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5th Mar | My Tutu Went AWOL – Iestyn Edwards

Our March meeting encapsulated both a visit to the ballet AND the opera, with some comedy thrown in – so it was an all-round experience! This was thanks to an extraordinary performance by Iestyn (pronounced Yes-tin) Edwards, a stage and TV writer/performer, and also a published poet and journalist. He has found fame as the character Madame Galina, Prima Ballerina, and he has even entertained troops in Iraq and Afghanistan!

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Quite a career – and an evening with a difference for Capel Ladies! Adorned in a white tutu, tights and pink satin ballet shoes, Iestyn made his entrance with a graceful ballet display ending in a pirouette and graceful curtsy, to the sound of enthusiastic applause!

He astonished us further by singing two or three songs, a couple to some recorded piano accompaniment and then one totally unaccompanied – in an operatic style. We were amazed by the power and depth of his singing voice, but of course he is Guildhall trained and he knows his stuff!

He says he enjoys entertaining others although he gets very nervous before performing, even though he has been doing it for nearly 50 years! His father was a country and western singer who used to take Iestyn on stage with him when Iestyn was only four. Later, Iestyn was a member of Southwark Cathedral choir and eventually attended the Guildhall School of Music.

20200305_202257Prior to this he worked for a year as front of house at London’s Covent Garden Opera House, and it was there where he saw his first ballet, Swan Lake. He befriended the lady who ran the bookstall in the foyer of the Opera House, who happened to be an ex-ballerina herself, and she would teach him some of the moves and routines from Swan Lake in the foyer during performances! Thus he added the ballet moves to his repertoire, and the tutu followed!

He loves to tell anecdotes about his colourful career… he has entertained the Queen on board HMS Victory at a special dinner for the Battle of Trafalgar, and this got him noticed by the armed forces. He imagined that he would be giving shows to the Combined Services Entertainment gigs for the officers’ mess at the Hilton, Park Lane, but was shocked to find that he had agreed to go out to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops there!

His act became very popular and he has since written a book about his experiences, some of which we heard about at our meeting. Sufficient to say he gave us a very entertaining evening with lots of laughter and amusement as well as admiration for his singing and graceful pirouetting!

Iestyn’s grand finale was ably assisted by his glamorous assistant Mary Butters!

6th Feb | Talk on Oxygen Therapy Treatment

Our February meeting began, unusually, with a deferred AGM, due to poor attendance at the official AGM in January where not enough members were present for a quorum, so we could not vote on any official business.

However, even after a heartfelt appeal from our chairlady, Rose Chiverton, no-one volunteered to be on the new committee or to take on any of the main jobs. This resulted in the sad decision to close the club after this year’s final meeting in December. The whole of the 2020 Programme has already been arranged and the present committee said they will oversee the running of the club for its final months to see this out, but as from January 2021 Capel Ladies Club will no longer exist!

This momentous decision, although agreed on by all those present, comes after another successful year in 2019 and a celebratory 50th birthday in 2018! Maybe it’s still not too late, if a whole clutch of new members was to join us… so watch this space!

Now to our Speakers for the evening…. Audrey Sparling and Victoria Barber had come to talk to us about a charity which provides the little-known treatment of Oxygen Therapy to people suffering a wide variety of conditions.

Audrey Sparling and Victoria Barber of the Suffolk Oxygen Therapy Centre accept a cheque for £50 from Capel Ladies’ Club. The Centre is the Club’s chosen charity for 2020.

Oxygen Therapy involves breathing pure, medical grade oxygen for one hour at a time whilst sitting in a pressurised chamber. The idea was founded 36 years ago by a Dundee deep-sea diver and Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who, when recovering from “the bends” in his pressure chamber, found that it helped relieve symptoms of his M.S.

For more than thirty-five years this charity has been providing Oxygen Therapy at their centre near Ipswich, (one of 65 such centres in the country), treating conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, some forms of cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s, Arthritis and many more. In addition they offer post-operative therapy, and also treat professional sportspeople, footballers, motorcyclists and marathon runners who are keen to speed up injury recovery times. This technology is well-established and has a long history, and while it does not claim to cure any condition it has been found to be of great benefit to many of them.

The centre began as one chamber on the back of a lorry in Ipswich Docks, first as a Multiple Sclerosis therapy centre, but expanded as it was found other conditions needed help too, and it moved to an industrial estate in Great Blakenham.

On site they have three spacious, purpose-built chambers in portacabins, which can provide therapy for up to 16 people at a time, and the centre is staffed by fully-trained operators and supported by a team of willing volunteers. A doctor’s referral is not necessary by they do ask that you notify your GP if you wish to undergo some Oxygen Therapy. One of the Speakers, Victoria Barber, is a Lupus sufferer, and has found the treatment has helped relieve many of her symptoms

They are currently engaged in a programme of improvements to upgrade their premises, and their eventual aim is to have a permanent brick-built centre, although this could take up to ten years! The organisation is funded entirely by donations from their members and supporters, and through fund-raising events – they receive no state funding whatsoever.

This good cause has been adopted by Capel Ladies as our charity for 2020, and after a most interesting talk a cheque for £50 was presented to Audrey and Victoria on our behalf. If you are interested to find out more about Oxygen Therapy please visit the charity’s website at www.SuffolkOxygenTherapy.co.uk or give them a call on 01473 830359.

16th Jan | A.G.M.

Unfortunately, the attendance was rather poor at our scheduled A.G.M. and there were only 14 people present, not enough for a quorum. We decided that we would do all the A.G.M. business at our next meeting, starting 15 minutes earlier than usual.

In spite of this we had an enjoyable evening with a “Raucous Raffle” game followed by refreshments with home-made cakes and special biscuits provided by the outgoing committee members.

Fingers crossed we will have sufficient numbers at our February meeting to form a new committee and keep the club running!

19th Dec | Christmas Social in the Vine Lounge

As the evening unfolded at our Christmas Social we were entertained by Jonathan Huggins, an Origami expert, and his twin teenage daughters Shannon and Georgina.

The first thing Jonathan told us was that he works with the Chinese method of Origami, also known as 3D Origami, which uses small pieces of folded coloured paper that slide together to form modules and shapes.

20191219_194301In 1993, a group of Chinese refugees were detained on the ship Golden Venture and held in an American prison, where they began making elaborate models using traditional Chinese modular paperfolding using materials such as magazine covers, and then these models were given to those helping the refugees and sold at charity fundraisers. Media coverage of the refugees helped popularize this traditional Chinese modular folding worldwide, which became known as ‘Golden Venture folding’.

We first had to learn how to make the basic triangular modules, and then Jonathan and his very talented daughters helped us each to create our own Origami flower from multiple modules. After this – which was fun and took a great deal of concentration, we had the chance to buy some of the very attractive and colourful Origami models which Jonathan and the girls had made, and which were on display for us to see. They donated 10% of these takings to Capel Ladies Club.

Then it was time for the tasty buffet, after which we each chose our Secret Santa gift from the sack. The Christmas multi-prize raffle was drawn, and finally came the Members’ Draw for the well-stocked Christmas Hamper, which was won by Pat Bradford. An enjoyable evening, which ended with a piece of advice from Jonathan Huggins – “Don’t water your flowers, Ladies!”

Our next get-together is the AGM when we will select our new Committee.

– Sue Woolgar

7th Nov | The Blossom Appeal

1d2889e3-5328-4cc3-af40-4fe10a699902The main charity we are supporting this year is The Blossom Appeal, and at our November meeting the fund’s Community and Events Manager, Brian Taylor, came to update us on the progress of this worthwhile project.

The aim is for every breast care patient to have the best possible experience whether they go to the hospital for mammograms, biopsies or cancer treatment, etc. To this end they are planning to build a £2.5 million modern Breast Care Centre where state-of-the-art care can be delivered to all patients under one roof.

Brian brought with him a lady who has recently been through breast cancer treatment at Ipswich Hospital. She is now clear of the disease and volunteers for the charity as a way of showing her gratitude. One of our members is also a recovered breast cancer sufferer, and she remarked that, when she was undergoing treatment, she did indeed have to visit several different sites for each part of it, which was at times arduous and sometimes inconvenient.

To date, just under half a million pounds has been raised, and although there is still a long way to go, the Blossom Appeal Team are determined to meet their target at some point in the not-too-distant future!

Fund-raising is the mainstay of this project, and basically anything that can make money is being encouraged by the charity team, such as sponsored walks and bike-rides, coffee mornings, garage sales, car boot sales, quizzes, jumble sales – you name it, every little helps!

To donate to this worthy cause simply log on to the Blossom Appeal website to see the different ways in which you can contribute.

3rd Oct | Style Analysis – Helen Garth

20191003_193951Knowing that Helen Garth, an Image Consultant and Hypnotherapist, was coming to speak to Capel Ladies Club on Colour and Style meant that many of us had been slightly more selective than usual about what to wear for the evening! Mind you, we are a fairly personable crowd in any case, so we were interested to hear what new hints Helen might give us in her talk!

Helen began by passing round laminated sheets of a range of different styles as worn by women of all ages and body shapes, to illustrate the various possible ways that outfits can draw attention to our best features and distract from what we think of as our worst. The range of different styles went from City Chic and Dramatic to Creative, Romantic, Classsic and Natural.

Whichever style you choose, it’s all about creating a BALANCED appearance, and it’s important to know which body shape you are to help you dress stylishly. We had to pair up with someone else and, using a small weight on the end of a piece of thread we held the end of the thread to each other’s shoulders allowing the weight to hang free. We could then tell whether we were a triangle-shape, an inverted triangle shape, a pear shape, a circular shape, an hour-glass, an oval or a rectangle, and from that diagnosis we could be advised on which of our features needed accentuating with the style of our clothes.

This proved to be a fun evening, and although we took Helen’s hints and tips seriously everyone enjoyed a bit of a giggle, and there was a good atmosphere. One item of clothing which seemed to display the most versatility was the scarf. Helen showed several ways of wearing scarves, and various knots to tie in order to create some completely different looks with an outfit. She also said that many of her clothes come from charity shops which are full of surprises! All in all it was a very enjoyable evening!

For more information about Helen, see her Facebook page under “Helen Garth – Looking good, Feeling good”.

5th Sept | Morris Men – a talk by Mike Garland

Mike Garland talkingI had always believed that Morris Men were part of ancient British traditions, and that the costumes, music and dances associated with them were full of mystic symbolism and folklore.

Although some of this is true, much of it is not – and it was down to Mike Garland, ex-Squire of East Anglian Morris Ring and our speaker on the subject for September, to clear up some of these misnomers.

The oldest known records of Morris Dancing date from the 15th century and are associated with East Anglia. Caister in Norfolk has a medieval tapestry showing Morris Dancers, and there are cups from Bury St Edmunds with Morris Dancers on. At the Royal courts in Tudor times Morris dancing was enjoyed and performed, and Queen Elizabeth I even joined in energetic dances of this kind! Churches allowed Morris Dancing, and Craftsmen’s Guilds used it in their ceremonial processions. Even agricultural labourers performed dances in their villages, and sometimes for the local lord at the manor house, in order to boost their own wages by passing the hat round at the end!

Other known records of this style of dance come from the European courts of the fifteenth century when “moreys daunce” was a regular court entertainment. This may have been the dance form known as “morisco” on the continent, and it is easy to see how the name was changed over the years to what we now call “Morris Dancing”.

Mike Garland dancingOver the years and down to the nineteenth century, English Morris Dancing had all but died out, but the Victorian revival of folk songs, traditions and stories also included a new interest in it, and concerts were held in which both boys and girls performed dances which had been collected from researchers travelling the country to discover them. The many kinds of Morris Dancing countrywide included different costumes, different footwear (such as clogs), and using sticks, swords or handkerchiefs to show off the various moves and emphasize the rhythm of the music. Musicians played on the fiddle, the tambour, a three-hole pipe or an accordion.

Mike Garland’s talk not only told us about the origins of Morris, he actually performed one or two dances for us, including a very lively jig using handkerchiefs! It certainly proved that the dancers have to be fit! He was accompanied by his fellow Morris member Mick on the melodeon accordion.

Essentially, people enjoyed both taking part as well as watching these folk dances, and it was all in the name of FUN! No mystic connections or symbolic meanings – just simple fun and enjoyment that everyone, young or old, could appreciate! And that’s it – so why not find out where you can see Morris Men performing somewhere and go along to watch! For more info check this website:  www.eastsuffolkmorris.com