by Don Whiting - Oasis Academy Brightstowe
OASIS Academy Brightstowes live link with Tim Peake on the International Space Station (ISS) had a spectacular preview at the end of term last Friday (Feb 5).
The whole day was given over to space-related activities with the emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
And Brightstowes 750 students welcomed students from eight other Bristol schools who were able to join in elements of an ambitious days programme. They included five primary schools Stoke Bishop, Sea Mills, Avon, Oasis Bank Leaze and Oasis Long Cross, and three secondaries Colstons, Red Maids and St Bedes.
Two guest speakers, keeping groups of students enthralled throughout the day, were Dr Helen Mason OBE, Theoretical Physicist at the University of Cambridge, and Michael Johnson who combined his academic work at the Universities of Bristol and London with developing his own businesses which pioneers very small and affordable robot spacecraft.
Every faculty at Brightstowe had its own angle. Walking along the main corridor in The Base, home to Year 7, was to make the journey across the solar system from the Sun to Pluto, with all planets in between.
Members of Year 7 were busy making their own models of the solar system. The sports hall was a hive of activity all day as students were put through some of the training and physical challenges faced by trainee astronauts. Teachers in space suits had higher than usual impact. Year 9 students cycled and rowed 240 miles, the distance at which the ISS orbits the earth.
The atmosphere was electric, in anticipation of the live link-up with the space station to come.
The only element of the days programme lost was the planned launch of Brightstowes new high altitude weather balloon. High winds at altitude would have blown it alarmingly off course.
All students, including guests, were brought together for an end-of-term assembly featuring Brightstowes orchestra and choir. It also became emotional at the end with a thrilling medley by the Brightstowe choir of David Bowies space hits Space Oddity, Starman and Life on Mars.More Oasis photos by Bob Pitchford
by Edith Anderson
At Shirehampton library on Saturday 6 February, a poetry reading and writing session for young readers was held to mark National Libraries Day. Despite the howling wind and lashing rain several braved the weather to attend.
For the younger readers we read poems such as The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. The older ones composed their own poems on leaf-shaped sheets and shaded them with green and brown crayons to represent leaves. These were then hung on branches to make our POETREE. This will be on display in Shirehampton library for a few weeks. Thanks are due to the library staff for their co-operation and wonderful hospitality.
The event was sponsored by the Bus Pass Poets who are a small group of Seniors, meeting monthly in branch libraries on local bus routes. We read and share our poetry and dates of upcoming meetings are posted in Shirehampton library. These are three of the poems written by our young readers.
I like the book Mr. Stink
and if you looked at him
it would make you think.
He has Duchess which is his dog
she sits on a bench which is like a log.
By Chloe Collins, Age 9
School dinners are definitely yucky
and look very mucky
If you eat them you have to be plucky
If you have it youre very unlucky.
By Kate Allen, Age 8
The screaming begins, the silence ends.
The garbling monster of a hag,
stuffs her victims in a nail torn bag,
to gorge and guzzle on their guts,
in a lair full of bodies traced with scars and cuts,
the screaming begins, the silence ends.
The screaming begins, the silence ends.
Scaly, fanged, slimy who knows?
Right down to the ends of her nail bitten toes,
the sea hags bloodshot eyes,
scan the moors for moans and cries,
when off she sets once more,
for any victim, rich or poor,
the screaming begins, the silence ends.
By Polly Allen, Age 9
The Central Library will be closed on weekdays for four weeks to carry out construction work. The relevant dates are from February 29 to March 24, 2016. It will still be open at weekends with extra hours on Sundays.
Following last years consultation, new opening hours for all Bristol Libraries have been confirmed, coming into effect on Monday 4th April.
For a full list of all the new hours across Bristol Libraries you can go to the Bristol City Council website or pop into your local branch.
In summary, there is a slight reduction in opening hours at Sea Mills and Shirehampton branches (resulting in shorter days) and an increase at Avonmouth. They will each also be open on a current closed day: Tuesday for Avonmouth, Wednesday for Sea Mills and Thursday for Shire. Full details of the new opening hours are below as a cut-out-and-keep and will be repeated in the April issue. Current hours remain in place up to and including Saturday 2nd April.
A reminder to parents and carers that Baby Bounce and Rhyme will continue at 11.20 on Monday mornings, at Shire Library until Easter. As the Library will open at 1pm on Mondays from 4th April, we will start looking at a suitable time to reschedule this activity. Any feedback on this would be appreciated.
We are currently in the middle of an IT upgrade. This means that, when complete, each library will have new equipment and much faster connections. This is particularly good news for anyone finding the current wait to print frustrating! Our WiFi, which anyone is welcome to come in and use, should also be faster. For those of you who would like to be able to plug in your laptops or tablets whilst using them, there is now a designated socket in the corner by the childrens computer.
Following the Libraries for the Future consultation and the subsequent consultation on opening hours, its all change in the Sea Mills, Shirehampton and Avonmouth Libraries Team. Current opening times remain in place until 4th April and are:
Mon, Wed, Fri: 10am 1pm, 2pm 5pm
Sat: 10am 1pm, 2pm 4pm
From 4th April:
Mon, Wed: 10am 2pm
Tue, Fri, Sat: 1pm 5pm
Despite the awful weather, a few brave souls gathered to hear a short talk on the history of the Shire newspaper and its production by Judy Helme, and children were encouraged to gather and write poetry aided by Edith Anderson of the Bus Pass Poets. The poems were hung on a Poetree and Polly bravely read out a few to the adults assembled.
Thanks to Kath at the library for arranging this.
Would you know how to make sure you and your pet can get to safety in an emergency?
Bristol City Councils Civil Protection Unit held a public evacuation exercise on Tuesday (26 January) at the City and Port of Bristol Social and Sports Club to demonstrate what people can expect in an emergency situation and where they should go. The day consisted of exercises and role playing to encourage people to consider how they would react in a worst case scenario.
Residents of Jim ONeil House and Stow House, sheltered housing for older people, took part in the event along with other members of the public. People with pets were encouraged to come along as well to find out how they can make sure their animal stays safe in a time of crisis.
Volunteers from other parts of the council were on hand to help with the exercises, manage the signing in process and ferry evacuees to the venue.
A local animal charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, also attended the event to see how these plans would work in practice and to take part themselves. As part of their emergency planning, the CPU take special care to make sure extra preparations are made to ensure peoples pets and domestic animals are not left behind.
As recognition of their effort, the team have won Gold in the RSPCAs Community Animal Welfare Footprint awards for three years in a row. The award recognizes the work and commitment of the Civil Protection Unit in their efforts to embed animal welfare in to their contingency planning.
Welcome to another edition of the Public Hall Newsletter! Now that Spring is about to leap upon us, there is no excuse for staying indoors, especially when there is so much happening here at the Hall!
We have something for everyone, from toddlers to seniors. During the past month the Hall was visited by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, and her husband and Consort, Dr Ian Campion-Smith. While they were here they visited the Toddler Group and the Twyford Art Club, before taking a walk through the village to see what Shirehampton has to offer. After the visit the Lord Mayor tweeted that she had spent a most enjoyable time with us and we enjoyed her visit, too!
We were also very lucky to welcome the National Festival Circus Clowns to our Hall during the half term break, and it seems this was an enjoyable event for those who attended. Our very friendly and welcoming Monday meeting of the Twyford Art Club is looking for new members, so if you have a flair for art, would like to meet new friends and have a chat and a coffee for a couple of hours, please pop in and introduce yourself the meeting is held from 9.30 am most Monday mornings; and similarly, our Pillowlace Club would love some new members.
Pillowlace is a wonderful, relaxing art, so whether you are young, old or somewhere in between, come along from 7pm on Fridays and join in with something different with new friends!
Meanwhile for the more physically active out there, we have a new dance class on Tuesdays. The childrens class is from 6-7pm and the adult class is 7-8pm. No specific dance styles; just come and join in the fun and get some exercise! The Hall Trustees would also like to invite volunteers to start an IT Club at the Hall anyone welcome, from all age groups and backgrounds. The idea would be to bring the community together and learn about technology from each other. Please contact the Hall Manager if you think you could carry this forward. Also, a Chess Club has been proposed and will be run by Trustees of the Hall to raise funds for the Hall. If you are interested in joining, further details will soon be available on our website. Shirehampton Public Hall is now on Facebook, so please like us and follow all our up and coming events on there.
If you think this might be you please ring the Hall Manager on 0117 9829963
by Gail Amphlet
Shire Stitchers is a group of friendly people with an interest in patchwork, quilting, and applique. The group meets monthly in the Public Hall, Station Rd and has a skill range from novice to expert.
We are always happy to welcome new members and share our knowledge and interest.
This year we are offering small group sessions at alternating meetings on basic patchwork, putting together blocks that can be made up into a quilt, cushion covers or bag fronts etc. So if you have ever fancied having a go at this craft why not join us on the 3rd Wednesday in the month at 7.15pm.? If you come along for an evening, the visitors fee is £3; full years subscription is only £20
Crafters may also be interested in attending Doughtys Fabric Roadshow hosted by Shire Stitchers on March 8th , 5pm to 8pm at Shirehampton Public Hall. A great opportunity to purchase cotton fabric or wadding locally. Entrance fee 50p and refreshments will be available.
by Mrs Nicky McMahon Headteacher
Avonmouth CE Primary School is delighted to announce the opening of their Scrapstore PlayPod® on Monday 1st February, which the school funded with the help of an Awards for All National Lottery grant.
Having heard about the play engendered by the Bristol Charity Childrens Scrapstore PlayPod® from other schools in the area, Avonmouth CE Primary knew that it was exactly what their school needed. Not only does the Scrapstore PlayPod® give enjoyable play experiences to the children, but it provides training opportunities improved skills for both lunchtime and school staff. It has also helped the school to engage more effectively with parents and the wider community.
The Scrapstore PlayPodฎ is a custom built container filled with an array of wonderful resources to enhance childrens play at break times. The collection of sustainable materials would usually be thrown away by businesses, but Scrapstore PlayPods® divert them from landfill, and help waste things become play things.
Childrens Scrapstore collect scrap from far and wide to fill the Scrapstore PlayPods® with as many exciting resources as possible, from netting and fabric for hammocks and dens, to tubes and tyres, to telephones and dressing up clothes.
The materials encourage children of all ages to play together and build friendships whilst playing creatively. Actively using their imaginations to play is proven to have direct benefits to childrens health and mental wellbeing, which continue back to the classroom.
Thanks to the support provided by Childrens Scrapstores expert play team, school staff members have been trained to ensure the materials are facilitated to their maximum potential.
Brand new scrap is provided six times a year, ensuring that theres always something new for children to discover and explore.
Staff and governors at Avon Primary School Shirehampton held a celebration for their Clerk to Governors, Lynne Rowley, who has achieved an amazing 25 years of service to the school.
Lynne recently retired from the schools office but thankfully has remained as clerk; organising governors meetings, taking minutes and generally keeping everything moving smoothly. Bristol City Councils Governor Development Service sent a message of congratulations and, according to their records, Lynne is the longest serving clerk in Bristol. Were proud to have you Lynne, and hope for another 25 years service!
Avon Primary School is pleased to invite all pre-school aged children to a Stay and Play session on the 15th March at 9.30 a.m. This is to chat with parents, school staff, prepare your child for school and, most importantly, to have FUN.
Bristol Older Peoples Forum wants everyone to have the chance to find out about the Mayoral elections happening in May - thats why were having a special meeting on Thursday March 17th at Broadmead Baptist Church, Union Street starting at 10.30am. Like all our meetings, its free and open to all, and you can meet the candidates* and make up your own mind. Have your questions ready! .come and join us in the main hall on the first floor (lift available).
*Confirmed attendees (to date) are: Dr. Kay Barnard (Liberal Democrat), Laurence Duncan (Independent), Tony Dyer (Green), Charles Lucas (Conservative), Marvin Rees (Labour) and George Ferguson (Independent)
by Clive Lovatt
It hasnt been a good month for what my Victorian predecessors called practical botanists, but I did manage a walk by the river at Horseshoe Bend.
A few years ago, I had seen a group of potted plants on the top of a sunny outcrop there with the hand-shaped Horse Chestnut like leaves that appeared on hippy tee-shirts in the late 60s. In fact, the other year I found another pot plant growing in a Shirehampton gutter until it was nine inches tall maybe it was growing from birdseed sweepings on that occasion.
I was recently reminded of a botanist named St Brody, a private tutor of natural history, who visited the Avon Gorge in 1867 with two of his friends, Purchas, a clergyman and Flower, a doctor. The well-known Victorian novelist Wilkie Collins appears as a subscriber to St Brodys Flora of Weston-super-Mare and St Brody, in return, appears in Collins detective novel, The Moonstone, here narrated by the butler.
I have seen them (ladies, I am sorry to say, as well as gentlemen) go out, day after day... Sometimes, again, you see them occupied for hours together in spoiling a pretty flower with pointed instruments, out of a stupid curiosity to know what the flower is made of. Is its colour any prettier, or its scent any sweeter, when you do know?
He might as well have added something about putting dots on maps, for The Moonstone was published in the same year, 1868, when the Bristol Naturalists were using a circular map with a square mile grid added to identify the localities where they had collected plants. Avonmouth was square mile 52, Shirehampton 69 and Kingsweston 70. It was only in 1950 with the post-war appearance of the Ordnance Surveys National Grid that mapping the distribution of plants in that way became the obvious thing to do.
If youve ever considered joining the growing revolution, what better time than the New Year?
Properly managed allotments can supplement a households weekly shop with fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year, saving money as well as providing healthy, local food.
Bristol City Council has a number of allotment plots available to rent immediately, with prices starting from as little as £25 a year for smaller, beginner-friendly plots.
A number of plots are offered with no waiting list at half rent for the first two years. These plots are overgrown so youll need to clear the plot and remove any rubbish you find. In the Shirehampton area, there is an overgrown plot at Tynings Field and 2 plots at Barracks Lane. These would qualify for a 50% discount on account of being overgrown.
The National Allotment Society found that those tending allotments reported higher levels of satisfaction, thanks to the fresh air, home grown produce, healthy lifestyle and new friendships the activity offers.
Its come to the attention of the Kings Weston Action Group that there is concern about the clearance of some areas within Penpole Wood - part of the Kings Weston Estate. We appreciate that the degree of change can be challenging, but wed like to assure everyone that the work KWAG are doing is necessary for the future protection of the Ancient Woodland.
Over the last few months KWAG volunteers have been undertaking two projects directed by the Forestry Commission; Natural Spacing and the removal of Laurel. Natural Spacing is good practice to thin-out poor quality saplings to allow the best ones, and most importantly the existing mature trees, to thrive with less competition. It promotes growth and reduces the risk of disease.
Laurel is not a native plant and has serious implications for the health of natural woodland; it suffocates all other competing species by preventing light from reaching the forest floor. It also decays slowly leaving a cocktail of toxins in the soil designed to kill-off other trees and ground cover. Although its been present at Kings Weston for centuries, introduced as an ornamental plant, its now threatening the nature, fabric, and diversity of the Ancient Woodland; as such it needs to be removed.
The majority of the feedback weve had has been resoundingly positive, but we appreciate the loss of familiar thickets will upset some people. Please be assured that KWAG are working to a brief defined by the Forestry Commission, and supported by Bristol City Council, and that the work is designed to save Penpole Wood from permanent decay, not to damage it.
We welcome enquiries from anyone looking to grow veg this year. As spring approaches, the field has been hit by storms but now is the time to think about living off the land when the weather breaks over the next month.
Five new fruit trees have been added to the twenty-three over winter and have yet to blossom. A share of the fruit from the orchard, local honey, and eggs.
For £10 per year to cover insurance, a plot can be yours. You can participate in the get-growing trail on the 4th and 5th June. There is a chance to grow calendula for the zoo and, with that, an opportunity to visit Hampton Court this summer. We are a community smallholding in Woodwell Lane, a small but dedicated group of people, not a council run allotment, and we are chemical free, supporting a pesticide free Bristol.
Kath sadly passed away in January at the grand age of 92 after a spell in hospital. Her family would like to thank everyone including all the friends, neighbours and many villagers for your kind messages of support and sympathy at Kaths passing.
Kath and her young family moved to Shirehampton in the 1950s, living first in Meadow Grove and then Old Quarry Road. Most people from Shire will know Kath from her time working in Bobbetts. She spent more than 20 years in both shops, getting to know all the customers, laughing and joking with them and asking about their families. She worked into her seventies and, by then knew just about everyone in the area, including their children and grandchildren. She said a fond farewell to Shire on the way to her funeral service at Canford Crematorium on Tuesday 2 February. She will be greatly missed by us all.
by David Hinksman
Thirtysix bowlers and supporters set off to the Carlton Hotel in Torquay on January 31st for the clubs annual Winter Bowling Break.
As well as playing eight two hour long games against local and visiting teams, there was the opportunity to use the arena for practice on three occasions. The main aim of any bowling holiday or tour is enjoyment and the chance to meet bowlers from other clubs and share bowling stories and experiences. The result of games is always less important than the pleasure gained from playing it.
Bowling for only a part of each day left plenty of time to explore Torquay and the surrounding area such as Brixham and Paignton and to make use of the wide range of activities that the hotel offers. Many frames of snooker were keenly contested and games of pool played. On the final evening of the week ten pin bowling was arranged and very much enjoyed by all who played.
The end of week presentations saw prizes given to everyone who had taken on the role of Captain or skip for a game. There was a prize for the top gentleman and the top lady bowlers - Bill Hatherall was this years top gentleman and Dawn Evans the top lady. There was a thank you from joint organiser Jill Hinksman and Dee Crawley to everyone who made the week a success. Most of the bowlers were from the City and Port of Bristol but the presence of friends from four other Bristol Clubs was very welcome. Everyone at the presentation was given a small gift at the end and a chance to talk to friends old and new.
The final indoor game will be against Canford on Saturday March 5th.
Sunday evening social events have once again been successful and well attended this winter. February 7th was eyes down for bingo and a game of table skittles. This was enjoyed by almost thirty bowlers, family and friends. The next event is on Sunday March 6th and this will see Kurling making a first appearance at the club. This increasingly popular variation on the game played on ice with a big stone and sweepers, is played with smaller stones fitted with castors aimed at a target mat on a flat surface.
The pre-season meeting will be at The City and Port of Bristol Club on Thursday 17th March commencing at 7.45pm.
Preparation for the new season has been going on through the winter but will gather momentum in March and into April when bowling makes a welcome return.
The club meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at St Andrews Church Hall in Avonmouth at 7.30pm.
|March 1st||Mercy Ships Lynne Melly|
|March 15th||Monologue - Paul Evans|
What a lovely thought that in a few weeks we officially enter Springtime and the clocks going forward into British Summer Time.
As I write these notes, the daffodils are in bloom in early February with the hope they will last for decoration of the church at Easter.
We are holding a special service at 10am which will include a celebration of Mothers and all that they mean to us. At this service, the children will be able to present their mothers with a small bunch of flowers as a token of their love and appreciation.
Tickets will be £8, obtained from the Church Office.
This is Maundy Thursday and many of us will be attending a service at 10.30am at Bristol Cathedral. This service is a Chrism Eucharist when the Oils of Chrism are blessed by the Bishop, to be used for initiation and healing. At 6.30pm back at St Marys, there will be a Holy Communion service to include the traditional act of washing of feet. This is not compulsory but optional for those who wish to follow this tradition. Afterwards there is a light supper so please put your name up on the notice board if you are staying for this meal.
Beginning with a Family Service at 10.00 am and followed by tea & coffee with Hot Cross Buns. At 1pm there will be service of Meditation, followed by a service at 2pm, when the Shirehampton Area Choir will sing the Oratorio - Olivet to Calvary by Maunder.
With our traditional Sunrise Service at Shirehampton Park at 7.00 am held on the piece of ground adjacent to the entrance to Kingsweston Estate. Following this service we adjourn to The Tithe Barn for a full English breakfast. You need to sign up for this to assist with the catering.
This busy day then concludes with a Service of Compline at 8pm to which all are most welcome.
To include the sale of Crafts, Cakes, Preserves and more! Please put this date in your Diary.
Before I finish, I must thank everyone who came to the church on Shrove Tuesday, partook of the fun, and enjoyed pancakes with their tea & coffee.
It was a wonderful sight to see the church absolutely heaving with people and hear the excitement and laughter from the children. Financially, it was also a success as donations received were in excess of £120 which will help to defray costs. So a great big thank you to all who supported us on that day.
Now, a thought for the day - Aspire to inspire before you expire.
Bye for now. C.M.E.
|6th||Bernice Jones||St Marys|
Although in modern times the original Easter story has become slightly buried under an avalanche of eggs, rabbits, chickens and vast quantities of chocolate, it is still to be found if you look for it. And, this Easter, families and children are invited to have lots of fun in the search at Shirehampton Baptist Church in Station Road on Saturday, 2nd April.
Between 3 and 5pm there will be games, plus arts and crafts and story-telling and, because its a Messy Church, opportunity to get a bit untidy.
At the heart of it all will be the question of what did happen on that Sunday morning 2,000 years ago and why it is an unbelievable truth. The afternoons free to all, including a tasty meal and yes, there might just be some chocolate as well !
After many years of loyal service, our Akela is planning to retire in the New Year and we need a replacement male or female. The training will be given over a long period of time so the successful applicant can fit it around their social life.
Cubs meet on Thursday from 6 to 7.30 p.m. and, if you are interested or require any further information, please contact R. Watkins on 0117 9827015.
If your son/daughter is interested in joining Cubs or Scouts, there are vacancies in both sections.
by Grant Watkins (Scout Leader)
On Saturday, December 12, the 191st Shirehampton Scout Group held a collection outside the Coop and raised £306. The monies raised will be used for much needed renovation of the headquarters.
The Group wishes to thank Mike (Co-op Manager), staff and all Shire residents for their support.
Val would like to say a huge thank you to the family and so many friends for the support and words of comfort at this sad time.
(Thank you for your kind donation - Ed)
WOW! What an amazing beginning to the year for Avonmouth Sea Cadets! After putting in uncountable hours of training and dedication, the Colour Party Team and Piping Team set off for the District competition held at Worle Community School on Sunday 7th February.
It was a very good competition with 7 out of 9 units in the Avon District competing at various levels. We at Avonmouth are immensely proud to announce that our Piping Team were runners up and our Colour Party Team very deservedly took 1st place; this is a first in the known history of Avonmouth Sea Cadets and we were very pleased to take 2nd place overall in the competition.
We are not a very large unit compared to others in the District and we were up against some fierce competition on the day. We now have the great honour of representing Avon District at the next level at HMS Raleigh in March where we will compete against units from all over the South West Area to go on to National Level.
None of this would have been achievable without the dedication of the staff who, like the cadets, have put in many hours with training and uniform. Although the cadets have in previous years had plenty of drill training, this increased tenfold with the arrival of our new OIC Lt Kim Silverthorne in December 2015. Lt Silverthorne joined us from Burnham-on-sea unit and has many years experience in the Sea Cadet Corps, not only as staff but also as a cadet and is a very welcome addition to Avonmouth.
We are recruiting all ages of cadets - are you age 10-17 year old, do you fancy being part of an awesome team who get endless opportunities to go kayaking, power boating, rock climbing mountain biking, off shore sailing and get qualifications for doing all the above and more?
by Bobbie Perkins.
Our foxes were very daring a few mornings ago. It was about 9.30 in the morning, and Im pretty sure it was a male and female who were trotting openly along the riverbank together before disappearing down towards the lower bank, and probably to their own family den.
The recent RSPB bird count proved difficult for me, as there was much going on that weekend. However I did manage to register most of our regular visitors, and a real lucky bonus was when I happened to glance out at our goldfinch feeder just as a huge charm of around 30 of them suddenly flew up into the tree after feeding on the fallen seeds. It was a first for me and just at the right time! The long tailed tits have returned frequently too, and, as you know, I love these little chaps!
Spring songs are still filling the air when the weather relents, though not today Im afraid. The feeders are deserted at time of writing, as the sparrows seek shelter from the gales and storms. The herons are now firmly in place on their nests and can clearly be seen side by side, renewing their bonds and preparing for the new arrivals. Field glasses now definitely at the ready!
Happy nature watching!
Anyone wanting to volunteer to grow flowers for the community plant collection, or grow veg here this year ? We are also looking for a strawberry grower. We are starting work now so we seek someone who can manage strawberry plants year round in return for fruit. Grow your own but not alone! Tynings field is an established community group growing on the land for ourselves.
by Bob Pitchford.