Aug 3rd | Summer Barbecue

After all those lovely summer evenings in June and July the night of the Capel Ladies Barbecue turned out to be unsettled, cool and very blustery! However, we were safely tucked away inside a marquee, courtesy of Liz and Tony Gulliver, our hosts, enjoying a delicious spread of barbecued meats and salads, followed by a selection of creamy gateaux, so the weather didn’t affect us in the slightest. We had a tricky quiz from Pat Bradford where we had to match the correct event to the year it happened, and a Lucky Raffle Prize Draw. At the end of the evening Di Barker thanked our hosts and presented them with wine and flowers. The end of another Barbecue, but let’s hope it’s not the end of another summer!

Coming up we have a touch of Turkish sunshine from our September speaker Jenny Gibbs, a trip to the Munnings Museum with afternoon tea, and a craft evening.

July 20th | The Shelley Centre & Riding for the Disabled Charity – talk by Chairman Jan Derbyshire

Our July meeting saw Jan Derbyshire, chairman of The Shelley Centre for Therapeutic Riding, accompanied by her deputy Chairman Margaret Fowler, come to talk to us about the Riding for the Disabled charity.

Jan started with the words “It’s what you CAN do that counts” and then read a poem entitled “I Can”.

Jan explained to us that she was an unlikely character to be where she is today, at the head of a riding centre for disabled people.  She was raised in Uganda, later moving to Hong Kong. She eventually came back to this country and was a “Townie” living and working in London, in nursing, in banking and also in recruitment, then moving to Dedham 30 years ago. After retirement a chance meeting with a neighbour got her volunteering for an hour a week at the Shelley Centre, which is set in picturesque countryside.

An hour a week led to a day a week, she learnt to lead a horse, then to ride a horse; she trained to be an instructor, then she went on the Committee and eight years ago became Chairman of what is now a Trust.

We found out that riding has long been known to improve mental and physical health, even as long ago as in Greece in the 5th Century B.C., and it was used to help First World War victims. The Riding for the Disabled Charity officially came in to being in 1969, and there were 80 groups scattered throughout the country. Now there are 600, including The Shelley Centre for Therapeutic Riding, which has been open since 1989. It has seen many changes over the years, with the introduction of Health and Safety regulations, CRB checks, First Aid requirements, etc.

The Centre has 10 horses and ponies, lots of tack and specialist equipment, and even a side-saddle. They have a carriage for driving and Ebony the computerised mechanical horse. (You may have read ‘Ebony’s Blog’ in Capel Capers.)  There are between 95 and 100 volunteers and over 100 riders attend each week. The Centre costs £70,000 a year to run, so much fund-raising is needed.

Jan impressed upon us that RDA is a therapy, not just a ride on a horse. Riding uses every muscle in the body, improves internal organs as well as posture, and gives the riders more self-confidence. They also have to try to fit the school curriculum into lessons, using colours, letters and numbers, amongst other things, in the arena. She also told us that many of the Paralympians, like Sophie Christiansen, have been discovered through the RDA.

We saw several film clips showing children and adults riding, and so obviously enjoying every minute of it, and we heard from families what a big impact RDA has had on those they were able to help. In some cases the riders said it was the first time they had ever been able to achieve anything which made them feel they had been set free from their disabilities for that short time when they are sat on their horse.

Jan was an excellent speaker, full of information delivered passionately and with wit. At the end of this very informative and enjoyable evening we presented Jan with a cheque for £100 to help The Shelley Centre’s funds.

For more information visit their website: www.rda-east.org.uk/shelley.html

July 6th | ‘Time After Time’ – The Orchard Players’ Show

James Finbow and Charlea Burwood
star in “Time After Time”

Our first July meeting was a visit to the Orchard Players’ Show, “Time After Time” at Capel Village Hall. The show featured songs from the 70’s and 80’s, accompanied by an excellent live band, and featured a good mix of favourite numbers. The dancing in particular was excellent, and there were some terrific performances from the younger members of the cast. A feel-good fun night out!

June 15th | Evening Mystery Tour

The evening of June 15th was warm and balmy – a perfect summer’s evening, in fact, when around 20 adventure-seeking ladies boarded the coach for our Mystery Tour. At least the name of the coach company inspired confidence – “Boomerang Tours” – so we knew we would eventually arrive back where we started!

Anyway, both David, our driver and Alex, our guide seemed to know exactly where we were going so that was OK! We were on a wildlife and history coach tour and Alex called out questions along the way to see if we could guess the names of villages, plants, birds or animals that we might encounter en-route.

We were on a tour of the Deben villages and the countryside seen from the coach was a picture in greens and golds, splashed here and there with scarlet from wayside poppies!

Our first stop was picturesque Ramsholt Church with its round tower overlooking a peaceful bend on the River Deben. The churchyard was full of wild flowers and the church was cool and quiet inside. After looking round and drinking in the beautiful views under a bright blue summer sky we reluctantly moved on a short distance in the coach and came to The Ramsholt Arms. This pub has an idyllic location below the church on the sandy shores of the river, and on summer evenings there’s nowhere better to sit with a glass of something gazing at the sparkles on the water, or peering up and down the river to catch glimpses of herons or cormorants, or perhaps a barn owl swooping over fields on the opposite bank.

We stopped here for a drink and to sample the two home-made cakes baked the previous night by our guide Alex, and I can vouch for the fact that they were both delicious!

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Back in the coach and down a few more narrow lanes to Bawdsey, at the mouth of the river, opposite Felixstowe Ferry, where the ferryman in his rowing boat plies his trade. We were too late to see it in operation, of course, but just in time to see the beginnings of a glorious sunset! After a short wander we boarded the coach again for a leisurely ride home.

En route we listened to more interesting facts from Alex about what we were passing – from details of the wildlife, trees and plants to historical facts and information about people and places connected with the area, from Saxon Ship Burials to Alien Encounters! We rolled into Capel just as it was getting dark – about 10.15 pm. after a delightful evening!

June 10th | Capel Fun Day – our stall

Our stall at FUN DAY on 10th June 2017 was aptly named “ALL BOTTLED UP”. We had all filled empty jars and bottled with goodies – mainly with children in mind. We also had a “Guess the number of Jellybeans in the Jar” competition.

Altogether we raised £83.80, including £7 for the competition. A little boy called George from Winding Piece won the jellybeans. His guess was 178 and there were 182 in the jar.
All except 8 jars sold – a successful afternoon!

June 1st | Summer Social – “Ladies Day at Ascot”

There is no such thing as “Ladies Day” at Ascot Races. It’s actually known as “Gold Cup Day” – but however you call it, Capel Ladies held their own SPECIAL “Ladies Day at Ascot” as part of their Summer Social in the Vine Lounge.

Everyone wore their posh outfits, complete with hats and fascinators, to add to the atmosphere of the occasion, and there was bunting round the room and flower arrangements (made by Shirley and Pat) on the tables.

Barbara Faulkner was on hand to tell us all about the history of Ascot from its origins to modern times, and she also organised some real horse-races for us to participate in! We were in groups of 4 or 5, with a small bundle of monopoly money, a racing card listing the horses, a jockey’s cap and a dice. One of us was the jockey, one was the owner of the horse, one the trainer and the others punters. The jockeys had to go and stand by the “track” which was a board marked out in lanes and grid lines, each lane with its own toy horse waiting at one end for the “off!”

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At Barbara’s whistle, each group rolled their dice and shouted the score to the jockey at the trackside, who would then move their horse along the track for the required number of spaces. The winner was presented with a rosette and a cup, and also received their winnings if they had bet money on their own horse! It was great fun, and the overall winners were Table One who had amassed a total of £800! The jockey and owner received the Gold Cup from “the Queen” in a special presentation!

After all the excitement there was our bring-and-share high-class buffet to tackle, and a glass of prosecco for each lady! All in all it was an evening to remember!

If you fancy your chances and are willing to put up your membership fee you’ll be made very welcome – come and join us!

May 18th | Winery visit – DJ Wines, Earl Soham

It was a bit of a “Mystery Tour” finding the way to DJ Wines at Monk Soham, but the Capel Ladies Club party were an intrepid group and didn’t give up until they found the exact location in a one-time piggery in the heart of Suffolk. This is where Derek Jones produces hand-made fruit wines, fruit liqueurs and mead, using mainly locally sourced fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, elderflowers and honey.

Derek has been running his wine business for over five years. He used to be a cheesemaker and has also worked at Otley College. His change of career obviously paid off, as his business now sells his wine to the Co-op and also exhibits at fairs and shows.

He uses slow, natural methods to make his wines, adding only minimum amounts of sugar, plus yeast, so they taste “full of fruit and deliciously natural” according to him. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say – and so Capel Ladies were given the chance to try several different wines along with artisan breads from Framlingham, cheeses from “Suffolk Cheeses” plus salamis and rapeseed oil dip.

The three drivers in the party were given elderflower cordial but the rest of the party enjoyed sampling the wines and also mead made from Suffolk heather honey. A nice way to spend a sunny afternoon in May!

For more information see the website:   www.dj-wines.com