April 2023 report

Cries of “Hi-De-Hi!” and “Ho-De-Ho!” could be heard coming from the Library during Capel Ladies Club’s March meeting! This was because David Webb, one of the Yellow-Coat Webb Twins from the TV sit-com, was our guest Speaker. His talk was about his life before, during and since the series was made, with many amusing anecdotes, film clips, photos and items of memorabilia to illustrate his story. Occasionally he even broke into song with a backing track accompaniment!

From an early age David had always wanted to go on the stage. He cut his teeth with Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society, and performed in several of their musical shows – such as Oklahoma, West Side Story and South Pacific, and also sang with his brother in local theatres and working men’s clubs all over the country. In one show at Clacton Theatre, they both forgot the words of a popular song simultaneously, and had to shuffle off the stage with their heads hung low. Somebody shouted “Don’t give up guys, keep going!” which, as it happened, they did, and they landed roles in one of the most popular British sit-coms of all time! This was filmed at a holiday camp in Dovercourt in September, once it had closed for the season. Apparently when they were making the pilot episode there wasn’t much in the way of expenses, so instead of staying in local hotels the cast had to sleep in rather damp beds in the camp’s wooden chalets! David says they were all just like a big happy family, and this must have been the case, as those who can still keep in touch with each other today! We all enjoyed this trip down memory lane in David’s company for the evening

Coming up we have a tea and cakes afternoon at Oranges & Lemons, East Bergholt, and our April “In” Meeting is a Social Night with games and a buffet. Then, in May, as a pre-Coronation treat, we have a “Coronation Stakes” horse-racing night with one of our favourite speakers, Barbara Faulkner! Lots to look forward to, why not come along? Members free, guests and visitors £4.

March 2023 report

Spring is most certainly on the way, snowdrops and daffs are appearing, and the evenings are drawing out gradually more each day!

After a very enjoyable evening watching the Orchard Players’ panto in January, Capel Ladies Club members are now looking forward to some of our up-and-coming activities in this year’s Programme. In March we have David Webb, one of the Webb twins from the hilarious TV sit-com, giving us a talk entitled “Life as a Hi-De-Hi Yellow Coat”. Then in April there’s a theatre trip to “Brief Encounter” at The New Wolsey Theatre, a Summer Social in June with music from Mr Smooth, who we’ve had to entertain us in the past, and a summer lunch out in July – venue to be arranged. In between we have a Games Evening with a buffet and several Coffee and Cake afternoons at different locations locally. Something for everyone, I think you’ll agree. Why not come along and join us? See details on website:  You’ll be very welcome!

February 2023 report

The climax of our Capel Ladies Year was, as usual, our Christmas Social in the Vine Lounge. It being a wintry night with icy pavements, some of our loyal members didn’t fancy coming out, but nevertheless there was still a good attendance and the newly-decorated, comfortable Vine Lounge was a cosy place to be! There were no speakers organised, it was just a nice, sociable time for us to get together and enjoy a tasty bring-and-share buffet and sip a glass of something provided by the Club. There was a Quiz with mystery photos showing the past year’s activities and testing our memories of who and what had happened, and when. This was just for fun, but there was one particularly amusing photo requiring a caption, for which suggestions were invited from members. The winning caption was offered by Sue Maynard and Linda Morrison, who each won a chocolate treat.

Audrey Broadbent had bought prizes for a special Christmas Raffle and lots of people were lucky winners, and the Members’ Draw Prize of a Christmas Hamper, which had been put together by Wendy Keeble, was won by Di Barker, who announced that it was her first time as a winner in 38 years as a member of Capel Ladies Club!

As usual the tables looked very festive as we ate our party food, thanks to the Christmas table decorations made by Shirley Ward and Pat Bradford. Here’s to the New Year, with lots of fresh and interesting activities to look forward to! Make it your 2023 resolution to come and join us for more fun!

January 2023 report

A coachful of ladies from both the W.I. and Capel Ladies Club set off to Ely for the annual Ely Cathedral Christmas Fair. It was a cold, wet November day, with a bitter wind blowing, but inside the Cathedral it was warm and bright with plenty to look at and buy – arts and crafts, decorative items, clothes and hats, Christmas ornaments and wreaths, and there was a wonderful mix of aromas such as mixed spice, cinnamon, pine and oranges from the various stalls. Outside in the cold and wet a cheery carousel covered in lights turned round, filling the air with seasonal music, whilst the poor market stall-holders selling artisan breads, cheeses and chocolates, stood under their canvas awnings looking cold and miserable, hoping in vain for customers! I felt really sorry for them, but as there was no shelter for prospective buyers to inspect their wares, no-one that I saw chose to stand in the cold wind and rain to buy their goods! At the end of the afternoon, we clambered thankfully onto a nice warm coach with our various purchases, and our friendly driver Marcus, from Felixstowe Coaches, brought us safely back to Suffolk.

Our next activity was running our stall at the Community Association Christmas Fayre in November. Thanks to everyone who supported us – we raised £107 towards our current charity for this year – The Blossom Appeal, which is raising funds to build a brand-new Breast Care Centre at Ipswich Hospital for treating cancer patients. Our final total for the year now amounts to £273.00!

Nearly all our members came to the Capel Ladies Club Christmas lunch, held this year at Hintlesham Hall Golf Club. The dining room was beautifully decorated and the food was delicious! Everyone enjoyed their meals and we hope to return there next year!

Just the Christmas Social to go now, before we say Goodbye to 2022! A very enjoyable year for Capel Ladies Club, with a good variety of speakers, trips and outings. Let’s hope 2023 will be equally successful!

So far, next year’s events include our A.G.M. and a visit to see the Orchard Players’ New Year Show. Here’s wishing everyone reading this a Happy and Healthy New Year! And don’t forget to keep a look-out on our website for details of up-and-coming events for Capel Ladies Club! You may even feel like joining us – all welcome!

December 2022 report

We were unlucky with the weather on our “Walkabout Woodbridge” outing in October. It was pouring with rain and quite breezy too, but nevertheless an elite group of CLC members made the trip, and although none of us fancied the walk, we found an oasis of warm, dry surroundings in the shape of Notcutts Garden Centre, and were soon settled in a cosy corner of the restaurant with coffee and refreshments! After a while we decided it was time for lunch and we moved to our reserved dining area and ordered our meals. There was a good selection to choose from, sandwiches and hot food included, and while the rain beat down on the roof we laughed and chatted together. Afterwards we all had a look round the Christmas shop where some of us chose some festive gifts. It was a fun day out in spite of the weather!

Our first meeting in November was a chance to get creative, and Ann Wilding was on hand to show us an alternative way of making greetings cards. We sat round tables with coloured ribbons, sticky tape, scissors and templates, and most of us were soon getting stuck in. Some members chose to watch rather than risk getting in a muddle, and they were the ones to go and get the teas and coffee ready so that worked well too! A fun, sociable time was had by all!

Coming up we have our coach trip to Ely Cathedral Christmas Fair, and then our Christmas Lunch at Hintlesham Golf Club. Goodness – as I write this, I realise that the festive season is really and truly almost upon us! Come and share some of the fun – check out the rest of our website to see what else we get up to, that should tempt you along!

November 2022 report

After all the various highs and lows, and seriously worrying events of recent times, it was good to see a show which was a complete diversion from all of that! This was our Capel Ladies visit to see “Kinky Boots”, a lively feel-good musical at the New Wolsey in September.

The show is based on the true story of a failing English shoe factory and its successful recovery, thanks to the unlikely collaboration of the owner, Charlie Price, who has inherited the business, and a drag queen named Lola. The show was lively, fast-moving and full of energy, with some stunning dance moves and incredible costumes, which included those AMAZING kinky boots with their six-inch heels!

The songs and music were written by the famous singer Cindi Lauper, and the Wolsey multi-talented cast certainly did justice to them with their skills at singing, dancing and musicianship. The show had a moral theme running through it, too, about being accepted in life and dealing with relationships and grief. The happy ending left us all in good spirits as we headed for the car park!

Vanessa Hale, from Wiltshire Farm Foods, was our October speaker. She spoke about the variety and convenience of all the meals – but, as the proof of the pudding is always in the eating, we simply HAD to try some of the flavours for ourselves! These included shepherd’s pie, hotpot, chicken curry and sweet & sour chicken, and desserts were sticky toffee pudding and blackcurrant cheesecake amongst others! I think the general feeling was that they were all very tasty, and the flavours didn’t have that characteristic hint of shop-bought ready meals, they were every bit as good as home-made! I’m sure quite a few of us will be trying some at home in the weeks to come!

Our next gathering is a trip to Woodbridge on October 20th, with a chance to look round the shops or walk by the river, followed by lunch at Notcutt’s Garden Centre. Then in November, at our next “In” Meeting, we will be getting creative as we make alternative-style Christmas cards with Ann Wilding. On 17th November we are off on a coach trip with Capel W.I. to Ely Christmas Fair in the Cathedral, and then follows a busy December with our Christmas lunch out and Christmas Social in the Vine Lounge. Now if all THAT doesn’t tempt you to join us, I don’t know what will!

October 2022 report

What a great sport our September speaker turned out to be! Wendy Smith, our “Wimbledon Line Call Judge” had arrived early and not only helped with us getting into the Library, but also got the tables and chairs out! She can certainly come again! Her talk was very interesting, too – even if you weren’t a tennis buff. She told us she had been line-judging for 38 years, but – experienced though she is – she and all the other line-judges have to go through the application process every year, starting in December when they fill in the application form. They even have to visit smaller tournaments throughout the UK to show their prowess over several days of matches, and once selected they are placed in teams and allocated their courts at Wimbledon. Standards are extremely high and they have to wear particular uniforms, (designed by Ralph Lauren, incidentally!) and there are rules for how to wear them, too! They are given a leaflet showing the details, for example – if they are wearing a skirt, they have trainer socks which don’t show above their new trainers, and if they have trousers on, they wear short socks with the cuffs turned down! As well as watching the lines they have to keep tabs on the score, in case the umpire loses track, and also listen to any mutterings from the players on court to make sure they don’t use foul language – in which case they have to be reported to the umpire and disciplined accordingly! This actually happened in the 2001 semi-final when in the final set of the match between Andre Agassi and Pat Rafter, Wendy reported Agassi’s bad language and he received a code violation notice from the main umpire!

Wimbledon Line Judge Wendy Smith shown in these cuttings from past championships.

Over the years, Wendy has made a lot of lifelong friends who she stays in touch with by email, even though they only actually meet up for the Tournament itself. She had brought some memorabilia with her for us to see, including menus from the After-Finals dinners, personal press cuttings and awards and books and articles about various players. Her favourite player is Roger Federer, as she says he is a highly talented but modest player and a real gentleman. She also said she misses players like John McEnroe, who was a controversial character (she admits) but who never actually swore, and only lost his temper when a point was in question. In many ways it made games “more lively and interesting”, Wendy said. Now she really admires him as a tennis commentator!

Our next meeting is a theatre visit to see “Kinky Boots” at The New Wolsey, when 20 of us will enjoy a night out. All the info about our Autumn Programme is on our website – have a look, you might be tempted to come and join us!

August 2022 report

On June 16th Capel Ladies Club held their usual Summer Social, but with a different twist this year, as it was a “Country & Western” themed evening. We were entertained by “Mr Smooth” (Jim Hawkins), a versatile singer who performs all types of songs. We enjoyed numbers from the songbooks of Glen Campbell, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers, amongst others – and a few ladies even took to the floor to do some line dancing! There was a tasty buffet with contributions from each of us, and a Cowboy-themed Quiz with prizes including cans of sausages and baked beans, in the tradition of a Cowboy’s breakfast! A fun evening, it was just a pity more members couldn’t make it due to holidays or illness.

Our next project was Scarecrow-making for the annual Scarecrow Trail, and as it has been a Right Royal Year, we thought something regal would be suitable… so we chose The Queen of Hearts, Disney-style, with an angry expression after the loss of her tarts! Mary, Pat, Shirley and Sue spent a very entertaining morning creating the figure with a lot of laughs along the way!

On 7th July a party of us went to see the Orchard Players’ latest show in the Community Centre. It was entitled “Into the Light”, and it was an evening of songs – and dances – from many different genres with some brilliant performances from younger members, as well as the seasoned regulars and the live band. A fun, foot-tapping evening – CONGRATULATIONS Orchard Players! My overall favourite number was the Victoria Wood classic, “Barry and Freda” – Let’s Do It! Finally, to end a busy month, Capel Ladies manned the refreshments stall at Rose Chiverton’s Open Garden Event in aid of the Blossom Appeal, our charity for this year. Rose’s garden is unique as it includes a permanently laid out model railway track with working trains. These can all be operated with remote hand-held controllers, and visitors to the garden had great fun sending the trains going, over the bridge and round the circuit! There were stalls selling plants and pink items as well as tea and home-made cakes to try! It was a scorching afternoon and the men’s singles final was on the tele, so although it was a fair turnout, we might have had even more visitors on a cooler day with no other distractions!

We look forward to afternoon tea at Kersey Mill to end our busy summer season! Do try and join us in the autumn – we begin with a talk from a Wimbledon Line Judge on Thursday 1st September! Have a good summer – and remember to check out our Programme here on the website for details of our Autumn activites!

July 2022 report

Capel Ladies Club members had a great time at their latest outing on June 16th! They were on a visit to “The Shed” at Sproughton, a unique period café and salerooms selling antiques, homewares, gifts, outdoor furniture, plants and flowers, retro items – and even ladies’ dresses! It was indeed a browser’s paradise, with refreshments, too! After having a look round, with some ladies making purchases, everyone sat down to tea and cakes in the charming Nora’s Tea Room, which was decorated with memorabilia in a 1940s style, with proper teapots and strainers, and china cups. Even the waitresses were dressed in 1940s outfits, down to the last detail with seamed stockings! It was a most enjoyable afternoon, and many of our members said they will definitely make a return visit on their own!

Our June “In” meeting was cancelled due to the Jubilee Celebrations, but Capel Ladies Club did participate in the Exhibition in the Community Centre, contributing a display about the Toys, Games and Hobbies we remember from the past 70 years! Many of these remembered items are still being enjoyed by children today, although in some cases they have been brought up-to-date a bit! We’re now looking forward to our Summer Social, which this year has a Country & Western theme, and also to watching the latest Orchard Players’ Show in July. We round off the summer with a visit to Kersey Mill, and then close our doors until September 1st when we will have a talk from an ex-Wimbledon Tennis Line Judge to start our autumn programme.

June 2022 report

Who would have thought, in centuries past, that the production of one of the most luxurious and expensive fabrics in the world owes its very existence to a tiny caterpillar of the Bombyx Mori Silk Moth, which feeds on the leaves of White Mulberry trees in far-off China! The story of silk was revealed to us by Mrs Frances Harper, our April Speaker, and herself a retired employee from one of the silk manufacturers in East Anglia, at Braintree.

The process of silk production is known as sericulture. It was established by the Chinese 5,000 years ago, when, according to legend, the princess Xi Lingshi discovered that a cocoon could be unravelled to produce a thread when one dropped into her tea while she sat under a mulberry tree! For centuries the secret of silk manufacture was known only to the Chinese, until in the middle of the sixth century two Persian monks managed to smuggle silkworm eggs to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. The secrets of silk gradually spread into Europe, and an Italian merchant, explorer and writer named Marco Polo established what we now call the Silk Road, a trade route from China to Europe.

All the moths and caterpillars are still bred in China, where the silk is extracted and spun into skeins to be exported to the west, where it is woven into luxury fabrics in silk mills.

What is silk used for? Besides fine clothing, silk has been and is used for tablecloths, pillowcases, bedding, curtains, wall hangings, table runners, surgical sutures, parachutes, upholstery and bike tyres, as well as bridal and formal wear, brocades and velvet. Hampton Court, The Houses of Parliament, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace have all got furnishings, upholstery and wall coverings made from silk, much of it manufactured in East Anglia! Most of these factories are now closed, but at one time silk was woven at mills in Sudbury, Castle Hedingham, Braintree and Norwich, to name but a few of them. Nowadays the main silk weaving industry is based at Lyons, in France, known as the silk capital of the world.

Now for something completely different! Our May Speaker, Jane Hoggar, came to recount some of her experiences as a former Bluebell Girl, whose dancing career began in the 1980s. At the age of twelve, Jane had to abandon her dreams of becoming a ballerina. Measuring six-feet tall with size nine feet, she reluctantly gave her tutu away, instead, sewing herself a sequinned ‘boob tube’ and turning her ambitions to Top of the Pops, Pans People and the exciting world of cabaret! Jane described her exciting travels around the globe during the 80’s that eventually led her to the remarkable Margaret Kelly, better known as Miss Bluebell of Le Lido de Paris.

She has worked in places as far away as Cairo, Tokyo, Paris and parts of Italy, coping with the most challenging of situations on a variety of exotic work engagements. In recent years, she has also suffered from breast cancer, and kept a diary of her “chemo summer”, an uplifting book that could help other sufferers get through their treatments for this disease.

During her talk she had us all in fits of laughter, and she even demonstrated some of her dance moves and sang snatches of songs from pre-recorded sound bites, finishing with Edith Piaf’s “No Regrets”! It was a joyous and uplifting evening for all of us!

For more of the same, with a great variety of speakers and entertainment, why not come along to one of our meetings on the first Thursday of the month, at 7.30pm in Capel Library? You will be most welcome! Bring a friend, too!

Coming up we have a visit to the Orchard Players’ Summer show and a Summer Social with a Country and Western theme.  In July we are taking part in this year’s Scarecrow Trail again, and one of our members, Rose Chiverton, will be opening her garden, complete with model railways, in aid of the Blossom Appeal.

Lots of events to enjoy!