Archive for 2011

2012 from the Perspective of Reuters

We recommend that you view the video: ‘Year in 60 Seconds‘, and have a wonderful 2012.

Comments (1)

New Year Suggestion: Walk a Dog for Charity

I’ve been visiting the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, and walking some of the dogs, like Red, a bull mastiff. I have been greatly impressed with the staff and the service the sanctuary provides. They treat all the animals so well and you can tell by how willing and pleased the dogs are in coming home to their kennel. But they need help, from funding and sponsorship, but also help as easy as walking a dog on occasion. It is located in a beautiful area. So if you can’t round up neighbours for a walk, and want some pleasant company, while providing a really valued service to an appreciative animal, consider taking one for a walk. They are especially low on walkers during the holiday, so think about it.

The Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary is at The Village Green, Watlington Road, Stadhampton, Oxfordshire OX44 7UB – a short 20 minute drive from Victoria Road. See their Web site at:  You can also support this charity by simply shopping with them. They have shops around Oxfordshire, but close to Victoria Road is their shop on 36 South Parade, Oxford  OX2 7JN  Its open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 10am-4.30pm; Wed, Sat 10am-4pm


Red the Bull Mastiff at Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary

Maz out for a stroll at the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary

Red Tickled

Red the Bull Mastiff Getting a Tickle

Leave a Comment

Even More Top Photos from the 2011 Photography Competition on the Road

Scenes from Victoria Road

Leave a Comment

More Photos from the 2011 Photography Competition on the Road

Grandchildren and Pets on the Road

Leave a Comment

VRG Photography at its Best: a Competition

The VRG had its first photo competition with the winners announced at the Christmas Party. Some of the entries are posted below. The pampas grass won, which was taken by Da and the street scene with cars and pushchair was runner up, courtesy of Jonathan. Thanks to all who participated, and special thanks to the brilliant scheme that directed this competition, provided by Elman. And thanks to Philippa for managing the competition. We hope that the momentum of this year will mean even stiffer competition in 2012!

Pampas and Street Scene

Comments (1)

Oxford News from Thames Valley Police on Disturbances

Police would like to update you with information about a recent crime;

Thames Valley Police can confirm that there have been small outbreaks of disorder in parts of the force area overnight.

The main issues were in Reading and Oxford.

Police received several reports of a small group of youths with their faces covered causing a disturbance in Whitley, during which a car was overturned. Police issued a Section 60 Order, allowing them to remove masks and balaclavas from anyone in the area, to tackle the disorder. There was also a car fire in Northcourt Avenue, shortly after midnight, which is being treated as arson.

In Oxford, police were called to reports of an arson attack at the McDonald’s restaurant in London Road, Headington, Oxford, shortly after midnight (9/8). A 26-year-old man has been arrested in connection with this incident and is currently in police custody at this time.

Officers were also called to a ca! r fire in Barton Road, Barton, at 12.50am this morning (9/8) after a black VW Polo was set alight.

In addition to dealing with these issues, Thames Valley Police continues to provide officers to support the Metropolitan Police.

Deputy Chief Constable Francis Habgood, said: “There have been a lot of rumours circulating on social networking sites about ‘riots’, some of which are untrue or greatly exaggerated. However, there has been some disorder across the force area.

“These are copy cat incidents of those that have been happening in London, although involving far fewer people. Obviously, we are aware that these incidents and the images people will have seen from the problems in London and other areas of the country will be causing distress and anxiety.

“You may notice an increase in the number of police officers in your area at this time and this should not cause alarm. These officers are there to provide reassurance and tack! le any criminal activity that may occur.

“I would also like to appeal to the community to let police know of any suspicious looking gatherings of young people and any information they may have about people who may have been involved in disorder.”

Thames Valley Police has issued the following precautionary advice to businesses in the area:

1. Ensure staff report any suspicious activity to security officials and the police

2. Consider regular checks of the building and surrounding areas. Identify any areas that are vulnerable and remove loose objects that could be used as missiles.

3. Make sure all service doors are kept locked and secure when not in use

4. Ensure your CCTV system is fully operational

5. Consider removing high value goods from display windows overnight

6. Keep as little cash as possible in the building overnight

7. Where possible retails premises should be suitably staffed with security guards

8. Landlords nee! ds to ensure that residents living above commercial premises are aware of risks and ensure that all fire alarms, smoke alarms and fire escapes are fully functional

9. Does your alarm company have the latest key holder information? If not call them now.

10. Does your business have an emergency business plan?

11 Petrol stations should avoid selling petrol in small containers.

12. In the event of an emergency call 999

If you have any information about offenders in the disorder in Reading or Oxford please contact Thames Valley Police on 0845 8 505 505.

Alternatively, if you do not want to speak to police, or leave your name, please contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Leave a Comment

Minutes of meeting 8th June 2011

Wednesday 8th June, 8pm at Bill and Diana’s (55)


Attendance: John Clarke (Chair), Bill and Diana Dutton, Philippa O’Connor, Betty Marshall, Anna Buchanan (Treasurer), Sam and Ali Clarke, Paul and Mary Lewis.

1         Appointment of Minute Taker

Jonathan took the minutes.

2         Apologies

Received from Jelly, Nick, Sue, Da, Andrew, Manda, Mick and Gordon.

3         Minutes of last meeting, and matters arising

Minutes are online at and were approved.

Matters arising:

  • Newsletter – pending

action: Sam

  • Pursuits initiative – pending

action: John

  • Minutes are currently distributed (for those with internet access) by an email containing a link to the blog.  Should we include the minutes in the body of that email?  Consensus that it was pointless to include an attachment because that gives rise to at least as much security concern as an external link, but it would be valuable to include the minutes as plain text in the email body (in addition to the blog link as at present).
  • The Chair is still hoping to find a successor shortly, and suggested that all those on the minutes circulation list should be assumed to be candidates unless they expressly withdraw.  This did not find general approval, but Chair will make a specific request for nominations.  John and Sam to prepare a document outlining the duties.

action: John, Sam

4         Photographic Competition announcement

Was circulated as part of Green Balloon Day notice, but perhaps might not have had sufficient attention as it was on the back of a notice that’s usually only single-sided.  Sam suggested we create an A5-size flyer with a short version of the announcement and a link to the full information.  Coordinator has not yet been appointed; must handle submissions and other administration.  Philippa suggested we might approach younger people (particularly art/media students?) to help with coordination and judging.  Ellie Shorrock and Ruby Barendt-Reid were mentioned.  There should be a display at the garden party event to raise awareness.

action: John

5         Review of Green Balloon Day (14th May)

General agreement that it had gone well, with good numbers at coffee, plenty of nice cakes, but perhaps not so much material out for exchange.  There was a suggestion that making exchange of plants a focus of next year’s events might be popular.  However, that would need the event to be no later than mid May, or even early June.  Agreed that the basic format is still valuable and does not need major change.

Sam suggested that entertainments could attract some who otherwise would not participate.  Dick Wolff had played accordion this year, giving a good atmosphere.  Next year offers many opportunities for interesting activity (Olympics etc) – perhaps we could even close the road for various races such as slow bicycle race.  Animated discussion around this topic included mention of corsets and The Big Lunch, with no specific conclusions reached.

Meeting expressed thanks to the Community Police Officers for attending.

Treasurer reported that expenditure had been £12.80, and contributions of £57.00 were received.

action: John

6         Preparation for Summer Garden Party

This is to take place on Sunday 19th June at no.59.  Invitations not yet sent out – we have left it rather late, but can’t change the date now, and notification has already been given elsewhere.  Paul agreed to prepare invitations and take responsibility for printing and circulation – anticipated cost about £25.

action: Paul

Stop press: the invitations have now gone out. Thanks, Paul and everyone who distributed them.


Crockery could mostly be borrowed from Nick Lee’s stock.  Jonathan and Nick have gazebos.  Mary and Paul have the water boiler.  Trestle tables and enough chairs are with Jonathan and Sally.  Many sources of tablecloths.  Mary to ask Janet whether we can borrow St Michael’s Church cups and saucers. (Stop press: this is now complete and Janet has made the arrangements.)  Philippa agreed to do face-painting for young children.  Jelly Williams to be asked to do name labels as usual.  Mary and Ali will do any necessary shopping.

action: all!

Setup (gazebos, tables etc) from 1.30.

action: Jonathan, John, Mick

Tea rota:
3.00 Anna and Ali
3.30 Da and Bill
4.00 Andrew and Mary
4.30 Betty and Sam

Noted that clearing up should not begin too soon, as it might appear somewhat inhospitable.

7         Communications received

  • Revised planning application for No.57: 11/00535/PDO (entirely internal)
  • OxClean 2012 (2/3 March) – discuss at a future meeting

8         AOB

8.1      LCON

Sam Clarke reported that Low Carbon Oxford North (LCON) is now a registered charity after about 16 months’ existence.  There is to be a meeting on 9 June at North Oxford Association to introduce the Low Carbon Living Project, and there was a meeting on 7th June promoting the ONCORE project to put a 50kWp PV installation on the Cherwell School roof.  Details at

8.2      Skip

There was some discussion about Bill’s suggestion (see minutes of 19-Apr-2011) that VRG should hire a skip for general use.  Jonathan expressed unease that VRG would be paying for benefit of  the first few users.  Bill is reluctant to proceed if there are to be further complications.  General agreement that it was worth trying, but we should make people aware of the cost (without restricting access).  Skip should go on someone’s drive as this avoids some costs.  Paul agreed to arrange this for July.

action: Paul

8.3      Music Evening

Mick O’Connor would set up a group to organise.  Preferred date is 8th Oct in Summertown Church Hall; second choice 22nd Oct.  Mick will check availability.  Noted that hire of lights and other equipment would probably cost about £180.

action: Mick

(Stop press: this is now fixed for the 22nd October.)

8.4      Bank Signatories

Anna pointed out that cheques need two signatures and this can be problematic if one of the signatories is away.  We should arrange three signatories, with two signatures required on cheques.  This was agreed.  Anna will organise in due course.

action: Anna

9         Thanks to hosts

Bill and Diana were thanked for their hospitality.

10    Date of Next meeting

Tuesday 19th July at No.46.

Leave a Comment

Support Victims of the Fukushima Earthquake and Tsunami: Summertown Event

If you are like millions of others, and don’t know how you can support the victims of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, there is an event this afternoon, 4 June, in Summertown. All money received will be sent via the Japanese Embassy directly to help orphans of the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

On Day Tsunami Hit from The Independent

A colleague of mine has alerted me to this fundraising fair and concert this Saturday (4 June) at the Summertown’s United Reformed Church, 294A Banbury Road. As my colleague says: “So if you fancy a spot of Japantastic activity, whilst helping to raise some money, please do drop by and get involved!’

If you have any time to spare this afternoon, please consider dropping in. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.


Fundraising Fair and Concert

Saturday 4 June 13:30-17:30

Summertown United Reformed Church
294A Banbury Road

What’s on:
– Live violin and piano, chamber music throughout the event
– Sushi and other Japanese food and refreshments
– Bake sale
– Calligraphy, original Kanji T-shirts, origami workshop
– Japanese toys and cards
– Painting exhibition
– Japanese crafts, house goods and second-hand book sale
– Raffle with fabulous prizes!

All money received will be sent via the Japanese Embassy directly to help orphans of the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Leave a Comment

Minutes of meeting 19th April 2011


Held at No 59 (Sally and Jonathan’s), Tuesday 19th April, 8pm

1                    Attended by: Sally, Jonathan, Gordon, Betty, Bill, John (chair)

2                    Minutes taken by John.

3                    Apologies: Lindsey and Derek, Nick Lee, Jelly and Bob, Sam and Ali, Paul and Mary, Mick and Philipa, Da, Mireille and Mike, Sue Austin, Elman Poole, Peter and Susie, Ruth, Oona.

4                    Minutes of last meeting.

  1. Ali and Sam are still preparing a general newsletter.
  2. Bill has identified a skip hire company and will book one for after Green Balloon Day.
  3. John is still thinking about this will report to a later meeting.
  4. A new chairperson?

Minutes approved.

5                    The Annual Photographic Competition.

With help from Sam and Manda, Elman and John have finalised an Announcement letter to be sent to all residents shortly.

In summary:

  • The aims are “to stimulate observation and interest, encourage good photography, and at the same time collect an archive of relevant and possibly useful information about the Victoria Road community for the future”. The theme this year will be “Summer in Victoria Road
  • Entries will be in the form of 7-by-5 prints (very cheap from photo shops such as Jessop’s in St. Ebbes.)
  • Entries will close on 31st October.
  • Judging will be in time for an exhibition of entries and prize-giving at the Christmas Drinks in early December.
  • Elman has agreed to donate a First Prize of £40 and a Second Prize of £10, and the judges may nominate commended runners-up.
  • There are some other details and restrictions detailed in the Announcement. The panel of Judges will be announced in due course.
  • We need a volunteer to be Competition Coordinator and one of the judges.

The job involves receiving entries, passing them round the judges ensuring that judges don’t know who the entrant is, recording judges’ decisions, preparing the award cheques and certificates, organising the exhibition of entries and the prize giving. Elman will give support and guidance. He has considerable experience with such competitions!

If you are interested in photography, have a knack for working an administrative process, and can drive a computer, please volunteer to or 310248!

6                    Events

  1.  Prep for Green Balloon Day (14th May).

VRG Chair John can’t be here on the 14th. So the people who have volunteered will have to organise themselves and sort out any unexpected emergencies!

People who gave apologies but volunteered for GBD: Jelly for leafleting; Nick and Sue; Mick and Philippa for anything except judging the pet show; Sam and Ali; Lindsey and Derek later in the morning.

Mary and Paul will be back well before the day.


  • Preparation of text: these should give instructions (which could be copied from 1st flyer). Refreshments/bakery contributions should be taken to Bill and Diana’s. People should bring their own mugs/cups to the refreshment table. – John will prepare this.
  • Printing – we hoped that Mary and Paul will be able to run off enough copies for all Victoria Road addresses from the Invitation text supplied by John – Mary/Paul.
  • Attaching of balloons – Ali has the balloons and knows how to do this. I expect others will volunteer to help her directly. (We didn’t know how long this takes. But the printing will have to take place early enough to leave plenty of time.) – Ali.
  • Distribution of ballooned Invites (prepared by Ali and team) to all residents around 7th May – Jelly and another volunteer (contact Ali to volunteer and pick up Invites.) – Jelly plus volunteers.

Days before 14th:

  • Find the

o   Urn – we thought Mary and Paul had this – Jonathan/Bill.

o   Extension lead – if there is one with the urn, use that otherwise Jonathan, for example, can supply – Jonathan/Bill.

o   Serving tables, sitting tables and some garden seats – are at #59, plus additional seats/tables and parasols/sun-shields would be welcome. – Jonathan/Bill.

o   Plates – Diana.

  • Shopping for refreshment table: tea (breakfast blend or similar), coffee, milk, sugar, squash, Gordon will supply real coffee.  – Sally.

In time for start at 10:30:

  • Decorating of lamp-posts with coloured paper or other decorations 8^) (Last year red, white and blue. Different this year?) — Ali.
  • Receiving of contributed cakes at #55, etc.– Bill and Diana.
  • Decision about weather – even if the weather were to be quite unfavourable, we expected that there would be some GBD activity. So the clear up at 15:00 would be needed. Otherwise, we will leave it to individuals to decide: refreshment table (Bill and Diana), pet show (Ali), any music (Dick)
  • Setting up of refreshments table at Bill and Diana’s – Bill, Diana, Nick, Sam, Sally.

From 10:30 to 1:00:

  • Refreshment table rota

o   10:30 – 11:00 Gordon and Jonathan

o   11:00 – 11:30 Sally and Betty

o   11:30 – 12:00 Mick and Diana (suggested)

o   12:00 – 12:30 Nick and Philippa (suggested)

o   12:30 – 13:00  Derek and Lindsey (suggested)
If suggested times are unsuitable, please sort it out between you on the day!

  • Events

o   12:00   Pet Show – Ali

o   John has suggested to Dick that any appropriate Street Music would be well-received. Any volunteer performers, coordinate with Dick. — Dick.

At 15:00:

  • Collect unwanted items.  — Nick, Sam and two other volunteers. It would probably help to volunteer a van or similar. Peter is away this GBD. (contact Nick or Sam to volunteer help or a van.)
  • Take them to several local charities. — Sam, Nick

7                    Communications received

  1. Police Superintendent Amanda Pearson: “…we have continued to see a downward trend in crimes that matter to our communities. For example, 120 fewer people have had their homes broken into in 2010/11, compared to the previous year. Burglary, robbery and autocrime have reduced by 283 offences…. In a period where cuts are being made across the public sector, I would like to reassure you that my front-line officers have been protected, so the excellent work … will continue… anti-social behavior, … has also fallen this year. …continuing to target offenders and work together in our neighbourhoods to show that criminal activity will not be tolerated in our city.”
  2. PC Amanda Kerman emailed me via Oona: “We would like to increase our visibility and engagement opportunities with you all by attending any meetings or summer events that you may have planned. If you would be interested, please feel free to make contact with us on – marked for my attention. Kind Regards, PC 5401 Kerman. Neighbourhood Specialist Officer. North Oxford Neighbourhood Team.Oxford Police Station. 08458 505 505”

We agreed that a discrete uniform presence would be OK for GBD, and might even help PC Kerman’s aims. It’s less clear that this would work at events held in peoples’ houses or gardens. John will email PC Kerman, and suggest

  1. She attend GBD
  2. If she would like to talk to a VRG meeting, we will put her on a future agenda, or arrange a special session.

8                     AOB

Nothing arising.

9                    Thanks to hosts Jonathan and Sally.

10                The next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th June at Bill and Diana’s.

Future Dates

1                    Summer Garden Party 19th July at Sally and Jonathan’s

2                    The next Music Evening is planned for the Autumn.

Ideas gratefully received on how we might broaden it to include Dance and/or Drama, and maybe even thread Music together with some kind of overall narrative, perhaps linked to some local historical story. What was here before Victoria Road was built?



Facebook Group


Leave a Comment

Exploring Views on a Community Benefit Co-Operative: Photovoltaic Panels for Cherwell School

Dear friends, and neighbors of Summertown,

I am contacting you to ask whether you’d complete this modest survey to help us gather information about our emerging enterprise to put photovoltaic panels on the roofs of The Cherwellschool. We are setting up a community benefit co-operative and are circulating this survey to assess views and reactions.

How Photovoltaic Cells Work

How Photovoltaic Cells Work

I’d be very grateful if you could give it the 4-5 minutes it might take and circulate it if you can think of anyone who might have feelings or interest in this sort of thing.

Though there’s the opportunity to give feedback contained in the survey, please comment on this blog if you have further reactions that don’t fit the survey template, or which you wish to share with others.

Just follow the link

Thanks very much


Comments (3)

Older Posts »