Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Deepings Group enjoyed reading Fannie Flegg's 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe’ and some members LOVED this charming book.  We appreciated the strong characterisation:  those who have experience of nursing homes said there is a Ninny Threadgoode in every one;  Idgie, on the other hand, is a one-off - passionate, kind, enterprising, funny, brave, extreme - it was lovely to see her again at the end of the book, still telling her tall tales.  This was a strong community with warm friendships and loyalties, support for each other,  coping,  and the sadness of the loss of the village with the decline of the railway.  The vivid descriptions made us  almost smell the food and hear the music and voices of both rural and city life in this Southern US state.  The device of moving the story back and forwards using the humour and snide comments of Dot Weems’ Weekly Bulletin, worked well.

Even those cynics amongst us who cringe a little at American sweet homespun wisdom and the occasional shmaltzy sentimental tone, felt that the book was certainly saved from tweeness by the extremely dark subject matter. 
 We were shown the cruelty and violence of racism, and the subtle differences made by having different shades of skin colour, even between brothers;  the disquiet about the woman who could pass as white;  the way the Klu Klux Klan worked - “they may be niggers but they’re our niggers”.  The awful poverty and depression of The Depression and its intersection with that racism - even the hoboes, despised and beaten (perhaps to death) by some, were allowed through the front door of the cafe, the ‘coloureds’ had to quietly make their requests at the back.  We saw the comfort and optimism of the black church and the acceptance by black and white of what we would now see as lesbianism.
There was domestic violence, the lack of rights for married women, particularly over the custody of children;  then the sadness of infertility;  the bringing up of a ‘special’ child;  ageing; the dignity of people who struggled against scorn and adversity to make a better life for their children, and the grandchildren who saw that struggle as demeaning bowing and scraping. 
There was murder, even cannibalism (albeit unwitting on the part of some diners) and assisted dying.
For a slim, easy-to-read volume, Fannie Flegg’s masterpiece packs quite a punch!
 
Article supplied by Kathy Ward, L.O.
1
  1027 Hits
  0 Comments
1027 Hits
0 Comments

Donalds & Theresas - topical discussions

July 6th 2017

14 of us met at Jane’s for an evening of Donalds and Theresas.  It was nice to see Jenny well enough to be there. One of the party was disappointed that we had excluded Trump and May.  

We heard about Donalds “Duck” Dunn 1941-2012, great bass player with Booker T and the MGs;  Sinden, theatre/film/tv/radio actor with the lovely voice;  McCleary, who worked with The Royal Ballet for 48 years;  Campbell, the only person to hold both the land and water speed records, before his spectacular crash in Bluebird;   Osmond, the 7th son of the singing Osmond family;  Tusk, born 1957, once President of Poland and now of the EU Council;  and “Donald - Where’s Your Trousers”  (cue for excellent singing).
The Theresa /Teresa crew were   (Tessa) Sanderson,  champion javelin thrower;  Barclay, 19th century brothel keeper who patented a machine to beat customers;   Hsu Chih 1989-2011, "Singapore’s Mother Teresa”, who was still doing charity work at 101 years old and was NOT religious;  Blake, of Rossetti Couture, designer of ballet/theatre/opera costumes for all the big companies (and theatrical wedding dresses);   Maria-Theresa of Vienna 1717-80, Queen and Holy Roman Empress;  Sackler, philanthropist - many art galleries and museums have Sackler rooms or buildings; and two Carmelite Nuns - St Teresa of Avila, canonised 1622 (who founded monasteries, was a visionary and a Doctor of the Church)  and St Theresa the Little Flower, canonised 1925, who was too sickly to do any Big Deeds but made small daily sacrifices and showed there could be holiness in ordinary lives.
1
  822 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
822 Hits
0 Comments

Deepings at Lincoln Conference 2017

The Deepings Group is in South Lincolnshire, and when it was announced that Conference 2017 would be in Lincoln, two of our members immediately offered to be on the organising committee. 
 Many thanks to Ann and Faith for the hard work involved in making this year’s Conference a huge success.
There were eleven of us in all…..nine staying Friday night to enjoy the wrap-around events and dinner (with an excellent table quiz produced by Faith) plus the interesting, funny after-dinner speaker.  
Some of us went on a boat ride, some to the Art Gallery, some to the Lincolnshire Archives.
 Two more drove up early for the Main Conference on Saturday morning.
The University of Lincoln has a wonderful site on the bank of the Marina, looking up at the much-painted view to the castle and cathedral on top of the hill. 
 All three speakers were great - Sophie Wells lost fingers and nearly lost both legs (from amniotic band syndrome) - but that has not stopped her winning shed-loads of medals (including three golds and three silvers between the London and Rio Para-Olympics) in horse dancing (as she called it). She has also won able-bodied international dressage events.  
 
Mary Powell has been in charge of the wonderful reconstruction at The Castle with heart-stopping times like winching the huge spiral staircase over the wall, pushing the new lift shaft through the gateway which only just fitted it, finding a Saxon sarcophagus when they dug down to make the vault for the Magna Carta.  
 
Sophie Hannah, a poet (her work is used in GCSE, A level and degrees) and crime writer (the famously guarded Agatha Christie family chose her to write two new Poirot novels) was very entertaining.  We enjoyed our workshops on Chasumba, Drumming, the painted knights sculptures which are all round the city, the Woodland Trust and discussion groups.
No one was nominated for the Mary Stott Award this year, so we remembered back to when our own Rita won it for setting up her Mustard Seed Project in the slums of Mombasa, providing a Primary School and many other resources for the local community in Kenya (which she and her husband Geoff continue to do - check out their website...)
We are looking forward to next year’s Conference at Chester.
 
Thanks to Kathy Ward [LO] for this report.
0
  1104 Hits
  0 Comments
1104 Hits
0 Comments

An inspirational poet, the glorious countryside, a medieval limestone quarry and a toxic rubbish dump

An NWR EA06/07 Area day conference offers so, so much for the price of a shop-bought sandwich and a plate of food for sharing with old and new friends.  That's how I like to think of the adventure that the Area day conferences never fail to deliver.   This year it was organised by the tiny Glinton Group with the help of the ladies in Peterborough.  Squeezed into the Helpston village hall, we were delighted by the speaker for the morning Mr Richard Astle from the Langdyke Trust http://langdyke.org.uk/ he enthralled me with his breadth of knowledge of the life and poetry of John Clare  1793 - 1864, Helpston's native son.  More importantly Richard wove the modern day legacy Clare leaves through his inspriational poetry which led to the creation of some of England's earliest Nature Reserves.   It's hard to summarise how special this community organisation is to this small part of our countryside.

The toxic rubbish dump is the remant of chalk upland that Clare immortalised in his poem of over 1,200 words 'The Lament of Swordy Well'.  He was writing with passion of a beauty spot encroached by the Enclosures and damaged by the greed of landowners.  Here is one verse :

The bees flye round in feeble rings 
And find no blossom bye 
Then thrum their almost weary wings 
Upon the moss and die 
Rabbits that find my hills turned oer 
Forsake my poor abode 
They dread a workhouse like the poor 
And nibble on the road

It's remarkable that Clare's observations and concerns for the condition of nature were so acute and modern in for a self-educated poor man.

We went on to learn how the area had even worse to suffer in the 1970's until eventually its fortunes changed when the local community purchased the site and removed the rubbish and scraped the soil back over the site and miraculously the seeds in the soil flourished and now orchids are flourishing at Swordy Well.

Clare's penultimate verse errily foretells that resurgence :

And if I could find a friend 

With no deciet to sham 
Who'd send me some few sheep to tend 
And leave me as I am 
To keep my hills from cart and plough 
And strife and mongerel men 
And as spring found me find em now 
I should look up agen

 

 

0
  899 Hits
  1 Comment
Recent comment in this post
Mavis Leverington
Oh well done Julie, thank you,lovely to have your comments on our day and to know how much you appreciated our speaker, he does th... Read More
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 19:39
899 Hits
1 Comment

Deepings members proudly devise the 2016 TTT Quiz

Pam Blair, Faith Oxford (AO) and Manuella Armstrong in charge.

For four nights in early November, members of Deepings and stalwart UK-wide NWR members manned the phones between the twilight hours of 8-10pm to facilitate a unique annual event 'the telephone treasure trail' quiz. Over 300 groups took part - you can follow the links from the members dashboard to the articles posted by Ilana - with Edenbridge winning the competition overall.  

Deepings had a few extra events on our programme this year to prepare the Quiz: question selection; question testing; quiz trial 1 and quiz trial 2 (for those of us who couldn't make trial 1...)

Our final involvement was the 'marking night' - a few ex-teachers among us, perhaps qualified us amply for the task, which was lively to say the least. We enjoyed the surroundings of Pam's newly refurbished kitchen/diner with the usual surfeit of hot beverages and biscuits. One of the most surprising things was the lovely notes and messages which arrived among the quiz papers.  We passed these around for everyone to see on the night.  Thank-you to everyone who thoughtfully sent back these messages of encouragement.  So much appreciated.

Good luck to Edenbridge with the challenge of 2017 TTT - somehow I know that you will 'make the most of the experience – as we did'.

0
  1649 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
224
1649 Hits
0 Comments

Deepings 6 attend Area Conference in Hemingford Abbots, Cambs

On 14 May 2016, a small party from Deepings enjoyed the hospitality of the Hemingford Abbot group, hosts of this years' Area Conference. Tish Page was the local member that treated us all to a taste of her thrilling adventure along the route of the 'Silk Trail' – her 8-week truck trekk started in Istanbul in Western Turkey across many, many countries too daunting to spell here to the farthest corner of the continent. Had she and her partner continued to the end (a further three weeks) they would have travelled deep into China.  

Writing this now, I have only just thought to ask the question... what made you return home leaving those remaining [few] miles? I can't do justice to the exciting tales that Tish shared with us, needless to say, it was an adventure of the highest order – I am quite envious of what she did and saw. I came home buzzing with inspiration, spilling it all out to my husband.

Ray and I have plans (currently on hold) to walk parts of the Pilgrimmage routes in Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostella. Listening to Tish, filled me anew with that desire to quit modern-day life and be a backpacker once more. 

Thank you Tish.

 

 

0
  1049 Hits
  2 Comments
Tags:
224
Recent Comments
Liz Valette
I also have a gypsy in my soul, I really love travelling. I used to be a keen walker but these days my feet are no longer fit for ... Read More
Sunday, 29 May 2016 18:56
Kathy Ward
They even brought some sheep to help, as Clare yearned for in the poem.. They've made all the difference. If anyone is planning ... Read More
Thursday, 29 June 2017 09:16
1049 Hits
2 Comments

Stop Press! Deepings win 20th Anniversary TTT Quiz

0
  1114 Hits
  0 Comments
1114 Hits
0 Comments

A Good Read Returns - Saturday 3rd October 2015, 10.00am–4.30pm

A Good Read Returns - Saturday 3rd October 2015, 10.00am–4.30pm

 

Greetham Valley Golf and ConferenceCentre, 

Wood Lane, Greetham, Oakham, Rutland LE15 7SN 01780 460444 

£30 per person

Members of Deepings & Grantham groups invite you to a Literary Day Conference. As in the previous Good Read conferences we are lucky to have Dr Jane Mackay as a speaker Jane will start the morning session with her talk on North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: ‘One Housewife with Real Attitude’.

Our next speaker will be Gaynor Arnold, NWR member and author of Girl in a Blue Dress and After Such Kindness: ‘Inventing the Past’.

After a delicious lunch you are free to take part in your chosen literary based workshop, see further information overleaf.

The impresive venue is easily accessible from the A1, 7 miles from Oakham in Rutland.

The Greethan Golf Hotel are putting on a really super choice of lunch before the afternoon workshops commence. These are followed by a closing participatory session to share in the workshop outcomes, accompanied by cakes and coffee.

The day (as before) involves a book swap and each delegate will take home a goodie bag of trifles including a free book.

 Any enquiries please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

0
  1777 Hits
  0 Comments
1777 Hits
0 Comments