Saturday, 31 October 2009

Saturday 31st October


So I'm a bit dazed and confused after my week away learning about Climate Change, watch this space for my reports and interviews from there. This is the info from todays show:

The Big Climate Event
Our Eco Guru Simon popped in to the studio to tell about their big event at Oxford Town Hall on the 7th November. It's a chance to share and learn ideas on how you can do your bit to help Climate Change. You'll need to book your place.

The Red Cross
The Oxfordshire Red Cross is marking its centenary with an event in the Clarendon Centre in Oxford from 9am. If you can't make it then have a look at the website or get in touch. / 01235 552660

The Bunk Line
We heard from Nick Brazil about his latest documentary on the railway line from Cholsey to Wallingford.

I also promised I'd post up details of an event for Clive, so here it is:

Hi Phil
I would be most grateful if you will please be good enough to mention this charity fundraising event on your BBC Radio Oxford show this weekend.
I live in Freeland and have kidney cancer, and am trying to do my bit as a voluntary fundraiser for an excellent Oxford based cancer charity, UCARE, who are already dong so much to help others. This is the link to their
We are holding a fundraising event by way of a concert to be given by the Radcliffe Orchestra, on Saturday, 7th November at the Tingewick Hall, which is on the JR Hospital site, and I attach a poster with the full details.
Tickets are only £8, including light refreshments, and will be available on the night, and beforehand at the Cairns Library, which is located in the academic centre of the JR hospital. This is also where the Tingewick Hall is.
I hope you can help us please. Many thanks.
Kind regards
Clive Stone

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dead Wood!

Our main task today has been to venture out into the wildes of the county to assess the amount of dead wood that has collected on the woodland floor.

It was actually more fun and a bit easier than I had originally thought. Rather than count everything (an almost impossible task!) you just draw out regular lines across sections of a plot of the forest and then count any wood that is wider than 5cm diameter!

It did all begin to blur in to one after a while!

In the evening we began to think as a group, to see if there was one project that we could agree to put in to action together. A difficult choice as most of the ideas will require outside help. We shall see if we can get anywhere though. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Mini beasts and the great debate

The Climate Camp continues and today we moved on to mini beasts, although not quite as we hoped. We were due to head out in to the woods to count millipedes and woodlice however the bit's of kit required didn't show up in time. So instead it was a day of leaf sorting and for the first time in a very long time for me, a go at sewing. Not something I was expecting really, but we had to put together some mesh bags for a new experiment on what affects the decomposition of leaves... mini beasts or bacteria!

Here are some pics from a lab experiment to see if it's possible to replicate some of the woodland conditions under a more controlled environment. The Woodlice in this tub started off with a selection of leaves and have created the top soil you can see in this pic. And it only took a few weeks!

Each evening we have a more formal learning session which last night dealt with the facts around Climate Change and today how that is affecting us and what we can do about it.#
This would take me a month to explain, but needless to say, it seems we are probably in a great deal of trouble! I'll try and explain it a bit later, but for now my bunk bed is calling me!!!

Monday, 26 October 2009

If I should enter the woods today...

Today was the first day of some real work on the Climate Research field trip. After a briefing session in the lab giving us the basics on what Climate Change is and how woodland is part of the process we headed out to the trees themselves.
We were out to collect leaves and then count them. The first major learning point for me, the difference between Maple and Sycamore leaves!!!
Here are some of the pics:

Hill End - Base Camp

Heading out to the woods.

Tehri, showing us how they measure tree growth.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Climate Camp

Hello from Hill End near Farmoor. This week I'm taking part in a Climate Change Field Study with Earthwatch.

They've invited me a long to get a sense of the problems facing the world and how we can make a difference. Also I'll be taking part in some actual research in to the affects of the changing environment on our woodland. I'll check back with any good gossip I get as the week goes on.

I've already hit one problem, the BBC laptop isn't liking the country air. I'll reboot and try it in the morning.

Look out Swampy, here I come!!!

Sunday 25th October

A really busy one this morning, so here is the background information for you:

Universal Harmony
The Universal Brotherhood meet in Oxford and have a special event on this weekend that aims to bring together people from around the country.

Banbury Cross
It's the 150th anniversary of the Banbury Cross this month, and today there was a special service of celebration being held.

Jo Thoenes climbs up Kilimanjaro
Jo left on Friday to join 7 other people who are climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the NASIO Trust. Jo starts the climb today and is going to be giving us regular updates on this amazing challenge.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Saturday 24th October

First things first. Don't forget: THE CLOCKS GO BACK TONIGHT. I'm having to cover the house with post-it notes to remind me!

It's a full one. Mercers Movies recommends Fantastic Mr. Fox for the full review.

Moon watching
The Chipping Norton Amatuer Astrology Group are off to the Rollright Stones to go moonwatching today. We also learnt our word of the day... Bortle! Here's an explanation off the interweb!

The RSPB are holding an event in Port Meadow, Oxford. It's a chance to learn how to make sure our winged friends are well fed for the winter.

Little planes
Sunday is going to be fun at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon where they are holding the Large Model Aircraft Show. Including a scale model of the Vulcan and Wellington bombers!

Art in Woodstock
Chris Baylis popped in to brief us the events of the next week.

What Recession.
We talked to Sian Holt from the new Fudge Kitchen shop in Oxford and Neil Kinch from Salters Steamers about how they were faring in these tough times.

Listen again to hear the whole interview.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sounding off..

It's been a busy week so far with lots of my time going on producing a special programme on the Sounds of Oxfordshire ready for the 1st November. We have had the artist Robert Jarvis putting together a work based around the sounds peculiar to Oxfordshire. It's coming together really well, so will be interesting when complete.

I'm also starting the packing for an adventure next week when I'm heading to Wytham Woods to take part in a Climate Study field trip! The Wellies were the first thing I got ready!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Sunday 18th October

On the show today,

We got the latest on the Abingdon Marathon.
You can have a look at the map of the route on their website.

Art in Woodstock
Kathy Shock from the Jewish Congregation in Oxford.

More Questions Than Answers
We took a look at the current and past challenges facing Christians in Russia and Communist states. To follow the work of the Keston Institute have a look at their website.

And Joel, presenter of Sunday Lunch was showing off his posh new get up! He is the king of bargain hunting! Just thought you should see where his money went!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Saturday 17th October

Lots out and about around the county this morning.
Philip Waddy the new chairman of RIBA south popped in to tell us a bit about the current challenges facing architects in Oxfordshire.

Early on we heard about the charity ROSY: or call direct on 01865 848696.

Don't forget we will also be going for a walk along the Thames Path south of Abingdon later... details of where to go are here...

Thriving Sustainably
An event happening today at West Oxford Community Center in Botley.

Not Just A Walk in the Park
Sunday will see a lot of people heading the University Parks in Oxford to take part in a fundraising event for the JR's Heart and Cancer centres.

Leaches Farm
Giles Strother took me on a tour of the new plot of land that BBOWT have managed to rescue thanks to your money.

Art Donovan took us on a tour of the rather bizarre exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. It runs until February 2010, so plenty of chances to go and have a look.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Tours aplenty this weekend

Vicky and I are putting together the final plans for this weekends programmes and it is a bumper session of tours. You'll hear my look around the new Steampunk exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science, plus a first hand view of BBOWT's plans for Leaches Farm on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border.

On Sunday, More Questions Than Answers will take a look at how the church in Russia dealt with life under Iron Curtain and the freedoms since the fall of communism.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wellies on early

I ended up getting the wellies out a little earlier than planned. I headed off this afternoon to see how £200,000 will help to secure a piece of farmland that BBOWT want to buy.

It's at Leaches Farm on the Oxfordshire Buckinghamshire border. Giles Strother, the man in charge of all of BBOWTS reserves took me on a guided tour. It was fascinating to see how it looks now, before they get their mits on it. Give them a couple of years and it will be interesting to see how much wildlife has moved in.

Listen to the whole interview and tour on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Wellies armed

I've just had some exciting news, it loosk like I'm heading off on a field trip in a few weeks time.

The Eartwatch Institute have invited me and some bods from other Oxfordshire based organisations to take part in a field studies trip. Unfortunately not to China or South America, but instead to the Wildes of Wytham Woods!

I'm off to the Doc's tomorrow to see if I'm fit enough! Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sunday 11th October

From Phil: Good morning,

Here are the bits and bobs from todays show. Got off to a sad start with the news that Boyzones Stephen Gately has died (according to their website).

Dr Robin Gibbons lead this mornings reflection.

The Oxfordshire Devotional this morning is one of our special on location episodes. The service was recorded at Magdalen Road Church in east Oxford. Thanks to our outside broadcast team of Mike for doing the hard work and everyone at the church for making him welcome.

NB/ I got a little stumped with that usual debate... is it Maw-dalen or Mag-delen Road. My understanding is that its Maw-dalen College and Street, but Mag-dalen Road! Obviously there are different opinions on this one! ( if you want your say!)

Faith Place
This week its All Saints -- The village church of Sutton Courtenay and is the Faith Place of Ken Giles who told his story to Hedley Feast.

Emmanuel Church
Great news from Rev Chris Boyce, the work has begun on building their new church. If you want to help them get to the total of £1.5 million, then call 01869 244918 or have a look at the website.

Hymns from Honeysuckle Cottage
Today Dr Gillian Warson looked at the hymn Awake my soul.

More Questions Than Answers
Lionel Tarassenko is an Inventor and Scientist and will be talking about his faith and working in the world of science tonight at Christ Church Cathedral. Have a look at the website for more information.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Come walking

Earlier this week I checked the next BBC Oxford walk. Something we do to make sure there are no surprises!

All is looking good, there will be one diversion around some reconstruction work the Environment Agency are doing to the Thames Path at Abingdon. The rest of the route looks good.

This is the proper blurb from our walk supremo Kate:

The next walk is on Saturday 17th October 2009. We’ll meet at the car park at Culham Lock at 10.45am to start the walk about 11.00am that gives us time for everyone to sign the disclaimer and for new people to complete the monitoring forms. Please make sure you sign the disclaimer every time you come on a walk.

The walk is about 6 miles long. Some of the first part of the walk is on a quiet road but most of it is on footpaths, so boots or sturdy shoes are advisable. Most of the route is very flat with a very gentle rise to a short downhill section to the river. As always the walk will be lead at a pace to suit everybody. As usual well behaved dogs will be welcome.

We’ve made a group booking for lunch at the pub for those who wish to have lunch afterwards. There’ll be a menu for you to choose from so make sure you order your lunch before we set off on the walk!

So, whether you’ve joined us before or not, and feel that you can manage this walk put the date in your diary and come with us.

The weather of course is unpredictable and unknown at this stage. We’ll walk in all but the worst conditions but if you’re in any doubt about whether the walk is going ahead listen to Phil Mercer’s show on the Saturday morning between 6am and 9am.

Many charities encourage walking as a way of raising money. So before the start of the walk we are asking for a donation of £1 for a chosen charity. So far we have raised nearly £1,000 for both local and national charities. Before the walk this month we’ll make another collection for ROSY (Respite nursing for Oxfordshire's Sick Youngsters).

To book a place or for more details contact BBC Oxford Action Desk 08459 311 222 or email
We look forward to seeing you on the next walk.

Saturdays 10th October

Here are the extra bits of information from the Saturday 10th October show for you:

Banbury Folk Festival
Its happening this weekend.
Phone number for tickets: 01295 279002

Arhythmia Alliance
If you heard Susan from Hambledon talking about the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) she has managed to get sites in four villages in her area, this is the site to give you more information.

Wallingford Partnership
The new project to bring investment to the town has really worked, they have secured £200,000 to spend over the next 18 months.

OX4 Festival
Some great bands appearing in venues around the Cowley Road tonight.


From my mate Chris, who spotted someone with this bucket full of crayfish along the Thames the other day... hense why we might go catching Crayfish today! We will be aiming for the Americans apparently!

Friday, 9 October 2009

The weekend shapes up

So this is how things are shaping up for the weekends programmes.

We'll hear how a group from Wallingford have managed to obtain £200,000 to promote the town with. Find out about plans to place defibrilators around some of Oxfordshires villages, how Abingdon is turning pink for the day and we will get all the details on this years OX4 festival.

The Oxfordshire Devotional is out and about, this week at Magdalen Road Church. We have plenty of audio from the happenings at the Oxford Oratory with the visit of St Therese and we look at how one Inventor balances his love of Science with his faith.

Childrens books that grown-ups might like!

I was covering for Lou on her Daytime show today and we got in to a discussion on childrens reading. I asked if there were any good books that the children are reading that might be good for adults to read. Kate Robinson from the Oxfordshire County Council Library service was listening and as she specialises in Childrens books she sent us the following recommendations:

  • How I live now, by Meg Rosoff.
    Powerful, insightful, funny and moving. A 15 yr old girl is experiencing a dystopian view of Britain, being torn apart through civil war.
  • Here Lies Arthur, by Philip Reeve.
    Original, almost poetic writing at times - re-working the myth of King Arthur. Seen through the eyes of a young runaway, who becomes the assistant to Merlin.
    And also - from a while ago,
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon.
    If you haven't read it -do so. Funny and gives an insight into a the world of Christopher -a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome.
  • For a silly, funny, childish read- go for the Mr Gum books - a series by Andy Stanton. You will see why he won the Roald Dahl award for funniest book last year!
  • And for Picture books -that adults will enjoy -try local author Mini Grey - all her books are witty, anarchic, original works of art.
Thank you for those Kate,

Why not have a read and let me know how you get on.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Vaccine Q&A - Saturday 10th Oct

On Saturdays show we will have Dr Anthony Harnden coming in to the studio.

He knows all there is to know about vaccines. So if you have a question about the Swine Flu vaccination or the safety of the cervical cancer injections let us know.

St Thérèse

We're just putting together plans for Sundays programme and one thing we will look at is the historic visit of the relics of St Thérèse. She arrived in the pooring rain yesterday evening at the Oxford Oratory on the Woodstock road. I was amazed at how many people braved the bad weather to take part in this pretty momentous occasion.

I'd love to hear from anyone who went and what you made of the whole event. Bung me an email (


So this is the new blog for my Weekend Breakfast Show's.

I'll be using this site to post up links and pictures from the programme and any other useful (and useless) information.

The show is broadcast live between 6am and 9am Saturday and Sundays.