Clayhidon Friends


March 2019

How Clayhidon life refreshed the Squire's artistic guests

At the March Meeting of the Clayhidon Ladies Group, Peter Fisher, a family and military Historian and member of Clayhidon Local History Group spoke on Harold B. Harrison and the Post Impressionist Art Movement with illustrative slides.

The Camden Group of Artists came from London and visited Clayhidon over a 15 year period (1909 to 1925) making local landscapes the subject of their paintings. They were the guests of Harold B. Harrison owner of Applehayes Farm, Clayhidon.

Harrison, a Liverpool merchant’s son, amateur artist and writer, trained as an architect but worked on the family ranch in Argentina. He returned to London in 1896 to become a mature student at the Slade School of Art where he befriended Spencer Gore and met Robert Bevan and Charles Ginner.

Harrison’s connection with Clayhidon came after the purchase of Applehayes Farm, Barne Farm, Little Garlandhayes and Lears Farm (Churchstanton). Known as the “Squire” and owning 300 acres and 7 trout ponds, he was a local parish councillor, served on the Board of Guardians (administering the Wellington Union and its workhouse). As a Clayhidon Parish Councillor and on the St. Andrew’s Parish Church Council he paid for the refurbishment of five old bells and the purchase of a sixth one.

Harrison’s home at Applehayes Farm had an additional wing added to accommodate his artist guests. There they enjoyed urban life, finding peace, fresh air and sunshine in the beautiful green landscape and producing several recognisable works from the slides of the local area by the Ladies in the audience.

The Post Impressionism modern style of painting was a complete contrast to previous works before 1860. Prior paintings portrayed religious, historical, mythological and moralistic accuracy. Having fine brushwork and restrained colours, they were carefully illustrated and blended.

In contrast the Post Impressionist paintings were imaginative with a personal style, painted quickly on subjects of everyday life, beauty and interest. The broken brushwork had solid daubs of paint, were completed quickly, capturing the effects of changing light on the subjects. In 1911, sixteen British artists with “New Art” views formed an exhibiting society held in Camden Town, London. They agreed to paint ordinary subjects, e.g. unhappy couple in a bedsit, woman washing her hair in a shabby room and London scenes, markets, the music halls and suburbia. Those invited to Clayhidon found a refreshing contrast to their lives and their works.

The Great War and the post-war period brought this idyllic time to an end. Rural poverty, unemployment and social change, the aeroplane, motor car and tractors enveloped Great Britain. However, the Camden Town Group had captured the romantic landscape of Clayhidon and the surrounding areas and had become a landmark in British artwork.

Sylvi Eastick

 


February 2019

Climbing Mont Blanc from Chamonix



Despite it being Valentine’s Day, we abandoned our Partners and came along to Clayhidon Parish Hall for a very interesting and stimulating Talk on Climbing from Jason Andrews, Lesley’s son. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, in a range of Mountains known as the Graian Alps with its highest peak named Augille Needle between France and Italy.

Complete with pieces of equipment, which we passed around and were amazed how much ‘sensible’ and serious climbers carry on their backs, and beautiful slides of the views. We especially found the supremely star lit sky reflected onto a Lake spectacular at Mille Rouge. One on of the photographs they had lit their tent from within, making that part of the moonlit scene like a green phosphorous bubble.

Jason explained to us the dangers of Climbing. Over 30,000 people attempt it yearly, which can have 200 people a day going up and down. There are 1,400 deaths a year, mostly from inexperienced climbers and people who go Gung-Ho, disregarding the power of the mountain. Jason and his friends climb in a threesome all roped together. If one falls over the ridge, the next one must quickly go to the opposite side to counteract the weight. Thus stabilising the group. Each day of climbing must be proceeded by careful checking over the equipment and with a Plan in mind.

Jason and his climbing buddies John and Ben practise in either the Lakes or the mountains in Scotland. Each works to their own strength, which compliments each other. Ben Nevis is very good for “hiteout” conditions. This is when a thick mist or blizzard happens and you cannot distinguish where the sky begins and the snow coloured mountain drops off.

He is always amazed at how poorly equipped people, will attempt their climb. Inadequately dressed, very little equipment and carrying their sandwiches in a plastic carrier bag. The worst place to stop is on a Crevice. This can move at any time and expose deep holes. Jason once found a couple seated and eating their sandwiches. He explained the dangers and they moved along swiftly. He often -gets inane questions from people passing them such as “Where is the Car Park?” or “How far is it to the top?” He has found many times that people don’t want to listen to experienced advice and he has to let them go on with a Prayer! However, when some organised parties have met Jason and Co camping along the popular Laque Blanc, they have shared their fresher foods, such as roast chicken with them.

There is a Cable Car that will take you up to a Viewing Platform, “Cosmic Arret” and Guides for Beginners. You can take the ladders down. Because of the popularity of Mont Blanc the French are very good at putting ladders and strong Bolts into the Mountains to assist less experienced climbers. Jason carries his own Bolts to which a rope can be safely tied to assist the more difficult parts of a Climb. In the UK there are many boundaries due to Health & Safety, but in France there are not as many. Practically at the top of one Peak is a flat area the size of a Football Pitch. It is not extraordinary to see many tents pitched there in the summer.

Near San Gervais is the “Gouter Route” up to a Refuge which can house 300 people, who prefer more comfort than camping gives. People do climb at night with the aid of torches. This might seem foolhardy, but as the night temperature causes the Mountain to freeze, it is actually safer to carve out a footing with frozen snow and rock. During the day you have the danger of rocks being dislodged from the climbers above and falling on you. The added benefit of night climbing are the amazing Stars, brighter than in any tiny Devon hamlet! You can see the moving processions of torches from afar.

A question was asked about Altitude sickness, which is something you have to learn to cope with. Funnily enough Smokers manage it better.

On the more used paths it is not uncommon to see bits of equipment, no longer needed, discarded along with the empty water bottles. Not so long ago on one of the paths a Climber found a Box and opened it and discovered it was from a 1940’s Bi-Plane crash of a wealthy Indian. The passengers and plane had never been found, but suddenly, with rock movement this Treasure was discovered. It was taken to the appropriate Authorities and a Reward presented for the Climber’s honesty.

We were enthralled by Jason’s enthusiasm and passion for his Climbing. Had any of us been inspired to follow in his footsteps? Maybe in our younger, more athletic years. Apologies to Jason over any other spelling faux pas which I didn’t check with him!

Clayhidon Friends are an informal group who meet on the second Thursday in the month at Clayhidon Parish Hall, or on a summer visit out and about. Anyone would be very welcome to join us.

Lynda Ridout

 



January 2019


10th Anniversary Meeting of Clayhidon Friends


I
n our first meeting of 2019 on Thursday 10th January we had decided to not have a speaker and spend the evening celebrating our achievement of ten years together.

Despite several of our Group being unable to come because of ill health or other priority engagements, we had a respectable number to partake in the mulled drinks supplied by Sara and beautiful celebratory cake made by Tina’s fair hand. We all loved to get to eat one of the ‘ladies’ depicted in icing on the top of the cake. Phenomenal! Many thanks to Sara and Tina.

We spent some of the time having a fun Quiz, fittingly on “Women in History”, which caused much hilarity and rebellion in the Ranks. Our Quiz Mistress was Maureen and she held it all together admirably. Such questions as ‘What was the name of Germaine Greer’s Book” was popular. (The Answer being ‘The Female Eunuch”). And ‘Who was the admirable Speaker of Parliament?’ activated a lively discussion of appreciation on the style and command of Betty Boothroyd, a lady who rose up the ranks from her original career of a Secretary. We were very surprised to know that Madonna beat Adele and Dolly Parton in having sold the most records as of 2016.

We always welcome new members. We have a lot of fun together whether it is an informal meeting like this month or a more structured Talk from Speakers on varying topics. We also have a trip out in the summer and meet informally during the better weather for cream teas in members’ gardens. If you are interested in coming along, we meet on the 2nd Thursday of the Month at Clayhidon Parish Hall. If you are interested, please contact Anne Langford for more information. Tel 01823 680086.




Clayhidon Friends
a group which welcomes local
women for friendship.
 
Meetings are held on the second Thursday in the month at Clayhidon Parish hall, 7.15pm, with a varied programme.
We arrange outings and hold fund-raising activities for our charity of the year. 
The annual subscription is £20, and guests are very welcome.
Contact: Anne Langford, tel 680086.