Virtual Christmas Drinks 2020

Christmas Drinks 5:30 pm 13/12/2020

This year’s Christmas Drinks party was quite different, and at least it didn’t mean a discussion about who was going to drive home.

Janet John acted as the technical host of the Zoom-based event, with Gwyndaf sending out invitations and Janet controlling the meeting in the background. We all signed in and soon saw 25 other screens looking back at us with about 45 members present.

David Powell welcomed everyone and explained how the meeting/party was going to be organised.
As a group we heard from members from their own rooms and were particularly pleased to see those who had not been able to make recent events (i.e. a year ago) or had moved away from the area.

Peter and Pat Chapman spoke from Brecon about the joys of living in the country and the fear of the rising river level!
Elan & Robin Preston-Whyte joined us from Englefield Green and we had a quick glimpse around their new flat.Group Screen shot

It was great to see Bridget Murray (with a backdrop of outer space) and Helen Hall again, who had both had issues attending previous meetings and new member Ruth Huckle introduced herself from Maidenhead.

Founder members, the Owens and the Broombys also gave their updates.
Colin and Di Thomas said that their house was a lot quieter this year than when they hosted last year’s get together!

Janet and Gwyndaf then randomly assigned us to ‘break-out rooms’ where we met in groups of 6 or so, so that we could chat informally amongst ourselves. This worked surprisingly well and it seemed no time until Janet called us all back into the main room and then assigned us all to different groups with new people to talk to. These sessions lasted about 8 minutes each.Break out

After 3 rounds of these chat rooms, David spoke about events planned for 2021.
These are currently ‘virtual’ events with a quiz night on Friday 22nd January and a virtual St David’s Day on 26th February with speaker Lord Williams of Oystermouth, better known as Rowan Williams. Born in Swansea, he was Bishop of Monmouth, the only Archbishop of Canterbury not to be a member of the Church of England, Master of Magdalene College Cambridge and is a prolific author and poet.

Depending on the level of restrictions, we may be able to hold a socially distanced Spring Walk and the AGM, but under current conditions, this looks unlikely. Unfortunately, there won’t be any trip to Wales this year.

After these notifications Jonathan Pegler then took over as master of ceremonies. Everyone’s microphones were muted (apart from Jonathan’s) and Jonathan played a selection of carols with Janet showing us the words on the screen. In effect we were all signing duets with Jonathan!

Finally, Jonathan played the National Anthem and we said our farewells to each other at about 7pm.

I think that everyone thought that the event went well, and our thanks go to Janet, Gwyndaf and Jonathan for making the evening go so smoothly.

Golf Day 2020

CDWS Golf Day 4th September 2020

It was so nice to be able to be able to catch up with some old friends in a socially distanced way. It was the first occasion that the Chiltern District Welsh Society had been able to meet since our St David’s Day Dinner back in March at the start of the lock-down.

We arrived at Oakland Park Golf Club at about 9am to be greeted with bacon butties to prepare the competitors for the morning’s exercise.

Unfortunately, some of the participants had to call off due to injury and Gwyndaf John did some hasty rearrangement of the teams.

David Powell and Colin Picton formed the supporters group to wave off and welcome back the golfers.

Due to Covid restrictions rules were changed to allow for social distancing. Conditions were good, with sunshine and a slight wind.

The competitors formed themselves into 4 groups – three 3 balls and one 4 ball set off about 10 minutes apart.

The supporters returned to the course at 12:30 to find the first group at eighteenth hole and accompanied them for refreshments at the 19th hole.

Soon after the 2nd and 3rd groups returned and we compared scores, with Kate Picton quietly confident of the result. We waited for the fourth group to arrive…

Some 30 minutes later the last group arrived – and when their scores were compared – proved to be the winners! Gwyndaf looked quite pleased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman David Powell presented the prizes to the winning team.

As the restaurant was closed there was no chance for a meal, so after congratulating the winners, we said our farewells and returned home.

It was good to have a chance to see fellow members again.

 

 

Our thanks to Rob Britton and Gwyndaf John for arranging the day.

2020 AGM

CDWS AGM 22nd July 2020

This year we had a distinctly odd AGM.

Held in the afternoon, in July, with no food, with very little time to chat, with no entertainment, with no wine, without leaving the house!

Even so, about 30 of us signed into our Zoom session and we got the business done while looking at 20 screens of other members looking back at us.

Chairman, David Powell opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and giving the sad news that Peter Day, Kay’s husband, had died earlier in the week from an asbestos related disease. Peter has been a good friend to the Society, a regular attendee and an organiser of our trips to wetlands bird sanctuaries in his role as chairman of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and he will be sorely missed.

David gave his Chairman’s report, commenting that although we had had to cancel or postpone 3 events, over the past year we had been able to successfully hold over 10 events.  The Society hopes to hold its Golf Day in September, a country walk in the Autumn, but it is still uncertain whether conditions will permit us to hold our ever-popular Christmas Drinks event.

Membership has remained steady at 120, with new members replacing those who have left.

Peter Chapman gave his Treasurer’s report from Brecon and said that the Society’s finances are in good order.

It then came to the election of the officials. All members of the Committee agreed to stand again for the following year, with the proviso that Peter Chapman will need to relinquish his post as Treasurer within the next few months when he and Pat complete their move to Wales.

David thanked the committee for their time and efforts in running the society and running its events. He also called for members to volunteer for Committee membership as without them, the Society cannot function.

This must have been the fastest AGM on record. We finished after about 30 minutes, with very little chance to chat and a final farewell as the Zoom meeting concluded.

CDWS trees at Parc Mawr

At the 2018 Christmas gathering, our hosts, Bill & Sue Jones, asked that as a gift, they would prefer a donation to the Woodland Trust for trees to be planted at Parc Mawr.

Following the Society’s Oswestry trip in June, Bill & Sue drove on to see how the trees were doing. Here is their report:

 

Parc Mawr is on the very steep easterly facing side of the Conwy valley. It is an ancient 84 acre woodland occupying a very prominent position in the landscape. Historically, the wood was managed most probably as a high forest, with gradations between upland oakwood and ash / elm with a hazel understorey. The woodland is now a valued local amenity for walking and horse-riding, boasting a network of permissive and public rights of way and fantastic views.

Woodland Trust’s focus is on thinning the exotic species introduced by humans and restocking with native woodland.

We walked up the steep path along Grove 1 which is where the 6 CDWS trees were planted. Our path went roughly North South along the steep slope and was therefore a little more manageable, crossing an old byway leading to the ancient Llangelynnin church. This is the North Wales Pilgrims Way (linking Basingwerk Abbey with Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island)) and passes through the site from the south: a further information panel is provided near this route, at the bottom of the byway.

Along our walk we had glorious views over Conway Valley including to Dwygyfylchi (where Kay Day hails from), and Conway Castle.

The Woodland Trust had forewarned us that the trees were already planted and that they did not mark the trees in any way to preserve the natural beauty of their woods. We saw very many young trees but none that could be specifically identified as saplings.  Therefore, in the event we could not identify the CDWS new trees since they were interspersed with existing trees and growing rapidly.

So, having walked over a mile in and then back again, we did not specifically see our trees but had a glorious walk through lovely fresh woodlands listening to bird song and looking out on to wonderful views in the sunshine. Here is a map reference for the site at Parc Mawr.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.2474083,-3.859518,2605m/data=!3m1!1e3

Bill Jones

Golf Day – 30th August 2019

Once again we were blessed with perfect golfing weather.  I cannot recall having played our golf day in any other conditions.

 

Colin Thomas, Pam Britton and Rob Brett

The scores of the team competition were very close, and was won by Pam Britton, Colin Thomas and Robert Brett. 

 

Lady Winner – Irene Glyn Jones

The winner of the individual stapleford score was Irene Glynn-Jones, who returned a fantastic score of 44.  Irene played an excellent round of golf and her putting was outstanding.

The ladies’ longest drive went to Pam Britton and the men’s longest drive went to Ralph Broomby.

Men’s Longest Drive Winner – Raph Broomby

The ladies’ nearest the pin was won by Jane Morris and the men’s by Eryll Morris.  Perhaps they have been practicing hard together!

Unfortunately the numbers of golfers went down this year again, but we had full support from those members of the Society who came to the lunch.

Chris Thomas and Pam Britton were thanked for organising the golf day and the club staff for a very enjoyable meal.

Rob Britton

2019 AGM

CDWS AGM Coleshill Village Hall May 17th

A good turnout of over fifty members set the scene for an informative, interesting and illusionary evening.

Our Chairman, David Powell got off to a good start (this being his first year as Chairman and hence his first chairing of the AGM) by welcoming us all. In particular Thelma and John Lusher who had traveled all the way from the New Forest. The reports for the year were encouraging; membership strong at one hundred and sixteen; finances in good shape; two new members of the committee have volunteered their services – Merle Davies and Peter Chapman; and there has been strong support for all the events over the year. Particular thanks were directed towards Graham Beavan on his retirement after a long tenure as Treasurer.

Jonathan Pegler had briefly taken on the role of Treasurer to fill the gap and so he presented the Accounts for the year. Under his watch the magnificent sum of £20 had been dealt with. Peter Chapman has now stepped into Graham’s shoes.

The formal part of the evening was, as ever, well presented and short and was followed by a meal. The caterer was Anne Tennant who clearly knows exactly what the members of the CDWS enjoy, and on this occasion was like a human dynamo. The rest of her team were at an event catering for the mayor of Beaconsfield so Anne was chief cook and bottle washer and everything in between. Well done Anne! The choice of desserts was particularly appreciated. Bread and Butter pudding and custard, Chocolate mousse, cheese and biscuits, Fruit Pavlova and I spotted a fruit salad for someone dairy intolerant. The gentlemen on our table made a bee-line for the Bread and Butter pudding, and then when Anne explained that she really didn’t want to take anything home, they were happily also tucking into Pavlova. No doubt belts were loosened.

After the meal came the entertainment. This year it was the place of Bertie Pearce whose web site says that he “…brings wonder and laughter to your event”. We were not disappointed on either count. The theme was “Now you See it-Now you Don’t, The Art of Visual Deception”. This was a whistle-stop tour through Surrealism, Trompe L’eoil, Ambiguous Imagery, Optical Art and Camouflage. Fascinating, thought provoking, puzzling, entertaining, amusing and all delivered at a pace that kept you on your toes, engaged and surprised. A particular ripple of amusement occurred when Bertie said that in America artists had used illusionary methods to paint potholes on the road which appeared to be 3D in order to reduce speeding. Here in Buckinghamshire we have no need for artists’ illusions. We have the real thing.

Interspersed with the artistic journey were a number of magical moments. Ably assisted by our very own Ann Lawrence, Kay Day and Gwen Hill, Bertie performed mysterious and inexplicable tricks. Ann, Kay and Gwen have clearly been sworn into secrecy as they were reluctant to share any explanations afterwards. Perhaps they could be prevailed upon at a future event to offer magical entertainment?

 

The evening closed at 10 pm everyone having been well entertained and well fed. Thank you to all.

Janet John

Christmas Drinks 2018

What a difference in the weather this year! Last year a sudden snowfall prevented many people from attending the Christmas drinks event, but in 2018 the weather was mild enough to enjoy the garden, and about 55 people arrived instead of the 20 or so who were able to brave the snow last year.

Jonathan, Gwyndaf & David were on parking patrol, directing drivers onto neighbour’s drives and along the lane to the Jones’s house, and, on arrival, Kay placed a label on each person, to remind them who they were and to make conversation easier.

Bill & Sue Jones were excellent hosts, and, assisted by the staff of ‘To Dine For’, attendees were plied with canapés and drinks. Many people used the opportunity of such a large gathering to distribute Christmas cards and Kay also handed out copies of the Winter Newsletter.

Rob Britton announced that Peter Lawrence has just celebrated his 90th birthday and is marking it by swimming 90 lengths of the Amersham Pool over the course of a week for the charity Bloodwise. Not only did Peter achieve his goal, he exceeded it by swimming 100 lengths!  Rob ran a raffle to support Peter Lawrence’s chosen charity which raised £200.

Unfortunately, later in the afternoon, Peter Johnston suffered a fall and we needed to call the para-medics, who took him to the hospital. Happily after he was examined the doctors declared that he was fine and he was able to be sent back home.

After the ambulance left, with Peter looking somewhat brighter, Jonathan Pegler played the organ and Bill Jones led the singing of some favourite Christmas carols.

 

Instead of presenting the usual gifts to the hosts to show our appreciation, David Powell explained that Bill & Sue had requested a donation to the Woodland Trust in order to plant trees in Parc Mawr, Conway. Bill went on to describe the ecological background and benefits of the scheme, and, at the end of the afternoon, sufficient funds had been raised for six trees to be dedicated in the name of Chiltern District Welsh Society.

We all left at about 4pm. Many thanks to Bill & Sue Jones for being such welcoming hosts and to ‘To Dine For’ for the delicious canapes and attentive service.