The business part of our AGM was dealt with in record time and we rapidly moved on to another form of dealing as we began our Whist Drive. Fortified by wine and nibbles, players formed tables of four and played with a partner, while chairman Sue and treasurer Barbara kept our glasses topped up. Those new to the game were quickly taught the rules and much light hearted banter followed. This evening did not have the competitive element of our Annual Challenge, but was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a cold and wet January evening.
PAT Cannell and fellow musicians entertained Eydon Ladies with country dance tuition, which developed themes from last year's session. This year's dances were collected by Cecil Sharpe from Kentucky in 1917. He named them 'Running Sets' but he may have misheard a dancer's cry of 'Let's run a set'. Speed was definitely a component of the figures. Members certainly had to shift a bit (a lot actually) to get back to their places.
The evening was, once again, enjoyed by all ladies (and ladies acting as 'gentlemen') and later Pat revealed her talented musicians had been playing that style of music for the first time.
Photograph by Carol Henson
We thoroughly enjoyed our March meeting, sampling 'Divine Dining' courtesy of Tim Williams ably assisted by his wife Lynne. Tim's Italian-themed demonstration included bruscetta with tomato and basil; crostini and chicken liver pate with capers; wild mushroom risotto and finally tiramisu. It all tasted fabulous and we will be no doubt aiming to try out these recipes for ourselves.
We rounded off the evening with a chorus of 'Happy birthday' to Janet Reeve and had the pleasure of toasting her with her own champagne!
In April Peter and Carrie talked about their volunteering experiences in Nepal, illustrated by a slide show. Peter worked in a school founded by an inspirational man called Uttam. His vision is to found 75 schools in Nepal, one in each of the districts. He hopes to train local young people to run the schools and has already begun this immense task. Carrie faced quite a few challenges in an orphanage, where living conditions were less than ideal and the children were deprived of stimulation and outdoor exercise. She hopes that, as a result of various meetings and reports, these problems have now been highlighted and conditions will begin to improve.
Our May meeting was a magical private evening tour of Broughton Castle, near Banbury which was conducted by Lord & Lady Saye & Sele. They led us through the history of eight centuries of rooms, corridors and furnishings of this very special family home.
Our hosts also delighted us with anecdotes of their experience with film crews (part of Shakespeare in Love was filmed there). As the sun sank lower we found ourselves high up on the roof outside the Council Room used during the Civil War, surveying moat, longhorn cattle and the walled 'Ladies Garden'. We didn't want to leave!
Eydon Ladies are really scaling the heights this season. First Broughton Castle's tower, now our own church's bell-tower, which is probably the cleanest one you'll ever see.
In groups of five we climbed to the six-bell bell chamber where Geoff Stretton explained the movement of the bells, with the assistance of Barrie Griffin, who rang the tenor bell when we were in the tower (with the clapper carefully silenced to protect our ears). Geoff also explained how the church clock strikes; then Gary Denby provided lighting as we climbed the final flight of steps to finally emerge on to the roof.
We had a marvellous experience thanks to members of Eydon Ringers. Alan Watson and Bert Manton told us the history of the bell, the mechanics and development of bell ringing; and then the ringers, including Verena Jackson, demonstrated 'ringing up', change ringing and 'ringing down'.
In addition, with the help of excellent tuition, we had the opportunity to chime the bells ourselves. Finally we were all given a personalised brochure with information about bells and bell ringing. Many thanks again to Geoff Stretton and Eydon Ringers for a memorable evening.
Our annual challenge and barbecue in July lived up to all expectations. A hotly contested treasure hunt, set around the village by Peter Unsworth and Bob Taylor, saw three teams tying for second place with, Angie Simmons, Wendy Nicholls and Michele Gaskin winning by just one point.
Our barbecue, ably manned by Todd Butler and Peter Unsworth, with salad preparation by Sue Russell, Barbara Butler and Gwen Bishop was greatly appreciated, and we were extremely lucky with the weather. It was still warm enough to enjoy chatting, and the occasional drink, at 10.30pm. Many thanks also to Andy Reynolds for the loan of the tent and to those involved in the setting it up. The evening was a great success - even if Carrie and Gwen once more failed to get their names on the plaque...
Our August visit to the greens at Byfield, for our taster session of flat green bowls was a great success. Thanks to the ever patient Chris Cross and other members of Byfield Bowls Club we were well-tutored. Bowls has its own language and rules, and even different weights of woods - more than we had appreciated - but by the end of the evening we (almost) looked as though we knew what we were doing.
There was great satisfaction in using the bias of the wood to curve the ball gently in to lie as close as possible to the jack. Lynne Williams proved to be a natural from the beginning, and set a very high standard for the rest of us. Time passed very quickly and we were fortunate to enjoy one of the very few dry and warm evenings in August.
Lavender perfumed the air in the village hall in September while Eydon Ladies discovered the relaxing and beneficial joys of yoga, courtesy of Elaine King.
'Anyone can do yoga, whatever age of ailment they may have,' said Elaine and this was proved as ladies of different shapes, sizes and ages managed to find positions such as the cat, the dog head down and the tree.
It was a very relaxing evening, many thanks to Elaine, who proved to be a very able and patient tutor.
WITH the flourish of an opera singer, which he isn't, auctioneer Robin Brown extracted the last penny from the 46 people who attended Eydon Ladies' annual harvest supper. Meanwhile treasurer Barbara Butler, hand on hip, waited more or less patiently to see where she must next pounce for the promised cash.
A beautifully decorated Village Hall, an excellent meal and lots of things to auction made it an evening to remember, all the more so because it raised a lot of money which has been divided between Eydon Ladies and the Coldstream Guards Welfare Fund.
Committee member Janet Carpenter's husband, Simon, is a major in the regiment and he recently began a tour of duty in Afghanistan. We are proud to say that between the donation from Eydon Ladies and her own sales of red and white bracelets, over £500 was raised to support the fund.
EYDON Ladies' November meeting was truly festive thanks to Bert Manton. He had spent a lot of time decorating the hall and setting out the craft items for us to make willow stars and straw angels. We were particularly intrigued by the use of a willow wigwam as a replacement for a Christmas tree, complete with fairy lights enhanced by real 'chinese lanterns' from his garden.
As usual he fascinated us with his skill and knowledge, and made everything look very easy. When it came to our own efforts, his patience, though sorely tested at times, led to the production of very attractive decorations and there were many smiling faces by the end of the evening.
The Red Lion did a wonderful meal for us, and there was much laughter and conversation throughout the evening. Father Christmas put in his annual appearance, and distributed some wonderful gifts from his secret stash. This is really an evening not to be missed, time for all of us to relax and be waited on, prior to the busy Christmas period.