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PAWS June – Great Gardens

Andrew BabiczPAWS June – Great Gardens

After a long and lovely day soaking up the sunshine in our gardens we spent the evening on a journey around Great Gardens of Great Britain with Andrew Babicz.  With the help of superb photos, we explored some of the great and beautiful gardens of Britain.

Great Gardens are?

What makes a garden great?  Continue reading


PAWS May – A photojournalist visits

President, Caroline Wilson, with Deborah Brady PAWS May – A photojournalist visits

Our speaker, Deborah Brady, gave us an illustrated talk on what life was like as a female photojournalist in Fleet Street.  Deborah, a former national press photographer, covered some of the biggest stories of the late 80’s and 90’s.  She focused on news, features and her favourite, sport, for the London papers.

Right place, right time

As with many situations, it is Continue reading


PAWS April – A Creative Journey

Amanda Sutherland talked about her creative journeyPAWS April – A Creative Journey

Amanda Sutherland, our Speaker for the evening, arrived carrying several interesting bags and boxes.  She then slowly and carefully displayed a very colourful and enticing array of decorated hats, fascinators, wraps and jewellery.  Amanda told us that her creative journey began when she was a child at school;  she sold her first pieces of jewellery, made from a selection of inner soles, to her Teachers!

West End Career

After completing five years in Continue reading


PAWS March – AGM & Before and After Beauty

Caroline Hendricks - volunteer for demonstration

Caroline Hendricks – willing volunteer

PAWS March – AGM & Before and After Beauty

PAWS’ President, Lorraine, opened the AGM with a warm welcome to everyone and checked that no visitors were present. She thanked everyone for their support during the past year; especially during the months we were relocated in the Church (which proved rather cold on occasions). This was followed by a brief review of the year including

  • a resumé of the Speakers we had enjoyed listening to, and
  • outings that had been arranged including Christmas Dinner at The Old Siege House.

Continue reading


PAWS December – Christmas Meal at the Granary

PAWS December – Christmas Meal at the Granary

Members enjoying the Christmas Meal at the Granary
More members enjoying the Christmas Meal at the Granary

On Tuesday 13th December 2016, 36 members arrived at the Granary Restaurant for the PAWS Christmas meal. There was lots of laughter and chat.  Everyone enjoyed the chance to relax and talk to other members in the festive atmosphere.  The meal was appreciated by everyone, though most were beaten by the quantity.  We all had a present from ‘Santa’s Sack’, which ranged from a Bell from Santa’s Sleigh to flying birds and jumping insects!  After coffee and mince pies it was time to go home, all agreeing that it had been a most enjoyable evening.

Next Meeting & Talk

Our next get together is on the 10th January, 2017 when our speaker will be Ian Frewer.  His subject “My life in Spain as a Journalist”.

Membership is currently full but visitors are very welcome to attend at a cost of £5.00 which includes refreshments.

Contact & More Information

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of this website.  If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505


PAWS November – 10th Anniversary

PAWS November – 10th Anniversary

Peldon, Abberton & Wigborough Society is 10 Years Old!

10 years ago a decision was made to break away from the WI and become an independent ladies social group based in Peldon. We continued with monthly speakers with talks on a wide range of topics to include history, gardening, fashion and much more. So, no more Jam Continue reading


PAWS October – A Sailor’s Life

Phil Lyons, presenter of A Sailor's Life, with JackiePAWS October – A Sailor’s Life

At the October meeting, our president, Jackie, welcomed Phil Lyons who had come along to talk about A Sailor’s Life.

Phil started with the fact that 21 men from Colchester and the surrounding villages had served at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. At that time Britain had the greatest navy in the world, with 108 ships but after the battle, they possessed 152 ships as they had captured those of the French and Spanish.

Boys as young as 7 served on board, often at sea for over 2 years before setting foot on terra firma. Crews were recruited by press gangs and quota men who rounded up paupers and criminals to serve in the navy. Interestingly 2 of the Colchester men joined voluntarily.  Life on the ships was a mixture of boredom, terror and sheer hard work. It took 8 men to hold the wheel in calm weather and 12 men in a storm, then there was always a danger of catching the wheel and being thrown overboard.

Food was poor with maggots in the meat and weevils in the ship’s biscuits, but men did not complain as at least they were fed. To prevent scurvy, Nelson provided his sailors with onions not limes!  The best part was the daily ration of grog, a mixture of half a pint of rum mixed with 4 parts of water, and a gallon of small beer served daily.  This provided the men with 200 units of alcohol a week!

The sailors slept in hammocks, caught rats for fun and were flogged for any misdemeanour.  50% died from malaria, yellow fever or typhus and many were wounded in battle. Desertion, mutiny and cowardice were hanging offences!

So was a sailor’s life a merry life? I leave you to decide.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is our 10th anniversary celebration on the 22nd November, as such it will be closed to non-members. You can find details of all our meetings and speakers on the diary of the home page of this website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members:

  • Alice Holmes 01206 735510, or
  • Jane Anderson 01206 735505

PAWS September – Beatrix Potter

andrew-wiltshire-beatrix-potterPAWS September – Beatrix Potter

At the meeting on September 27th, Jackie introduced the speaker for the evening, Andrew Wiltshire from Danbury.  Andrew has written a book entitled “Beatrix Potter’s Secret Code Breaker.”

He started his talk with a series of questions “How much they knew…:

  • … about Beatrix?
  • … her homes?
  • … had they seen the film Miss Potter?
  • …. about a secret journal she had written? Only one member knew this, to the rest it was a mystery.

He then explained that Beatrix eventually lived at Castle Cottage in the Lake District, after her marriage to William Heelis.  However, she originally used the neighbouring Hill Top farm as her ‘writing room’ in which to write and illustrate her much loved children’s books.  These two properties, with others and over 4,000 acres of Lake District countryside, were left to the National Trust in 1943.

Before moving there, Beatrix had written, for 15 years in a secret cipher-code of her own invention, a Journal describing observations on her family life in London, the politicians and artists that her parents knew, and many other fascinating details of her life in late Victorian times.

These documents were eventually found in Castle Cottage after Beatrix’s death. Andrew continued by telling us that he knew Leslie Linder, the code breaker. He first spent five years looking for a way into the code.  He then spent a further eight to translate and bring to life the 200,000 words that Beatrix had written.  These were in many exercise books, and on very many loose pages.

Linder’s Quest

This quest became Leslie’s ambition so too, sharing what he found; he did this by publishing Beatrix’s journal 1966.  During the 13 years of this work he amassed what has become the world’s largest collection of Beatrix’s art and writing.  He eventually donated the collection to the Victoria & Albert Museum before his death in 1973.

Illustrations of the code and some humorous examples of what Beatrix had written were complemented by photographs of Leslie’s life and family background.  Andrew presented a fascinating insight to someone whose past is now forgotten and a period of time, Beatrix’s early life, that is also, hardly remembered.

Several questions from members, as well as some of them also recollecting Buckhurst Hill, the town where Leslie lived, closed a very interesting talk.

Next Meeting

PAWS’ next meeting is on 25th October and Philip Lyons will talk about “A Sailors Life”.  Visitors can attend regular meetings at a cost of £5.00.  You can find details of all meetings and speakers on the calendar on the home page of this website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505


PAWS July – Bows ‘n’ Belles

Bows 'n' Belles with Musicians

Bows ‘n’ Belles with Musicians

Bows 'n' Belles Dancing

One of the dances

Traditional Clog

Traditional Clog


PAWS July – Bows ‘n’ Belles

Our meeting on 26th July, was our annual July Social, and was well attended with 44 members and 2 visitors. We first attended to business and then had a wonderful Fish and Chip Supper.  After supper we were entertained by Bows “n” Belles, a Colchester Clog Dancing Group. Continue reading

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