Event Reports for 2014

Fun Quiz Night - Saturday 18th January

After some initial concerns that the Quiz night might not be very well supported, by the time the evening came around we filled Norton Village Hall to capacity with 13 teams of enthusiastic quizzers, all bringing drinks and nibbles. No doubt everyone was also looking forward to the included Fish and Chip supper. Our quiz master was Don Bunting, assisted by his wife Caroline. Our most grateful thanks go to them, but particularly as they generously offered to do the Quiz for free considering that any proceeds would be going to charity. The two charities chosen were the Short-haired Bumble Bee project run by Dr. Nikki Gammans and the Wildlife Heritage Foundation at Smarden. Both had given presentations to the Society in the previous year.

There was a lot thinking to do and arrangements to be made beforehand to make sure everything would go well. As well as the Quiz set up, on the night tables and chairs were enthusiastically brought out and arranged. We made sure the many generously donated and interesting Raffle Prizes were put on display. Soon after 7:00pm everything was fit and ready for the evening to start.

Our Chairman, Nigel, introduced the Quiz and the Quiz masters, and went on to cover the necessary procedures. As the fun evening progressed he managed to keep everyone under some sort of control. Raffle tickets were eagerly sold and bought throughout. The main prizes being a Wildlife Heritage Foundation White Lion Adoption Pack and a Wildwood Membership pack.

Once the team names were decided the ten quiz rounds of ten questions soon started apace. Each round contained two different set of subjects. For instance: Geography and Art, History and Animals, Food and Drink and Science. The format kept everyone's brains ticking over and there was quite a bit of head scratching, especially where answers were not immediately forthcoming in an area of expertise that should have been very familiar. We quickly found though that the questions were interesting and very well balanced. This all gave encouragement and not least made for excellent entertainment. Don and Caroline made sure the quiz ran smoothly throughout. They also projected the questions on screens which really helped us all to keep up. As the answers and scores came in for each round it was quite clear that the excitement level was increasing. Nigel had to call out ‘quiet please' more than once and not just for the Music round! Some said it was due to the ‘rowdy lot' on the ‘next table', whoever that may have been.

The Fish and Chip Supper was ready around 8:15pm. Everyone dived into the generous and tasty portions with much the same gusto as the quiz was tackled. Black sacks soon appeared for the debris though more than one team marveled at the fact that it took as many as four people to open up a black sack. Team work was obviously a feature of the evening. Once sorted and sustained by the food and drink everyone was quickly and happily back in quizzing mode.

Overall the team scores were high. Of course there was a winning table and one team had to come last. However, it was clear that everyone enjoyed themselves wherever they came on the ‘league table'. The raffle was very well supported so once the quiz was over it took some time to pick tickets, announce and choose from the many raffle prizes. No wonder the raffle provided a good part of the proceeds.

We are very pleased to report that the evening raised approximately £600 for our chosen charities. This has been divided and sent to Nikki Gammans (Bumblebee project) and to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Both greatly appreciate the support the Society has given them, especially through the quiz night.

By all accounts it was a brilliant and really successful evening that may be repeated, though perhaps not in the immediate future. The effort that had gone into arranging it was definitely well worth it.

Thank you to all those who made it possible and not least to the many who took part.
Elaine Egalton

Emergency International Aid - 18th February

Dylan Winder (a Society Member) gave a fascinating, revealing and detailed illustrated talk about the UK approach to emergency international aid. This presentation was postponed from November last year when Dylan was in the thick of the UK response to the disaster facing The Philippines.

Romney Marsh Wools - 26 March

CANCELLED DUE TO ILL HEALTH OF SPEAKER - reinstated later in the year: Kristina Boulden, co-owner of Romney Marsh Wools, will give an illustrated talk about their business, which is based on native Romney Marsh Sheep in Sussex. She will bring examples of their products for sale too. If you would like to know more please contact us (Fiona Lock). Reinstated for our Autumn Programme.

Society Vintage Bus trip to Great Dixter - 10 May

Members Only: Leaving the Parish at about 9.30am, stop-off for coffee (e.g. Tenterden), then onwards to Great Dixter to enjoy the house and spectacular gardens. Society Vintage double-decker Bus Trip to Great Dixter Gardens to enjoy the bulb displays in this beautiful garden setting.

Visit to a Traditional Sussex Hay Meadow - 16 June

Arrived at the meadow at midday (with picnics) to join guided walks from 1pm: A regular visit and walk that is back by popular demand. Each year is different in the mixture of wild flowers and the insect life supported. The story of this fragile and beautiful jewel is also a fascinating family tale. Note: this may be the last time that expert Keith Dachler will lead this walk as he is due to retire. Open to All, no charge.

Local Cider making - Award-winning producer - 18 June

Robert & Kevin Payne hosted this Society visit during a wonderfully balmy evening. We met up at Pine Trees Farm, Doddington. Tour of orchards, talk given about the family business and we sampled a range of delicious "Duddas Tun" Kentish Ciders, Perry and juices (Taste of Kent Awards 2013 Winner of Best Kentish Cider or Perry of the Year Category).

Prize-giving at Norton and Lynsted School - "Eco Prize" - 9th July

At the invitation of the Head Teacher, Mr Harrison, the Society were very happy to sponsor an "eco prize" this year. Our Chairman (Nigel Heriz-Smith) and Secretary (Mary Fielding) took great pleasure in awarding this prize to a Year 6 student who had made "an outstanding contribution to the values of the school through her involvement in a bee keeping project". The winner was presented with a certificate and an RSBP 'insect hotel'. The box will be erected in the school grounds to provide an over-wintering and breeding station for some of the 200 or more British solitary bees, lace wings, lady birds, etc. It was a delightful event with many students from all classes recognized for their contribution to school life.

Romney Marsh Wools - 8 October

We were very entertained and educated by a fascinating story from Kristina Boulden, co-owner of Romney Marsh Wools, who also brought some examples of the natural wool (not dyed) products she and her husband now produce from their flock (some colour variations made possible by a rampant neighbouring Jacob ram). Their products are of the highest quality of finish and some articles are pleasantly whimsical - sheep on a swag for cots, etc. A thoroughly entertaining evening for our Members and visitors.

Bricks and Brickmaking - 5th November

Following a short AGM we heard from popular speaker and social historian Richard Filmer.

Richard started by telling us that bricks had been made for over 8,000 years. Originally clay bricks were crudely moulded and sun baked. The ancient Egyptians used this technique and bricks were widely used in their tombs. The Parthenon in Rome is concrete but supported by bricks and most large Roman buildings were brick faced by stone. Closer to home the Roman lighthouse at Dover incorporates bricks. Air drying is still the way bricks are made throughout the world, and Richard showed us many photos of brick making from the Philippines to N Africa, via Laos, Mexico, and Afghanistan.

After the Romans there was a 1000 year gap in brick making in the UK, though the Normans did use bricks obtained from Roman ruins. The 18th century was the golden age of the brick in Europe but they are still widely used today. Intricately moulded or even carved bricks can give amazingly ornate decorative effects. In the Middle Ages firing began to be widely used. After the abolition of the brick tax in 1850 there was a huge boom in brick making and it became mechanised, though handmade bricks are made to this day for conservation work. In Kent the art of firing bricks in a clamp was perfected. Rubbish from London was brought to Kent as ballast cargo in barges. It was incorporated into the bricks themselves, and they actually burned in the huge clamps. The fished bricks were loaded back on the barges and taken to London where they were widely used to give us the classic yellow brick terraces we still admire today.

The colour of brick clay is very different from the colour of the finished brick. East Kent produces the classic yellow brick, but as you move west the colour becomes redder.

Richard told us that at first bricks were not used structurally, but were used instead of wattle and daub to infill between timber frames. Later the ground floors of timber frame houses tended to rot and they were jacked up, and brick used to rebuild the lower storey. Many examples can be seen in Kent often given away by the jutting out 1st storey so typical of timber frame. Later when brick became fashionable many timber frame houses were brick skinned often with Kentish tile hangings to the first floor.

Richard ran us through the many types of actual brick bonds, which can be used to date buildings, though the Victorians did tend to rediscover these old techniques. Some of the names are: Early English Bond, Flemish Bond, Header Bond, English Garden Wall Bond, Flemish Garden Wall Bond, Dearnes Bond and best of all Rat Trap Bond.

Richard finished off with a quick description of mathematical tiles, which are seen in The Spice Lounge building in Faversham and more famously in Brighton.

Perhaps not the most inspiring of subject titles turned out to be absolutely fascinating. The audience were rapt and thoroughly enjoyed the talk. It goes to show that a good speaker, with expertise, enthusing about their given topic is always a joy to listen to!

Macknade Foodfare - 28th November

Talk about their business with tasting of a range of goods at their Faversham Shop/Restaurant on Selling Road, ME13 8XF, set back from the A2, opposite the Shell Petrol Station.
The doors opened and shop was staffed (normally they are closed from 6pm) for people to purchase goods should they wish. The tasting included 5 cheeses and 3 charcouterie items together with bread. The tills will remain open after the talk for purchases inspired by the presentation/tasting.

Society Members' Christmas Party - 19th December

Details are notified separately to Members Only.

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