Winter Socials 2022

Non-Thurne Friday Tables - the Christmas craft edition
Friday 2nd December
Stars are something of a theme at this time of year - the seasonal meteor showers, baked biscuit shapes and something about a navigation marker leading to a stable.  For EACC it meant just one thing - the opportunity for our resident creative (Paul Stevens) to demonstrate the ancient art of origami and for the remainder of us to watch in awe as he created stars out of junk mail and random bits of paper. Watching in awe is another traditional December theme.
Paul had clearly put a lot of effort into this, recording a frame by frame tutorial for us to follow while he did a live action demonstration, with words of encouragement.  Thank you Paul. As a former teacher he was able to cater for all levels of ability - hot housing the talented, guiding the inexperienced and consoling the inept. The overall outcome was a bit like an EACC regatta race - some people achieved success and went home with something they were proud of, others were just pleased to finish and one or two retired early and headed for the bar. However everyone enjoyed it and that’s the main thing.
Here is the tutorial so you can try it at home in front of The Great Escape. 




Linda 1




 Steam punks

Saturday 26th November

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After the rain and the wind of previous days it was a great relief to wake on Saturday morning to a clear sky, and a check on the met office website confirmed good weather for the whole day - a good start.  When you’re on a boat it’s not so bad: when the sun comes out the waterproofs can be shoved into lockers, but lugging wet weather gear around our fine city would not be so much fun.


We picked up the Horning group at Roy’s of Wroxham ("the out of town shopping expeeeeerience” if any of you remember the Radio Broadland ad…) ie. Colin and Frankie, wet weather gear abandoned and ready for the good times to roll…
I dropped them and the cruise leader off at the Cathedral and went to park the car, but when I returned to the Cathedral the appointed meeting place “outside the main entrance” was un-manned by EACC - turns out the Hostry had tempted them into an extra caffeine boost.  Roger, Lesley, Paul and Ruth B soon rolled up however, as did Susie S having apparently edited John out of the film (he was also taking advantage of the Hostry’s excellent coffee). The cruise leader soon appeared however, along with C & F, and then John, and the history commenced.
We learnt quite a bit about the Fine City in the first few minutes, the absence of Roman influence, a little of the history of Saxon Norwich, the creation of the first 24 hour moorings (although I suspect they were immediately annexed by liveaboards) and the defining moment of the coming of the Normans in that dread year 1066.  They demolished all our houses and then moved the market - revolutionary stuff.
A tour of the Norman Cathedral commenced, somewhat limited by the clash with the annual ‘readers’ service when lay preachers are indoctrinated into the cult (sorry, ‘welcomed into the flock’) and some stern looks from the Bishop.  There were fascinating facts a-plenty including the joyous information that there were two teams of stonemasons working on opposite sides of the building which led to some very interesting aberrations where communications went awry - go and stand in the knave facing east and study the ceiling..... The misericords in the choir stalls, where we were joined by Margaret Kilner, are a particular interest of the cruise leader: they have a fascinating history (social, not ecclesiastical) and the group became quite animated in discussions regarding the nature of religious imagery and the reformation. No, really!

A tour of the Cathedral Close, a discussion of the exact location and extent of the City Walls, why they don't coincide with the Cathedral precinct walls, the use of thatch, plain and pantiles in medieval building, some reminiscing about the playing fields of Norwich School and a brief exploration of exactly where Jo Edye had squatted in the late 70’s kept everyone entertained until a welcome coffee stop at the Hostry.  Suitably refreshed, we just had time to see the building that housed the beginnings of UEA, and a very small doorway to St Ethelbert's Gate (which itself shows what splendor St Benets Abbey would have presented) before waving goodbye to Roger and Lesley and heading out from the confines of the Cathedral precincts into the city itself.

The old Saxon heart of the town, Tombland, the Louis Marchesi pub where the Round Table was founded and then onto Elm Hill and the Strangers.  This was arguably the next defining moment in the history of Norwich: the sixteenth century immigration that brought to our shores the weavers from the Low Countries who built the industry that would propel Norwich to become England's second city and create the massive wealth for the County, which left the legacy of all those magnificent churches.  The Britons Arms at the Top of Elm Hill hosted us for lunch. One of the oldest thatched buildings in Norwich (having survived the great fire of 1507) it is a really impressive building well worth a visit on its own, but add in a fabulous (and good value) lunch menu and it’s a must do.  There's even a picture of 2 EACC stalwarts on their website!  We welcomed Julia Bower to the group before leaving to head for the Tunnel Tour at Castle Meadow.
At this point we were joined by Joe Ebbage who had bussed in from Gorleston - the tunnel tour proving very popular. In the end ten intrepid troglodytes were led into the underworld while the cruise leader and myself headed off for a long postponed pint at the Wild Man.  An hour later the troglodytes emerged from an unregarded door way on London Street between Duck Sifu and Greggs having followed the old high street from Castle Meadow through a labyrinth of abandoned, now underground, shopfronts. Spooky and now high on my list of 'must do’s'.
After this we lost the Bonhams to an assignation with the Moon Daisy crew in Stoke Holy Cross, while the remaining citizens repaired to the Sir Garnet Wolseley, the Norwich Market Pub. Named after the famous Victorian general, the pub has been through various incarnations and after some years as a rather rundown drinking dive it is now a very pleasant city centre pub of great character. Joining us briefly were Paul and Claire Markham and their friends from the midlands, and they were able to witness an inpromptu exploration of the pub's name. Still having a couple of opera buffs with us (the Ceres crew, John & Susie), I mentioned the connection between the real Sir Garnet Wolseley and the fictional character of Major-General Stanley in the Gilbert & Sullivan light opera ‘Pirates of Penzance’. Although there is some controversy about who the character was modelled on, it is fact that in the very first run in London, the actor playing the Major-General modelled his performance on the well known mannerisms of the very real Field Marshall Sir Garnet Wolseley so it was entertaining to hear an enthusiastic rendition of ‘I am the very model of a modern Major-General’ by John Thorneycroft to the amusement of the party and the wider pub clientele. Live music on a Saturday night, brought to you by EACC.
It was now time to depart for the penultimate act of the evening, dinner at the Wig & Pen. Saying goodbye to the Markhams and their guests and to John and Susie, the remainder met up with Colin and Liz Chett and Kim Dring for an acceptable dinner at a very pleasant and unregarded pub. Very friendly staff, a good selection of beers and ales and a room to ourselves.  After dinner we waved goodbye to the skipper, Colin C, Kim, Colin, Frankie and Julia while the cruise leader, myself, Joe Ebbage and Margaret Kilner staggered off for a last stand at the Ribs of Beef. Well, we had to didn’t we?  It was where the story started, with those Saxons in the 6th Century.
It was a long but very entertaining day, brilliantly organised and curated by the cruise leader and with wonderful appearances and input from everyone who joined us along the way. 
Jo Edye, Sun Glory 2
EACC Member.

Norwich Outing 1

The site of the former settlement of Conesford, before it was all cleared around 1070 to build the Cathedral


Norwich Outing 2

Standing on the site of the canal dug to take the stone to the cathedral site. It wasn't filled in until the 18th century - perhaps they had been planning an extension?


Norwich Outing 3

Lower Hook Lane, looking towards the hospital at Bishops Palace, and the first flush loo in the land (tidal)


Norwich Outing 4

Who knew the UEA started in this building in 1961?  Not these former students (maybe they skived off that lecture?)


Norwich Outing 6

Disagreement over how many ceiling bosses there are - was that 734 or 735?


Norwich Outing 7

Looking splendid in the autumn sunshine



Non-Thurne Table


4th February 2022

During the various lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, when we could only socialise virtually, we held regular zoom sessions to keep in touch.

Although we are now able to meet in person – and how welcome that is – we have continued to organise some virtual events both because they work, they are fun and they enable us to meet with those who are unable to meet physically for whatever reason. We have found that it is useful to have an “Activity“ for the evening and so it was that the EACC virtual wine tasting was born, with different wines dispatched to multiple households to be enjoyed and discussed together.

My initial plan was to purchase the wines from a good independent wine merchant, decant into small portable bottles and then top these up with that CO2 spray that keeps opened wine fresh. I was pleased with my ingenuity and innovation! Then it occurred to me - doh! - that the gas which sat happily atop the wine when sat on the kitchen worktop was unlikely to behave in the same way when bounced about in the post.  I also discovered that sending liquids in the post is illegal!  So I took instead to looking at half bottles.

There is an astonishing range of wine available by the half bottle from specialist retailers, ranging from from simple wet Wednesday evening wines to special occasion Grand Crus. Four were purchased from Laithwaites and tasting began.

The first was a Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine in the Loire Valley, the sort of wine we drank happily for decades until we discovered the New Zealand offering.  From the vineyard which the home of Eleanor of Aquitaine in medieval times, this one came in a modern 250ml can which would make it useful on a boat.  Pale straw in colour, with a grassy, lemony aroma this was pleasant to drink, but lacked the crisp gooseberry freshness and acidity we have come to expect from this grape.  Abbesse Sauvignon Blanc at £2.99 for a 250ml can or £10.49 a bottle.

The next wine was from Croatia and a vineyard high in the hills 50 miles from the Hungarian border.  The indigenous grape Grasevina is used in Austria to make dessert wines or as the base for quality sparking wines, but here it was vinified to create a medium bodied white with a pale golden colour and stone fruit aromas.  Apple and peach on the palate, with a hint of pear drops, it was popular with the tasting panel and one to buy again.  Kutjevo Grasevina at £3.49 for a 187ml mini-bottle or £11.99 a bottle.

The third wine - a good Cotes de Rhône - was inexplicably returned by Yodel to Laithwaites, so a substitute was found at Majestic.  The Catena wines from Argentina are a blend of grapes from three different areas in Mendoza - the high mountain harvest providing structure, the mid-level gives body whilst the lower grapes retain the fresh fruitiness.  A deep violet red in colour, this Malbec offered dark and red fruits on the nose which were carried through on the palate to give flavours of blueberries, blackberries and a hint of sweet spice.  A classic example of this classic grape.   Malbec at £5.99 for a half bottle or £10.99 for 750ml.

For the final wine we went back to France, to the deep south of the Pyrenees where Dan Brown villains rework ancient tales and the castle-strewn, sun baked landscape yields grapes of great density.  An almost impenetrable dark red in colour, this Shiraz-Grenache blend assaulted the nose with dried and fresh red fruits, particularly plums, and exploded in the mouth with cherries, damson and spices, finishing with an unexpected slightly sweet finish.  It called for chocolate.  Rex Mundi Shiraz Grenache VdP d’Oc at £2.99 for a 187ml mini-bottle or £10.49 a bottle.

An enjoyable evening.  Book yourself in for the next one! 



EACC-YSC Joint Social 2022

Saturday 22nd January

A fifth anniversary is traditionally marked with a item made of wood, so it was fitting that the fifth** annual joint EACC and YSC social event was held in a pub notable for its range of traditional games, all of which are made of - yes, you’re ahead of me here! - wood. (A shame to spoil the intro but it has been pointed out it's the 6th, but never mind!), There were chess, backgammon and cribbage boards, dominoes and Jenga, but it didn’t look like much use was being made of many of them as the main activity was good old fashioned conversation, and lots of it.  Last year’s social was held on-line and as so many events since we last got together (in Reedham at Humpty Dumpty Brewery in January 2020) have been cancelled or curtailed,  it was fantastic to see people face to face again.  Particularly in a pub, and particularly in such a good pub as The Blackfriars Tavern in Great Yarmouth, with its good range of drinks and a friendly atmosphere and a dartboard, which was used as no-one can resist an oche.  Not quite doing food yet, they made an exception for us and 29 people enjoyed a very good meal, with excellent service.  The venue is definitely one to note for a future visit, although I don’t think we will be taking up the landlord’s suggestion that we come by boat next time and moor up on South Quay!   Thanks to everyone who turned out and we look forward to seeing you all later in 2022.

** fifth face to face, I’m applying poetic licence for the virtual event last year.  That was a brilliant one-off which deserves its own commendation.