Friday, 24 February 2017

Ideas Needed. Help!

Regular readers know that once a month there is a meeting in Little Bunting's tiny village hall.    It is a Council-led initiative to get older, potentially isolated, people to meet for a cup of tea and a chat.   When I say council-led, I mean they invited us to attend a meeting in the hall and gave us the free use of the hall (for the first few meetings)  and then left us to it.   These days we have to pay about two pounds each!  

There are probably about a dozen of us, ranging in age from mid-fifties to early nineties.    Not everyone attends all the time, some of us feel obliged to do so.    Even though we may walk there on reluctant feet, we always have a very jolly time and come away feeling better for having caught up with friends.

So far we have spent some fun times learning how to make sugar paste flowers and Christmas cake decorations, we have played lots of games of cards, had a board games afternoon and a couple of fun afternoons thanks to my gorgeous DiL.   She has demonstrated Chinese cookery and on another occasion we had great fun when she taught us to make garnish pictures.

Next time we meet we are having a session on local history, a talk given by our second-oldest member.   She grew up on a farm in Dovecote Dell, a nearby village.    She lived in the old manor house - this has since been demolished - and knows lots about the history of

the beautiful dovecote and moated manor house.     I'm really looking forward to this one.

The problem is that no one is coming up with fresh ideas for future meetings.   We meet at 2pm and finish at 3.30pm, so it can't be anything too complicated.   We have one brave man who attends anything other than the craft meetings, so I need to include him as much as possible.

I would welcome your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas...


  1. I just found your blog today and it is lovely. I would hesitate to come up with any ideas, but I will tell you this. I am 60, and a baby boomer, and have been doing a family/genealogy search and the internet has been a great resource in enabling me to find some cousins whom I have never met as well as some fascinating and good information on my ancestors. I hope you have a great weekend. :)

    1. Hello Linda, Thank you for visiting! I agree, genealogy research can be a fascinating thing to do. During the course of reading some very old letters, quite recently, I discovered that my maternal grandfather had been one of ten children. This was never mentioned by my mother or her sister. Presumably it means that we have, potentially, an awful lot of 'long lost relatives' out there!
      Sounds like you have already done a lot of work researching your family!
      Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. I'll give this some thought....especially since you would like to include both male and female interests. If they are all gardeners, you could have a small plant exchange...cookies and tea later.

    1. Hello Meggie, There are at least three exceptionally keen gardeners among the group, so that could work very well. They could share some of their expertise and knowledge with the rest of us. Thank you!

  3. Your Header pic! What a beautiful place you live in! An original old cottage! How lucky you are!

    The coming session on local history, a talk given by your second-oldest member, sounds wonderful. "She grew up on a farm in Dovecote Dell, a nearby village. She lived in the old manor house - this has since been demolished - and knows lots about the history of the beautiful dovecote and moated manor house."

    Dovecote Dell! Even the village name, is delightful. And a moated manor house. Sounds like out of a British Cozy Mystery. (Which I love to read, btw.)

    Wouldn't it be wonderful, if there was a way to record, or better, to tape, this session on local history?!?

    Gentle hugs, from across the pond,
    Luna Crone

    1. Hello Luna, Thank you for stopping by! Our house used to be the cow shed, stables and cart shed for the main farm house. It has a wonderfully tranquil air about it, I often think that is thanks to all the animals who have lived here before us! Fanciful, I know, but that is how it feels, especially when I wander around in the middle of the night.

      I like your idea of recording the local history session! It would be a dreadful shame if oral history like this were lost for ever.

      One confession, I'm afraid that all the names and place names are fictitious. They all relate in some way to the person or place, but they are a very thin disguise, a veil of protection. I spent a happy weekend working them out, before I began this blog. I am happy that you like them.

      Have a great weekend.

  4. I looked on Pinterest for you but it was mostly arts and crafts ideas. If I can come up with anything I'll definitely let you know. : ) Have a beautiful weekend. xo

    ~ Wendy

    1. Hello Wendy, That was really very kind of you, thank you!
      I hope you have a lovely weekend, too.

  5. I am so impressed by your sweet DIL's talent creating food pictures! I would love this!
    Learning more about Dovecote Dell will be so interesting.
    As for other ideas I've drawn a blank sorry

    1. Hello Christine,
      My DiL is a lovely young woman, very talented. She gives freely of her time and skills to our group, they all adore her (so do we). I you lived locally I know she would be more than happy to show you how it is done.
      Dovecote Dell (see my reply to Luna) is a truly beautiful place. It is just a few fields away from this village. I walk there most days and never fail to enjoy sight of it.
      Have a lovely weekend.

  6. Found you again Elaine!

    sending a big smile from Spain

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

    1. Hello Amanda,
      You have earned your 'Sherlock Holmes badge'! How lovely to see you. I can feel the warmth of that smile right over here in chilly Lincolnshire.
      I hope all is well with you - I'll drop by later.

  7. hmmm what about book binding? I saw this at a country fair and thought it was fab.

    I like that programme on the TV where they have antiques and you have to guess the prices and what is a reproduction. Could you do this?

    What about a quiz? and my nan used to absolutely love bingo. Could it be more of an event if you ask everyone to bring a dish of food and eat together? I read somewhere that many older people always eat alone. Lay the dishes out, buffet style.

    I know it sounds like a weird thing, but all of the ladies in my family meet every 3 months and all take their mending basket along. We meet at my parents house, we help each other mend clothing that we can. We leave all of the electrical and wooden items at the house and my father or brother mend those items, or one of my cousins helps.

    Any clothes we cant mend, my mother or my aunts take them and either make them in to kids clothes, dolls clothes or if not fit for anything, they go in the rag bag. Buttons are removed and sewed onto a strip of cloth. Gosh I love buttons, my nans button box was a treasure!

    I have before taught my sisters friends how to make easy earrings and a bracelet with beads before. But you have to have the cutters and pliers to do this.

    Their is also card making, origami, painting, macrame.

    Is there a potter you could invite to talk? I know there is probably no budget for it, but you could ask them to come and do it for free and maybe they would get some sales if people like their wares... they could do a slide show.

    And something I did in Sri Lanka - tea tasting.

    Thats it. I cant think of anything else for today.

    Hope you are well.

  8. Hello Sol,
    Thank you! What a wealth of ideas, all very much appreciated. This is wonderful.
    I am sure we could do something with the antique thing, a great idea. There is a wonderful pottery in our little market town, I need to call in to see them again so i shall see what they have to say to the idea. (Do you watch the Pottery Throw Down?)
    When Poppy comes back from Shanghai I hope to have her do a tea ceremony for us - with her wearing one of her traditional dresses. It is a beautiful thing to watch, mesmerising.
    Nearer the end of the year it would be fun to get together to make cards - so many different ways they can have a go at and perhaps I could also get them to spend one session making things to sell at the Christmas Bazaar.
    Thank you, Sol! Your family sounds wonderful. What a great way to get together, do something useful, share talents and have fun at the same time.
    Have a great weekend. I shall put all your ideas before them, try to get some sort of 'elastic' structure to the thing.x

  9. What a lot of lovely ideas you have been sent, Elaine! Might I add perhaps members write a very short piece on an early childhood memory, say 500 to 600 words maximum to bring along and read out? Something that has stayed with them all these years? That would lead to a lovely discussion on those memories, perhaps.
    Also, perhaps a literary quiz? Nothing too high-brow but just books that we might all have read, literary connections, literary places of birth, houses in which writers have lived, that sort of thing. Perhaps a paperback (even a 2nd
    hand one, by one of the writers' mentioned in the quiz.)
    Margaret P

    1. Hello Margaret,

      Yes, everyone has been very helpful!
      I like the idea of writing a piece on early childhood, we may have to explore that one. The group is comprised of people from very diverse backgrounds, so it would be very interesting to learn a little of their early days.
      I will mention the possibility of a literary quiz, too. I know some people would really enjoy that - it is always surprising how competitive people become, we see this every summer when we hold the summer show. Memories are long about who won what as they fight it out for a first place or a 'best in show'!
      Have a great weekend.

  10. Back again, maybe do the card making for christmas at the end of september or October when the meeting falls. That way they have time to finish any that arent complete, before posting at the beginning of December. and then for November or december, again the closest to December, what about making Christmas wreaths... everyone could gather greenery before the day. Maybe before this, I dont know what month it would be ready, but go out walking together and collect either twigs or bendy whips of branches and make the wreath round in a previous meeting. Can you tell I am a little of a planner. hmm

    So maybe in April when there are new shoots to make the wreath...?

    May, freestyle it, or Poppy if she is free could do a magical tea ceremony.

    June, what about a fancy tea for the Queens birthday.

    July, water colours of a still life? Flowers everyone bring one with them...

    August, Stitch and bitch (as it is called where my sister goes, they wanted to call themselves the cool alternative to the WI, but its a bit of a mouthful right! lol ), or origami if they are able.

    September, card making.

    October, are you allowed to show films if they have had to pay to get in? hmm Maybe get them to read a book of the same title? Something nice and fluffy.

    November either the christmas wreath making, using the stick round you made earlier in the year, it should have dried.

    December, Christmas cake competion.

    There you go. a programme from April on! LMAO CONTROL FREAK, step away from the laptop!

    Good thing I dont have kids right. Could you imagine if I was on the PTA! I would be expelled from the group! LMAO

    Have a great day

    1. Hi Sol,
      You are a superstar!
      You have put together a very exciting programme of events and I can quite see some of them happening. The Owl Wood (and Max) can very easily supply the wreath bases; the woodlands and some gardens the makings, later in the year.
      I know the Queen's tea party would be very popular and would, perhaps draw out some of the less regular participants. Everyone loves a good tea-party!
      So many great ideas and I am very grateful.
      I'll print out a list of your suggestions and get some feedback from the group at the next meeting, try to organise a proper list instead of what has become an enjoyable, but aimless drift.
      Thank you! You'll be getting the freedom of the village and an honorary degree from us next. ;)

  11. I have just read the next post and one you say is a self made multi millionaire. Maybe they could take about investment. I bet the person who has lived in lots of places could talk about some amazing things. I would love to sit and listen to them. this is what the mending basket thing with my family started with. The ladies sat together and told the families stories. Then you in turn retell those stories to the youngsters. I suppose it is like how Australian aborigines kept their history alive.

    I have also thought about how you could make some money for the hall or your group. How about, you all go out and take pictures of the local area. Then make them into a calendar. But all of the ladies share a recipe. And that is the recipe or one of the recipes of the month. And you can have those dishes at your fete or village fair. People taste the dishes and then buy the calendar? What about that?

    I cant abide the 'aimless drift', I like to have something that I know is interesting or fun. Then more people will join in!

    1. Hello Sol, I don't mind a little spot of treading water, but I do prefer to be doing more positive stuff - and you have been very generous with your time and thoughts. Perhaps you could come along and give us a talk, you would probably go away feeling drained, but your energy and enthusiasm would give us all a great boost.

      The calendar idea is excellent and we could easily fit that in, we even have a contact in the village who could organise the printing. The problem is that Little Bunting could then become the new 'Midsomer' (Murder). Tiny though this village is, there is a Tavern and they began producing a 'local scenes calendar' a few years back. Everyone gets their arm twisted to buy those, whether we want to, or not.

      However, you have given me the seed of an idea for something for the Bazaar, I shall think about it when I walk Dobson.

      Meanwhile, thanks again for the brilliant ideas. I'm fairly sure that our successful businesswoman could be persuaded to talk about how she started out from scratch and ended up with a mini-empire.


Lovely to hear from you!