I hope you and your families are keeping safe and well. Once again we are trying to keep in touch with as many of you as possible and give an update on the Association.
Firstly we would like to thank the secretaries and their friends in getting this letter round to as many of you as possible, without their help and commitment this would not be possible.
Regarding our Head Office, we have had to keep it closed for some time due to the situation, but are now are looking to having it back open for two days a week from September (Tuesday and Wednesday) so feel free to phone then if you need too, or continue to email anytime.
We have had to make many hard decisions this year with the cancellation of events, but as I am sure you realise the safety of our members must come first and even though ‘lockdown’ has been eased at the moment, local lockdowns can come into force at any time as we well know, as has been the case in some areas in the north.
With this in mind we have had to cancel the Weekend Away and the London Carol Concert.
For the weekend away we have had to take into consideration
- Would we get the minimum numbers (even though we are all desperate to get out) If we booked and didn’t meet the required number we would still have to pay full price and this could have cost the Association a lot of money
- How would the hotel cope with social distancing (a family would have a ‘bubble’) but we are friends how would that work? Would we all have to have single rooms?
- If a member had booked and their area went into local lockdown we couldn’t guarantee they would get a refund.
So reluctantly, we decided the most sensible thing to do was to see if we could transfer to next year, we will let you know in the next newsletter around mid to late September, what dates we han=ve managed to secure.
The London Carol Concert caused similar concerns, apart from the fact we are not sure when we will be allowed to sing again (a carol concert without singing!) the cost of the venue has gone up steadily over the years, and from last year we have had to pay separately for the upper gallery seating, so we had already decided to just hire the lower seating area. Then with social distancing to consider also we could possibly only accommodate about a quarter of the ladies that would normally come. This would have made the ticket price way above what we normally charge and again would our ladies want to travel.
So again, another difficult decision, but one that had to be made, here’s hoping we can all enjoy this wonderful event next year.
At the moment the Concert in the North is still going ahead we will keep you posted on any developments.
Annual conference – as we all know we have had to cancel our conference this year, we know some had sent in deposits prior to the lockdown, and Claire will now start looking at these, and get in touch with those ladies to see if they wish a refund or us to hold the balance until next year. We certainly do not want anyone under pressure to go to the bank as we usually issue cheques for refunds, but Claire will be in touch to sort this out.
The Grand Draw has also been cancelled for this year, but will resume next year.
On a good note we are able to provide 2021 diaries for next year at the same price of £2. These can be ordered through Head Office as usual.
Also 2021 calendars will be available very good value at £1 including a pen and gift envelope.
We also have a new design this year for the Christmas Cards, still at £2.50.
(postage will be extra or they can be picked up from the gate at Head Office).
Regarding Quiz sheets, we did originally say that they would be available from September at the usual £1 per copy – however since then, with the situation as it is not knowing how many clubs will be back in the autumn for secretaries to pass on copies or collect the money to send in etc., it has been decided to now run the quiz early next year, from 1st February to the 30th April, and then all being well we can announce the winner at the May Executive meeting. In the meantime we are doing our short just for fun quiz within these newsletters.
Now a quick look at what our Chairman, Treasurer, Information Officer and Single Rep have been up to during lockdown
What have I been doing since lockdown began – not as much as I should have done – normal everyday things, washing up to date, and ironing!!! Garden looks good (not done by me). Some sorting out –still lots to do, a bit of sewing, knitting, jigsaws keeping in touch with families etc. weekly conference, meetings with the committee via ‘WhatsApp and Zoom’. Did manage to celebrate my mum’s 92nd birthday with my 2 brothers and sister, unfortunately my sister in Oz was due to be here, but was not allowed to travel but a good time was had. I finally managed to get to Sainsbury’s’ after weeks of not going out I was like a kid in a sweet/toy shop spent too much but what the heck it was just nice to go back to a bit of normality. Just heard I will be returning to work on 13th August so will have to go like the clappers to get all that I was supposed to do have done – finished!
‘I have not cleaned the whole house, garage or garden shed. The washing machine has not been doing overtime nor have I been sorting through our belongings in the hope of reducing the amount we have. We (must include hubby), have done work in the garden and now have a beautiful back garden, with flowering shrubs and plants but to my cost as I have put my back out and am back having treatment-UGH.
I have however, written a ‘mid-year’ letter to the 25+ people I usually hear from at Christmas in the UK – yes hand written letters – I still hand write all of them. I have written extra letters to my pen-pal of 57 years living in Ohio, my cousin in Florida and a South Korean lady I correspond with in the USA San Dimos, USA. Letters have also gone to France, Holland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Phuket.
My main achievement has been to resurrect a project that I started in 2000 when my second grand-daughter was born and that is to produce a ‘pictorial family tree’ for each of my four children, four grandchildren and my sister’s three children. So far I have had printed just over 800 pictures and have produced three albums for my sister’s three (including the written story of the family and our childhood). I now have to start compiling the albums for my brood. They will be bigger than the first three as there are my husband’s family to include. I am determined to get this project completed this year. It has been a very interesting and challenging exercise.
I could do with more hours in the day at present but that’s just me – do try to enjoy the sunshine, keep as fit as you can, phone those friends who are on their own a chat always helps and remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel however small it seems – STAY SAFE.’
My time over shutdown has been Zooming with other groups that I belong to, also reading
10 books so far. I started with jigsaws but gave that up as a lost cause. We have also been keeping in touch with members, which takes a lot of time.
“At the beginning we made mental lists of what we were going to do. Dave had wood delivered to make shelves in the loft – something he’s been going to do for the past couple of years!
I started preparing woodwork for redecorating the hall & stairs – with paint I bought last year!
But then we had that spell of glorious weather so the garden called.
I sowed various seeds (all old) and had mixed success and, where I thought I’d have lots of flowers, I ended up with a surfeit of lettuce and beetroot. I decide to try growing seeds from a shop-bought tomato and ended up with dozens of plants which I’ve been giving away. My carrots are all a bit deformed but cabbage, caulis and onions coming on great and the rhubarb is enormous so I struggled to find room for much else in our raised bed. It is really an octagonal keyhole garden 0.5 metres high by 4 metres across. In the centre there’s a compost bin for kitchen/garden waste and shredded paper. On top of this is an obelisk for growing peas or beans.
I’ve pickled beetroot, made beetroot & orange chutney and we’ve enjoyed numerous strawberry desserts.
I’ve also had my sewing machine out, done some mending and even made masks from pillow cases.
We’ve now got the caravan on the drive to stock up ready for our first trip away – all the way to Garstang which is only 30 miles away but a lovely site at the side of the Lancaster Canal.
Our first outing for 19 weeks, other than a couple of trips to a garden centre, once to Costco and a socially-distanced BBQ in my son’s garden.
Those of you on Facebook will see that I’ve been posting pictures of something we’ve done each day – I thought, at the end of lockdown, I might put them into a book as a permanent record.
Guiltily I must admit I’ve enjoyed our ‘confinement’ working in and enjoying the garden. I did finish the stairs and Dave made the shelves, although we still need to sort out stuff in the loft.
I know I’ve put on weight, although I think it’s due to excess alcohol and afternoon treats rather than inactivity”
Answers to last month’s quiz
Q. Which River is the nearest to Balmoral Castle? The Dee
Q. What is the pericarp of an orange? The Peel
Q. What is the name given to the moon that follows the Harvest Moon? The Hunter’s Moon
Q. Paul McCartney always used his middle name, what was his first name? James
Q. If you bought Le Figaro in France, what would you have bought? A Newspaper
Q. What colour was the 1d stamp that came out after the 1d black? Red
Q. The Queen has four corgis. A dorgi is a cross between a corgi and which other dog? A Dachshund
Q. Which food was not rationed during World War 2 was rationed after? Bread
Q. In which decade did the compulsory driving test begin in UK? 1930
Q. What is called Ajo in Spain and Ail in France? Garlic
Congratulations if you managed to get 10 but again no prizes but you might be able to use the questions with the family.
Now for August quiz
- Who would you address as “Your Grace”?
- What is the common name of the disease Variola?
- Which Anglo-Saxon warrior prince featured in an epic poem and died from a dragon’s poisonous breath?
- Who said, “The female of the species is more deadly than the male”?
- In 330AD, the centre of the Roman Empire ceased to be Rome itself, what was the new capital?
- From what language does the word elastic originate?
- Helminthophobia is a fear of what?
- Which sitcom was originally called “You’ll never get rich”?
- The athlete Carl Lewis shares a birthday with which royal?
- What is Lord Lichfield’s real name?
Answers next month
Claire’s recipes have been very well received and have become a firm favourite with many; here is her contribution for this month.
Claire oatmeal and raisin healthy cookies!
Cookies and healthy, doesn’t sound right does it but these kinda are, they have 107 calories each, and contain rolled oats which help lower blood pressure, and spelt flour which is high fibre and contains many important micronutrients. You can buy spelt flour from any supermarket, and it is far better for you than highly processed and bleach white flour. These cookies are an ideal easy grab breakfast, or afternoon snack. Easy to make so give them a go.
They are ok for 4-5 days in a Tupperware or plastic type storage box.
50g butter (salted or unsalted does not matter )
100g soft light brown sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tablespoons either vegetable oil or olive
125g spelt flour ideally or if not wholemeal
100g rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
Quarter teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 tablespoon mixed spice – you could switch this to ground ginger only if you prefer
Small pinch of salt
Handful of raisins – you can leave these out if you wish and just have oat cookies
Makes 16 cookies, I do 8 per baking tray as they spread when cooking.
Preheat the oven to 155 degrees – line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar – just need to be mixed, push up against the side of a mixing bowl and mash together. Next stir in the egg, and oil. Then mix all together to combine.
Next add all the above dry ingredients and mix with a spoon, it will be a wettish mix but starting to stick together.
Then comes the messy but necessary bit, with washed damp hands, you wanna take a piece about the size of a Ferrero rocher and roll together in a ball and place on baking tray. Repeat so you have 8 per tray spaced out 2 lines of 4. Then use a fork to push each one slightly down. It doesn’t take long and is worth it.
Cook for only 12 minutes, they will look soft in the middle, but will firm up once cooled. If your worried not quite cooked give them another 2 minutes. If you do overcook once cooled they will be more biscuit like so still ok.
I make these fairly regularly, hubby takes to work, mum has a few, and they are handy for a keep going snack. If you have a sweeter tooth use vanilla extract if you prefer instead of spice.
Hope you enjoy Claire x
A longer letter than usual but we did want to keep you all up to date.
Keep safe and it will end sometime.
Chris & the Committee