Dorking NWR on parade!

Dorking NWR Visit to Sandhurst

On a beautifully sunny day in September, 9 ladies from Dorking NWR had a guided tour of the Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. We were met at the entrance gate by one of our two Guides who were both members of the Sandhurst Trust which organises the tours, and were both retired officers who had passed through Sandhurst.

Our tour lasted about 3 hours, despite interruptions for a US General and about 50 British soldiers who were also visiting like us. After coffee we were given a brief history of the magnificent old college building which was designed by James Wyatt and was opened in 1812 as the Junior Department of the Royal Military College. The force behind the College was General Le Marchant, who decided that Britain needed properly trained officers if it was to be successful in battle. The present Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was founded in 1947 when the existing College, merged with the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and since then subsequent buildings have been added. The Academy's stated aim is to be the national centre of excellence for leadership and all British Army officers, as well as men and women from overseas, are trained at The Academy. 

We had a tour of various prestige rooms including the Indian Army Memorial Room with splendid stained glass windows, and rooms with remarkable military memorabilia. As we were admiring an impressive modern painting of the Queen in the Grand Entrance, a somewhat dignified but very pleasant military gentleman stopped and talked to us and only afterwards did we discover that he was the Commander of Sandhurst. We also visited the newly refurbished Catholic Chapel and the awe inspiring Royal Memorial Chapel, made even more poignant by the several transparent Perspex soldiers sitting in the pews as part of the WW1 Remembrance Day Soldier Silhouettes. The plaques on the walls reminded us of the sacrifice made of thousands of lives, so it was humbling to see some of the new recruits going through their rigorous officers’ training in the beautiful grounds.

 Our only disappointment was that after our tour we had lunch in the canteen like a regular squaddie and not in the Officers’ mess! ...but we had a very interesting visit.

Sue Jamieson, NWR Dorking Group member

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Poetry, Plays and Petanque in Poole...

Poole has two thriving NWR groups, here Cynthia Wood tells us a little more...

"We have two groups based in Poole, Dorset, one meeting on a Tuesday and one on a Wednesday. Originally we were all one group but we had to split about 5 or 6 years ago owing to the group becoming too large to fit into anyone's living room. We now have a total between the two groups of 17 members. The original group started in the 1960's and we still have one or two members who joined in the very early years.

In the last twelve months we have included in our programmes such topics as a poetry evening where one of our members composed a lovely poem about her dog, a play reading using the brilliant play written by a Congleton member, a discussion about the New Year's Honours list, Harvest Fayre tasting using local produce and a discussion about computer Apps.

We have also had a couple of speakers this year - a lady who had been the Queen's dresser, and a man who has been a coach driver for 40 years who has a fund of amusing stories!

The two groups also meet regularly for lunches and coffee mornings and we have about 4 events a year to which partners are invited.  These have included a games evening, a petanque session, and a walk in the New Forest. All the social events of course include food!!

Poole

We also take part in NWR national events such as the Telephone Treasure Trail, the national country theme (this year Romania), and the theme of Dangerous Knowledge. Some of our members will be attending the Area Meeting organised by the Salisbury group."

We are always on the lookout for new members who can be assured of a warm welcome."

Cynthia Wood from Poole Wednesday group

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NWR proving popular in Chester!

Introducing the Chester Grosvenor NWR group...

Chester Grosvenor Group photo 2018

Chester Grosvenor NWR group was formed after the original Chester South group grew too popular and accommodating members in our homes - even using the stairs to sit on - became a problem. Chester South was subsequently split into two groups, Eaton and Grosvenor in, we think, 1979.

We meet every fortnight, in the evening, and have recently started a programme of daytime outings. Our evening meetings cover topics as varied as universal suffrage - the right to vote for all adults; Room 101: What would you banish into Room 101 – what object, or person, really annoys you; Naughty but Nice, Underwear from 1840 to the present day; ‘The colour purple’, wear purple and bring interesting things or facts along; Art critic night: Choose a painting and research/review it for the meeting. One of our favourite evenings is to choose a letter from the alphabet, for example the letter A, and then we each select something beginning with this letter to talk about - the range of topics is astonishing! Theatre visits are also an annual treat.

Our daytime outings include walks, museums, art exhibitions, National Trust properties and anything else that has caught our interest.

These are some of our members' experiences of NWR:

"I joined NWR 25 years ago when my youngest child started school as I wanted some 'me’ time after all those early years at home. I had been urged to join by a friend and although I already knew a few people locally, I have met so many more on joining and since. I find it a good way to keep in touch and see people without having to arrange too much! And I have learned a lot (e.g. the saxophone was invented in Belgium, where incest is still legal ...). Most of our meetings are within walking distance so a relaxing evening with friends and a glass (or two) of wine is very possible." Penny White.

"I first joined in Culcheth after I had my first baby in 1972, to meet other people and talk about topics other than small children. Not that I said much then, but NWR did give me confidence gradually to join in!" Chris Westcott.

"We arrived in Chester in 1979 with a 20 month old toddler and two week old baby. Apart from my husband I knew nobody but we hadn't been in the house for long before a knock on the door resulted in the introduction to NWR. I am eternally grateful to Christine for making contact - we remain close friends and NWR has played a big part, both directly and indirectly, in establishing Chester as our home." Mary Pole.

"I’ve really enjoyed being a member of Chester Grosvenor NWR. As a relatively new member, having only moved to the area three years ago, I was fortunate to be introduced via a friend of a friend and immediately found myself part of a group of lively women. I have made new friends and feel that membership has eased me into feeling part of the local community. I have found the range of activities and discussions stimulating and fun. I like the way the group is always thinking of new things to do, explore and talk about." Julie Savory.

Some of our members have been in NWR for over 40 years and we are pleased to say that we continue to welcome new members to the group. Do get in touch if you would like to find out more.

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Meet the Houston Group...

Balfron NWR 2018 2709 Copy

The Houston group, Renfrewshire, meet twice monthly and have around 15 members many of whom are long standing since we formed in 1981.

Recently we have had lively discussions stimulated by newspaper cuttings and a book evening on ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman.

One of our members visited Romania and was able to give us first hand information accompanied by a slide show and Palinca schnapps.

The photo was taken in Balfron, Stirlingshire, where we had a most interesting guided tour of the village. We have also walked round Glasgow city centre discovering many amazing hidden murals painted by various street artists.

We are eagerly awaiting the Telephone Treasure Trail which always gets our brains fired up.

New members are always warmly welcomed to join us in stimulating company and friendship.

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NWR POSTAL BOOK GROUPS AND ME by Catharine Woodliffe

 

CW

 

The Postal Book Groups began in 1986. I am the third Organiser, taking over in 2012, after being a member for over fifteen years.

When I started there were six Groups of 12; this has now halved. I changed from having the Groups starting at different months of the year; to having them all start on 1st April. Although this was hard to set up initially, the organisation is a lot easier as when membership changes, I can re-arrange the Groups accordingly.

 

How does it work?

Each Group is given an address circle with arrows indicating to whom they are to send their book.

The members each select a book to post on the 1st April and send it to their designated recipient, together with a small notebook in which others make notes. The book can be of any genre – fiction or non-fiction. I have known poetry and short stories be sent. The only things I recommend is that the book must be in print (sometimes books have been lost in the post), and is not of any personal value. The book is sent First Class in a jiffy bag with a certificate of posting which is free of charge.

On the 1st of each month, the books go on their merry way around the country until they eventually come back to their original senders.

Being a member of a Postal Book Group is like having a birthday every month, as you do not know what will drop on your mat. Sometimes you may have already read the book (very rare), and very occasionally, the same book can be sent twice within the Group. The same author and different books have also occurred.

A member of each Group keeps a list of the books and then sends it to me at the end of the year, so I can then send out the list and ask for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices of their favourites for the year. I then work out which is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The way I do is to score 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and 1 point for 3rd.

 

NWR and me

I joined NWR in January 1991 when my older son was 10 months old. I have been LO of Boston Group a couple of times and also on the Organising Committee of the two very successful Good Read Day Conferences in 2004 and 2007. I am also involved with the 2020 Celebrations, having been to the Inaugural Meeting earlier in the year.

I was also a member of a Correspondence Magazine for about 10 years, but eventually gave up as my children did not like me writing about them.

I was originally a member of Boston Group until 2006 when I became an Independent Member. This was because I had to work on the evening that Boston Group met, and I did not want to miss out on NWR membership. I still went to Boston Group when I could, together with Grantham and Horncastle Groups who both made me very welcome. I re-joined Boston Group last year.

My first Conference was Nottingham 2001. I always said that I would go to Conference when it was near enough, and when I felt my sons were old enough to be left. I have been to every Conference since apart from two. I thoroughly enjoy the buzz of Conference and meeting up with old friends and making new ones, which is what being an NWR member is all about!

 

Catharine Woodliffe

Recent comment in this post
Liz Valette
Well done Catharine, you're doing an excellent job. I'm sure members of the postal book group appreciate your efforts.
Saturday, 03 November 2018 19:26
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