Oxford Light Night and Games

Oxford celebrates turning on its Christmas lights with an evening of activities at various venues, one of those being Wesley Memorial Church,

We started the evening in the Sanctuary – the main part of the church, where we chatted amongst ourselves and with church people and members of the public. We also ate Pizza, Stollen and Mince Pies. Amongst other activities one of church member was drawing caricatures of people, including some of our members.

We then moved through to the hall, and worked off some of the pizza with some hockey and boccia.

Annual General Meeting 2022

Like last year, our Annual General meeting was hybrid, with the physical part of the meeting at Wesley Memorial Church. As Covid is still with us, having an online connection allowed members who could not come in person, through testing positive or other reasons, to join in. Using automatically generated subtitles allowed the chair and club co-ordinator’s words to be displayed, although some BSL signing was still needed.

Our AGMs are fairly routine, we approved the minutes from last year’s AGM, our treasurer presented the accounts, and our chair presented her annual report.

We did not present the Roy Lewis award at the AGM, but hope to do so at the Christmas dinner, which we are all looking forward to.

Pizza Night !

Activities involving food are always popular, and tonight was no exception ! With a team in the kitchen making pizza bases our members could add toppings of their choice and return them to the kitchen for cooking.

We had a wide selection of toppings to choose from so each one came out different. Almost a metaphor for Phab, in that they are all different at first sight, but built from the same base, and all valued as individuals !

Zumba with George Martini

One of the highlights of our online sessions, when we could not get together in person during the Covid pandemic were our Zumba sessions with George Martini.

These allowed people to participate who would not have been able to get to an in-person Zumba session. Also, as one member observed ‘You can turn your camera off and really go wild !’. On the other hand being together and being able to see how others are doing can be inspiring as well as inhibiting.

George is always very positive and encouraging with us, and makes sure the sessions match our abilities. We are already looking forward to having another Zumba session in our next programme.

Club night with Table Games

It was great to meet up at Wesley Memorial, and as have a chance to catch up with what some members have been doing over the past fortnight. Our online meetings allow some of our members, who are unable to join us in person, to still meet up, but others prefer to meet face to face.

As well as chatting we enlivened the evening with a variety of table top games, including ‘The Sock Game‘ – which is simple, but highly entertaining !

Glorious Evening at Hinksey Heights Golf Course

The weather had been much too hot for our originally planned event, of a walk round Farmoor Reservoir, so the friendly people at Hinksey Heights Golf Course accommodated our last minute request to meet there, and we were able to put in some food orders in advance.

We were able to chat, eat and drink in the shade, looking back on our recent trip to Avon Tyrrell, and letting members who had not had a chance to come hear all about it.

We also celebrated some recent birthdays with cakes and cup cakes !

Oxford Phab return to Avon Tyrrell

We greatly enjoyed our Phab holiday in 2019, where we visited the New Forest Wildlife park and had a camp fire, and did high ropes, the climbing wall, archery, and some did canoeing and the zipwire. We had such a good time that we booked to go again in 2020, but a Global Pandemic upset our plans (as well as those of many others).

The ever helpful staff at Avon Tyrrell allowed us to roll over our booking to 2021, and then again to 2022 – and our much anticipated return became a reality. Sadly some of the members who came with us in 2019 could not join us on this trip, however we were joined by some people who had never been on a Phab holiday before, and a fresh perspective on trip was refreshing. As one of them, Libby, said

What an awesome weekend. It was great to spend some quality time with a range of top folk, learning together, challenging each other to get outside our comfort zones but knowing that we all had each other’s backs. It was a fun weekend, packed with lots of different activities and things to do, but one where we had the space and time to chillax and rest.

This sums the weekend perfectly.

It could not have happened without a lot of hard work, particularly from Mary, our club leader, but also financial contributions from The Bruce Wake Trust and Wesley Memorial Church. Their contributions enabled the holiday to be affordable for all our members.

Activities

We had a very action packed weekend, with different activities happening in parallel, so on Friday afternoon some groups were doing Archery, and some Canoeing. On Saturday we all went to Poole, where one group went on a boat trip to Wareham, another to Brownsea Island and another explored Poole town. On Sunday were further opportunities for Archery, Canoeing, High Ropes and the Climbing Wall.

Archery

Canoeing

The canoes were used in pairs, joined together with a plank securely roped to the boats, making them very stable.

High Ropes

The High Ropes allowed us to push our boundaries, as well as simply have fun !

Climbing Wall

The climbing wall had been replaced since our last visit, now even higher !

Poole

Our day out in Poole was so filled with variety that it deserves its own article – here.

The adventure continues …

The holiday was so good that we have already started planning for a return in 2023, meanwhile, if anyone who went has memories or pictures suitable for sharing on a public web site, please contact me, or post a comment.

Oxford Phab Poole Expeditions

On the Saturday of our 2022 holiday at Avon Tyrrell we set off, bright and early, in our minibus and a car for Poole.

We were very fortunate to have been able to book for 12 of our group (the maximum they can take) to go for a trip on The Dolphin III a wheelchair accessible boat which operates out of Poole Harbour Marina. As there were 18 in our group this year we could not all fit, but 3 of us had Scouting or Guiding connections, so were keen to visit Brownsea Island, while the remaining 3 preferred to enjoy the delights of the Poole town waterfront area.

Hence we split naturally into three distinct groups, each having a different experience, but everybody enjoyed the day.

Boat trip to Wareham on the Dolphin.

Operated by volunteers from Friends of the Dolphin, we had been offered a trip to Wareham, where one of our members would land and pick up a Fish and Chip order phoned in from the boat.

Brownsea Island Expedition

We greatly enjoyed our trip to Brownsea Island, taking the 11am ferry, we landed shortly before 11:30, and noticed we could take a guided tour at 1pm. Pausing only for a refreshing coffee we set off to explore a little of the island. We investigated St Mary’s Church, met some friendly ducks, and saw a red squirrel ! (Brownsea Island is one of the few places in England where they can be seen).

We returned to the castle area to join the fascinating tour, which explained how the mixed history of the island had created its unique ecological profile, as well as the origins of the scouting connection (and we saw peacocks and another red squirrel). We then visited the site of the original Scout Camp, where they also sell Scout and Guide Souvenirs, and we were joined by a peacock and its chick. Moving briskly across the island we caught the 4pm return ferry, and rejoined the other groups.

The Shore Explorers

Preferring the stability of dry land, and the myriad delights of Poole Quay, the shore party viewed the departures of the Dolphin and Brownsea groups, and then investigated the shops, museums and cafes of Poole. They ate Fish and Chips on Sea Music, a large sculpture by Anthony Caro, and enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of boats in the harbour and tourists and locals going about their business.

Together again and home for tea.

Some of the re-united group had a little refreshment on the quay, and we updated each other about our adventures, before returning to the vehicles and to Avon Tyrrell.

There, hungry after all the fresh sea air, we enjoyed hotdogs (meat or vegetarian according to preference) and salad, and home grown courgettes, in the large communal space in our challet which allowed all our group to eat together.

An evening of Drumming.

The Reverend Peter Powers, minister at Wesley Memorial Church, is a man of many talents, including drumming. He brought a selection of drums, mainly djembes, with him and we had a great evening, learning about the drums make different sounds depending on where and how they are hit, and then jamming along to make music ourselves !

It was an activity everyone could participate in, and revealed some unexpected talents and enthusiasms in out members. We look forward to Peter’s return for another session !

Night out at Hinskey Heights Golf Club

We returned to Hinksey Heights Golf Club for an evening in fresh air, plenty of sunshine and stunning views over Oxford.

Even though the Golf Club can not be reached by public transport, a combination of our minibus and member’s cars meant that we managed to get quite a few members there, to order drinks and food, chat and catch up.

We are looking forward to continuing to get together, though we do ask anyone intending to come to Phab events to stay away if they have symptoms which show that they might be infections.