Village History Exhibition
We immersed ourselves in the past for a week over New Year with displays from before Domesday until the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and, in between stories about the school, the church, cricket and Clark’s stores. People looked at photos and said ‘that’s me’, told us about where they live and invited to look at old deeds. Some spent hours looking at the displays and some came back another day. Children enjoyed doing Alan and Jan Ogden’s detective quiz and we all enjoyed Gabrielle Cliff Hodges’ photo stories on the big screen.
We enjoyed this film immensely – its humour, its landscape and award-winning performances, and it was felt we should show the sister film, Mnon des Sources, which we will do – on Wednesday 2 May.
New Year Circular Walk
The fresh – and dry – air was welcome for our New Year’s Day walk, though the mud less so. We walked to West Wickham and back, covering about 5 miles. The table back at the Reading Room was groaning with leftovers to share from the night before. As always, the warmth of the Reading Room and the chat was as good as the walk itself. Walking on New Year’s day ha become a bit of a tradition here now, this being our third year, and it seems a good day to do it – it’s a bank holiday and good to work off possible excesses of the night before. If you’d like to join us, our next walk will be Saturday 3rd March at 10am. Meet at the Reading Room, BYO lunch, and maybe something to share.
Andrew Durham’s talk
We had a warm walk in sunshine on 8 July at times wading through tall crops and others seeing the harvest and imagining farmers’ relief. Next walk: Saturday 30 September.
Pop Up Charity Shop
All around the Reading Room on 3 June were clothes and books, and we raised £150 for local charities Our Special Friends and Little Miracles. Many thanks to all of those who donated items, to those who came and bought things, and to you especially if you did both! We had a steady trickle of people through the day and it was good to chat with friends and meet new people.
We had an audience from 8 to 80 for this one. John took us through his life with this planet which began in 1967 and has grown stronger with every spacecraft mission sending back stunning images. He is the Director of the Jupiter Group in the British Astronomy Association and the perfect person to tell us about the geology and atmospheric movements that make up the ever-changing view he has through his telescope.
He’s retired from his work as a molecular biologist and now devotes his time to this faraway planet, 11 times the size of earth. We now know about its four moons and their erupting volcanoes, about what happens when a comet crashes into its surface – and we now know how lucky we are to have such an interesting and accomplished person in our midst.
Weston Colville Circular Walk
Last Saturday, half a dozen of us walked through the bluebells and healthy crops of rape and broadbeans, albeit with cracked earth underfoot due to lack of rain in recent weeks. A couple moving from Brinkley to Church End joined us, and happily the route we’d chosen had them walking past what they hope will be their new home. If you’ve been on one of our walks, we’d like a little feedback on what we do and would invite you to email us the statements below that you agree with:
- I’m happy with c. 5 miles
- I’d prefer a shorter walk, say 3 or 4 miles
- I’d prefer a longer walk, say 6 or 7 miles
- I’m happy with the pace we walked at
- I’d prefer a slightly faster pace
- We’re a couple – please count our responses twice
We know you can’t please all the people all the time, but we’d like to try and please the majority most of the time, so thank you, in anticipation, for taking the trouble to respond.
The Reading Room was filled with laughter watching this wonderful classic Ealing comedy – all witty quips and English stereotypes played by classic actors. We agreed that it was a good one to end the season with before our summer break.
April ‘Pub’ Quiz
Eight teams competed in this fun evening and ‘Rosie’s Posse’ pipped ‘The Windmill’ to the cash prize by one point. Thanks to all who came and filled the Reading Room to make this a fun evening. Next quiz in September.
We watched this adaptation of A S Byatt’s Booker-Prize winning novel and you could have heard a pin drop. A tale of two couples, separated by a century, the 20th century pair being academics researching their 19th century subjects, held us spellbound. It’s a romance, historical drama and detective novel all at once. Byatt not only created two poets but also their poetry in two voices. This with letters and diaries told the story, and we agreed the cinematography was enchanting. One said ‘Cinema Club’s best film so far!’
The Marsh Tits of Lower Wood by Alex Inzani
Mid March, Alex mesmerised us with his talk about his work as volunteer for the British Trust for Ornithology with these increasing rare birds. Telling us stories of how the special residents of Weston Colville hatch in the woods, then venture across Mill Hill and Church End in search of food, Alex showed his dedication and passion for his work. He travels miles to us every Sunday to ring the birds with coloured leg tags. This enables him and his team of villagers to talk about ‘red over blue’ (aka ‘Rob’) and green over grey. They survive the winter on the food in our gardens, especially sunflower hearts, and Alex showed us a map marked with their preferred route between Lower Wood and Mill Hill, explained by the presence of a line of deciduous trees, the theory being that it replicates what attracts them about the Lower Wood itself. It’s possible that each one spends its whole life only in Weston Colville, and the BTO has provided a grant to help it find out what we do here that the marsh tits so like. Thank you to all who attended and supported Alex’s work, which he funds himself, with donations. If you have been inspired to volunteer on Sundays, please use the ‘Contact Us’ tab and we’ll pass your message to Alex.
Circular Walk – 4th March
The pessimistic forecast on the BBC may have put some off, but a we had a six-people, three-dog walk on a dry and at times sunny morning. We went via Carlton and were back in the Reading Room at noon. So we were able to linger longer over lunch, and the feeling was this simple gathering at the table is easily as enjoyable as the walk itself. With the sun streaming in, we munched and supped happily.
Cinema Club – Draughtsman’s Contract
Wednesday 1st March
We were in for a treat with Jeremy’s choice with this British film, and even moreso when his introduction included his personal involvement in it through his work with Arts East at the time. The now well respected director, Peter Greenaway applied for funding for a film, and was given £1,000. Then securing a higher sum through the BFI and Channel 4, he proudly returned the Arts East cheque so that another up and coming filmmaker could benefit. As Jeremy said, ‘the only person to have done this in all my years in arts funding’. Twenty of us enjoyed an intriguing and fun film.
Cinema Club – Sleeper Wednesday 1st February
A select group enjoyed the smorgasbord of comedy that is this Woody Allen production. With nods to Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy, and intended as a tribute to Bob Hope and Groucho Marx, its slapstick and one liners kept us chuckling all the way through.
Michelin in Mayfair to Model Making
Steven Wheeler entertained and amused us in January for a good hour by taking us on his journey from chef at the Connaught to model making via food writing and food styling. He told us about what he does at work every day – he’ll get a call asking for raspberries or hibiscus flowers to use in a TV ad, and then sets about making a mould for a resin version that will behave under the studio lights better than the real thing. We passed around rubbery cake and sliced tomato, and witnessed a dramatic scene with ‘real’ blood.
Cinema Club – Silent Running Wednesday 4th January
It was a mid-winter turnout, and none the less a special evening for that. We enjoyed this ‘sci-fi with a heart’, a brand of the genre that’s both haunting and comic, with acclaimed effects & soundtrack. All of this inspired Battlestar Gallactica and Star Wars, and was influential for Tim Smit in creating the domes at the Eden Project.
New Year’s Day Walk
Fifteen of us, plus Henry, Honey, Harvey and Buckley, went on a rainy walk five-mile walk via West Wickham, and had a convivial lunch back in the Reading Room afterwards.
We shared lentil soup as ginger wine among other things to warm us up, and the heating system did a great job of drying us out and driving out the cold.
Cinema Club – Miracle on 34th Street Wednesday 7th December
Jeremy introduced this – hailed by many as the best Christmas movie ever -and watching it got us nicely in the mood for he festive season. The Christmas tree and mulled wine may have helped with that, too.
Christmas Fayre – Saturday 3rd December
The Reading Room was bustling with neighbours buying festive food and greenery in aid of St Mary’s and the homeless charity Reach.
Circular Walk – Saturday 19th November
In November we had a blue and gold walk, on a sunny autumnal day.
Wednesday 28th September, 7.30pm – A talk by Roger Whitehead ‘My life-long link with Uganda’
Roger eloquently shared with us his important work on nutrition in Uganda, and it made for a heartwarming evening.
Quiz – Wednesday 21st September
We had half a dozen teams for the quiz and with wine and real ale flowing, the atmosphere was fun and even a little raucous at times. The BBC were in the village filming an update for Escape to the Country and presenter Alistair Appleton joined in.