A long delayed summer has arrived here at Bensham Grove, as indeed it has in the whole of Bensham itself. In the long rows of Victorian and Edwardian streets that surround our Centre, and stretch as far south as wonderful Saltwell Park, the residents are stirring. Winter-pale figures emerge blinking into the sun-shine and thoughtful frowns convey the owner’s stressful dilemmas. Is to-day the one to gaily abandon winter clothing and display areas of flesh that even the tattooist hasn’t seen, or is that playful little breeze likely to move on to an out and out storm requiring a full-hooded cover up?
The members of Bensham Grove appear to miss a lot of this indecision but I’m sure they have dress problems of their own. Yours truly has noticed that in our secluded, walled and comparatively-shielded from traffic enclave, we have our own dress codes, and yes, it is quite often dictated by the weather. The members with cars very rarely wear heavy out-door gear even in winter’s extremes. If they can manage to get parked in our almost vertical car-park, a quick dash to near-by buildings relieves the necessity of a cover up. Or they are so hot and bothered by trying to squeeze their vehicle into the surrounding street and running the gauntlet of annoyed neighbours that full thermals are totally unnecessary.
On the other hand the bus travellers, or those who walk in the winter, need full gear of parkas, plus a unique selection of Christmas woolly hats, scarves and gloves, as well as water-proof foot-wear. Summer days of course require the jettisoning of all the above gear as often our old house swelters in the warmth, despite doors and windows opened to any little passing breeze.
What however does one wear to a class or meeting at Bensham Grove you may well wonder? The gardeners sport old tee-shirts, jeans and, quite often, wild hair. Their progress through the house and into the kitchen for tea can be followed by the sprinkle of soil and the smear of occasional muddy foot-prints. The Potters can also be traced to the kitchen and the loos in the Activity Hall but this time the foot-prints are white and dusty. Miss Marple would have no problems here. They can also be recognised by the selection of pottery-induced detritus on the aprons they wear.
The Silver-smiths, who are moving to their own residence in the 1930’s Hut in the garden, show none of the hands-on, thumping of the clay look of their previous neighbours in the pottery, but wear a more ethereal arty look. Both groups however produce art work in its various forms to a wonderful high standard.
The Ladies Indoor Carpet Bowls Group wear sensible shoes balanced by elegant hair-styles and discreet jewellery. They are very happy as long as they have their long mat and a little bit of space. Access to a kettle goes without saying. The Craft and Needlework and Art Groups, wear suitably arty and crafty clothes, jewellery and a plethora of scarves depending on the different seasons.
The Fund-Raising/Events Group wear haunted and frazzled expressions in all seasons!!
Now that the various classes will be closing down for the summer break the house still need to earn a living. The Finance Group has worked out how much each room needs to earn on a daily and weekly basis. To do this we need to fill them with people. If not the classes bringing in the income then who?
This is obviously where a new/old group is required to arise again, which begins the whole chain again of one group leading to a whole clutch of others, The Fund-Raisers need events to produce the where-with-all to keep our heads above water which brings forth the Events Group. The Events people can, however, come up with the ideas but others are needed to make these happen. Teas, cakes and buffets need people to make and serve them. Events need organisers as well as people to attend. Publicity need attending to or no-one will come to the events. Gardeners are needed to tidy the grounds and cleaners, and dare I say, scrubbers would be useful to help our very busy caretaker. Is it any wonder hair stands on end, eyes glaze over and people can be found muttering to themselves in corners.
However we love our house and Centre. We hope visitors will keep visiting and will help us by their support at the events that miraculously do eventually take place. We need you to keep watching and support this wonderful, eclectic and unique little haven.