Berwick Book Group
October is here – with its colder, darkening evenings and the approach of those pagan festivals based on the supernatural. What better time to get stuck into a Gothic- style chiller? So The Possessions of Dr Forrest seemed like the perfect choice and it was lovely to welcome some newcomers to the book group.
Kelly’s last novel, The Crusaders, was met with great acclaim so it’s not surprising that expectations were high. The book, however, chosen because the author Richard T. Kelly was a speaker at this month’s Durham Book Festival, sparked even more diverse opinions than Dr Forrest had new bodies. Certainly it wasn’t the easiest of reads, largely because of Kelly’s verbose language, the diary form and the multiple narrators who did not, for some members, have different enough voices.
Some readers found the characters well-drawn and liked the way their weaknesses damned them. Certainly the novel comments on twenty-first century vanity. “Gothic horror with mobile phones and laptops – nice!” said one member.
But for others, the principal characters seemed too similar. Although they were, in fact, intended to be from similar backgrounds and therefore would have similar outlooks, the question remained as to whether the diary form was the best way to portray them.
It was pointed out that the women characters were too scantily drawn – again, this may reflect the male characters’ outlooks, but it remained a frustration for some in the group.
Many felt that the final confession section spoiled the overall work - the novel may have been better if the reader was left with some level of uncertainty about what really happened. A good, but flawed attempt at a modern Gothic novel, however, which sparked a lively discussion.
All are welcome to join us on Tuesday, November 1 at 6.30pm at Doolally’s in Marygate, when we’ll be discussing The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and his Friend Marilyn Monroe, by Andrew O’Hagan.
Seahouses Rotary Club
Members of the Seahouses and District Rotary Club were joined by friends from the Rotary Club of Amble and Warkworth to provide a full house at the Olde Ship Hotel for the second part of a talk about a trek in the Himalayas by past president and Paul Harris Fellow Don Lidgley. The story continued from the point of going through the pass at over 17,000 feet.
Don read extracts from his journal, written at the time, which movingly described his painful struggle with the physical effort to get through the 18 hour day and using the heavy photographic equipment of the day to record the scenery, as he went along.
The result was a magnificent record of snowclad peaks and deep valleys with wonderful sunsets. On the lower slopes, there was some land cultivation where most transport was on foot or by mule.
Don was one of the oldest members of the group and he was pleased to have overcome minor health problems to complete the three week trek over more than 200 miles and to be able to entertain his Rotarian friends with an epic tale of his adventure, over 20 years later.
President Stuart and Jennifer Walton with many Seahouses Rotarians joined over 60 Rotarians and their guests from across the north east at a farewell meal for the Rotary Foundation-funded group study exchange team from Brazil.
GSE Team Leader lawyer Elias Neto and his team of non-Rotarian young professionals teacher Elvio do Nascimento, civil engineer Denise Carvalho, hotel events manager Daiane Matos and prison social worker Leniane Facci were thrilled and excited to share the magical experience of the illuminated Grand Cascade whilst enjoying their meal in the Pavilion at Alnwick Garden, commenting that only Harry Potter was missing.
Guests are always welcome at the weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of Seahouses and District, held on Tuesdays from 7pm in the Olde Ship Hotel.
Further information can be obtained by ringing Margaret Claydon on 01665 720472 or by contacting Kelvin Rushworth on email@example.com.
Berwick Record Office
Berwick Record Office’s celebration of its 30 years was brought to a close by an excellent exhibition in the Town Hall over the weekend of the film festival.
The exhibition charted the progress since 1980, but it wasn’t until Linda Bankier came as the first full-time archivist that the record office came into its own.
Over the weekend members of the public could come and browse among the many reminders of the past. Parchment, paper, photographs and film are all collected in the cramped building at Wallace Green, and they cover the history of Berwick and north Northumberland over 800 years.
Boards displayed topics such as The Second World War, Shepherding, Early Years, Petty Sessions, The Poor Law, and covered archive projects such as “Bygone Borderlands” and “Facades of the Fifties.”
There was also a selection of films made in past times. The earliest was one not seen for many, many years but recently re-discovered and enhanced. It shows Berwick in 1911 and takes the audience on a grainy adventure to the horse show on the Parade and down Hide Hill. Another records the visit of the Queen Mother to Berwick in 1972.
People entering the town hall could also sample publications produced by the Friends, such as “The Port of Berwick,” and look at recent school work done by pupils from both sides of the Border.
Altogether, this was a fascinating collection emphasizing the value of having our own archives in our own town. More and more people are benefiting from having this facility on their doorstep and their interest is helping to build upon the wonderful history of our special part of the world.
The next event is a “show and ask” open evening at the Parish Centre on Friday, November 4.
Berwick Probus Club
THE grim conditions of life in the tenches in the First World War were brought to life in an interesting talk by Rob Horne to Berwick Probus Club.
Mr Horne, who works with Northumberland County Council and is a member of a re-enactment society, brought along a collection of uniforms, helmets, gas masks and weaponry used on the battlefields of France.
He described the horror of living in trenches, the evolution of tactics, the structure of the systems dug by the opposing armies, the fight to deal with gas used in the war for the first time and the mass casualties, a large proportion of whom were victims of shrapnel.
The introduction of tanks and aircraft, introducing entirely new concepts, was also discussed.
Berwick Rotary Club
AN interesting and amusing take on ‘My Life’ was given to Berwick Rotarians by fellow member Jim Turner on Tuesday.
Born in South Yorkshire and educated for 11 years in North Wales, he showed great ability as a rugby player and during his national service in the Royal Corps of Signals played for the British Army and later toured South Africa. He graduated in engineering from Cambridge University where he also played first team rugby.
He worked in the steel industry in Leicestershire and in a family quarrying business in Derby before embarking on a farming career at West Ord, Berwick. After 16 years he retired to Ancroft.
He was a founder member and tremendous worker for Berwick Rugby Club, was founder chairman of the Talking Newspaper and is current chairman of Berwick Rotary’s foundation committee.
Till and Glendale Rotary Club
In an enjoyable and enlightening evening, Till and Glendale Rotarians hosted representatives of some of the causes they supported financially during 2010/2011, the first year of the club’s operations.
Five organisations were represented and spoke about their activities. These included HospiceCare North Northumberland, Wooler in Bloom, Young Carers in Berwick, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Wooler Drop-in Centre.
Past president Jane Pannell thanked everyone for speaking so eloquently and all enjoyed the fellowship that typifies Rotary and this club.
Other organisations that benefited during the year included Canine Partners, Kate Murray our local Paralympian, BARK and a series of international bodies including End Polio Now, Shelter and Aqua Boxes and Life Straws.
The club has identified causes it will support during this year and fundraising continued through a thoroughly enjoyable and challenging quiz night in Lowick last week. An excellent supper of pies and peas and cheesecake was followed by the quiz and an Irish raffle. The event raised £300.