Bring along items you no longer wear & exchange them for something new to you!
New year, so how about a ‘new to you’ wardrobe? Let someone else love your unwanted clothes and take home some new ones for yourself.
The clothes swap on Friday, 2nd February, 7pm, Northcourt Centre, Northcourt Road OX14 1NS, is exactly what it says – bring items you don’t wear and swap them. It is the most sustainable way to update your wardrobe!
You can drop off up to 10 items of adult clothing (no children’s please) from 7pm and then relax to allow time to sort into size order and type for easy swapping before doors open officially at 7.30pm. See what takes your fancy, try it on, and take it home – it’s that easy.
Between 7-7.30pm, refreshments will be available to purchase and there will be stalls from local, sustainable businesses.
Please only bring freshly washed items in good condition. Ask yourself ‘would you give this to your best friend?’ – if the answer is yes, please bring it along!
Tickets just £5.
Also, if there’s any suitable workwear items still looking for a home, organisers willl take them to Smart Works Reading, a charity that provides women with the clothing, coaching and confidence they need to succeed in interviews and get the job. 10% of the profits will go to Smart Works, Reading.
All other left over items will be donated to local charity shops or kept for the next swap! More datils & to buy tickets, visit Clothes Swap!
Celebrated singer-songwriter Charlie Dore will perform at Chequers Folk Club in Great Kingshill on 20th September and Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre on 21st September as part of her biggest tour for five years.
Charlie Dore has penned hits for Tina Turner, Celine Dion, George Harrison, Lisa Stansfield & Jimmy Nail. On this tour she will perform songs from her own impressive and acclaimed back catalogue.
Known for her observations of human nature, exquisite sense of melody and impeccable storytelling, Charlie has always performed and released music on her own terms, earning cult-like status among fans new and old.
As ever, she will be joined by her multi-instrumentalist co-pilot Julian Littman of Steeleye Span.
“Applying ourselves to this longer Short Circuit tour also gives us ample opportunity to feature some of my lesser-known (but often secretly favourite) songs,” says Charlie. “It’s great to have the freedom to experiment and rework these songs and have them share the spotlight. I’m always excited to see what the response will be.
“So far, Short Circuit has taken us from Scotland to Somerset and it’s been gratifying to share the music we’ve discovered – there’s an exclusivity about it. We enjoy taking risks, and renewing the sets in this way feels like the perfect way to conclude our Short Circuit adventure.”
With spring around the corner and gardens being spruced up for the warmer weather to come, Traeger – makers of world-leading premium wood pellet BBQ’s – are holding a Trager Fest Weekend, at Webbs of Millets Farm, Kingston Rd, Frilford, Abingdon OX13 5HB on 15th and 16th April.
There’s something for all foodie tastes at Traeger Fest. On the Saturday, Traeger will be showcasing Classic American themed food, including dishes such as delicious Smashed Burgers, Chicken Wings and Cookies.
Sunday’s theme will be traditional English Roast Dinner, including a range of tasty classics such Roast Pork with Roast Potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings – all cooked on Traeger grills.
BBQ lovers can pop along at any time, to experience music, delicious food, and Traeger’s famous wood pellet grills. A Traeger chef will be on hand all weekend to showcase the grills, share top grilling tips, and hand out delicious samples to try.
Everyone is welcome to come along and soak up the Traeger atmosphere and you might even pick up some lovely new plants for your garden whilst you are there!
Traeger tips, hacks and recipes – 2023
What’s your top trick for cleaning your grill?
• Clean little and often rather than letting it build up. Using a Traeger cleaning spray helps. • Wipe it down while it’s still hot! It’s much easier to do than when it’s cold. If you don’t have a wooden Traeger scraper, a ball of tinfoil works really well. Do this either at the end of your cook or once you’ve preheated the BBQ. • For the grill grate itself, grill brush to scrape away large pieces and then a half onion on a hot grill to sterilise and flavour. The acids in the onion will help lift the grease.
What’s your top BBQ cooking hack?
• Always give yourself more time than you think you’ll need! Worst case scenario, the food is done a little early. Wrap it up, put your oven on the lowest setting (usually around 60c) and keep it warm. • No matter what happens with a cook, even if it goes wrong, it can more than likely be recused and still turned into something amazing. • Re-season your food with the rub you have used to start with, it adds a big depth of flavour. • To BBQ the juiciest chicken wings with the crispiest skin – cook them at two different temperatures. Start by smoking them low and slow to lock in the flavour, then half way through – turn up the temperature to crisp up the skin. • Wrap an assembled burger in foil and put it back on the grill. Takes it to the next juiciest level!
What trends do you think will be big this year in BBQ?
• Cheaper/ different cuts of meat will feature heavily as people want better value for money with the cost of living crisis and want as much bang for their buck. • Mexican food such as tacos and easy one pot recipes such as Goulash or stews. • Smoking food and cooking low and slow are going to be big trends this year. This method of cooking is definitely becoming more popular in the UK with dishes such as smoked pulled pork, ribs and wings. • We see more and more foods getting ‘smashed’. It started with the avocado, then we had burgers last season… Now we can see smashed potatoes next • We should start to see more plant based and gluten free products as health comes to the top agenda. • Batch cooking will return and with the mindset of healthy meal planning and reducing food waste.
What’s your go-to veggie dish to cook on a BBQ?
• Moroccan vegetable tagine or buffalo spiced cauliflower steaks. • Corn on the cob with any Italian hard cheese and chilli melted on top. • Grill Hispi cabbage, then while still hot, drizzle a jalapeno or chipotle honey sauce, making sure it gets between the layers. Finish with crumbled feta and crispy onions. • Smoked cream cheese is a great little snack when you have people round. Sprinkle some rub onto the cheese and then drizzle on some hot honey once it’s done. Break out the ritz crackers and boom, your finest smokey, cheesy sharing dish. • A smoked, confit vegetable tart. • Vegetable pockets. Mix together Carrots, peas, cauliflower and broccoli mix together in a white or cheesy sauce and wrap it all up in puff pastry.
What’s your go-to veggie or vegan dish to cook on a BBQ?
• Braised carrots in a stock that’s flavoured with everything you will find in pickle vinegar, then smoke then and serve them as ‘not dogs’. • A tray bake is always a good one to do. Throw in some new potatoes with a load of veggies. Sprinkle some Traeger Veggie rub over the top and bake in the Traeger until everything’s lovely and soft. • Some smoked confit tomatoes which make an incredible bruschetta or a fantastic brown sugar and cinnamon slow smoked butternut squash.
Why are pellets the best way to grill?
• Wood pellets are clean, efficient, cost effective, family friendly and they produce the most incredible clean smokey flavour. • Pellets are the best way to grill as they enhance the flavour of whatever you are cooking, depending on which wood flavour you use. You get such a big punch of flavour even from a small number of pellets. • Wood pellets give you all the smoke flavour you need, with none of the hassle. You don’t have to worry about fire management like other methods of grilling, which means you can put 100% of your focus on the food and have 1 less thing to stress about.
How to cook the perfect steak?
• Use the reverse sear method. Season your steak with Traeger coffee rub, set your Traeger to 110c and insert the built in probe or Meater probe. If you like a medium rare steak, once the internal temperature hits 46c, remove the steak from the grill. Put the Traeger cast iron on the grate to heat up first, then add the steak and turn up the temperature as high as it goes. Sear each side for just a couple of minutes until you’ve hit 56c internal. • Always use a good rub that’s made for the type of meat you are cooking. With Steak – use a beef rub. • Use a steak that is at least a 1-inch thick and has the same thickness throughout, to ensure a uniform cook throughout the steak: Reverse Seared Ribeye Steaks Recipe – Traeger Grills • Most importantly, let the meat rest, so any juices have come out before serving.
• 1 Thick cut steak (no less than 1″) of your choice • Traeger Blackened Saskatchewan Rub • Steak needs to acclimatise to room temperature, so allow it to rest out of the fridge for around 30 minutes. If you hit your steak with heat straight from the fridge, it will contract and seize up and you will have a tough piece of meat.
• Pat your steak dry with some kitchen roll and season liberally with traeger blackened Saskatchewan and leave it on the side for 30 minutes. • Set your traeger for 100 degrees c using Traeger Signature pellets where possible. • Place your meat probe into the thickest part of your steak, making sure you avoid any fat as this will increase your temperatures. • Grill on both sides as you prefer.
How important is it marinade meat or fish before you BBQ?
• It’s important for a few reasons. A marinade will add flavour, help tenderise the meat and lock in important juices. Try adding marinade or re-season while the meat or fish is resting to add even more flavour. • Don’t overpower with too much rub or marinade, so that the star of the show doesn’t lose its identity.
What wouldbe the perfect dish to create on your grill to celebrate the King’s Coronation?
• Coronation roasted rack of lamb with an asian style marinade served with roasted potatoes and green salad. • Probably a suckling pig, with smoked apple sauce, red cabbage, beer gravy, loads of roasted veg and roasted potatoes! • A coronation Chicken burger! A classic BBQ food, with a coronation twist. Who doesn’t love a good burger? • King Charles is a very keen farmer so perhaps a classic roast beef with all the trimmings, championing the UK produce would be the best BBQ meal, fit for a king!
Roasted Sheet Pan Salmon with Spring Veg and Pesto
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 12 mins | Serves: 4
The beauty of this recipe is that it all cooks together in 10-12 minutes! Salmon is such a crowd-pleaser on the grill and is a perfect match for these spring vegetables with pesto. But how often do we focus on crispy salmon skin? This recipe cooks the salmon with the skin side up for a beautiful presentation for those who love the skin. And if you don’t care for it? No worries! Cook it skin-side down and it will still be beautiful.
• 4 Salmon pieces (100g), skin on, pin bones removed • 3 tablespoons olive oil • Rock salt and freshly ground black pepper • 16 fresh asparagus spears, sliced into 2.5cm pieces • 180g cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved • 300g sugar snap peas • 1 1/2 lemons halved • 85g fresh pesto • 2/3 lemon, zested • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. When ready to cook, set the temperature to high and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
2. Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towel. Brush all sides of the salmon with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides. Place the salmon pieces skin-side up on the sheet tray (or down if preferred) leaving 2 inches between each piece.
3. Place the asparagus, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Gently mix the vegetables with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a fresh grinding of pepper. Scatter the vegetables evenly onto the sheet pan.
4. Place the sheet pan on the grill. In addition, place the lemons cut-side down directly on the grill grate towards the front of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes at 80°C
5. After 5 minutes, remove the lemons from the grill and stir the vegetables. Close the lid and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 60°C and can be flaked with a fork.
6. Remove the sheet pan from the grill. Place the fish and vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the pesto. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the top of the fish and vegetables and add a few basil leaves for garnish. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
The Amey Theatre, Abingdon, is holding a spectacular concert on October 7th to be live streamed supporting local charities
The Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society is holding a twin towns music concert in Abingdon’s Amey Theatre on Friday, 7th October.
This concert will also be live streamed over the internet to an audience in the twin towns of Lucca in Italy, Schongau in Germany, Colmar and Argentan in France, Sint-Niklaas in Belgium, Abingdon in Virginia, USA, and Thame in New Zealand.
The proceeds of the concert will support local charities, including the Ukraine, and for the mental health of young people in Abingdon.
The concert runs from 6.30pm to around 8.30pm and there will be an interval of around 20 minutes for you to get refreshments in the foyer bar.
Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society promotes sporting and cultural links between Abingdon and its twin towns.
The concert will include both classical and light music showcasing the rich musical talent that Abingdon and district has to offer, and includes performers, such as Abingdon Operatic Society, Abingdon Concert Band, Abingdon Town Band and performers from local schools, including Abingdon School, Larkmead School, Our Lady’s Abingdon, Radley College, and St. Helen and St. Katharine. In other words, this concert will have something for everybody.
Why not get a group together to come to the concert? We look forward to seeing you there!
Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society promotes sporting and cultural links between Abingdon and its twin towns.
Find out more
The very reasonably priced tickets are available online from the Amey Theatre – www.ameytheatre.co.uk and cost £10 each, with concession tickets at £5, and £20 for a family of four.
Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre is the stage for inaugural production
Catch new theatre company Moonhawk in action from Wednesday, 30th March until Saturday, 2nd April when they’ll be performing a new version of a classic tale.
The fledgling company will be staging Nick Dear’s version of Frankenstein based on the Mary Shelley original at the Unicorn Theatre full of all the Gothic and romantic elements that have made this tale popular still more than 200 years later.
Victor Frankenstein (Nick Kovari) constructs a creature from recovered body parts. When his creation comes to life he runs away in horror and abandons it. The creature wanders across Europe, trying to escape violence and hunger. When he is taught to read and write by a blind teacher he learns about his creator and begins a new journey to find Frankenstein and to get answers.
This is the first production from Moonhawk who will perform a wide range of plays, old and new and welcome anyone and everyone with an interest in all aspects of theatre production, either on stage or behind the scenes. The new theatre company has been created to give opportunities to actors and technicians of all ages with the aim of supporting those wanting to go to drama school.
Moonhawk founder Leon Witcomb said: “I caught the drama bug over 10 years ago and have been acting, directing and stage managing ever since. More recently I’ve entered the world of producing, hence Moonhawk Productions.
“We’re based in Abingdon-on-Thames and we use several locations to put on our diverse types of
drama. We operate an “open door” policy meaning that anyone can be part of Moonhawk – on stage, back stage, production and front of house.”
Leon added: “My mentor and the catalyst for my drama career is my old drama class teacher, Andrea Mardon. She taught me from a very early age and directed me in many shows and inspired me to take acting and producing seriously. Thanks Andrea!
“Moonhawk have some really amazing plays, as they say in politics – shovel ready and raring to go! Watch this space!”
Local illustrator Rob Jones always wanted to create a children’s book and, in Where’s Brian’s Bottom? the dream has unfolded!
“I’ve always loved dogs, especially sausage dogs,” says Rob, who lives in Abingdon, “but sadly I’ve never owned one. I’m hoping one day I’ll have one called Brian!”
Where’s Brian’s Bottom? is Rob’s new board book for toddlers that unfolds to two metres long. Young readers are encouraged to help Brian find his bottom in the house and learn about different animals and the sounds they make.
“I didn’t used to draw dogs that often,” adds Rob, “until I illustrated The Funny Life of Pets by James Campbell. I find I draw them all the time now. Anytime I sign a card or book, there will usually be a doodle of a dog.”
Rob studied illustration at the University of Gloucestershire and it was during this time that he discovered a love for making books, toys and puppets. He has made many puppets for the Story Museum’s Christmas production in Oxford. His first book, Bernard, won the People’s Book Prize in 2014. “I owe a lot to the Story Museum,” says Rob. “They were really supportive of me when my first book Bernard was released.
I once took part in an exhibition there called “the illustrator zoo” where visitors could watch me work on book ideas. I’ve made puppets for four of their shows, the first being Winter Mouse, which was made using a sleeve from an old jumper. I’m looking forward to taking my son there once it reopens.
“My advice to any budding illustrators out there is not to give up! There have been many times over the last 10 years when I’ve been close, but something has always happened to keep me going. I am also very lucky, as my family, friends and colleagues are all so supportive of me.”
The Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project has recently marked its 20th anniversary, youth worker James Quartermain explains ADYP and how it helps
The Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project (a voluntary and registered charity) enables young people to make a positive difference in their personal lives and in the communities in which they live.
The project has been embedded in the rural villages of Drayton, Appleford, Milton, Sutton Courtenay and Steventon for almost 20 years though, by request, recently widened their constitution and can now work throughout South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts. Current work is focussed in the five villages and South Abingdon.
To mark its 20-year anniversary and celebrate the achievements of the project and all the young people involved, the trustees of the Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth project (ADYP) hosted an award ceremony as part of their AGM, attended by more than 70 people where certificates were presented to 18 young people by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Lady Jay of Ewelme.
Also, in attendance at the event were county, district and parish councillors of the five villages; police officers including Chief Inspector Matthew Bullivant and PCSO Alison Blood; Matthew Barber, the Deputy Police Commissioner; three head teachers including Chris Harris from Larkmead; and Vale council officers, as well as lots of young people and their relatives who came to see the awards handed out.
The ADYP offers a variety of different approaches to ensure the highest impact in the different communities in which we work.
We are out till late, in the parks or outside the shops under the gazebo. We are on the ground and available to directly respond to the issues young people raise in the sessions and work alongside them and their community to find a sustainable solution. These sessions are invaluable for those that lack the confidence or social skills to access services that require them to enter a professional setting.
We find that low confidence and self-esteem are among some of the biggest hurdles to young people’s positive social development and being able to value their ability to contribute. Many of those we support we do so one-to-one, working with an individual closely to identify and build their skills and strengths. We have helped many young people (and the occasional parent…) to take the next positive steps in their life, whether that be in the form of a career, education or further training.
Working so closely in the heart of the community and building strong ties with residents we are in an advantageous position to identify and respond to issues affecting the neighbourhoods we work in. Most recently we designed and delivered a workshop exploring the realities of county lines drug gangs and the exploitation of young people to which we invited both young people and parents to do their part in reducing the risks of child exploitation in their area.
Throughout the villages we work in we open weekly drop-in sessions for the local young people to come and socialise. These sessions provide a consistent and safe environment for young people and provides the opportunity to develop their sense of community.
Working at the preventative level we work closely with the local schools to offer support for those at risk of exclusion. We provide educational workshops in an informal style that aims to present a style of learning that is accessible and engaging for all participants.
To find out more about the work of the project and how it could help, visit
Have you or your little ones ever wanted to be a ballet dancer? Downland Dance are giving you the opportunity to try out a ballet class for FREE during their open day on Saturday, 2nd November.
During the half-term open day, prospective students are invited to attend a FREE ballet class at one of the studios in Abingdon or Didcot. Meet the teachers to learn more about the different classes offered, and ask any questions you may have. You can sign up for sessions for girls and boys aged 3 to 6 or for the Adult Beginners class (Didcot only).
The free open day classes for boys and girls aged 3-6 are at West Wing Studio, Coxeter House, Abingdon and Didcot Girls School, Manor Crescent from 9am to 9.45am. There is also an adult beginners class (ages 14 upwards) from 10am to 11am in Didcot.
Downland Dance was founded in 1977 and offers a range of ballet classes for children and adults and whether you want to take it for fun and exercise or with a view to taking Royal Academy of Dance ballet and character exams, it’s a great way to improve your body and mind.
Dance can have a positive lasting effect on your co-ordination, fitness and flexibility; enhance your energy levels, confidence and self-confidence; improve posture to help reduce aches and pains; build strength, stamina nad agility and increase general physical and mental wellness.
Hundreds will be looking forward to enjoying the popular Fun and Music in the Park on 1st June
Abingdon’s popular Fun and Music in the Park returns to the historic Abbey Gardens on Saturday, 1st June with a variety of entertainment for the whole family.
The grounds will be full with rides, stalls, face painting, street food, live music and dance, bouncy inflatables and loads more free activities to keep you enthralled all day.
Fun in the park is a free walk-in event from 10.30am to 3pm and open to all.
It’s also a great opportunity to find out about some of the wide range of local societies and community groups in and around Abingdon and they amazing work they do and how you can get involved.
From 5pm until 10pm, Music in the Park takes over with some fab local bands including Jake in the Duke Box, Nevada, Fallen Angels, The Voodoo Penguins and Hope and Glory, taking to the stage.
Take along a picnic and enjoy dancing on the grass before a proms style concert by Abingdon Town Band accompanied by fireworks to make the evening finish in a very special way.
Music in the Park is entry via wristband only with sales online and over the counter at Roysse Court from 1st May. On this day too, there will be an early morning celebration of May Day in the Abbey Grounds.
Abingdon Town Council, which organises the event is reminding revellers to take all litter home with them after the fun ends.
For more information contact the council on 01235 522642 or visit Abingdon.gov