Bury St Edmunds group held a 'Bring an Object' meeting which always provides an opportunity to learn something and have a bit of a discussion.
Objects are deposited in a bag and then they are picked out one at a time and members try to work out what it is, what it's importance might be, and who it belongs to.
The tems shown are a cherished 'Brumas' toy bear, a St Thomas' hospital nurse's badge, a Lincoln Imp brooch, Fitzroy Storm Glass, butter curler, walking stick ferrule, Romanian egg ornament, Dorset button rings, and tiny metal sticks to draw peg numbers on a shooting party. Quite a mixture!
On Wednesday, our Bury St Edmunds group hosted an event at the Athenaeum to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NWR, in tandem with around a dozen other events across the UK. What a lovely, memorable day we had!
130 members attended, representing 21 different groups in the Eastern Region.
Starting the morning with tea & coffee, we then moved into the ballroom to listen to very interesting talks from two entertaining speakers - Paul Stancliffe from the BTO and Catherine Buchanan from the Guildhall.
The three-course lunch was enjoyed hugely, and was followed by a successful (phew) live link to Birmingham for a recorded interview with Maureen Nichol and a sparkling toast to the NWR. Hooray!!
In the afternoon many members elected to go on organised tours of the Cathedral, Guildhall and Greene King Brewery, or to stay at the Athenaeum and take part in activities such as botanical art, attracting wildlife to your garden, spinning & weaving, and a talk on the women of Bury St Edmunds.
It took a lot of organising, and the committee probably collapsed on their respective sofas when they got home, but it really was worth it!!
On 20th March we were all treated to a wonderful afternoon talk by Susanne Gundermann, the sister of one of our members. Susanne is a qualified carpenter working at the Architecture Faculty of Hannover University. She has pursued her passion for trees and wood for three decades and produces the most beautiful and intriguing objects (many of geometrical precision) out of dfferent kinds of wood. Fascinating and beautiful!
[Information about Susanne Gundermann]
On Wednesday evening our Bury St Edmunds group invited members from Diss, along with some of our friends and family, to listen to a talk given by local sculptor HARRIET MEAD. Harriet is a hugely talented, internationally respected wildlife artist from Norfolk who works with 'found objects' made of metal - tools, kitchen utensils, bits of agricultural machinery etc - and creates the most wonderful sculptures of birds, mammals, fish and insects. Using items like rotor blades, spanners, pliers, spades, egg-whisks, scissors, nuts and bolts, she can recreate almost anything from a life-sized horse, through hares, curlew and pike, to a dragonfly on a reed!
She fascinated us with explanations of where her inspiration comes from, described the way she welds the metal together to make a creature, showed us photographs of some of the many things she has made, and told of projects she has been involved with – including the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) of which she is currently President. We agreed with her that it’s ridiculous that some people are still astounded when they find a woman donning protective gear and flourishing welding equipment!
Working mostly to commission, she is hugely in demand and certainly not wanting for work. You may have seen her on ‘Countryfile’, and she is often asked to feature in programmes for ‘discovery’ channels.
We recently had a fun and informative evening exploring ‘Room 101’.
It was a chance to exile your top peeve or worst nightmare from our world forever. We tried to persuade those present to banish these hates to oblivion in Room 101.
Room 101 was the torture room in George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" which contained "the worst thing in the world", that is a person's ultimate breaking point. For Winston, one of the main characters, this was rats.
George Orwell named Room 101 after a room in BBC Broadcasting House where he would sit through tedious meetings during World War II. When the original room at the BBC was due to be demolished a plaster cast was made by the artist Rachel Whiteread and displayed in the cast courts of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, from November 2003 to June 2004.
The BBC television programme "Room 101" ran from 1994 until July this year when Frank Skinner announced it had been axed. The first celebrity to appear on it was Bob Monkhouse who condemned French to Room 101. When Anne Robinson took part years later and banished Wales, the controversy this caused led to an investigation by the BBC Standards Commission. They viewed her comments on the programme as "bordering on racism".
Our own suggestions proved less controversial but led to much discussion and laughter, including:
.affected accents (whether highbrow or not)
.wind farms, the use of
.excessive use of vehicle reversing alarms
.call centre scripts
.extremely early Christmas tat displays with muzak
.spray pumps in plastic bottles which you can’t twist open to get the last bit
After voting there was a tie with 7 votes each for call centre scripts and Christmas tat. We were most entertained by Jane's dancing Christmas tree!!
Five of our members went off to the national conference in Chester last month. What a brilliant weekend it was! The theme of 'Nature Versus Human Innovation' had huge scope, which the talks and workshops covered very well.
The easy drive there and back was somewhat of a (lovely) surprise, and the Premier Inn accommodation was perfect for location and quality.
We learned about 'Mitochondrial donation' and innovation in farming methods, planning for an increasing population. Oh, and learned how to interpret 'Horrible handwriting' (mediaeval texts - interesting!), or enjoyed wine tasting.
On the Saturday evening the BBQ at Chester Racecourse was marvellous - so after the first glass of (more)wine we forgot it was expensive and had another. It was actually quite difficult finding the exit again....
Lovely company, interesting information and lovely weather, topped off by the Chester Midsummer Watch parade.
Think we may be going to next year's conference - in Plymouth!
Three Wedding Dresses and a.... handbags, Victorian bloomers (allegedly Princess Beatrice's!), 1950's Christening shawl, 1930's umbrellas and gloves (Bri-nylon & suede), black nylon(!) 1940's blouse, an engagement ring, a tiny red welly boot (!!), gold wedding shoes, a twenties lace dress and some bold black & white Biba, together with Hazel resplendent in her 40 year old outfit. A really entertaining meeting with stories behind all these treasured items, possibly one of the best evenings we have had!
On 6 January we were entertained and informed by Barbara Painter, who has had a long and successful career as a fashion expert. As a child, she loved to dress up and make outfits, a talent which eventually led her through jobs such as designing clothes for Stanley Baxter(!) to costumes for TV and film, and lately the National Trust. She brought some outfits to show us the intricate needlework and beautiful fabrics, along with the sketches which begin the whole process. What an interesting evening.
We scratched our heads to think of a game we could play at our Christmas gathering, which would involve everyone, entertain and be a bit informative. What a good idea it was, to get everyone to bring along a HAT - not necessarily their own, but with a tale of some sort attached, wrapped anonymously and put in a big box so each of us could pick one, unwrap it and try and guess whose it was. From wedding feathers to hard hat, much hilarity ensued, with a few correct guesses made, and a photo of all items being modelled. Thank you to Lynne for providing the venue and a lovely seasonal atmosphere.
The Mary Berry theme of our latest meeting prompted huge enthusiasm at first. Then we wondered how it would work. "Make a cake using a vegetable or unusual fruit". Right. Then what - just eat it all? BUT - with the usual inventiveness of our group we came up with the idea (Lynne's) of numbering the cakes (13 of them!) and giving everyone a numbered list to write a guess as to what was in each cake. Not so easy. Beetroot, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash, fig.... Much conferring got us not very far, and the best effort was only 6 out of 13. Interesting! Most of us managed 2 or 3 - mostly beetroot, which comes obligingly with chocolate. Cups of tea were soooo welcome after all that, and we rolled home vowing 'no more cake for a week, honest'. A very enjoyable and surprisingly entertaining evening ;o)
Thank you to all who came to the talk at Lackford Lakes Visitor Centre on 1 April, given by Paul Stancliffe from the BTO. A fascinating subject about which all learned a lot, and hopefully went away inspired and enlightened! Follow the cuckoos at http://www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-studies/cuckoo-tracking
Our New Year meal out always brightens up this often miserable time of year. The staff at Bill's were very helpful, and Kathy had everything incredibly well organised - thanks Kathy. We gave our outgoing Treasurer (in the picture, centre) a good send-off - huge thanks to Anne for many years of counting subs and keeping track of our finances! Thanks also to Yvonne, who has taken on the role as our new Treasurer.
Who knew tin foil could be so much fun? One challenge (with a prize!) on the evening of 17 December was, using a square of foil, to model something with 4 legs which would stand up... Some weird and wonderful creatures were produced, but Barbara's whatever-it-was won in the end.
Then came a round of 'Consequences' which - with 15 people - had us in fits of laughter. How long was it since any of us had played that?!?
Followed by a spread worthy of any Bury St Edmunds Group Christmas party, this was a lovely evening. Thank you to Lynne, for hosting the meeting.
On Thursday 27 November, Bury St Edmunds group embarked upon a minibus trip in the dark to see the swans being fed at Welney WWT reserve. Arriving ever-so-slightly late due to being held up by a road accident, we very much enjoyed the talk and the feeding of the Whooper and Mute swans, along with the lively Pochard ducks which had migrated 3000 miles from the tundra regions of northern Europe. An interesting little adventure, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you Margaret!!