Clubs & Groups Clubs & Groups



The Art Group meets on the third Monday of the month (except Bank Holidays) at 2:00pm at the Colney Lane Pavilion. Refreshments will be provided, but please bring your own painting and drawing materials with you. Brenda Mace has kindly agreed to act as mentor to the group.


The Group will meet on the following dates:


21 October 2019

18 November 2019

16 December 2019

20 January 2020

17 February 2020

16 March 2020






Informal meetings, lasting about one and a half hours, will be held in the Colney Pavilion at 2pm on the second Monday of the month. Books to be discussed are listed below and all titles are available in paperback and from the library, some as downloads.


14 October 2019

'Lab Girl' by Hope Jahren


11 November 2019

Poems by Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate


9 December 2019

'The Silence of the Girls' by Pat Barker

13 January 2020


'Unsheltered' by Barbara Kingsolver

10 February 2020


'Clock Dance' by Anne Tyler

9 March 2020


'The Stranger Diaries' by Elly Griffiths

13 April 2020

'The Spy and the Traitor' by Ben MacIntyre



Anyone is welcome to come along and join us and to suggest titles for future sessions. There is no charge and tea, coffee and biscuits are served. For more information please contact Janet Havers ( or tel: 01603 759644).


Janet Havers






This small, lively group meets once a month, on a Monday, at Cinema City. Whenever possible we go for a late morning/early afternoon screening to allow time afterwards for refreshments and to discuss the film before going our separate ways. New members are most welcome.


For more information please tel: 01603 743464 or email: 


Evelyn Mould






Games afternoons are held on the third Tuesday of the month starting at 2.00pm at the Pavilion. We have regular tables for Cribbage, Dominoes and either Rummikub, Whist or Scrabble. Additional board games and cards are available at each session with the opportunity to learn something new.


The emphasis at games afternoons is on enjoying playing games rather than skill and you are welcome to bring your own games for other members to try. Refreshments are provided.


We have an outdoor croquet session once a year (which this year took place in May) and a special thank you goes to Jeremy Kitchener who organised it.


Future dates are:


15 October 2019

19 November 2019

17 December 2019

21 January 2020

18 February 2020

17 March 2020

21 April 2020


Contact Details: Denis Brown Tel: 01603 409905 email:


Denis Brown





Garden Group meetings are normally held every two months throughout the year, actual dates are given below and in the Renaissance diary. Activities include talks, open gardens and garden visits. Please pay £1 per person at the door for talks, including tea and biscuits. this payment goes towards the cost of speakers and refreshments. 



Recent events:




Friday, 21 June 2019: Visit to Peter Beales Roses and Nursery


35 of us gathered at the Marquee where we were served tea and cake and given a very interesting talk about the nursery from its start to present day and its future plans.

Simon also told us all about the process of growing thousands of new plants and gave us a demonstration of budding onto a root stock. Originally there were just Peter Beales his wife and one other but now over 50 people are employed. The site is 2 ½ acres and has 1100 varieties of Roses and 3 ½ thousand companion plants. With its good restaurant, beautiful gardens and its healthy plant sales section it has become a ‘destination’ not just a nursery. We were advised on looking after our roses and the chemicals available. We were then taken on a lovely tour of the display gardens where the different types of roses and good companion plants were pointed out. One section of garden was devoted, in his memory, to Peter Beales favourites, another to his wife Joan, and a third area to Rachel the daughter of a Canadian who invested both money and time to the gardens.

There were many galvanised steel structures in the garden to show off the roses in all their glory, including one which had been used to display their roses at the Chelsea show. In all they have had 26 gold medals from Chelsea over the years which emphasizes the quality of everything they produce. Everywhere we went the roses were in perfect condition as were all the plants on sale. There is also a wildlife garden and a play area which we did not have time to visit.

All in all a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Thanks go to Pam and Julie for the organisation and to Simon for the excellent talk and tour.

Brenda Mace




23-24 July 2019: Visit to Essex Gardens


With the sun shining from a blue sky and for the forecast for the temperature to reach the thirties, seventeen intrepid gardeners, clutching sun hats, sun tan lotion and bottles of water boarded the coach for a two-day visit to some Essex gardens.

Our first stop was the Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead Market. Beth was a keen gardener and her husband Andrew had a lifelong interest in researching how plants adapted to different environments. In 1960, using a piece of wasteland, composed of sands/gravels and of clay with a damp area but which has a very low annual rainfall, they began the development of the garden which we see today. Individual gardens were developed to suit the different soil types so today we have the ‘Water Garden’, the ‘Scree Garden’ and near the entrance, the ‘Gravel Garden’. This was made on the former car park in 1991 and was planted with drought-resistant plants. On our visit it looked magnificent. There wasn’t time to do justice to all the specialised planting but we were able to enjoy the wonderful display of flowers and admire the subtle blending of colours. Many of us commented on the number of peacock butterflies flying around, an unusual sight these days. This is a beautiful and interesting garden but on this hot, sunny day the ‘Woodland Garden’ and the ‘Long Shady Walk’ were especially appreciated as were the number of seats so thoughtfully provided around the garden.

   We stayed overnight in Colchester, reputably the first Roman city in England. In the late afternoon John led us on a short walk around the older part of the town pointing out various places of interest. Walking up through the Castle Park we were able to admire the fine formal bedding before reaching the castle. This is an imposing building, completed in 1100AD and today houses a museum. Our walk ended at the ‘Jumbo Water Tower’, so called because of its size, by the Balkerne gate in the old city wall. It is a very grand brick construction built in 1883 which supports a water tank with a cupola on the top. However in 1987 Anglian Water relinquished their ownership. Standing at 116 feet it still dominates the city skyline. The day ended with a thunderstorm which set off a local burglar alarm which rang throughout the night until 9am the next morning! Some of the party had a rather sleepless night!!

The second day of our visit began with the RHS Garden at Hyde Hall , near Rettendon. The weather forecast was hot again and the volunteer RHS guide, who took the group of 11 who were keen to have a tour of the garden for an hour, stopped frequently wherever there was shade. The garden is currently the second largest visitor attraction in Essex but 64 years ago was a fully operational farm when purchased by Richard and Helen Robinson. Since then the garden has evolved and in 1993 they decided to gift their 24 acre garden plus the farmland to the RHS. Today the RHS owns a total of 365 acres of which 190 acres is now the garden. One particularly interesting area was the ‘Global Growth Vegetable Garden’ with its central octagonal glasshouse with beds arranged around it outside. These demonstrate the huge range of vegetables and herbs grown in Europe and the Middle East, Asia, North and Central America and South America. There were sunflowers with heads the size of dinner-plates and in the glasshouse, yard-long beans. Elsewhere there were pristine lawns, scented David Austin roses and a woodland garden where the soil is regularly enriched with sulphur for acid-loving species to flourish such as azaleas and rhododendrons. The ‘Robinson Garden’ behind the original farmhouse has a natural spring so is fine for hostas and tree-ferns. The garden is continually being changed or modified and we were told that the sum of £440,000 is spent annually on new stock. With so much to see plus time for coffee and lunch we only scratched the surface!

Then it was time to travel on to ‘The Place for Plants’ at East Bergholt. We were met at the entrance by Sara Eley, one of the owners, who explained the history and layout of the garden. Then bearing in mind the increasing afternoon temperature we were pleased to be able to wander among the trees - a range of species, which included a collection of Eleagnus and hydrangeas. Then we returned to base to the shade of parasols over picnic tables and copious cups of tea or cold drinks. Some folk ventured out into the nursery to buy maybe more plants to add to their Beth Chatto purchases the previous day.

All in all, the whole trip was very enjoyable and thanks are due to John and Rosemary Johnson for their organisation. At least we didn’t have to worry about the rain!!

Sybil Clark & Margaret Ford


Friday, 2 August 2019: Visit to Tudor Lodgings, Castle Acre


    Thirty five people gathered in a field in Castle Acre to visit the garden of Gus and Julia Stafford Allen, the National Garden Scheme County Organiser for Norfolk. The weather was kind to us, a lovely sunny afternoon, but the heavy traffic and road diversions were not so kind! We received a warm welcome and comprehensive introduction to Tudor Lodgings from Julia, who moved to the house with her young family in 1985. We learnt about the history of the 15th century house, the grounds of which incorporate part of the Norman earthworks of the village of Castle Acre.

We were then left to explore the two acre gardens further and there was certainly a lot to keep us busy and asking questions! There are a large number of well-stocked and colourful borders and containers, including swathes of colourful Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in a hot border. Natural areas include a shepherd’s hut in a wildflower meadow, an informal pond plus blocks of ornamental grasses. The garden contains an 18th century dovecote, abstract topiary, a productive fruit garden and sculptures, including a magnificent oversized watering can. An Itea ilicifolia against the house wall attracted lots of attention from the group. A particular feature is a border inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian and we were lucky that it was at its best. The ‘Mondrian’ border has a palette of three primary colours and was designed by Julia some five years ago. The energetic climbed the earth ramparts to see good views across to Castle Acre Priory and we were introduced to the family’s friendly Rhea in an adjoining field.

A splendid afternoon tea of sandwiches and cake was enjoyed on the terrace, with memorable countryside views across the lawn.

On returning home, I put my feet up and found that the August edition of EDP’s Norfolk magazine contains a long article about Tudor Lodgings!

Pam Janacek


Future dates:

Tuesday 26 November 2019: Talk at the Costessey Centre – ‘Holly Wreath Making’ by Simon White

(Please note that the previously advertised speaker, Professor Tom Williamson, will now be giving his talk in April 2020, details below.)

Our speaker for this seasonal talk will again be Simon White from Peter Beales Roses. Simon has previously talked to the Garden Group about growing roses for Chelsea and also gave a demonstration and led the guided tour on the recent Garden Group visit to Peter Beales.

This will be a joint talk at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey, starting 2.15pm.


Monday 2 March 2020: Talk (UEA Colney Lane Pavilion) – ‘Companion Planting for a Balanced Garden’ by Dr Ian Bedford


Our speaker Dr Ian Bedford heads the Entomology Facility at the John Innes Centre, where he has worked for over 40 years. He is making a return visit to the Garden Group, previously visiting us in 2014 to talk about Garden Bugs (remember the Spanish slugs!).

The talk explains the concepts of Companion Planting and whether we can expect to see results when it’s used. Besides using plants to help other plants, many plants are also reported to have properties that can either attract or repel bugs. The talk details some of them and how they can be used in our gardens to create a natural balance system for attracting nature and keeping the pests under control.

The talk will start at 2pm in the UEA Colney Lane Pavilion. Just a reminder that there is limited parking for talks at the Pavilion. Please remember to display your parking permit (a permit can be obtained at the door on arrival).

Please do bring along any surplus plants you may have, donations to help Garden Group funds.


Tuesday 28 April 2020: Talk (Costessey Centre) – ‘What was so special about Humphry Repton?’ by Professor Tom Williamson


In 2018, ‘Repton 200’ celebrated 200 years since the great landscape designer Humphry Repton died and there were many events to mark the bicentenary. Repton is said to have carried out some of his finest work in Norfolk, including Sheringham Park and Catton Park.

Tom Williamson is Professor of Landscape History at UEA and is co-editor of a book ‘Humphry Repton in Norfolk’, published in 2018. He previously gave a talk to the Retirement Association in March 2015 on ‘Ancient trees in the Norfolk landscape’, reviewed as a very lively and interesting talk.

This will be a joint talk at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey, starting 2.15pm.


I circulate occasional emails about Garden Group events and gardening activities. If you would like to be included in this circulation, or for general enquiries about the Garden Group, please contact Pam Janacek (

Pam Janacek





Recent events:


Friday, 17 May 2019: A visit to the Dad’s Army Museum, Thetford


13 of us made our way by car and train, to visit the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford. For nine years from 1968 Thetford became Walmington-on-Sea, the home of the TV series, Dad’s Army. A Museum housed in the Old Fire station was founded in 2007 and is independently run by an enthusiastic platoon of volunteers. After tea and biscuits in the Marigold Tea Rooms, we then had a guided walk around some of the main filming locations within the town centre, used during the filming of the original TV Series. We stopped to have our photo taken alongside a full-size bronze statue of Captain Mainwaring and could have bought some Walmington bangers from J. Jones, the butcher. Unfortunately, Jones’s Butcher’s van was not available for us to see on the day.

Back at the Museum a huge amount of memorabilia is on show, photos of the cast, original scripts, letters etc. Anything & everything to do with Dad’s Army has either been donated to or purchased by the Museum. You can even have your photo taken in the ‘Vicar’s Office’. It really was a very enjoyable visit.

Suzanne Cunningham


Future Events:


Friday, 29 November 2019: Tour of Norwich Cathedral


This tour of Norwich Cathedral takes place on Friday 29 November. We will meet at the Hostry at 2.00pm. The tour will be led by Jan King. We will walk along the cloisters and look at some of the bosses but also (weather permitting) take in the exterior of the cathedral at the east end plus the Lower Close.


Cost is £2.50 per person. Maximum 20 persons. Deadline 20 November 2019. To book a place please email

Evelyn Mould



Tuesday, 25 February 2020: The Strangers – Helen Hoyte & Jean Smith


In order to fill the labour shortage following the plague, we accepted the Dutch Strangers and Walloons, albeit with a few strict rules, to ply their trade in our fine City via Strangers Hall in the 16th Century. We hear how the Bishop of Norwich had to give up his home during the visit by Queen Elizabeth 1st and how Parson Woodforde had the City gates literally shut in his face.


This will be a joint talk at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey, starting 2.15pm.




Suzanne Cunningham






We are a small group who appreciate the company, friendship and fellowship of meeting with like-minded people. We have people knitting a variety of pieces from garments and baby items through to novelty items and toys; tapestry making; felting; fresh lavender bags; Christmas decoration construction and beading/jewellery making. It is interesting to see what other people are doing and to help each other with our projects. Some of our group have been knitting items for charity which are delivered via the Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers to whom we are affiliated.


If anyone is interested in coming along (you don’t have to commit to every month) we meet at the Colney Pavilion, 2-4pm on the third Monday of the month. The Group will meet on the following dates:


21 October 2019

18 November 2019

16 December 2019

20 January 2020

17 February 2020

16 March 2020


If anyone would like further info., please contact me


Mandy Holland






Thursday, 7 November 2019: The Chestnut Tree, Middleton's Lane.


Please meet at 12:00 for 12.30 pm. (This venue was formerly known as the Bull. It's at the roundabout where Middleton's Lane meets Reepham Road. The entrance is on Middleton's Lane)

Please contact Pat Gyte by Monday, 28 October if you wish to attend either on 01603 458099 or


Pat Gyte



Thursday, 9 January 2020: Paolo’s Restaurant, St Giles Street, Norwich


Please meet at noon for 12.30pm. Restaurant does not open until noon. A family run Italian restaurant in Norwich serving delicious authentic Italian food, main lunch courses from £7.50. If you would like to attend, please email or phone 01603 455412 by Thursday, 2 January.

John Boulton



Thursday, 6 February 2020: The Oak Tree, 59 Ipswich Road


Please meet at noon for 12.30pm. Home-made food served in a relaxed, friendly pub. The restaurant has lunch offers of 2 mains for £10 and 2 mains for £15, plus an a la carte menu. There is a large car park. Firstbus routes stop outside the pub. If you would like to attend, please email or phone 01603 456465 by Thursday, 30 January.


John Johnson







In addition to planned events, information about musical activities in Norwich is circulated from time to time to members who have shown interest. If you would like to be included in this circulation or wish to publicise any concert or musical event, please email Verity Lyall at or phone 01603 613698


Recent events:


Saturday, 22 June 2019: The Academy of St Thomas at Salle


After a rainy week the skies cleared, the sun came out and we enjoyed our picnic before a concert with a lighter mood. In the first half concerti for viola by Telemann and Bach were played with all the skill and polish we have come to expect of the Academy, led by their current Director Philip Dukes, a leading viola player. After the interval he laid down his viola to conduct Serenade for Strings by the Swedish composer Dag Wiren. This proved to be a popular source of music for documentary makers during the 50's and 60's. The first bars of the final Marcia were quickly recognised as the theme tune to the BBC arts programme Monitor (1958-1965). After a short Nocturne by Dvorak, the concert finished with a rousing selection from Leroy Anderson – Belle of the Ball, Plink, Plank, Plunk (with sound effects) and finally The Typewriter. Philip Dukes said they had scoured the country for a person who had a typewriter and could use/play it and had finally found one – in Norwich! I'm am ashamed to say I didn't note the name of this gentleman but the enthusiastic applause proved he did a great job.

Verity Lyall



Saturday, 14 September 2019: St Andrew’s Church, Hingham


A select trio from the Music Group (!) enjoyed an evening in Hingham Church listening to the Academy of St. Thomas performing works chosen to mark the historic links between the town and its 'daughter over the water', Hingham, Massachusetts. As conductor Matthew Andrews commented, English and American composers excel in music evoking place. Vaughan Williams' 'Dives and Lazarus', and Butterworth's 'Banks of Green Willow' were followed by Barber's 'Knoxville: Summer of 1915', a perfect picture in sound of an evening in a small American town from a child's perspective. This was given a glowing, unshowy performance by Canadian-born soprano Catherine May. Rachmaninov's last concert was in Knoxville; this supplied the link to his well-loved 'Vocalise'. Copland's 'Quiet City' evoked a solitary night walk through urban streets with the sound of a jazz trumpet drifting from an apartment window. The previous pieces had all ended quietly but the splendidly vigorous Second Symphony of Saint-Saens – no English or American connections whatsoever, just chosen because it fitted - concluded with an exhilarating tarantella. After the August doldrums this was a fine curtain-raiser to the new concert season, with so much to look forward to this autumn.

Rita Gallard



Friday, 20 September 2019: Lunchtime Recital - The Dexterity Trio


Anna Hopkins, Mary Howard and Maia Passchier gave us a wonderful, varied recital. A sonata by Telemann and a trio by Haydn were followed by a charming set of three dances by Frank Bridge. More 20th century in style was the very lively Sonate en Concert by Damase, in which the flute shone in particular. We concluded with a short trio on English Folktunes by Alec Rowley. The enthusiastic applause showed the enjoyment of the audience.


Verity Lyall


Still to come in 2019:


Saturday, 12 October 2019: Academy of St Thomas


St Andrew’s Hall, 19.30


Piers Lane returns to Norwich to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1


Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1
Tchaikovsky: Music from Swan Lake




Saturday, 9 November 2019: Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus


St Andrew’s Hall, 19.30


Holst: Ballet Suite: The Perfect Fool
Bridge: 'The Sea', Suite for Orchestra
Finzi: Intimations of Immortality


There are group visits to both these concerts, many thanks to Alan Coddington for getting the tickets. Members will meet beforehand for refreshments in the bar at Cinema City




Friday, 22 November 2019: Myth and Faith


St Andrew's Hall, 19.30


UEA Choir and Symphony Orchestra invite you to join them for their autumn concert. The choir and orchestra will perform three Symphonic Poems from Smetana’s evocative Má Vlast and Joseph Haydn’s beautiful Mass in Bb Major 'Harmonie Mass’.

Soloists: Sofia Larsson (soprano), Samantha Price (mezzo-soprano), Richard Dowling (tenor), and Tristan Hambleton (bass).

Tickets available by phone or in person from St George’s Music Shop (Tel: 01603 626414, online from the UEA online store or on the door (cash or cheque only). There is no organised trip to this concert but please come and support if you can.



Sunday, 8 December 2019: Christmas with UEA Chamber Choir


St Georges Church, Tombland, 18.30 (doors open 17.45)


UEA Chamber Choir, under the direction of UEA Choirmaster Tom Primrose, invite you to experience centuries of seasonal music as they present a programme of a capella vocal gems. I most warmly recommend this excellent group but be sure and arrive early as the church is small and seats fill up quickly. The concert is free and doors will open at 17.45. There will be a retiring collection for the church.



Looking forward to 2020:


Saturday, 29 February 2020: Keswick Hall Choir


United Reformed Church, Princes Street, 19.30


The Beatitudes

Cecilia McDowall Ash Wednesday
Alissa Firsova Stabat Mater
Arvo Pärt The Beatitudes
Carl Rütti Sermon on the Mount
Organ solos by Leoš Janáček and Petr Eben

Two settings of The Beatitudes are juxtaposed with two beautiful works for Lent and Holy Week and David Dunnett will explore the tonal range of the Willis organ in works by two Czech masters.

Organ: David Dunnett
Director: Chris Duarte


We are hoping to arrange a group visit to hear this well-loved local choir in a most interesting programme linked to the season. Details about tickets in the next newsletter.

Verity Lyall



March 30 – April 3 2020: Music group holiday - Bournemouth


A holiday to Bournemouth is planned for the Spring. Full details can be seen in the “Forthcoming Holidays” section on page 6.