It's not all Jam & Jerusalem and just to prove it, here are a few things we have been up to during the last few months. We did sing Jerusalem and are proud to do so as it is our anthem. We have a Craft Group, a Walking Group and also a darts team.
How quickly the time flies when you are doing lots of things. The Craft Group which meets on the second Monday In each month have been enjoying themselves trying their hand at all sorts from mosaics to paper flower making.
Members of our Walking Group have been walking the coastal path in North Norfolk and on most days the weather has been kind to them.
Francis Mobbs was our visitor and her demonstration was "Fun with Summer Cooking", the east way to make dishes for an evening in the garden with friends. We were treated to canapés hot and cold. Francis then demonstrated how to make tarts using bought Flaky Pastry with various fillings. Followed by delightful desserts such as Chocolate Crunch Torte, Lemon Curd Surprise and more, they were all delicious. Many of the items were donated to our raffle, so lots of members went home with treats.
Members enjoyed a visit to Norwich Textiles Museum and were impressed by the famous Norwich Shawls.
Our Speaker this month was Nick Cook from Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum. Most people know of Colman's Mustard as it is world famous, but few know of it's beginning.
Back in 1814 Jeremiah Colman took over a mustard business based at Stoke Holy Cross near Norwich. Jeremiah had no children so he adopted his oldest nephew and took him into the business which flourished. Growth of the business meant larger premises were needed, so the business moved to Carrow near Norwich and became established as J & J Colman Ltd. It was the first employer in the country to build houses for it's workers. James's son Jeremiah James joined the business and married Caroline Cozens Hardy the daughter of another well known Norwich family. Caroline took an interest in the company, she was very keen on education. It was because of this it was arranged that for penny a week the eldest son of workers could be taught to read and write. Eventually a school was built for the workers children on Carrow Hill, another first, this building can still be seen today. Colman's was also the first employer in the country too provided a nurse to look after the health of it's workers.
This month saw members embark on a visit to the Beth Cato Gardens and Colchester. An evening boat trip on the Norfolk Broads (with a Jazz Band) was another memorable outing.
This evening was arranged by the members, the arranged a speaker and took the meeting. We had two ladies from Thetford, Lynn Ready & Marilyn Bartrop who told us of their adventures when they took a Gap Year and travelled the World. It was fascinating, thanks to the member for arranging this.
A night at the dogs. Some members, husbands and friends had a lovely night at the Gt. Yarmouth Greyhound Stadium. The meal was excellent and I don't believe anyone went home bankrupt and to my knowledge there are no new millionaires in Spixworth!
Corn Dollies & Straw Craft. Ellen Howe told us the history of Corn Dollies. How in Pagan European countries it was believed the "Spirit" of the corn lived amongst the crop and when harvested the "Spirit" was made homeless. Among the customs it was also believed that hollow shapes fashioned from the last sheaf of corn harvested was home of the "Spirit" during the winter. The "Spirit" would spend the winter in this home, until it was ploughed into the first fallow the following year. There were many design of corn dollies and they were given different names. Many referring to the area in which they were harvested. Such as Barton Turf – Norfolk, Handbell – Cambridgeshire and Horseshoe - Suffolk. Ellen told us how straw had been used through the ages. For building such as wattle & daub, and is still used today. It was also used for thatching, making hats and many more uses.
Ellen then showed members how to make a simple Corn Dolly, everyone managed to complete theirs and had one to take home.
Panic, the speaker cancelled at the last moment. All was not lost as Sheelagh Foulke stepped in and saved the evening. Sheelagh told us how she became interested in the art of Sugar Craft. As a child Sheelagh lived at a bakery, she remembers the baker arriving every early and had finished baking bread before she was up. At about 5yrs old her mother showed her how to ice Fairy Buns (now known as Cop Cakes). Later she was shown how to ice a complete cake, from here progress was then to the traditional three tier wedding cake, decorated with silver shoes and silver balls. Sheelagh went on to college and obtain two City & Guild degrees in the art of Sugar Craft.
Having stepped in at such short notice it was not possible for Sheelagh to demonstrate, but she brought the most exquisite example of her work. There were flowers, clowns and a lovely model of Edith Cavell in her cell, one of a wedding gown being made, it showed the gown and a miniature basket containing reels of thread and a tiny pin cushion with minute pins, all produced using sugar. Sheelagh had also brought lots of photo's for members to look at.
Another year has simply flown by and we arrive again at the AGM. Reports were given, and no nominations had been received to join the committee. The present committee was willing to stand for another year, so the business part of the meeting was quickly over. This was followed by a Beetle Drive which gave members the chance to move and mingle with much chat and laughter. The evening finished with tea and birthday cake. Looking forward to next month and the Christmas Party.