Dec 21st | Christmas Social

Our Christmas Social 2017 was another happy occasion with decorations on the tables, a Grand Christmas Raffle, the Members’ Hamper Draw and even a Secret Santa surprise at the end! As usual each member brought a plate of food to share, and there was a tremendous variety of snacks and party food. Irene Carder had a seasonal quiz for us with chocolates as prizes, and the winners were Beryl Backler and Sue Woolgar. The draw for the fantastic Christmas hamper, put together by Pat Bradford and Shirley Ward, was won by Jacky Lloyd amidst great applause. Di Barker thanked all the committee for their hard work over the year and reminded everyone of the coming AGM in January when some new committee members will be chosen.

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Dec 7th | Christmas Meal at The Chequers, Great Blakenham

There was a jolly atmosphere at The Chequers, Great Blakenham, where a large party of Capel Ladies Club members gathered for their annual Christmas meal. The service was good, the decor was bright and modern, the tables were festive and the meal was delicious! The food was served piping hot and with generous portions, and everyone enjoyed the dishes they had chosen. It was definitely a good start to Christmas 2017!

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Nov 15th | Shopping Trip to Bury St Edmunds

A coachful of Capel Ladies Club members and friends left Capel at 9.30am on a Wednesday in mid-November for a spot of Shopping – whether it be Window or Christmas – and a look round for bargains. Our destination was Bury St Edmunds, where it was market day, and the town was bustling but not too overcrowded.

Some of us had a list but most were just browsing or looking to pick up a bargain from one of the many sales that seemed to be on. I think we all started with a coffee somewhere, and there were lots of options for lunch or afternoon tea as well!

One of the smaller models of the Cathedral available to buy as a Lego Kit from the Cathedral gift shop.

One group ventured as far as the Cathedral, where after a look round they took part in a charity fund-raising scheme, first launched in May 2016, by buying a Lego brick for £1.00. The brick will be added to a scale model of the Cathedral which is being built to raise funds for a youth outreach project to provide a lasting legacy which can be used by all the community. Their target is to raise £200,000 (200,000 pieces of Lego) to create the model, and it’s reckoned this could take several years! To date 32,000 bricks have been installed! Only four Cathedrals in the UK have been interpreted in this way, and Bury’s is the only build in the East of England. If you visit Bury over the next few months, why not add a brick or two yourself?

At 4.30pm we all returned to the coach, some carrying bags of goodies and others with heads full of good ideas for gifts. Everyone agreed it had been a successful trip, and it was a nice change to go somewhere different.

Nov 2nd | The History of War Memorials with Griff Johns & Bill Dimond

With the planned inauguration of Capel’s own new War Memorial coming in 2018 it seemed appropriate a week before Remembrance Day this year to find out something of the origin and history of such monuments, and Bill and Griff came to Capel Ladies Club to give a presentation about this very subject.

One or two people amongst us weren’t sure they would be able to keep from dropping off during a talk like this, but they were pleasantly surprised as it proved an interesting and informative talk and slideshow.

The term “war memorial” can be used to describe a monument, building or statue which has been erected to celebrate or honour a war or a victory, and an example of this is Trajan’s Column, erected in Rome during the 2nd century AD. It commemorates the victory of the Roman emperor Trajan over the Dacians and is a 126-foot marble pillar with carvings spiralling around it of the various battles that were involved, so that it reads like a comic strip. There are also a number of Triumphal Arches around the world that glorify victories and commemorate famous generals and leaders.

However, the Great War of 1914/18 – the “War to end all wars” –  was so terrible and inflicted such large numbers of casualties on all sides that many thousands of families around the world were affected by the tragedy of the wounding or loss of one of their own, and whole communities were depleted of many of their young men. Consequently, after the war there was a strong feeling and a need felt by those left behind to preserve the memory of the dead and the wounded, and those people and places scarred forever by their involvement in such an appalling  and world-changing event.

Memorials to the First World War are many and varied, and throughout  the UK most villages and towns erected their own memorial, be it a stone column on the village green or a plaque in the local parish church. Names of the dead were also included on the memorial so that they should never be forgotten. Although we have a plaque in St Mary’s Church to those killed in the Great War, and a Book of Remembrance which honours those killed in World War II, there is no stone memorial in the centre of the village.

Some injured soldiers from Capel were cared for at the old Anglesea Road hospital in Ipswich, so at the time the village decided to send its money to Anglesea Road, rather than spend it on an inanimate object like a war memorial, however worthy.

However, in recent years, after thoughts were galvanised into action, former Royal Marine Griff Johns found himself archivist of The Capel St Mary War Memorial Trust – a small group of villagers determined to unveil a permanent memorial in the centre of Capel on the 11th day of the 11th month, 2018: the 100th anniversary of the guns falling silent. Griff has been researching the 33 men so far identified who did not see Suffolk again. They are all associated with the parish through school, family or birth, and their names will be carved on the granite memorial.

To this end there has been active fund-raising and publicity, and after giving a very informative and well-illustrated talk to our members, Griff and associate Bill Dimond were presented with a cheque towards this worthy fund.

Oct 25th | The Dedham Players – One Man Two Guvnors

A small group of Capel Ladies went to the Assembly Rooms in Dedham to see a production of “One Man, Two Guvnors” performed by the Dedham Players.

This is a quirky, crazy farce, set in 1960’s Brighton, and involves Francis Henshall, an out-of-work musician, who ends up working for two different bosses – one, a supposed gangster and the other, an upper class fool – whilst trying to stop them from meeting each other and discovering his ploy. Further complications occur involving a heavy trunk, mixed-up letters, an elderly waiter and several unlucky audience volunteers! By the end of the play Francis has managed to hold down both jobs, whilst getting paid and fed, and finally finds love. It’s a happy ending, too, for the other characters, who have also gone through an equally confusing time! A real romp with some energetic performances! A very entertaining evening!

Oct 5th | Craft Evening with Linda Bloomfield

There were furrowed brows and serious looks of deep concentration at our October Capel Ladies Meeting. The person to blame was Linda Bloomfield who, once again, had set us the task of being creative and producing an attractive decorative item for the festive season!

As it turned out, it was 100% success rate this year – and we all managed to make a rather cute little fir-cone gnome, one which could be hung on a festive tree or stood in pride of place on a mantelpiece amongst the cards! Some skilful members even graduated to bauble-making using string wound round and glued to a sphere and then decorated with sequins, but the majority were more than happy with their fir-cone gnomes!

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Linda buzzed about with felt and needles, and there was a hum of conversation in the Library, punctuated only by “Mmmmm!”s as we chomped our way through the home-made “chocolate bark” slabs which Linda had thoughtfully placed on each table. Naughty but very nice!

Several people bought Christmas cards, again home-made by Linda, and in so-doing raised £25 for the East Anglian Children’s Hospice. A very enjoyable evening was had by all!

Sept 21st | Visit to the Munnings Art Museum, Dedham

On a beautiful early autumn afternoon a small group of Capel Ladies went to visit the Alfred Munnings Museum at Dedham. If you have never visited here it is well worth the short trip.

We all enjoyed looking at his paintings, many of horses, which were his first love, but also landscapes – a number of which were local scenes of Dedham Vale and the River Stour. There was also a special exhibition entitled “Munnings and the River” which included a lovely series of pictures showing ladies boating on the Stour at Flatford. Everything is well explained with clear information to read, and very helpful Guides in each room.

The house – which was Munnings’ well-loved home, is also very interesting, with much of his original furniture, books, sculptures and china still there, exactly as it was in his lifetime. After a pleasant time in the house we moved on to his studio to see where he painted, with more exhibits in here too.

The afternoon finished with our group enjoying delicious, very generous pieces of cake sitting outside in the Garden Café, watching the horses in the adjoining field – rather apt considering Munnings’ love of horses. You can find out more about the museum by visiting its website: www.munningsmuseum.org.uk

(Report by Di Barker)