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PAWS January – The Storyteller

John Lilley – The Storyteller

Forty-one members and two guests enjoyed the speaker at our meeting in January.  John Lilley is a writer and narrator of stories, and entertained us with tales of his early years training to be a doctor.  On one occasion, while observing an older doctor, he was amazed at the treatment given to a patient.  He was obviously a little tired of the same lady coming in week after week with ‘complaints’.  He got his largest syringe and took a little blood out of the lady’s left arm and put it back into her right arm, then told her that her blood had been circulating the wrong way round, but that now it would circulate in the correct direction.  She went away very happy at the solution to all her problems!

Another story involved an old spinster who lived in Wallflower Cottage in a little village.  He was curious about the name of the cottage, and after several visits discovered the reason.  The lady had been engaged to a man in her early years until she discovered that he had several ‘girl friends’ and was very annoyed; unfortunately he died very suddenly before they could get married, but not before he had willed everything he had to his fiancé.  After his death she bought the cottage and had lived there happily for many years.  She then slipped into the conversation with John Lilley that the oil of wallflowers was a deadly poison in the correct amount.  He put two and two together and made a swift visit to the police to tell all!

The stories and poems that John read were very amusing and told with great expression and feeling.  We all agreed that we should invite this charming gentleman another time to tell us more stories.

Our next get together is on 25th February when D. Chignall will talk to us about Beatrix Potter & The Lake District. Currently membership is closed but visitors are very welcome at the cost of £3.50 which includes refreshments.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstread 100 website.  If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring one of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS December – Dinner at the Coast

paws christmas 2013There was no meeting in December but instead on Tuesday 10th December 42 members met at the Coast Inn, West Mersea for the PAWS Christmas dinner, which certainly was a lovely way to set off the Christmas festivities. The restaurant was decorated for Christmas and very welcoming. Between eating our three course meal, we had a Christmas quiz and a raffle, which everyone enjoyed, in fact, they all agreed that it had been a fantastic evening. Going home was a little slow as there was very thick fog but thankfully we all did so safely.

Happy New Year to all our members and loyal visitors. Our next get together is on 14th January when our speaker J. Lilley is the “Storyteller”.

Currently membership is closed but visitors are very welcome at the cost of £3.50 which includes refreshments.

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 any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring one of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 7354004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS November – tales of a Masterchef

david ryan - masterchefOur November speaker was David Ryan, who from an early age, had always had a passion for cooking.  He started out at the age of 16 with Brian Turner at the Connaught Hotel in London. As an apprentice he spent 18 months preparing potatoes!  In the early seventies he decided his destiny was France.  He was lucky,  he shared a flat with a French friend who managed to secure him an entry into the Carlton Hotel in Cannes.  After spending weeks labouring for long hours with no pay he was in a state of despair.  One day he was walking along the Promenade Anglais worrying about his future when someone tapped him on the shoulder.  It turned out to be David Niven who came to his rescue, marched him back to the Carlton and sorted out his predicament with the Manager and the Chef.  The Chef took him under his wing and two brilliant years followed.

He came back to London and was taken on by the Dorchester.  One particular memory was when David Niven hired the Dorchester for an after film party.  He didn’t forget his friend and asked David to come up from the restaurant, leave the kitchen and join the party.  During his stay at the Dorchester he met and became friendly with several members of the cabinet and even got to meet the “Big Fish” Maggie Thatcher!  He had always wanted to have his own restaurant and finally realised his dream in Bournemouth, practically on the beach!   It became so popular bookings were made two years in advance.  David as a Masterchef now runs a restaurant in Horley near Stowmarket where he also takes masterclasses.  It was a fabulous evening where we all enjoyed the lovely soup David prepared for us.  He gave us lots of advice on cooking Turkeys and making stuffings etc and lots of tips, for example soaking avocado face down in milk to prevent it from going brown!   Happy cooking!!

Our next get together is on 14th January (early due to the pantomime) when our speaker will be J. Lilley and the talk is called “Storyteller”. Visitors are welcome at the cost of £3.50.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS October – A real diamond geezer!

david vroobelDavid Vroobel was our speaker in October and he told us how he started his career as a diamond cutter and polisher in Hatton Garden. He went on to design and set jewellery for some years, finally having a shop with his wife. However after two armed robberies they decided to give up the shop and David set up a workshop at home, selling stones that he had cut and polished in his workshop, to retailers. He now spends his time giving talks to groups and on cruise ships.

He explained that most diamonds come from Africa, but some also come from America, India, Russia, Australia and China. He showed slides of the various ways that diamonds are found and also what raw diamonds look like. They come in many colours, the rarest being red. Other gems also come in other colours than those normally associated with them – white sapphires and yellow emeralds for instance. As a diamond is the hardest mineral, it has to be cut by diamond dust on a cutting wheel. There are usually 58 facets on a diamond, which gives it its brilliance. We all enjoyed this very interesting talk.

David thenexamined members’ jewellery and gave valuations.

Our next get together is on 26th November when David Ryan is going to tell us about “Life as a Master Chef”. Visitors are welcome at the cost of £3.50.

Members Christmas Dinner is on the 10th December at the Coast Inn, Mersea.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS September – Frock Horror!

Pauline Baker & President Pam Foakes

37 members and 5 visitors came along to our September meeting to hear Pauline Baker speak on the subject of “Frock Horror – Things do go wrong!”

Pauline grew up loving the history of costumes and after a dress designing course in the late 60’s got her first job at Covent Garden making costumes for the Ballet. She had to watch the rehearsals for the performances and was lucky enough to watch Nureyev and Fonteyn rehearsing for a performance.   Her next job was in television, when it was still black and white, in Dixon of Dock Green, this was followed by Pride & Prejudice.  After having a break to bring up a family she then went freelance.  The first call came for her to work on The Lost Secret, all fifteen episodes.  Each costume had to meet with the Director’s approval which sometimes proved difficult as each had their own idea of what the costumes should look like!   More films followed with the dressing of a chimp in one.  Lots of calls came from the Theatre.  She enjoyed working with Peter Bowles, Anna Massey, Michael Gambon and a host of others.   One aspect of the job she particularly enjoyed was breaking outfits down, and stressing the costumes to age etc.  She had many memories of close shaves with outfits in Harold Pinter plays.  She loved her three months on the Isle of Lewis for one production.   She was also thrilled to be asked to design and dress puppets and had a lot of fun choosing all the bits and pieces to work with from a stall at Kingston market.   Her last job in television was with The Bill, which was very hectic with three episodes a week and design done on a very strict budget.  It was great to design all the robes used in the court scenes and ever changing uniforms. Another great evening and a lovely lady to boot.

Our next get together is on 22nd October when David Vroobel is going to tell us about “The Magic & Beauty of Diamonds and other stones.” Visitors are welcome at the cost of £3.50.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS July – Back to the 60’s

Pictures from PAWS back to the 60s nightOur July themed social this year was “Back to the 60’s” which was well attended by 44 members and 15 visitors, 11 of these being the Layer Ladies.

As with most of our themed events, members entered into the spirit of the night in an array of “Mini’s” and “Flower Power” outfits. The winner of the best dressed went to Angela Clark in her hotpants!

Everyone was given a glass of Cava on arrival and then Babycham accompanied our party food whilst we enjoyed a couple of quizs.  Then Ray Spiller turned up the music and we had the opportunity to dance to various numbers including the Twist and the Locomotion – which ended up in the Village Hall Gardens!  

There were also spot questions on various singers to which Vivienne Ohmke excelled.  I think everyone would agree it was another successful night and the reason why the club is as enjoyable as it is.

This month (August) there is no meeting, but our next get together is 24th September when “Frock Horror! Confessions of a Costume Designer” will be delivered by Pauline Baker. As ever, visitors are welcome at a cost of £3.50.  Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website.

If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS June – Chelsea to Peldon for plants

henry-brickwoodIn June our speaker was Henry Brickwood and he told us all about “Beautiful Gardens to visit”.  Henry began his talk by telling us he is a fanatical gardener and was a previous Gold Medal winner at Chelsea a few years ago.  He currently belongs to 2 gardening groups and appeared with Monty Don last year.  He then continued with a slide presentation of various gardens mainly in and around a 70 mile radius of Chelmsford.  These included Tudor Roost at Fingringhoe, with its very colourful private garden, Beth Chatto’s Garden at Elmstead Market with its famous “Dry Garden” and Marks Hall Gardens at Coggeshall  which is known for its enclosed wall garden of snowdrops, summer borders and autumn colour to name but a few.  As well as having a fantastic knowledge of various gardens he also appeared to be very knowledgeable about the restaurants and refreshments available.   He finished his slide show with a preview of his own gardens at Rayleigh where he specialises in Lilies (he has over 2,500) and suggested we might visit as a group next year and promised us excellent tea and cake.

The selection of plants that he bought along were soon purchased by the keen enthusiasts amongst us. All in all,another excellent evening enjoyed by all.

Next month we are having a 60’s Social Night on the 16th July with Ray Spiller. Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

 

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PAWS May – Lots with interest

An auctioneerIn May our speaker was Stephen Lester, an auctioneer, and 42 members enjoyed his talk on his “Experiences of a Provincial Auctioneer”.  Firstly he dispelled a few myths about going to a public auction.  Contrary to popular belief, pulling your ear or rubbing your nose will not end up with you having purchased a rare antique!  Some bidders do use signs like that, but only when it has been previously arranged with the auctioneer; most people just raise their catalogue to indicate their interest in a particular lot.  He has had some spectacular ‘finds’ when going to inspect sale items at a private house.  One lady was clearing her house as she was moving to somewhere smaller; after getting an idea of the value of her goods and chattels she mentioned that she had a little bottle that had been in her family for a while.  It turned out to be a Fabergé glue pot worth £10,000!  At another house he found a very old and tatty writing desk in the attic, which turned out to be one of only 7 items made from an elm tree on the site of the battle of Waterloo; this was worth £36,000 once it had been restored.  So the moral is, check before you throw things away!

Our next get together is on 25th June when Henry Brickwood will talk to us about “Beautiful Gardens to Visit”.  Visitors are welcome at a cost of £3.50.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS April – Paramedic Muse

bob-harding-jonesAt last month’s meeting 42 members and 3 visitors came along to hear a talk by Bob Harding-Jones “Can I help you? I’m a Paramedic”.  Bob gave us a very amusing talk about his time as a Paramedic with the Hertfordshire Ambulance Service.

He went to Writtle College after leaving school, to train for farm work, which he did until his early 40s. He then retrained, first for the patients transport service, taking people for appointments, and after two years, as a Paramedic.  He told lots of anecdotes of his time in the service, like the old couple who had collided on the landing of their house and could not get up; he had to untangle their zimmer frames and check that they were ok, and left them arguing as to who had caused the accident!  They are called out many times for ‘emergencies’ that turn out to be a headache or sickness, but a new system has recently been put in place to try to ascertain the exact problem before the ambulance goes out.  He has to be good at interpreting euphemisms that people use to explain what is wrong with them, which has caused many a smile.  As well as being a Paramedic, he is a poet and has performed at the Edinburgh Festival among other places.  He has produced a couple of books of his poetry, which were on sale at the meeting.

Our next meetings are on 28th May, when our speaker Stephen Lester will tell us about “Experiences of a Provincial Auctioneer” and on the 25th June, when our speaker Henry Brickwood will tell us about “Beautiful Gardens to visit.”  Membership is currently full, but visitors are welcome at a cost of £3.50.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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PAWS March – AGM and Flappers

Pam Foakes presenting Sheila Gray with her bouquet

Pam Foakes presenting Sheila Gray with her bouquet

As PAWS’ March meeting was also their AGM, they had no speaker on the 26th.  They did however have an excellent turn out with 43 members attending and entering into the spirit of a “Flapper Night” to lighten the  business of the evening.  Once the formal reports were read by the outgoing President, Sheila Gray, and Treasurer, Jane Anderson, the current committee were re-elected.  Pam Foakes was elected as the new President and Jane Banks as her Vice President for the year commencing 1st April.  

Pam presented Sheila with a bouquet on behalf of the members for all her work over the last year. The members then enjoyed a couple of fun quizzes whilst they tucked into Pizza and Bucks Fizz.  A very pleasant and sociable AGM.

PAWS’ next meeting is on the 23rd April when speaker Bob Harding-Jones will speak on the subject of “Can I help you? I’m a Paramedic.”   Membership is currently full, but visitors are welcome at a cost of £3.50.

Details of all PAWS’ meetings and speakers can be found on the diary on the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like any further information about P.A.W.S. please ring any of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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