5th Jul | Orchard Players’ Show – ‘Oliver!’

Hearty Congratulations are due to The Orchard Players and director Glyn Hill for their stunning production of “Oliver”, their annual summer show for this year.

It was without doubt one of the best versions of this show that I personally have seen, and judging by the audience reaction on the night when Capel Ladies watched it, I wasn’t the only person to think that!

Oliver is one of the best-loved of British musicals with so many memorable songs and a great storyline, but it still needs an able team of performers to step up and do it justice, and that’s exactly what the Orchard Players did! There was a large cast of 40, including 15 youngsters, many of whom had never performed before.

The setting of Victorian London seemed to extend into the auditorium with brick paper covering the front and sides of the stage, and there was a tall, brick tower to one side which Bill Sikes climbed as he fled the Bow Street Runners. Even the talented musicians who played live for the performances were in their own sectioned-off corner with a washing line of “wipes” (the silk handkerchiefs that Fagin’s urchins regularly pick-pocketed) hanging up around them! Scene changes – and there were lots of these – were executed efficiently and seamlessly, and the costumes were amazing! The lighting and special effects, like the murder scene, previously filmed in silhouette, also added to the atmosphere.

But the stars of the show were the actors themselves – each character portrayed just as you would have expected to see them in a London show! Fagin, as the cunning, silver-tongued Jewish ‘protector’ of the gang of urchins, Bill Sikes, terrifying as the murderous criminal, and Nancy as the loyal, caring street-girl who loved him in spite of his cruelty towards her. Her version of the song “As Long As He Needs Me” brought a tear to my eye.

And then there were the children! Their singing, dancing, acting and enthusiasm was AMAZING! They obviously loved what they were doing and gave top performances, especially the star of the show – Oliver! Once again, when he sang “Where is Love?” there was a lump in my throat!

There were many notable moments and great performances by a number of the cast, too many to mention here. It was certainly a memorable evening’s entertainment, and I could have watched it all over again and enjoyed it as much!

Report by Sue Woolgar

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21st Jun | Afternoon Tea at Hall Farm

Afternoon tea was on the menu at our June outing when a number of Capel Ladies visited Hall Farm at Stratford St Mary. The setting was a pleasant one with views from the cafe of the farm fields and various animals including llamas, donkeys and sheep; and it was another hot afternoon so it was cooler to sit inside.

The tea and cakes were served on heavy wooden boards which were difficult to pass up and down to everyone, and although there was a good variety of sandwiches they must have been left uncovered for a while as the bread was a bit dry, There didn’t seem to be a huge choice of cakes and the scones came creamed and jammed already with minimum fillings, so the food was rather disappointing. Having placed the platters and pots of tea and coffee on the tables the waiter/waitresses left the ladies to their own devices and didn’t return to see if anything else was required, so the party felt rather neglected on the whole.

After the tea several ladies visited the farm shop to look around before returning to Capel. A slightly disappointing afternoon, especially when each person had paid out almost £13.00 for their afternoon tea-time treat.

9th Jun | Capel Fun Day Stall

The weather for Fun Day 2018 couldn’t have been better! The sun shone all day and although there was a slight breeze it didn’t affect the gazebo round our stall. After a change last year we reverted to our usual theme of home-made/home-grown produce and plants. There was a lovely selection of cakes, biscuits and scones, plus jams and chutneys; and a good number of plants and shrubs as well, with some fresh rhubarb thrown in! There were plenty of helpers on the day and we raised a whopping £118.00 which was an excellent result!

7th Jun | Golden Summer Social

As 2018 is our 50th Anniversary Year it was appropriate for those members who had any gold-coloured items of clothing to wear them at our Summer Social. Keeping the same theme, we had two quizzes organized by Shirley Ward; one which included the word “Gold” in either the question or the answer, and one which was a “Guess their Identities” photo quiz, where – displayed on the walls of the Vine Lounge – was a collection of photos of present members – “Golden Girls” – taken 50 years ago! Both quizzes were challenging and the winners certainly deserved their prizes!

Mary Butters was the expert when it came to identifying those glamorous young ladies, she managed to guess 28 out of 31 correctly, and the Gold Quiz Champions were Colette, Averil and Trisha! As usual there was a mouth-watering buffet consisting of a delicious selection of savoury and sweet treats provided by each of us, plus a complimentary glass of something to wash it down with. There was lots of chatter and laughter throughout the evening, and a chance to win even more prizes from our Raffle. A jolly time was had by all!

23rd May | Otley Hall Gardens visit

Otley Hall is a Tudor-built moated Manor House, and family home, set in 10 acres of beautiful gardens in peaceful Suffolk countryside 8 miles north of Ipswich. Although the house is open at certain times to the public, it was the gardens that Capel Ladies came to visit in mid-May. Otley’s gardener Simon took us on a tour of the extensive gardens pointing out features and telling anecdotes about their origins and history.

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The gardens include a large area of water which was once part of the moat, looking very tranquil with yellow flag iris, cow parsley and ox-eye daisies along  the banks, and plenty of shade-giving trees. There was a grass labyrinth, a herbarium and a knot-garden, all of historical significance but each added comparatively recently by Tudor garden design experts. Also a long, green, arbour-like tunnel covered in honeysuckle and climbing roses amongst other greenery. The only sounds were birdsong and the occasional screech of peacocks (both white and blue) which live in the gardens. After our pleasant walk around we visited the tea room for cake and refreshments. What a nice way to spend a May afternoon!

3rd May | Memories of a Headteacher – talk by Brian Carline

Brian Carline, our speaker in May, is a former Head Teacher with forty years experience in the profession. It turns out he was originally half of a double act in the world of stand-up comedy, and has even appeared on TV in the vintage talent show “New Faces”! He told us that one of the essential qualities of being a good teacher is a sense of humour, and this was well illustrated in his very amusing talk!

He has worked in a number of secondary schools in quite difficult areas of the country, from Toxteth and Salford  to parts of Essex and the East End of London, and he recounted many amusing anecdotes about the staff, pupils and families which he has come across over the years. He had us all laughing from the word go – and yet throughout his talk of the tough characters and difficult families his devotion to the job and his compassion for the pupils in his care was clear for us all to see. A very entertaining evening which culminated in many of us remembering our own school experiences!

19th Apr | ‘Sound of the Past’ Museum – Monks Eleigh

On a beautiful sunny afternoon a group of our Capel Ladies visited this quaint museum in Monks Eleigh. A vintage enthusiast, Paul Goodchild fulfilled his dream when he found a home for his collection of over 500 radios, gramophones and televisions in this former United Reform Church.

His obsession began with a purchase at a car boot sale and built up gradually over the years to what it is now. He originally kept them all in his home, then in sheds in his garden where he restored many of them to working order, but eventually wanted to find a venue where he could display this grand collection. The museum is open to the public on the first Sunday of the month when his friend Bryan entertains on a Hammond organ. He is not allowed to charge, but welcomes donations to Prostate Cancer and Macmillan Nurses.

Exhibits included a Pye TV on which Mr Goodchild remembers watching the Queen’s coronation as a child. Many of us were reminiscing about some of the items which WE could remember, which was a bit worrying!

Report and photos by Pat Bradford