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.
Marion Molteno, an NWR patron has recently published her new book Journeys Without A Map: A Writer’s Life - as an e-book. It’s available from all major e-book suppliers – just click here:https://books2read.com/JourneysWithoutAMapSome of you will
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Members of Sway NWR enjoyed a visit to the Lavender Fields near Alton, Hampshire.
This was followed by an enjoyable cream tea.
Four members of Arnold NWR joined with around 50 other NWR members recently for a very enjoyable day event organised by members of Trentham NWR, Staffordshire Moorlands NWR and Marilyn Vigurs, Area Organiser.
The venue was The Tea Junction at Hulme End (http://www.teajunctionhulmeend.co.uk/). In the morning we enjoyed an illustrated talk by eminent local photographer Simon Watkinson (www.world-infocus.co.uk). Simon entertained us with wonderful photographs from around the world and closer to home, showing how you can achieve great results by getting up early, going out in all weathers, and always having your camera to hand for any unexpected opportunity! Also how to improvise and make use of what equipment is to hand.
After a lovely lunch provided by the team at The Tea Junction (including feta cheesecake...yummy!!), we split into groups for an afternoon of activities. The more active amongst us set off for a 5-mile ramble; another group embarked on a treasure hunt in nearby Hartington. The largest group went with Simon a short distance to Beresford Dale, for an afternoon workshop on how to improve our photography using our various types of camera, tablets, phones etc. We learned how to use a variety of settings that some of us didn’t realise our cameras had! Simon patiently showed us how to access the menu options on our cameras and choose appropriate settings for the conditions. We were then set loose for a couple of hours, to wander along the dale and experiment taking different pictures and changing the camera/phone settings to compensate for bright sunlight and strong shadows and reflections.
We all reconvened for tea and cake and closing remarks having had a most enjoyable day in glorious sunshine!
Thanks to all the organisers and to the wonderful catering team at The Tea Junction!
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.
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
A delightful joint visit was made in May to the Sevington Victorian School, by Calne and Derry Hill and District NWR groups. We first went to Leigh Delamare church and were greeted by a lady (Dinah Starkey) in a beautiful, black Victorian costume complete with bonnet. She told us that the remains of the original derelict church were carefully removed to build the school. This work was arranged by Joseph Neeld, local land owner and philanthropist, who wished to build a school for his worker’s children and then rebuild the church in a similar style with a decorative Gothic interior. This has resulted in the School having the unusual features of a dominant bell tower, massive entrance archway and an interior wall made of a 15th century reredos. He also built cottages for his employees.
On returning to the school we were sternly greeted by Miss Elizabeth Squire, who taught at the school for 53 years. She was played by Celia Jennings who took her role very seriously and informed us we all had to pay 1d for entry, fortunately Victorian coins were provided. We were lined up for hand inspection, those with nail varnish being duly reprimanded! We entered the classroom and sat at traditional benches and desks with inkwells. Demonstrations showed us how finger stocks were used to stop boys dipping girl’s plaits into inkwells and other naughtiness, and back boards, to ensure upright posture. Class started with the issuing of slates and pencils for us to practice writing the date and a verse written on the board, a very squeaky process. We read moral verses from reading books learning such sayings as ‘If one lie is told several more will follow’. The classroom is full of material actually used by Miss Squire including a framed demonstration of how to make paper, items such as a cowrie shell and shark’s jaw , brought back by Joseph Neeld’s brother from his tropical expeditions, a chalk written attendance board and a dunces cap. The floor is also unusual being made of shaped edge-on regular logs wedged together. Finally we were somewhat intimidated by the demonstration of 3 canes!
We were then invited into Miss Squire’s parlour where a parlour maid (Sylvia Wright) helped by the other ladies, served us with tea and very tasty home-made cakes.
This was a very successful outing and we cannot give enough credit to the three ladies who reminded us of what it was like to live in Victorian times, both as children and a school teacher.
You won't find our events entered into the system but our termly programmes are available as downloads if Phillis has remembered to upload them.
Over a hundred participants, from as far afield as Sussex, gathered in Poynton, Cheshire on Saturday 25 March. We heard eminent clinicians Dr Jenny Myers and Professor Alistair Burns from the University of Manchester medical school talk about their research and practice.
Wales has a surprising amount of publishing houses for such a small country and many of their writers are female. At the NWR Cardiff-Newport Conference, we’ll be hearing from some of them as well as having a lovely lunch - all in beautiful surroundings of the Celtic Manor Resort.
Our new group had its inaugural meeting on Tuesday 18th April when we had a good turn out of nine members. After an interesting and stimulating discussion we celebrated with cake and sparkling wine and proudly stood for our first photograph as a new group.