‘This becomes more like an ‘Old School Reunion’ every month’, one lady was heard to remark; as the Fryern Ladies Probus all squeezed into the bar area at The Roundabout Hotel in West Chiltington to order our pre – luncheon aperitifs.
After ten months we are getting to know each other pretty well and, from an initial mix of strangers, friendships have blossomed and camaraderie grown.
‘Blossomed’ is indeed an appropriate word as The Speaker of the Day had arrived well - armed with a variety of assorted blossoms and foliage. In addition her car was piled high with various unusual containers ranging from a vertical broom handle - shelved in three places - and a one metre high silver plated and narrow waisted champagne flute.
This we were told had cost only £1 as part of a job lot from a local auction house – a bargain indeed. These would be put to good use – with additional weirdly shaped objects – as containers for the flower arranging demonstration which was to follow.
‘The most important part of any flower arranger’s kit is a screw driver’, we were told as our guest assembled her containers – this was a fascinating insight of what was to follow.
Gaenor Circus was our invited speaker, for the afternoon, and it transpired that she was well known and a good friend to many of the ladies present.
Indeed she had accompanied her husband Philip Circus, when he generously spoke to us at our March lunch, earlier on in the year. Philip, we were told, had rashly suggested the title ‘Ancient and Modern’ for today’s demonstration; which Gaenor had found interesting.
However Philip had meant this in the religious content ie. Hymnbook, as his father had been a vicar and this concept dated back to his childhood but Gaenor had other ideas and indeed was fostering a ‘cunning plan.’
Her slant was on different periods of history ranging from early Foraging to Chinese Yin and Yang and later to Victoriana plus additional historical areas in between – you could say a floral romp through history! Indeed there were quite a few ladies present, who are members of Storrington and West Chiltington Floral Clubs, and Gaenor was quite an inspiration to us all. Naturally all of these diverse floral arrangements ended up as our raffle prizes for the day and many ladies happily made their way to their cars heavily weighed down with fragrant tributes – a profitable afternoon’s work. Rachel Martin warmly thanked Gaenor on behalf of us all and we hope that it won’t be too long before we ‘bunch’ and ‘lunch’ again – thank you Gaenor.
Our Christmas meeting will be on December 4 at The Roundabout Hotel when we shall partake of chef Jamie’s special festive lunch followed by a speaker who is well known in WI circles for his portrayals of Henry VIII. Tony Harris is as ‘ham’ as you get and an extremely talented performer – roll on the 4th.
With thanks for the picture contributed by Dita Stejskalova – Joint General Manager of The Roundabout Hotel.
Report contributed by Russ Fry.