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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Deepings at Lincoln Conference 2017

The Deepings Group is in South Lincolnshire, and when it was announced that Conference 2017 would be in Lincoln, two of our members immediately offered to be on the organising committee. 
 Many thanks to Ann and Faith for the hard work involved in making this year’s Conference a huge success.
There were eleven of us in all…..nine staying Friday night to enjoy the wrap-around events and dinner (with an excellent table quiz produced by Faith) plus the interesting, funny after-dinner speaker.  
Some of us went on a boat ride, some to the Art Gallery, some to the Lincolnshire Archives.
 Two more drove up early for the Main Conference on Saturday morning.
The University of Lincoln has a wonderful site on the bank of the Marina, looking up at the much-painted view to the castle and cathedral on top of the hill. 
 All three speakers were great - Sophie Wells lost fingers and nearly lost both legs (from amniotic band syndrome) - but that has not stopped her winning shed-loads of medals (including three golds and three silvers between the London and Rio Para-Olympics) in horse dancing (as she called it). She has also won able-bodied international dressage events.  
 
Mary Powell has been in charge of the wonderful reconstruction at The Castle with heart-stopping times like winching the huge spiral staircase over the wall, pushing the new lift shaft through the gateway which only just fitted it, finding a Saxon sarcophagus when they dug down to make the vault for the Magna Carta.  
 
Sophie Hannah, a poet (her work is used in GCSE, A level and degrees) and crime writer (the famously guarded Agatha Christie family chose her to write two new Poirot novels) was very entertaining.  We enjoyed our workshops on Chasumba, Drumming, the painted knights sculptures which are all round the city, the Woodland Trust and discussion groups.
No one was nominated for the Mary Stott Award this year, so we remembered back to when our own Rita won it for setting up her Mustard Seed Project in the slums of Mombasa, providing a Primary School and many other resources for the local community in Kenya (which she and her husband Geoff continue to do - check out their website...)
We are looking forward to next year’s Conference at Chester.
 
Thanks to Kathy Ward [LO] for this report.
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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 www.sevingtonvictori... Read More
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 16:09
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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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