Christ Church Autumn Fayre 2016

Christ Church Autumn Fayre 2016

15th September 2016


‘… Like several things/places in Swindon and its environs, the church was celebrated by John Betjeman in ‘On hearing the full peal of ten bells from Christ Church, Swindon’, Wilts:

“Your peal of ten ring over then this town,

Ring on my men nor ever ring them down…”  and “Oh still white headstones on these fields of sound, Hear you the wedding joy-bells wheeling round?”

Read a bit more about Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Christ Church here:

Now to the purpose of this post:

The Sublime Christ Church Autumn Fayre

Hello lovely listeners  – a quick shout out for Christ Church’s autumn fayre – which, I have to say, is generally a very splendid affair.

Twitter: @CCNewsdesk

When: Saturday 17th September 12 noon to 4pm

Where: Christchurch in Old Town. #obvs


autumn fair flyer screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-21-05-10

Of particular note this year is that…

‘This year Dragon’s Den winners Sublime Science will be entertaining the children (and adults too) with their spectacular whizzy experiments, gooey slime, magic, smoke and fizzing potions as well as the odd flying rocket!

Delicious food outlets and live music from the superb Bill Bailey Jazz Band, vintage swing boats and traditional games from Hoopla to a Penalty Shoot Out, add to the fun in this FREE to enter event.’

Read more about it here:

Sublime Science

I’m not a fan of Dragon’s Den. Ergo I’d heard of Sublime Science. It looks pretty cool I must say.

Fans of handicrafts might be interested to see this lovely quilt being auctioned for TWIGS –

a quiet being held by two ladies

The quilt – isn’t it wonderful – is the work of Clare Kingslake. Clare is a Swindonian and an author of books on quilting.

There’ll be an exhibition of sewing crafts by the sewing bee group at the fayre.

George Gilbert Scot – the architect of Christ Church in Swindon:

Sir George Gilbert Scott RA (13 July 1811 – 27 March 1878), styled Sir Gilbert Scott, was a prolific English Gothic revival architect, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches and cathedrals, although he started his career as a leading designer of workhouses. Over 800 buildings were designed or altered by him.[1]

Scott was the architect of many iconic buildings, including the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station, the Albert Memorial, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, all in London, St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, the main building of the University of GlasgowSt Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh and King’s College London Chapel.


Macmillan Coffee-Morning Fund Raiser at MEDIA PLANT

Macmillan Coffee-Morning Fund Raiser at MEDIA PLANT

11th September 2016


Lauren Webb, 18, has previously held successful events for the charity’s renowned ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ at Commonweal School, raising more than £350.

Lauren Webb - Macmillan coffee morning

Lauren Webb – Macmillan coffee morning

On 30 September, CD and DVD replication and duplication company, Media Plant – with clients such as Eddie Stobart and Aviva – will open its doors to the public between 10am-12pm – serving tea, coffee and cakes.

Organiser Lauren said: “We at Media Plant are hosting the coffee morning in memory of a number of friends and family members of our staff.

“I always like to do my bit for such cancer charities as Macmillan Cancer Support and the Prospect Hospice. The work they do with cancer patients and their families is invaluable.

“My uncle Derek passed away after a battle with cancer five years ago. It was his death that spurred me on to doing whatever I can for others in the same situation.”

The public will also be welcome to have a tour of Media Plant – your chance to grab an exclusive insight into how the firm works.

Media Plant are based at Lancaster House, Hindle Way, SN3 3RT near to Morrison’s on Dorcan Way.

Find out more about Media Plant at ‪



The Railway Worker’s Cottage Swindon

The Railway Worker’s Cottage Swindon


10th September 2016

Cottage Industry

Hello listeners. A quick share of some pics – blurred obviously – of the railway cottage in Swindon.  It’s to my shame that I never got around to visiting it before it closed some years ago.

signage on the railway cottage

BUT: it’s open again for this weekend only until it closes for further refurbishment. So I had to take the opportunity to nip in and record it for this ‘ere blog. It’s wonderful to be able to see it after all these years and I’m excited about seeing it again next year after it’s refurb.

Cottage and The Platform

Cottage and The Platform

The MIT website:

Who, what, where and why:

To celebrate Heritage Open Days 2016 and Swindon175 the Mechanics’ Trust will be opening the Railway Cottage Museum on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September for the first time since it was transferred to us in July 2016. The Cottage is a unique example of what life was like living in Swindon’s Railway Village in the early 1900s.

This is a special chance to see the Cottage, which has been closed to the public for many years, before it is refurbished ahead of its official re-opening some time next year.

Opening times: 10:30am – 3:00pm. FREE ENTRY.  

We will also be giving guided tours of the Railway Village at 11:30am and 2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information please contact us – T: 07516 477479  

I have an enamel bread bin much like the one below at home. And OH how I remember mangling in the wash house on Mondays. And ponching and boiling the whites in the copper.

From the BBC:

In 1840 three hundred cottages were   
 built by the G.W.R for their workers. 
 These cottages were tiny,with 2 or 3  
 small bedrooms,a livingroom and a     
 kitchen.There was no bathroom and the 
 toilet was outside in the yard. Food  
 could be cooked on an iron stove      
 heated with coal,and water had to be  
 fetched in.These cottages were        
 modernised in 1980 and provide limited
 but stylish accommodation.They are a  
 lasting memorial to the G.W.R.

From Swindon Web:

‘Life in a Railway Village  

We explore what life is like living in the Swindon Railway Village 160 years after it was first built by the GWR
Stood in Emlyn Square enjoying the fabulous Brunel 200 celebrations I overheard a young girl who cannot have been more than four years old turn to her mother and ask: “Mummy, did they build all this just for the festival?” 
She was, I can only presume, referring to the model railway village itself; its remarkably symmetrical parallel grids of distinctive Victorian terraces that disappear into the distance, shielding any traces of modernity from those within.’

Swindon Civic Voice:

Community Development Co-ordinator: central community centre

Community Development Co-ordinator: central community centre

21st August 2016


Care in the Community!

Michael Scott and central community centre

Michael Scott and central community centre

Ha! It’s not what you’re thinking.

First though: huge apologies to Michael for taking so bloody long to get round to doing this post. Sometimes life and business ( AA Editorial Services) gets in the way of my desire to write stuff on this blog. It must be a month at least since I talked to him about this. So I’m really sorry. Never mind. I’m here now.

I’ve known Michael Scott for some time now. A few years ago we were both learning ambassadors with Swindon Borough Council. Michael is an actual born Swindonian – one that loves the place I know. I suspect if you cut Michael in half he would, much like a stick of rock, say ‘Swindon’ all the way through.

So I’d be hard pushed to think of a better person to fill this new community development c-ordinator role.

The role is for 2 years – a decent length of time to have an effect – and is funded by the People’s Health Trust.

Here’s a little bit of information about them:

“People’s Health Trust is funded through 51 society lotteries, each designed to raise money to address health inequalities in a separate part of England, Scotland and Wales.The society lotteries operate through The Health Lottery.

Each society lottery donates its good causes money to People’s Health Trust. The money is restricted for spending in specific areas of Great Britain.”

So what’s it all about? 

Michael kindly talked to me at length about this role and his thoughts about it, about Swindon – its past and its future. I recorded it all on my dictaphone for reference and I’ll put in a link to the entire thing so if you feel inclined to listen in you can. But here’s a few points/thoughts that came out of it:

The community centre has a diverse range of users for assorted purposes – probably the broadest in Swindon. The groups using the centre comprise LGBT, Asian, Women’s groups, Men’s groups, a choir, craft, and a restart of the lunch club.

Any group you can think of – it’s here.  Oh – and not forgetting the Penny Readings! 

The area covered by the centre and by this role is as broad as the people using it running roughly from Dean Street, extends to lower bit of town centre, down to Cambria Bridge stopping at Corporation Street (shortly before Broadgreen Community centre’s area) –  so it’s large area to cover. The funding is for a specific area based on need.

The challenge: up until now the focus has been on the railway village – now with the bigger area the focus moves. So it’s about engaging the new wider area with this community centre.

Back to the Future

The things that the Mechanics’ used to do – hasn’t changed in effectiveness. It was directed at the people that needed it then. The aim of this role is to do the same today.

The MIT’s focus is not only on the Mechanics itself but on the Baker’s Arms and the Railway cottage and the hope, indeed the aim, is to get them working as hubs of the community again. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

If there’s 2 things Michael wants to achieve during his tenure in this role it would be this:

  1. Get the community to believe that there’s something on offer for them that they want. He sees this as a chance to understand and know the community – what THEY want rather than what someone tells them they want.
  2. To listen and to engage with other groups across Swindon. To be visible. 

I’m sure we all wish Michael every success with this role. Community is important to us all. And that particular community, that area is so central (in every way) to Swindon it would be wonderful to see it rise from its ashes and become once more what it basically is: the existing heart and cultural centre of our beloved Swindon.

Listen here to Michael talking about this role – with his wonderful young son Salvador asking some rather good questions: Michael Scott community development officer central Swindon  It’s quite long but you can fast forward and what not. 

NB: In the early days of this blog Salvador wrote me stunningly wonderful guest post about why he liked the Museum and Art gallery and Swindon in general. Here it is – Salvador Speaks.

Useful links: 


Central Community Centre

Mechanics’ Institute Trust:

Swindon Civic Voice:



Swindon Civic Voice:

Activities at the community centre:

More from the People’s Health Trust:

‘People’s Health Trust believes in a society without health inequalities. We work to ensure that where you live does not unfairly reduce the length of your life, or the quality of your health.

We do this by investing in people with great ideas to create fairer places to grow, live, work and age. We believe in funding ideas which are small and local and are genuinely designed and led by local people. We target our funds at the neighbourhoods which are the greatest to be affected by health inequalities.

We run three main funding programmes:

  • Active Communities – for great local ideas of between £5,000-£25,000 each year for up to two years. The programme is open in different parts of the country at different times.
  • Local Conversations – an approach which involves working together with the residents of a neighbourhood to determine how they would like to use the money raised through their local society lottery.
  • Local People – a programme through which we fund several larger charities, all of whom work very locally.’


Marie Curie pop-up wedding shop

Marie Curie pop-up wedding shop

19th August 2016


SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING NEW: Marie Curie host pop-up wedding shop in Swindon

Calling all brides on a budget – or simply those refusing to spend a ton of money on a frock that you’ll only wear once. Well as rule anyway! It’s not like you can rock up to Tesco in it after the big day is it?

Marie Curie wedding shop

‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.‘ ‘ We all know this adage related to getting married.

In the UK this old couplet directs that the bride shall wear:— “Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue.”

Blue dress

Something borrowed, something old, something blue!

The “something blue” generally takes the form of a garter, an article of dress which plays an important part in some wedding rites, as, for instance, in the old custom of plucking off the garter of the bride.

The “something old” and “something blue” are devices to baffle the Evil Eye. The usual effect on the bride of the Evil Eye is to render her barren, and this is obviated by wearing “something borrowed”, which should properly be the undergarment of some woman who has been blessed with children: the clothes communicate fertility to the bride.

So now you know!

Read more here:  and some modern suggestions to replace the traditional ones:!b64f803416ecf1cbc8564f4769407115

Wedding dress pop-up shop in Swindon

What’s more with the Marie Curie wedding pop-shop happening this coming bank holiday weekend you have a chance to meet some of those criteria, save a small fortune AND support the Marie Curie organisation in the process.

When and Where:

The Brunel Centre in Swindon. 

The shop will be open from 9am on Saturday 27 August and will close on Monday 29 August (2pm) unless they sell out before then.

Further information

‘Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people living with a terminal illness, will host its first ever pop-up wedding shop this August bank holiday weekend, at the Brunel Shopping Centre in Swindon. There will be a huge range of new (ex-display) wedding dresses and accessories on offer with many designer and vintage items, all costing under £300.

New dresses from designers including Alfred Angelo, Mori Lee and Maggie Sottero will be available to try on and purchase, as well as bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories. The shop will also have ‘vintage’ and ‘pre-loved’ sections – with dress prices starting at £50.

The money raised through sales at the pop-up shop will help Marie Curie provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness, and their families.

Jacqui Woolley, Retail Director at Marie Curie, said: “This is a great opportunity for any bride-to-be to bag that all important stunning dress at a bargain price. We’re delighted to have such a beautiful range of items on sale at this first ever Marie Curie bridal boutique. The one off pop-up shop will raise vital funds to help our nurses care for more people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones.”

The shop will open from 9am on Saturday, 27th August, until Monday 29th August at 2pm, or until the all the stock is gone.

All the stock for this event has been kindly donated to Marie Curie. The charity are always keen to receive donations of pre-loved clothing and accessories to their high-street shops, which will help fund crucial care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families.

For more information about Marie Curie visit

For more information please contact:

Fina Whilton, Media & PR Officer

Marie Curie – care and support through terminal illness

020 7091 3622

Please note – we are now called ‘Marie Curie’ (not Marie Curie Cancer Care)

About the Marie Curie Organisation

Marie Curie – care and support through terminal illness

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance.

Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.

For more information visit
Like us at
Follow us on  

 Marie Curie Support Line 0800 090 2309*

If you’ve got questions about terminal illness or simply want someone to talk to, call the Marie Curie Support Line for free confidential support and practical information on all aspects of terminal illness. *Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.


Central Community Centre

Central Community Centre


16th August 2016

I recently had a chat with Michael Scott, the newly installed community development officer for our town’s central area and there’ll be more on that another time.

Central community centre banner

But for now a quick shout out for some of the activities at the Community Centre:

Lunch and Coffee Club – 12pm-2pm

Lunch and coffee club

Lunch and coffee club


Craft and Chatter – Wednesday 1-4pm

craft and chatter flyer

craft and chatter

Penny Readings

Being part of the epicentre of the world capital of poetry – aka – Swindon – Michael is also involved in the Penny Readings – the stunningly exciting joint venture between Poetry Swindon and Swindon Civic Voice.

Penny readings poster

Read more about Penny Readings here.

Also active at the Central Community Centre are the Incredible Edible Swindon People:!about_us/c14e3

Other interesting links:

The Mechanics’ Institute Trust:

Swindon Civic Voice:

Swindon Civic Voice on Born again Swindonian.

Poetry Swindon:

Poetry Swindon: