Alison and Mike Mitchell came to talk to us about their passion for plants and the development of their nursery and business
Mike started this about 34 years ago after college, where he studied horticulture. He has built it up gradually with the help of Alison.
He specialises in some varieties of alpine plants including Saxifrages, Hepaticas and Oxalis. They have won gold medals at Harrogate Show and other prestigious awards at places such as the RHS show at Tatton Park.
In 2016 he appeared on Gardner’s World on the BBC and he has lots of visitors to his nursery and garden during the open season. He also does restoration projects from time to time
The talk was accompanied by lovely slides of the plants, the sale of plants to some of our members and a question and answer session.
David Bell has had an interest in tortoises since he was a boy. He came, along with his wife Pam to tell us all about them. His talk was absolutely fascinating.
David is a licensed breeder and has years of experience plus the knowledge required (obtained by undertaking an on-line course with the Tortoise Trust), to talk for hours about the husbandry of tortoises.
He undertakes rescue work for the Tortoise Trust and had many stories to tell us about his experiences.
He informed us of many things:
They have existed on our planet longer than dinosaurs! There are 400 different species and all except one are endangered. They have been lost in the past through lack of knowledge and care but with the correct care should live to 100-150 years. Laws were introduced to protect them and they can no longer be imported illegally. All tortoises have to be certificated when they are sold.
They are ruminants and different breeds require different kinds of food. They need large amounts of calcium and over 5 hours of sunlight per day. They lay eggs and the sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are kept. They can dig and climb and the information relating to their hibernation was fascinating
It was an absolutely wonderful evening and we met 4 of David’s many tortoises. We could have listened for a lot longer and David could probably have continued to tell us stories and facts all evening.
It is easy to understand now why so many of us had tortoises as children who did not survive for very long!
Our charity of the year is Music for the Many, which is designed to encourage children to learn instruments and make music. Many of the instruments are donated so that children who could otherwise not have access to learning musical instruments are given an opportunity.
The orchestra came to our meeting with their teachers and their leader, in order to show us what they have learned and to express their thanks for our support. They gave us a demonstration of their talents.
There are a lot of children involved and there were many instruments played. They included: clarinet, trumpet, cellos (of which there were 8), keyboard, bassoon, strings, tabla drums, guitar, trombone, recorder, and flute. The children played solos and in ensembles, and there was also some singing.
Many of the childrens’ parents attended and it was a fabulous evening.
Jonathon Foulger from Hebden Bridge Tai Chi gave us an insight into various aspects of Tai Chi
He explained that is has been used for 400 years in China where it initially started as a form of martial arts. Since then various moves have been developed, more moves added, and it has been shown to have health benefits. He gave us a demonstration of ChenStyle Tai Chi and then took through a series of moves
Adrian Todd from Drum Machine gave us a brief history of Drum Machine. The sounds and rhythms originated from Batala Music from Brazil and uses samba drums. One person, in Paris, developed the samba reggae music which is different from the original Batala Music that was played by the African slaves
Adrian, after working with the man in Paris, further developed the sounds to create a different sort of drum music which is based on European music styles. He created Drum Machine 8 years ago. There are now 42 players in the band
He had brought a selection of drums with him and by the end of the evening we were making fantastic sounds and rhythms that were probably heard all over Hebden Bridge. It was great fun!
Julie Stanley from ‘Just a thought’ at Brighouse came to show us how to make a special Christmas card.
It was a very nice evening and so interesting to see how different the cards turned out, especially since we all had access to the same things! We all went home covered in glitter and full of cake! A lovely time sitting around tables chatting and crafting.