After a break in August, our September meeting was a celebration of our fifth birthday (with birthday cake) and a video of our singing group’s concert in Roborough Methodist Church. A group of us visited Widdecombe Fair where one of our members was performing in the Dartmoor Border Morris so we were pleased that she, (Judi) was able to talk about her hobby. There are different types of Morris Dancing but two main ones are Cotswold and Border. The Cotswold groups dress in white and wave handkerchiefs and the Border Morris wear tattered coats with pieces of blue material at the shoulders (sky), then green (vegetation) and brown at the hem (earth). Border Morris have short and long sticks to hit the ground and other dancers’ sticks. Morris Dancing was first recorded in 1448, was banned by the Puritans, reinstated at the Restoration but by the 19th century was dying out. Its restoration started on Boxing Day near Oxford and during the 20th century it flourished. The Border Morris meet at Meavy Parish Hall each week, practising in the winter months for summer performances in pubs, at wassails and mummers’ plays and fairs. The group leader is the squire, the foreman is responsible for choreography and the bagman looks after the money. The group is accompanied by instruments such as drums, violins, accordions and guitars and there are dances with names such a “Hay-on-Wye”, “Twiglet” and “Pudsey” performed to raise money for charity.
During August groups continued to meet. The Playreaders completed Alan Ayckbourn’s “Norman Conquests” trilogy and started to read his “Invisible Friend” play. Photography for Fun have shared their “Rainbow” pictures and embarked upon their new challenge “Emotion”. The History Group heard talks from members on Devonport Prison, Pennycomequick and silly wars such as “War of Jenkin’s Ear”, “The War of the Golden Stool”, and a war started over guano (bird poo). Other topics were Victoria Falls; Victoria Line, Poverty in Britain and Johannes Glensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg and the Gutenberg Bible.
The Garden Visits Group visited Bicton Gardens and took the Woodland Railway to view the landscapes and other attractions such as Palm House, water features and Countryside Museum. They have also been to Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary. The next visit will be to Rosemoor Garden with the Tavistock Lady Gardeners.
Weekenders have made trips to the Barbican for lunches first to “Le Monde” stopping off to listen to open air jazz. The next visit was to the “Boathouse” followed by a walk to the Hoe for ice cream. to cool down on a very hot day. There was also a trip to Boringdon Golf Club for an “indoor” barbecue and to watch the fireworks.
Recently the Music Events group have enjoyed several outings. They enjoyed terrific guitar playing at The Wharf, Tavistock at a Neil Diamond Tribute performance by Bob Drury. They also attended the Beach Boyz Tribute Band playing some old favourites at the Atheneum. The next outing was to the Legion at Crownhill for Jazz Club (the Sopranos). Several members visited Dartington for a varied music event provided by college students, listening to them playing brass band music in the sun. A session of improvised music to silent films followed which was interesting and enjoyable and then “New Chamber Music” with quite an alternative sound!
At the Guildhall “Last Night at the Proms” was a great mixture of rousing music such as “Zadoc the Priest”, “Jerusalem”, “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Rule Britannia” and superb singing by the Caradon Youth Choir. More recently members enjoyed “The Magic of Glenn Miller” at the Devonport Playhouse performed by the Dave Hankin Big Band.
March News Report
This month we held our AGM and our new committee has now been formed. Prior to this we had a speaker, Tracy Baker from Jeremiah’s Journey telling us about the charity. It is funded solely by charitable donations and receives no government funding. They provide support for children who lose a parent or grandparent from any cause and where a terminal diagnosis has been made. They run a couple of support groups as well as providing one to one support. For more information look at their Facebook page and website at: - www.jeremiahsjourney.org.uk
During the last month a few of the Arty Craft group enjoyed a day out to the Craft 4 Crafters Show at the Devon County Showground at Westpoint.
Garden Visits enjoyed looking for Snowdrops at Saltram, an added bonus was the opportunity to look at the birdlife through the monocular of a friendly twitcher who explained what was on view on the lovely clear day. This was followed by a cuppa at Saltram and lunch at Otter Nurseries. With spring just around the corner there are several outings planned including Parke near Bovey Tracey, Coombe Meadow at Ashburton and a return to Garden house at Buckland Monachorum always a popular visit.
Members of Music Events enjoyed an evening listening and dancing to Dog, Fish, Mammal at Cornwood Village Hall; the group played a mix of Blues and Rock and Roll music. Planned ahead are visits to Plymouth Jazz club at the Crownhill Royal British Legion and events at Plymouth Atheneum and Tavistock Wharf.
The History group covered a very wide time period and range of subjects at their recent meeting. Subjects ranged through the Black Death to Teddy boys; lighting from fires through candles, rush lights, to gas and then electric lighting; and the 1942 bombing of Darwin Australia to name a few.
The Walking Group have planned several months ahead, their most recent walk being from Plymouth City Centre to Royal William Yard ending with a meal in Bistro Pierre. The option for a pub lunch has been included with several of the planned walks.
The Science and Technology group is growing and this month the Astrolabe; which helped sailors 2000 years ago plot their latitude at sea; and the Fibonacci sequence as seen in everyday life were two of the topics. One member had found a rock that was black and a beetroot shade of red he brought along to show a member with a background in geology, the rock was identified as Red Jasper.
The Weekenders group continue to enjoy a variety of meals out and have are going to see Funny Girl in the Devonport Playhouse. This group has proved very popular so much so that a second group has been set up.
Other group running include, Singing, Bridge, Scrabble and Wine Tasting , there really is something for everyone! As our membership grows so do the variety of interest groups run by our members for the members.
February News Report
This month at our meeting Graham Naylor gave us an enthusiastic and informative talk on Family History. Graham told us that with your library card you can access some of the search sites you would normally have to pay for at home. To demonstrate the range of information you can find online he showed a search of a Plymstock Church Curate and was able to trace family back to Manchester in the early 1800’s. Many parish records have now been digitised so when searching for your own family history you could see their handwriting and pages they had touched. Births, deaths and marriages have been recorded since 1st July 1837 and census records can be accessed back to 1911. Graham left us with a lot of good information and food for thought.
This month the Photography for fun group went to a photography exhibition in the Levinsky building, Plymouth University. There was a range of interesting photographs taken by Jem Southam entitled ‘Birds, Rocks, Rivers and Islands’. Each month the group meets and takes on a new photography challenge trying to improving their pictures from snaps to great photographs. In the comfort of a local pub The Science and Technology group at their meeting heard about one members working life helping create the equipment nuclear physics scientists thought up. Using blue tac and a plastic funnel proton beam therapy was explained by another group member.
The History group has now outgrown meeting in front rooms and now meets in Roborough Church Hall. At the last meeting a wide range of topics were presented by the members including; Heligoland, the Swiss Guard and anecdotes about various British Prime Ministers and the props associated with them …a pipe, handbag, a cigar and an axe to name a few. The weekenders enjoyed a lunch at the Hyde Park pub and future venues include a couple of Greek restaurants and La Monde a new restaurant on the Barbican.
The Jazz and Music group enjoyed listening to the Plymouth Area Police Choir at St Edwards Church, Eggbuckland. In the coming months a range of musical events have been planned and booked including Tubular bells for two at the Tavistock Wharf, plus South West Philharmonia and Chorus Les Miserables and Lux at the Plymouth Guildhall. Quite an eclectic mix!
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