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Another year approaches. How quickly they pass! I am attempting to get as much of the programme for 2017 as possible into the Newsletter but find myself thwarted, as usual, by the ‘we haven’t looked at dates/prices/plans/guide availability etc etc for next year yet’ responses to my enquiries. Even the MOD can’t give me dates for group access to Foulness until the Spring. Yes, I am still pur-suing this but from a different angle. It is looking promising but our numbers might be more limited than I had hoped. Maybe we will have to run two trips. I am ever the glutton for punishment! Foulness is not the only imponderable. St George’s Hall is another but, again,we WILL get there, eventually! However,the John Ballplaque unveiling draws closer! What an incredible saga that has been. Ann Turner attended a site meeting with Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes a few weeks ago and a solution to the problem of where to put the thing was found. The Society is paying for a metal stand for the plaque and it will soon be re-erected in John Ball Walk, off Stockwell. If you would like to attend the unveiling ,which might be at fairly short notice, please let me know on the newsletter attached slip.I am intending to try to re-book a visit to the Sky Garden in London, combining it with a visit to Fulham Palace again. Most of you will remember that, after a very difficult time trying to book this last year, I thought I had finally managed to work my way through the myriad of obstacles, mis-information, appalling customer service, daft regulations, total lack of understanding about the concept of group booking etc, only to be told, at almost the last minute, that the date I had been given was no longer available as they had changed their maintenance day. I promised the staff at Fulham Palace, who were quite the opposite and very accommodating and helpful ,that we would visit in 2017 and we will. Iwould very much like to know how many ofy ou would be interested in this visit in May or June and, particularly, whether you would come even if the Sky Garden is not possible. It would help me very much to have some idea of numbers. I suspect that I will still have to book the Sky Garden only a couple of weeks in advance (they just do not appear to under-stand that this is not enough notice when you have a group - and a coach to arrange!). Please remember that all our events are open to guests. They are more than welcome!Now for a couple of reminders about coach trips. We always aim to pick up and drop off at various points convenient to members so it is always good to ask if you would prefer an en route stop. For those who don’t want to bring their cars into town, Kings have an arrangement with the Marks Tey Hotel where you can park for a small fee, currently £1. However, if you wish to take advantage ofthis, I MUST know at least a week in advance and I must have your vehicle registration number, please. And the second reminder? Tips! We do not include the cost of a tip in the price of any event. This is because we feel that the giving of a tip is a personal decision based on the service that you, as an individual, have received. We send a bag for tips around the coach on every outing but it is entirely up to you whether you contribute. Ithink tha tis it, so on with Programme details so far as they are known at present:

Monday 2nd January 2017 and every first Monday of the month (inc. Bank Holidays)
Greyfriars Bar 10.30am

Meet at Greyfriars Hotel (the Venetian Lounge, next to the bar) at 10.30am for our monthly Coffee Morning. The Coffee Morning idea really has paid off. Each month, members meet to discuss what is happening in our town, to raise issues of concern, to make suggestions, to find out what progress we have made in resolving problems and to generally chat and enjoy coffee and Greyfriar’s very nice biscuits! We have been running these events for a year and the Executive Committee have taken up a lot of the issues raised with some really good out-comes. It is, on occasion, remarkably satisfying! We do hope you will join us at some, if not all, coffee mornings this year, always held on the first Monday of the month, including Bank Holidays if they happen to fall on the first Monday. Cost: Free but donations to the work of the Society welcomed on the day.

Saturday 14th January 2017
Meet at the Siege House in East Street at 12.15pm for our New Year Lunch.

I have booked the area at the far end of the ground floor for us again. Please come and enjoy a three course meal (with coffee to follow) with us. Parking is available behind the restaurant, although the car park is not vast. I would suggest car sharing with friends if you can, or come by bus as the bus stop is close by. Please don't park in the nearby streets as parking wardens patrol regularly.

Cost £16.50 This price does not include atip as we feel tipping is a matter ofpersonalpreference.

Saturday 4th February 2016
Meet at COLCHESTER INSTITUTE, SHEEPEN ROAD at 9.10am for a visit to the Paul Nash Exhibition at Tate Britain

We have been invited by the Friends of the Minories to join them on a visit to see the Paul Nash Exhibition at Tate Britain. Paul Nash, of course, has a connection to Colchester as his brother, John, also a wonderful artist, lived locally. John was a founder member of Colchester Art Society and a great supporter of the Minories. I remember him well. But I digress. Paul was an official War Artist in both the First and Second World Wars, although he fell out with the RAF in the latter, by all accounts. He was a gifted landscape painter and something of a surrealist and his pictures of both wars are extraordinary, stark, haunting ,frightening and dramatic in equal measure. This exhibition examines his work as a landscape artist in its widest sense, examining his fascination with the Downs and coastlines o fSouthern England. He saw the Downs as ancient and mystical and that reflects in his work. I wish I was well enough to go .....! Please note the pick up point as it is obviously different to ours. Cars can be left in the Institute car park but please leave yourselves plenty of time to park. If you want to join this visit, please apply very soon.


Cost £39.50 If you are a member of the Tate, please ring me for further information.


Monday 6th February 2017
Meet at Greyfriars Hotel at 10.30am for our monthly Coffee Morning
Cost: Free. Donations welcomed

Probably February (but it could be late January or March!)

A visit to 37 Queen Street

I have arranged a visit to 37 Queen Street, aka The Old Police Station, Chicago Rock Cafe or TP’s Sports Bar but, unfortunately, I cannot give you a date yet as the builders have yet to hand over the keys! Ann Turner, our Vice Chair, is going to represent the Society at the slightly premature Launch on 7th December, which will be really exciting for her as she was a Police Sergeant there. She is going to find that a tremendous number of changes have been made! The building looks amazing. There is now a wonderful courtyard at the back, really showing off what is actually a very lovely building and the front, beautifully restored, has never looked better. Inside it is light, bright and modern to suit its new role as artists' studios - and I use the word 'artist' very
loosely. Colchester is a very important centre for the Creative Industries, believe it or not. 37 Queen Street will, hopefully, ensure that both those currently working within the field and young people coming into it, will stay in Colchester rather than move to London. The building will be managed by SPACE, a visual arts organisation with a proven record of providing affordable creative workspace and support programmes. There will be 40 studios on site, complete with ultrafast broadband. There will also be cafe facilities and meeting rooms. It will become home to artists but also to designers, illustrators, programmers, developers, digital media creatives and technologists. Please let me know as soon as possible, on the attached slip, if you would like to join us on this visit. I think it will be absolutely fascinating on all sorts of levels, one not to be missed!

Monday 6th March 2017

Meet at Greyfriars Hotel at 10.30am for our Coffee Morning and

Cost: Free but donations welcomed

Monday 3rd April 2017

Coffee Morning at Greyfriars again 10.30am

Cost: Free but donations welcomed

Sunday 9th April 2017
Meet at the War Memorial in Cowdray Crescent, outside the main Castle Park Gates, at 2pm for a guided
Town Centre Walk.

Ann Turner, our Vice Chair, Membership Secretary and a Colchester Blue Badge Guide, has offered to take us for a guided walk. It has become apparent that many of us have never been on a guided walk in our town. Isn’t it odd? We grab the opportunity to do such walks in other towns but rarely do we do so in our own. I think I have said before that, by the time I was in my mid teens, I had probably visited 95% of all abbeys and priories in the country but had never been to St Botolph’s, no more than 300 yards from my home!! Ann’s knowledge of the town is incredible. I can guarantee that you will learn a lot!

Cost: Free but donations towards the work of the Society very much appreciated.

Thursday 27th April 2017
Meet at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve at 7.15pm for a guided walk to hear the Nightingales

I hope that there are as many, very vocal, nightingales in 2017 as there were in 2016. If so, we are in for a treat. There are normally 30 to 40 birds singing their hearts out at dusk at this time of the year and, of course, we should hear other species too, those like blackcaps, whitethroats, robins and possibly even cuckoos.
Guided by a member of the Reserve staff, we will be taken to the very best places to hear these these magical songs. Please wear suitable shoes and bring warm clothes.

Cost: £6

Monday 1st May 2017
Meet at Greyfriars Hotel at 10.30am for the monthly Coffee Morning

Cost: Free but donations welcomed.

Tuesday 16th May 2017
Meet in the Venetian Lounge, next to the bar at GREYFRIARS HOTEL at 7.30pm for our Spring Up

A change of venue for this regular annual meeting. Although we now have the Coffee Mornings as a place to raise issues affecting the town, we are very much aware of the fact that a number of people are unable to attend these because of work or other regular commitments. We are therefore continuing our annual Spring Up and Burning Issues Meetings, at least for a while. Greyfriars, of course, has its own car park, accessed from the
public car park opposite the Forester’s Arms. Press the button on the entry phone on the right as you approach the gates and they will open for you. If you need or can offer a lift, please let us know. It would be good to know
in advance whether you intend to come so I can give Greyfriars some idea of numbers, so please complete the slip. However, if you find yourself unexpectedly free and have not told us you might come, there will be no problem, I'm sure. Just turn up!

Cost: Free but donations towards the work of the Society welcomed.

Monday 5th June 2017
Meet at Greyfriars Hotel at 10.30am for our Coffee Morning Will I be there? My first grandchild is due
on 3rd June and my son is already panicking!!

Cost: Free. Donations welcomed.

Wednesday 14th June 2017
Meet at St Botolph’s Parish Hall, on the south side of the church, at 7pm for our Annual General Meeting

This year, our guest speaker will be Phil Douce from Civic Voice, the national umbrella group for Civic Societies. Civic Voice has very few staff but those they have seem to have boundless energy. The organisation lobbies in
Whitehall and Westminster on behalf of Civic Societies, undertakes research, campaigns, builds partnerships and does all it can to foster civic pride. Please come. It should be a very interesting meeting! If you need or can offer a lift, please let us know.

Friday 23rd June 2017
Meet at the bus stop outside Greyfriars, East Hill at 12 noon for a visit to Columbine Hall, near Stowmarket

Columbine Hall, a beautiful and romantic mediaeval manor house, rises up from a spectacular moat. It is set in an acre of formal garden designed by Chelsea Gold Medal winner, George Carter but there are a further 28 acres of woodland, wild flower meadow, bog garden and farmland to see. The house was bought by it’s present owners in 1993. It had been unoccupied for some time and needed considerable restoration. It is now filled with
the multifarious acquisitions of two avid collectors, which range from Nelson's battered mug to a mandarin's silver fingernail guard! We will be guided through the entire house by the owner. Our visit will take place in the
afternoon and will culminate with tea and cakes but we have been invited to arrive early so that we can eat a picnic lunch in the gardens - fingers crossed for good weather. Don’t mention the R word!! Please bring your
own picnic!

Cost £28 to include tea. (Please note that the Newsletter has a cost of £22 which is incorrect)

Monday 3rd July
Meet at Greyfriars at 10.30am for the monthly Coffee Morning and discussion

Cost: Free but donations welcomed.

Tuesday 18th July 2017
Meet at CROUCH STREET or MARKS TEY HOTEL (two coaches!) at 9am for a visit to Battle Abbey
and Hastings.

We have been invited to join the Friends of the Museums on their visit to Battle Abbey and Hastings. Battle Abbey was built soon after the Battle of Hastings, fought on 14th October 1066. It was founded as penance for
the bloodshed in that battle. Little remains of the original Norman Abbey but later monastic buildings survive, including the Great Gatehouse and the east range with it’s fine vaulted undercroft. Much of the battlefield
site became part of the Abbey’s Great Park which formed the core of the country estate which followed after the suppression of the Abbey in 1538. There will be time to visit the battlefield, the Abbey ruins, the walled garden, the icehouse and the dairy, built in 1818 and recently rethatched. There is an informative Visitor Centre where an interesting film can be seen. A cafe serves light lunches and afternoon teas. The other half of the day will give free time in Hastings. The coach will travel along the seafront, past the recently rebuilt
pier, to East Beach, close to the Shipwreck Museum, the Jerwood Art Gallery, the True Crime Museum, the Blue Reef Aquarium and the Funicular Lift. Plenty to keep those with energy occupied! Those whose energy is less could, of course, make use of a deck chair on the beach and just watch the boats bobbing on the sea! Hastings has plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Please note the pick up points as they are, again, different to ours.

Cost: £30

Saturday 22nd July 2017
Meet at 13a, President Road, off Oaklands Avenue, at 2pm for our Summer Party.

And what a venue! Very few people know this wonderful place exists and it is a gem. We will have the use of the Colchester Society of Model and Experimental Engineers’ clubhouse for afternoon tea AND unlimited rides
on their trains! Yes, these are available for adults, too. I kid you not! By all means bring children and grandchildren. If you can bake a cake for the occasion, it would be most welcome. Please let us know what you can provide when you complete your reply slip. Lifts can be arranged. There is some parking available.
Please let us know if you need a map. The entrance to the venue is near the far end of President Road on the left, down a short drive. It is unsigned but quite obvious. President Road is off Oaklands Avenue which
is, in turn, off Lexden Straight Road. Most importantly, wear clothes that don’t matter too much. Trains produce smuts!

Cost £10 Children £3 Train rides free!

Monday 7th August 2017
Meet at Greyfriars at 10.30am for Coffee

Cost: Free but donations welcomed.

Monday 4th September 2017
Meet at Greyfriars at 10.30am for our Coffee Morning

Cost: Free but donations welcomed.

Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September 2017
Heritage Open Days

As usual, volunteers for stewarding properties open to the public this weekend are required. We do need your help. It is really enjoyable. No experience or in depth knowledge required! September Dates and full details still to be confirmed. Cruise from the Hythe to Brightlingsea aboard the Brightlingsea Ferry. Boarding the ferry near the Lightship on the quay at the Hythe, we will cruise gently downstream to Brightlingsea, a journey of
nearly 7 miles which takes about an hour. For those who have never taken this journey, it provides quite a different perpective of the Colne. Leaving Colchester, passing the University buildings, the river remains quite
narrow. Views of Rowhedge from the river are delightful. Rounding the slight bend in the river, Wivenhoe comes into view, with Fingringhoe up on the ridge opposite. Again, a beautiful sight. Once through the Colne Barrier, which appears huge from the boat, the river widens providing vistas of water and sky. The peace
brings bird life and the occasional seal. Nearing Brightlingsea Creek, the river becomes busier with sailing boats and, perhaps, jet skiers, enjoying the estuary. The boat takes 12 at a time. Access to it is relatively easy, you will be pleased to know! I will probably have to arrange more than one trip because of numbers and these will, because of the tides, have to be on different days. It would be very useful if you could let me know, fairly
soon, whether you would be interested in this trip. Incidentally, I will arrange for a taxi to bring us back to Colchester!

Monday 2nd October 2017
Meet at Greyfriars at 10.30am for our monthly Coffee Morning.

Cost: Free but donations welcomed.

Week beginning 16th October 2017
(actual date to be confirmed) Our second visit to Fingringhoe Wick.

This time, we will be concentrating on the new inter-tidal part of the Reserve. Nearly £150,000 was raised in an appeal to buy 83 acres of land adjacent to Fingringhoe Wick so that a new wetland habitat could be created as a habitat for rare species. Coastal mudflats are fast declining and this was an opportunity to engage in managed coastline realignment which reduces both coastal erosion and flooding whilst introducing saline lagoons, new mudflats, freshwater reed beds and salt marshes. These provide a nursery for marine fish and
for birds like little terns. The purchase of the land also provided some valuable unenriched grassland and native species hedgerows. We will explore,with a ranger, what this new acquisition has to offer.

Cost: £6

Wednesday 1st November 2017
Meet at GREYFRIARS HOTEL at 7.30pm for our Burning Issues Meeting.
Again, a change of venue. Another opportunity, particularly for those unable to get to our coffee mornings, to come and discuss issues affecting the town. Please let us know if you want or can offer a lift. It would be useful
if you could tell us if you are hoping to come, although not essential.

Cost Free but donations to the work of the Society always welcomed

Monday 6th November 2017
Meet at Greyfriars at 10.30am for our Coffee Morning and discussion.

Cost: Free but donations welcomed.

Monday 4th December 2017
Greyfriars 10.30am
Please join us for the last Coffee Morning of the year.

Cost: Free, donations welcomed.