Chairman’s Report, Village Hall AGM

The village hall has functioned extremely well this year. We have a large number of regular hirers of the hall and have gained two more regulars this year, Scottish dancing and Pilates. There have been more private hirings as well for a variety of uses; the rental income has increased and the hall has been used a lot more. The hall has been kept in good order and decoration this year, being kept clean and all items in good working order. Maintenance has been kept up with regular checks in place for electrics, heating and alarm systems. A defibrillator has been purchased together with the box to house it and is fixed to the side wall of the village hall. It is for everyone’s use and we have had expert advice and training from Chris Woods, our local First Responder, on 2 or 3 occasions.

I’d like to thank all the committee members for their great efforts this year – we have worked as a very good close knit team, supporting each other. There were many people outside the committee who helped a great deal — Cherry & Robin Moore, Peter Crownshaw, Eddie & Carolyn Belfield, Muriel Lanman, Paul & Ros Bayliss and all those who helped with the fete. Thanks also to Ann Wallace for her help with posters and the village calendar; a special thank you to Mark Brooks who has looked after our website. Pictures, information past and present is there; a good reference to use, it needs to be used! I’d like to give a special thank you to people leaving the committee this year — Anne Fox and Simon Wallace. Simon has carried out a marvellous job as treasurer and in producing our accounts.

We held an Open Day in July to showcase what goes on in the village hall. We had representatives from all the user groups of the hall. People were amazed that so many activities were going on in the hall which were Pilates, Scottish dancing, WI, Tenbury Floral Art, Mums and Tots, St Michael Singers, Coffee Mornings, together with the arranged events held throughout the year.

We held two Shindig theatre company plays, Christmas activities, beetle drive, St Georges dinner together with the birth of the St Michaels Morris Men, a summer dance with Hot Climate, summer fete, Black Country night and a variety night. Overall we have made a small profit and put on a large variety of events to suit most tastes.

Stuart Plested

Defibrillator News

As you know, earlier this year we were offered a defibrillator on long term loan by our First Responders of Tenbury. We therefore purchased the box to house it ourselves and it has been installed at the side of the village hall in St Michaels.

Since then Hereford and Worcester country Councils have offered village halls, schools and any other general areas the chance to purchase their own defibrillator machine, normally £695, but offering £500 towards it. So we have now bought and own our own machine at a cosg of £195. This now belongs to St Michaels village. It has its own identity number and is regularly checked bu named people. However we have chosen not to keep the box locked as this saves time which would be so valuable in a time of use emergency. It is simple to press C and Open and extremely simple to use as it takes you through a process.

Well done to those able to join us on Saturday afternoon 7th October to attend the demonstration of the defibrillator and the most important CPR training. We are grateful to Chris Woods, our First Responder, for coming along and giving his time voluntarily yet again to give us this training and answering questions and queries relating to an emergency. We hope he will return in the coming months to refresh our thoughts and practices in this area.

Stuart Plested

Variety Night

This year’s variety night began with our infamous home grown group “The Shed Men”, with Stuart, Eddie, Peter and Rod. They entertained us with a variety of songs from the good old days with a very much more professional approach I think you’ll agree! We are proud to have them.

Eleanor Coniley and Grace Crumbley from Tenbury High Ormiston Academy were a treat. These girls were brilliant pianist and singer with a touch of guitar. I think we could all have listened to ‘Igioni’ on the piano all night. We wish them well.

Aly Saleh, a student from Kings College at St Michaels was perfect in playing to us ‘Perfect’. It was lovely to hear him and welcome a cheery group of youngsters along from the College. We hope we hear him again soon. Tom Durston-Smith brought along a wonderful repertoire with Caroline Bridger and Diane Lawrence. They sang some beautiful songs from Chess, Gigi, Les Miserables. Their piano accompanist was amazing and well worth an evening’s entertainment on his own.

The well-known A49ers, Alison, Hazel and Roger, were very entertaining. A lovely variety performance from them, easy listening and singalong for us.

Our friend Alan Grosvenor stopped us in our tracks for half an hour, he made us all chuckle and listen to some incredible stories. After applauding him off the stage our final guests, Bandangle, tuned up and entertained us with quite an array of pieces. Always good to watch and listen to the beautiful double bass, mandolin, guitar and the two ladies on violins, such an eclectic arrangement. The audience were most appreciative and thoroughly enjoyed this particular evening.

Ros Plested

Staying On by Paul Scott

Staying On is a novel by Paul Scott which was published in 1977 and won the Booker Prize. Staying On focuses on Tusker and Lucy Smalley who were briefly mentioned in the latter two books of the Raj Quarted, ‘The Towers of Silence’ and ‘A Division of the Spils’ and are the latest British couple living in the small hill town of Pankot after Indian Independence.

We learn about life as an expat in Pankot and see the new life that is replacing the British Raj. We meet the Bloolabhoys, owners of Smith’s, the hotel where Tusker and his wife Lucy occupy an annex – or small bungalow. There are many interesting characters including Ibrahim and Joseph. Scott gives each character a voice so real that each personality is firmly etched in your mind. Both funny and deeply moving, Staying On is a unique engrossing portrait of the end of an empire and a forty year love affair.

There was plenty of discussion about the book which gets better and better as it progresses through the life of the two main characters.

Pam Owens

Black Country Comedy at the Village Hall

Saturday night saw the village hall decked out with glitter ball and the tables decorated with greenery to showcase the Black Country Duo “Dandy”, husband and wife team Allen and Glynnis Briscoe who sang and told funny stories.

That sentence comes nowhere near doing them justice. Their voices harmonised well and their unique brand of contemporary Black Country humour, using jokes, stories and witty observations interspersed with good songs made for a most enjoyable evening, with most people seeing themselves or someone they knew in the quirky observations! The first half passed all to quickly before we settled down to a most welcome ploughman’s supper complete with individual cottage loaves. Well done those back room ladies! The second half was no less enjoyable with some of the funny stories having us rolling in the aisles.

Dandy find humour in everyday things and are a delightful duo. We hope to see them back here again sometime in the near future.

Peter and Wendy Crownshaw

The Public Confessions of a Middle Aged Woman by Sue Townsend

This book contains a series of 800-word magazine essays, originally printed monthly over the course of several years covering a wide variety of topics ranging from the homely to the then topical and from amusing to somewhat heartbreaking. They cover a wide range of subjects such as travel, writing, food, vodka, family, shopping, politics and much more. I found this collection to be filled with light hearted reflections on everyday life which ranged from laugh out loud to deeply thought provoking. You can’t fail to identify with many of the topics – been there, done that! Her writing is sharp, perceptive and engaging. Leave it at your bedside and enjoy daily with a cuppa.

Pat Mutton

Open Day

Thank you to all those village hall users who exhibited at the OPEN DAY on Sat 8th July, Tenbury Floral Art, Women’s Institute, Book Club, St. Michaels Singers, Kite, Pilates, Mums and Tots, Calendar, Coffee Morning, Village hall itself and Chris Woods, first aid, first responder and instructor of the defibrillator.

A big thank you to all those who came along to the Open Day and took time to see all the varied activities at the hall.

We Shall look forward to welcoming Chris Woods the first responder again soon with some more information on C.P.R and a hands-on demonstration with the defibrillator, when you can come along and try the machine out. We will update you with dates of this soon.

Village Hall Committee

The Summer Fete

Well who was the Queen Bee of the fete? Was it the very flourishing plant stall with an array of extremely healthy flora and fauna? Was it the bric-a-brac stall with a not very appealing decluttering of household goods from all those downsizing and moving on this year? Amazing where the odd cup and saucer goes, the surge of china ornaments in varying degrees of hideousness but once someone’s treasure. Not sure who bought Stuart’s mothers fox furriers fur coat complete with red riding hood, but what a bargain, memories an all!

Was it the comical Dog show, well done and welcome to Hereford and Worcester animal rescue this year, most efficient in organisation and some very happy customers!

Was it the wonderful cake stall, groaning with cakes, scones and goodies heralded by Ann so exquisitely even though she was bravely nursing a wounded foot and broken arm. At the opposite end of this cake stall stood a large Minion cake, Liz had created and the family sold “name the minion”. The adjoining cakes, teas and scones stall was as ever most popular and those who sat and enjoyed the wonders of these refreshments were able to enjoy the even more popular Tenbury Town Band, who played and played, yes I think we could all have sat and watched the world go by, taking in the bands great atmosphere. The Scottish dancers were brilliant and you could feel the addiction of joining in, as to the Morris men of St Michaels, you would go a long way to beat them, that’s if you could catch them. Brilliant performance with appropriate musical accompaniment, Oh to be in ENGLAND.

So we had the ever refreshing bar with speciality Pimm’s, the ices, the games, skittles, enthusiastic welly wanging, pluck a duck, prize on a string, sweets in a jar and the ever popular Tombola. Some keen volunteers took part in games and races, everyone a winner for sheet plight. We welcomed out visiting vintage collection of cars and trucks. Prams which had been used in Downton Abbey with baby from Bridget Jones latest film were indeed a highlight in every way! A grand raffle took place with some interesting locally sourced prizes together with a wine raffle (amazing whose cupboards these bottles came out of). A unique collection of beautiful pigeons welcomed visitors as they turned into the drive and caused a lot of conversation and comments late into the day, together with the interest for young and old held on the most well organised “Bee display stall” where we bee…lieve there is more to come next year!

Our very brave little group of fancy dress entries whose mums had worked into the small hours to make costumes, were a delight and yes, I think our very youngest villager did steal the show and is already growing into the role of Queen Bee!!

Thank you to our hosts, Jonathan and Jane for providing such a venue and knowing the best times to stay in or come out! Thank you to all those who helped providing goods, prizes and gazebos. Thank you to all who manned a stall, helped carry and fetch, lift and erect, backs are not what they used to be. You were all brilliant and the visitors who came along to support were invaluable.

Hope you all enjoyed the village fete atmosphere, which reminds us “There will always be an England”

The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Our choice for the July meeting was ‘The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson’. She was an American poet, the daughter of a lawyer from Massachusetts, and was born in 1830. She died in her 50’s relatively unknown, in fact only seven of her poems were published prior to her death in 1886. She was initially a vivacious teenager, but gradually over the years withdrew into a reclusive existence. This was apparently a very deliberate choice ‘to live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations’. Ted Hughes describes her poetry ‘she has an ability to see a vision of timeless, vast Nothingness, whose only resolution is Death’. This sounds very stark, but reading some of her poems she seems to me to have a had a very vivid imagination especially describing her physical and mental struggles. Most of us had chosen one of the poems to read to the rest of the group, and they provoked an interesting discussion. Few of us read poetry regularly, and probably most of us heaved a sigh when we knew the choice, but having a read a little of her poetry recognise that she was an immense talent and her poems worth dipping into occasionally.

Chris Fisher

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