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On this day:

  • Volunteers set for play park training The Oxford Times: Volunteers Kerry Ashley-Morgan, Gabi Allen, Russell Price, Sue Trivella with dog Bella, Sheldon Smith and Sue Price. Picture: OX50482 Antony Moore

    NEW volunteer helpers will start training at a long-awaited play park at the weekend, ready for its relaunch in the Spring. read more

  • Council vetoes student flats plan

    PLANS to knock down two buildings in Cowley Road and replace them with a shop, offices and 18 student rooms have been refused. read more

  • Inquest: 'plane deaths were accidental'

    THE MOTHER of a teenage boy killed in an Oxfordshire air crash said the RAF had “utterly failed him.” read more

  • Win place at stage school

    A MUSICAL theatre fan will win the chance to study acting and dancing at an Oxfordshire stage school, thanks to a grant from composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. read more

  • Local shares (PM)

    AEA Technology 0.3 read more

  • Warm water is best for clean hands

    Various correspondents to The Oxford Times appear to take it as a personal insult that I once claimed never to have heard of the actor James Corden. Perhaps they think I am having a go at them for their downmarket Gavin & Stacey taste. Perhaps they are right. read more

  • Sojo, Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford

    ‘Haven’t you been here before?” the beautiful Teresa asks when I remark on what a stunning restaurant Sojo is, particularly deceptive from the outside where it’s positioned surreptitiously next to the backpackers’ hostel. read more

  • Sir Andrew Motion remembers too many fallen in war

    For two decades Trinity College, Oxford, has played host to an annual lecture and dinner given in honour of one of its most famous former students, Richard Hillary, whose exploits as a Second World War fighter pilot are recorded in his book The Last Enemy. Within months of its publication in 1942, he died, aged 23, on a training flight in a Bristol Blenheim. This followed his brave campaign to be allowed to return to the air after suffering dreadful injuries in a Spitfire crash in 1940. Many say that the authorities ought not to have given in to his entreaties as he remained unfit to fly. read more

  • Recipe for trout fish cakes (serves 2)

    The fresh trout on sale at Bibury’s little shop at the trout farm is so fresh that it glistens and so tasty that it cries out to be cooked. They do sell ready-made fish cakes too, but I think it is much more fun to make your own. read more

  • House Lined up for a Welcome Revival

    So sad, the sight of that strangely beautiful building at 20 St Michael’s Street, Oxford, known as Vanbrugh House, which the city council has left empty for a decade; good news, therefore, that it will soon become part of a 22-room hotel. But why is it called Vanbrugh House, and how did it come to be built in the first place? According to a 1920 publication by The Oxford Architectural and Historical Society the reason is clear. It states: “There seems no doubt that No 20 St Michael’s Street is a minor work of the great 18th-century architect Vanbrugh, the designer of Blenheim Palace. The enormous Doric order, the apron blocks and heavy keystones to the windows, which have no architraves, are all characteristics of his heavy and monumental manner.” read more

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Safe House

    Adapted from Deborah Moggach’s novel These Foolish Things, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a hilarious and touching comedy about growing old disgracefully. Ol Parker’s warm and witty script provides the predominantly British cast with moments to shine and tug our heartstrings as love is lost and found beneath a foreign sun. John Madden, who directed the Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love, captures a different side to life in India than the poverty and crime of Slumdog Millionaire. read more

  • Natural Worlds: West Ox Arts, Bampton

    Three gifted artists, inspired by nature, have come together to display work in Bampton. Margaret Fitzpatrick was trained in heraldry, hence the meticulous detailing of her botanical watercolours, all of which are enhanced with her innate sense of design. Her Pomegranate Fruit brings to mind the lifelike 17th-century Dutch flower paintings, blemishes and all. Her single dramatic flame-coloured Dahlia, that excludes buds, stems and leaves, totally fills the plane of the paper; the result is stylish and very modern. Her love of gardening suffuses all her paintings of flowers, fruit and vegetables as can be seen in Beetroot, a delectable work, with its deep crimson stem and leaf veins. The garden also informs and inspires Gill Salway’s work. A print and bookmaker, she displays a high degree of precision. For her collagraphs she takes a skeletal leaf, sticks it on to a card, which is then inked and printed to get the reverse image. These prints form part of a concertina. This is made by folding paper which can be opened out to display a set of four painted leafless trees: apple, oak, cherry and whitebeam (above), each tree being paired with its relevant leaf. The result is both educational and attractive. Using the golden shades of autumn her leaf prints display every vein and would enhance any home, while her hand- printed cards offer a personalised greeting. Thula Nicholson and Shaun Robinson derived the name Stick Designs from the initials of their immediate family. Care and excellence is evident in all their work. Using off-cuts, mostly oak, from Shaun’s carpentry and furniture workshop and natural slate from Wales, the products they create for the home are fun, functional and pleasing. Their logo of two foxes is a mark of meticulous craftsmanship, as is their slate board supported by an oak ledge attached to which is a chalk pencil, ideal for messages. Another useful idea is the small board for crushing garlic. read more

  • Fresh fish you can even catch yourselves

    Although spring is still a month away, those zero temperatures appear to have vanished and I have already seen a bird flying into one of my trees with a beak full of nesting material. I see this period of the year as the perfect time to visit popular places that are overloaded with visitors during the tourist season, which is why I took my Border collie for a day out to the Cotswolds. read more

  • Review of CD by Chisato Kusunoki

    The comparatively routine debut CD of Chopin or Liszt isn’t for German-born pianist Chisato Kusunoki. She has chosen a more unusual mix of Rachmaninoff, Medtner, Scriabin, and Liapunov (Quartz QTZ 2089). Her love of this late-19th and 20th century repertoire may have been fostered in Oxford, where she read Music at University College, and soloed in Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the University Orchestra. read more

  • Swallows and Amazons: Wycombe Swan

    The thrilling new stage version of Swallows and Amazons, which enchanted West End audiences over Christmas, is in High Wycombe this week, delighting long-time admirers of Arthur Ransome’s celebrated children’s story, which dates back to 1930, and earning new fans for it too. read more

  • The Barefaced Night: O' Reilly Theatre, Keble College

    This re-telling of a Scandinavian folk-tale has a lot of emotional depth to it, thanks to a production that makes the most of its few professional performers and its amateur cast of students. Princess Fayra is not happy at court and given to roaming the woods. She meets a bear with a golden wreath that she covets, and he hands it over on condition that he can come and fetch her to be his bride. Perhaps surprisingly, she agrees to this, but finds to her delight that he is in fact an unhappy king, Valemon, cursed to be a bear by day and a man by night, as long as no human sees him. So she loves him for nearly a year in darkness, but, eventually, can’t resist lighting a candle to look at his face. Disaster! The curse is now forever, and only three days before the full year, when it would have been broken. read more

  • Lang Lang and the Oxford Philomusica: Sheldonian Theatre

    Pianists don’t come with much more of a stellar reputation than Lang Lang, so it was hardly surprising that his appearance with the Oxford Philomusica was greeted by a full house. I was told before the concert began that the rehearsal had gone exceptionally well, but even so I was unprepared for the electric level of communication that had obviously been established between soloist and orchestra. read more

  • Review of Commotio's CD In the Heart of Things

    Commotio’s latest recording — their fourth — is, quite simply, stunning. This exploration of the choral music of Francis Pott sees the choir in typically adventurous mood, eschewing the standard choral repertoire for lesser-known fare and, as always, doing so exceptionally well. The fact that Pott has Oxford connections is an added bonus; he was a choral scholar at New College in the 1960s, and a lecturer in music at St Hilda’s from 1992 to 2001. read more

  • Rosalind Miles: Jacqueline du Pre Building

    The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building at St Hilda’s College is a highly suitable setting for Rosalind Miles’s portraits of musicians and their music. She explains that her approach was inspired by the time she spent helping at a musicians’ retreat in the heart of Cornwall. And it was there that she determined to draw musicians in such a way that she could capture their personalities and techniques and also reflect the spirit of their music. She was also keen to communicate the feelings that she got from each piece of music as it was played. She does this, she explains, by making quick sketches and letting the pen move into “a kind of dance on the paper”. read more

  • Should tough new emissions limits be imposed on taxis and private hire vehicles in Oxford?

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  • Serious Money: The Oxford School of Drama, Pegaus Theatre

    Serious Money, Caryl Churchill’s ruthless examination of the ‘greed is healthy’ financial world of the late 1980s, still has a powerful impact, despite today’s more general understanding of the tendency for disgraceful behaviour by bankers and other speculators. read more

  • Lettice and Lovage: Watermill Theatre, Newbury

    ‘We come now to the Tudor staircase,” intones Lettice Douffet. She then unfolds an amazing tale about Queen Elizabeth I, who, she says, nearly fell down it when she visited the house, but was saved by a gallant gentleman. The gentleman in question was knighted on the spot. read more

  • Teechers: Burton Taylor Studio

    ohn Godber’s spirited late eighties play-within-a-play gets a kinetic airing in this student production. read more

  • The Oxford Trobadors: Holywell Music Room

    It was wonderful to see the Oxford Trobadors back in action last weekend, with a mixed programme of new songs and old favourites. read more

  • Guercino: A Passion for Drawing, the Ashmolean Museum

    You know you are in for something special when you get a frisson of pleasure the moment you see the first pictures in a show. Guercino is one of the great names of 17th-century Italian art. Though his name is not one of the best known, almost forgotten at one point, he was a brilliant draughtsman — and recognised as such very early in his career. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (1591–1666), known by his nickname Il Guercino or ‘squinter’ due to an early accident, was born in Cento, near Ferrara. In nearby Bologna his work was praised and influenced by the Carracci family (notably, he absorbed their use of light and shade and naturalism). In Rome the young painter’s style was formalised, classicised, but unrestrained energy shows through in his preparatory drawings. There’s no need to see the finished paintings to enjoy them. They satisfy on their own. Their power lies in their brevity. read more

  • Botley woman to be extradited on kidnap charges

    A MUM-of-three from Botley will be extradited to the USA to face charges of kidnap, the High Court has ruled today. read more

  • Searches continue for missing woman Joanna Lake

    The police helicopter has today been used to search for missing woman Joanna Lake today as officers become increasingly concerned for her welfare. read more

  • Cropredy festival announces all-star line-up

    NEW wave legends Squeeze and singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading will join Fairport Convention at this year’s Cropredy music festival. read more

  • Dance festival is blazing a trail with smart phone app

    A MOBILE phone app is leading dance fans to four sites so they can see performances specially recorded for the Dancin’ Oxford festival. read more

  • Alice event offers some wacky racing

    THE 150th birthday of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will see a wacky race on the eve of the Olympic torch visit to Oxford. read more

  • City council pledges more cash for youth projects The Oxford Times: Ed Turner

    THE city council pledged extra cash to youth and education projects as it passed its £24m budget. read more

  • Queue jumpers get a police ticking-off The Oxford Times: The police operation at Seacourt park and ride

    Drivers queue jumping during the morning rush hour in Oxford’s Botley Road were warned yesterday. read more

  • KATE IN OXFORD: Things we learned about the Duchess yesterday

    1 According to four- year-old Ben Butler, the duchess is a fan of children’s TV show Ben 10. Ben discovered this after Kate complimented him on his Ben 10 T-shirt. read more

  • KATE IN OXFORD: 'She seemed such a genuine person'

    JUST a few years ago their lives looked like they were spiralling out of control. read more

  • KATE IN OXFORD: 'I couldn't stop shaking'

    Pupils at Oxford Spires Academy jumped at the chance to meet with the Duchess. read more

  • Ton up up for Mini

    The number of countries in which the Cowley-built Mini is on sale has passed the 100 mark. read more

  • KATE IN OXFORD: Jaydn has brush with royalty

    HE MAY be a yellow’s supporter, but Jaydn Proffitt will surely love orange for the rest of his life after his royal art class. read more

  • KATE IN OXFORD: Pupils so proud to welcome Duchess

    HUNDREDS of well-wishers lined the streets to give the Duchess of Cambridge a right royal welcome on her first visit to Oxford. read more

  • A34 drivers warned about fire

    Drivers on the A34 are being warned about a fire causing visibility problems in Chilton, near Didcot. read more

  • Crash in Bladon injures man

    Paramedics are at the scene of a crash near Woodstock this morning. read more

  • Relatives will never forget 'a true hero' The Oxford Times: Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin

    A 21-year-old airman killed in Afghanistan has been described as a “true hero” ahead of his repatriation to RAF Brize Norton tomorrow. read more

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