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!

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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

5th Apr | The Royal Gardens – talk by Mark Lane (Head Gardener, Buckingham Palace)

Capel Ladies Club members were very excited about their April speaker, Mark Lane, who was coming to talk to us about The Royal Gardens. BUT – as we found out – there are TWO Mark Lanes, both highly accredited in the gardening sphere. One is the first wheelchair garden designer who also presents “Gardener’s World” from time to time and the other is the Queen’s Head Gardener at Buckingham Palace. Who knew? I think we had all assumed it would be the Gardener’s World Mark Lane, and so when our Chairlady Di Barker and her husband went to collect Mark Lane off the evening train from London prior to the meeting they were looking for a man in a wheelchair!  Misunderstandings corrected, and laughed over, OUR Mark Lane arrived in the Library to give his talk, having come straight from work especially to speak to us, and charging us nothing but the price of his train ticket!

He spoke in a very relaxed style, telling us about the history of the 39-acre garden at Buckingham Palace, and showing photos of the different areas of landscape and planting. There is a large five-acre lawn where the Garden Parties are held, a three-acre lake and a large wildflower area, plus a huge herbaceous border, a rose garden and extensive vegetable plot growing organic produce. The Palace is self-sufficient in its own honey too, having several beehives. There are nearly 500 mature trees and a very comprehensive plant collection. Mark has been Head Gardener at the Palace for over thirty years, and he also oversees the gardens at Clarence House, home to the Prince of Wales. A total of only eight gardeners are employed at these two places which seems surprisingly few as they are kept very busy throughout the year with all the many functions, open days and exhibitions held in the grounds. The Palace grounds are home to many types of wildlife, which bring their own sets of problems – for example large flocks of greylag and Canada geese live by the lake, and of course create a lot of mess which needs to be continually cleared up.

At the end of Mark’s illustrated and interesting talk he answered a number of our questions before leaving to catch his train back to London.

22nd Mar | Teddy (Rock Musical) – New Wolsey Theatre trip


The name “Teddy” might conjure up something cosy and cuddly – but don’t be fooled! This show at the Wolsey was anything but! Set in the deprived area of bomb-blasted streets of south London in the early ‘50s this was a raw and gritty tale of two teenagers, Josie and Teddy, heading out all dolled up and looking for a good time and the excuse to leave their dull, humdrum lives behind for the evening.

They meet by chance and having heard that their favourite rock star Johnny Valentine is in town they decide to go and see him and his band. The problem is – they are flat broke. Having got hold of a gun they rob a pawnbroker’s shop, but things get out of hand and they flee the scene with the cash. Arriving at the club they buy drinks and dance to their favourite music – but it all turns sour when Teddy spills his drink on a guy who doesn’t think it’s too funny. In the fracas that ensues, Josie – who still has the gun – shoots the guy and the show ends with our two protagonists under arrest.

With plenty of colourful language this was a vibrant and lively show. The two stars were on the stage the whole time, speaking their own parts as well as cleverly voicing those of other characters involved, and the action and drama were non-stop. All this with some stunning dance moves and a brilliant script, plus moments of high tension, made this a great show. Mention must also be made of the four-piece band – “Johnny Valentine & Friends” who played live throughout, giving us original numbers written for the show plus “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Rock Around the Clock” which they performed at the end as an encore. The party of Capel Ladies who saw it couldn’t fail to be caught up in it! Not what we thought it would be, but very memorable!