Visit to the Super Trouper!

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Tuesday 14th April – 14th meeting of 2018

Today we were off to the world of Abba to the Super Trouper exhibition at Southbank Centre. Six of us met at Waterloo and walked to the Southbank Centre or calling it by its old name Royal Festival Hall.

Not a very nice morning weatherwise as it was cold and damp with an overcast sky so we went straight into cafe for a nice hot drink. The tea was £1.80 per cup and ok but all drinks were served in take away cups! We found a seat by the window with a lovely view of the river. Inside the Centre there are plenty of tables and chairs all around and it is a nice place to meet for a chat or a meeting or study. There were lots of people inside and lots of children as it was still the Easter holiday for the school children.

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We had booked our tickets cost of £25.00 for 12.15pm but it was all running late so we were advised to sit and wait for 5 or so minutes.

We were joined by about 10 other people and once our guide introduced herself and explained about the exhibition we were on our way!

It started in a very dark room with a glitter disco ball and music playing. Then the intros to Abba songs came on  and we were asked to guess what songs were playing. No one managed to guess the first one but after that between us we managed to name them all. Our guide asked if anyone knew what a Super Trouper was and no one had the answer. She enlightened us explaining ‘A super trouper is a type of spotlight used in discos and is the brightest light’.

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The exhibition was set in rooms which were significant during their careers, with lots of Abba memorabilia and items of the times. Thorough the exhibition our guide explained how the group got together, how with their surprise win of Eurovision in April 1974  with Waterloo changed their lives. All the records they made, lots of news clippings,  clothes they worn, photographs, and much more there for us to see and touch. The studio they built was there with all the equipment that they used and we could experiment by making the base louder, add more guitar or piano. Then when Dancing Queen started to play we were ask to join in the chorus. Of course we all certainly did and it was a real karaoke moment for us all! They was a technical hitch at one point when all the lights went out and our guide came to the rescue with a touch. The exhibition is on a timed sequence and what went wrong nobody seemed to know but it sorted itself out and we carried on. There was about six different rooms telling their story and the guide was very informative and told us some lovely stories of the group. I was surprised when she said that over the ten years they were recording they only toured for three months. They used the music video to get their music around the world. They have never officially stated that they have broken up but just stopped recording together.

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The last room was the inside of a plane which we all sat in and it took off and through the windows were films of Abba and also lots of clips of tribute acts. This was accompanied with the lovely recording of Abba singing ‘Thank you for the music’ which is my favourite of all the Abba songs!

The tour lasted just over an hour and was very enjoyable. We heard lots of facts about Abba and it was all laid out well and with the guide made it very interesting.

We went back to Waterloo for our trains home.

 

 

 

 

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First Mini AGM

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Tuesday 3rd April – 13th meeting of 2018

Today we got together for our first Mini AGM of 2018 to plan our meetings for the weeks up to the summer break.

The choice was one of our favourites The Greyhound in Bromley for a breakfast meeting. As you may know this is a Wetherspoons pub which offers a fantastic traditional breakfast for £3.20 and refillable teas and coffees for £1.25. The food is very good and the tea is a very tasty – I would say the best of the year so far!

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All nine of us were settled on a long table but it was so hot we moved across to another part of the pub and slightly opened the door so everyone was much happier. Food came up very quickly and was enjoyed by us all.

We then got working on the purpose of the meeting. Many ideas were available and we did manage to plan until the Summer. There were some crossings out and changes in the diary but all in all very good. I feel changes will be made as and when needed. But a quick and easy morning and we plan some walks, museum trips, exhibitions and a theatre tour trip.

Looking back on our meetings since Christmas I noticed that we have stayed on course with all our planned events with only one change which was due to the weather – so I think that it is a good!

After this we left The Greyhound and went our own way home with a few deciding to do a little shopping while in Bromley!

 

The Wallace Collection

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Tuesday 27th March – 12th meeting of 2018

Our usual meeting place today – Charing Cross where six of us met at the usual time. It was quiet a cold overcast morning. We got a 239 bus outside the station to Oxford Street. Here we decided to go into Debenhams for a coffee. Oxford Street was full of shoppers but with just buses and taxi allowed to use the road it was fairly calm but as usual lots of noise, hustle and bustle!

A very pleasant drink and quick look around the store we then walked to Manchester Square. It always amazes me that once you get out of the busy streets of London onto the side streets it is always so quiet and calm. The Wallace Collection is housed in Hereford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN and is free to entry.

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The collection is a family collection and the works of art were collected between 1760 and 1880 by the four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess. Sir Richard collected and believed in sharing his inheritance with a wide audience.

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The building is superb. A beautiful sweeping staircase and with chandeliers and wonderful drape curtains at all windows it is lovely to see. The exhibits are beautiful. Lots of ceramics, miniatures, furniture, sculptures and all walls are covered with marvellous works of art. The highlight for me was seeing ‘The Laughing Cavalier’ which I remember as a child as being on the chocolate boxes and biscuit tins we had at Christmas time. It was smaller than I had imagined it to be.

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Upstairs in the gallery a piano was being tuned in readiness for a live music concert that was being broadcast on Radio 3 later in the evening.

I really enjoyed the visit and was amazed at so many works of art being in the same building in the heart of London.

After a visit to the shop and short rest we made our way back for the 239 bus, Charing Cross and trains home after a lovely day in London!

The Poppy Factory

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Tuesday 20th March – 11th meeting of 2018

Today we met at Waterloo main line station to take an overground train to Richmond. We had another long-awaited and longtime booking to visit the The Poppy Factory and we also had five husbands joining us nine ladies. Yes, I know, a repeat of our recent visit to The Postal Museum.

At Richmond station we found a Costa coffee and enjoyed a drink. It was busy but we did manage to find seats in different parts of the cafe. From here we walked back to the station and the bus stop to wait for a number 65 bus which stopped opposite The Poppy Factory, 20 Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6UR.

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The Poppy Factory is run by The British Legion and is where all the poppies and wreathes especially the royal wreaths, for Remembrance Day are made. When we arrived we were escorted into a reception area. We were booked in for lunch before the tour and were told we just needed to wait a few moments as the workers were just finishing lunch in the canteen. After a short time Brian our guide introduced himself and ask us to escort him into the canteen were we enjoyed a very tasty lunch of scampi and chips, apple crumble and tea or coffee. This was of a cost of £9.50 and worth every penny.

From here Brian lead us back into the reception area and explained the plan for the tour. It started with a really informative film explaining the work of The Poppy Factory which is a charity dedicated to helping veterans back to work. Their work covers physical and mental problems that veterans have to deal with. It is the country’s leading employment charity for veterans with health conditions or impairments.

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Brian, who was very interesting and explained the work very well, took us to the Factory. The factory employs around 30 disabled veterans to produce the  poppies and wreaths for the Royal Family and The Royal Legions’s annual Poppy Appeal – something that has been going on since its founding in 1922. The factory was not that big. We saw the machines where the shapes are cut out and even had the chance to make our own poppies, with the help of Brian and another soldier all were successful in making a poppy. We could take the poppies home as a lovely momentum of the day.

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We were taken along a corridor which showed all the wreaths of the Royal Family. Brian gave a good explanation of the way in which each wreath for the individual Royals are designed and told us once the design is approved by all it cannot be changed. So every year at the Cenotaph service the wreathes that are laid are of the same design. Also along this corridor were wreaths used by RAF, Army and Navy for services at home and around the world.

In the warehouse were many many boxes of completed poppies awaiting transport to Aylesbury were they are stored year on year.

Also on this site there is a block of accommodation which were built alongside the factory for use by the military.

At the end of the tour we were back in the reception area and saw another short film. The tour is free but a donation is suggested and we were more than pleased to make a donation for such a worthwhile charity.

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Brian then gave his thanks and goodbyes, leaving us to look around the small shop. The items on sale were nice. Most of us purchased something and I myself bought a lovely poppy mug and a small poppy cup fridge magnet. This was a very interesting tour and I for one learnt a lot about The Poppy Factory and the marvellous job that they do for our veterans.

We then left the factory and got a number 65 bus back to Richmond and trains home after a really interesting and enjoyable day and one that I would recommend anyone to take part in.

Victoria and Albert Museum

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Tuesday 13th March – 10th meeting of 2018

Meeting today at Charing Cross and the District line to South Kensington which was very busy with many groups of school children and tourist all eager to visit the Museum. We were off to Victoria and Albert Museum. Eight of us today and once there we went to the William Morris cafe for our coffee, tea and chat. It was very busy. We enjoyed a rest and here I noticed that a cup of tea has risen to £2.80p. As a tea drinker I must add that so far this year it is the most expensive cup of tea and although nice not the best taste!

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We then started our viewing of Lustrous Surfaces:Lacquer in Asia and Beyond. Following the leaflet, issued free, we made our way around the exhibition. We started in the Japanese section. The lacquered exhibits were amazing. The detail and colour were beautiful. Maki-e (which translates as ‘sprinkled picture’) is a decorative form which is mostly associated with Japan. In the China section were displays of diaoqi which is carved lacquer which was developed in China. Other sections we saw Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, India and Pakistan and each country had wonderful examples of lacquer. Through the exhibition were samples of how different types of lacquer are  accomplished. The patience and skill that are needed to make the objects are amazing and many of the exhibits were centuries old up to modern-day examples.

A really beautiful exhibition with over 110 items spread over the museum and made me realise what a wonderful Museum Victoria and Albert is and undoubtedly my favourite London Museum!

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