Meeting Reports 2015-2016

July 6    Garden Party

The final meeting of the year was a garden party, held at the home of Sue Beardsworth. The weather was kind so the contingency plan of our usual venue in the evening was not needed. During the afternoon we looked at the garden, especially some rather fine raised beds, and consumed Pimms® or squash, scones, jam & cream. Mainly, we sat and chatted looking forward to the summer we hoped would come, though there was a raffle, Bring & Buy Table and plant stall, proceeds from which were to be sent to Dove House.

June 22  "Saturday's Child" Memories & Verse.  

Hilary Brocklehurst

Hilary Brocklehurst told the story of her mother, who led a quiet, hard-working, hence, “Saturday’s Child”, life. After three years of widowhood, Hilary’s mother died in 2007 leaving behind a Memory Box that was filled with photographs, often of children, poems from magazines, prize cards from village shows and some treasured artefacts. These were sorted and foldered and the source of this talk.

Marjorie, just one name, was the fourth child, born at Sunk Island and destined to live her life In the East Riding. As so many young women of the earlier 20th century, she left school at fourteen to go into service. However, she joined the WAAF and saw rather more of life before settling down to marry her childhood sweetheart in 1947. In the box of treasures was her wedding dress and, perhaps more telling, the shirt worn by the groom.

Hilary interspersed each section of her mother’s story with a poem or two from those cut out and kept. Not great works drawn from the canon of English Literature perhaps but, in turn, touching or funny or ironic. Each said a little something about the woman, the mother, the wife. She was a committed Christian, worshipping at the Methodist Chapel throughout her life, a faithful friend and upholder of standards in everyday life and domesticity.

Hilary’s talk reminded us of the idiosyncrasies of our own mothers, the difficulties of their life compared to ours and how the society of their day shaped them. Her mother was not a “celebrity”, but, as with so many women carrying on an undramatic life, giving more than they take, certainly worth celebrating.


May 25   "After the Trawl"   Joanne E. Byrne

Ask many people around Britain what they associate with Hull and the answer is likely to be, “fishing”. Anyone who has lived in this area for any length of time will know that whilst that was true once, it is no longer the case. Joanne Byrne has employed “oral history” in her research, talking to people who were involved in a range of jobs in the fishing industry of the past and the impact of the Cod Wars of the 1970s and changing technology on working, social and family life. The book, “The Fishermen”, the sociology of an extreme occupation by Jeremy Tunstall provided the setting for the Hull fishing industry. Those involved believed that their way of life was unchanging and also, oddly, that their work was in Hull. There were images of the Hessle Road area, bustling throughout the day with goods and people going to and from the docks contrasting with the subsequent quiet, after the number of trawlers dropped from 136 in 1946 to 1 in 1986 and employment in the industry dropped from 11,000 in 1972-3 to 4,495 in 1883. Interviewees recalled the feeling of being deserted by governments who could allow another country to assume rights over sea areas long fished by them, and thus eliminating their source of income. Different types of vessels and new technology, especially freezing at sea, also played their part. Some fishermen went to Cornwall, “mackerelling” and others were involved in searching out new fish in distant waters; both enterprises having varied levels of success. Eventually, for many, the saviour was the oil industry though it was found to be very boring waiting on ships for an emergency.

Jo illustrated the point that the decline of a basic industry means more than a loss of jobs and wealth; it can be a loss of a way of life and culture.

Many members had vivid memories of the Hull fishing industry and family associations with it. The talk was educational, thought provoking and entertaining.

May 11    "It's a Funny Old World". Phil Walker

On Wednesday, May 11, Phil Walker made a return visit to North Ferriby Ladies’ Group. He and his wife are exceptionally well-travelled and Phil takes photographs and collects anecdotes whilst away. This talk had five themes; food, jobs, toilets, animals, and clothing with examples located in Asia, Africa and South America. Many people are nervous of eating unfamiliar items but Phil was willing to have a go with Guinea Pig and chips in Peru (not much meat; quite like chicken) but has not tried the coffee made from beans which have passed through the digestive system of the civet. The wine on a South African vineyard and a Singapore Sling cocktail in the Raffles Hotel, where it was created were more happily taken. Pictures of people being pushed onto trains in Japan by smartly dressed and white-gloved “Train Stuffers” opened the “unusual jobs” section. There were also pictures of sales persons, so loaded with goods that they were invisible, and elephant dung collectors in Thailand. The dung is used to make paper. Toilets vary in quality and attractiveness of use throughout the world; some certainly making us grateful for the plumbing we are apt to take for granted. Phil showed a number of animal pictures from his trips including Baboons (very naughty) at the Cape of Good Hope, Penguins (cute), a Rhino (scary) and a Camel in the Himalayas (puzzling).

Proceeds from talks and craft items sold go a home for blind and orphaned children in Nepal, first discovered by the Walkers’ daughter. She and they have supported a Nepalese couple, Kancha and his wife, who have up to fourteen children in a very small apartment, over a number of years.

April 20   Parks & Gardens of Hull. Paul Schofield

Paul Schofield is a local man, East Hull anyway, with an enduring interest in his home town, His talk on the parks and gardens of Hull gave the background to the foundation of each of the major ones, focusing on West Park, East Park, Queen’s Gardens, Pickering Park and Pearson Park. Hull is certainly a city with a great deal of green space thanks to the philanthropy and wish to demonstrate their wealth, of local businessmen. Both botanic and zoological gardens had been part of the city’s environment, both still remembered in pub names, but neither were able to succeed with competition from parks which people could access free. The old photographs that Paul collects and projects, show what the parks initially looked like, and features that have since disappeared. The parks have had times of great popularity, especially when new and residents had not the means to travel far on Sundays and holidays, and times of decline. It was reassuring to hear of the recent redevelopment of East Park which attracts many young people and families again. It does still have birds and animals and also the Splash Boat about which some members had been unaware but will be heading east to have a ride when it is open during the school holidays. Many pictures showed the visitors to the parks in their “best” clothes which looked hot and uncomfortable yet they still were enjoying the paddling pools, boating lakes and games on the grass as well as rather more sedate listening to bands on the bandstands.

Paul kept us thoroughly interested and entertained throughout his talk and we look forward to welcoming him back next season for more insights into local history.

March 16    Customers, Clownfish, & Cupcakes. Louise Kirby

Louise Kirby has worked at The Deep in Hull since it opened in 2002. Not a biologist, she looks after “front of house” which means she needs to be aware of everything that is happening at the attraction and make every visitor’s experience as positive and enjoyable as possible. Surprisingly, for something far removed from fantasy, The Deep learned a lot from training with the Disney Corporation, particularly how to interpret customer questions. Visitor numbers have remained high and well above any forecasts, largely because of Louise and her staff looking for different ways to bring different groups of people in. Overnight “sleepover” events have become popular with Cub and Brownie groups; school parties associated with a range of subjects are catered for and the most recent innovation is an evening dining experience. It is also possible to be married, both outside on the famous “ship’s prow” or inside in front of tanks. We were very pleased to hear that it is one of only two Millennium Projects to have maintained success (the other being the Eden Project) and further developments are planned for Hull’s Year of Culture in 2017. Whilst visitors arrive mainly from a two hour drive radius and many are repeat visits, local residents are surprisingly poorly represented. Many members have visited but Louise’s talk made many of us thinking of going again.

March 2     A.G.M

The AGM was extremely well attended; it was especially nice to welcome back Val Franks. Apologies for absence were taken then a review of meetings since the previous AGM and of the finances took place. There was then election of officers for the following year, in effect from September. As last year, there are no volunteers to be Speakers’ Secretaries, though all other roles are filled.


Chair                                       Hilary Brocklehurst

Vice-Chair                               Judy Wood

Treasurer                                Jane Booth

Assistant Treasurer              Carol Jones

Events' Secretaries               Sue Beardsworth   Julia James

Publicity                                     Janet Hutson

Committee Members           Jean Blogg

           Jane Knight

                                                      Joan Wilde


As happened for the current year, members are asked to volunteer to organise a meeting theme or speaker and to volunteer to do teas at a meeting. A list will be presented at the next meetings for members to sign up.


The second half of the meeting was an illustrated talk about Chocolate. A little history, geography and trivia followed by some tasting of chocolate from different countries and with different amounts of cocoa solids.

February 17    Meg Lindow: Make-up Artist

Local girl Meg Lindow is a free-lance make-up artist. She not only does make up for weddings and other special occasions, but also for stage, film and photo shoots.

A member of the group had already booked an appointment as mother of the bride late this year so Meg took this opportunity to practice and trial. She talked through both products and techniques as she worked on the face and also fielded questions. Many members remarked on the number of processes compared to their own and yet the finished result was not heavy or stagey or overdone. Whilst the make-up was underway, Meg passed around her tablet computer showing a series of “before & after” shots, very dramatic in some cases, and also her portfolio of more dramatic photos.

The “guinea pig” was delighted with the result and many of us had learned how to improve our own make-up, both for everyday and events.



February 3    Call, Push, Rescue.

To many people the initials, CPR create images of a paramedic giving mouth to mouth artificial respiration between bouts of rapid pressing on a patient’s chest, as frequently witnessed in T.V. dramas. They stand for “cardiopulmonary resuscitation”. Easier to remember and perhaps more “ordinary person” friendly is “Call, Push, Rescue” which amounts to the same thing. Derek Shepherd, working with resources and equipment provided by the British Heart Foundation, went through techniques that should be employed should an emergency involving a collapsed person be found or witnessed.

It is a shocking fact that over 30,000 people experience cardiac arrest in the U.K. each year and fewer than 1 in 10 survive. The techniques learned at the meeting are potential lifesavers. Not that everyone found it easy! The pressure necessary to encourage a heart to start pumping blood around the body is far more than expected and is tiring after a short while. Luckily, our very patient “patients” were plastic mannequins. Many were concerned about possibly cracking or even breaking ribs in a real person but, as was pointed out, a cracked rib is better than dead. Even if techniques are less than perfect, there is some benefit and might gain time until professional help arrives.

Given that we have a Public Access Defibrillator (P.A.D) in the middle of the village (outside the post office) it was very useful to have information about its use. Some ladies had worried that more harm than good would be caused by applying it when not needed so were reassured to see a film of one in use showing that instructions are given and the machine first checks if there is a heartbeat or not.

The overriding message was that doing anything is better than doing nothing.

January 20    Quiz Night

It was, as Wellington would have said, a close-run thing. That is to say, it was until round 5, European Flags, when the ladies of Table 6 stamped their authority onto the event. After that, it was a race for second place (which was a tie) but, sadly, no prizes for coming anything other than first.

It was the first meeting of 2016 and the weather was quite kind enabling a big turnout. There were seven rounds: Food & Drink; The Shipping Forecast; Plants & Animals; Characters from Books; European Flags; British Kings & Queens; Spelling. Members were mostly restrained with their team mates, if less so with themselves. Nibbles and drinks were served throughout fostering a convivial atmosphere and fun start to the year.

November 11  "The Joys of Travel?"  Judith Edwards

One of our members delighted and entertained with her talk about her own travel experiences and stories about other people travelling.

The talk was split into sections:

  1. Packing: After a little frivolity about whether or not we had husbands who could do their own packing Judith read a poem by Charlotte Mitchell. The poem was about a lady going away to the seaside for a couple of days. It was orientated around the unpredictability of the English weather. What if it was cold?– better pack a couple of jumpers and a scarf; but it might be wet – better pack mac and boots; might be hot - pack swimsuit and sun hat; and her friends might suggest a visit to the theatre so a little velvet dress. Not to mention dressing gown and slippers.

  1. Transport: Judith told a very funny story about a person going into a Christian bookshop and buying a car sticker which said “Honk if you love Jesus”. Stopping at traffic lights the lady thought she had lots of friends who loved Jesus as people started hooting at her and she rolled down her window and waved to them. She wondered why someone was waving with only two fingers. Her grandson informed her that this was an Hawaiian good luck sign and so she returned the gesture as she set off driving again, after realising she had missed a change in lights.                                    

There was then a poem by Pam Ayers about plane travel and the pilot going using “automatic pilot”. Pam Ayers wondered if the pilot was sitting in the cockpit with his feet up on the controls; perhaps he had his slippers on?

Train journeys  delayed or cancelled are for most of us, a trial but, for Judith, an opportunity. She befriended people on the platform and indeed, people befriended her. One delay at Effingham Junction was so long that she won a competition for wearing the best fur hat.

There were tales of being left behind in Istanbul, and exploits attempting to get to the top of Mount Sinai by camel in the dark of night. Despite having been sized up and down by torchlight she was initially given a camel which was far too small and she just knew that she might fall off. Half way up the mountain she was given a larger camel and actually lifted on to it to make sure that she was sitting astride it correctly.

  1. Worries when travelling:  Often it’s the toilet facilities.

The funniest story was about a lady who was going to stay at an hotel in Cyprus. Being concerned about the accommodation she had written to the manager of the hotel to enquire about the location of the W.C. in relation to her bedroom this being before the days of rooms with en suite bathrooms. The manager being unfamiliar with the term W.C. interpreted this as Wesleyan Chapel and wrote back to this effect:

“The nearest is some 7 miles away. It is open on a Friday and a Sunday and is set in lovely surroundings such that some people go along with a packed lunch. Most people walk there but some go by car if they are in a hurry. He stated that it was a comfortable place with some 200 seats. If she chose to go on a Thursday then there would be some accompaniment from the organ. “

Judith noted that whilst she loves going away, she also loves coming back home and loves to bring back souvenirs but whilst she was not able to bring her china collection to the meeting, did bring several soft toys. A camel from Tunisia, a Penguin from the Arctic, a sheep from New Zealand, a Blue Footed Booby from the Galapagos, a Reindeer from Lapland and a Koala Bear from Australia.

At times during the talk, ladies were in fits of giggles with tears rolling down their faces. Judith really is an excellent speaker and, in a different life could have made her way on the stage. The evening was a real tonic.

October 28  The Magnificent Ladies of Laos  Mrs Diane Lee

“A far away country of which we know little” accurately describes Laos. It is a small country that features in most people’s minds as being connected in some way with the Vietnam War. It is this association that underpins the title of the talk for the “Magnificent Ladies” are attempting to solve one of the problems that resulted.

Laos is a landlocked country, so Mrs. Lee’s vision of sunbathing by azure seas whilst sipping a cocktail when her husband suggested it as a holiday destination were rapidly dashed. It is however famous for its very varied landscapes, Buddhist shrines and friendly people. Whilst sightseeing the Lees were suddenly involved in some kind of emergency which turned out to be the safe detonation of a bomb after which the personnel in charge were revealed not as military officers in full body armour but a group of petite women with very little protection. The bombs were dropped by the U.S.A but 30% did not explode on impact and so remain as a continuing threat to life. As the bombs are small, about the size of a golf ball, they are not easy to detect and can be found growing in vegetation as well as on the ground. Few people survive a blast and, if they do, only with life-changing injuries. The rate of bomb discovery is slow and it would take 150 years to clear them all. Training is given by the charity Mine Advisory Group (M.A.G.) to whom Mrs. Lee gave her speaker’s fee. Her experiences in Laos made such a deep impression that she has supported the work of the magnificent Laotian ladies ever since.

October  14  Cheese Demonstration by Margaret Rant

Brough Wives joined a large number of members for a presentation on British Cheese. This was given by member, Margaret Rant who had worked for the Milk Marketing Board. Her remit at the time was to spread the word on English and Welsh cheese. The M.M.B is no longer with us but Margaret has continued to give talks and demonstrations.

The history, geography and science of cheese was covered alongside some anecdotes from previous events to which she had been invited. She herself is from Cheshire, an area famous now and in the past for dairying and her adopted home in Yorkshire, contains Jervaulx, where the first written accounts of cheesemaking were found. It was interesting to hear how the nutritional quality of cheese has been both cause for concern and cause for celebration over time; currently it is considered okay! The “territorial” nature of our cheese, giving rise to county or locality names was also explained and the distinguishing features of each described. Following a slideshow, Margaret talked about some more modern variants on traditional cheese, which mainly involve the addition of fruit in layers or throughout. It was an entertaining and informative talk, much appreciated by the whole audience. Samples from the talk were added to the buffet provided by members to share with our visitors.


September 30  “Treasures”

This was a new venture for a Members’ Evening. Items that had a special memory or connection or just of interest were brought along and the owner gave some background. Most were not of great monetary value but definitely treasured by their owners. There were photographs to recall an event, objects that had belonged to someone from the past, often now no longer with us, kitchen utensils, a teenage diary, a booklet produced by a patent medicine manufacturer to solve all problems associated with children’s health, a china Dalmation…………….quite a range. Some of the stories were touching, others amusing. What became apparent was that what is often most valued is a relationship, an object conjuring up a person in a particular time or place. Treasures indeed.

September 16    Beetle Drive & Subscriptions

The new season began in the traditional way with a very tense and rather noisy Beetle Drive. Quite why some dice refused to generate particular numbers remains a mystery but it's no fun when someone shouts, "Beetle" and you are still waiting for a 6 to get started. In the event, most pairs managed to win at least one game and so change tables even if progression around the room was slow and slight. Prizes of chocolate were awarded to the winners and then members caught up with news and looked through the programme for the coming year over tea and biscuits.