What we are up to

In December  2019 we had our Christmas get-together. We were entertained by Opera 17 with a selection of different music from opera to songs from the big shows, to christmas carols.  It was amazing! A truly inspiring afternoon.

In November 2019 we enjoyed the presentations by Andrew Chadwick, with his wonderful photography and the perfect accompanying music.  Andrew never disappoints as he covered frosty landscapes to stories made up from a series of disparate pictures for a competition.  A lovely afternoon and a big thank-you to Andrew again.

October 2019 saw our Annual Meeting, where our president gave an overview of our year and we elected our committee, which remained unchanged.  Following that we had an interesting talk from Yvette Grindley, all about the Community Orchard on Cranberry Way in Hull.  She took us through the process from the beginning, to where they are at now and her final message was to visit and pass on the information to others to help publicise the project as it always needs funding and helpers.  A big thank you to Yvette.

As September 2019 is the month the Macmillan cancer care organisation has its major fund-raising event, via its nationwide coffee mornings, we booked a speaker to tell us more about the work they do.

Unfortunately the expected presentation couldn’t be made as the technical equipment didn’t work!! However Becky Read outlined the services they offer. Based in this area at the Queen’s Centre Castle Hill Hospital, Macmillan produce free booklets, can offer emotional support and clinical information by phone, online and in person. They rely on donations to enable their work to continue and our members were encouraged to support a member’s coffee morning to be held at her home at the end of the month.

In August 2019 we enjoyed a trip to visit the Hearing Dogs for the Deaf where we heard all about the training and uses of these wonderful dogs. We were given a demonstration of some of the training the dogs receive and saw some wonderful video clips of the dogs assisting their owners and making a huge difference to their lives.  We followed this by a quick tour to see the facilities and then tea and cake.  A delightful afternoon and our message to all is to support this fantastic charity as they make such a difference to people's lives.

Our Speaker this month (June 2019) was Jenny Rice-niece of Hugh Rice the Jeweller.  Jenny started her working career as a teacher but then moved into the family jewellery business and is now a valuer  of jewellery, often for probate issues and whether repairs are indicated or not-depending on the value of the article and the possible cost of the repair.  Her talk ranged across areas such as the nature of diamonds-their colours and clarity ( and how she needs to be absolutely spot-on with her assessments as mistakes can cost thousands!!!) to the different 'golds'-white, yellow and rose and about the 'carat' designation -so 18ct is 750 parts per thousand, and the trends in jewellery over the ages.  She also told us about natural, versus cultured pearls and how they are grown commercially.

She also brought us some examples to look at and possibly work out values.  She told us that jewellers use books of colours to be able to work out the values and quality of stones such as sapphires and emeralds and a reference book called the Gem Guide which comes out every two months.

She did tell us that when you see the amazing jewellery valuations on The Antiques Roadshow, it doesn't show the difficulties that are inherent in valuing jewellery and that valuing for insurance purposes is different from those for probate.

All in all a most interesting, not to say fascinating talk on a subject that is dear to most women's heart.  A big thank-you to Jenny.

May 2019

As May is Resolutions month, we discussed and agreed to uphold the two chosen resolutions, which were outlined for us by two of our members.  Following this, we enjoyed two, ten-minute-talks from two of our members- one all about the Lambton Worm (with the appropriate accent!) and one a family history/mystery and the search for answers.  These were followed by a talk from our President about Terry Waite with reference to his books and his time as a hostage.

April  (2019) brought us Kath and Clive Richardson-standing in for our planned speaker, who was not able to come.  The title of their talk "I don't believe it!" had us all speculating wildly.  It turned out to be many, many facts about the English language in all its glory from punctuation howlers to silly labels-such as "product will be hot after heating, or the label on a child's pushchair- remove child before folding!  We were introduced to aptronyms, where the name matches the profession, such as the cricketer Peter Bowler or the dentist Les Plack.  It was fascinating to learn that many of the phrases we use commonly today, were in actual fact, coined by Shakespeare-amazing!

Going back to schooldays with a rush of nostalgia, we remembered collective nouns, one or two (or more!) of which were new to us all, such as a crash of hippos or a pound of Englishmen. Kath and Clive reminded us of some of the spelling and grammar rules we learned, for example 'i before e, except after c' only to be told there are 923 words which break this rule!

We were introduced to some of the new words that have crept into the language, and some of the older ones that have fallen out of use.  There is apparently a web site which will turn your name into an anagram so Ian Botham becomes Oh man I bat and Margaret Thatcher was Meg the arch tartar.

The whole talk was absolutely amazing with so many 'fascinating facts' that there isn't room to write it all-you had to be there to appreciate it.  We had a such wonderful afternoon, it was a shame it had to end-we could have listened for hours!  Many thanks to Kath and Clive.

For our March (2019) meeting we had a very interesting and informative talk about China.  Our original speaker was not able to come but our stand-in did a wonderful job at short notice.  It was very surprising to find out how many of our members had visited China, though for some it was very many years ago, before it became more readily accessible.  We had a lot of entries for the competition, many of which had been acquired  in China. I'm sure we all learned something new.

In February 2019 we had the Quiz. followed by a very pleasant natter-and-chatter and worked on our relaxation skills with colouring in for those who wished.  Lovely and peaceful!

In January 2019 we all congregated at Judy's and had a New Year's Natter. Memberships were renewed and some Christmas presents  "exchanged hands" as an 'up-cycling exercise'. A big thanks-you to Judy for her hospitality.