Our May meeting was hosted by Gill and Roger who had recently returned from a holiday in Uzbekistan. So guess what, we were served with two white, two red plus a Firewater 45% finishing off spirit…….. plenty of good sensible conversation and company at the start of the meeting, surprisingly good comments about the wine even if only 10% alcohol, not sure how it ended. We normally learn about the wine from the label but this month we had translation problems ….. can anyone speak Uzbekistan? See photo of label.Martin McBride
It was cold but a dry morning when we set out for this visit. The journey to London was reasonable but slowed once we got into the city. Our coach driver was able to park in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital. It was a short walk to the British Army Museum.
British Army Museum
The National Army Museum tells the story of the British army over the past 400 years. The recently refurbished Museum has around 2,500 objects divided into 5 galleries over four floors; space for exhibitions, a study centre, café, shop and play area.
The Five Permanent Galleries of the National Army Museum in London includes:
The Soldier Gallery reflects individual experiences of soldiering.
The Army Gallery traces the origins and development of the British army as an institution.
The Battle Gallery tells the story of the army through individual conflicts. It is divided into four chronological sections: horse and musket, rapid-fire, total war and modern warfare.
The Society Gallery on the top floor provides some light relief and can be enjoyed as an art gallery, reflecting how the Army has influenced British culture.
The Insight Gallery explores the actions and the impact of the Army throughout the world from historical and contemporary perspectives.
The Museum welcomes younger visitors with interactive and hands-on exhibits.
The Royal Hospital is a Grade I and II listed site, a beautiful architectural legacy left to us by Charles II and Sir Christopher Wren.
The Royal Hospital Chelsea is the home of the iconic Chelsea Pensions, who are all retired soldiers of the British Army. Their unique Scarlet tunics stand out wherever they go, making them instantly recognisable around the world. Naturally, the Pensioners often find themselves the centre of attention at events that they attend and are always happy to answer questions about the Royal Hospital as well as themselves. Some 300 army veterans live at the Royal Hospital today, including those who have served in Korea, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and World War II. Others may not have served in campaigns, but all understand what it means to be a soldier and the potential sacrifice that it entails.
We were shown into a small room and watched a video of what we were going to see. We were split into two groups and each shown round by a Chelsea Pensioner Guide. The Guides were very knowledgeable, humorous and told us lots of jovial stories.
Founder’s Day is the highlight of the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s calendar, an event attended by all Chelsea Pensioners, which celebrates the founding of the Royal Hospital by King Charles II. The event has taken place almost every year since the Royal Hospital opened in 1692. The Royal Hospital Chelsea’s Founder’s Day, also known as Oak Apple Day, is always held on a date close to 29th May – the birthday of Charles II and the date of his restoration as King in 1660. The Oak reference commemorates the escape of the future King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester (1651) when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces, and is expressed through all Chelsea Pensioners wearing oak leaves on their famous scarlet uniforms.
The gold statue of Charles II that stands in the centre of figure court is also adorned in oak leaves for the occasion. Over the years the statue oak leaf dressing has varied from a large wreath at the base to a wreath worn on the head, and from total covering where the statue is not even visible to a discreet skirt of oak branches around the base.
A member of the Royal Family attends the ceremony each year. Her Majesty the Queen has reviewed the parade four times.
Every year the official visitors book gets prepared with the Royal Coat of Arms ready for the member of the Royal Family to sign.
The Wren Chapel
Built between 1681 and 1687 the chapel is a rare example of Wren’s religious architecture. It was designed to accommodate about 500 people, all the staff and pensioners, and rises 42 feet high. The painting of the Resurrection in the half dome of the apse is by Sebastiano Ricci, assisted by his nephew Marco. The Royal Hospital’s magnificent silver-gilt altar plate was made by Ralph Leake and is hall-marked 1687-8. One of the original service books has been preserved. The Chapel was consecrated in August 1691, and compulsory services held twice daily. Nowadays they are normally confined to the Sunday morning.
At the end of the tour we were shown a small museum, café and shop.
Our journey home was reasonable with only minor hold-ups. An enjoyable day out. Pam
18 members gathered at the car park, on a lovely sunny and warm morning ready to drive to Faringdon. Stephen was waiting for us at Faringdon; Mike and Alan left us to do a shorter walk. Early on into the walk the views were spectacular with an outlook stretching miles. We made our way over well marked footpaths across several fields until we reached a road, this was the first part of road walking. Leaving the road, we walked over several more fields until we came to The Thames, we chose not to walk to Radcot Bridge as we would have needed to retrace our footsteps back again. By the time we reached Radcot Lock we were all ready for lunch. We spent a peaceful half hour eating our lunch and then set off again. Unfortunately, the next part of the walk was on a quite road, and was about 1.75 miles long and undulating. Leaving the road, we were back to seeing panoramic views again. We had walked approximately 8 miles by the time we arrived back at our cars. We were lucky enough to see families of ducks and geese swimming on the Thames, and 3 herons. Some of the fields looked a picture covered in buttercups and dandelion clocks. We normally have a fly past of some type of aeroplane, and at one point had 3 all in a row. Thank you to the car drivers. Our next long walk is on 18th June at Snowshill. Pam
What a lovely morning for a lovely pretty walk. 18 members departed from Carterton to travel to Abingdon for the start of the walk. It turned out to be an interesting nature walk. Firstly, we heard a cuckoo calling which followed us for most of the walk. There were a pair of swans with cygnets, a plump of moorhen chicks, lots of ducks on the river, geese preening themselves and a squirrel. You will not believe that we saw a crocodile, giraffe and a heron perched high up in the trees. There were many boats on the river, gushing water over the weirs leaving a trail of white foam. There were not any boats going through the lock. Reflections on the river were stunning. Our walk ended in the Abbey gardens which supported a statue of Queen Victoria, and extremely pretty flower beds. We followed the path into the town’s square where there were numerous cafes for us to sit in or outside and enjoy refreshments. Thank you to the car drivers. Our next walk is a breakfast walk in the Witney area, leaving Carterton at 0745 with breakfast at Hacketts.
April’s visit to the generous gardener gardens was very successful with 18 of us enjoying a wonderful relaxed afternoon exploring the garden and the church next door. This was followed by lovely tea/coffee and cakes provided by our very welcoming host.
Mays visit is to the wonderful Chivel gardens that some of us saw last year in late summer. It was a firm favourite and am sure it will be equally as stunning this time of year.We have a change of day and time for this visit. It is to be on Thursday May 30th at 2.30 so hopefully this will give our WI ladies time to do their coffee morning and still come if they want. We will have refreshment in the gardens after our visit.The post code is OX7 5TR and is the other side of chipping norton towards Heyford.We will meet in the usual carpark for lifts and convoy at 1.45pm.
Please let me know if you would like to come and if you will be travelling on your own or meeting with group in the carpark.
lovely day for cycling and five of us set off for our favourite coffee shop at Bampton garden centre .
We welcomed Harold who joined us for the first time and seemed to enjoy the nice leisurely ride led by Ian. The weather was ideal not too hot but not cold either with the spring flowers in the hedges and lots of birds too.
We saw The Falcons display parachute team which was an added bonus !!
There were 36 members for this visit. It was a lovely morning and we were able to wait for our coach in the sunshine. We had a good run to Basingstoke and a quick entry into the museum where we were all given a wristband and then we were free to explore. Most went to the café for elevenses and then started their self- guided tour.
Milestones is made up of a network of streets that have been recreated according to those found in Victorian and 1930s Hampshire time. From cobbled streets to vintage vehicles some from The Thornycroft collection and Taskers of Andoversford; a 1940s sweet shop selling old favourites like aniseed balls, rhubarb and custards, pontefract cakes, liquorice torpedo’s etc, to a penny arcade where you could swap new pennies for old and play on the machines. The museum is set over 3 levels with tramlines in parts of the Victorian section. The upper floor was well equipped for school visits with a Victorian school room complete with chalk boards and desks; a school teacher walking round the streets ringing the school bell. The Edwardian Baverstock pub was a good place to take a rest and partake of some of the old fashioned drinks. There is so much for everyone to see, do and enjoy at Milestones museum of living history. The museum was interesting, fun, and well laid out. To complete our visit, we all sat down to a cream tea and chatted of our nostalgic memories. Pam
On a dull and grey morning 18 members drove to Chimney Meadows, where 3 more members were waiting for us.
Chimney is a hamlet on the River Thames near Shifford Lock, 6 miles south of Witney. It is an ancient landscape and a vital refuge for wading birds; Chimney Meadows is the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserve. The reserve is of national importance for its species-rich wetland meadows that support large numbers of now scarce ground-nesting birds, and provides a haven for curlew, snipe and reed bunting. We saw and heard the curlew calling.
The fields were full of wild flowers mostly cowslips and the matching coloured dandelion.
A footpath took us alongside the fields of cowslips to a lane which lead into Chimney village. We stayed on this lane passing the entrance to the bird hides and picnic tables.
After crossing a bridge over the Thames, we joined the Thames footpath, alongside the Shifford Lock Cut. Crossing a footbridge, we continued on the footpath for a short way until we came to Duxford ford, the only ford still on the river. Once there was a ferry point and wharf there. The river was to deep and running to fast to attempt crossing it. We were now on a bridle way heading for the hamlet of Duxford. Buckland House and Church were visible from here. We continued over fields and pathways until we came to Tenfoot Bridge over the Thames which was built when a former weir was removed.
Now back on the Thames path, walking alongside the meandering river, passing 2 WWII pillboxes; this was where we saw the curlew. The path took us back to the first bridge that we had crossed earlier.
Tree felling had taken place and we were able to sit on the logs and use as table and chairs to eat our well-earned lunch. From here we retraced our steps up the lane until we reached the entrance to the the bird hides. We took a short detour to look in the hides and then continued back to our cars reaching them just as it started to rain. Thank you to Hazel for recceing the walk with me and to the car drivers. Our next long walk is on 21st May Faringdon/Radcot and Littleworth. Pam
This walk was 1 of 5 National Trust circular walks around the Coleshill Estate. Unfortunately, it was a wet, cool and grey morning when 14 members left for the Great Coxwell Barn. After looking in the Barn, we began a climb over meadows to Badbury Woods which is well known for its show of bluebells. We were a little early in the month and all that could be seen was a slight hue of blue through the trees. Another 2 weeks and they will be out in all their glory. On a clear day the views from this point are stunning but today we were not able to see very far because of the mist. We circled the bluebell area and then made our way down a long steep hill to the fields at the bottom. From here the walk was on a driveway, so easy walking, then across a field and back onto a lane until we reached the road where our cars were parked. Two cars with passengers came straight back to Carterton and two cars stopped at Buscot village tea rooms, where we indulged in home made scones and warm drinks. Thank you to the car drivers. Our next short walk is on 14th May at Abingdon. Pam