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Summer Term 2010 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter

Summer Term Review

Term began on Monday 19th April in almost unrecognisable premises. Over the Easter holidays our main meeting area had been carpeted and converted into the new school library and the old dark brick walls in the hall had been plastered and painted white. It really did make the hall look bigger. We moved the pool table into the new grand entrance foyer but kept the coffee bar in the library (for the time being). It was the usual ‘Start the Term with a GCE’ (general club evening) evening. The DVD showing in the hall attracted around fifteen members and helpers who enjoyed Lemony Snicket’s black comedy ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ starring Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep and Billy Connolly amongst others. At 8pm most helpers disappeared into the old library room for the Club’s AGM. (see below)

On Monday 26th we had a visit from an un-named ceilidh band which comprised helper Lisa who played the flute very expertly accompanied by Grahame, an Icknield Way Morris man on his melodian. They were fantastic! Lisa also acted as caller for some of the dances which some of the members joined in, even though some of them were a bit tricky. We were a bit short of ladies and Stephen White kindly volunteered to be one. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. There was much interest in the planned summer outing to Longleat and the various letters were handed out. We celebrated birthdays for Andrew R, Dick P, Ian Cand Kevin L.

After the statutory May Day bank holiday break, we came back on 10th May for one of Jemma’s excellent craft evenings. She had purchased a load of white, glazed mugs, tiles and picture frames and some special pens which actually write on shiny china surfaces. More than that, you can then stick them in an oven at home (the china things not the pens) and any patterns or pictures will be fixed and, apparently, permanent. This was a very popular activity and we had a big area of about six tables pushed together in the hall and as you would expect, we had a wide variety of very inventive patterns and drawings. Hope there were no accidents with the hot oven at home! Our normal ‘coffee bar’ area for the past 37 years was now fully converted into a very comfortable library area, so we may have to move into the vast lobby area with some of our activities and do a few more things in the hall.

Monday the 17th was our termly bingo session. We had all the usual games with prizes for one and two lines and a full house and ‘last one standing’ which is specially for those who claim never to have their numbers called, You know, the one where everyone stands up, but then each player sits down when a number on their card is called. Winner is the last one standing. In one of these games Lavinia C was the winner taking a large pack of PG Tips teabags and the other was a draw with both Penny T and Andrew R who won cooking sauce and a cutlery set respectively. Conventional games were won by Kevin L (Madagascar DVD), John C (Songs of the 70s CD), Ian B (cans of Coke Zero), Sarah W (set of coffee mugs) and Emily H (engraving set). Lots of other won line prizes including John C, Andrew R, Amanda W and Elva C. The proceedings were interrupted by what sounded like a Lancaster bomber flying low over the school, but when it was realised that it was Norman S following a rather large dinner, many of us had to run for our lives.

Monday 24th was a Surprise Evening and in spite of a dearth of helpers, it was a great success. Helper Lisa Beardmore was in charge and with help from Mrs Collier (Jack’s mum) we all made musical instruments from simple things you might find in your typical recycling bin. With a few tissue boxes, Coke cans, toilet roll holders, elastic bands and lentils, by the end of the evening we managed to raise an orchestra. Well, more of a shaker and guitar elastic band really - but very good indeed! We even had time to paint them! Andrew R was particularly good on his tissue box and elastic band guitar. Amanda was so enthusiastic with her shaker that the end flew off! We were pleased to welcome a possible new member Amanda L. Helper and coffee bar supervisor Bernie had problems getting her provisions from our container on the car park. It had been moved for tarmac-ing and put back the other way round so there was some delay whilst Bernie looked for the bolt!

After a break for the Spring Bank Holiday on May 31st, we were back on Monday 7th June with another exciting treasure hunt. It was somewhat dampened by the rain but a couple of intrepid teams set off in a very determined way. The teams were ‘Jack’s Team’ comprising Jack, Sarah F, Emily and Brian, supported by Lisa and Jemma and an apparently un-named team comprising Elva, Laura and Chris supported by Debbie and Iain. Let’s call it ‘Elva’s Team’. There was the usual long list of items to try to find: a ladder, an England flag on a car, a garden fork, a bid feeder, a yellow garage door etc. Well both teams did very well but organiser Andrew’s scoring gave victory to ‘Jack’s Team’ by 22 points to 19. However if we look into this somewhat more deeply, we find that Jack’s teams popped into Jemma’s house on the way round where they mysteriously managed to find more than half of the items on the list! Their answer to ‘Find something unusual’ included a dressing gown, a toolbox and a rabbit. I think you would agree it would not be that easy to find these items walking the streets of Wantage, would it? So I think the scores should be much closer than indicated. Elva’s Team should also be given extra points for getting Elva over a stile! There were the usual snacks at the rec: Capri-sun drinks and kangaroo-flavoured crisps (yes, really). Everyone else remained at Fitzwaryn cosily doing jig-saw puzzles and drinking coffee. Norman listened to his particular choices of music far away in the kitchen.

We had a different sort of evening on the 14th: Hannah from Mates ‘n’ Dates was back to organise a surprise evening for us. Mates ‘n’ Dates is a social organisation that tries to find friends for people. Don’t worry (too much) mums, dads, carers etc! The speed dating session was quickly renamed ‘speed friendship’ and we all sat in pairs in a circle in the hall and talked to our partner to find out something we didn’t know about them. After four minutes, the person on the right moved round to the next person and did the same again. We had to say what we had found out about the person afterwards. This went on until we all knew everything about everyone and then we had a break. But, of course, everyone knows everyone quite well at Club! We had one brave chap who was a member of MnD and whose parents had driven from Swindon to Lechlade to pick him up and bring him in. His name was Dave and he was a really nice chap, but I don’t think he made any progress with any of our lot. After the break Hannah organised a karaoke once we had mastered the complexity of the new technology at the school. (Where was the TV we normally borrow?) This was great fun and we had some super performances: Kevin sang ‘That’s My Goal’, Laura S sang ‘Lonely’ and Sarah F sang ‘Super Trouper’. Elva gave us another Abba hit ‘Waterloo’ and Steven W did ‘Uptown Girl’. They were all very brave and very good; the only problem was that because we had to use the wall-mounted TV for the lyrics, everyone sang with their backs to the audience! We ended by singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Chris R.

It was a lovely summer’s evening on Monday 21st June - the longest day - and just perfect for our traditional ‘pubnic’. Everyone strolled to The Lamb (well except for Tim who came in his car, for various important, administrative reasons of course). The drinks bill came to just under £100 but Lee at the Lamb as usual generously provided mountains of burgers, onions and sauces in bread rolls completely free of charge. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone at The Lamb. We met Sophia for the first time - helper Marie’s new baby who is just gorgeous and everyone (I think) had a good time and not too much to drink.

Karen Bird led an evening of aerobics on Monday 28th which was very popular - it was truly amazing how many of us joined in, in spite of the hot weather and the fact that most seem to be dressed for snow-clearing! We had a mixture of circuits with various points round the hall with different exercises to do and the more conventional fixed position stuff with Karen leading us at the front to the accompaniment of a modern beat combo. Or was it Dizzy Rascal? Well, we managed all the moves: grapevines and er ... grapevines. Sorry that was the only move I remembered the name of. And I hadn’t heard it before. Elva joined in sitting in a chair. Chairobics we thought - sounds to me like the way to do exercise. After the break Marie organised a sports quiz which was much enjoyed. Brian B’s knowledge is encyclopaedic - in the picture round he even managed to tell the difference between Venus and Serena Williams! Well done Brian.

We had a great craft evening on Monday 5th July. We made brightly-coloured friendship bracelets by weaving embroidery threads together and incorporating glass beads and the like. They were very effective and pretty. We were very pleased to see veteran helper Julie Furlonger back at Club and we hope you will be able to come more often now Julie! Winners of the weekly raffle were Ian B, Brian B, John C and Dick P.

On Monday 12th Jemma and Iain staged another excellent quiz with sweets as prizes (Was Mark C not involved??!!) We had rounds on General Knowledge, Famous People and TV Characters to identify, Geography, Sound Effects, TV Theme Tunes and Name That Dish And Which Country Does It Come From? We had three excellent teams : ‘The Best’, ‘The Winners’ and ‘McDonalds’. We had some easy questions eg ‘Which is the shortest month?’ and some quite difficult ones eg ‘How can you tell if a shape is symmetrical?’ It was difficult to see which team won because they all got loads of sweets but it was believed to be, unsurprisingly, ‘The Winners’ who were Amanda W, Chris R, John C, and Keith T ably supported by Anne A. So well done them and everyone else - the scores were close in any event.

We finished the term with the disco and barbecue. The superb Electroloom Disco played all the usual favourites with Tom Shoemark at the controls. It wasn’t quite the usual outdoor end to the summer term as owing to the loss of the courtyard to new building work, the disco was in the hall and for similar reasons we haven’t quite worked out where to have a barbecue. Our contract with the school says anything involving flames and sparks is a bit of a no-no. It would have to be well away from buildings. In any case we hadn’t organised a gas cylinder for our wonderful new barbecue, so we had boiled frankfurter hot dogs made in the kitchen, which, let’s face it, is all they have in America where the hot dog was invented. We were very pleased to welcome ex-helper Sabine on a visit.

Summer Outing

Our summer outing on Saturday 10th July was by coach to Longleat Safari Park. We had a lovely and very well-organised day and the members really enjoyed themselves - and no one got lost! There were 18 members as unfortunately Amanda L had a minor op and couldn't make it. Helpers were Jemma and husband Ian (aka ‘E’) together with children Millie and Archie, Andrew and Helen with daughter Lois, Debbie, Iain and Mike (Iain's son) and Pam (Debbie's sister).

Many of us were very brightly dressed: Penny and Archie were in stylish purple, Sarah W in red, Kira and Millie in shocking pink, Keith and Stephen in dazzling green, Sarah F in cream, Gemma in a stylish flora number, Lois in a stripes complete with tiger mask and Brian in a dazzling number like the sun. We were stunning! It was so much easier for the lions to spot them, but it would also have been so much easier for us to find them had they become separated from the group.

We saw loads of animals from the comfort of the coach on the safari - deer, giraffes, rhinos, lions, tigers, wolves (fighting over their lunch), llamas, vultures and ostriches to name just a few. We split into 3 groups and took the boat trip to see the widowed silver backed gorilla (who has a TV but doesn’t like Coronation Street!), sea lions (swimming and jumping close to the boat) and hippos. It was really good. Then many of us took the train ride and saw pelicans and had a lovely tour of the park.

Iain and Mike's group managed to see the parrot show, which was superb - parrots cycling, playing football, basketball etc - really clever. We had a picnic lunch and the weather stayed warm and dry all day. Some of us also managed to visit the bat-house (where Helen got wee-ed on by a bat! Mmmm nice) and the butterfly house. Others had a ride in the simulator and Millie and Lois had a ride on the tea cups and visited Postman Pat, but the day flew by and there wasn't enough time to do everything! Some people went to visit Lord Bath's house which was very impressive. There was, of course, time for the obligatory visit to the gift shop. The cutest gift purchased was Sarah F’s meerkat. Simples!

Special mention to Kevin for being very helpful in Debbie's group, helping with Elva and Molly and holding doors open for visitors and organising a collection for bus driver! Elva did well thanking the bus driver, the helpers and the guys steering the boat. The coach arrived on time and dropped everyone back at the stated time of 6pm. All went swimmingly well! (Many thanks to Iain Norburn and Helen Harwood for this report)

News of Members/Helpers/Drivers

Helper Marie Leverton had a little girl, Sophia Elizabeth, on 22nd April. Both are doing well. Many congratulations from us all!

Committee News

The Club’s annual general meeting was held at Fitzwaryn School on Monday 19th April where the chairman and treasurer gave their reports and a new committee was elected and the various posts agreed. Since the previous meeting we had lost Sabine Wood and Vera Hollister and we had more bad news when we heard that Jemma Howland would have to leave us at the end of this term and so could not carry on as a committee member or helper after that. However Jemma has introduced four new excellent helpers recently to replace her. Jemma has been with the Club for four years and has been an absolute tower of strength and organised many events for us. We owe her enormous thanks and will miss her considerably. We wish her son every success at Monday evening Cubs! Your new Committee is Garry Shand (Chairman, Equipment and Transport Officer), Debbie Warren (Secretary), Tim Pocock (Treasurer), Mark Clutterbuck (Club Leader), Andrew Harwood (Health and Safety Officer - thank you, thank you, thank you Andrew), Jan Collins (Parent Member), Anne Alderson, Iain Norburn and Helen Harwood. New helpers Lisa and Marie were unable to make the meeting but will doubtless be co-opted members before long!

STOP PRESS: JEMMA’S BACK! It’s complicated but suffice it to say her family arrangements have changed and she can now carry on coming to Club. Great news, so I think she will be co-opted back onto the Committee soon.

The Committee met for its summer meeting on 26th July at King’s Cottage, Kingston Lisle where Anne and Mike Alderson put on a sumptuous spread for us. For the Committee it’s the highlight of the year. Amongst many other little bits of admin, the meeting set the programme for the autumn term and agreed an update of our Health & Safety and Personal Protection Policies (Issue 3). We co-opted Lisa Beardmore and Marie Leverton onto the Committee as expected and re-co-opted Jemma (good news!) We made plans for Christmas presents, the Christmas Draw (please sell tickets for us; contact Tim at Club or on 01865 760526 or timpocock@lineone.net ). We discussed the next Greenhalgh Award and our response to the Oxford Community Foundation grant in the light of not being sure about when we shall get our new indoor store. Many thanks to Anne and Mike for a lovely evening.

Sadly we have to report that there have been a few instances of bullying and bad language starting to creep in at Club. The bullying is not physical but in many ways is much worse. It has much to do with small groups deciding they want to exclude somebody or individuals deciding to be unpleasant to someone. The Club has not experienced behaviour like this and it goes against all of our principles of good behaviour and consideration for others. Bullying and bad language will not be tolerated in any circumstances at Club. Club leader Mark has the authority of the Committee to exclude for long periods members who behave in this way. You have been warned!

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!

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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