Blooming Water Lilies on the pond
As you know, the newsletter is now fortnightly, unless there is something specific which just cannot wait. Consequently there are a lot of new items which make for interesting reading (although I’m beginning to regret making it fortnightly because it takes so much longer to compile!).
I suggest a nice long cold drink to accompany it.
As we move closer to ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday 19th, the Government is increasingly issuing a cautionary note and with good reasons. Oxford City is now an ‘enhanced response area’, like Birmingham and Greater Manchester, and will be given additional support by the Government including increased testing and help to maximise vaccine uptake to tackle the ‘unprecedented’ number of cases. People are being asked to be cautious about non-essential travel in and out of the city to help stop the spread of the virus.
Kidlington and Woodstock are also Covid hotspots. The seven-day case rate per 100,000 people for the period ending on July 8 shows that Central East Oxford is the highest with 820.5 per 100,000 people. The case rate in Kidlington South is 432.
6 per 100,000 people. While in Woodstock, Stonesfield & Tackley it is 459.2 per 100,000 people. There are different case rates in Bicester. In Bicester East the figure is 217.5 per 100,000 people, but in Bicester West and North it’s lower.
Further details on Covid data and other Government’s advice on Coronavirus can be found via these link:
Road Closure Notices – a correction
Some may have noticed the road signs that appeared on Wednesday advising that Church Street/Launton Road is to be closed for repairs to the highway for most of August. These signs were put out in error and the roads are not to be closed at this time. It relates back to the original OCC plan to repair and patch the roads which has now been put back until May 2022 as a result of cross party discussions with East West Rail. In the meantime the roads will continue to be maintained and don’t forget that you can report pot holes and other road issues on https://fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk/
Stratton Audley Church
Little Lambs will be meeting next Wednesday (21st July) in the church at 10am – but after that will be breaking up for the summer, returning at the start of the new term in September.
‘Muddy Church’ for all ages (but especially families) meets at Stoke Lyne Church this coming Sunday afternoon (18th July) at 3pm. Why not join them for a gentle walk?
The next church service in Stratton Audley is the following Sunday (25th July) 9.30am with Holy Communion.
There are quite a number of weddings coming up (today, Saturday afternoon, the following Saturday and Friday 30th July) so you may well see a lot of activity and hear the bells ringing!
News from The Red Lion
A vintage carriage and horses seen recently visiting the pub.
With mask wearing no longer being mandatory and a visit to a pub being optional, the Red Lion is not going to insist that customers or staff wear masks. If you do want to wear them, however, you have their full support. And if you would rather only have table service, just make it clear to staff when you come in, that that is what you’d like.
With apologies, there is no Sunday lunch this week – World Chef-lessness has struck again.
New opening times on Wednesday and Thursday – 2pm.
The next big event is the Table Tennis Tournament on 25th July. Please let Dillie know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to enter. £5 entry fee. 50% of the entry fee going to the upkeep of the church (the pub’s chosen charity as long as they are at the helm), 35% to the winner and £15% to the runner up. Or fill in the form at the pub with your email address.
Meanwhile, they are hoping to stream the British & Irish Lions test matches in South Africa on 24th July, 31st July and 7th August. There will be at least one braai “because according to Dillie they’re hoping that the Lions will barbecue the Springboks, haha!” Check the website for confirmation redlionstrattonaudley.co.uk and the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/redlionstrattonaudley/
Wednesday coffee mornings continue to be popular – the fabulous coffee from Gourmet Pig is going down a treat!
More plants continue to be delivered to the table in the garden. 50p per plant or more, if you think they’re worth it, all money to the church upkeep.
Does anyone have a bookshelf they want to get rid of? They’re going to start a book swap – leave your latest book there, pick up another and donate 50p, all money to the church.
Meanwhile, the pub is offering lunchtime grazing platters on Wednesday 28th, £15.00 for two people – great charcuterie, fine cheeses, fresh bread and chutney. Please book 01869 277225. Whilst on the subject of lunch, the ever popular and inventive Sapphy is starting to do light and easy lunches. Ham, egg and chips etc. Take pot luck and pop in for Sapphy’s Snacks!
Stratton Audley Barn
The coffee shop is a great place to meet friends with both indoor and outdoor seating, so whether it is Brunch or Lunch, Coffee or Cake, Milkshake or Ice Cream, there is something to tempt the whole family. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.
For more information on www.strattonaudleybarn.co.uk or Facebook Stratton Audley Barn.
Important notice from Richard & Sara:
“Although the law changes relaxing Covid-19 rules on Monday 19th July, our commitment to our team and customers safe keeping remains our number one priority. We have therefore decided to continue with many of the measures we have already adopted in our shop and cafe, including the use of screens, hand sanitiser and one way system. Our teams will continue to wear face coverings and we would ask and encourage our customers to use these when moving around the shop & Cafe too. Track & Trace posters will continue to be made available for scanning but we will no longer need details from your party when you arrive. We will continue to review & follow government guidelines and practices as they change”.
Monday Night is Take-a-way Night with Mitra’s Persian Food
Mitra will once again be in the village serving her Persian food on Monday from 5pm. Located at the junction with Church Street & Bicester Road just turn up on the night or order by texting her in advance during Monday on 07444 364789.
New FREE Village Bus Service launched Today
The new ABILITY bus service is operational as of today and provides residents with a connection to and from Bicester town centre, every Friday.
This service is completely free of charge for anyone with a concessionary bus pass once they are registered. ABILITY is a commercial company offering a number of services in addition to the basic free service. To register and find out more about the times call 01327 604123. Please note that this is a flexible bus service and not a fixed route, per se, meaning that the bus will only stop at these locations if a passenger has pre-booked a seat on the bus. This way they can guarantee everyone gets a seat and it saves the bus running to places where there is no one to pick up.
Nocino Drinks a great success
A big thank you to everyone who came to the Nocino drinks in the church gardens on Saturday July 3rd. Together, we raised close to £800! David has started taking pre-orders for people who want their very own bottle of Nocino walnut liqueur in time for a relaxing autumn and Christmas.
To order a bottle, please rsvp to email@example.com . All donations go directly to maintaining the church buildings and anyone pre-ordering is invited to go into the church and see their liqueur develop – the process to make Nocino takes 40 – 60 days and needs someone to gently shake the Nocino kilners/vat jars every 2-3 days.
Many people in the village enjoyed having their vanilla ice cream (from Stratton Audley Barn) with Nocino and basil leaves – think of an Italian affogato and you have one very enjoyable way to mark the summer.
The night the West End came to Stratton Audley!
The 10th July was an evening to treasure. Set in the garden marquee of The Red Lion, with professional sound and lighting, the simplicity of presentation belied the intensity of the performance. Christine Bovill carried us through every emotion as she relived the life story of Edith Piaf amusingly interwoven with her own discovery of French song from her teens onwards. She sang the powerful words of life, love and loss so poignantly some were reduced to tears and shutting our eyes could have been in the back streets of Montmartre in Paris.
We were honoured to have this international star, who came straight from Wilton’s Theatre in London, to perform here, and many thanks to Dillie and John for organising this treat – one which few will ever forget!
Book now for the Kit & McConnel show at The Red Lion
Flushed with the joy of having presented Christine Bovill’s show and confirming once more how great the Red Lion courtyard is for small scale shows, Dillie is bringing yet another world-class cabaret act to the village on 19th August. Dillie tells me that Kit & McConnel are quite brilliant and absolutely hilarious – razor sharp satire and song – it’s a snip at £25 per head. Book now to avoid disappointment. Let Dillie know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thames Water Update
Nine manhole covers are being replaced around the village in the following locations: 1 x Glen Close; 3 x Stoke Lynn Road; 1 x Cherry Street; 2 X Mill Road; 1 x Launton Road; and 1 x Bicester Road.
To confirm, these are ‘low leak’ covers which are designed to reduce the amount of surface water getting into the system in order to help prevent the sewer network from being overwhelmed.
Electricity Power Cut
The power cut in the village last week was caused by the failure of a power cable in Cherry Street. This has caused a degree of disruption in Cherry Street but the faulty section of cable has now been replaced successfully.
Annual Community Open Meeting
The Annual Open Meeting of the Parish is on 4th August at 7.30pm. Please put it in your diary and come if you are in the village on that Wednesday evening. This meeting has not been held for two years and whilst hosted by the Parish Council, is an open meeting of the community which means subjects that are not on the Agenda can be raised for discussion in an open forum.
The weather this year has caused a greater amount of vegetation growth than we normally experience. This has caused many paths that are normally ok in the summer and self-managed via footfall to become overgrown. Keeping them passable is the responsibility of the County Council but unfortunately it is simply impossible for them to maintain all 2600 miles of Public Rights of Way and priority is given to the most popular routes.
A couple of Stratton Audley paths have been reported as being difficult to use and residents are encouraged to try and clear the way with a sturdy stick or carry some secateurs. Anyone wishing to volunteer as a path warden or set up a voluntary group should contact the Chairman of the Parish Council. For more serious problems the best way to report an issue is via the online link: Reporting an issue on a public right of way | Oxfordshire County Council
Help for Fringford Primary School
Great news! Fringford Primary School has been selected for the Tesco Community Grant (Blue token) scheme at Tesco, Bicester from July 12th until September 30th!
Their grant application is for developing the Sensory Garden and Forest School – projects which will enable stimulating and nurturing environments in which each child is encouraged to enjoy learning and develop a lively and enquiring mind. The more blue tokens they get in the voting boxes, the higher their chance of securing a larger grant. They are only a small school and they have asked for our help.
Next time you are shopping in any of the Bicester Tesco stores, at the till ask for a blue charity token and pop it in the voting box as you leave the store. Spread the word by asking local friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours to support them too.
East West Rail Update
The Parish Council was recently invited to visit the compound off Charbridge roundabout, Bicester and was taken on a tour to see the ground works taking shape. The photos below show what a big undertaking it is. The Charbridge flyover is due for completion in summer 2022 as too is the new flyover at Station Road, Launton. Although vast quantities of aggregate are being transported in and out of the site, conservation is a key aspect and much of the construction is using materials on site, simply by excavating and relocating the subsoils from sites along the railway corridor and re-using material from the old trackbed.
Track will be laid in summer 2022 and the site handed over to the signalling, power & comms team prior to this section of the line going into its testing phase, aiming for it being infrastructure ready by 2024.
Other reminders from previous newsletters:
Little Lambs Baby and Toddler Group
This takes place in Stratton Audley Church every Wednesday from 10am – 11am (Term Time). Maximum 15 people – please bring your own tea or coffee. Come and meet new families from the local area safely & join in with story reading, music and toys.
Collection Point for Disposal of Ink Jet Cartridges
Please continue to pop your ink jet cartridges into the basket in the Glen Close bus shelter. Please don’t drop larger toner cartridges off as these are not recycled by the RSPB. If you are not sure if your cartridges are suitable for recycling, you can contact Rachel Dewhurst by email at email@example.com