At the Falmouth meeting on September 16, Tony Pawlyn of the Falmouth Maritime Museum spoke about the Falmouth Packet ships in an interesting and informative talk entitled “Traders in Treasure”.
The Falmouth Packets operated between 1689 and 1851. The vessels were small, fast brigs and delivered a reliable service until steam came along in the mid 19th century and supplanted them. They were privately owned and ran a service for the Royal Mail; the sea route to London via Southampton was much quicker for mail than overland all the way from Falmouth. As well as mail, they carried many types of trade goods at competitive rates. The crews were paid mostly on the basis of commission; even the Captains’ fixed wages were so low that there was widespread smuggling, which was largely ignored by the authorities.
For long periods around the time of the Packets, England was at war with France. Partly as a consequence, the Packets ranged far and wide in their trading – first Spain and Portugal, then several Mediterranean ports and even the West Indies.
After a lively question session, Jean Jefford gave the vote of thanks At the Truro meeting on September 23 Harry Woodhouse talked about "The Old Church Gallery Minstrels". He explained that, after the restoration of the monarchy in the latter part of the 17th century, singing was again encouraged in churches. The singers were accompanied by local musicians in church galleries at the west end of the churches. They played various old instruments such as the serpent. This practice continued for nearly 200 years and then in Victorian times church music was provided by barrel organs and proper organs. The old instruments were superseded and nearly all the church galleries were taken down. He illustrated his talk by playing "Oh God our Help in Ages Past" on a serpent, and also played an old clarinet and an ophicleide. He dressed up in the sort of smock that gallery players would have worn. Altogether it was a most entertaining afternoon.
The third visit to Radio Cornwall took place on September 17. Members were fascinated as Martin Bailie demonstrated how to cut swear words out of a Cornish dialect play. Some present felt that this technique may have direct relevance to heated moments during some of our more lively meetings.
The Perranwell bring-and-buy sale on October 7 was a great success.
The first Len Skade Memorial Concert this year took place in Truro School Chapel on September 26. Paul Comeau, who organised the youngsters' recitals so well last year, brought along his "Citron Trio". He played the piano, Elizabeth Brazier played the cello and Chris Gradwell played the clarinet and saxophone. The programme was a delightful mixture of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Mozart, with some lighter pieces by Gershwin and others towards the end. The playing was of a very high standard indeed. Mollie Dussek gave the vote of thanks. Len Skade's daughter came down from Yorkshire to attend the performance. She spoke at the end, saying how pleased she was that we were putting Len's bequest to such good use.
The opera group listened to a DVD of "Aida" at the September meeting. The weather for the trip to the Minack to see the "Mikado" was kind, and the performance by the Cambridge students was very enjoyable.
The history group had a talk about Gilbert and Sullivan operas at the September meeting at the new location upstairs at the British Legion.
Events - Perranwell Village Hall: November 4, 10.30am, Barry Champion (Retired Head Gardener at Trelissick) “My Garden Career”; December 2, Christmas Social, 10am or 1.30pm to be confirmed.
Falmouth St Mary’s Hall, 10am: October 21, Alan Cox “The Bude Canal and Goldsworthy Gurney”; November 18 Russell Holt “Irish Oddities”.
Truro Town Hall, 2pm: October 27 James Tresidder “A Passion for plants: Tresidders of Truro”; November 24, Robert Sleeman "A Dark Knight Revisited" – armour from the time of the Civil War; December 15, Announcement of the Barbara Scammell Poetry, Prose and Photographic Competition results and present prizes; January 26, Annie Moore, “new Cornwall Unitary Authority”; February 23, Ros Cox (Right Worshipful Mayor of Truro) “My Year as Mayor”.
There will be one more Len Skade Memorial Concert at Truro School Chapel. This will be at 7.30pm on Saturday, November 21. Paul Comeau's teenage (and very talented) son Benjamin will be giving another recital on the piano and organ.
The ever-popular rolling programme of visits to Radio Cornwall continues on October 15 and November 19.
Inaugural Meeting for the newly formed Helston U3A at Helston on October 13.
The next quiz will be with Kerrier U3A at 2pm on October 29 in the Community Lounge at Richard Lander School. Mollie Potter has offered to play some songs from the shows.
Group meetings - Science Group: Royal British Legion, 2.15pm, November 3. Mike Winterton “Two 17th Century Cornish Physicians”; December 1, Duncan Tribute “Amateur Radio”.
Chess venues are: Tony’s October 19; Mike’s October 26; Tony’s November 9, 16 and 23; George's November 2 and Mike's November 30.
History Group: 2pm, Tuesday October 20, British Legion, Dr McGrady "Joseph Emidy, an African Musician in Cornwall"; Tuesday November 17, Max Braga “How I Survived the Japanese Invasion of Hong Kong - Childhood Experiences of World War 2 in the Far East”.
Art History group: Thursday, November 5 to discuss John Constable and on Thursday, December 3 to discuss J M W Turner. Meetings are at the Conservative Club, Lemon St. Truro, starting at 10am.
On October 13 the Opera Group will listen to “Rigoletto” on VHS with Pavarotti as the Duke. Members will finish seeing the second half of "Rigoletto" at the next meeting on Tuesday, November 10.
The Table Tennis players will be meeting in the Community Lounge at Richard Lander at 4pm each Monday and Thursday. Some of the Thursday meetings will be in the school hall instead of the community lounge.
Photography Group will continue meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays at Carnon Downs Village Hall at 9.30. On October 13 Howard will lead a session on Portrait Photography.
The Truro Poetry and Playreading Group will look at Byron on October 30.
The Garden Group will meet with their new leader David Crawshaw at 10.30am on Wednesday November 25 in the West Room at Perranwell Village Hall to discuss next year's programme. There will be a Gardening Quiz (with prizes) and a seed swap.