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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.
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Visit to Lavender Fields

Visit to Lavender Fields

Members of Sway NWR enjoyed a visit to the Lavender Fields near Alton, Hampshire.

This was followed by an enjoyable cream tea.

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Liz Valette
Lovely Lavender fields in Hampshire.
Saturday, 29 July 2017 06:58
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BBQ in the New Forest

BBQ in the New Forest

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Members of Sway NWR enjoyinga walk, good food and silly games in the New Forest.

 

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Up Hill and Down Dale - Women Rambling On Again

Up Hill and Down Dale - Women Rambling On Again

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!


Arnold NWR

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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.
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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

 

 

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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
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Calne & Derry Hill and District visit to Sevington Victorian School

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.

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Liz Valette
Sounds like a great experience ladies. We can find out more about the school by copying and pasting this link http://www.sevington... Read More
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 16:09
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Fear & Loathing via Abergavenny

Fear & Loathing via Abergavenny

Author, Carol Lovekin recently spoke at the Newport Regional Conference. It's not often we get to hear what the experience was like from the other side of the table but Carol agreed to share her experience with us...

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NWR celebrates women's literature in Wales

NWR celebrates women's literature in Wales

Recently, we were treated to an excellent programme at this regional NWR event: three authors, a publisher and the dynamic CEO of Literature Wales. 

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The joy of being an NWR Area Organiser

The joy of being an NWR Area Organiser

Jill Smith of Cambridge NW has recently retired from her position as Area Organiser (AO) of EA06/7 NWR areas in the east of England. She tells us about her time as an AO.

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events

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.

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Improving the circle of life

Improving the circle of life

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.

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NWR is going down in history

NWR is going down in history

Mass Observation's 12 May Diary Day is coming up soon and NWR members are invited to take part and become part of history.

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Celebrating women’s writing with top names in publishing in Wales

Celebrating women’s writing with top names in publishing in Wales

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.

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Listen to the NWR Magazine online

Listen to the NWR Magazine online

Did you know you can listen to the NWR Magazine? Trustee, Jo Thomson, tells us about getting into the recording studio.

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Liz Valette
I couldn't find an audio file, the link took me to the digital version of the Autumn 2016 magazine.
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:37
Lynn Welsher
You have to scroll right down to the bottom of the list Liz then click on Autumn 2016 underneath where it says ' Listen to an audi... Read More
Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:18
Lynn Welsher
Well done ladies - very clearly read!
Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:19
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Derry Hill group up and running...

Derry Hill group up and running...

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.

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Liz Valette
Derry Hill village is situated in Wiltshire near Bowood House and traditionally housed Bowood estate workers. Bowood House is the ... Read More
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:33
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10,000 meetings a year

10,000 meetings a year

Group meetings are the heart of NWR and an amazing 10,000 are held each year - at least! That is an incredible amount of discussion, chat, research, learning, fun and laughter. 

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History of Knitting - talk by Gillian Fulton

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We Got Rhythm

We Got Rhythm

Two NWR groups in the Midlands got together recently for a fun-filled evening of Brazilian drumming.

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Lynn Welsher
That looks like an excellent day Jenny!
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 20:05
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On the trail of Capability

On the trail of Capability

Inspired by accounts in the NWR magazine of other groups’ travels, eight members of Woolton Hill Group organised an away break to Gloucestershire.

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Lynn Welsher
That looks like a wonderful trip Nicole - lots of places I know well living in The Midlands but makes me want to revisit them now!... Read More
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 20:31
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