Clayhidon Friends 2017

Macmillan Coffee Morning

Clayhidon Friends held a Coffee Morning at Acre Ridge, Clayhidon on Saturday 11th November. We are very pleased to report that just over £225.00 was raised.

Adrian and Lynda extend grateful thanks to all who assisted and of course, attended. Our numbers were up from last year and we hope that those there this time will encourage friends to come to the one next year. They are assured of an equally warm welcome.

It was a lovely, convivial atmosphere with plenty of chatter enhanced by the consumption of home-made cakes and plentiful supply of most beverages requested. Fun was had in trying Guessing Games and everyone went home with a Raffle Prize. A special mention of thanks to all that donated such generous gifts towards the Raffle. Three times the Caller guessed who would be the recipient of the next ticket. What are the odds of that!

There were several requests for the Recipe of the Courgette Cake which is as follows:- 3 Eggs, 300g sunflower Oil, 12oz dark brown sugar, 5oz of Plain Flour, 5oz of Wholemeal Flour, 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, 2 teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 6 oz of sultanas, 5 oz of blitzed nuts of choice, 12oz of finely grated Courgettes. Method:- Combine dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, combine both, stir in courgettes, fruit and nuts. Cook:- 180deg for approx. one hour. When cool either split and sandwich with buttercream or put the buttercream on top. Enjoy.

- Lynda & Adrian Ridout

November 2017

A fascinating story of milk and milk bottles

Peter Hayward from Honiton worked as a distribution manager for Express Dairies for the four south west counties for 30 years - based in Exeter.
He brought a crateful of milk bottles from different eras to illustrate his history of the milk bottle. He has about a thousand bottles - all different, old and newer - from south west dairies, 

The first milk to be sold in bottles was in the USA in the 1890's and their glass was light brown.
Milk came in bottles in the 1930's in the UK but not really until after the 2nd World War in the rural areas of the south west.

Early UK bottles weighed 20 ounces. Bottles would last on average 20 uses before either breaking or needing replacement - much more than the dumpy bottle (weight 8 ounces) which came later.
"Silver top" milk was (4%)full cream, and "gold top" was (5%) Channel Island milk. Skimmed milk was a waste product and fed to the pigs or even thrown away. When concerns were raised about the levels of fat in our diet, full, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk became available.

Pasteurization was developed just before the 2nd World War, and was commonplace by the fifties.
ASDA tried a biodegradable carton made of thin cardboard lined with very thin plastic, but it didn't take off.

The milk marketing board came into being in 1933 and then milk quality was checked and standardised. The size of bottle (one pint) was standardised, although a third of a pint bottle was used for school milk. This was started in 1926 and continued until the 60's and was a good source of calories and protein for children. A quart pint and a half pint had also been used until then.
Homogenising the milk dispersed the fat throughout the milk, so no more pinching the cream for your cereal!

Sterilised milk was popular post-war in the midlands and areas in the north because a fridge wasn't necessary to store it, and usually, lower income families didn't have one.
With the arrival of supermarket milk in plastic cartons etc, there was a huge reduction in doorstep milk deliveries, but there are moves to reintroduce this in some areas.

A most interesting talk - with social, financial and political implications being mentioned, and memories were stirred by Peter's bottles, blue tits at the foil tops and school milk etc.
- Anne Langford

October 2017

Crafty work with plants and fabric

A good compliment of our group gathered on an Autumnal evening to listen to Nicola Cornish of Orchard Fruit Textiles. She set up the company after many years of being a teacher.

Nicola had always loved natural plants and taught herself, with the help of like-minded people, the art of printing onto fabric. Using special paints she ‘washed’ a piece of fabric, then placed strategically on the wet fabric plants and flowers that she had gathered. The fascination starts when you then move the fabric to dry in the sun. Magically the shapes of the plants come out onto the fabric. With the fabric she made lampshades, cushions and washbags.

With some of the fabric she takes the art further and adds machine embroidery of flowers and leaves to very good effect. These she also would use as cards, lampshades, key rings and purses and some looked fantastic framed into pictures.

We were all very appreciative that Nicola took the time to talk to us about what many of us had never heard of and our appetites were whetted to go home and try our hand at what can be an evolving talent, that Nicola has successfully developed and still very enthusiastic as to where her craft and imagination will take her.

We recommend anyone to have a look at her website

Lynda Ridout

September 2017

Time travel in a private cinema

This month we were treated to a step back in time. David Savage of Higher Mackham Farm, Clayhidon, has converted his old Barn to a Private Cinema. Complete with Cinema seats, augmented by comfy sofas and cinema posters around the room all lent themselves to the ambience of the old Cinema Experience.

We first watched a documentary called “Time Feature”, which was interesting to note, listed David as the Photographer. It was very informative about the evolution of time keeping right back from when Man noticed how a shadow moved with the sun. The Egyptians worked out that an Object full of water with a small hole, took exactly the same time to empty each day. The Renaissance years brought the popularity of the Sun Dial to keep a record of time. Galileo, whilst visiting the Tower Of Pizza noticed that the candelabra took the same time each time it swung, the same as we now know a pendulum takes.

Once the actual making of time keeping objects had evolved craftsmanship was developed and beautiful clock making was born. The workings were fascinating and diverse, leading to Quartz mechanisms that we know today.

As usual we had an interval where Mickey and Margaret, with Ruth’s help supplied a welcome break of deliciousness.

The ‘Main Feature’ appeared to a contented, united “Ahhh” as the title of “On Golden Pond” appeared. A poignant story about relationships between family members. With many of us now watching again through matured eyes it was interesting to further understand the dynamics between the husband “You old Loon!” and his wife, admirably played by Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn, as they approached later life and the difficult relationship between the daughter, played by Jane Fonda, and the Father. Jane did confess she found it a hard part to play as it mirrored her own relationship with her Dad, Henry. All was not lost though as with the help of a young teenage visitor they established a better relationship before it was too late. Be warned Fathers – your daughters need you to show you love them and that they are subsequently worthy of another man’s love!

We were full of enthusiasm for David’s Cinema and gave fulsome thanks in the usual manner, eager to come and visit again. Please support him. His love of photography and now what is a hobby is clear to see, as is his pleasure in sharing it all with visitors. He supports the Air Ambulance, and as he wouldn’t take payment himself, we gave donations for that.

On Saturday November 11th we will be having a MacMillan Coffee Morning at Acre Ridge, Clayhidon, 10.30 till 12 noon. Everyone will be very welcome. If you are interested in joining our informal Group, or would like more information about the Coffee Morning, please contact Anne Langford 01823 680086.

Lynda Ridout

August 2017

Water is life, sanitation is dignity

At the meeting of Clayhidon Friends on 9th August, Mr Stephen Bullett spoke on the WATSAN Project. 
The charity's quotation is "Water is Life, Sanitation is Dignity".  Since 1984 the charity has brought clean, flowing water to the small villages of Rukungii and Kanigu in the south west of Uganda.

  To date some 40,000 people have benefited from the project's work.  As an on-going scheme, the rural poor and future generations will have tap stand outlets, improved sanitation and health and hygiene education.  In addition rainwater catchments conserve water and old sanitation has been replaced by ventilated latrines. 

There is an urgent need for skills to be passed on to future generations.  Up to 0.5 million people in this region still lack convenient access to clean, safe water and women and children have to walk as far as 6 miles daily to collect water which is often from poor sources

The area has no Government funding, only approval, and constant funds need to be raised.  So the charity needs to raise funds for on-going projects and day to day organisational work

July 2017

Devon’s Secret Garden

On Thursday July 13th Clayhidon Friends met up at Burrow Farm and Gardens. We enjoyed a light lunch under the open Barn before Mary Benger, the main designer of the gardens, gave us a guided tour.

Mary and her husband, John moved to Burrow Farm in 1959 and whilst John built up a dairy herd, Mary started the designs of the garden. What started as a hobby quickly developed into a passion and Mary decided to open the gardens to the public.

Around every bend came a new delight. I especially loved the Millennium Garden complete with rill and the most breath-taking view. Mary explained to us that they were fighting planning permission for a caravan site over the valley and we could all understand how much it would mar the view and spoil what has become a lifetime’s work.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the gardens. We all definitely thought that we found a gem, to be visited many times to enjoy the differing seasons.

Clayhidon Friends meet on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm in Clayhidon Parish Hall. If anyone would like to join our informal group please contact Anne Langford – 01823 680086. 

- Lynda Ridout

June 2017

Words of wisdom from a lovely, self-effacing lady

We gathered together this time in the Church Rooms, as our usual meeting place of the Parish Hall was being used as a Polling Station for the General Election.

Our talk this time was provided by Marian Bull. She is 88 years young, with such a wonderful look on life. After telling us a little synopsis of her life starting when she was brought up in Brixham, moving to Culmstock in 1948. She married and had two sons and many, varied jobs followed such as a Country Milk Round and assisting her herdsman husband at lambing time. 

She has always loved the written word and sharpened her own skills of writing by having been a regular correspondent to six local newspapers.

Marian has a philosophy of when you encounter challenging and difficult times in your life, as we all do, to take up something new gives you an outlet to help meet those challenges. In her fifties, during one such challenge she wrote her book “Cloud Man”, but set it aside.

Another difficult period led her to take up calligraphy in which she discovered she had a talent. As suggested by her teacher she began to teach too and became involved in writing scripts for churches. This talent led to her love of quotes, one of which was produced onto vellum for the then Prime Minister. Often her Life quotes sold in the churches before the scripture quotes. She particularly loved those of the American Native Indian Cree tribe one being: “Only when the last tree has died, the last fish has been caught, the last river poisoned will we realise we cannot eat money”. 

When another tragedy came along she picked up her long forgotten book and published it and enjoyed the confirmation that she could write something that people found interesting when the book sold.

Marian loved gardening since she was a child. She still manages her own garden and uses Winston Churchill’s quote of “Plant a garden in which to sit, when digging days are done”. Perhaps when one is sitting in your garden you could remind yourself of another Indian quote of “What is life? It is the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset”.

We all thoroughly enjoyed listening to this lovely, self-effacing, wise lady and perhaps two last quotes demonstrate her attitude to life“There is great beauty in old trees, old streets and ruins old. Why should not I, as well as these, grow lovely growing old?” Or

 “A man arrives as a Novice at each stage in his life”.

I cannot resist a final topical one; “Sometimes a majority simply means that all the fools are on the same side”.

After the talk we enjoyed tea, cream scones and biscuits provided by Sylvi and Lynda and had time to talk amongst ourselves and welcome another new member in Carol Dexter. We hope she enjoyed our company and continues to come along.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 13 July, a jaunt out to Burrow Hill Farm along the A35 towards Honiton. If we have enough numbers we might be able to take up the offer of a Guided Tour. Members please let Heather know.

If anyone else would like to join our very informal Group please contact Ann Langford on 01823 680086.

- Lynda Ridout


May 2017

Working wonders with fabric

For our meeting on 11 May we welcomed Yvonne Whittamore, who demonstrated the art of making articles with fabric. First of all she showed us how to make flowers out of cotton. Then for a different approach she used synthetic materials, as in her process she uses heat and natural fibres burn easily.
Using organza she cut differing size circles and carefully melted the edges with the use of a tea-light. After layering the circles up, she glued them and decorated them most effectively. Sometimes she sews the whole thing onto felt as a backing. Although Yvonne said it was time consuming, an hour and half on each, it was a passion for her and she delights in seeing what new ideas evolve by using different methods and materials. She runs a small business which includes courses at her home.
Along with the flowers, she makes items for weddings such as napkin holders, table decorations, wine glass identifiers and bridesmaids' head decorations. Her repertoire extends to Alice bands, gift boxes, shoe decorations, scarf circles and she produces cards made up from photographs of her wares.
Our group thoroughly enjoyed her demonstration and marvelled at the truly impressive samples that were passed around amongst us. We had time for a few of us to attempt to replicate the samples and had the opportunity to purchase some of them. She also sells kits to make yourself at home.
After the demonstration and talk Linda and Tessa provided delicious tea and cakes, which along with lots of talk amongst ourselves was a very delicious and welcome conclusion to a successful evening.
Our group meets on the second Thursday of every month in Clayhidon Parish Hall. We are an informal gathering and are always welcoming to any prospective new member. If you are interested in joining us please contact Anne Langford 01823 680086 or come along to our next meeting on June 8th.

April 2017

Horses helping people focus on their abilities

Clayhidon Friends welcomed Rhoda Locke from the Conquest Centre, Norton Fitzwarren to their monthly meeting on 13th April, 2017 at the Village Hall, Clayhidon. She gave a brief history of the Centre, which was founded in 1965 and became a Charity in the late 80’s. 
The Conquest Centre provides horse-based activities for people with disabilities and additional needs, which in turn benefit their health and well-being. The work of the volunteers and skilled staff focuses on ability, rather than disability and aims to allow each individual to achieve their personal goals. Ages range from toddlers to 80 plus and has a foot-fall of 200 adults and children per week, as well as families, carers, students, volunteers, public riders and local clubs and associations.
The 14 horses (average age of 20 years) and the facilities of indoor and outdoor floodlit arenas, provide a variety of learning tools. The areas can be hired by clubs and associations out of teaching hours. The group were told of the benefits given to the riders from the warmth and love of the horses. Back-riding, where instructors ride and move in the saddle with the child, brings positive results. Balance, core strength, language and processing developments improve the riders’ emotional and social skills. 
Within the Centre the Woodland Trail enables all to enjoy the country-side. The Sensory Room relaxes and improves co-ordination and language and an outdoor play and picnic area enables all to relax in a non-judgemental rural environment.
Rhoda enthused on the work and achievements of the Centre. She gave an open invitation to witness the remarkable work carried out by the trained staff, volunteers and students of the Conquest Centre and Beehive Café, enabling those with special needs the opportunity to gain work and life skills. The Centre holds a variety of events throughout the year and promotes the charitable centre by its presence at local functions.
Sylvi Easwick

March 2017 

The story of Neal's Yard

Clare Warren of Neal’s Yard Remedies in St James Street in Taunton came to talk to our Group about the company and the products they produce.
The company was founded in 1981 in Covent Garden by Romy Fraser. She produced handmade herbal tinctures and natural skin care, as an Apothecary originally. The popularity of the products grew and premises all over the country were set up. In 2006 Romay sold the company to the Kindersley family, who remain the owners today. They are very keen to continue Romy’s original ethos of educating people to help themselves with the natural products. 
The Eco friendly factory in Dorset now supplies Neal’s Yard Remedies across five continents. The use of re-cycled glass in the trademark dark blue bottles is used preserve the products. There are no paraben (cancer causing) elements in the products. There is constant research carried out there by people educated in this science, maintaining up to the minute knowledge. To date they have planted 700 trees towards helping the environment.
We learnt what some of the products will do and were fascinated that Frankincense, was used by the Egyptians in the mummification process, and a gift from the Three Wise Men to Jesus. It is still valued for its aged delaying properties. It is sourced now from trees in North Africa, where the sticky resin is harvested without damaging the tree. Other beautiful creams are made from such things as rose, which along with hydrating the skin has a sebum balancing effect on the skin. Many more natural things are used too.
The Expert advice you are given and the time taken to discuss with you, are part of the process of ensuring which is the right product for you. You can ask for little pots of samples before buying the product. Along with the shop floor in Taunton there are Treatment Rooms above giving a variety of things such as Massage, facials, Pilates and Yoga.
Our Group were fascinated by Clare’s talk and were interested that along with her work in Taunton she is available for treatments from her premises just outside Hemyock.
Thank you for our refreshments. A Lovely home made sponge cake provided by Tina Barns (how does she get such a rise?) and beautifully moist Carrot cake, also home made was supplied by Margaret Prettyjohn. Both went down a treat whilst we chatted with Clare and our fellow members and Clare afterwards.
We are an informal Group and always eager to provide a warm welcome to new members. We meet in Clayhidon Parish Hall on the second Thursday in the month. The next meeting on April 13th will be by Rhoda Lock from the Conquest Centre, Horse-riding for the Disabled.

February 2017 

Trekking and making friends in Nepal

We welcomed Ian Williams to the Parish Hall to talk about St Margaret’s Hospice in Somerset. The Hospice relies heavily on donations and like-minded people to raise money.
Having retired and wanting to keep active he decided, after careful planning, to take the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek in Nepal, in November 2015. It was for him an inspiring visit six months after Nepal had suffered a bad earthquake. He was astonished to see how much of the countryside was damaged and how hard it was for the villagers to re-build. It appeared that the older and historic buildings had suffered the most damage. Despite this their welcome was warm and caring.
The Porters, (who had quickly nicknamed Ian “Bergei” meaning “Grandad”) wrapped all the group of nine’s luggage up and strapped to their backs and heads. Ian and the Head Gurkha, Dahula, who was also a Buddhist monk, struck up a friendship that is set to carry on. 
The trek up to Ghorepani first involved a very scary ride in a mini bus, which showed the Group the devastation of the earthquake, along with all the villagers tending their crops of vegetables. Buildings for the tourists were a sharp contrast. The trek up to the summit was achieved by climbing steps steadily, with plenty rest breaks. Once there the sense of achievement and emotion was tremendous. The view made it all worthwhile. A sunflower flag was erected to represent St Margaret’s. Ian said that coming down hurt far more!
All the Group were moved by the hardship  the drop in tourism was causing after the earthquake, along with India closing the border between themselves and China was putting on the country. After the trek they visited a school, where the children walked two miles, through the countryside. The children were so welcoming, proud of their uniforms, and of their knowledge of the English language. A chocolate cake with all their names was proudly presented to them, and quickly demolished. On their return in the mini-bus they were halted because of a demonstration against India. Advised by the Police they took a terrifying detour off the main highway back to Kathmandu, because of the potential danger. As with most of the Groups that come out, they did something to help. This time it was to paint the outside of the Cancer Hospital at Bhaktapur. Ian vowed never to decry our NHS when he saw the basic way in which these people carried out a marvellous caring job. Ian had felt so moved by this beautiful country’s plight he decided to extend his visit to join the next Group. 
Whilst his Visa and travel arrangements were being changed, Dahula acted as his Guide inviting him into his home for meals, showing him Temples, Hospitals and street markets. They also went to The Garden of Dreams and he was shown the real Nepal behind the Tourism, often on the back of Dahala’s motor scooter – no helmet there! With Visa in place he joined a Group who were there to re-build one of the village houses. With only two trained tradesmen in the Group, they all worked hard, yet had time for fun and meals provided by the grateful family. This was seventeenth house Dahula had been involved in helping.
Not willing to slow down since his retirement in 2015, Ian is now planning a trip in April to do the Machu Picchu Trek and Community Project in Peru. He is determined also to return to Nepal in 2019 to visit his new pal and help again.
After Ian’s really enjoyable and informative talk we were able to buy some of the fund raising items he had brought along and chat to Ian informally whilst enjoying Wendy and Anne’s refreshments. Our next meeting is on Thursday March the 19th where we have Clare Warren from Neal’s Yard coming to talk about and show us their products.


January 2017
A quiz, mulled wine and a flurry of snow
On the first meeting of the New Year the Clayhidon Friends braved the threat of snow to meet at the Parish Hall for our January meeting and partake in a Quiz Night. The ‘evil’ questions were compiled by Ruth Tartaglia and our Quiz Master was Anne Langford. Brains were tested over the tricky questions, with good humoured banter amongst the group. The winners were Heather and Linda. Much laughter and congratulations were handed out and commiserations to the ones who didn’t do so well. They and the runners up all received prizes.
The Refreshments this month were provided by Tina and Sarah. To ease us away gently from our Christmas extravagances, Mulled Wine or Mulled Apple Juice was produced to start with. After the Quiz marvellous sausage rolls, cheese straws and melt in the mouth Brownies were welcomed and washed down with a hot beverage.
Because of the weather we didn’t linger for long, all anxious to be round our own hearthside before the snow materialised. Luckily it only came to a light flurry.
This month we were pleased to welcome Diane and hope she enjoyed her first encounter with The Clayhidon Friends. New members are always welcomed. We are a very informal, friendly group and every month we have a Talk from very interesting Visitors. We have an outing in the Summer, where partners come alone also. The year is finished off with the December meeting, where we invite partners to join us for a Christmas meal. Anyone who would like more information are asked to telephone Anne Langford on 01823 680086