Eydon Ladies Meetings in 2008

Lots to Do!

Please see our calendar for details of of forthcoming meetings. We will post reports of meetings, with photographs where we have them, so you can see what you have missed by not coming along!

January – the A.G.M.

Judith Watson and Marie Eyes picked up a well-deserved bonus point to win Eydon Ladies’ January quiz – which had a smattering of what were termed ‘easy’ questions, however quizmaster Peter Unsworth and referee Todd Butler set a high standard, which saw teams searching back to the 7th century BC for answers.

The quiz was preceded by the AGM when Sally Stretton and Jo Bushell were welcomed on to the committee, and thanks were given to outgoing committee members Margaret Hussey (publicity) and Marie Eyes (refreshments).

Folk Dancing

All thoughts of winter cold were banished, when tutor Pat Cannell (Thirsty Work and Royal Oak Morris), accompanied by Becky Price (from local early music band Boldwood, and Tony Millyard, with instruments including a hurdy-gurdy and the English bagpipes; introduced us to a variety of simple Playford dances including ‘Jack’s Maggot’.

Pat explained that in the 17th century the upper classes looked upon vigorous country dancing with some envy; country dance steps were gentrified and more than 100 were published by John Playford in 1651. These dances were very successful for the next 200 years.

It was an evening of much fun and laughter during which Pat said our ‘step backs’ and ‘simple turns’ looked great.

Church Textiles

The highest level of embroidery skill was evident in the samples and photographs which expert Jenny Osborne set before Eydon Ladies in March.

Jenny’s largest pieces are church textiles, with designs and colours taken from images in church tiles, glass, carving, or symbols associated with the church’s saint.

Modern altar cloth designs tell a story, their main concept visible from the back of the church, but the exquisite detail can only be appreciated close up.

The creation of the designs may include the use of gold thread, leather, and even dyed salmon skin. One example was a St James scallop shell, which could be opened on special days. This revealed a ‘pearl of great price’, which was made from a ping pong ball!

The nearest example of Jenny’s work can be seen in the church at Flore.


In April Kathy Stranks from Napton spoke about homeopathic remedies based on 10 years experience and her background in nursing and parapsychology. Kathy detailed the beneficial effects of remedies which can be taken either alone or alongside medical treatment, often alleviating painful symptoms of severe illnesses. Diagnoses are determined after a detailed case history has been taken, or they may be intuitive, usually after careful observation of behaviour. This is particularly useful for the treatment of very young children or animals.
The olfactory route seems important for the effectiveness of remedies and this does not appear to be affected by age or sense of smell. However, remedies in liquid form can be absorbed by the skin. Kathy advocated the need for further research into the scientific basis for homeopathic remedies. Her talk stimulated lots of questions before our large number of attendees enjoyed socialising and refreshments.

Woodland Trust

The speaker in May, Peter Ballantine, representing The Woodland Trust, told us all about the work of this organisation which campaigns to protect ancient woods, improve woodland biodiversity, increase native woodland cover and increase understanding and enjoyment of woods. Woodlands are vital for the environment and for our pleasure.

June Meeting

Owing to a last minute cancellation by the speaker from the Northampton Records Office, Eydon Ladies got creative on Wednesday June 18th in their own inimitable style.

A social evening and discussion, led by Carmen Turbett, covered a range of topics linked through the theme of Eydon’s hidden secrets. Subjects ranged from the plants and produce we can sustain through to the ancient history of the village and the, mostly welcome, changes modern times have brought. The importance of maintaining healthy relationships with neighbouring villages and the population was also included. A glass of wine encouraged contributors to this lively, if impromptu, evening.

2008 Challenge

This year’s challenge was skittles. The evening, held at The Royal Oak, was great fun, and many thanks to Justin and Bronni for lovely sandwiches and chips at half-time. Four teams of five competed against one another with the top scorer in each team going on to vie for the title of Eydon Ladies Challenge champion for 2008.

There was a nail-biting finish as Carrie Bedford and Judith Watson tied at the end of this last round. A final ‘sudden death’ round to decide the winner led to Judith being awarded victory by the narrowest of margins (one skittle). Congratulations Judith – your name will be inscribed on the Challenge Plaque in due course.

Incidentally, it was apparent that there were some notable improvements in performance compared to previous years. Anyone admit to secret practising?

Discovering Eydon

A LIGHT drizzle did not dampen Eydon Ladies’ and their guests’ enjoyment of the Discovering Eydon walk led by David Kench and Kevin Lodge, members of the Eydon Historical Research Group. They related stories of previous residents and showed us interesting and significant buildings some of which aren’t even there any longer!

They dipped in and out of centuries with ease. The stocks established in the 14th; the Quakers in the 17th; why the Hamblett’s house was built of brick not stone in the 19th, and who sparked off the 20th century Great Fire of Eydon (I’m not telling!).

The evening concluded with a barbecue hosted by Frank and Ann Hedges. They were aided by Linda, Dave and helpers too numerous to mention both in food preparation and in marquee-handling. Thank you all for another successful event.

78 Derngate

Nearly twenty Eydon Ladies and friends were privileged to be given a private evening tour round 78 Derngate for our September meeting. When an inspired engineer with amazing attention to detail, W. J. Bassett-Lowke, commissions one of the most individual and creative designers of the time, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, then you know you are going to see a property of style, elegance and importance, one that was far ahead of its time.

Styled in 1917, the interior is unmistakably the work of Mackintosh, a mixture of Art Nouveau with hints of Art Deco that only really came to prominence in the 1930s, the hall / living room in particular has to be seen to be believed!

The restoration of the house, aided by the numerous photographs Bassett-Lowke took of his home, is immaculate, although much of the original furniture is now in the V & A in London. If you weren’t able to go I urge you to visit soon, you won’t be disappointed.

Harvest Supper

We decided the proceeds from our Harvest Supper, would be donated to Helen and Douglas House, in Oxford. Helen House was the first children’s hospice in the world and Douglas House is the first one specially designed for people under 40.

We were proud, and a little overwhelmed, to say that our guest of honour was none other than Sister Frances Dominica, who founded the two hospices. She is an inspirational speaker and we learned of her work and of some of the children and their families who have become friends over the years.

The auctioneer, Peter Unsworth, managed to extract £400 from the 50 or so people at the supper, and with the proceeds from the meal and wine, this will mean a donation of around £600 for the hospices. A wonderful effort by all concerned – and a special thank you to Bert Manton for his wonderful display and generosity in donating much of the produce from it to the auction.

Skittles at Hellidon Lakes

The usual competitive spirit pervaded the evening and great fun was had by all. After the games had been played we all returned to the village (more accurately we all returned to the Royal Oak) for a well earned ‘sharpener’ – but perhaps one or two players should have had one BEFORE they played?

Christmas Meal

The Star at Sulgrave did a wonderful meal for us again, and there was a high level of laughter and conversation throughout the evening. Father Christmas put in his annual appearance, and distributed some wonderful gifts from his secret stash. This is really an evening not to be missed, time for all of us to relax and be waited on, prior to the busy Christmas period.

Eydon Ladies’ programme for 2008 was a mixture of arts, the natural world, medicine, history and architecture, as well as dance, games and competitions rounded off with outings and lots of socialising. Look at our diary to see what is planned for 2009.