Christmas Day arrives usually in the presence of brilliant sunshine, tweeting birds and the sounds of excited children who have opened their presents from Santa much too early.
One of our members has a daughter in a Zazu tribal dance group, so it was suggested that, for a slightly different meeting, we could invite them to entertain us one evening.
Thank you for the wonderful prize of two nights' stay at Gladstone Library. I wasn't sure what to expect but it exceeded any expectations I might have had.
It is nearly five years since my husband and I took the unusual step of inviting strangers into our home for a weekend of cultural exchange, and we’re glad we did. Through a small charity called HOST we have welcomed some delightful international students from across the world and had the unique opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures from the people who grew up in them.
In June this year, I was delighted to receive the Mary Stott Award for my play writing. The plays are for all-female casts and are hired by NWR and other women’s groups.
It is wonderful to be able to combine my hobby of writing with raising money for two of my favourite charities. I’d like to thank the NWR groups around the country who hire the plays and keep them circulating by posting them on to each other.
Talent, financial success, fame and adoration offer no protection from the subjective experience of loneliness. There is nothing inherently problematic about solitude itself. Loneliness isn’t about being alone, it’s about not feeling connected. There is nothing trivial, comical or poignantly romantic about loneliness.
Of the top 10 books sold by Amazon this year, four were colouring books for adults.
Forget the idea that colouring books are for children. In a time-short world dominated by digital screens, many adults are now embracing the concept of the soothing art of colouring. Chosen for their creativity and the quality of the illustrations and paper, colouring books for adults are of an exceptionally high quality. They are designed to help calm, destress and focus the mind in the belief that exploring colour and space occupies parts of the brain that might normally be involved in anxiety.
At Rugeley we’re on the doorstep of Cannock Chase, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty boasting 26 square miles of mixed woodland with large areas of coniferous and heathland.
Its features made it ideal, throughout both wars, as an area for training the soldiers about to be sent overseas. We decided to walk a very small part of the Chase, one fine evening in August, to view a few of the historical sites that are still evident from the encampments of the First World War.
I was so thrilled when Jeanette House, the Trustee responsible for organising the Photo Competition, rang me to say I had won! The prize of two nights in Yorkshire was another opportunity to add to my photo collection.
In late April my husband and I travelled up to The Steeton Hall Hotel in Keighley stopping at the fabulous Yorkshire Sculpture Park for lunch on the way – lots of lambs and Henry Moore sculptures and far too much to see in a quick visit.
Trentham NWR has been fortunate this year – with Japan as our themed country – to have had Chitose Ikawa from Tokyo as a member of our group while she was here studying at Keele. Nearing the end of Chitose’s year in the UK a few of us took her to Tatton Park to visit the famous Japanese Garden. Built by Japanese craftsmen in 1910 for the 3rd Lord Egerton it features acers, azaleas, water irises, a tea house and a Shinto shrine. Our guide walked us through explaining each item and its meaning, pointing out essential components such as the sacred fox Inari in his red bib, a turtle, water, bridges, stepping stones and zigzag paths to fool the devil.
My tandem skydiving experience was a present from my children for my 60th birthday last year. You can imagine my surprised look when I opened the envelope!
I booked the dive early in the year, timing it so that it came soon after my son's wedding so as not to leave me with too much time to dwell on it.
Little did we think some 20-plus years ago when we piled into cars surrounded by tents, walking gear and food, ready for a camping weekend in Derbyshire with our NWR group, that we’d still be heading off together all these years later. However, after that first weekend under canvas we decided to give Youth Hostels a try and we’ve been hostelling at least once every year since!
If NWR did not exist, I would have to invent it. Where else would I get to meet regularly with a bunch of interesting women and talk about any subject under the sun?
I love being a member of NWR, because in these days of virtual friends and short tweets, I appreciate face to face meetings with real women, where we can discuss real topics in real time.
Mairi Nasr grew up in rural Scotland, she moved to the Middle East and lived there for twenty years with her Lebanese husband and three children. She is co-author of children’s fantasy novel, Food Wars.
Food Wars follows the story of Porky, an obese teenager from Glasgow, who teams up with seven other ‘Keepers’ from across the world. The Keepers wage war on the Food Masters, the corporations that control the world food market.