control’ of the fool Jim Birch. Sadly the squire Martin Foster was off sick - an unfortunate stave injury we believe! They were all resplendent in their whites, bells, hats and waistcoats and amongst many others we enjoyed the ‘Saturday Night’ fusion dance or ‘Bledibamp’ - ie the best bits of two dances from Bledington and Bampton, ‘The Adderbury Stick Dance’, ‘Old Molly Oxford’ and ‘Greensleeves’ from Stanton Harcourt. We all joined in at the end and a great time was had by all. Mark led a shooting session in the coffee bar and grabbed anyone coming out of the hall for the loo and forced them to have a go.

On Monday 4th February was a GCE with lots of colouring with Helen in charge in the hall. There were all the usual games including the shooting gallery and the new KerPlunk. Kevin entertained all of us on his table while colouring in butterflies, flowers, zebras - every time someone said something like ‘pretty’ (meaning the colouring) he sang "Pretty Woman" or ‘red’ he sang "Lady In Red"! Who needs a radio when Kevin is around?

On Monday 11th February Jim Shoemark turned up with Electroloom Disco for our annual Valentines’ Disco. There was all the usual energetic bopping to the usual tunes as a result of which Vera did a roaring trade on the coffee bar. ‘Timewalk’ got everyone going with its complex choreography and Kevin came dressed as spiderman but his superhero skills were not required. Nicky was doing some very exciting hip thrusting and gyrating , Stephen was a little more subtle in his black jacket, black trousers and white T-shirt. Even Ian in his wheelchair took to dance floor and obviously enjoyed himself as did everybody else. Sabine says she managed only 20 seconds in the hall because the music was ‘too loud for a little old lady like me’. Sorry, don’t believe you. Caroline had a birthday card because was her birthday on the following Monday when there’s no Club because of half term. Well the rest of us have a committee meeting - oh joy!

After a break for half term we were back on Monday 25th for a mini-outing to the Vale and Downland Museum in the centre of Wantage. This is well worth a visit and we didn’t really have enough time to explore it all but the staff, who were kind enough to give up their time and open the museum especially for us, certainly gave us an excellent taster of what it has to offer. We ferried everyone over by car and were split up into small groups and taken round. First on the agenda was an excellent film (with commentary by David Attenborough) all about the history of the whole area from pre-historic times up to the present day. It included excellent aerial photography and was very interesting. Amongst many other things, we learned about the importance of sheep farming to the area. Going round the museum we saw some very exciting reconstructions and exhibits covering housing, shops (if you wondered where Arbery’s went, it’s here!), the Wantage Tramway, farming and its associated engineering industry and even Damon Hill’s F1 car on loan from Williams Engineering. Poor Molly stumbled coming out of the loo and bruised her knee (our first accident since the introduction of our H&S policy!) and, as usual, Elva tried to take over from the expert guides showing us around! We ended the tour with drinks and biscuits during which we discovered it was Ian's 50th birthday!! We sang a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ and were back at Fitzwaryn in good time for the drivers to take everyone home.

March already and Monday 4th was mainly an Easter craft activity under Sabine’s patient and expert guidance. Almost all of us joined in and, using mostly paper, stick-on shapes and felt pens, produced a basket with a decorated polystyrene egg (eagle-sized!) and an Easter chick in it plus an Easter bunny folded to carry your Easter Sunday boiled egg. They were great but sadly no chocolate appeared to be included! Some of us just enjoyed chatting in the coffee bar area where we also had on display the plans for a massive expansion of the school over the coming year. This will mean quite a bit of inconvenience for us and the loss of our storage garage, although a replacement is being built but much further away! More to follow on this story I’m sure!

We had a real treat on 10th March with another visit from Cornucopia - the Wantage/Grove-based Appalachian Step Clogging and British Clog Dancing group. Led by Jim Wells, the first half of the evening comprised displays of traditional American and Anglo-Celtic folk music, played on acoustic instruments. There were about twelve musicians and dancers and they were absolutely terrific. Everyone was in the hall for the whole evening, loving every moment. Chris said it was "amazing, great". After a short interval for refreshments, the second half was a ceilidh. Spell check says there’s no such word but there is and that’s it. For those of you from Hanney, it’s a barn dance. We lined up in groups of eight and the expected pandemonium ensued, but it was enormous fun and after a couple of dances (‘Four Round Four’ and ‘Circassian Circle’) with a few right- and left-hand stars etc we actually began to get the hang of it for ‘Clopton Bridge’ which closed the evening. Thank you Cornucopia for a great evening!

On Monday 17th March we had another Beetle Drive with Easter eggs as prizes - yum yum! Hope our Club Leader didn’t notice! There was a good turnout in the hall with only a few not into creepie-crawlies left chatting in the coffee bar. We sat at tables of four and for each game began frantically shaking the dice in turn on the word ‘go’. (Throw six for a body, five for a head etc) First one in the room to finish drawing their beetle shouted "Beetle!" and won an Easter egg and then everyone added up the points or dice-value for their unfinished beetles. We played five games like this with a drinks break in the middle and at the end of the evening all the individual points were added up for more prizes. Winners of each game and a large Easter egg were Kira, Sarah, Ian, John and Carla. Not surprisingly these names also featured in the points prizes. In first place was Kira with 195 points, second was John with 183 points and third Carla with 170 points. Elva was very unlucky to come last with 100 points but lucky in that she got a special prize. Thanks to Vera for organising a very good evening.

There was no club on the 24th because it was, well, Easter but we were back for one evening on 31st March before the break for the er ... Easter holidays. No I don’t understand it either.

Our final meeting of the term on the 31st was another really good Harwood quiz. Two teams as usual: The Beetles comprised Sarah, John, Kevin, Penny, Ian, Lavinia, Steven and Tim (later joined by Jemma); The Lads and Ladettes (L&L) comprised John, Paul, Amanda, Sarah, Kira, Elva, Chris, Dick and Keith. The four rounds were excellent, allowing maximum contribution from members who knew a lot about the subjects. Round 1 was all about the Olympic Games including listing the events involved. Kevin, Penny and John C were all very knowledgeable on this and both teams were level at the end with 19 points each. Round 2 was all about James Bond, including listing all the films. Kevin helped enormously with this round at the end of which L&L had nudged into the lead by 4 points. Round 3 was all about recycling (Ye Gods!) and everyone knew what went into their green boxes and compost bins and at the end L&L were still in the lead 49 to 45. Round 4 involved listing 14 Club activities and The Beetles easily got the most with 36 but were very unlucky to lose the next question: ie What’s the average house price in the UK? Our guess of £200,000 was just £37 short of the right answer but all L&L had to do was say ‘higher’ or ‘lower’. They said ‘higher’ and won the points. Other questions in this round involved listing types of pets and dances (?!) The quiz ended with the 4-point difference maintained; well done L&L for winning by 64 points to 60.

Brian ‘Legend’ Haines

We were all shocked to hear of the death at the age of 52 of Fourteen Club favourite Brian Haines or ‘Legend’ as he called himself. Brian came along to Club once a year for many years and gave us a superb evening of entertainment with his guitar, karaoke machine and assortments of wigs and hats. Whenever Brian came along it was one of the very few evenings at Club when everyone came to watch him - members, helpers and even drivers stayed behind or came early to listen to him and watch him. He had a very powerful voice and an enormous repertoire of songs stretching from the present day all the way back to the 1950s. He was an accomplished guitarist. He always let our members join in with various wigs and silly hats on and his rendering of Tina Turner’s ‘Simply The Best’ with Tina Turner wig was unforgettable. He will be irreplaceable.

Committee news

The Committee met at Vera’s house on 18th February 2008. We said a temporary farewell to Julie Furlonger who is off to have another baby and will be back in the autumn. Having completed his DofE hours we also said goodbye and ‘thank you’ to Henry Penfold. It was reported that the Christmas draw made a profit of £693. Much work has been done on sorting out the garage and getting rid of unwanted stuff. Since the previous meeting we have had £130 in donations (Thank you!) and arrangements have been made for the summer outing on 5th July to Gifford's Circus when it visits Lechlade. The Club website has been updated - what do you think of it? The programme for the summer term was sketched out - this will include the usual quizzes, bingo, treasure hunt, pub visit, rounders, disco and barbecue as well as a sprinkling of general club evenings.

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 - it could save us ruining Coronation Street for someone!!

Did you know that drivers can be helpers too? Yes, obvious though it may seem, we have been asked to point out that if any of you wonderful drivers would like to give up even more of your time to become helpers you would be more than welcome to give it a try!

Club Chairman: Garry Shand 01235 764222
Club Leader: Mark Clutterbuck
Treasurer and Newsletter Editor: Tim Pocock 01865 760526

Any more of you out there?

We’re always desperate for more drivers. If you can help, or if you know someone who might please call Garry Shand on 01235-764222. It’s really not too bad - one or occasionally two trips per month during school term time.

Is anyone out there interested in being on the Committee? We are particularly looking for another parent or guardian. (Parent Jan Collins is already on). If anyone out there would like to become involved in this interesting and rewarding job, please contact any committee member - you could just come along to a committee meeting or two to see if you like it first!

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