Clayhidon Friends 2012

Christmas, 2012 
Carols by Candlelight
Our Carols by Candlelight in December was supported and enjoyed by local people, and £83 was raised for Devon Air Ambulance. In January, continuing the seasonal celebration, many members and their spouses and friends met at the Beambridge for a New Year lunch.

November 2012
Instant jam making secret revealed
The meeting was well attended, and Carol Carr's jam-making in the microwave gave us an instructive and amusing 40 minutes in the kitchen. 
No more hours of stirring pounds of fruit and sugar on the stove for the members; a pound of whole-fruited jam can now be made in a few minutes.
Nicola Bendle then showed us how to make an elegant Advent table decoration which inspired members into making their own beautiful arrangements from all the greenery, four candles (yes!) and Christmassy bits they had brought to the meeting. 
We welcomed three guests, and the evening was most enjoyable. 
Carols by Candlelight is at 7.30pm on Thursday, 13th December, and all are invited. Mince pies and tea/coffee will be served.

September 2012
Members' Memories
Heather began the evening with her memory of the £5,700 cheque from Littlewoods which changed the life of her family. It arrived on the day she learned that she had passed the 11+ exams. 
Margaret described in lurid detail her primitive and rather unhygienic life in a farmhouse digs near Ashburton, which amazed members considerably.
Angela's memories were of a selection of the 82 children who were fostered alongside her own family.
Finally, Frances told us of her westcountry roots and family holidays.
October's meeting on the 11th is Bingo Night. Come and join us!

August 2012
The story of Langford Lakes
On a rare beautiful Summer evening, members enjoyed a walk around the tree plantations of Langford Lakes. 
From small beginnings in 1971 with 20 acres, the Hendy family moved from farming potatoes and beef to growing thousands of Christmas trees. This keeps the family busy all year, the peak time being in December with the sale of trees from their on-site shop.
We learnt about the planting, weeding and protection of the trees, and about the local wildlife. Some, like rabbits, are not always welcome.
We were amazed at the level of work required to produce the perfect tree, and could appreciate why they are not a cheap commodity. Mrs Hendy treated us to splendid refreshments after our walk.At the September 13th meeting, members are invited to share their memories. Is there an incident or particular period in your life you think members might enjoy hearing about? Visitors welcome as usual.

July 2012

Sweet smelling brewery talk
We were very pleased to welcome David McCaig from Otter Brewery who talked to us about his business which he began in the hills near Luppitt. 

He was aware that he would be speaking to an audience who might not be seasoned beer drinkers, but he spoke about the history of the brewery, and the brewing process so well we couldn't help but be interested. 

We were encouraged to taste the various raw ingredients, and smell the dried hops so that we could understand why the taste of the range of beers varied. Indeed, bottles of beer were produced for us to sample - the popular one being the Otter Head which, needless to say, had the highest alcoholic percentage! 

Mr McCaig suggested that if members' other halves were interested, the brewery arranges a tour which includes a hot supper and as much beer as you want for a cost of £15 per person. It was agreed that this might be an outing for next year's programme.

August 9th meeting is an outing to Langford Lakes, 6.45pm for 7pm at the main entrance. Anyone needing directions or a lift, please contact Anne Langford on 680086. 

June 2012

Health and safety horrors
At the last minute, we had a change of speaker, and Spencer Kingdon was able to entertain us once again with stories from his past. 

This time, we learnt how Spencer became a tarmacadam layer in the midlands and of his various amusing exploits, many involving practices which would make "Health and Safety" gasp!

Members nodded in agreement at the memories his stories from the sixties brought back. Living in a caravan on a farm was not the most comfortable of homes, and the birth of their first baby when Spencer often worked through the night was far from the cosy, fathers-included experience of today. 

We are grateful to Spencer for stepping in at the last minute, and for his very humorous talk. 

The meeting on July 12 is in the parish hall, and Daniel McCaig will be telling us about the Otter Brewery.

May 2012

Gemstones from South Africa

A very pleasant evening with Pat May and husband (and Cherry the dog) looking at and learning about Pat's wonderful collection of gemstones gathered over the 30 years they were in South Africa. Pat had worked in her son's gem and rock business, and knew her stuff! 

She told us of some of her son's exploits in mining, and we heard about life in Africa from her husband. We were also treated to a little piece of polished crystal to take home as a memento.
Manda Muddimer will be showing us bead-making at the meeting on 14th June. We will be able to create our own designs, but there will be a small charge for this for both members and visitors/guests

March 2012
Fascinating tour of Taunton museum

We were a party of 15 who turned up at the newly refurbished Taunton Museum for an hour's guided tour. Because one hour is not long enough to see everything, our guide, Susie Simmonds, showed us her personal favourite exhibits, which proved to be most fascinating and often beautiful.

We began at 4000 BC and travelled forward through the Bronze age, Iron age and the Roman period, ending up in the room where the supporters of the Monmouth Rebellion were held prior to their trial and their subsequent execution or deportation. Despite this, it was a most enjoyable afternoon.

At the next meeting on April 12, Spencer Kingdom will give a talk entitled "Open nearly all hours". 
Visitors welcome (£1)

February 2012
Rebuilding St Kilda
Eleven members, three guests and one new member, Margaret Wenham, thoroughly enjoyed a talk with slides on the Island of St. Kilda given by Tom Coleman at the afternoon meeting. 

Tom had been part of a National Trust working party which was repairing and rebuilding the living areas on the Island, and his photos wonderfully pictured the scenery, the architecture of the very basic homes and food stores, and the old way of life of the inhabitants. 

The history of the Islanders - how they found food (sea birds and eggs), the importance of the church, and their midwifery practices - was fascinating. Sadly, the last 30 inhabitants were taken off the Island in 1930 leaving only the Soay sheep and thousands of sea birds behind.

The meeting on March 8 is a trip to Taunton Museum. 2.15pm at the museum for a 2.30pm start to an hour's tour ( £3 each).

Phone Anne on 680086 if you would like to arrange a lift.

January 2012

Lunch for 30 to start the New Year
The Beambridge Inn was the venue for the Clayhidon Friends' New Year's lunch, and the carvery meal was highly praised. Thirty people enjoyed the meal, 19 being members, eight partners or friends and three who became new members. 

Anne presented the 2011 accounts for inspection, and it was agreed that the charity for 2012 would continue to be the Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT).

February's meeting at the Parish Hall is at 2.30pm on Thursday, 9th, and will be a talk with slides by Tom Coleman,(subject probably the Island of St Kilda) Guests are welcome, £1 entry fee.