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.

2018 Annual General Meeting

On 11th May 2018 we held our annual general meeting at Coleshill Village Hall.

People started arriving at 7pm, and by 7:30 there were 44 members present as Kay Day called the room to order.

The minutes for the previous AGM were agreed and Kay reviewed the past year, starting with the passing of Mike Stythe, an enthusiastic supporter of CDWS and who had organised memorable trips to Snowdonia. Kay remembered how Mike’s army background meant that he always planned for the unexpected, including carrying a foldable stretcher in his rucksack in case of mishaps on the walk!

Two of the past year’s events had been beset by snow, many were unable to attend the Christmas party due to impassable roads (leaving generous supplies of canapes for those who were able to attend). Then the St David’s Day Dinner had to be postponed as snow meant that even the staff at the Harewood Downs golf club were unsure that they would be able to get in. On that basis, Kay hoped that there would be no snow forecast for the summer lunch on 1st July!

Kay reviewed the past year’s events and thanked Ernest Morris for hosting the Summer Lunch, Colin & Di Thomas for hosting the Christmas drinks and Pam Britton & Chris Thomas for arranging the golf day.

There were 7 new members this year meaning that we now have approximately 120 members.

Graham Beavan gave his financial report, showing that the society’s finances were in good form with an underlying balance of about £2,800. Graham also announced that he is planning to move houses, and would soon he stepping down from the committee.

We then came to the election of the committee. Ann Thomas and Jean Owen are both retiring from the committee, and Kay and Jonathan Pegler are stepping down from positions as Chairman and vice Chairman after many years of service, but would still be standing as committee members.

Colin Picton has been seconded to the committee as Minutes Secretary, and was now proposed and elected.

David Powell was proposed as the new chairman, with Rob Britton as vice chairman, and these were both elected unopposed.

Ann Evans thanked Kay for her years of service as Chairman, Vice Chairman and Minutes Secretary and present her with a bouquet of flowers.

Ann Tennant then served a choice of chicken or beef stew with a choice of desserts.

David Powell thanked Ann Tenant for once again providing such a good meal, and then ran through the list of coming events: Spring Walk, Aberystwyth trip, Summer Lunch, Windsor Races, Golf Day, Bristol coach trip, Musical evening and Christmas Drinks.

David then introduced the evening’s entertainment – Tony and Margaret Curtis with Jayne Pegler reciting light hearted and amusing works by among others Carol Ann Duffy, Idris Davies and (of course) Dylan Thomas.

The evening ended around 9:30 with Jonathan Pegler leading the singing of the national Anthem.

St David’s Dinner 2018

After the snow reduced the number of attendees for our Christmas get-together, we had to postpone our St David’s Day Dinner as snow again threatened to prevent people attending, so we bravely chose Friday 13th April instead.

The Committee debated what to call our delayed event: CDWS Spring Dinner 2018, the Spring Dinner, the Postponed St David’s Day Dinner?  In the end we stayed with the St David’s Dinner.

While some of our members couldn’t make the new date, fortunately both our singer, Meilir Jones and Iain Ledingham, acting as accompanist, were able to attend. Others who couldn’t make the 1st March could attend for the new date. In the end we had a headcount of 70 – not bad.

Arriving at 6:30, it was a pleasure to see Harewood Downs in the daylight, as it was still light and we were able to admire the fine views over the Misbourne Valley.

The staff were very attentive and we were greeted with a glass of Prosecco or a non-alcoholic alternative while we assembled and met old friends and welcomed new members.

When we found our places at the tables, Gwyndaf John said grace in Welsh, but before he did so he explained the origin of the poem and the rules of the poetic style in which it was written (somewhat similar to a Japanese Haiku), giving it its unique style.

Our menu choices were cleverly printed out for each table, so that that would be no arguments about who had selected which dish – thanks to Graham Beavan.

The food was very good with main course choices of lamb shank, gammon or hake. Everyone was pleased with the quality and service.

After dinner, Kay introduced our entertainment for the evening, Meilir Jones (Baritone), accompanied by Iain Ledingham.

Meilir was originally from Llangefni on the Isle of Anglesey and is one of the first recipients of an award from the Bryn Terfel Foundation. He is currently engaged in postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Iain Ledingham is a Professor at The Royal Academy and also founded the Amersham Festival of music.

Meilir sang a variety of baritone works ranging from opera, to welsh folksongs and even a Shakespearean sonnet. These were all enthusiastically received by the members, who all called for an encore.

 


As the evening came to a close, Barrie Reece stepped up to the piano and played a series of welsh favourites with many of the society joining in.

At the end of the evening, we all thought that it was another successful St David’s Day – even if it had been delayed by six weeks!

 

 

 

Christmas Drinks 2017

Everyone woke up on Sunday 10th December to find a thick layer of snow had fallen overnight and it was still snowing. It was unexpected, the roads had not been salted and the snow showed no sign of disappearing.

Luckily, we only live a few minutes away from Colin and Di Thomas’s house in Gerrards Cross, so we were able to make it, but many were not so lucky. We had expected a turnout of about 60, but only 20 people managed the journey, mostly from Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield, including new members Kate and Colin Picton.

We were uncertain how many people would be able to attend, and as the time went by emails and phones started to arrive with tales of impassable roads and AA weather warnings.

Thankfully, the caterers, ‘To Dine For’ made it through the snow and were all prepared.  The food was excellent and very plentiful.  We had not only the canapés we had ordered but about half of the canapés for Stephanie’s following event (for 100 people) which had been cancelled. She said that the canapés for the later event wouldn’t keep, and insisted they had to be eaten.

As numbers were reduced, it did mean that we had the opportunity to talk to everyone and it was a very friendly atmosphere.

Jonathan Pegler had brought a good supply of carol sheets, distributed them around the room and played the piano while everybody enthusiastically joined in the singing.


We all left in good time before dark, trudging through the snow, many with doggy-bags of surplus food, and there was quite a bit left for Colin and Di’s supper – they earned it!

It was a different sort of event, but very sociable, and a nice-sized gathering for the new members to meet people, but it was a shame that so many were not able to enjoy the afternoon.

Many thanks to Colin and Di for their hospitality.

More photographs (and videos) here.

David Powell & Jonathan Pegler.

Theatre Trip – ‘The Best Man’ at the Theatre Royal Windsor 21/09/2017


Theatre Trip – ‘The Best Man’ at the Theatre Royal Windsor 21/09/2017

This year our annual theatre trip was to see Martin Shaw starring as William Russell, Presidential candidate in Gore Vidal’s play ‘The Best Man’ at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.

The play is about two competing candidates for presidential nomination in a 1960’s campaign. Martin Shaw plays William Russell, whose main opponent, Senator Cantwell (played by Jeff Fahey) is a ruthless political bruiser, using every dirty trick he can think of to gain nomination.

Jack Shepherd was very impressive as the ailing outgoing president, whose endorsement was needed by both candidates. The play started slowly but soon warmed up and got quite exciting with echoes of the antics played in a more recent real presidential election.

Many thanks to Kay for arranging the trip.

 

David Powell