Starters and Puddings Evening

Church Rooms, Wenhaston, Saturday 13thJuly 2019

(a fundraiser to purchase and develop Malster’s Little Field as an
 extension of the community wild space provided by Grove Piece)

Wow, what an evening! When we embarked on the idea of an auction tied in with a meal as a fundraising event, we really couldn’t have dreamt that our coffers would be increased by a whacking great sum of £2,106.50!

Diners were greeted on arrival with a glass of fizz attractively set off by a string of red currants and a plumptious blackcurrant sitting daintily at the bottom (try this at home – it gets the party off to a good start).

Our guests were invited to look at the auction sheets on which they were to make their written bids and to look at some of the splendid items on offer, whilst quaffing their aperitifs and chomping some hors d’oeuvres. We already had bids for all 10 generously donated auction items ahead of the evening. Guests were encouraged also to read the beautifully presented information board which showed, amongst other things, a fundraising “tower” of over £4,000 already received for this project. Little did we know that by the end of the evening this would have increased by 50%!

The 32 diners were invited to take their seats at the four decorated tables and it was apparent that the Bach violin music about to play, in order to provide the right atmosphere, would not be required as conversations between guests were already in full swing (our apologies to the Church Rooms’ neighbours for the babble!).

Diners were treated to delectable vegetarian starters, kicking off with Geraldine’s Spanakopita, followed by Marie’s Zingy Summer Pate and by Liz’s Vegetable and Chick Pea Tagine. A plentiful supply of green salad and seemingly endless slices of beautiful bread, kindly donated by the Two Magpies Bakery at Darsham, complemented the dishes. The recipes are available on this website.

There followed a lull in proceedings while tables were re-laid, allowing guests to consider their written auction bids. Before the puddings arrived there was an open auction for a bottle of prosecco kindly donated by Wendy and Peter.

The luscious trio of puddings was then served, consisting of Claire’s Chocolate Truffle Torte, Liz’s Frangipane Slice and Ann’s Blackcurrant Cheesecake all helped down by the obligatory pouring cream. These vegetarian recipes are also here on this website.

Further time was allowed for auction bids during coffees, teas and petit foursand the remaining Two Magpies Bakery loaves of bread were auctioned – food as good as this cannot be wasted. As if this wasn’t enough, birthday boy Norman was presented with a birthday cake accompanied by lusty singing from one and all.

Then came the evening’s next big moment with the announcement of the winning auction bids:

  • Trish Gower’s donation of a 4 person 3 night self-catering stay – won by Ellie Smithwith a bid of £225
  • Liz Hill’s basket of homemade scones and jams – Janice Claxton £50
  • Alan Miller’s guided bird and wildlife walk – bids of £150each were accepted from Tony Gowand from Nickand Sally Amery
  • Mick & Rose Hart and John & Marie Rolfe’s River Alde trip – Gus Jones £100
  • Liz Hill’s 2kg of Spanish raw almonds – Laura Edwards £15
  • Darsham Nursery’s ‘Opal’ plum tree – Kate Archibald £53
  • Claire Ross-Masson’s Grove Piece inspired pit fired ceramic art work – Judy Miller £60
  • Ann Follows’ 6kg mixed wild bird feed – Sallyand Nick Amery £30
  • Jill Daines and Caroline Way each donated a day in a different Southwold beach hut –Trish Gower £50and Julia Wilson £40
  • Woottens gardening course for two people with lunch at The Star Inn – Trish Gower £60and Kate Archibald £40

Additionally, a “whispering auction” bid of £200from Michael Gowerwon the “Canterbury Bells” painting, so kindly given to Blyth Woods by well-known local artist Tessa Newcomb.

Other extremely generous donations were made on the night and, with some sales of Liz’s delicious preserves, we reached that staggering total of £2,106.50.

A huge, huge thank you to everyone for their generosity of donations in whatever form they took and to all our dinner guests who made it such a rollicking success with their very happy demeanours.

The fireworks at the conclusion of the event, by the way, were not provided by Blyth Woods, though it’s an idea ……………………..

Oh, and sorry for all the damp tea towels we left behind after the clearing up!

Ian Bigwood

P.S. Just in – £500 donation from an anonymous ex-Wenhastonian to further swell those coffers – we are truly blessed to have such Friends of Blyth Woods.

Fun with Clay

The weather was beautiful on the day we had chosen for our clay activity and I think we may have been in competition with the beach! A small group of us enjoyed playing and making with the clay that came out of the pond area in Grove Piece. Some lovely items were made and on Monday we hope to fire them in a sawdust pit at Grove Piece. 13/7/19

Tree Care with Class 2

Years 1 and 2 at Wenhaston Primary School worked hard on Friday afternoon looking after the oak trees planted by their school in Grove Piece. Tree guards were removed from sturdy, vigorous trees, weeds were removed or cut down and a mulch of straw was placed around the base of trees to help them survive any drought and to reduce the growth of weeds. Back at the school tree nursery the very small oak, sweet chestnut and hazel trees were weeded, watered and mulched with grass cuttings to help them on their way. A very good afternoon’s work Class 2.

Starters and Puddings evening.

We are pleased to say that the event is sold out and we’re looking forward to providing guests with a pleasant evening at the Church Rooms in Wenhaston on Saturday, 13thJuly. We’ll kick off at 7pm with a drink on arrival (bring your own bottle for the rest of the evening) followed by delicious vegetarian starters and puddings interspersed with your bids in our exciting auction. If you aren’t coming to the evening, you can leave a BID in advance, details here More information Prizes range from homemade scones and jams, through a semi-mature plum tree (to make your own jams in the future!) to a guided bird walk, accompanied boat trips and a three-night stay in a Wenhaston cottage; and there are more besides.

Blyth Woods is raising funds for our latest project which is to acquire Malsters Little Field, adjacent to Grove Piece, and turn it into another community wild space.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grab yourself a bargain and help us raise funds!

The pond is dry but we can sit on the seat and look at the buttercups!

Yesterday evening several of us met at Grove Piece to remove weeds from the protective tubes and remove tubes completely from some young trees that were big enough to stand on their own or were being constricted by the tubes. The big event of the evening however was the installation of a seat so that visitors can rest and contemplate the young wood. Crispin (from Big Wood) provided hefty chunks of sweet chestnut and Alan fashioned them into a simple and pleasing design.

As you will see from the picture the pond is completely dry following the very dry weather we have had recently. No doubt it will fill again when the weather changes.

Malster’s Little Field

We have a chance to buy Malster’s Little Field, a 1.6 acre field between Grove Piece, Vicarage Grove and the public footpath. We have all sorts of ideas for the field which shares a hedge with Grove Piece. The hedge would be allowed to seed into the space and we would also plant some trees along the ditch beside the footpath. We would like to restore the pond, encourage wetland flora, plant an area of coppicing and also native fruit and nut trees. The network of footpaths would be extended with a footbridge from the public footpath. The benefits to the existing wild space and to people would be considerable and we hope you will feel able to help us raise the money to purchase the field.

Click here to make a donation

Flowers in Grove Piece and more life in the pond

On a recent walk in Grove Piece we found a large patch of Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) near to the north hedge. Ground Ivy is, or was, also known in East Anglia as Tunhoof. Before the introduction of hops Ground Ivy was the main means of adding bitterness when brewing, or tunning, beer. The Old English name is Hofe , so Tunhoof came from combining the two words.

All over the field Common Field-Speedwell (Veronica persica) is opening small bright blue flowers. One petal (usually the lowest) of the flower is paler and smaller than the other petals, a useful way of telling it from other speedwells

On the surface of the pond were several Common Pond Skaters (Gerris lacustris). I got close enough to one of them to photograph it and when I looked at the photo later found that it was holding prey in its front legs, a small insect that had probably dropped onto the water.