Archives

1st August | BBQ at The King’s Head, Stutton

IMG-20190802-WA0008We held our Summer BBQ at The King’s Head, Stutton, where we couldn’t have been made more welcome! There were only a few of us, but just the right number to fit into one of the summerhouses in the pub’s garden. It was a delightful setting, with coloured lights decorating the garden, and the barbecue foods and multiple side dishes were a feast to behold! Service was excellent, we simply stayed put and the food was brought out to us. The only downside was that there were such generous servings we couldn’t finish everything! We’ll definitely be back on another occasion! Thank you to all the staff for their warm welcome and delicious food!

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4th July | ‘An American in Suffolk’ – Orchard Players’ show

Our first meeting in July was a visit to the latest show by The Orchard Players in Capel Community Centre. As usual the show didn’t disappoint!

Set in a small Suffolk village during World War II, wartime romance blossoms when local girls Charlotte and Jane fall for two American pilots from the newly-built airbase nearby. Charlotte marries her sweetheart and moves to New York, but Jane is left pregnant and in limbo as her pilot is reported missing in action.

Ten years on and Jane, now widowed and with a son, decides to visit Charlotte in NYC, and while she is there a chance meeting in the bar run by Charlotte’s husband puts her life on track again, and everything is resolved.

The original story, conceived by Orchard Players’ members, and scripted by Bex Nicholls, flowed effortlessly along, accompanied by Big Band style music, songs and dances, all seamlessly merging with the action.

With a cast of over 40 performers, including around 15 children, it must have been a huge undertaking to organise – and every single performer earnt their place on the stage! The singing was brilliant, (to a pre-recorded sound-track) as was the dancing – by ALL ages and abilities, and the costumes were amazing! How that large cast managed to bring it all together so well without a single hitch was just incredible – the team of backstage helpers did a stunning job!

All I can say is – if you didn’t get to see it, you missed a fantastic show! Well done again Orchard Players! Please reserve me a ticket for next summer’s show too!

20th June | Visit to Little Hall, Lavenham

Lavenham-Little-Hall-2

Little Hall is a beautiful half-timbered building in the centre of Lavenham, which is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England, founded on the wealth of the wool industry in the middle ages. Built in the late 14th century for a rich merchant clothier as a personal status symbol, the Hall gradually deteriorated over the years along with the popularity of Lavenham cloth, and by the 19th century was sub-divided into six tenements occupied by 27 local labourers.

In 1924 the Hall was bought by two brothers, whose military careers had seen them travel far and wide and who were both interested collectors of art and artefacts. They restored the building back to its former glory, and filled it with their collections of art and antiquities, and it eventually passed into the hands of the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust in 1974.

It is now open to the public as well as for guided tours, and this is where fourteen Capel Ladies spent a very interesting afternoon in mid-June.  Their guide John showed them round all seven of the rooms and their contents, and told them that the whole history of Lavenham was mirrored in this very place, from its rise at the peak of the cloth trade to its decline as the Lavenham cloth industry diminished.

After their guided tour the ladies looked around the pretty back garden of the hall, and then went across to the Guildhall Café where they had a delicious cream tea, arranged for them by committee member Linda Evans. What a charming end to an enthralling afternoon!

16th May | Guided Walk round Manningtree

Village sign for Manningtree  Essex

It was a bright and breezy afternoon the day we went on a walk around Manningtree, accompanied by our guide Josie.

Manningtree is the smallest town in England, and is well known for its swans on the River Stour – which marks the border between the counties of Essex and Suffolk. As it flows past Manningtree it is tidal, and it is popular with both sailors and fishermen.

Much of the town’s wealth in Elizabethan times came from the cloth trade, and some of the weavers’ cottages are still standing.

For two centuries Manningtree and Mistley were important brewing centres and ports, and you can still see the old warehouses next to the quay – although they have now been converted into modern apartments.

In the 17th Century Matthew Hopkins was the Witchfinder General and over a period between 1645 and 1647 he condemned two or three hundred women to death. They were bound and thrown into the river – and if they sank they were declared innocent, but if they floated it meant they were guilty. Those who were pronounced witches were then hung and burned at the stake. A group of witches were hung on The Green, just behind the High Street!

The first market was established in 1234, and is still held every Tuesday and Saturday in Market Place in the town’s centre.

At one time eels were caught in the river from flat-bottomed boats and then smoked, using old wood from a church which was pulled down. The eels smoked in this way were called Holy Smokes.

We stopped to look at Mistley Towers, designed by the architect Robert Adam in 1776. These twin towers were originally part of a church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin which was later demolished. We passed the Mistley Swan statue in its pond, all that is left of the grandiose plans to turn Mistley into a salt water spa town to rival Brighton in the 18th century.

Manningtree has a lot of history attached to it, and it has given some of us a taste to find out more. Thanks to Josie, our Blue Badge Guide, for a very interesting afternoon.

Report and photos by Sue Maynard

18th Apr | Visit to ‘The Place For Plants’, East Bergholt

IMG0075A (2)What a lovely way to spend a warm spring afternoon!! Seven members of Capel Ladies Club visited the ‘Place for Plants’ at East Bergholt. We were not a large enough group to have the intended guided tour of the gardens, but were free to roam by ourselves. Most of the daffodils, magnolias and camellias were just finishing flowering, but some of the rhododendrons were just starting. There was also a beautiful area of flowering fritillaries. It was very quiet and peaceful but with a lot of birdsong, and we did catch the rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker – but never saw where he was. There were lots of healthy plants to see in the garden centre, and a well-stocked gift shop. Naturally, we could not end our afternoon without the obligatory tea and cake!!

Report by Audrey Broadbent

Photos by Beryl Backler

 

20th Mar | “Kiss Me Quickstep” – New Wolsey Theatre

Kiss-Me-Quickstep-square.pngOur March theatre trip was to a show with a ballroom dancing background, and the stage area in the auditorium had been transformed into the Empress Ballroom at the Blackpool Winter Gardens!  The polished wooden floor was surrounded by seating on all sides and there were glitterballs hanging from the ceiling.  The play’s setting was a throwback to the original “Come Dancing” competitions, shown on TV from the ’50s onwards, and we followed the stories of three different couples who were competing.

This involved watching the couples actually taking part on the dance floor, and then seeing them interact behind the scenes in their dressing rooms which were cleverly created by seamlessly wheeling several dressing rails onto the dance floor to surround a private space.

The couples, each from different backgrounds, arrived separately, and we were soon aware of their various hopes and dreams as well as the problems and worries they had left behind at home. For each couple the dance competition was their chance to find a path to fame and fortune, and to forget their humdrum lives for a while.

As it turns out the contest is a pivotal time for each of them and by the end their destinations are decided for better or worse. For some it has turned out well, while others have to come to terms with reality rather than dreams, but there is still hope for better things if they can move on.

Throughout the show the announcements over the tannoy preserved the atmosphere and tension of the dance contest and kept us in the loop along with the contestants waiting in the dressing rooms to come out and take part. There were some good performances and some dazzling ballroom and Latin dancing as well – a very entertaining and thought-provoking show.

21st Feb | Meal at The Queen’s Head, Little Wenham

For our February outing we made a third visit to the Queen’s Head at Great Wenham where once again we were made very welcome by Mark, Patsy and Linda. A hot buffet meal was laid on with the choice of chicken curry, beef tagine and lasagne, with a variety of side dishes including chips, jacket potatoes, rice, salad and seasonal vegetables. A range of desserts available to choose from included pecan pie, chocolate fudge cake, white chocolate cheesecake and fruit salad.

There was a good atmosphere as people enjoyed their meals, and at the end Sue Crane thanked the staff for all their hard work in the preparation. A very pleasant winter’s evening out for Capel Ladies members.