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PAWS

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

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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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PAWS June – Basic Garden Design

Jackie Manning with Chris South who spoke about basic garden design.

Jackie Manning with Chris South who spoke about basic garden design.

PAWS June – Basic Garden Design

Our recent meeting in June was well attended by 43 members and a number of visitors, when we welcomed back Chris South, to give us a talk on “Basic Garden Design”.

Chris explained the essentials of redesigning a garden by knowing the type of soil you have, which direction it is facing,  Continue reading

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PAWS April – Art Safari

Art Safari

Jackie Manning and Mary-Anne Bartlett

PAWS April – Art Safari

Mary-Anne Bartlett began her talk on April 26th by asking how many members owned a paint box.  The result showed just how many of our group have an interest in this field.  Mary-Anne started painting at her grandmothers’ knee Continue reading

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PAWS March – AGM & Quiz

Jackie Manning & Pam Foakes (with bouquet)

Outgoing President Pam Foakes receiving bouquet from incoming President Jackie Manning

PAWS March – AGM & Quiz

34 members attended our recent AGM on the 22nd March and unanimously voted back in the current committee.  Reports were read by Pam Foakes, our outgoing President and Jane Anderson, our Treasurer, before Jackie Manning was voted in as Continue reading

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PAWS February – Lady Grace

Stacey with Pam, President

Stacey being applauded by Pam (President)

PAWS February – Lady Grace

28 members attended our February meeting when Stacey Belbin gave us a talk on “Lady Grace”.  Her dad was a commercial fisherman and ever since she can remember she helped her dad clean and mend nets and catch fish.  When she left school she worked for a Bank. Her life was all about her career until she met her husband, then she realised life is for living and not for working all the time.

She met Scott at 18, his dad had brought him up in the angling world and hers had brought her up in the netting world.  On their first date, Scott took her angling and since then, her dad lost his crew and they decided to buy their own boat, “Galloper”, to take people angling at weekends.  They both had their day jobs, Scott as a carpenter and Stacey in the bank, but they used to spend weekends running the fishing trips.

Stacey on board

Stacey on board

As the business grew she decided it was time to get her own toy to play with.  In March 2011 they bought “Lady Grace”, it took until the end of August to get her ship-shape for passengers and then she ran her at weekends and continued her weekday job.  In 2012 she then worked “Lady Grace” during the May and October half terms and the full 6 weeks school holidays.  After running “Lady Grace” for 6 weeks solid during the school holidays, in January 2013 she made the decision to give up the day job from the April and run Lady Grace 7 days a week 364 days a year.

Lady Grace off West Mersea

Lady Grace off West Mersea

The first year was testing, but rewarding. Stacey loves working on “Lady Grace”, which was evident by her passionate talk, and every day and every trip being a different one, meeting different people and a forever changing scenery with the tide coming in or going out and the different birdlife visiting through the year. She is also a photographer of all things beautiful on the water, whether it be a landscape, sunrise, sunset or wildlife.

You can follow Stacey and “Lady Grace” on Facebook.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is on the 22nd March and is our AGM and therefore a closed meeting.  However visitors are welcome afterwards from 8.00pm, for a Quiz and Nibbles, at a cost of £5.00. Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 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.

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PAWS January – Barney’s Bobbies

Michael Benning talked about Barney's Bobbies

Michael Benning

PAWS January – Barney’s Bobbies

Relating the story of Barney’s Bobbies, Michael joined the police force in 1969 and was paid the princely sum of £17 per week. He spent the first 5 years of his career ‘on the beat’ and spent many nights rattling shop doors and was in trouble from sergeant Barney if he did not detect some sort of crime on his shift! The sergeant was very hot on discipline and correct uniform and his ‘Bobbies’ were some of the best on the force.

Michael soon had a new job on Cycle Patrol, which was great except that the bike was far too big. On telling his sergeant that he could not reach the pedals even if he could get on the bike, he was told to just wheel it around until he grew! There were no personal radios in those days so he had to phone in to the station every hour to get instructions using a Police Box (Tardis).

TV programmes such as Dickson of Dock Green and later The Bill were good representations of how the Police worked. Michael finished his career on the hijack team at Stansted Airport and ran many marathons in the Police team. He also gave us an insight into how things had changed in the Police Force over the years and of some of the amusing and sometimes dangerous incidents that he had been involved in.

Our next meeting is on the 23rd February when our speaker Stacey Belbin will tell us about “Lady Grace the boat.” Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00. Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 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.

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PAWS December – Xmas at The Fox

Christmas at The Fox 1Christmas at The Fox 2 Christmas at The Fox 3

PAWS December – Xmas at The Fox

36 members arrived at The Fox on Mersea Island on Tuesday 8th December for the PAWS Christmas Meal.  Those who could not attend missed a treat!  There was lots of laughter and chat, with everyone enjoying the chance to relax and talk to other members.  The room was decorated for the occasion and the tables were very festive.  We had a quiz with lots of banter as to who had the correct answer, particularly as to how many points a snowflake has.  Everyone had a silly present from the lucky dip but the balloons proved to be a bit of a challenge with no one succeeding in blowing one up!  All agreed that we had a super evening.  Hope you enjoyed spending your Debenhams voucher! Jane.

Our next meeting is on the 12th January, 2016 (earlier than normal due to the pantomime) and our speaker will be Michael Benning & his topic “Barney’s Bobbies” – ‘Barney’ was Michael Benning’s  first Sergeant and the talk is an amusing and lighthearted look at the changes and differences in policing from the 1960s to the present day with some barely believable Sgt Barney ‘war stories’ and policing anecdotes.

Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00.  Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 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.

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PAWS November – Upstairs, Downstairs

Upstairs downstairs 1Upstairs downstairs 2

PAWS November – Upstairs, Downstairs

Our speakers in November, Jackie and Marion, were great fun and we all enjoyed their talk “Upstairs, Downstairs”. They started by asking ten members to come to the front and each was given a parcel to open. Inside were articles of clothing worn by someone in a large household in Victorian times; hats, aprons, a nightdress and a bag.

As each person was dressed, the ladies told us what job they did, explained their duties and showed us some artefacts connected with that job. Jackie told us that most of the staff needed to be very intelligent to do the work that they did and cope with the demands put upon them, but at the time were thought of as pretty low standing.

We were all fascinated by the many articles that they brought with them, and enjoyed trying to guess what they were used for. The enthusiastic ovation at the end of the talk was testament to the enjoyment of members.

Happy Christmas

As we don’t meet in December, other than for our Christmas Dinner, the committee would like to wish all our Members and Visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Our next meeting is on the 12th January, 2016 (earlier than normal due to the pantomime) and our speaker will be Mary-Anne Bartlett – Her topic “Art Safari”. Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 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.

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