You only do it once, so how do you celebrate the dawning of
a millennium? We did it with a party at Trev and Fionas house
in the village square. Some FOES families gathered together
for drinks, eats, and to play a few games. At 11.50 we went
outside into the cold as hundreds of people gathered together
in the square to see in the new year. As midnight approached,
people joined the revellers outside the Red Lion from all over
the village and quickly filled up the square and all the roads
around it stopping the traffic.
On January 8th, three Venture Scouts and their leader were
joined by former Ventures and supporters to go on a walk from
North Leigh Common to Sturdys Castle. Having first taken over
the bus from Eynsham to Hanborough (which nearly left Errol
behind), we rendezvoused with the non Eynshamolians on the
common and set off with the Ventures in charge of the
Their route was only interrupted by an un-avoidable detour
to find the nearest toilets, which just happened to be at the
back of a pub in Woodstock. We had to remove our boots and
leave them outside while we went in and drank a few beers, had
a snack, and swapped stories of our time with the Ventures.
Bootless, the trip to the loo was a little
This years annual FOES get together was an experiment that
seems to have worked, with nearly 100 people attending. FOES
members, their friends and family came along and had a great
time trying to follow the instructions from our caller Don
Rouse. We met our aims; to keep the cost down, make it a
village event, invited children too, and raised £211.50. Well
Those of us who thought we would just go along, have a try
and then sit out the dances and have a beer or two were
mistaken, as Don and the Band entertained us and thankfully
encouraged everyone on the dance floor to have a go as it was
a great laugh, but also very hard work requiring a rapid
refreshment after each dance! The break at half time for hot
dogs and the raffle was very welcome.
Confusion reigned as we watched the clock. Without a second
hand, was the clock on midnight yet? With all the noise, was
that the bells chiming? Quick check your watch! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
It seems that map reading has come along leaps and bounds
since some infamous wrong turns many years ago, and they
navigated us to Blenheim Park very well. (What is Keith doing
by that tree?) We nearly went wrong due to some senior members
striding out in front who failed to see the landmark turning
point (the Victory Column), but we soon were put right, much
to the Ventures amusement.
Suitably fed, watered and relieved, we set off at a slower
pace for the short final leg to the Sturdys Castle Spud Pub.
We had a drink and a meal and swapped some more memories which
by this time were educating the current Ventures to new
possibilites. Then back to the bar, purely to pass the time
before our lifts home arrived!
It was a lot of fun and all the hard work the committee put
in paid off. Part of that was setting the right atmosphere
with mood lighting provided by the school, countryside scenes
projected on the walls, candles on the tables, and a wooden
shack and country backdrop which just happened to be on stage
ready for the Bartholomew Players’ next production “Oklahoma”.
Each dance took about half an hour. First they took us
through it step by step and eventually we put it all together
(sort of). The event seems to have been a gamble that paid off
judging by the comments we received on the night. The
committee put in a lot of hard work preparing the event and on
the day in the afternoon getting the hall ready. During the
event they manned the doors, did the catering, and cleaned up
Watched by a couple of bored police men in a range rover,
we counted down the seconds and a massive cheer went up at
midnight which drowned out the church bells chiming and
someone let off a few fireworks to mark the dawning of 2000.
Lots of kissing, hugging and hand shaking went on and pockets
of friends gathered together and spontaneously burst into
song. That was the cue for a small group of frozen FOES to
leave the square for the warmth of the Winstones’ house, for a
glass of champagne and our own more discreet rendition of Auld
The route took us from North Leigh Common to East End
(where we nearly left Keith and Jim behind), near Coombe, over
a wooden wall bridge into the grounds of Blenheim Palace up by
the Victory Column (thats us walking round the lake in front
of the palace), into Woodstock for lunch, then meandering up
to Sturdys Castle on the A44. Not too taxing and no need for
heavy packs. Nice one Mr Berry!
It was a good exercise to get together with the current
members who learnt a thing or two about some other activities
Venture Scouts used to get up to in Eynsham, and it will
hopefully inspire them to greater things, and perhaps even
encourage more to take part and make it an annual event.
The entertainment was provided by Don Rouse and the Bampton
Dance Band. They are well known in the local area for their
barn dances and consist of a pool of musicians which Don can
call on to make up the band. They usually play two or three
times a week so having extra members means they can get a
night off! The combination of good music and Dons instructions
made it a great night, even though we didn't really know what
we were doing most of the time!
So what did you think of the event? How was it compared to
previous years? Did you like the music or would you prefer a
disco? How do you feel about children at the event? Did the
changes put you off or encourage you to come along again?
Please let us know so we can take into account your comments
when we prepare next years event. Please e-mail your comments
on the Fun and Feedback page.