Mercers Solicitors – Justine McCool

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

Meet Justine McCool, head of the Litigation and the Contentious Trust and Estates team at Mercers Solicitors.

Justine, a Partner at Mercers Solicitors, based in Henley-on-Thames, specialises in the following areas:

Contentious Probate and Trusts, this includes the following:

• Any challenge to the validity of a Will for reasons of lack of testamentary capacity, the testator was unaware of the terms of the will or was unduly influenced, or a failure to follow the legal requirements.
• Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
• Claims against Executors or Trustees for breach of duty.
• Resolving disputes between Executors or Trustees.

Disputes between co-owners of property, this includes the following:

• Often these disputes are about whether and when a property should be sold and how the owners of the property should split the proceeds of the sale.
• Justine has extensive knowledge on the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996

Commercial and Residential Property disputes, this includes the following:

• Business lease renewals
• Breach of lease disputes, including rent arrears
• Forfeiture
• Residential repossession claims
• Dilapidation claims
• Rights of way and easements
• Residential lease renewals

Justine and her team regularly prepare articles and guidance on the above matters, but also key considerations such as how to avoid lengthy litigation and why alternative dispute resolution might be appropriate.

Take a look at our most recent articles here… Latest News | Read Our Blog (mercerslaw.co.uk)

If you require assistance regarding a dispute, please contact Justine McCool, who will be happy to help.

Top 5 Solar Installers in Oxford

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

Did you know that the sun generates 173,000 terawatts of solar energy every second – over 10,000 times the Earth’s total energy consumption*? Without solar panels on your roof, all of this free energy from the sun goes to waste.

With solar costs at an all-time low, now is a great time to take advantage of this free energy supply at home. Are you keen to save on your monthly energy bills and become energy independent? Book one of the top MCS-certified solar installers in Oxford, UK: 

1. Soly

Soly is a leading solar installer, rated Excellent on Trustpilot. With over 10 years of experience, Soly offers free virtual consultations and cost-effective solar solutions that can help you save up to £1,300 per year on your energy bills. 

Take advantage of industry-leading warranties including 30-year solar panel, 25-year performance and 10-year workmanship warranties, with fantastic aftercare service beyond installation. Soly is MCS and HIES accredited, Enphase certified, and a Which? Trusted Trader.

If you buy before 30th April, Soly is offering £1,000 off. Book a free consultation today at Soly Energy and quote ‘Oxford’ to claim this discount.

2. Joju Solar

Joju Solar is an independent solar energy company based at the Old Music Hall in Oxford. The company has designed and installed thousands of solar systems across the UK, including solar panels, batteries and EV chargers.

Established in 2006, Joju Solar offers a 25-year product and performance warranty on solar panels, a 10-year warranty on batteries and a 12-year warranty on inverters. The installation comes with a workmanship guarantee for five years from the installation date. The company is MCS-certified. 

3. Next Generation Renewable Energy

Based in Oxford’s Osney Mead, Next Generation Renewable Energy (NGRE) is a local solar installer that provides solar panels, batteries and EV chargers in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas. 

The company offers a 20-year warranty on solar panels, a 10-year warranty on batteries and a 5-12-year warranty on inverters. The installation comes with a standard two-year workmanship guarantee. Next Generation Renewable Energy is MCS-certified for peace of mind.  

4. Cozy Homes Solutions

Based in Cowley, Cozy Homes Solutions has over 20 years of experience in the insulation industry and can provide valuable advice and expertise on how to navigate your solar journey. The company caters to all residential solar needs, including solar panels and battery storage systems. 

Cozy Homes Solutions offers a 20-year product and performance warranty on solar panels, a 10-year warranty on batteries, a 20-year warranty on inverters and a standard two-year workmanship guarantee on the installation. The company is NAPIT-registered and MCS-certified. 

5. Exeo Energy

Exeo Energy is a friendly, local solar company based in Osney Mead. With over 20 years of experience in the renewable energy industry and 10 years in the UK market, Exel Energy has designed and installed hundreds of solar solutions for homes across Oxford and Wales.

Exeo Energy offers a 25-year warranty on solar panels, a 10-year warranty on batteries, a 25-year warranty on inverters and a 10-year workmanship guarantee on the installation. The company is MCS-certified. 

Finding the Best Solar Installers in Oxford

Finding local solar installers you can trust in Oxford doesn’t need to be a burden. Plenty of certified contractors are available to provide expert advice on what’s best for your home, along with a fast, no-obligation quote. While the initial investment can be significant, the long-term benefits outweigh the cost, with the typical payback period being eight years or fewer. 

The top solar installers in Oxford are MCS-certified and offer high-quality products and long warranties for peace of mind. As your solar panels are a long-term investment (lasting up to 30 years), always look for companies that offer great after-care service beyond the installation period. 

Sources: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2444/10-interesting-things-about-energy

Win special edition print

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

Attention Oxfordshire art lovers and Wantage residents…

Dolphin Gallery is thrilled to announce an exciting giveaway opportunity in collaboration with the popular artist Keith Drury, who has created a stunning 32″ wide limited-edition print that captures the essence of Wantage’s most iconic landmarks.

To enter for your chance to win, follow these easy steps:
Visit the social media pages Facebook and Instagram
Like the post and leave a comment sharing your favourite Wantage landmark
You can visit the website at Dolphin Gallery or come and visit it in the Gallery.

That’s it! The giveaway begins on April 29th and ends on May 29th. One lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on May 31st.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to bring home a piece of Wantage’s history and charm.

To find out more check out this page.

Build It Live

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

The UK’s most informative self-build and renovation show, Build It Live, returns to Bicester on 8th and 9th June – and you won’t want to miss out!

If you’re planning a self-build, renovating a property or looking to add more space to your current home, then you can’t afford to miss Build It Live Bicester on 10th and 11th June. As the UK’s most practical self-build and renovation show, Build It Live has been designed to help people through each stage of the process – from finding land to hiring an architect, and sourcing materials for your build.

The exhibition, which will take place at Bicester Heritage, will provide two full days of inspiration, advice and practical tips to ensure you get the home you want – finished on time, and on budget. Within the exhibition hall, you’ll be able to meet hundreds of the UK’s leading suppliers and manufacturers, offering everything from build systems to sliding doors, so you can compare products before making those important buying decisions.

But that’s not all! The show has been designed as a one-stop shop for all your information needs. Over the two days, you’ll be able to attend free seminars and workshops, hosted by industry experts and covering topics such as how to fund your self-build project, heating options for your home and the different routes to managing your project.

Architects, planners and finance experts will also be on hand, offering free, independent advice in one-to-one sessions. You’ll be able to sit down and have a face-to-face chat, talk through your plans or concerns, and gain the insight you need to move your scheme forward!

Don’t miss out! The standard ticket price is £12 per person, but Round & About have 100 pairs of free tickets to the show! Use Promo Code ROUND100 at www.builditlive.co.uk to claim a pair of tickets worth £24.

Abingdon Air & Country Show returns

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

Look to the skies on Saturday May 18th for thrilling day of aviation and much more.

The annual Air and Country Show is set to return to the former RAF Abingdon on Saturday, May 18th. The event, which has grown beyond all recognition over the years is organized by a dedicated team of volunteers led by a small committee.

The event promises a thrilling day for aviation enthusiasts and families.

The highlight of the show will be an impressive afternoon Air Display featuring a lineup of spectacular aircraft, including:

Supermarine Spitfire Mk19

The Titans Display Team

Muscle Pitts aerobatics accompanied by an exhilarating car race

Hawker Hurricane Mk1

The Gazelle Display Team (consisting of four helicopters)

RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team

RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire & Hurricane for flypasts

These display aircraft will also be available for static viewing, alongside specially invited statics such as the Historic Army Aircraft Flight Beaver & Auster, Chipmunk, Sioux, Skeeter & Scout, and Navy Wings’ Harvard.

One of the main highlights of the show is the large aircraft Fly In, with over 50 modern and historic aircraft flying in for display on the ground, ranging from Tiger Moths to the impressive RAF C17 Globemaster transport (to be confirmed).

For those seeking a unique perspective, Northumbrian Helicopters will offer Pleasure Flights from the showground, providing bird’s eye views of the airfield and Oxford City outskirts. There’s plenty of ground-based fun too with plenty of entertainment for all the family. This year there’s a real mix of fun, including The Radio Days Big Band, Rescue Husky dogs, Radio Controlled Model Jets, farm animals, vintage fire engines, and…ferret racing.

There’s much more besides, and it should be a day filled with excitement and entertainment for all ages.

For more information and tickets visit the show’s site.


Chipping Norton Rugby Club Junior festival

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

More than 60 teams from seven counties set to compete on Sunday 28th April 2024 in Chipping Norton Rugby Club’s biggest Festival to date

The Chipping Norton Rugby Club is getting ready to welcome more than 700 players to the third year of its annual tournament for under 10 and under 11 boys and girls on Sunday 28th April 2024, following the success of its first two events in 2022 and 2023.

More than 60, eight and nine-a-side teams are set to compete at the club’s Greystones base, Burford Road, from seven counties, including from as far afield as Berkshire.

Companies supporting this year’s event include Festival headline sponsor Diddly Squat Farm Shop, which is just a stone’s throw away from the clubhouse; Brethertons Solicitors; Powys-based soft drinks maker Radnor Hills; Bloxham School; Cokethorpe School; and QCR Recycling Equipment.

The first under 10 matches are set to kick-off at around 9.30am ahead of a lunchtime prize giving, before the under 11 players battle it out in the afternoon.

“Our annual Festival is an opportunity for us to celebrate the end of the season in style, and to showcase this wonderful game to the next generation of young players,” explains Chipping Norton Minis Chair Duncan Midwood, “so we would be delighted to welcome any families who want to find out more. Just come to the Festival reception desk when you arrive and we’ll make sure you have a great day.

“As always, we are indebted to our amazing sponsors and we have a small number of sponsorship packages still available, so we would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like more information. Funds raised from this year’s Festival will be used to develop the club’s infrastructure and facilities, as well as funding equipment and development courses to continue improving coaching for all age groups at the club.”

A whole array of catering options available, including clubhouse and pitch-side bars, ice creams, hot drinks, braai & burgers, pizzas, paella and crepes, whilst WRFM – formerly Witney Radio – will be broadcasting live from this year’s Festival, with music and pitch-side interviews throughout the day. To find out more email [email protected], or message through the club’s social media channels.

Chipping Norton Rugby Club



The door to dreams

Karen Neville

Henley & Watlington

Stepping into a bookshop is like catching up with an old friend, the familiarity and love come flooding back and yet you just know there will be something new to discover. Karen Neville invites you to step inside these independent havens of literature…

As a child I loved pushing open the big wooden door on the bookshop in the town where I grew up to be greeted by an Aladdin’s cave of words wrapped in colourful covers.

There was a whole world waiting to be discovered that ate up much of my pocket and birthday money. The delight I felt when collecting the special copy of Ballet Shoes I’d ordered and handing the assistant the piece of paper with the details felt like I was joining an exclusive club – the bookshop club.

Sadly that shop is no longer but fortunately for all of us bibliophiles according to the Booksellers Association at the end of 2022 there were 1,072 independent bookshops sharing the love I treasured.

Caper in Magdalen Road is an independent family bookshop with a difference – as well as wonderful books for children and a great selection for grown ups, it’s also an activity and event space full of quirky things to play with. Among the activities on offer are toddler art classes, cooking classes for kids and events for grown ups such as poetry and writing workshops.

Specialising in rare and secondhand books in the humanities, St Philip’s Books in St Aldates stocks works of theology, history, literature, philosophy, art, classics and antiquarian. Particular interests include Roman Catholic books, John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, Eastern Christianity, patristics, medieval studies, Biblical studies and Christian spirituality. They have over 10,000 books in stock and are always interested in buying.

The Book Stop in Magdalen Street and Last Bookshop, Walton Street, are both part of Bill & Ben Books. They specialise in remainders, returns and samples, office copies and overstocks of books to which they give a second life, so expect to find gems and oddities on their shelves.

Summertown is home to Daunt Books, an independent bookseller with a special emphasis on travel and world literature, with a wide range of stock and an extensive children’s section as well as gift wrap, handy if shopping for presents.

Good books and good customer service were the ambition of Jaffe & Neale in Chipping Norton when they opened in 2006 and in 2024, they are going strong with that same ethos. Having fulfilled that dream, owners Patrick Neale and Polly Jaffe realised the second part of their vision with the opening of a café as a hub for the community surrounded by books. They invite you to grab a table and a good book and tuck into a cappuccino or mint tea and locally baked cake. They also stock a range of gifts, cards and stationery.

Book-Bar evenings, signings and a book club are all features of The Madhatter Bookshop in Burford which aims to be a community hub for “all things literary, arty and anything else you want it to be”. You are welcomed  to wonderland “to help make your adventures happen, to make you smile, to make you cry, to educate you, to amuse you, to comfort you and to enlighten you, to shock you, to soothe you… just add a little imagination and the wonders of the written word”. Enough said!

If you’re looking for children’s books then Woodstock Bookshop has shelves packed with them, about a quarter of their stock caters for younger readers with the rest a selection of the best recent reads. The bookshop opened in 2008 and has been shortlisted for Independent Bookshop of the Year three times. They also hold talks and run several book groups. Poetry lovers should put a date in their diary for their Woodstock Poetry Festival in November.

The indie Wantage Bookshop sells books to suit all tastes from the latest releases and bestsellers, to bookseller favourites and classic titles, there’s also a welcoming children’s area for young readers, as well as a fine selection of beautiful cards, wrap and book related gifts. Looking for a special gift for the book lover in your life? Why not try a bespoke book subscription which includes a coffee from the next door shop and a chat with a bookseller to find your next favourite read or how about a book hamper complete with packaging, chocolates and bookmarks – sounds perfect!

Mostly Books in Abingdon has won a host of awards in its 12 years including Independent Bookshop of the Year for the south east last year. Join their online book club, Cosy Club and choose from six books each month to read and review, with in person get togethers once every three months. A podcast series Mostly Books meets…has them speaking to authors, poets, journalists and publishing professionals about the books that shaped their lives. They also offer a range of gift ideas with books throughout the year, have a blind date with a book or how about a mystery book bundle?

The Bookstore in Abingdon’s town centre has been a much-loved local spot since 1998 with everything from thrillers to the classics, biographies, children’s books and histories and what’s more you can also shop for greeting cards, wrapping paper and even handbags and scarves – sounds like the perfect place for me!

“This bookshop is a real gem” proclaims one review of The Wallingford Bookshop. Serving and helping readers find the perfect book since 1983, it’s a familiar face in the community. If you can’t find what you want among the more than 6,000 books they stock, they’ll happily order it in for you and just love a challenge so don’t worry if you can’t remember the title or author, they’ll solve the clues and track it down for you!

Even the most hard to please reader will find something among the more than 20,000 books adorning the shelves of The Bell Bookshop, Henley. Find hidden gems among the paperbacks, hardbacks and classics, biographies, travel guides, cookery, history, children’s and many many more. This destination bookshop has been feeding the appetite of book lovers around Henley and beyond since 1966 with the shop itself dating back to the 18th century – I’ll bet it has some stories to tell.

You’ll probably recognise Roald Dahl’s Matilda outside The Book House, Thame which has a fascinating story behind it, as does Fat Puffin, a gift from Puffin Books to mark the opening in 1972 as one of the first specialist children’s bookshops in the country – he could write a book about his ‘adventures’ since he’s been standing sentry. Through the shop discover the bookshop’s very own ‘secret garden’, take a seat and dip into your new book. Books range from first books for babies to young adult reads while adults aren’t forgotten with more than enough to fuel their imaginations too.

As author Evie Woods writes in her novel The Lost Bookshop: “The thing about books… is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.”

Show your support for independent bookshops in Independent Bookshop Week, June 15th to 22nd, part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, an annual celebration of independent bookshops nationwide, and the role they play in their communities.

The magic of Pratchett

Round & About

Henley & Watlington

Marc Burrows is bringing his celebration of Terry Pratchett to Norden Farm

Author, comedian and Terry Pratchett fan, Marc Burrows invites audiences to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark comic fantasy Discworld series with his beautiful tribute.

In 2020, Marc penned the first ever biography of Sir Terry. The book received critical acclaim, won a Locus Award and was embraced by fans. This new, live multimedia show, based on the book, was then created with the full endorsement and support of Narrativia, the company founded to protect and promote the late author’s work in association with his estate.

The Magic of Terry Pratchett is a comic lecture in which Burrows explores Pratchett’s influences, his rise to fame, impact, and unique life, becoming one of the most beloved storytellers of all time. From the national treasure’s days as a school librarian, his time as a trainee journalist to his untimely death in 2015 and in keeping with Pratchett’s own style, the show is a gently comic celebration and exploration of his work. It will also seriously examine his death, and the activism he was involved with toward the end of his life surrounding dementia treatment and the right-to-die; an important part of his story and legacy.

In addition to using the framework of the The Magic of Terry Pratchett book, the show incorporates additional elements of Rob Wilkins’ official biography, Terry Pratchett: A Life in Footnotes, (A Sunday Times Bestseller) as well as licensed media.

Sir Terry Pratchett OBE is one of the world’s most widely read authors. Conventions dedicated to his work are held globally every year. His works have been translated into 40 different languages, sold 100 million copies and have been performed on stage on seven continents. John Lloyd was right when he said “of all of the dead authors in the world, Terry Pratchett is the most alive”. Pratchett’s short story The Abominable Snow Baby was adapted by Channel 4 as a Christmas Day animation in 2021. Sky released a feature film adaptation of his Carnegie Award winning book The Amazing Maurice in cinemas in 2022, and Good Omens, a TV series based on the book Pratchett wrote with Neil Gaiman, will have a second Amazon Prime season in the autumn.

Marc Burrows often writes on culture and social issues for The Guardian, New Statesman, Big Issue and Independent and his Edinburgh Fringe shows include The Ten Best Songs of All Time and Mind Your Head. Marc’s second book, The London Boys: David Bowie, Marc Bolan and the 60s Teenage Dream was published to considerable acclaim in 2022 and is in the early stages of adaptation into a feature-length documentary. Outside of writing and comedy, Marc plays in the cult punk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, regularly performing at the Download, Glastonbury, Bestival and Latitude festivals and touring the UK and US.

The Magic of Terry Pratchett is at Norden Farm on 28th March.
Tickets are available here.

My Secret Closet event style saviour

Liz Nicholls

Henley & Watlington

Liz Nicholls visits Jan Parkinson whose new My Secret Closet in Benson offers beautiful dresses & accessories for hire, plus a pep talk!

Dressing up can be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

But if you’ve lost your confidence (in your body shape or your style) an invitation or ticket to a special event can trigger a hot thought that just makes you panicky… what on earth to wear?!

Jan Parkinson understands this all too well. The mum of two grown-up twin daughters has spent her life traversing the globe working in luxury aviation. Her globe-trotting life includes time living in Florida working in hair & beauty, and so she’s naturally impeccably turned-out (while being modest and camera shy!).

Jan has collected some stunning occasionwear on her travels, some of which has barely been worn. This prompted a brainwave: why not hire out dresses and accessories? That’s how My Secret Closet was born. Jan’s outfit rental is perfect for mothers of the bride or groom, wedding guests, regattas, balls… or how about hiring something to give you that extra boost of confidence for an all-important job interview?

With Jan’s help you shall go to the ball!”

From mid-March you’ll find high-quality/designer outfits and accessories in various sizes and colours to suit any style. We all feel a bit clueless sometimes (imposter syndrome, too) when we have to dress up, but Jan is the perfect fairy godmother to guide you to an outfit that might even make you feel like a princess. If you’re scared of colour, don’t be: Jan can show you how to build the perfect outfit, head to toe.

Her wardrobe has a fabulous range of accessories, including handbags, jewellery, pashminas and more along with dresses from Veni Infantino, Ted Baker, Karen Millen, Reiss, Hobbs and Coast to name but a few. Jan’s aim, by renting outfits, is to reduce fast, disposable fashion and offer an affordable and fun long-term or short-term rental solution. With Jan’s help, you shall go to the ball!

Email [email protected] and see My Secret Closet on Facebook for info.

Ruby Wax at Oxford Literary Festival

Liz Nicholls

Henley & Watlington

We chat to the bestselling author, comedian, actress and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax OBE who stars at Sheldonian Theatre with Buddhist monk, Gelong Thubten on Monday, 18th March.

I wholeheartedly recommend you read I’m Not as Well as I Thought I Was, Ruby’s latest book. It grabs your attention from the first page, where Ruby documents her recent breakdown. She is writing from a mental institution where she is undergoing RTMS, likening herself to Frankenstein’s monster.

She eloquently describes how this recent episode of “depression, the black hole of diseases where you sit helpless as your mind hammers you with accusations and it’s hard to stay alive and listen” took her down.

“These days, trying to stay sane in a completely chaotic world makes life incredibly difficult,” she says. “Thank you for your comments about my book. I haven’t read it back but I’ve taken all my books on tour and this is the most pleasurable so that’s a clue.”

“For those readers who are deep in the darkness of mental illness, I hope my book makes you feel less alone.”

In Hard Times and Fearless Living she will star with fellow author Gelong Thubten for a conversation, following a group meditation, on Monday, 18th March, as part of Oxford Literary Festival. Book your tickets here.