BURFORD FESTIVAL AT THE MEETING HOUSE
Burford Festival takes place every other year and, as usual the Meeting House hosted several of the smaller events. The Meeting House and garden were open for the Open Gardens on the first weekend (June 8th and 9th) and several hundred people looked in during the weekend. On the Saturday morning thirty plus people came to hear George Shoelikopf from Connecticut describe his “English-style” garden – I was amused to find he also had a Spanish-style garden in California for the winter. On Tuesday the novelist Diane Setterfield spoke about and signed copies of her new novel Once Upon a Rive”, which is set near Radcot Bridge on the Thames. This event had been “down-sized” from the Methodist Church. On Thursday we were supposed to host an event about the Windrush Against Sewage Pollution campaign, but this was “up-sized” to the Warwick Hall. Below, Ruth has described the very well-attended poetry event on the Friday.
On the final Saturday morning the furniture was re-arranged so that sixteen peoples could sit around three tables for a productive Creative Writing Workshop.
As usual, Ruth ensured the Meeting House was clean and stocked with essentials, and provided flowers. It is good that we can participate in the Festival because it draws in many people to appreciate the atmosphere of the Meeting House and reminds the town of our presence.
The Natural World Celebrated at the Meeting House
During the Festival, 4 events took place at our Meeting House. Of these, The Dazzled Eye was probably the most popular with over 50 people attending. Taking their shared pleasure in the work of John Clare as a starting point, an artist (Carry Ackroyd), a poet (Sue Leigh) and editors Barbara McNaught and Janie Hextall discussed their thoughts on poetry, past and present, focussing on the natural world. A selection of poems were read. The attention of the audience was such that you could have heard a pin drop.
I have been attracted to Carry Ackroyd’s painting and print making for some time, mostly from the illustrations of ‘The bird of the month’ in The Oldie magazine and from various cards that I have bought so I was delighted to meet her. She is an authority on John Clare. His poems often inspire her art work which is full of vibrant colour and passion. Her “simple” illustrations of wildlife capture the essential details which make
each species instantly recognisable. Sue Leigh read from her own poetry and spoke of her love of the natural world and the joy that it inspires.
Before concluding with questions and discussion, Jamie and Barbara read from their recently edited anthology Treelines (see p4.)
Altogether this occasion was a treat and thoroughly good value.
Ruth Jennings Day