We held our Christmas party on December 8th and as usual it was a very enjoyable evening. The party started with a welcome drink and we then had our delicious buffet supper supplied by Alison Thompson. There was a 12 Days of Christmas themed quiz on the tables to keep us busy throughout the evening. After the meal we enjoyed a Day at the Races with one “volunteer” from each table mounting their inflatable hobby horse, each with the name of a famous racehorse. Then the race across the carpet tiles began, with progress being dictated by the throw of a dice. The excitement was intense, as was the laughter during the race. In order to calm down, we then played an alternative to Beetle, colouring in a gingerbread man. This competitive colouring-in game was also a lot of fun. It was a great Christmas party and many thanks are due to the Committee who had been very busy planning and organising the activities, decorating the tables, etc.
At our first meeting of the new year, on January 12th, Steve Halliwell came to tell us the story of the humble snowdrop. He accompanied his talk with some lovely photographs of snowdrops and poetry about them. Snowdrops are not native to this country but arrived in the 16th century and have been naturalised. They seem to have spread from the Pyrenees east to Turkey, western Russia, Georgia, etc before being brought to western Europe, possibly by monks. There are 19-20 species but our naturalised one is Galanthus nivalis (milk flower of the snows). There are many traditional local names for snowdrops and stories about them in folklore. Four species of Galanthus have been used to create the hundreds of new varieties which are now available. Steve then told us about some local places where we could see snowdrops in abundance such as the banks of the river Wenning at Hornby Castle, the banks of Artle Beck, Brantwood on Coniston (in the gardens and on the lake shore) and Parcevall Hall near Skipton. At Gresgarth Hall you can see species snowdrops rather than mass plantings. This may give you some ideas for places to visit in the near future while the snowdrops are still in bloom.