Cornwall Country Link celebrated Christmas in fantastic style at our annual Christmas party.
We were delighted to return to the Pentire Hotel Newquay, a venue we have used previously on two other occasions.
The hotel provided a very warm welcome and excellent service and our 60 members and friends had a wonderful time.
During the evening we were able to raise £224 for our two nominated charities, the Cornwall Blood Bikes and St Petroc's, a charity helping the homeless in Cornwall.
Also, our National Chairman, Charles and his partner June who had travelled down to join us in our celebrations, presented Valda a lovely bouquet from the national committee thanking her for all her hard work on behalf of Country Link.
After a perfect breakfast,28 attendees followed me out onto Pentire headland in glorious but windy sunshine for a cobweb blowing walk. The scenery was magnificent and the broiling seascape enthralled us.
Many thanks to Valda, our little band of helpers, the staff of the Pentire Hotel in making it a memorable Christmas party.
Merry Christmas to you from us,
Martin and Valda
Our club members met up at the Harbour Inn at Porthleven today for a good wholesome Sunday lunch.
We were then led by Phil, who is today's organiser, through the village and down to a very scenic Loe Bar. This is a large freshwater lake behind a sand bar dividing it from the sea.
We then took the coast path back to Porthleven and as you can see from the pictures we had some fantastic sea views.
As we got back into the village the Christmas lights were just coming on, very pretty.
After torrential rain for the past several weeks, it was nice to have the sunshine.
We met in the centre of Cornwall in the small village of Summercourt which was once an extremely busy crossroads with the A30 ploughing through the village on its way to Lands End. The other road crosses from Newquay to St Austell.
The pub, The London Inn, was obviously a stop for the coaches from Penzance to London.
We enjoyed a Sunday lunch and then walked down quiet country lanes to the ancient local church St Enoder, named after an unknown saint but it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
It's a lovely peaceful church and a joy to visit.
After walking down another lane we arrived back in Summercourt and headed over to a newly established cafe in the village for a cup of tea and cake.
After many weeks of almost non-stop rain we were very lucky to have a fine sunny November afternoon.
We are looking forward to one of our major events of the busy year, our Christmas party in Newquay on December 14th.
We have over 50 members attending and we still have room for more members from around the country if you fancy a weekend in Newquay!
Great shopping opportunities in St Ives, Truro and Padstow for those last-minute pressies. Contact Valda for details.
Members of Essex & Suffolk Countrylink visited Duxford Imperial War Museum on Sunday. There were many displays in the hangars and fly-pasts throughout the day. Concorde was open. There is a huge amount to do and see there, well worth a visit.
The left hand shot shows the iconic "V" bomber the Avro Vulcan and the nose cone of our frontline fighter of the 60's an English Electric Lightning, which were stationed at Wattisham prior to being replaced by the American Phantom. I read in an avaiation magazine in more recent times the Lightning was a devil to work on, being akin to working on a car with the bonnet down.
The right hand shot is of a Westland Whirlwind helicopter used several years ago by both Air Sea and Mountain rescue teams.
We had a good Saturday morning enjoying a big breakfast at the village hall in Ponsanooth a little village a few miles out of Falmouth.
It was a fundraising event for Shelter Box, a national charity specialising in disaster relief around the world. Their head office in based in Truro.
We then took a little stroll up Kennal Vale nature reserve. It was once a hive of industry and manufactured gun powder and they developed the detonator fuse.
It's now returning to nature but the old buildings and water mills are very evident.
The recent rain had the river in full spate.
We have several more events very soon and plans are in the pipe line for our Christmas party in Newquay.
In May this year I celebrated a birthday with a nought and it wasn't 20. One of the most enjoyable presents was when long standing friend Ros Hardy gave me an envelope which contained a voucher entitling me to a 30 minute trial flying lesson at Earls Colne airfield. Ros along with a few friends, all bar one who are Country Link members, kindly treated me to the experience, which took place on Monday 23rd September.
Come the actual day it was uncertain whether the lesson would take place due to the timing of an approaching weather front. Four of those who kindly contributed to the lesson came along to witness the occasion. Having completed the necessary paperwork on arrival I was introduced to the instructor, he warned me that it could be quite bumpy and was I happy to go ahead, which I was.
As we walked out of the clubhouse and onto the grass area there were several aircraft parked, one of which was a WW2 Harvard which brought back memories of stories told to me by my father, as it was one of these which formed part of his pilots training training in Canada in 1943.
The aircraft for my lesson was to be a Robin HR200 series, a low wing monoplane with a fixed tricycle undercarriage. After a short briefing on the correct procedure of how to board, I settled down into the rather cramped side by side dual control cockpit and the instructor climbed aboard, then once we were strapped in he went through some preliminary checks and he the 120hp Lycoming engine burst into life. Following more checks we taxied out along a rather bumpy tarmac perimeter track we briefly stopped for a final check and clearance for take off. All was set and we continued to the grass strip and the pilot opened it up to full throttle and in no time we were airborne. The only turbulence we encountered was shortly after take off but it wasn't much.
We continued climbing and levelled out at 2500ft and visibility was pretty good despite total cloud cover, we headed towards Abberton resevoir and the instructor allowed me to take the joystick, keep a lookout for other aircraft and to keep the nose level and watch the altimeter. The views were stunning, he told me to move the sensitive joystick to the left and in no time we were heading for Wivenhoe then my home village of Elmstead. We continued bearing left towards Nayland, the instructor then took back control and in no time he radioed for clearance to land and we were coming in on the approach. It was quite a tricky landing with a crosswind and we were a bit sideways, but the skilled instructor straightened it up for a smooth touchdown.
Although I have flown in one or two light aircraft over the years and taken the controls for a couple of minutes, plus taking the controls on a glider flight a couple of years ago whilst on a National Country Link weekend, it was a memorable present and one that will live with me forever.
My thanks go to Ros and all those members who made it all possible.
It has been quite a wet summer here in Ayrshire, but the rain held off for one of our weekend trips recently, when we spent an enjoyable day at Pollok Country Park in Glasgow.
Following an interesting visit to the cattle fields, where we had a talk on Glasgow City Council's pedigree herd of highland cattle, we returned to Pollok House for a light lunch and coffee.
In the afternoon we went on a guided tour of the House and heard all about the history of the Maxwell and Stirling families and life "upstairs and downstairs".
There is so much to see in this lovely park - we will have to return some other time.
Our next event will be our Root & Industrial show, and programme planning for the winter programme.
Maria, Pat and Phil recently took part in Tutbury Show, with entries in dahlias, photograph, vegetables, tomatoes and runner beans etc. Flower arranging and display of wonderful show flowers.
Maria came away with trophy and shield for flower arranging to theme of the "2019 Rugby World Cup. And most points in that section.
Phil won his in Best Dahlias in Show, which takes some winning and most points in flower section.
Wonderful day in our parish.
This weekend Pat and Maria have been to Draycott Show competing in similar classes at a bigger show with a main ring and shire horses and steam engines, with our banners up in the Car Park on the way in. This time we are in the money, with Maria beating her mother in the Pom Pom dahlias.
Maria winning the photograph class titled "The Weather" and second in the humorous classes featuring her dog, "Meg".
Another lovely day.
Thank you to all organisers of these events.
It's a first for Shropshire Country Link to put a report on the national Country Link website, but not the last I hope.
On Sunday the 18th of August, Shropshire organised a canal boat trip from Norbury Junction just on the border of Shropshire and Staffordshire. We booked two boats and as we are only a small group we asked if any members from Cheshire or Staffordshire country link would like to join us. So three from Cheshire, Sue, Sally and Dan and two from Staffordshire Phil and Ian joined us for a enjoyable day on the canal albeit a bit stressful at times having to avoid the fishermen who were holding a competition on the canal that day. Let's say some of the fishermen didn't want us there ! But that didn't stop us having a great day, lovely views of the countryside with a picnic lunch and a drink in the pub afterwards. Thanks to Cheshire and Staffordshire members who joined Shropshire members to make a memorable day out. Here are a few photos of the day. Our next outing is a walk from Cheswardine followed by a bbq at one of our members home on Sunday the 8th of September.
We held our annual golfing tournament today in mixed weather, this did not deter us and we certainly didn't cancel the event due to the weather.
It was a low turnout but the intrepid golfers teed off at 2.00 and two hours later and twelve difficult holes we met back in the club house.
The contest was a close run thing but Phil, who claims he can't see the ball once it goes off the club head, cruised to an easy victory with a score of 57. Carol came in first in the ladies competition and scored 81.
Worthy of a mention is Dotty who had never held a golf club before today and came second in the ladies section.
The prize giving was a flamboyant affair with tea and cake, hugs and kisses.
Many thanks to those who turned up and made the occasion special.
Two members of Warwickshire Country Link group enjoyed a visit to the Jaguar factory at Castle Bromwich on the 4th July and saw the whole process from the aluminium coming into the factory to the finished car, apart from the paint shop. They also viewed the new electric car which was on show. A very interesting visit.
We are still very busy here in Cornwall.
We had a delicious Arabian meal on Friday evening. We try and support a small local charity called Pants. They have a talented Syrian refugee cooking in the kitchen and he does an Arabian evening each week.
Nine of our members attended the meal.
Today, Sunday, we had a lunch at Griggs Country Store over near St Austell then a hot 4 mile walk in the area. Returning for our tea and cake back at Griggs.
During the week an ex member is coming home to celebrate his birthday with us and we will be popping down to a pub for a pie and a pint.
We have many many more outings planned for the rest of this summer for our members to enjoy.
This weekend was the annual Carnon Downs Scarecrow competition and the theme was musicals. The weather held fair. About 24 Country Linkers came to our garden to walk around the village solving anagram clues relating to the Scarecrow and to judge the ones they liked best. Everyone enjoyed a picnic in the garden and the day was rounded off with a cream tea in the village hall and awarding of the prizes. Martin was the first prize winner - and a very worthy winner with an amazing "Paint your Wagon". It is s great event fir the village and for Country Link.
Our Country Linkers had a busy weekend.
A large group attended Sara's function at Redruth Meadery on Saturday evening. By all accounts it was a good event.
A smaller group joined myself and Valda for brunch in Truro this Sunday morning and then went on one of my "follow my nose" strolls. It's amazing how much green space and quiet sanctuaries are close by to a city centre.
We returned to Truro and finished off with tea and cake at the museum cafe.
We have a planning meeting on Tuesday and will be putting together a rich and varied program for the next three months for our members to enjoy and it will attract new members to join.
We had two events this pass bank holiday weekend.
Valda arranged for 16 members to take part in a local village garden safari.
The lovely village of Devoran near Falmouth hosts every year this garden safari and local people open their gardens for us to visit and admire and there was a lot to admire.
Walking around these gardens inspire us to try different things and get ideas for planting and layouts of gardens.
It also raises money for local charities.
Our second event was The Grand Day Out.
Another 15 members joined myself firstly for a brunch at an American diner on route to our destination. Which was The Green Man festival at Mt Edgecombe situated on the Tamar river directly opposite Plymouth.
Craft stalls, food stalls and beer tent enticed us to spend our money. Live music from numerous bands entertained us and a lovely stately house and gardens needed exploring.
All set in fantastic gardens and extensive grounds boardering Plymouth Sound. A spectacular setting.
We tried our hands at archery and watched knights in armour in mock sword fights.
We also had a special tour of the only Black Bee reserve in the country and a very interesting talk about the work of the bee keepers maintaining the species of the Cornish Black Bee.
It was a very nice day and was thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended.
Derbyshire Country Link this week have had a mid week walk to a local pub for a drink in the evening sun and returned to Tutbury for fish and chips.
On Sunday we went to Lea Gardens in an old quarry near Belper. Lovely day spent looking at rhodedendros, all inspired in the garden at what nature can produce from water, soil and light.
Staffordshire Country Link held our Annual General Meeting at the beginning of February, where it was decided that subscriptions would be kept at £5 for a further year. On the whole it was agreed that the club had had a successful year with many meetings being well attended.
We enjoyed a variety of pursuits including a self-guided tour of Stafford and a joint meeting with Cheshire at Jodrell Bank, an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's 'Love's Labours Lost' at Biddulph Grange Gardens and monthly walks taking in the local area (all including food!). A wide range of pubs and restaurants were sampled including the bank House at Hixon, The Old Bramshall Inn, The Yorkshireman and the Wayfarer, along with our regular meal on the first Wednesday of the month at the Blythe.
Lastly, but by no means least, we are all immensely proud that one of our members has produced a book. Terence Cooper has written Blithfield: A Parish in Time and Other Histories - copies can be obtained direct from the author priced £19.95 by emailing email@example.com.
Essex & Suffolk Group met on Tuesday evening for the monthly pub meal at Eight Ash Green. We welcomed a new member which made 10 of us.
A beer/coffee break in a lovely wee pub where there was live jazz music was a welcome break during our walk , and we finished with a nice meal before our train journey home.
We like to support our small local charities when we can.
On Sunday evening 23 people, a mix of members and friends, met at a cafe ran by PANTS, a charity that helps people who have or had cancer in the pants region.
We had a fun quiz and a raffle followed by a Sunday roast.
It is very pleasing that not only can we enjoy ourselves and enjoy a nice meal but raise a substantial amount for the host charity. We raised £280.
Many thanks to Jannette and her small team who hosted the evening and Valda who organised us and made the evening a success.
Recently Essex & Suffolk members met for a chocolate cake tea party on Sheena's allotment. There was a competition to guess which of 4 different chocolates contained the most cocoa and which the least, a short walk to view some of the other allotments and nearby woodland. There was a futuristic compostable loo, a good water supply for the gardeners and lovely sunshine.
Thank you, Sheena, for a lovely afternoon.
What do you want when you have planned a visit to a local garden? Sunshine!! We had in spades.
A local country house decided earlier this year to open their gardens to the public and after a very rapid transformation and a huge amount of effort the gardens are opened.
They also converted a cart shed into a very nice tea room which is an absolute necessity for us in Cornwall.
We started this pleasant afternoon with a super Sunday roast at the Cornish Arms in the nearby
village of Frogpool.
Many thanks to Valda for arranging the trip.
We also wish to send our many congratulations to our members Karan and David who rushed into marriage on Saturday after living together for 31 years. It was a beautiful service and the happy couple looked fantastic.
Our club members got together yesterday afternoon for a quiz and a Sunday roast at the Pants Charity cafe in Penryn.
Pants is a local charity that provides rehabilitation facilities for people who have undergone cancer treatment in the Pants area. It is crucial that these small local charities receive our support for their survival.
We were able to raise approximately £150/200.
Many thanks to our members for their contributions.
We had today a wonderful Easter Sunday lunch and walk at Lerryn, a quiet unspoilt village on a tidal estuary near Lostwithiel.
Our member Ros organised the event and led the walk.
The village is set in a stunning location and is an ancient port.
We walked across the steppingstones which were useable because it was low tide and headed along the paths to St Winnows church again set on the waters edge a few miles away.
The farm next to the church had an excellent machinery museum and a blacksmiths workshop fully equipped plus a tea shack that provided refreshments.
After visiting the beautiful church we returned to Lerryn for a refreshing drink after a glorious walk on a stunning day.
Essex & Suffolk had two events this week. On Tuesday about 12 members and friends attended a talk by Paddy Hopkirk, former World Rally Driver including the Monte Carlo Rally win with the Mini in 1964, plus his younger colleague David Gallagher who spoke about educating and encouraging younger Road drivers to learn more skilful driving techniques and hence become safer drivers to reduce the number of deaths and serious accidents in that age group.
Secondly on Thursday early evening we had a Farm Walk round David and Jane Salmon's Farm, followed by a lovely sandwich supper and long chat round their table.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous for our Sunday walk.
We tried out a new pub that has recently opened near Camborne and set off on our usual ramble.
This time I was completely playing it by ear and had only a vague idea of where I was going. Sometimes it works out very well.
We stumbled across the memorial hidden away in a very quiet country lane. I didn't know anything about the story and it was a nice surprise and a good talking point.
We have our new programme of events coming out next week and it's packed full of more interesting and varied activities that our members can enjoy.
It's never boring in Cornwall Country Link.
So after a light lunch, not our normal heavy full blown Sunday roast, we set off down the Carnon Valley tramway following the storm tossed estuary of Carrick Roads.
The wind howled across the water, the wires overhead sang a high pitch song of torment, the rigging of the numerous yachts rattled annoyingly.
That's enough poetry we just about managed to stand on our feet.
After 4.2 miles we returned to Yummy Scrummy and had delicious cakes and tea.
It was an adventure today and highly enjoyable.
Another Sunday, another Sunday roast and another sunny walk in our glorious countryside.
This time we started in the small village of Cubert near Newquay in the very old Smugglers Inn. From the pub we took the footpath alongside and strolled across pasture land with Hereford cattle grazing and followed a meandering stream down to the sea at Holywell Bay.
Taking advantage of the cafe at the beach we then returned to our starting place. We covered an easy 4.7 miles and had a very pleasant time with our Country Link friends.
The wind was storming in from the North East, cold but bracing.
Hail showers adding to the fun of our afternoon walk.
We had another stonking Sunday Carvery at the Turnpike Inn at Connor Downs.
The walk was 4.5 miles long taking us across to the Hayle Towans, a huge area of sand dunes with a beach that's 5 miles long.
It was stunning today with brilliant views across to St Ives bay and up to Godrevy Lighthouse.
The wind blew the cobwebs away and brought a glow to the cheeks.
Returning back across farmland to our starting point.
Our reward was the biggest selection of cakes and puddings this side of Exeter at Treviskis Farm.
We do enjoy some special walks and when the weather is in our favour there is nothing finer than a walk with your friends in beautiful surroundings.
5 of us went for an Indian meal and chat in Earls Colne. Last Saturday the group met at Sheena and Chris's house for an auction to raise funds for charity.
We started our new year activities by trusting the weather and arranged to have a walk and picnic over St Agnes Beacon and along the cliffs back towards the village. The weather behaved itself and stayed dry.
The picnic was enjoyed whilst sitting on top of the beacon looking down the coastline to St Ives.
The charming St Agnes Hotel was opened for refreshments at the beginning and end of the walk.
We have many more club events to enjoy and we hope to see many members during the forthcoming year.