January and February can often be regarded as ‘hibernation’ months when people stay indoors for most of the time in order to keep warm and dry, and perhaps to recover from the exertions and excesses of the Festive Season.
That is, unless there are plenty of activities to tempt them out despite the weather, which is the case here at Blagdon Village. During those two months our usual programme of regular activities continued unabated and well-attended. Of particular note were the Talks, Themed Nights in the restaurant and Musical Memories but the highlight was undoubtedly Burns’ Night.
We usually have a talk once a month but in January we had two. The first was by resident David Paine who spoke about the many years he has been involved in the Scouting movement. The second was by Linda Scott, daughter of resident Judy Skerman, who spoke about her forthcoming attempt to swim the English Channel. In February, resident Stuart Trott gave a talk about the Isles of Scilly, well-illustrated with his own photography.
Each month a resident plays a selection of their favourite music, sometimes classical and sometimes more modern. In January, resident Alan Bennett provided the afternoon’s entertainment, accompanied by his own brand of humour, and in February, David Paine presented an interesting selection of classical music.
Each month we try to hold a Themed Evening in our restaurant and they are always very popular. The first for 2020 was ‘Burns’ Night’ in January, which is described in more detail in the following paragraph. The theme for February was ‘The War of the Roses’, with a choice of dishes from Lancashire and Yorkshire. Our excellent cook, Dave Brigham, is very imaginative and such occasions give him free rein to demonstrate his talents.
We don’t have any Scottish residents in the Village at present but we do have a very energetic Celt, Jim Wilson, who originates from Northern Ireland, and on Burns’ Night he acted as Master of Ceremonies. He led the assembled company into the restaurant accompanied by suitable pipe music that he had recorded on his mobile phone.
The haggis was addressed, in the traditional manner, by a recording of Andy Stewart reading Robbie Burns’ poem before Jim slaughtered it. This was followed by our senior member, Douglas Raven, reading the true story of the haggis, a humorous tale entitled ‘Hamish the Hairy Haggis’.
As the event was held towards the end of the month, diners took part in the usual general knowledge quiz. The evening was rounded off with a demonstration of some Scottish dancing by our Country Dancing Group which other residents were invited to join in.