EVENT UPDATE: Blenheim talk 18 March 2016

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

Holding this event in the afternoon proved very popular.  We filled the 20 places available and sadly had to turn a number of late bookings down.  We hope to repeat the talk before too long so those disappointed this time should have another opportunity to learn about Blenheim.

The speaker was Peter Gill, a Blenheim guide and part of their education team. Those attending learned about Winston Churchill’s connection with Blenheim as his birthplace and early home.  They also heard about the first Duchess of Marlborough, per passions and prejudices.

The talk was followed by tea and cakes.

Thanks to Peter Gill for giving up his time and to Chrissie Garrett for organising the event and hosting it.

Peter Gill’s wife is a guide at Broughton Castle and we hope she might give a talk about this local historical site later in the year.

We raised £138 from this event to help to keep our library open.  Thanks to all who supported the event.

NEWS FLASH: Meet the Author series

Meet The AuthorIt should come as no surprise that we have plenty of successful authors here in Oxfordshire and, as a result of starting to get to know some of them, we plan to run a regular feature called MEET THE AUTHOR in our events programme.

This will take various formats, possible with a couple of successful authors having a conversation and taking questions or with an author telling us about their latest book and how they got to write and publish it.

There will always be a book signing opportunity and some suitable refreshment to accompany good company and an interesting speaker.

Here are some of the authors we have identified and whom we hope to encourage to come to Church House to share their experience with us.

William Ryan

William Ryan

William Ryan is an Irish writer living in London. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of St Andrews and worked as a lawyer before becoming a full-time author  His first novel, The Holy Thief, was published in 2010. His second novel, The Bloody  Meadow, was published in 2011. Next came The Darkening Field in 2012, The Twelfth Department in 2013 and The Constant Soldier in 2015.  They have been shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award, the CWA New Blood Dagger, the Irish Fiction Award and twice for the Ireland AM Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award. His latest book is due out this year and is based in Nazi Germany.  We hope to hear more from William in Church House. William  lives in London with his wife and son but has family connections here in North Oxfordshire.

I Let You GoClare Mackintosh was a police officer for twelve years with time in the CID and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is now a full-time author.  Her first novel, I Let You Go, was published in 2015 and was listed as a Sunday Times Bestseller and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in this year. It has been selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club and ITV’s Loose Women’s ‘Loose Books’. Her second book is called I See You and is due to be published in August 2016.  Watch this space and we hope she might join William Ryan in talking about authorship.

Sharon \bolton

Sharon Bolton

Sharon Bolton is the author of the Lacey Flint series of crime novels. Lacey Flint is a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police and the novels take you into the darker side of London.

She has published Now You See Me in 2011, Dead Scared in 2012, Lost in 2013 and A Dark & Twisted Tide in 2014.  Publication of her next novel – Here Be Dragons – is imminent. Sharon lives in Oxfordshire.

Bruce Duncan

Bruce Duncan

Bruce Duncan lives very locally.  He was born and educated in South India.  He enjoyed a long and distinguished military career.   His final posting was as the British Defence Attaché, Jordan. Away from the demands of military life, he took every opportunity to explore the landscape and meet the people of each country he visited. He explored the desert; ate with Bedouins; slept under the stars near the pyramids of Meroe in Sudan. He spent an unforgettable Christmas with his family at the beautiful hill station of Kodaikanal in India where he first went to school.

In 1988, life took a different turn. Arriving in Kuwait just after the end of the Iran/Iraq war, tensions were high and storm clouds were building on the political horizon. After international negotiations with Saddam Hussein broke down, Duncan and his family experienced the full horrors of the unanticipated and brutal Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.  This is the subject matter of his book The Loan Soldier.  We hope Bruce will be able to join us for a Meet The Author session in Church House.

Lindy Woodhead

Lindy Woodhead

Lindy Woodhead worked in international fashion public relations for over 25 years. During the late 1980s she spent two years as the first woman on Harvey Nichols’ board of directors. Lindy retired from fashion in 2000 to concentrate on writing.  Her first book, War Paint (Virago), a biography of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, was published in 2003. In 2007, she published Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge. She is a regular contributor to The Spectator and The Times Saturday Magazine. A Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, she is married with two sons and lives in south west London and south west France.  She has connections with Bicester.


EVENT UPDATE: Waddesden IT girls talk 25 February 2016

IT Girl_324 people enjoyed an informative and interesting talk about several talented ladies who had a connection with Waddesden Manor. The Manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild between 1874 and 1885 to display his outstanding collection of arts and to entertain the fashionable world.  The presenter was Maureen Paterson, a guide at Waddesdon. Maureen started as a Room Warden in Nov 2007 and 18 months later was chosen to become a House Guide. After 3 years of training she now undertakes private and pre-house tours.

The ladies had in common astonishing determination to improve their lifestyles and status and, with the exception of one, did so through seeking fame on the stage and then taking advantage of advantageous liaisons! The audience was riveted throughout by these inspiring and sometimes desperately sad stories.

Our thanks to Maureen Paterson for the work she put into the presentation. Thanks also to Angela Everett for organising and hosting the event and to Anne Dawson, John Everett and Phil Mansell for help with set up, bar duties and take down.

A collection for Katharine House Hospice raised £35.

EVENT UPDATE: Volunteers’ luncheon Tuesday 9 February 2016

Our support for Adderbury library involves both fund raising to plug the funding gap and recruiting and supporting volunteers to work with our library manager.  We have been successful in recruiting a good number of volunteers, they have had some training in the basic skills of working in a library and a pair of volunteers work in the library during every weekday opening.

Volunteers' luncheon 9 Feb 2016

Volunteers’ luncheon
9 Feb 2016

On Tuesday 9 February, we held a lunchtime meeting to thank our volunteers and to share experiences.  A good number attended and enjoyed hearing from our library manager, Janet May and from John Cordingley of the Focal Executive.

Speaking after the luncheon, John Cordingley said “the lunch to recognise the work of volunteers was a great success.  It brought many of them together and helped to cement a team spirit with our library manager, Janet May, as team leader.”

Thanks to Bobbie Howard, our volunteer coordinator, for organising the luncheon.

NEW EVENT: Sarah and Winston at Blenheim

An insight into the lives of Sarah the first Duchess and Winston Churchill

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

Join us in Adderbury Library to hear two fascinating talks.

Winston Spencer Churchill and Blenheim Palace

The private resources of Blenheim Palace are drawn upon to afford new and refreshing insights into this remarkable man. We examine the breadth of talent, achievement and personality of the “Greatest Briton”: soldier, politician, statesman, painter, writer, orator, family man – and bricklayer!

Sarah the Indomitable Duchess – a Lesson in Love…and Hate

The first Duchess was a passionate woman who at times favoured or alienated all around her; those closest to her were often the object of her irrational and damaging emotions. Sarah was once described as ‘a good hater,’ this talk will help you to decide whether this description was well deserved

What a great way to spend a Friday afternoon!!

Friday 18th March, 2.00pm in the Library Tickets £5  

(Tea & cakes will be available to buy separately)

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM: Adderbury Library OR by e-mail from Keith Mitchell on  krmcbe@gmail.com

All proceeds go to help keep the library open!

NEWS FLASH: Thanks to our Parish Council

Gracewell care home

Gracewell care home

Adderbury Parish Council has been negotiating with the developers of the care home on Banbury Road opposite the Twyford turn for a contribution to the local community.  The result is a donation to the Parish Council of £15,000.  The Parish Council has asked that £2,000 of this be designated as a donation to Friends of the Community of Adderbury Library and the developers have agreed to this.

Focal is extremely grateful to Adderbury Parish Council for facilitating this donation and to the developers for finding the funds to make it.  It will be put to good effect in supporting our library opening hours.

Here is a link to the developer’s web site: Gracewell

NEW EVENT: “It” Girls at Waddesdon Manor

The Waddesdon ‘IT’ Girls. A presentation in Adderbury Library

IT Girl_1IT Girl_2


IT Girl_3

Waddesdon Manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild between 1874 and 1885 to display his outstanding collection of arts and to entertain the fashionable world. Join us for a brief look at the fascinating lives of some of the ladies whose portraits can be found in the Collection of English Paintings at Waddesdon Manor.

The presenter will be Maureen Paterson a guide at Waddesdon. Maureen started as a Room Warden in Nov 2007 and 18 months later was chosen to become a House Guide. After 3 years of training she now undertakes private and pre-house tours plus several Discovery and Wine Cellar talks. Join us for what promises to be an entertaining evening.

Thursday 25th February, 8.00pm in the Library

£7.00 to include glass of wine or soft drink


Adderbury Library OR

by e-mail from Keith Mitchell on krmcbe@gmail.com


NEWS FLASH: Become a Friend of the library in 2016

Thinking of your New Year Resolutions?  Here is an easy one: to become a Friend of Adderbury Library.

The 2011 Census showed Adderbury with a population of 2,819 so, with recent housing developments, it must be well over 3,000 by now.  Hundreds of villages use Adderbury library and Church House from time to time but we have less than 100 Friends of the library.  Cuts to local government funding are here to stay so, if we want to retain our 18 hours of library time, we are going to have to pay for half of them ourselves.  That adds up to £9,000 every year.

Becoming a Friend of Adderbury library brings no special privileges;  access to the library is free to all.  However, becoming a friend means you will be supporting this important community resource for the benefit of all Adderbury residents and many people from adjacent villages who visit the library. Supporting Focal does more than maintain our library hours; our activities ensure Church House remains as a community resource.  Somewhere for clubs and societies to hold their meetings; for regular coffee mornings and rhyme times and lots more.  With wi-fi available to all as well as county council computers and a photo-copier, Church House can be a quiet haven away from noise and distractions at home.

There is a simple form under the Fundraising link on this web site.  Simply print it off, fill it in and send it to Anne Dawson on aandsdawson@btinternet.com.

If you can manage it, you can become a Patron for £100 per annum or just £8.33 per month.  We presently have 17 Patrons.  Again, there are no privileges attached to being a Patron beyond knowing you are making an important contribution to maintaining a valuable village amenity.  There is a Patrons’ Roll in the library but many Patrons prefer to remain anonymous.

Again, there is a simple form under the Fundraising link on this web site.  Simply print it off, fill it in and send it to Anne Dawson on aandsdawson@btinternet.com.


EVENT UPDATE: Festive morning at the library

Saturday 12 December was the day for our annual Festive Morning event at Church House.  John Cordingley presided over a vat of mulled wine which smelled wonderful and tasted even better while Anne Dawson and Angela Everett sold raffle tickets for two wonderful prizes that had Christmas Hamper, bursting with things to eat and drink over the Christmas period while the second prize was a magnum of champagne.  There was also a children’s prize to ensure they were not left out.  Church House was humming with people using the library and people coming for the mulled wine and a chance to win the raffle.  It was a delightful morning for all concerned.  I have no doubt we will repeat it early in December 2016.

EVENT UPDATE: A baffling pub quiz

David and Aline Griffiths worked very hard to make their Focal pub quiz at The Bell a huge success on Saturday 14 November 2015.  The questions seemed to get harder as the beer and wine circulated around the groups of contestants but this may have been more to do with the alcohol level than the real difficulty of the questions!  Everyone enjoyed themselves hugely and there was a clear wining team at the end of the evening but modesty will prevent us from naming them!  Thanks to David and Aline and also to the landlord and landlady of The Bell for their tremendous support.

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