The theme for this year’s Summer Social was, appropriately enough, Europe, and our members had all made the effort to produce plates of food for the buffet with distinct continental connections! Flags and bunting were strewn across the tables, and there was a rather tricky European Quiz, devised by Rose Chiverton, our chairlady! She even managed to ask some of the questions in various European languages! The quiz was won by Di Barker who received her prize of Belgian chocolates! The tasty food and lively chatter made for a very jolly evening!
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
Unfortunately, the Speaker for our May meeting called off unexpectedly, but all was not lost! Our resourceful Chairlady Rose rose to the occasion and entertained us with some very amusing anecdotes about her recent holiday in India! Following this, one or two other members regaled us with interesting or comic accounts of their doings, and we even had a book review thrown into the mix! Then Sue Maynard asked for some volunteers – a few to be guinea pigs whilst others copied her in giving them an Indian Head Massage. This proved very successful and a second set of participants did the same again! It was evidently a very relaxing experience! Refreshments were then served and we had our usual social time chatting. What could have been a disastrous evening proved to be a very enjoyable one after all!
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
It was an evening at the flicks for Capel Ladies and friends at our April meeting. Mark Mitchels took us through the origins of film-making and told us interesting facts and figures about movies through the ages, illustrated by film clips of each genre. Many of these were very familiar while some were new to us – and it was particularly interesting to be told some of the background stories and techniques employed by early film-makers.
There was a good turnout for this meeting and something for everyone’s taste. Many of us gasped at the antics of Harold Lloyd climbing the skyscraper and hanging from the clock-face – done without a stunt-man in sight! We were also amazed by the fast-moving high-speed chase involving Cowboys and Indians in the 1939 black-and-white film “Stagecoach” starring John Wayne, where there were some incredible stunts on and off horseback and stagecoach by fearless stuntmen who must have risked their lives during the making of that movie!
We learnt that the rainwater in that wonderful sequence from “Singing in the Rain” had to be souped-up by adding milk to it in order for it to give the desired effect and appearance for Gene Kelly’s famous dance scene. We also gasped in admiration at the amazing geometry of the violin-playing dancers in Busby Berkeley’s choreographed scene from the 1933 film “Gold-Diggers”. To achieve this perfection Berkeley developed the new technique of having the cameras above the dancers looking down on the action.
All in all, it was a very entertaining evening, which was enjoyed by everyone.
For more of the same why not come along for a taster visit on the first Thursday of the month in Capel Library. We start at 7.45pm and you will be assured of a warm welcome!
Our 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.
Domestic abuse would not have been my first choice of subject for an evening’s Speaker to the members of Capel Ladies Club. However, Katherine Ahluwalia, the Training Co-ordinator for the Lighthouse Women’s Aid Project, made it a very interesting, informative talk, chilling though it was at times, but with a definite positive outlook on the work of this essential organisation.
We began with a Quiz highlighting different types of abuse which amazed us with statistics showing how common and widespread abuse can be. Over two million women aged between 16 and 69, and seven hundred thousand men have experienced abuse at some time in their lives, and locally one thousand women a year call in at Lighthouse’s Berners Street Centre.
“Lighthouse Women’s Aid is a charitable organisation based in Suffolk, providing support and advice to women and children experiencing domestic abuse in their personal or family relationships.” So says the leaflet, and indeed this organisation has been providing safe and supportive refuge in Ipswich since 1976! They offer advice and support from trained staff on any issue in complete confidence and without judgement, and they run a Women and Children’s Wellbeing Centre in central Ipswich. The incredible thing is they are a charity and as such are completely reliant on donations and fund-raising!
Capel Ladies Club gave Katherine a donation at the end of the evening, plus an extra £20.00, being the proceeds of a scarf and jewellery swap-shop organised by Mary Butters on the night.
For more information on Lighthouse visit: www.lighthousewa.org.uk or ring 01473 228270.
Coming up we have visits planned to Little Hall Lavenham, the Theatre and a Garden Tour, plus a talk on The History of Film and a Sausage Evening! Come and join us!