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Local Life

I was pleased with the picture (first in the gallery) of our daughters dancing in the square for the Silver Jubilee in 1977. Don was chairman of the Eynsham Silver Jubilee Committee and in case you are wondering I took this from an upstairs bedroom window at the Red Lion.

Do you remember old Jim Evans? I heard him playing his drums and spoons outside his front door up the street. I gathered an audience and the result was a picture in the paper. Iris of Stanton Harcourt saw it, promptly fell in love with him and they married soon after.

Peter Ridley and Charles Caine

My next picture is of Charles Caine, chairman of the restoration committee and Peter Ridley, the vicar, who sportingly lay down for me next to the gargoyles carved in their likeness during the restoration of St Leonard's Church in the 1980s. Charles said he hoped his didn’t suffer from vertigo like him!

Here are some of my efforts to protect our village from housing. The Six Spot Burnet moth breeds on the threatened old railway line. The cows are grazing peacefully on the garden village site, soon to be covered with 2,000 houses. It is so good to have taken these pictures on my walks with just a little iPhone in my pocket. When you think I started off with a case containing two heavy cameras, lenses, flashgun, light meter and canisters of film no wonder I now suffer from back-ache. It has meant a lot to me to be a founder member of the Eynsham Society so the next picture is of old friends planting up the Queen Mother’s Clump in the Fishponds.

Life bringing up the girls in the seventies was very constricting. I carried on taking press photographs at the weekend when Don was able to look after them, although he was also busy designing and planting our lovely garden and running the local Liberal campaign. The founding of the Eynsham Society in 1972 gave me an 'out'. I went on to be Secretary and then Chairman, dealing with planning problems, planting trees and organising walks and talks. I then became a Parish Councillor and managed to get the old railway line designated a public footpath and, after a long struggle and years of meetings, the improvement of the Village Square. For many years I updated the annual Oxford Mail Leisure Guide. It was an over the phone job and a bit of a slog but useful money.

The children's education fascinated me. First I helped to set up the Acre End Playgroup, then I became a governor at Eynsham Primary School and finally I helped create the careers library at Bartholomew School. This led me to getting a job in our village library. I loved shelving and stamping the books and helping people choose what they wanted to read. An official letter reminded me I had reached retirement age but I carried on working there until I was 80. I loved it so much I hardly ever refused a request to do extra work.

We always had natural swift nests in Millstone Cottage and were blessed again with a nest at No 13 Newland Street so I have been keen on them for the last fifty years. I was so worried by the decline of the colony in Eynsham in recent years I decided we should put up boxes to help with the loss of nest sites. I was lucky to find that Sarah and Hywel shared my passion and with funding we have put up about 20 RSPB boxes. There is now a lot of interest in the village, everyone marvelling at their screaming parties between May and July. Although most of the boxes are providing homes for sparrows we find on our surveys that there are more natural nests than we thought and from now on they should be well protected from house repairs.


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Eynsham NewsMaps & WalksLocal Covid ResponseEynsham Venue Hire