This month’s AHA trip started off badly due to bereavement; therefore sadly, I was unable to attend. Fortunately Ron Bryan was able to step in and was the Leader for the day. Thank you very much Ron for your support.
The weather was just perfect after having rain which felt like it had gone on for days. The group gathered together at Wickes car park and set off for Farnham, meeting up at the Maltings for coffee, where the official guide joined them
Farnham Tudor Buildings - Shop Frontages and the Maltings
On 24th May, due to last minute change of dates to accommodate this venue, a small group of members visited the New Arts Centre near East Winterslow.
The works on show ranged from line drawing to oil paintings. The draughtsmanship on some of the pencil sketches was outstanding, however opinions on his paintings was mixed. Works included several drawings and paintings of his long-term mistress Doirela McNeill and paintings of T.E. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy
So you don’t miss out on our mix bag of venues visiting, keep checking the web site!
Bob Taylor and Rosemary Crumplin
One of the newer TVBC mini-buses, with Leslie at the wheel, took us on a sunny day to Richmond, where the Poppy Factory is located. Initially we had an hour or so to look around the historic town, where the ancient centre is well preserved and delightful, although some members preferred shopping!
We met again at the factory where they provided a light lunch, & subsequently commenced the tour with a short film about the history of the poppy as an emblem of the great sacrifices made in many wars, but particularly WWI. The poppy, inspired by the famous poem ‘In Flanders Field ‘ by the Canadian John McCrae and initially used in the USA, but now confined to the UK & Commonwealth has been used since 1921.
They make about 6m poppies each year which are all sold to the British Legion, a separate organisation, who produce some 42m standard ones themselves. The factory also produces all of the poppy wreaths used on Armistice Day & the special corsages & boutonnieres worn by the Royal Family & Commonwealth guests at the Remembrance Day parade in London.
All poppies made at Richmond are still assembled by hand, providing work for disabled employees, now reduced from a peak of 180 to about 30 today. Our group had the opportunity of assembling their own standard poppies and see a demonstration of how the larger ones are put together and buy for a donation. Profits are channelled into assisting retired veterans, with a many recent grants going towards resolving combat stress related problems. Many hundreds of retired service personnel now undertake a full & active role in society as a consequence of the help given them by the Poppy Factory.
Everyone on the tour said they enjoyed the visit and our collection contributed to this fine work.
In April members of the Group travelled to the Guildford area to visit two National Trust properties. The first was Clandon Park, which you will probably recall that the house was badly damaged by fire in 2015.
The group then travelled a few miles to another National Trust property, Hatchlands Park.
After lunch we had an enjoyable walk around the bluebell woods and then proceeded to the house. There were a limited number of rooms open to the public, which contained part of the Cobbe family collection of old masters and keyboard instruments. The paintings included works by Titian, van Dyck and Gainsborough; also of interest was an anonymous work that is claimed to be the only life portrait of Shakespeare. The exhibition of keyboard instruments included ones owned and played by famous composers including J.C. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Elgar and Chopin. The oldest instrument was a Harpsichord dating from 1622, and there was also a piano played by Marie Antoinette. Most of the instruments are maintained in full working order and often played at recitals by leading pianists. The visit was enhanced by an excellent and knowledgeable tour guide.
Don’t forget to look at U3A Anton website, to see what is coming up over the next few months!
BobTaylor & Rosemary Crumplin
On Tuesday 9th April in very wet weather 17 intrepid Questers arrived at the impressive Home Bargains Distribution Centre at Solstice Park near Amesbury. We were greeted by the young Human Resources Director who gave us a very interesting introduction to TJ Morris Ltd - the parent company which is the largest independent grocer in the UK, selling fresh and frozen foods as well as household goods. Over 30% of their lines are end-of-range branded goods bought in bulk from the original manufacturers.
Headquartered in Liverpool and originally concentrated in Northern England, there are now nearly 600 Home Bargains stores around the country and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The business is still privately owned and run, with three generations of the Morris family now in executive roles. The company does not advertise! Until 2015 all the distribution took place from Liverpool but due to the rapid expansion and success of the company the Amesbury centre was built to service the southern and western areas of the UK. The company is still growing rapidly and the Amesbury site has the capacity to deal with many additional stores as they come on stream. Currently they already service over 150 stores, from Penzance to Swansea to Great Yarmouth, with plans to grow this to 400 stores.