February – March 2021

Editorial

This was not how it should have been. Everyone expected a happy, if slightly restricted Christmas and a New Year that would enable us to put 2020 and all its horrors behind us. 2021 would usher in a fresh start. Instead, 2021 has begun with a season of gloom and doom, a season underpinned with apprehension at the very least. And while The Wychwood cannot dispel this mood, it can help its readers to look beyond the present and see instead that life does go on, that it does have its brighter side.
Where is the evidence? For a start, Lara Jacques reminds us of the simple pleasure of looking through our photographs and seeing the people behind our memories. Martin Hamer tells an engaging tale of his true life escapades one snowy night in the hills. Mary Blackburn radiates the joy of her 100th birthday and for an instant mood-raiser, readers can look at the article from Wychwood School where four nameless members of staff reflect on their days in school throughout this challenging period.
So The Wychwood Magazine does not avoid the reality of these difficult periods but it should help to give us all a sense of reality, a time to acknowledge that in many, many ways, we have so much for which to be grateful.

Bob Forster, Editor

List of articles

  • A safe pair of hands
    A portrait of Reg Bradley in his Naval uniform at the end of World War 1. Many readers will be familiar with the name R.J. ...
  • A Shipton memory
    Back in the 1950s, occasionally Mr Covenay (a chimney sweep who lived in a small cottage at the top of Little Lane) would set up ...
  • Wychwood School looks back to 2020
    At times like this I feel very fortunate to have a job like mine. To be able to come to work, and to be surrounded ...
  • Top 10 take-aways from Burford School in 2020
    The show must go on and the significant events in our students’ lives continued thanks to the wonders of technology – Lower School Prizegiving, the ...
  • Mary Blackburn, 100 not out
    Mum was 100 on December 8th 2020 and I wanted to write something for her great grandchildren and their children to read one day; these ...
  • 2020: the editor reflects
    Nobody escaped unscathed from last year.  Everyone has a list; holidays cancelled, club meetings scrapped or sent online, social events forgotten, diaries empty – the ...
  • Rosemary Ann Jones
    16.01.43 – 12.10.20 Rose was born in Southampton and moved to Witney when she was in her early teens.  This was where she met her first ...
  • Wychwood Library in 2020
    Welcome back to Wychwood Library! Our current opening times, restrictions permitting, are: Mon 2pm-5pm; Weds 9.30am-1pm & 2pm-5pm; Fri 2pm-5pm; Sat 9.30am-1pm Harry Potter Night We had ...
  • Introducing our new secretary: Diane Shingleton
    Born at the John Radcliffe in Oxford, I grew up in Oxfordshire until my late teens when I moved to Brighton. That was a complete ...
  • The photograph
    Coping with life in 2020 taught us many things. In the darkest hours and when the pandemic denied us our basic rights of seeing the ...
  • What’s holding you back?
    As 2021 unfolds and we move forward into hopefully brighter times, what gift will you give yourself this year? What old ways, and thoughts and ...
  • Wychwood Players: a new venture
    West Oxfordshire drama group, The Wychwood Players, have gone down a new route in order to entertain their loyal audience.  Despite being hamstrung by the ...
  • Random memories of a Fifield childhood
    Although we did not live in Idbury, my brother and I went to the school there. I attended that school until I was about nine ...
  • Our thanks to Julie Hemming
    We do not know exactly how long Julie has been involved on the committee of The Wychwood Magazine but we do know it is a ...
  • With regret
    Long-time Wychwood resident, Jessie Rainbow, who had lived in the same house in Shipton for over 60 years, died recently.  Her cheery personality will always ...
  • Girlguiding in the Wychwoods
    This has been a challenging time for all of us but the girls have continued to meet face to face and online. The leaders have ...
  • Woggle support needed!
    The 1st Wychwoods Scout Group has been busy for many, many years. Unfortunately, our group’s records are very sparse due to the frequent changes in ...
  • The colonial dilemma
    In the second half of 2020, the Black Lives Matter campaign and the accompanying backlash against the colonial era brought Britain’s role in the past ...
  • A winter’s (true) tale
    The recent spell of freezing weather has taken my mind back to the early seventies, when we lived in a cottage on the edge of ...
  • Recognition from behind
    An increased use of facial recognition is very much a feature of our use of technological gizmos, be it smart-phones or passing through airport passport ...
  • Did you know that … ?
    December 2020 was the Wychwoods’ wettest December since local records began in 1995. Milton Parish Council has a new clerk, Lara Jacques.  Previous clerk, Jenny Miller, ...
  • Not getting out enough
    Fred Russell recently sent several limericks to the magazine, so many in fact that the editor suggested that he might like to get out more; ...
  • Congratulations
    Many thanks to all who supported the church’s Auction of Promises which raised £4514 towards repairing the church roof by auctioning promises as diverse as ...
  • The Wychwood interview: Geoffrey Clement
    Give us a brief outline of what you were doing before coming to the Wychwoods. Before coming to the Wychwoods, I was serving as a ...
  • The WI excels
    Meeting in a Bag The committee members of Shipton WI prepared and delivered a surprise goody bag to every member of the Institute as they were ...
  • Pandemic page-turners
    You have to be careful with book recommendations. I remember, when I was in the book world, we asked Frank Muir for a list of ...
  • The first time I …
    In the winter of 1964/65, I found myself in the Officers’ Mess of The Royal Scots Greys in Fallingbostel. I was a very junior officer ...
  • Keeping the garden open
    Back last March, we took the decision to keep the Wild Garden open during the various lockdowns and restrictions, recognising that we all needed a ...
  • Progress at Shipton church
    The Archdeacon, responsible for Shipton church in the Oxford Diocese, has granted permission to commence repair and restoration work on the nave roof which will ...
  • Shipton Council news
    By the time you read this, we’ll be well in to the New Year. 2020 was clearly a very challenging year for everyone but what ...
  • Village advent
    Fifield enjoyed the 24 ‘windows’ from the Fifield Village Advent event (see below).  On each day, between the 1st and 24th December, a new Fifield window, ...
  • A new variety of jam
    Sally was the doyenne of jam making; raspberry, plum, gooseberry – all were favourites, but she needed a new challenge.  Then the hamsters died. Skinned, boned ...
  • The Fifield ship
    A few years ago, while John Palmer was painting the mesh grille outside St. John the Baptist’s church, he saw what appeared to be the ...
  • How does my garden grow?
    You would think that with additional time on our hands last year my allotment and our garden would be immaculate.    Unfortunately, tidiness is not my ...
  • The winter rooks
    Rooks are unlikely to win any popularity vote.  Consider the facts: black all over; they fly away at any human approach; make too much early ...
  • The convert: a true tale
    Gemma hated cycling.  Always had.  Now the Wychwoods were far too hilly.  Ever since school days, the effort required to push the pedals had destroyed ...
  • War action in the Wychwoods
    On 16th Sept 1942, the Wellington bomber, BJ728, was flying over Conway, Wales when the starboard engine failed. Despite this handicap, the crew continued their ...
  • Alternative definitions
    Barbecue: a long wait for a haircut Beginnings: a century at Lords Benign: what an 8 year old will be on his next birthday Coconut: someone who is ...
  • Out with the camera at the turn of the year

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