A new year and a new programme of activities for Eydon Ladies. Members were out in full at the AGM on January 20th but business was kept to a minimum as usual. The members of the committee willing to stay in office were proposed and seconded en bloc. Sadly both Caroline Bedford and Sue Lodge have decided to stand down owing to pressure of work. They have both been long serving committee members and their input, time and efforts on behalf of Eydon Ladies will be missed. Pam Taylor was welcomed on to the committee by chairman Sue Russell and everyone is looking forward to working with her.
The evening bounced along with a 'put the names to the pictures' quiz, which foxed many, and a beetle drive both, of course, accompanied by a glass (or two) of wine. The chat flowed - there's always so much to catch up on in a new year - and the clock was moving towards 11pm when the evening closed.
A warm welcome was extended to everyone who joined Eydon Ladies to hear a fascinating talk on the wildlife of Lundy. Tim Davis and Tim Jones are the authors of 'The Birds of Lundy' and have been visiting the island regularly for many years. Between them they have worked for the British Trust for Ornithology, The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, WWF International and the Ramsar Convention. With the help of some fascinating slides they gave a wonderful insight to this beautiful island, which is ten miles off the North Devon coast. It is famed for its puffins and is a magnet for migrating birds. The waters around the island have been designated as the first underwater nature reserve in Britain and attract a large number of marine divers, marvelling at the diversity of its underwater life.
First we had the bad news, we were unable to hold the planned hands-on pottery evening, but the good news was that Sonia very kindly organised a hands-on craft evening, which was held in a very relaxed and social atmosphere. She helped us to make memory books, which were adapted to individual needs and made as plain or intricate as each of our members required (or talent allowed!) Our thanks to Sonia for making this such an enjoyable evening.
"We're naked, we're locked in the kitchen and our Alsatian dog won't let us out of the other door. Can you send someone?" was just one of the calls to Milton Keynes police that raised a titter at our April meeting.
Daily life in modern police force is varied, interesting, taxing, stimulating as well as occasionally amusing, so said Inspector Larry Johnson of Milton Keynes police force when he talked to Eydon Ladies, giving an insight into life in the Thames Valley Police.
Guarding royalty, taking on terrorists and managing a large team of police officers are all taken in his stride, thankfully with the help of modern equipment and technology. A Blackberry phone and a digital radio that works everywhere in the country (including Eydon) are just two of the items carried alongside handcuffs, CS gas spray and much more, on the belt we have become familiar with, all laden with equipment. How different from 25 years ago when riot gear didn't even offer chest protection.
Larry confessed to feeling very anxious about giving a talk, but he needn't have worried, he provided a fascinating insight into the modern police force.
Historian Brian Little was waiting to take us an an informative guided tour along the canal side and through part of the old industrial working area of the town, for our May meeting. We heard about coal being brought along the canal to provide fuel for metal works whose products were then exported to America and Australia. We then walked along the regenerated part of the canal by Castle Quay and the Old Mill. On leaving the canalside, we saw the original town hall, saved from demolition when the rather grand new town hall in Banbury was built, which had been turned into flats. An insight was given into the old working class area, the loss of many beer houses and the decline of town public houses. As ever, we concluded the evening discussing our trip over a drink at the Royal Oak.
THE weather was kind and fortunately there were no vuvuzelas to hand but lots of laughter and plenty of encouragement as Eydon Ladies embarked on this year's challenge of French boules.
As ever, the event proved to be most competitive with Carmen Turbett, Jo Bushell and Margaret Hussey emerging as winners of the knockout. However, owing to space constraints on the coveted Annual Challenge plaque, only Carmen will have the honour of being named.
We all then retired to Gwen Bishop's garden and enjoyed a delicious barbecue cooked by Bob Taylor, Todd Butler and Peter Unsworth.
Many thanks to Gwen for the use of her garden and to Bob, Todd and Peter and Barry McRoberts for their help in setting up and clearing away.
Our photograph, courtesy of Carol Henson, shows Jo, Val and Rayanne watching Carmen demonstrate her skill.
We were pleased to welcome many visitors to our Open Meeting in July. Over thirty people listened to Major Simon Carpenter, assisted by Guardsman Byron Fry, give an enlightening account into what life is like serving on the front line in Afghanistan. We have all seen the TV coverage and read newspaper reports, but to be given a firsthand insight into the living conditions, equipment, bravery and comradeship of serving soldiers was indeed an eye-opening experience.
It was a privilege for Eydon Ladies to have both men take the time to talk to us, and we are delighted to continue our special relationship with the Coldstream Guards. The proceeds of the raffle and money collected at the end of the evening, will be given to the Coldstream Guards Family Care Fund. Many thanks to all those who so generously donated raffle prizes.
Rain stopped play - well the walk - as the heavens opened in the late afternoon. So we headed straight for the bright lights of Forge 2 in Culworth. Jewellery, purses and handbags were all given the once-over and exotic organic skin creams tried. "Ooh look" and "which should I choose" could be heard all over the gallery.
Eydon Ladies is extremely grateful to Deborah McCullough and her team for opening Forge 2 specially for us and for their kindness and generosity in supplying glasses of wine, which were much appreciated by all.
Next stop on the schedule was the Red Lion, where Bronni and Justin allowed us to use the newly-opened barn (they were probably grateful not to have the usual 'volume control' problem) and we finally managed to drown our disappointment over the cancellation of the walking part of the evening.
We arrived at the village hall to find Dr Kevin Lodge resplendently dressed in whites, bells and baldrics. He had come along to give a fascinating and amusing illustrated talk on the history of Morris and the role of women within it.
After outlining some of the earlier 'false' histories of Morris dancing, which claimed that the roots could be traced back to Greek, Moorish or even earlier times, he traced what we now think is its true history. This showed the dance was well established and documented in England from 1450 when it was danced in the courts and homes of noblemen. Having nearly died out several times during its history and with a period when women dancers were very much frowned upon, it is now popular again and danced on special occasions all over the country.
Thank you Kevin for a most enjoyable evening.
Eydon Ladies'harvest supper is an event not to be missed. So it proved once more last week: a tasty chicken casserole and apple crumble meal, swilled down with excellent wines. This was followed by the auction of produce, the auctioneer, Bob Taylor, using tactics that in his police officer days might have been seen as dubious. Still, with £465 raised for the Ladies' charities, no one had the inclination (or courage) to complain.
Bert Manton again prepared a magnificent tableau of country crafts and produce.
The Chairman, Sue Russell, thanked members for their work in making the evening a success and the guests for their support.
Eydon Ladies kept the cold weather at bay at their November meeting by learning country dancing French style. Ian Clabburn provided accompaniment on early French bagpipes while Sheila and Linda demonstrated the steps. The basic steps were fairly simple but some of the twirls brought lots of laughter making a very enjoyable evening.
Our Christmas meal on 10th December, was a lively affair, with lots of lovely Secret Santa gifts exchanged. It was an opportunity to relax before the Christmas festivities began and catch up with a bit of gossip for a change (? - maybe not) over a glass or two of wine. many thanks to the committee for all their efforts over the year and thanks to the staff at the Red Lion who made us very welcome.