Driverless minibus trial at Milton Park

Staff working at Milton Park near Didcot will soon benefit from an automated driving public transport service

Village Drop In Meetings

The village Drop In is restarting on Thursday May 20th at 3.00pm at Margaret Maytham’s house (Toad Hall at the junction between Church Street and Stream Road). The aim is to meet every Thursday, or possibly alternate Thursdays thereafter at people’s houses.

Although we are not in the village hall as in the past we very much want this to be open to all villagers. Please come along if you want to have a nice friendly chat over a cup of tea or coffee. Please email me at richmondbinov@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Richard Burrow

 

Volunteers wanted to help with Village Fete

Upton Village Fete, Saturday 4th September

With any luck, and assuming the pandemic continues its retreat, we will once more be able to hold the village fete. As usual, the date will be the first Saturday in September, the venue is the village hall and recreation ground and the time will be 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

In a more normal year, we’d be well advanced with the planning by now but as it is, we’re just starting. The success of the event relies totally on volunteers both in advance and on the day. We’d love more help with the planning, which will involve monthly early evening meetings of no more than one hour between now and the end of August. If you feel inspired to volunteer, you’d be very welcome! Please let me know by calling 851251 or dropping a line to pjsbatho@btinternet.com.

Paul Batho

 

Junior Play Area

As you many of you will have seen the new Junior Play area is open, other than one activity area still cordoned off.
We anticipate completion within a few weeks when we will have an official opening.
In the interim please use the new area and report any issues to Liz our Parish Clerk (parish.clerk@uptonvillage.co.uk)

Digging with VPA.

There is still time to Create a Flowered Bonnet, Hat, Crown or Tiara and enter the VPA Spring Competition on Saturday 10th April. For details Contact Blewbury Post Office or Maggie Maytham in Upton (850126) or email   vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com  or call Eileen on 0777 518 5322

I’m sure everyone has been getting to grips with the weeds, cutting the grass and planning what is going into the veggie plot this year. Here’s some food for thought on how to go about preparing your vegetable plot.

Five reasons not to dig – 1 Digging encourages soil-living creatures like worms to do the spadework for you. 2 It reduces the loss of moisture.  3 It protects the soil structure. 4 It prevents weed seeds being brought to the surface. 5 It’s easier on the back.

Five Reasons to dig – 1 Digging breaks up heavily compacted soil, allowing it to breathe. 2 It kills surface weeds. 3  It exposes pests to predators and the cold. 4 If you don’t, you’ll need a lot more mulch to grow potatoes as you will not be ‘earthing up’. 5 It’s good exercise for those who want it.

I’ve actually tried a semi-no-dig method this year. I’ve hoed the plots and have gone down about four inches.  This has loosened the soil and weeded it at the same time I can then go a bit deeper when I start planting, I hope this works –watch this space!

We are hoping that the VPA will be able to hold the Summer Show this year on the 10th JULY – it will depend on what Covid restrictions are still in place.   We will keep you informed through the Bulletin.

DID YOU KNOW –Peppers contain up to five times as much vitamin C as oranges. The highest levels are found when the peppers are in the early green stage of ripening.

Eileen

 

HUGS – Wildflowers and a Garden Competition.

Wildflowers in the Overflow Cemetery

We’re getting ready to sow wildflower seeds along the eastern edge of the overflow cemetery. Upton Parish Council, the landowner, has given the go-ahead for us to carry out a trial sowing this year. We’ve raked out moss and scuffed up the grass (which tends to throttle wildflowers), and we’ll be scattering seed soon.

The mix we’re using contains flowers and grasses including oxeye daisies, field scabious and black medick.

Don’t expect too much in the first year though. In spite of all the preparation the soil will probably still be too fertile for wildflowers to do well. Fingers crossed that’ll come in successive years.

The grass won’t be cut again until the flowers have bloomed and produced seeds.

If the experiment is successful we’ll look at extending the sowing area next year, and maybe planting a hedge to give the space some definition and character.

Chilton Road Closure

As well as giving traffic-free access to the Hagbourne track and beyond, the closure of Chilton Road is proving to be a great wildlife haven. Badgers are active in the hedge, and there are increasing numbers of bird species to be seen. Yellowhammer, reed bunting and firecrest have all put in appearances in the last few weeks. You can check the full list of species on iRecord (www.brc.ac.uk/irecord) – search for ‘Chilton Road survey’.

We’ll be liaising with Wild Oxfordshire and Sustrans to look at how we can make the hedgerow and verges even better wildlife habitats.

Wildlife Garden Competition

We’re launching our search for the most wildlife-friendly gardens in the area on 1st May! The competition is part of our project to support the local owl population.

Our website has ideas and inspiration for wildlife gardening at www.hugsustainability.org/wildlifegardening

Kieron

 

 

 

REAL “Old World Wines” at the Virtual Wine Club

Having taken a few months off, it was great to host another virtual wine club in March. With record numbers joining for this month’s meeting, the feeling was clearly shared amongst our members as well! This month we were trying wines, which in the main, were new to most members. With the support of Strictly Wine, we were given a tour of wines from countries that could really be described as “old world”!  Wines had been selected from countries that had been making wine for over 2000 years and in some cases, using methods that had not changed much over that time either!

We tried white wines from Turkey (Kayra Narince 2018); Croatia (Jako Vino Stina “Cuvee white” 2019);  Cyprus (Kyperounda “Petritis” 2019) and Georgia (Vachnadziani Qvevri Rkatsiteli 2014). All were very good and more than stood up as an alternative to some of the more well known grapes and wines we might normally pick. If you have never tried an “orange” wine, then the Georian wine was lovely (note, orange wine is very much like marmite – you’ll either love or hate them but definitely worth a try!)  All the wines could easily by paired well with some traditional foods, sea foods, creamy pasta’s etc – www.strictlywine.co.uk offer some great suggestions for each one.

The reds again, gave us some wonderful examples of grape varieties that would not normally be classified as main stream! We had wines from Lebanon (Chateau Oumsiyat Desir 2018), Armenia (ArmAs Karmrahyut Reserve 2013), Greece and Republic of North Macedonia (Tikves).The Lebanon wine was a great if you wanted an alternative to a Gamay, lovely slightly chilled and with some warm weather coming, would go down well with the first BBQ of the year! If a rich Australian red is your go to wine, then maybe try the Armenian, which had a little more ageing that brought out some amazing deep fruit flavours. There were wines for all tastes, sausage casseroles, classic BBQ’s and fine steaks!

Next wine club night is on the 21st April. If you are interested to know just a little more about wine (with a large serving of some great social fun), then please take a look at our web site www.uptonwineclub.co.uk or contact our chairman, ian.langley@yahoo.co.uk.

Ian

 

VPA Spring Competition

Village Produce Association
After the success of our December competition, we’ve decided to hold another one on Saturday 10th April. Have a go at our Spring Competition which is open to anyone of any age.
Create a Flowered Bonnet, Hat, Crown or Tiara.
Rules
The headwear can be any size for a lady or gent, boy or girl.
It can be an existing hat or hand-made and any shape.
Flowers can be fresh or hand-made (NOT artificial bought flowers). Whatever style of headwear it can include accessories.
If you wish to enter, please record your name, address, phone no/email by Wednesday 31st March at either Blewbury Post Office, Maggie Maytham at Toad Hall, Upton (Tel: 850126) or send your details to the VPA email address: vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com
Place your name and details in an envelope and attach them to your entry.
Bring the entry between 10.00am and 10.30am to Blewbury Village Hall.
Collect at 12 noon.
The winners will be advised of the result on collection of their entry and prizes presented for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. The result will be announced in the next edition of the Upton News.
Covid-19 restrictions/regulations at the time of the event will be strictly adhered to.
For the safety of the Committee organisers the competition will not be open for members of the public to view the exhibits. We will take photographs. If there is a total Government lockdown again at the time of the event, it will have to be cancelled.
If you have any queries or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Eileen Bracken at the VPA email address: vpa.in.bl.up@gmail.com or call on 0777 518 5322.
Eileen

Owl Spotting with HUGS

Our owl project is off to a flying start thanks to help from villagers who’ve been sending in sightings over the winter, and a grant from South Oxfordshire District Council.
Lu Barton, our owl specialist, will be leading the project. The aim is to:
Survey areas in East and West Hagbourne and Upton to find out where owls are active.
Install nest boxes for little owls, tawny owls and barn owls.
Monitor the boxes and share data with the British Trust for Ornithology.
Improving habitat for owls
Owls need a good food supply, so we’ll be surveying the 3 parishes to find areas where we can plant new trees, hedges and wildflowers which will support the food chain.
For example, Upton Parish Council is looking at the idea of sowing wildflowers in the overflow cemetery.
Wildlife-friendly gardening
It’s not just public land that can help support owls; you could create your own wildlife-friendly garden or a wildlife corner. There’s information on how to do this on the HUGS website (www.hugsustainability.org/nature)
We’ll be running a competition to find the best wildlife gardens in the area – details coming soon.
Other ways to help
When you see or hear owls, please send the details to hugsustainability@gmail.com
Include a postcode or use the what3words app on your phone so we can get an accurate location.
Tawny owls will be going quieter for now, while they start nesting. Little owls should start calling from now until late June/July. And from March onwards you might hear the screeching of barn owls until they start nesting too.
You can listen to the different owl calls on the HUGS website: www.hugsustainability.org/owls
Kieron

First AGM for HUGS.

The first HUGS Annual General Meeting will be held on on Saturday the 27th of February at 2.00pm. Having started up last summer, we’re now a larger group on the committee and are managing public funding for our owl project, so we now need to be more formal in how we run our activities.
We’re keen that lots of you join us from the three villages at the AGM and find out more about our plans for the 2021/2022 work programme.
Zoom link for AGM Meeting ID: 816 8730 9468 Passcode: 282936
If you have ideas for future projects that you’d like to see HUGS run, do send us your thoughts to hugsustainability@gmail.com by February the 20th and we can talk about them together in the meeting.
The Agenda and supporting documents will be posted at https://tinyurl.com/ze6uhg51
https://www.hugsustainability.org/

David Rickeard

Farthings, Blewbury Road,

East Hagbourne,