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:


The Group will meet on the following dates:


     17 June 2019

     15 July 2019

     19 August 2019

     16 September 2019

     21 October 2019

     18 November 2019

     16 December 2019







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.


10 June 2019

Poetry on the subject of Water


8 July 2019


'The language of kindness' by Christie Watson

12 August 2019


'The Librarian' by Salley Vickers

9 September 2019


'Before we were yours' by Lisa Wingate

14 October 2019


'Lab Girl' by Hope Jahren

11 November 2019


Poems by Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate


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 Whist, Rummikub 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:


18 June 2019

16 July 2019

20 August 2019

17 September 2019

15 October 2019

19 November 2019

17 December 2019


Contact Details: Denis Brown Tel: 01603 409905 e-mail:


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:



Monday, 4 March 2019: Talk - 'The Plant Hunters' by Kathy Gray, Norfolk Plant Heritage


When you next grumble about being stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a Garden Centre, or find they haven't got the plant you want once you get there - minor inconveniences in the greater scheme of things, spare a thought for the brave and dedicated plant-hunters who risked everything to discover, collect and introduce a vast array of plants that we now take for granted, and some of which include their names e.g. Banksia, Massonia and Douglas fir.

In Kathy Gray's fascinating and skilfully illustrated talk, she brought to our attention the lives and work of a series of men, from Joseph Banks in the 1760s to a current day (reputedly eccentric) collector, Tom Hart Dyke, and opened our eyes to the lengths they went to in order to discover and introduce to our country literally thousands of the plants we now enjoy in our gardens. The four men she described in detail were Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820), Francis Masson (1741 - 1805), David Douglas (1799-1834) and Ernest "Chinese" Wilson (1876 – 1930). Kathy not only outlined the voyages of discovery taken by these men but also gave us a snapshot of their characters and the adventures they had.

Joseph Banks, for example, was one of the wealthiest men of his age and was so fascinated by plants that, rather than follow fashion and do "The Grand Tour", he paid £10,000 to circumnavigate the globe with Captain Cook and in this, and other voyages, he collected 1330 specimens and found 110 new genera; no mean feat in an age when there was no air travel and the only means of preserving plants was the use of a Wardian case (mini green house).

Such was Joseph's wealth and charm he also persuaded the King, George III, to turn Kew into a research-orientated garden. His charm did not, however, extend to persuading Captain Cook to take an orchestra and his greyhounds on a later voyage! Instead Francis Masson, a Scottish gardener working at Kew travelled with Cook and continued the good work, discovering yet more specimens including protea and strelitzia, the highlight of his trip to South Africa.

David Douglas, another Scot from Glasgow botanic gardens was sponsored by Veitch Nurseries and went to America and western Canada. In spite of his many discoveries, Kathy described him as an unlucky and unpopular man with all kinds of mishaps besetting him. He is said to have died (suspiciously perhaps) in an animal trap!

Ernest Wilson's link with Sheringham Park in Norfolk was of particular interest to us, as was the fact that he discovered, among many other well known plants, the Rhododendron. His nickname "Chinese" related to his various trips to China where he was to be seen exploring in his houseboat with his team of loyal native Chinese men.

Proving to us that adventurous, brave, dedicated and unconventional men are not just people from the past, Kathy finished her talk by introducing us to the name of Tom Hart Dyke from Lullingstone Castle in Kent and encouraging us to take a visit there to see his world garden outlined in the shape of the world and planted with appropriate plants from each region.

Kathie Gray


Monday, 1 April 2019: Talk - “Gardening in the Shade” by Jim Paine of Walnut Tree Garden Nursery

Jim Paine gave a brief overview of his talk before proceeding in more detail, outlining his 21 year connection with the Walnut Tree Garden Nursery (based at Rocklands, near Attleborough), their affiliation with the Norfolk Nursery Network and entry in the RHS Plant Finder book. He approached the subject from a scientific perspective to reveal why some plants thrive while others do not. Jim also brought an intriguing display of shade tolerant plants for us to see and purchase, mainly varieties of Epimedium which are currently flowering and whose leaves make wonderful ground cover in shady woodland areas.
The Walnut Tree Garden Nursery is home to hundreds of trees, shrubs and plants, with over 1,500 different types being sold each year. They also have a 3/4 acre garden adjacent to the nursery where established plants can be seen growing to their potential size and scale, very useful when choosing something for a domestic plot. The nursery has an interesting website and sells throughout the UK and abroad, specialising in flowering dogwoods (hardy shrubs) and crab apples, a versatile and profusely flowering fruit tree.
An interesting photographic slide show illustrated Jim’s talk. Graphs and diagrams explained the effect of seasonality - the earth’s orbit, day length, latitude and intensity of sunshine and shadow length - all of which influence the way plants grow. The vital ingredient to a plant is light, to sustain photosynthesis enabling the plant to convert starch in their leaves for growth and to remain strong and disease-free. Scientific research has shown that plants are sensitive to the colour of light (variations in this directly affects photosynthesis). Plants actively seek light and require water to thrive, balancing intake of water and nutrients with transpiration through leaves. Plants may be tolerant (tolerators) of shade, for example the shuttlecock fern, and Solomon’s seal which can survive under permanent shade. Some plants (adaptors) adapt to shade by delaying their development, inhibiting germination until conditions are suitable, or having the ability to give a rapid response to light flecks (where minute flashes of sunshine are enough to stimulate growth within an otherwise shaded habitat).

We learned that there are differing degrees of shade, from dappled light (seasonal shade), to complete lack of sunlight (permanent shade), and in addition to this the quality of shade might be dry or damp. It was suggested that attempting to ameliorate a shaded area in a garden should be a three-pronged approach: firstly, select the right plant for the conditions, secondly ensure good soil management by applying moisture-rich compost and nutrient-rich manure, and thirdly, if appropriate, raising the crown of larger trees thereby allowing more light into the area beneath the canopy. Plants that thrive in dry shade include the flowering currant, Ribes speciosum, and hardy Geranium, both of which provide attractive foliage once the flowers have faded, or the creeping Cornus canadensis which provides attractive ground cover.
Our thanks to Julie Lane for arranging this thought-provoking talk, and to Jim Paine for giving us a fascinating insight into the life of plants and their place in our gardens.


Elizabeth Slaughter



Monday, 27 May 2019 (Bank Holiday): Open Garden, Little Melton


Keith and Jan Woods made 40 of us very welcome in their garden in Little Melton. En route, the way was beautifully signposted and Keith was on hand to direct us for parking. The weather was changeable and at times we were huddled under umbrellas on the one or two occasions while a shower went over. After chatting and touring their beautiful garden, we had a very nice lunch and were then invited to visit the organic garden next door where Keith & Jan’s neighbours, John and Rebecca, had kindly provided us with a list of trees, soft fruit, vegetables, ponds and other items of interest. Both gardens showed the rewards of hard work and careful planning. We then returned to Keith & Jan’s for tea and an extraordinary choice of delicious cakes.

An enormous thank you to Jan & Keith for their hard work and hospitality.

Thelma Marshall


Editor's Note - Jan and Keith would like to thank all those who helped with the lunch preparation and garden furniture. Many thanks too for the clean-up afterwards.



Future dates:




Friday 2 August 2019: Visit to Tudor Lodgings, Pales Green, Castle Acre, PE32 2AN



Here we have an opportunity to visit the garden of Gus and Julia Stafford Allen, the National Garden Scheme County Organiser for Norfolk. A private visit has been offered for Friday 2 August, starting at 2pm. The cost is £7.50 a person, which includes tea/coffee and cake.


Tudor Lodgings is a 15th century house, the grounds of which incorporate part of the Noman earthworks of the village of Castle Acre. The two acre garden contains an 18th century dovecote, abstract topiary, lawns and a ‘Mondrian’ knot garden plus ornamental grasses and a hot border. Tudor Lodgings featured in The English Garden Magazine 2018. Further information on Tudor Lodgings, including a map, is available on the NGS website (


Castle Acre is a lovely ancient village, with plenty to see and explore for a day out. For general information see . Places to visit include the 11th century castle earthworks (which is across road from Tudor Lodgings), the Priory and the medieval church of St James the Great.


If arriving earlier in the day, you may wish to have lunch in the Ostrich Inn in the centre of the village. The Ostrich Inn is open from noon and, as Castle Acre is a popular tourist village, they suggest booking a couple of weeks in advance (on 01760 755398 or via their website) to save disappointment.


If you would like to go on this visit please complete the booking slip at the end of this newsletter and return to Julie Lane by Wednesday 24 July.



Directions: Castle Acre is off the A1065 Swaffham to Fakenham Road, 4 miles north of Swaffham. Although the garden is further than some of our garden visits, it is a straightforward drive, some 40 minutes from Norwich. Tudor Lodgings is the first house on the left as you come into the village (from Swaffham), off Bailey Street. Any further directions and parking arrangements will be provided to those booking on the visit.


Monday, 30 September 2019: Talk – ‘My 46+ Years at Blickling’ by Stephen Hagon


Our speaker will be Stephen Hagon, currently the Deputy Head Gardener at Blickling, but soon to be retiring after more than 46 years at Blickling.

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, 26 November 2019: Talk – ‘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:


Tuesday, 26 February 2019: The Accent on Dialects – David Poole


Please see a review of this talk in the “Talks” section on page 3.


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



Future Events:


Friday, 6 September 2019:           Visit to the Rosary Cemetery

This tour of the Rosary Cemetery will take place on Friday 6 September. We will meet at the Chapel, in the Cemetery, at 2.00pm. The visit will begin with a short talk on the history of the cemetery, followed by a walk to look at some of the more interesting graves. The tour will be led by Nick Williams, author of ‘Buried at the Rosary’.


Cost: £2.50 per person to be donated to the Friends of the Rosary. Maximum 20 persons.


Deadline 23 August 2019. To book a place please email



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 £2.50 per person. Maximum 20 persons.


Deadline 20 November 2019. To book a place please email



Evelyn Mould






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:


17 June 2019

15 July 2019

19 August 2019

16 September 2019

21 October 2019

18 November 2019

16 December 2019


If anyone would like further info., please contact me


Mandy Holland







Thursday, 11 July 2019: East Hills Café – Bistro, Brundall Bay Marina


Please meet at noon for 12.30 pm. East Hills has a car park and is close to Brundall station, or you can come by bus and walk down to the Marina. This lunch will need pre-ordering so I will send out an up-to-date menu beforehand. If you would like to attend, please email or phone 01603 610708 by

Thursday, 4 July.

Sue Kitchener


Thursday, 5 September 2019: The Rushcutters, Thorpe St Andrew

Please meet at noon for 12.30 pm. There is a large car park. Buses along Thorpe Road are Firstbus routes14 and 15 and Konectbus routes 5,5a and 5b, all from St. Stephens and Castle Meadow. If you would like to attend, please email or phone 01603 456465 by Thursday, 29 August.

John Johnson


Wednesday, 2 October 2019:     Venue to be determined.

Please meet at noon for 12.30 pm. Details will be sent to regular participants and can be obtained by email from or phone from 01603 455412.

John Boulton


Thursday, 7 November 2019:     Venue to be determined.

Please meet at noon for 12.30 pm. Details will be sent to regular participants and can be obtained by email from or phone from 01603 458099.

Pat Gyte





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 at or phone 01603 613698.


Recent events:

Friday, 26 April 2019: Lunchtime Recital - Karen Smith and Stephen Cox (piano duets)

Karen Smith and Stephen Cox treated us to a varied and entertaining piano duet recital at the UEA Music Centre on Friday 26th April. The programme included Faure’s ‘Dolly Suite’, Schubert’s ‘Fantasie in F Minor’, which “is acknowledged to be the finest of his works in the piano duet genre” and finally the very descriptive ‘Mother Goose Suite’ by Ravel. Stephen remarked that many works in the piano duet genre are seldom heard, even those by well known composers, as they are rarely performed or broadcast. We – and other members of the audience, judging by the enthusiastic applause – very much enjoyed the recital. As a learner it was interesting to observe that the skill of playing duets not only involves playing the right notes (in the right order!), but also pedalling (2 pedals) and the positioning of legs, arms and hands out of the way of the other pianist! Thank you Karen and Stephen for a most enjoyable lunchtime concert.

Carol Stephens

Future events in 2019:

Saturday, 22 June 2019: Music for a Summer Evening


Academy of St Thomas, Salle Church, 19.30


Those who have bought tickets for this are looking forward to enjoying a wonderful evening of music in this glorious venue. Let's hope the weather is kind enough to let us enjoy the picnic beforehand as well.


Looking forward to the autumn:

Saturday, 14 September 2019: St Andrew’s Church, Hingham, 19.30

Academy of St Thomas - A concert of English and American music

Vaughan Williams: Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus
Butterworth: On the Banks of Green Willow
Samuel Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Copland: Quiet City
Rachmaninov: Vocalise
Saint Saens: Symphony No.2

Matthew Andrews – Conductor
Catherine May - Soprano


An evocative programme featuring Anglo-American connections highlighting the links between Abraham Lincoln and the Parish of Hingham.

Soprano Catherine May teams up with her husband Matthew Andrews for Barber’s haunting Knoxville: Summer of 1915.

As yet no plans have been made for a Music Group visit to this concert as transport can be a problem for some people. However if you like the look of this interesting and rather unusual programme, please contact me as soon as possible. If there is enough interest and enough cars are available I would be very happy to arrange something.

Tickets go on sale from 21st June so please let me know directly, email vj.lyall@




Wednesday, 18 September 2019: Lunchtime Recital, 13.00, Strode Room, UEA music centre


Our next lunchtime event, again kindly arranged by Stephen Cox, will feature a flute, cello and piano trio. Dexterity Trio has given concerts throughout the country and has performed in recital series, church concerts, as well as the BBC Good Food Show, ITV 40th Birthday celebration, Historic Houses and hotels. With a broad repertoire of music from Baroque to modern day, the trio present a varied programme of Classical and lighter music- something for everyone to enjoy.

As usual there will be a charge of £5 pp

I shall forward details of the programme as soon as I know more.




Saturday, 12 October 2019: St Andrew’s Hall, 19.30


Academy of St Thomas


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


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


Tickets for the West gallery are £17pp and once again Alan Coddington has kindly volunteered his help. If you would like to join the group, please send cheques payable to UEA Retirement Association to Dr A Coddington, by 23rd August. The group will meet before the concert for refreshments in Cinema City bar.




Saturday, 9 November 2019: St Andrew's Hall, 19.30


Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus


Holst: Ballet Suite: The Perfect Fool
ridge: 'The Sea', Suite for Orchestra
inzi: Intimations of Immortality


If you would like to join a Retirement Association group seated in the West Gallery, Alan Coddington has kindly volunteered to purchase tickets at £18pp. Please send cheques payable to UEA Retirement Association to Dr A Coddington by 15th July. The group will meet before the concert for refreshments in Cinema City bar.


NB Groups of 10 or more may claim 10% discount


Verity Lyall