Due to electricity supply issues at Wesley Memorial Church, where we normally meet, we had a change of scene. Those who were making their way to Phab independently met at McDonalds in Botley, and then walked the short distance the the Hall of Botley Women’s Institute, where George Martini – who normally leads us for Zumba, had already been running a session. The minibus went straight there.
Fortunately we were able to make a last minute booking for the W.I. Hall, which had lights and power for the music, so we had a very enjoyable Zumba session – this time largely seated.
George is qualified in several areas of Zumba from the high energy versions we enjoy at Zumbathons to slightly more sedate version we did today, which still left us feeling exercised!
George will be running a session at the Phab Fun Weekend in November, so something to look forward to for those who are going to that.
Once again we had an evening centred around food, but this time it was pancakes. As we normally do, we asked members to bring any favourite toppings, and cooked pancakes in the Wesley Memorial kitchen so people could add their choice of topping and eat.
The evening took on a distinctively Scottish feel, with a Scotland themed quiz, plenty of chat about our own favourite Scottish connections or memories, and a traditional meal of haggis, neeps and tatties. This was washed down with Irn-Bru, Scotland’s other national drink. We did, of course, have the traditional reading of Robert Burns’ “To a Haggis“, although only the first verse. We also sang along to the Auld Lang Syne and The Proclaimers.
Wesley Memorial Church invited Oxford Phab to join their Church Party with Ploughman’s supper and Barn Dance.
Some Phab members arrived early, and helped set up the Hall and John Wesley Room, lay tables, cut bread and cheese, prepare drinks, put out snacks and the multitude of other tasked needed for such an event, with over 80 attendees to be a success.
There was an urban railway based quiz before the supper, with pictures of trains, trams and buses from all over the world, and city transport maps all round the walls of the John Wesley Room. These gave an alternative activity, and conversation point, though many people were content to sit and chat.
The Ploughmans supper had not only a variety of breads and cheeses, salads and chutneys but also some delicious home made hummus. Following this were a wide selection of contributed deserts, from chocolate cake to crumbles.
The evening was rounded off by a series of Barn Dances, organised by Derek, our experienced and patient caller.
Some Phab members were among the kind people who stayed on to clear up and set the rooms straight for the following day.
Our first chance to meet after Christmas having been delayed by floods, we were glad to catch up. We also eagerly anticipated an exciting programme for 2024, including not only a return to Avon Tyrrell in July but a Phab Fun weekend in Bournemouth in November. Although this may seem a long way ahead places are limited, so member should book, through the club, as soon as possible. There is a regular payments plan available to spread the cost.
Filling in forms and diaries for the upcoming events
After the high energy excitement of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie‘, some of us moved to the more tranquil setting of Wesley Memorial Church, were we listened to and participated in a mixture of tradition and modern Christmas Carols.
It has been a difficult year for many, so it was good to have the last opportunity of 2023 for Phab member to gather together as a time of uplifting music and words of hope.
We love a trip to the theatre, and even though it came not long after we went to Banbury to see Cinderella we could not pass up an opportunity to see a performance of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie with a BSL Interpreter, who enhanced the event even for those of us who are not Deaf.
The musical was funny, and touching, as well as carrying a message about how we benefit from tolerating, or better appreciating the diversity of people.
Many people beyond our regular member help to keep Phab operating, and our annual Christmas Dinner gives us an opportunity to thank some them by inviting them to eat with us. We had our turkey and all the trimmings, with a tasty vegetarian alternative.
After a eating and chatting there was enough for those who still had room to go back for second helpings.
One of our traditions at Christmas and Easter is that we bring small prizes to Phab and play Bingo to redistribute them.
As well as festive chocolate bars etc we have chocolate brussels sprouts and other small prizes for people who win a second time. We also try to make sure we have prizes for those of us who can’t eat chocolate.
We sometimes vary from the traditional bingo calls, this time, since we meet in church hall, we uses the names of Hymns from Hymns and Psalms, for example “25 – He’s got the whole world in his hand”, rather and “25 – Duck and Dive”.
Banbury Cross players put on a production of Cinderella for our pantomime entertainment. The production, written by a member of their company, starred our very own Helen as the Fairy Godmother, allowing her to utter the famous words ‘Cinderella – you shall go to the ball!’