At our Banchory meet last night, we finished the evening by thanking our outgoing Local Coordinator, Edna Harris, for all the hard work she has done throughout her 10-year stint in the position. We celebrated with cake, and presented her with flowers and National Garden Vouchers. Attached is a photo, with Edna in the centre on the sofa.
The main topic of the evening was a talk given by a volunteer representative from the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. These clever dogs aid their 'recipients' by responding to sounds such as door bells, ringing telephones, oven alarms and even crying babies by touching the human and taking them to the source of the sound. They are trained to respond to fire alarms by touching the human and then lying on the ground as soon as they've caught their human's attention. Their owners say they gain great comfort and self-confidence through having a Hearing Dog, and for example can sleep soundly once again now they no longer have any worries about not hearing a fire alarm in the night.
You can spot these dogs in your neighbourhood by their smart burgundy coats, and we are all encouraged to speak to anyone we see with such a dog. A lovely introduction to possibly a new friend.
One of the wonderful aspects of NWR is that you never know what you're going to learn about next.
Oakham NWR and guests explored Brazil in the comfort of a member's home and garden for a BBQ.
The occasion was extra colourful as everyone dressed in yellow, green and blue, and the food was extra spicy to match.
Bossa Nova, Salsa and Samba music was easy to find on YouTube and set the tone for sipping the Caipirinhas late into the evening. By this time the Brazil quiz seemed extra challenging but who cared as we had a great time!
Members and guests of Wistaston NWR enjoying a well-earned rest after their very enjoyable walk at Mow Cop. This is a local beauty spot from the top of which you have fantastic views of the Cheshire Plain and Staffordshire Moorlands.
Members of Wistaston NWR enjoying the summer sunshine at our Garden Party organised by Dorothy (on the extreme left). Guests were also invited.
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.
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.
The 2015 NWR National Conference and AGM will take place on Saturday 20th June at the Grand Central Hotel in GLASGOW. There are a limited number of concessionary rate rooms available with the hotel. Please contact the NWR Office for details.