The St George’s Day Lunch

The St George’s Day Lunch was held on Sunday 23 April 2017 at St Michaels Village Hall. The weather was fine and we enjoyed a complimentary glass of Mr Berrington’s Apple Juice as we gathered outside in the sunshine. As a newcomer to St Michaels, I am full of admiration for the enthusiasm, organisation and sense of community in the Village and this occasion demonstrated all these attributes to the full, really bringing the Village together for a most enjoyable lunchtime event.

The St Michaels Morris Men started the proceedings and gave a very confident performance of two dances, mostly in time with the music! They certainly looked the part with their decorated straw hats, white hankies, bells and sticks. I gather it is many years since their last public performance and I am sure we all hope they won’t leave it so long again, maybe entertaining us at the Summer Fete – and we won’t mind if they repeat their only two dances! After their photo call, the Morris Men formed an arch with their sticks and we made our way inside, passing under the arch, to find the hall festooned with brightly coloured bunting. The tables were laid with crisp white table cloths with red napkins and each had a centre piece of a pretty jar of wild flowers and importantly, a St George’s flag. Eventually, all ninety-one diners were seated and the hall was filled with happy chatter.

Pat Mutton and her amazing kitchen team performed miracles and provided us with a really delicious meal. The Morris Men’s duties did not end with their dancing skills, as they then became waiters, serving starters of egg mayonnaise or butternut squash soup. This was followed by roast beef (provided by Phil Gibbs) with all the trimmings, Yorkshire puds, roast potatoes, roast mixed vegetables, cauliflower cheese etc. There were more delights to follow with apple crumbles and bread and butter puddings served with cream or custard. As we finished off with teas and coffees, we had a musical interlude when the male voices of the choir led us in singing patriotic songs including Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and We’ll Meet Again. This being St Michaels, we will all meet again very soon.

Well done to Pat and her team and thank you to everyone who made this St George’s Day Lunch such a success.

Cherry Moore



To begin the launch of the “Good neighbour scheme”, called KITE, on the 6th April 2017 a small fleet of kites led by a mixed group of enthusiasts and volunteers were raced up and down the common until they took off, caught the wind and successfully took flight!

This kite flying was a real hit with young and old alike, villagers and councillors alike! Professionals appeared and we all learned such a lot! Infect we believe a new hobby might well become a huge hit and you may well see more of this exciting pastime.

Coffee and biscuits were gratefully accepted by those taking part from Gwen Arnold and her hospitality.

We didn’t however forget the real reason we were there on the common – to raise awareness of the true purpose of KITE – Keeping In Touch with Everyone!!


On Friday 21st April at out monthly coffee morning in the village hall we held a presentation of the format of KITE and the way it works. Volunteers, co-ordinators and scouts were present as well as representatives from the local community support Police, GP practice nurse navigator and WISH.

Brochures were distributed and further explanations of KITE were given by Eric Hudson and Ros Plested with a concluding piece and blessing from Rev. Sian Harris.

Kite was launched and a very happy throng of people applauded. A £100 was raised from Muriel’s square board and Linda’s tom bola stall, this was donated to KITE at the end of the coffee morning launch.


On Monday 24th April, a group of KITE volunteers were invited to take part in the service of dedication and blessing of the new altar table, new dais at St Mary’s church, Tenbury Wells and St. Michaels Good Neighbour Scheme, KITE!

A lovely service was held, led by Bishop Alistair of Ludlow. After the blessing of the altar table and dais, KITE were invited up to be blessed which followed a short presentation of what its function and procedure is all about.

I think at long last, we have flown, launched and been blessed – so now we are OPEN and as we speak, can confirm we are already helping client no 6!! In our first week.

Please don’t be afraid to call and use us, so we don’t float around in orbit!


The Button Box by Lynn Knigh

Most of us have a family button box collected over the years, not very often looked at and used even less, but we all remember special buttons that have memories for us. This was an unusual book with fascinating bits of social history, fashion and life styles over the last one hundred years up to the 1970s all to do with buttons.

Attractively presented and with short chapters each dealing with a specific type of button or fastener, this book is full of interesting snippets of information. It is also good for dipping in and out of and is a very accessible read.

Wendy Crownshaw

Every Man for Himself by Beryl Brainbridge

A very moving account of the privileged few aboard the doomed first and only voyage of Titanic – the unsinkable ship. It was written through the eyes of an orphaned-turned-rich upper class man in his early twenties. The group were split on this book. To some it was boring. Other were left curious about some of the details of the Titanic. The characters were not compelling. The last few pages have you drawn into the despair, and for some that were still convinced the ship wouldn’t sink and just carried on.

Have a read and see what you think!

Pam Owens

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

TheWater Babies was published in 1863, a fairy-tale dedicated to Charles Kingsley’s youngest child Grenville, and became his most widely read book (apart from ‘Westward Ho!’ which I had not realised he had written!)

I suggested reading this book as I had very fond memories of reading this when I was a mere child of 10/11. My brother used to buy me books for every birthday and Christmas, green leather bound volumes, and I have them still. On re-reading, I was amazed that I had remembered so much and at the same time so little. I did not remember the lists of adjectives, those now meaningless references to old controversies, the personal prejudices etc. which I must admit I skipped through without reading in their entirety. What I did remember was the magical bare bones of the story, and the characters of Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby, Grimes, and of course Tom and Ellie. Some of the group who had read the book in their youth, said they thought they must have read a childrens edition, and very much enjoyed it, but did not enjoy the original text. Others started to read, but were put off by the language and did not finish it.

Some of the descriptive passages in the book, particularly about the countryside, are wonderful ‘clear and cool, clear and cool’, ‘Mother Carey’s Haven, where the good whales go when they die’, and the names too, ‘Peacepool’ ‘Shiny Wall’ and lots of other examples ‘those that wish to be clean, clean they will be; and those that wish to be foul, foul they will be’.

I think you might gather that I still think this is a great book, and well worth reading, (having the choice of what to leave out) although very much a product of its Victorian past and very moralistic (Charles Kingsley was after all, a minister!). Although very much in the minority in the group, I would encourage others to read or reread if only for the wonderfully descriptive passages, especially of the river, and forgive the platitudes and dogmas, and just enjoy the fairy story.

Chris Fisher

The White Tiger

This book was the Reader’s Group choice for their Book of the Month in January.

First published in 2008 and winning the 40th Man Booker Prize in the same year. It was a debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga.

The novel gives a humorous, although dark side, sight into the Indian class struggle in these times. Balram Halwai tells of his wish to escape his “birth” village to improve his lot in life. He escapes from his family’s expectations by journeying to Delhi. He works for a rich master as his chauffeur learning much about the underworld.

He then flees to Bangalore after killing his master and stealing his money!

The novel explores the Indian issues of religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty.

Balram eventually achieves his ambitions to leave his sweet making caste and becomes a successful entrepreneur establishing his own taxi service.

The novel catches the atmosphere of India, the impoverished areas and the spirit of the diverse classes and castes. It’s a revealing and educational book and is, in turns, amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing and utterly contemporary.

It was loved by most of the group, but not all of them.

Janet Penn

Inspector Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri

The group’s choice in April was the Inspector Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri. We each chose which story we wanted to read and the group was split, with some really enjoying them and some not at all. Inspector Montalbano is a quirky, very Sicilian detective with a unique way of attacking each mystery using intuition, knowledge of local people and good old fashioned police work in equal measure. Montalbano is a gourmet when it comes to his food and he insists on eating in silence, to get the full enjoyment, yet another quirk! The plots are rather complicated but offset by beautifully descriptive passages of Sicily which made most of us want to jump on a plane and go there right away! I for one shall be reading more of these mysteries.

Wendy Crownshaw

The John Tradescants: Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen by Prudence Leith-Ross

This book was recommended by one of the Readers‟ Group members who was unable to attend at the beginning of the meeting. Most of those there had obtained a copy but nobody had actually read the book as it was found to be more of a reference book than a reading book and the lists of plants with their prices and their origins had not been particularly interesting. One member had got as far as the first 72 pages and another, the undersigned, had skimmed through the historical parts but not the botanical sections, thus drawing the short straw for this report.
The John Tradescants, father and son, were both plant and artefact collectors and gardeners and I found the descriptions of the people for whom they worked and the houses and gardens in which their patrons lived very interesting. The elder John Tradescant was employed by the King, James the First, the Duke of Buckingham and others to design and plant their gardens and there was interesting information about the doings of the Court and the aristocracy of the time as well as descriptions of John Tradescants‟ travels to find and purchase the required plants.
There were also descriptions and catalogues of his and his son‟s collection of artefacts, many of which are now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. However, it did seem more of a reference book and not an easy read. When the reader who had recommended it finally turned up she expressed surprise that nobody liked it and said she had read it, admittedly a long time ago, but she had found it an enjoyable novel! When she looked at the book she found that she had recommended the wrong one as she had not read that one. After a little research she found the title of
the one she had meant to recommend which was “Earthly Joys” by Philippa Gregory, also about the John Tradescants but much more readable! As nobody had read the one she had mistakenly recommended there was not very much discussion about it. However other talk flowed freely over the tea and cakes which were very much appreciated.

Jane Yardley

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson: Published by Bloomsbury.

This book was chosen as it was the winner of the Man Booker prize and so we, as a group,hoped for great things. It has three central characters.

Julian Treslove, aged 49, a melancholy former BBC arts producer, whose career is in decline. He is a veteran of failed relationships and a man whose chameleon-like qualities have brought him employment as a celebrity lookalike. He has two sons by two former partners neither of which he has much contact with and is obsessed with feelings of isolation. He comes over as a shallow man who is always worrying at something but he is never very focussed about what that something is.

The other main characters are his two oldest friends, Sam Finkler, a former schoolmate, and Libor Sevcik, their former teacher. Finkler is a successful, popular philosopher and broadcaster, and Libor, a former showbiz journalist. Both are intellectuals, both have been recently widowed and both are Jews. Libor is a Czech who remains besotted with the memory of his wife Malkie, a famous pianist who died at the age of 80. Finkler, has also lost his young wife, Tyler to cancer and masks this loss by putting on a brusque show of confident arrogance.

At the beginning of the book Treslove is mugged by a woman and is thrown into a spin of retrospective self doubt as he struggles to make sense of why this has happened. She takes his watch and wallet, and screams something indecipherable, which Treslove eventually deciphers, Woody Allen-like, as “You Jew!” The puzzling of these words mark the tone and subject matter of the work as this is essentially a book about Jewishness but it is a subject that wriggles and writhes and resists definition as Treslove acts out his own, ‘to be a Jew or not to be a Jew’ drama. This conundrum is fired by his long-simmering envy of his Jewish friends and awakens a determination to know and become all that is Jewish.

The reviews of this book boast witty writing and comic prose and it was the humour that we looked forward to but sadly did not easily find. It seemed to be a book that was always shouting, “I am funny” but none of us seemed to get the joke. The characters were hard to relate to and many of us found the book hard to finish. The representation of Jews and Jewishness were pushed toward caricatures that were hard to reconcile with our own experiences and the persistent focus seemed simply to be a long and sometimes self-indulgent examination by the characters of the nature and obligations of being Jewish.

This book was hailed as a masterpiece by many National and International newspapers but if so, we failed to find the kernel of genius in this nut.

Tina Cole

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Harold Fry, recently retired, lives in Kingsbridge, a small English village, with his wife, Maureen, who seems to be irritated by almost everything he does, even how he butters his toast. Each day in their lives is much the same.

One morning the post arrives. There is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. The letter is from Queenie Hennessy, who is in a hospice in Berwick-upon- Tweed. She is writing to say goodbye.

Harold quickly writes a reply and heads for the post box, leaving Maureen to her chores. He then has a huge desire to deliver the letter in person and so begins his unlikely pilgrimage. He is determined to walk the six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon- Tweed, because he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his journey, meeting many fascinating characters along the way. The Pilgrimage gives Harold plenty of thinking time and memories of his life come rushing back to him. Maureen, at home, misses Harold for the first time in years and she also finds herself reflecting on their memories………………………………………..

A thoroughly enjoyable and easy read, with very interesting characters, all having their own problems and emotions to deal with. A novel with “charm, humour and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts”…………………….(from the publisher)