December 2021 report

In order to keep the momentum going, as it were, Capel Ladies members had the chance to visit Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market, in mid-October for delicious tea and cakes in The Barn Café. There were also a few outlets such as a farm shop with a wide range of fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, delicatessen, bakery items and Christmas goodies for sale, plus craft and antique shops and a small nursery, so plenty to look at and lots of tempting things to buy! A pleasant drive in the autumn sunshine, too!

Our November In-meeting was one of a spooky nature! Robert Halliday gave us an illustrated talk entitled “Suffolk Ghosts and Hauntings”, which included several first-hand accounts of his own experiences! There were no headless horsemen or grey ladies involved, but also a number of sightings and unexplained occurrences which had happened to quite ordinary people, and which had been verified by others who had witnessed similar things. Altogether very credible narratives which left many of us with open minds as to whether or not we believe in the supernatural! After the talk there was time for questions and shared experiences, and a chance to buy one of Robert’s several books about Suffolk and its intriguing past.

In addition to our Speaker we welcomed back Lynne McConnachie selling her home-made greetings cards for the Brain Tumour charity, and Mel Smith who brought along some of her creative art including coasters, jewellery and decorative Christmas items for sale too.

We are now looking forward to our Christmas Lunch at The Brook at Washbrook in early December, and our Christmas Social on December 16th in the Vine Lounge at Capel Community Centre, and in the New Year we hope to be in the audience at the Orchard Players’ production entitled “Musical of Dreams”. Lots to look forward to, and – in spite of everything – lots to look back on, too, in this strange year! Wishing all members and readers of this article a very Happy and Healthy Christmas, and all the very best for the New Year!

November 2021 report

Now that Autumn has arrived, we are properly into our Autumn programme, and we now have something a bit more meaty to report on!

Brian Faulkner & Chairlady
Mary Butters

After our entertaining Jazz Galore Social we had a second gathering in September for our Open Evening. It was a very successful night with the craft and cards stalls as well as Kristy Barbouti’s Zova Chic clothing outlet for visitors and members to browse. There was a raffle which included some floral table arrangements made by Linda Evans, and coffee and cakes were served. At least two new members signed up and there were a few more interested ladies who promised to come to our next meeting. This was, of course, the talk by Brian Faulkner, the charismatic vet, entitled “Oh, the Life of a Vet…!” on 7th October.

Brian was born into a Northern Ireland farming family, the eldest of three children. His family had a mixed farm with cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens, and they also grew vegetables, largely potatoes. It was generally expected of Brian that, as the oldest boy, he would take over the family farm when he grew up, but instead he went off to Edinburgh University to train as a vet. Although his training involved all types of animals, he preferred the smaller creatures and domestic pets, and after working in Lincolnshire for a while he eventually married a Suffolk-born girl and his current practice is in Aldeburgh, not far from where he lives. Being very interested in animal and human behaviour he also gained a degree in psychology, and has lectured on this in different parts of the world.

He gave us a very interesting and amusing talk, relating some of his funny experiences with different animals, and he told us that a lot of the time the problems animals have can be aggravated by the way they are kept and treated. Their owners sometimes need to be educated in how to look after them properly with careful attention to their diet, exercise and surroundings. Much like humans really! Capel Ladies had one or two questions for him, and we even learnt some interesting facts about the sex life of the ferret! A very entertaining evening – and so nice to be back at a normal scheduled meeting!

Here are the details of our Programme leading up until Christmas, which we hope will go ahead without any further Covid restrictions! As a rule, we meet on the first Thursday of each month in Capel Library, with the meeting starting at 7.45pm., although it’s best to arrive by 7.30pm to find a seat. On the 3rd Thursday of the month we usually have an outing of some kind. We hope to see as many of you as possible who would like to join us at these events!

  • 4th November – ‘Suffolk Ghosts and Hauntings’ – Robert Halliday.
  • 18th November – Trip to Corncraft, Monks Eleigh for Christmas Shopping (own transport).
  • 2nd December – Christmas Meal at The Brook, Washbrook (details coming soon).
  • 16th December – Christmas Social, with table decoration demo by Brenda Eyers.

We look forward to welcoming anyone who would like to join us! For more details please see elsewhere on the website, or ring our Chairlady Mary Butters on 01473 310859.

October 2021 report

Our delayed Summer Social in September was jazzed up a bit this year by a lively band of musicians in the shape of Jazz Galore, when they entertained Capel Ladies in the Vine Lounge.

The turnout from members was rather disappointing, but then some were still away on holiday, (including myself), or unable to be there on the night. However, there were also a few guests and prospective new members, and those who were there enjoyed the evening as it was also a chance to see people and catch up over the cold buffet with everyone bringing a plate of food to share.

Jazz Galore played a number of well-known tunes and there was plenty of foot-tapping in accompaniment around the room. Their members come from all over Suffolk and are quite used to travelling across the county to different gigs. Look out for a chance to see them again as they may have other local bookings too! I, personally, was sorry to miss them!

At the time of writing, our Open Evening on the 16th September is all set to go ahead. Fingers crossed it is a successful evening and we will have attracted some new potential members!

Brian Faulkner, the charismatic vet, will be our speaker for October, definitely not one to miss!

Meanwhile, check out our website, or pop along on the first Thursday of the month at 7.45pm to Capel Library. Everyone welcome!

September 2021 report

As you are reading this no doubt Capel Ladies Club members will have enjoyed their delayed Summer Social in the Vine Lounge, listening to Jazz Galore and tucking into their shared buffet supper! Let’s hope it really IS the start of things getting back to normal again! More details of the evening and photos will be posted soon.

We finished our summer meetings with a delicious lunch out at The Brook in Washbrook. The weather was on our side, and many of us sat in the garden to have our lunch, while another group decided to stay indoors and avoid the risk of sunburn. However, the groups did mingle in and out to catch up with each other, and there was also a special guest to chat to, as ex-member Joan Molle had joined us from Stowmarket!

A new season marks a new start – and a new name! It is proposed that CLC will now stand for:
CAPEL LADIES CONNECT!
(although, at time of writing, this is still in the melting pot… watch this space!)

We are trying to change our image and become more vibrant and interactive to all age-ranges, and – as the new name implies – to CONNECT with both our current and potential new members! To this end we will be holding an Open Evening on 16th September! Look out for our advert in Capel Capers this month, and for posters around the village!

Ladies of all ages are warmly invited to this FREE event – non-members very welcome! You can drop in any time from 7.30pm to meet our friendly committee and members, have a coffee/tea and some cake, as well as peruse local fashion and craft stalls from two enterprising local ladies.

Kristie Barbouti will have a selection of versatile clothing and accessories for sale, from her online business ZovaChic, and you can also discover Lynn McConnachie’s range of innovative ‘seed’ cards, and other creations, made in support of the BrainTumour Trust.

Why not come along on 16th September at 7.30pm to Capel Library and see what’s on offer? Bring a friend along too!

With all this excitement there’s another event to look forward to! Our October 7th meeting will host the extremely charismatic vet Brian Faulkner, whose amusing anecdotes about the ‘Life of a Vet’ are sure to make you smile!

Hope we’ve shown you there’s something for everyone and lots to enjoy – plus good company of course! See you there!

August 2021 report

The good news from Capel Ladies is that we are most definitely a fully-functioning Club again, even though, to date, we have not been able to hold any indoor meetings. Our big disappointment was having to postpone our Summer Social and entertainment with Jazz Galore in July because of the extended date for the relaxation of Covid restrictions, which meant no large indoor gatherings. Nevertheless, we are still looking forward to this on the first Thursday of September, so it’ll be a great way to start the new season!

Meanwhile we have enjoyed two coffee and cake outings, to The Milk Shed at Sproughton, and The Stables at Martlesham. Both venues sound very rustic, and indeed they were peaceful locations but with very tasty refreshments!

Our five intrepid scarecrow-makers had great fun creating a very glamorous lady complete with bling and leopard-skin heels! She cut quite a dash in Chairlady Mary Butter’s front garden during the Scarecrow Trail! Hope she gave people a few chuckles too.

Our next meeting is a lunch at The Brook, Washbrook, where at last we will all be able to sit together indoors! It’s the final fixture of the season, so fingers crossed we’ll be able to go back to regular meetings in the autumn.

Wishing you all a relaxing and restriction-free sunny summer!

See you in September! (as the song goes!) New members always welcome!

Tea Party + 2021 July Report

Capel Ladies Club finally hit the road again at the end of May with our postponed Tea Party attended by a couple of dozen members on a beautiful sunny day in Liz and Tony Gullivers’ lovely garden! We even managed a sizeable Raffle and most people won a prize of some kind! We are now looking forward to our Summer Social on 1st July, when Jazz Galore will be entertaining us in the Community Centre, and there will be the usual cold buffet and access to the Bar!

Before this we plan an afternoon trip out for coffee at the Milkshed Cafe, at Sproughton, on 17th June at 2.30pm, and with the Scarecrow Trail weekend coming in July we have a scarecrow-making team ready for the challenge to create a mysterious and glamorous lady!

I reckon we’ll all take a breath in August for our summer break, ready for our new season which will hopefully begin in September, back in the Library from 7.45pm on the first Thursday of the month!

Guests and new members always welcome! Have a good summer!

June 2021 report

Well – the great news is that Capel Ladies Club is BACK!! With any luck (and the weather on our side!) we will have held one outdoor, socially-distanced, limited-capacity meeting in the form of a Tea Party in Liz and Tony Gullivers’ garden on the afternoon of the 27th May! Hopefully it was able to ahead, along with much catching-up and conviviality!

A further planned get-together is for “A Cup of Coffee at a Mystery Venue”, on June 17th. Details are yet to be confirmed but it’s yet another date for the diary!

Our WhatsApp group is growing too, and proving very useful for instant messaging and passing on news, gossip and funnies! Any CLC members who haven’t yet signed up to this please let our Chairlady Mary Butters have your mobile number so she can add you to the group.

More formally, we hope to have the first ‘proper’ meeting, our Summer Social with Jazz Galore, in the Library at 7.15pm on Thursday 1st July. Entrance by ticket (£5) only, which must be booked in advance.

For further details and to book, please contact Linda Evans: 01473 311262.

For some extra publicity we are hoping that a group of members will get together to create a Fantastic Female as an entry to the popular Scarecrow Trail in the village, to be held in the first week of July. Fingers crossed!

We’ve also processed an application to share a spot in the Floral Display at the shopping precinct with the WI again this summer, after somehow missing out last year! So keep a lookout when the time comes….

Meanwhile, CLC is on the up-and-up, so let’s hope the weather takes its cue from that! We could all do with some warm sunny days to sit outside with a glass or a cup of something! Check out our website for some of the ways we’ve spent sunny days in the past, and get a flavour of what Capel Ladies Club is all about! Maybe you’ll even want to join us; all are welcome!

Sue Woolgar

May 2021 report

Well – although it’s a glorious sunny day as I write this and all the lovely spring flowers are out, it’s PERISHING cold outside, and there was ice on the bird bath this morning! Anyway, that doesn’t stop Capel Ladies Club members from doing their own thing – and during Lockdowns several of them have been busy re-discovering old hobbies and crafts, while others have taken up something new!

Activities include bird-watching, jigsaws, cooking, gardening, reading and even painting – both the D.I.Y. kind as well as the more artistic sort.

One member, Penny Thompson, has been quite prolific in producing watercolours, and indeed one of her efforts even ended up being framed and sold in a Hadleigh art shop, which came as quite a surprise to her when she spotted it!

Her interest in painting began around five years ago when she joined the “Art for Fun” club, which (in normal times) meets weekly on Monday mornings in St Mary’s Church Hall, and it’s something she has missed very much over this last year. Hopefully it will run again once things are back on an even keel. (Two of Penny’s watercolours are shown here.)

Another Lockdown activity for some members has been walking, especially in and around the village, and on the many local footpaths, some of which combine to make circular walks in the Capel area.

For those of you who haven’t been on any of these recognised walks, three leaflets are available from the Parish Council office or the Drayton Insurance office free of charge. Now that May is here with the warmer weather, these walks are ideal for families to get out and explore the area and enjoy the countryside! (Don’t forget to take a plastic carrier bag with you to bring your litter home – and maybe to pick up any cans, packets or bottles which others have thoughtlessly discarded. This may mean you need some disposable gloves as well, but it’s a good lesson for children to learn too!)

C.L.C. have now got a WhatsApp group going strong, which involved some members being introduced to texting for the first time! It works really well and often does the trick when it comes to cheering someone up with a ‘funny’ or just passing the time of day! We hope it won’t be TOO long before we can hold a proper meeting face-to-face.

Sue Woolgar

April 2021 report

Well, it’s time for Spring Cleaning – and Capel Ladies Club chairlady Mary Butters has certainly been dusting the cobwebs away and freshening things up on the Capel Ladies front! She has been busy recruiting members to join a new WhatsApp group called “CLC Connecting” to bring us all closer together and make it easier to CONNECT with all members instantly! This will be invaluable when it comes to sending out memos, dates, times, etc., to everyone, particularly if there has been a change of plan or cancellation of something at the last minute! Our new club mantra is going to be CONNECT, too, so all very appropriate!

The Club has been successful in its bid for a Parish Grant, and has received £150, which will go towards the purchase of a card-reader for electronic payments at meetings. This will be a great help to the Treasurer and make things more efficient. We are certainly being dragged into the 21st century!

Finally – in last month’s Capers, Sharon asked for reports about new Lockdown activities that people have tried… so here’s the story about…

Mary’s Mighty Mushroom!

(From our Chairlady Mary Butters)

Having received a family Christmas present of a mushroom-growing kit, we set it up following the instructions, (which came in ten languages!), and waited for the suggested period of three weeks for results. As time went by there was little evidence of much happening – except for just ONE tiny mushroom. Gradually this little bump began to develop – and then it literally MUSHROOMED before our very eyes! Fearing it might explode we decided to pick it (carefully!) and prepare something edible… It weighed in at 165grams – the weight of a normal punnetful!  We found a suitable mushroom recipe for a lunchtime delicacy on toast – and it really was DELICIOUS! The growing kit suggests at least three crops are possible, and currently a second one of at least six is coming along nicely, as is our new enthusiasm for Fungiculture! Watch this space for future Lockdown activities!

A poem… ‘One Day’ by Donna Ashworth

I recently came across this poem written by a British poet called Donna Ashworth, who writes uplifting poems, many of which have women in mind. The theme of this poem will resonate with many readers of both sexes, I think!


Today, I dared to let myself dream,
That the world will one day open again.
That the locks will loosen, the walls will fall,
The doors will fly open and reunite us all.

I dared to imagine the warmth of a cuddle,
A group of my friends all locked in a huddle.
I felt all the heartbeats, drumming with mine,
I heard all the laughter, I tasted the wine.

I thought of the feelings I’ve missed for long,
The room full of music, united by song.
The freedom to roam, to plan and to meet
To hold someone’s hand, to meet, to greet.

Just for a moment I dared to dream of,
The flights I would board to the places I love.
The moment those eyes would meet mine at the gate,
The feeling of joy after so long a wait.

Today, I dared to let myself dream,
That the life we once had would happen again.
That we’d no longer fear the danger of air,
That our lives would not depend on such care.

They say that we mustn’t wish time away,
But it’s hard, my friend, when faced with a day,
So long in blank hours and so wiped of laughter,
It’s tempting to drift away to thereafter.

So yes, I dared to dream just a while,
Of life coming back, it brought me a smile.
One day I know, this will be in the past,
And hugs will be free, again, at last.

Donna Ashworth
Author of ‘To The Women’ and ‘History Will Remember’. Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08LRGWY74/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_HubdGbPF31SR5