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Newsletter – Spring 2014

Dear Member May 2014

As we come to the end of our 2013/14 programme and look forward to a summer like last year,

my thoughts turn to ‘next year’s’ programme. Our core events will remain the same and after

last year’s success, we will again have a BBQ and skittles evenings. A new social event will

be an afternoon Garden Tea Party, to the American plate format (ie bring a plate of food – and

also a picnic chair) – if the weather is inclement, I leave it to your own judgement whether or

not to come!

At the AGM it was decided that the Burns Dinner Dance be held on Friday 23 January 2015 at

Stratford Town Hall, subject to confirmation that we would not be subject to security charges.

However the Town Council would not relent and another venue was sought. This has now

been finalised at Stratford Racecourse and the Friday evening will be tried out.

I have just heard that The Buzz, our venue for the Dance Club and AGM is likely to be closed

in the autumn! Dates and times for these events are subject to finding another venue.

Sunday 15 June Garden Tea Party at 26 Meadow Road, Alcester B49 6BA 3 for 3.30

Sunday 20 July BBQ at 26 Meadow Road, Alcester ( £5 ) 4.30 pm

Sunday 21 September President’s Lunch, Jubilee Court Centre, Alcester B49 6AQ 12 for 12.30

Friday 28 November Church Service, St Andrew’s Church, Shottery 6.30

Saturday 29 November Haggis Supper, Tiddington Community Centre 7 for 7.30

Friday 23 January Burns Dinner Dance, Stratford Racecourse 7 for 7.30

March AGM, date and time at new venue – to be arranged

Saturday 09 May Annual Dance, Tiddington Community Centre (not confirmed) 7.30

Dance Club: dates and times at new venue – to be arranged

Book Group: meets once a month at The Bell, Shottery on a Thursday at 11.15am.

Skittles Evenings: Fridays in September and March – TBA

As you are aware our website was managed by the late Heskett Dawson and I seek your forbearance

until we are able to keep the site up-to-date again.

At the AGM the annual subscription was set at £11 (unchanged) and is due by 1 August 2014.

I would remind you that the Dance Club is still being held on Tuesday evenings at The Buzz. The

Book Group is also still running and the next book to be reviewed on 19 June at 11.15am is ‘Joseph

Knight’ by James Robertson.

The following event remains on our 2013/14 calendar:

Tuesday 20 May Last Dance Club – all invited for nibbles at 9pm. NB car parking at The Buzz is

now charged, so find a free on-street parking space!

As we are a small society, I would urge you to attend as many events as you are able and to bring

along as many friends as you can.

Best wishes

George Kenneth

President

Newsletter – Spring, 2012

I have called this the spring newsletter but still have the vestiges of snow in the back garden so I am hoping that spring is just around the corner and that the recent bad weather has not upset too many plans.

On 28th January we had our traditional Burns Dinner at Stratford Town Hall which was well attended and very much enjoyed by all. My thanks go to everyone who participated (speakers, entertainers, caterers, committee and club members) in making the evening such a success. It was lovely to see so many of the members and guests on the floor for the dancing which rounded off the evening. Have a look at the Gallery page to see a selection of photos.

It was my pleasure and privilege to say a few words of thanks to Alastair and Shirley for the sterling work they have done over the years for the Society and in particular to Alastair for his organisational skills in putting together the Burns Dinner and bringing it to the high standard of finesse which we have come to expect. They were then presented with a token of our gratitude and the Society wish them well with their move to be with their family in Kent. We shall miss them and hope that they may venture back to Stratford to attend some of our events in the future.

Our next event is the Young People’s Concert at the Girls’ Grammar School in Shottery on Sunday, 11th March. This has always proved to be an enjoyable afternoon and in the past the audience has always been impressed by the high standard of skill and talent of the young performers.

It is a pleasant and uplifting way to spend a Sunday afternoon and tickets are now available at a cost of £3 for adults, children under 16 attend free. Proceeds from the sale of tickets will be donated to school/charity to promote the musical education of children in the area.

The 20th March is our AGM to be held at St Gregory’s Hall in Windsor Street. The meeting will start at 7.30 pm prompt and will be followed by light refreshments and some easy dances. Notices and papers for this will be going out shortly but if you have any queries or items for inclusion in the agenda I look forward to hearing from you.

We will be finishing off the year with our annual dance which this year will be at Tiddington Community Centre on 26th May and we are fortunate to have live music this year from Chris Dewhurst and his Band. Space will be limited and it is therefore recommended that you apply early for your ticket which is £10 for dancers and £8 for non-dancers. Admission will be by ticket only and attendees are asked to bring with them a plate of savouries to share.

We have had the inaugural meeting of the Society’s Book Group. For the time being these meetings will take place about once a month at The Bell in Shottery. Our next meeting is on Thursday 8th March at 2.30 pm and the book to be read for February/March is, “The vanishing of Esme Lennox” by Maggie O’Farrell. We propose to read and discuss books mostly with a Scottish flavour whether it be a Scottish author, set in Scotland, or some other Scottish connection. Other books may be introduced from time to time on the recommendation or at the discretion of members. All are welcome to join in the discussions and Joan Dawson will be happy to answer any queries. If you are interested in finding out more about this venture please contact us via the website or speak to Joan.

Look forward to seeing you at some or all of these events.

 

Glynis Nicol

President

Newsletter – Summer, 2012

According to the calendar we should be well into summer, the longest day having been and gone in the past week, however the weather is telling us something decidedly different and I do hope you have not been drastically affected by the recent storms.

Again I was privileged to represent the Society at the Shakespeare Celebrations in April. The day started with a reception at the Town Hall and I have to thank Joan, Heskett, Moira and John for accompanying me to this and then on to the parade.  We have Ben to thank from the High School for leading us in the parade to our flag station which was, as last year, outside Marks and Spencer. The weather was again kind to us. Before the meal we were entertained to a small piece of Chinese Opera – a very different concept to what we are used to. The characters were depicting a story similar to that of Romeo and Juliet and it was lovely to see the intricate detail on their costumes. During the meal, I don’t know if you saw the ‘dragon’ being paraded to the Church, but the carriers then did a marvellous acrobatic display with the dragon after the meal and before the speeches. I am indebted to the Society for allowing me to represent them at this prestigious event.

In May we had our Annual Dance and this year we were dancing to Chris Dewhurst and his band. Chris had written a piece of music to accompany George’s ‘Toon of oor Adoption’ and renamed a piece ‘Stratford Caledonians’ to accompany ‘End of the Day’ which was my contribution to the programme. We also recognised the end of our 65th Anniversary year by cutting a cake decorated with the Saltire flag to the sound of party poppers. There was certainly a buzz about the evening and my thanks goes to Chris and his Band for helping to make it a very enjoyable evening and also thanks to those who came and gave their support.

Throughout the year we have held raffles at various events and this year my chosen charity was the Citizens Advice Bureau, who like many charities has had their funding cut in this economic climate when their services have been most needed. It was therefore a great privilege to hand over a cheque from the proceeds of these raffles from the past year. I have since received an acknowledgement and they hope to use the funds to help continue to keep some of the outreach branches (i.e. those in the surrounding area) open.

I also had the pleasure of handing over a cheque to Bridgetown School from the sale of the programmes at the Young People’s Concert. I had been invited to attend their achievement assembly on 22nd June to hand over the cheque in person. I was accompanied by Hazel and Alastair (instigators of the Concert 10 years ago). We were all suitably attired in tartan which was much appreciated. The cheque was handed over to two of the choristers who had been in the choir who had opened the concert in March. A further cheque was sent to Young Rogues and Vagabonds who also performed toward the end of the concert. These funds are given specifically to further musical education.

Moving on to next year – our first event is our Annual Walk. We will be starting at 6 pm prompt from The Stag at Redhill (on the A46 between Stratford and Alcester). It would be appreciated if I could have numbers as soon as possible of those wishing to attend. A ploughman’s supper is planned upon completion of the walk. However, non-walkers are always welcome and it is a good opportunity to catch up.

The next event is the President’s Lunch which this year will take place on Sunday, 9th September (12 for 12.30) at Jubilee Court, Alcester – map available on request. Please let me know whether you will be attending. The cost £15 is the same as last year.

Subscriptions for next year August 2012 – July 2013 are now due and as agreed at the AGM are £11 for this coming year. Cheques to Val Mackay, who will be happy to collect on the walk.

In closing I would just like to which you all happy holidays and look forward to seeing you at some or all of our events planned for the coming year, full details of which are on our website under ‘Activities’.

 

Best wishes

Glynis

President/Secretary

Newsletter – Winter, 2012

Dear Members,

As I sit here and write this newsletter the Society has just had a very successful Haggis Supper on 1st December. This took place at Tiddington Community Centre and those who attended commented on the warm, cosy atmosphere and it was felt that the hall was the right size for the numbers. We were treated to a delightful traditional meal. This menu, particularly the haggis, was a first for the caterers and it went down a treat. Nothing was too much trouble and they are to be congratulated on their superb meal. We then had a variety of ceilidh and Scottish Country Dances very ably mc’d by Sarah Cushing. On Sunday we had our traditional St Andrew’s Day Service at the Guild Chapel and this year the service was taken by Sarah Bourne-Swinton-Hunter, one of our members, who gave us plenty of food for thought. We finished the weekend by having coffee and mince pies at the kind invitation of Joan and Heskett at their home.

Our last night of dancing before Christmas is 11th December and this is more of a party night. This is open to all members and guests, so please bring a plate of finger food to share. The dances will not be too taxing and everyone is invited to join in or just chat and listen to the music. We start again on Tuesday, 8th January and this too is a fun night with easy dances and again please bring a plate of finger food to share.

This will be followed at the end of January with our Burns Dinner Dance on 26th January at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall. This promises to be a good evening and the committee have decided to put together a hamper, as last year, with a Scottish flavour as one of the raffle prizes, so if you would like to donate to this please see Hazel.

Tickets costing £35 are now available. More information here.

The Buzz Café (i.e. St Gregory’s Hall) where we dance on a Tuesday is hosting a Scottish evening in February. Members of the Society are involved in providing some entertainment, including easy ceilidh/Scottish Country dances and community singing. For further details please contact the Buzz Café direct.

Throughout this year the Society has run a book group once a month at the Bell in Shottery. We are always happy to welcome new members and over a cup of coffee we always have lively debates on the books we have read. If you are interested please contact Joan Dawson via our website email.

In finishing I would just like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone for their help and support throughout the year and wishing you all a Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2013.

Glynis

Glynis Nicol

President/Secretary

Newsletter – Spring, 2013

Dear Members,

As you know we held our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 19th March and I am pleased to let you know that your Council has been elected to stand for another year. It also gives me great pleasure to advise you that your new president is George Kenneth who will also continue as treasurer. We are still looking for two more Council members to bring it up to full strength. Any suggestions/nominations will be much appreciated as the Council can co-opt individuals at any time throughout the year.

Could I take this opportunity of reminding members that we shall be unfurling the Scottish Flag at the Shakespeare Celebrations on Saturday, 20th April? We will be allocated a stand, details of which will be available about one week before the event and will be posted on the website or you can contact George or myself for more information. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as can manage. Your support would be most welcome.

Following suggestions made at the AGM your Council has decided to offer some different events this year and the first of these will be an afternoon of indoor (short mat) bowls at The Greig Hall, Alcester from 2-4 pm on Thursday,16th May. The cost for the hire of the venue is £25 and includes tea and cake. There will be a nominal fee to cover costs. Please let either George or myself know whether you would like come.

The Council are hopeful that we will be able to offer a BBQ in the summer (replacing the Annual Walk) details to be announced.

Further dates for your diary are:

  1. •The President’s Lunch on Sunday, 8th September at Jubilee Court Centre, Alcester (the same venue and caterers as last year);

  2. •Friday, 20th September at Stratford Bowls Club, Tiddington where a skittles evening is on offer; the cost for this is £7.50 per person and includes a buffet supper. Please book early to avoid disappointment by contacting either myself or George.

Don’t forget our Annual Dance on Saturday, 11th May, 2013 at Trinity Parish Hall, Stratford. Tickets £6 (non-dancers £5) are now available.

At the AGM it was decided to keep the cost of membership of the Society at £11. These subs are now due and Val Mackay looks forward to receiving these, when you will of course receive your membership card giving full details of our events for the 2013-14 season.

I do hope you will give George your continued support in the same way I received your support and help throughout my term of office.

I look forward to seeing you at these events but please remember the Society is run for the benefit of its members and any suggestions you have regarding events or any ideas regarding any aspect of the Society will be most welcome.

Glynis Nicol,

Secretary

Newsletter – Autumn, 2013

Dear Members,

Since the last newsletter quite a lot has happened. In April the Society was well represented at the unfurling of the Scottish Flag at the Shakespeare Celebrations and it was nice to see Life Members Malcolm and Angela Short helping to swell the numbers for the Caledonian Society.

The Annual Dance in May was a bit disappointing on the numbers front (probably due to other events being held on the same day in the area). However our thanks go to those who attended. Our programme for next year includes very familiar dances which will hopefully encourage more people to attend. More details will be available on the website shortly.

In May we also had a new venture when some of us went to The Greig in Alcester to try our hand at Short Mat Bowls. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and we were treated to afternoon tea and cake. Thanks to George and Pat for organising this.

This year the annual walk in July culminated in a BBQ hosted by Heskett and Joan Dawson. The weather was ideal and we visited bits of Shottery that we never knew existed. The raspberries were devoured with relish having been picked less than 3 hours previously!

As last year, the President’s Lunch was at Jubilee Court and was well attended by members and their guests. John Pugh did a sterling job of having everything ready for us despite that fact that his wife, due to illness, was unable to assist. The President’s Lunch is a great way to meet up with old friends before the start of the autumn term.

Another new venture for the Society was a skittles evening at Stratford Bowls Club. This was a resounding success; so much so, that plans are afoot to hold another skittles evening hopefully in March, 2014. Watch this space for more details.

Our next big events are the St Andrew’s Day Service and the Haggis Supper.

The St Andrew’s Day Service is being held at St Andrew’s Church, Shottery on the evening of Friday 29 November time to be confirmed and is being followed by Supper in the Church Hall; cost will be approx. £7 and menu will be Scottish themed but not necessarily haggis. Numbers for this are required by beginning of November. More details from George or Glynis or on the website.

The following day is our Annual Haggis Supper which is being held at Tiddington Community Centre. This was a resounding success last year and the programme will follow a similar format – three course haggis supper (see separate details on the website) followed by ceilidh dances which are very easy and well known, although dancing is not compulsory. It would be wonderful if as many of you as possible could grace us with your presence for this fun evening. This is your Society and your support at these events would be very welcome. For catering purpose numbers will be required by 17th November.

Looking ahead to 2014 – a date for your diary – our Annual Burns Dinner takes place on Saturday, 25 January (the birthday of Robert Burns). This year it will take place in Trinity Parish Hall and again we look forward to your support for this event.

The dance class is now well into its stride for the autumn term and we have welcomed two new members to the class – Jo and Rena. If you think you would like to exercise the grey cells and do a bit of physical exercise into the bargain, then why not drop into the Buzz on a Tuesday evening 8-10pm.

If you have any queries, suggestions, or require further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes.

Glynis Nicol

Secretary

Letter from India dated February, 2013

Dear Friends,

I have returned from India safely after an exhausting but very fulfilling 10 days. The children in the orphanage/school learnt to sing Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with great enthusiasm and lots of smiles, and we mostly had electricity for the keyboard! Every afternoon the power was off between 2 & 4 so I taught them some notes on recorders, or practised songs which didn’t require too much piano playing. They loved the clapping song (Back in Canaan the future looked rough), and the climax shouting song (Is it Reuben – NO, Is it Issachar – No, etc). The 3 – 5 year olds played percussion instruments donated by Shipston church while I improvised on such unseasonal songs as Jingle Bells (somewhat surreal in 36 degrees!) and In Dublin’s Fair city, the 6 – 8 year olds learnt several Joseph songs without the words to ‘lah lah lah’, and the 9 – 15 year olds were given sheets of the words and learnt the remaining songs remarkably quickly.

Each day consisted of leading 8 music sessions with an hour lunch break, and I was starting to lose my voice by Wed. I had never had to do so much prolonged choir leading and singing in my life!  I had a sore throat which miraculously disappeared on Thursday, but I still hadn’t succumbed to Delhi belly!

On Tuesday I took Assembly for the whole school, lined up in rows outside in the playground. I gave a shortened reading of the Joseph story from Genesis, followed by a short address, mindful of the small children standing out in the sun who did not have much grasp of English. We sang Kumbyah and ‘One more step along the road I go’. The experience seemed vastly different and yet at the same time, strangely familiar to taking Assembly in Tudor Hall.

Come Thursday evening, we were told there would be no electricity all day on Friday, which seemed a great impediment to putting on the final show for an audience at 4.15 pm. However, our ex-deputy head from Tudor (who was leading the trip) sprang into action & sourced a generator to hire. Unfortunately, when we arrived the next morning at the school, the generator was in the playground, but no sign of any operator to connect it up! More frantic prayers on my part. I took 2 sessions of recorder players for the first hour, & then had the daunting prospect of the whole school assembled for the 1st sing through, with no keyboard. It took 20 minutes to get nearly 200 children into place for singing, another 10 mins of warm-up exercises, still no sign of electricity, so I just had to start rehearsing them all with the aid of one descant recorder & my stalwart team of 6 sixth formers from Tudor Hall as my backing group behind me. It was probably the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life!

At lunchtime, the electrician showed up (much to my relief) & we were wired up for sound. So at 2 pm we had a 2nd whole school rehearsal with keyboard, and that was so much easier! At 4.15, the audience arrived, and we still had the generator working, so the show went ahead, and it was absolutely exhilarating. All the children were in their decorated t-shirts and crowns which they had made with the 6th formers during the week, and they sang their hearts out – it was thrilling!

After the performance we were asked to stay for supper which turned out to be rather disastrous for me because of the extreme spiciness of the food: I could hardly decline to eat the food, when they were extending hospitality which they could ill afford. I had raging diarrhoea all Friday night, for much of Sat (while we were out sightseeing) and even now 5 days later, I am suffering from stomach cramps & haven’t eaten much.

Other quick impressions of India: the smiles and friendliness of the pupils & teachers who have so little in the way of material goods, and were so thrilled with the smallest presents which we took out there. Their desire to shake hands, to speak in English conversation, their eagerness to be photographed, their politeness, and rather old-fashioned etiquette; the cows wandering loose among the houses, the colourful shrubs and coconut trees, the sparkling blue of the Indian Ocean in which I paddled (no question of swimming for any of us because of Health & Safety). The remarkable monolithic sculptures in ancient temples dating from the 7th century, the crocodile farm (think James Bond!), the vast fruit, flowers and vegetable market in the middle of Chennai.

Equally, the poverty, the lack of basic facilities, the beggars with limbs ruined by leprosy, unbelievable dumping of rubbish everywhere (there seem to be no facilities for rubbish collection), the indescribable chaos of traffic in all directions on the roads, the smog each morning covering the city, the villages destroyed by the tsunami & still derelict, the rabid dog who was dying foaming at the mouth, the beds without mattresses for the boarders in the school, the curious juxtaposition of high rise 21st century hotels and call centre buildings interspersed between crumbling shacks and foul-smelling rubbish piles: all these were things which stick in the memory and give pause for thought.

I have returned home to icy weather & flakes of snow with nearly 300 photos and many unforgettable memories.

And a vast amount of work to be done for the remainder of the term ….!

 

Love from Sarah