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Aug 3rd | Summer Barbecue

After all those lovely summer evenings in June and July the night of the Capel Ladies Barbecue turned out to be unsettled, cool and very blustery! However, we were safely tucked away inside a marquee, courtesy of Liz and Tony Gulliver, our hosts, enjoying a delicious spread of barbecued meats and salads, followed by a selection of creamy gateaux, so the weather didn’t affect us in the slightest. We had a tricky quiz from Pat Bradford where we had to match the correct event to the year it happened, and a Lucky Raffle Prize Draw. At the end of the evening Di Barker thanked our hosts and presented them with wine and flowers. The end of another Barbecue, but let’s hope it’s not the end of another summer!

Coming up we have a touch of Turkish sunshine from our September speaker Jenny Gibbs, a trip to the Munnings Museum with afternoon tea, and a craft evening.

July 6th | ‘Time After Time’ – The Orchard Players’ Show

James Finbow and Charlea Burwood
star in “Time After Time”

Our first July meeting was a visit to the Orchard Players’ Show, “Time After Time” at Capel Village Hall. The show featured songs from the 70’s and 80’s, accompanied by an excellent live band, and featured a good mix of favourite numbers. The dancing in particular was excellent, and there were some terrific performances from the younger members of the cast. A feel-good fun night out!

June 15th | Evening Mystery Tour

The evening of June 15th was warm and balmy – a perfect summer’s evening, in fact, when around 20 adventure-seeking ladies boarded the coach for our Mystery Tour. At least the name of the coach company inspired confidence – “Boomerang Tours” – so we knew we would eventually arrive back where we started!

Anyway, both David, our driver and Alex, our guide seemed to know exactly where we were going so that was OK! We were on a wildlife and history coach tour and Alex called out questions along the way to see if we could guess the names of villages, plants, birds or animals that we might encounter en-route.

We were on a tour of the Deben villages and the countryside seen from the coach was a picture in greens and golds, splashed here and there with scarlet from wayside poppies!

Our first stop was picturesque Ramsholt Church with its round tower overlooking a peaceful bend on the River Deben. The churchyard was full of wild flowers and the church was cool and quiet inside. After looking round and drinking in the beautiful views under a bright blue summer sky we reluctantly moved on a short distance in the coach and came to The Ramsholt Arms. This pub has an idyllic location below the church on the sandy shores of the river, and on summer evenings there’s nowhere better to sit with a glass of something gazing at the sparkles on the water, or peering up and down the river to catch glimpses of herons or cormorants, or perhaps a barn owl swooping over fields on the opposite bank.

We stopped here for a drink and to sample the two home-made cakes baked the previous night by our guide Alex, and I can vouch for the fact that they were both delicious!

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Back in the coach and down a few more narrow lanes to Bawdsey, at the mouth of the river, opposite Felixstowe Ferry, where the ferryman in his rowing boat plies his trade. We were too late to see it in operation, of course, but just in time to see the beginnings of a glorious sunset! After a short wander we boarded the coach again for a leisurely ride home.

En route we listened to more interesting facts from Alex about what we were passing – from details of the wildlife, trees and plants to historical facts and information about people and places connected with the area, from Saxon Ship Burials to Alien Encounters! We rolled into Capel just as it was getting dark – about 10.15 pm. after a delightful evening!

May 18th | Winery visit – DJ Wines, Earl Soham

It was a bit of a “Mystery Tour” finding the way to DJ Wines at Monk Soham, but the Capel Ladies Club party were an intrepid group and didn’t give up until they found the exact location in a one-time piggery in the heart of Suffolk. This is where Derek Jones produces hand-made fruit wines, fruit liqueurs and mead, using mainly locally sourced fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, elderflowers and honey.

Derek has been running his wine business for over five years. He used to be a cheesemaker and has also worked at Otley College. His change of career obviously paid off, as his business now sells his wine to the Co-op and also exhibits at fairs and shows.

He uses slow, natural methods to make his wines, adding only minimum amounts of sugar, plus yeast, so they taste “full of fruit and deliciously natural” according to him. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say – and so Capel Ladies were given the chance to try several different wines along with artisan breads from Framlingham, cheeses from “Suffolk Cheeses” plus salamis and rapeseed oil dip.

The three drivers in the party were given elderflower cordial but the rest of the party enjoyed sampling the wines and also mead made from Suffolk heather honey. A nice way to spend a sunny afternoon in May!

For more information see the website:   www.dj-wines.com

Apr 20th | Visit to Tattingstone Garden Centre

Brandon and Lorraine answer our gardening questions

For our April outing we made a return trip to Tattingstone Garden Centre, where Brandon and Lorraine, and son Dean, were on hand to answer any problem gardening questions which we had, and to advise on choices and combinations of plants for our pots or hanging baskets which some of us planted up. Dean’s services were required when it came to ordering custom-made hanging baskets – his speciality! As usual we were made very welcome and Lorraine served us teas and coffees during the evening. Everyone went away very pleased with their purchases, and with at least some of their queries solved! We promised to return next year for another session!

Mar 16th | Meal at The Queen’s Head, Little Wenham

A change is as good as a rest, they say, and for our March meal out the committee decided to book The Queen’s Head, Little Wenham. As it turned out it was a great decision! Mark and Patsy gave us a very warm welcome and had laid on a hot, serve-yourself buffet in their spacious dining room, with choices of tasty dishes such as a chicken tagine, chicken tikka masala and a lamb casserole. There was rice, jacket potatoes, chunky chips and extra seasonal vegetables too.  Desserts followed, including apple crumble and custard, chocolate fudge cake and fresh fruit salad with cream. The two dozen Capel Ladies Club members who attended were all very happy with their meals, and there was a jolly atmosphere in cosy surroundings. We will definitely be returning to The Queen’s Head for second helpings at some point!

Feb 16th | Suffolk Police Museum visit

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Fifteen Capel Ladies had an arresting evening at the Suffolk Police Museum for our February outing! The museum is situated at the Suffolk Constabulary HQ at Martlesham Heath, and is open after 6.00 p.m. on Mondays – Fridays by appointment only. We were met on arrival by a team of friendly volunteers – all ex-police personnel – who made us feel very welcome and who escorted us through the exhibits, telling us about life in the police service, showing us things of particular interest, and answering our many questions.

At one point we were allowed to try on some police uniforms and hold truncheons or handcuffs. Police hats have changed a lot during the years since the 1830’s, At first they wore top hats, then these changed to custodian helmets lined with cork and serge or strong felt, however now they have a lining of reinforced plastic, still light to wear but more protective. Most officers today wear flat peaked caps for practical reasons but there are still occasions when more protection is needed and helmets are used. Policewomen have bowler hats  with similar lining and covered in the regulation navy blue serge.

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There was a huge range of items on display for us to see. One cabinet contained a large collection of fearsome weapons – knuckle dusters, flick knives and daggers which made us shudder! There were riot shields of different sizes which you could hardly lift, and it was incredible to think that, using these, the policeman had to be totally mobile and able to run whilst holding one up! The police issue stab vests were very heavy too, with the added panels of protective padding!  We tried different styles of truncheons for size, some wooden, some plastic – and a new lightweight metal one which was telescopic and could be produced at the flick of an arm.

There were press cuttings and displays of past crimes and investigations, amongst many ancient pieces of equipment such as early typewriters and computers, and a fingerprint kit with ink and roller – no longer in use of course in this digital age!

At the end of our tour we were shown to a comfortable coffee lounge where we had some refreshments before thanking our hosts and leaving the building, past a collection box for donations towards the upkeep of the museum and its exhibits. I’m sure we each put in a contribution after a thoroughly worthwhile, informative and enjoyable visit.