Once again we were made very welcome at Hinksey Heights Golf Course. We had been going there, on and off, every since we were fortunate to be their Captain’s Charity of the year in 2016. As some of our members are clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid we are looking for well ventilated places to meet, and they have a marquee we were able to use.
They were also able to provide table service for food and drinks, which was much appreciated.
We very much enjoyed our last picnic at Kenninton church, and once again the kind church people opened their doors to us for another picnic, this time literally.
The weather was much less kind, and the rain soon drove us inside, which fortunately is a large, well ventilated space. Due to the weather, and some members being away on holiday, there were only 7 of us, but one was someone we have not seen for a while but was a member when we went to Holland, and on narrowboat trips, so the old hands could reminisce, and members who had not been could hear about those times.
After a long spell of not being able to meet in person, Oxford Phab are looking for safe ways of getting together. We followed up our Picnic at Kennington Church with a walk at Farmoor Reservoir.
About a dozen of us met at the car park, and made our way up the slope to benches out side the cafe, which was closed for the day. Then those of us who had bought picnics ate them, and we chatted, and enjoyed the view, including some rapidly moving sailing boats.
Once everyone was ready we set off to walk across the causeway which divides the reservoir in two. We enjoyed seeing the ducks, grebes, cormorants and coots as well as, for some of us, the joy of finding a new place with level access.
By the time we had returned to the car park and everybody who was being collected had departed the sun was setting, a lovely sight over the waters of the reservoir.
Oxford Phab has not met in person since Tom’s quiz in March 2020, due to the need to stay safe during the Covid Pandemic. We are really grateful to St Swithun’s church in Kennington for allowing us to meet in their lovely grounds and bring food to have an open-air picnic.
The weather was perfect, very sunny, with a gentle breeze, and would have been too hot, but for the shade provided by the trees. There was also a lovely wildflower meadow.
It was such a change to see people in real life again, and although video meetings are much better than nothing, they do not suit everybody, so we have not seen some members for over a year.
We even celebrated a birthday – with cup cakes for covid-safety.
At the moment nobody knows what the future holds, but it was good to get back to Making More of Life Together.
As we had heavy rain last year for our Barbecue at Simon and Sarah’s House, and it had rained at the Barbecue the previous year as well, the committee decided to plan for all eventualities this year. We hired Botley W.I. Hall for the evening, which turned out to be a good decision.
Simon still proved his mettle as master of the barbecue, ably assisted by Chris, and wisely lent us one of his two new gazebos in case it was needed – it was!
We erected the gazebo and got the barbecue started before most members arrived, when – luckily – it was not too wet.
By the time hungry members started to arrive it was wet !
Luckily there was plenty of space for people inside – this picture was before most people arrived.
We carried on cooking burgers (meat on the left side of the barbecue), vegetarian kebabs (we kept the right hand side of the barbecue meat free), vegetarian sausages. Inside the W.I. Hall we were cooking Chicken, the non-vegetarian sausages and preparing salads, setting out buns for burgers and rolls for hot dogs, serving drinks etc. There were also a selection of cheesecakes and other deserts.
Unfortunately there are no pictures of this feast, and the next stage was loading the minibus, packing away the gazebo, clearing the kitchen, sweeping floors etc.
So that we could leave the W.I. Hall looking tidy.
Our little convoy set off for Poole, where we found somewhere to park near the Quay.
Half our group boarded the Dolphin III, an accessible boat operated by the Friends of the Dolphin. The other half explored Poole, including a stop for ice cream, and for some a visit to Poole Museum.
Both groups met up to eat our sandwiches on the Quay, and then the afternoon boat party set off for our nautical adventure !
We all enjoyed our trip.
They even laid on a Optimist Dingy race for us ! Some of us even had a chance to take the helm !
Finally we had to return to rejoin the other group.
We all dined on fish and chips
and had our traditional group photograph on the Quay
Can you spot the difference ?
Finally we returned to Avon Tyrrell to eat cake, chat and play games.
Although the weather started hot, as it had been for many weeks of uninterrupted sunshine, shortly after we started to eat our delicious burgers, it started to rain.
The rain was much heavier than last year, when we had to shelter from showers, and we abandoned the gazebos, and retreated indoors, filling Simon and Sarah’s flat to capacity. The chefs soldiered on under difficult conditions, and we enjoyed our meals, in rather cosy conditions.
Simon and Sarah kindly invited us to a barbecue at their house. Unfortunately the warmth of the weather did not match the warmth of the welcome, and we sheltered under gazebos from the showers.
We enjoyed burgers, chicken legs, hot dogs (and vegetarian options).
If you look at the right of the picture, you may recognise the keg of beer. It came from the Captains Day at Hinksey Heights, and this was a chance to put it to good use.