Clubs and Groups

UEA Retirement Association

Now that the COVID-19 lockdowns are hopefully coming to an end, the Association is gradually restarting its activities and events. The July 2021 issue of Renaissance will give information about when various groups are starting up again.

Monthly talks by visiting speakers, some from UEA, are held at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Norwich. Tea, coffee and biscuits follow the talks, providing time for meeting with former colleagues and friends.

Country walks are organized on a regular basis with a five-mile walk once a month and a shorter two and a half mile walk every two months. For most of the year the walks end at a pub for lunch but in summer a picnic is held in the middle of the walk.

Day trip coach outings are organized in the warmer months. Recent trips were a blue badge tour of Kings Lynn and a tour of Benjamin Britten's home at the Red House in Aldeburgh.

Holidays are organized with a walking holiday in the autumn and a half board hotel holiday in early summer. Recent walking holidays have been based in Monk Coniston in the Lake District and Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight. Recent early summer holidays have been in Eastbourne and Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds.

The Art Group and Knit and Natter Group meet at the UEA Pavilion in Colney Lane. These are hands on groups, the former working on their own art with encouragement by a local artist, and the latter working on their own knitting and needlework while nattering.

The Book Group meets monthly in the Pavilion to discuss the book of the month chosen from a ballot of members' suggestions.

The Film Group views a film at Cinema City in Norwich, and meets afterwards in the café.

Games afternoons are held monthly in the Pavilion including card and board games, with outdoor croquet in the summer.

The Garden Group has a meeting every two months. There are talks in the winter, visits to local gardens and member’s gardens in the summer. The last annual overnight visit was made to Beth Chatto Gardens near Colchester, the RHS Hyde Hall Gardens near Rettendon and The Place for Plants at East Bergholt.

The History Group meets occasionally at an historic building in Norwich or Norfolk usually with a guide. Recent events included a visit to the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford and a guided tour of Norwich Cathedral and Close.

The Luncheon Group meets at different pubs and restaurants in Norwich and the surrounding area. Most recently under Covid-19 restrictions in the gardens of the Eagle in Newmarket Road and the Shoulder of Mutton at Strumpshaw.

The Music Group held private recitals by a flautist and two pianists. Group bookings have been made to concerts at St Andrew Hall and to Salle Church.

Art Group


The Art Group meets on the third Monday of the month (except Bank Holidays) at 2:00pm at the Colney Lane Pavilion. Refreshments will be provided, but please bring your own painting and drawing materials with you. Brenda Mace has kindly agreed to act as mentor to the group.


The Group will meet on the following dates:

20 September 2021

18 October 2021

Book Group


Informal meetings, lasting about one and a half  hours, are normally held in the Colney Pavilion at 2pm on the second Monday of the month. Anyone is welcome to come along and join us and to suggest titles for future sessions. There is no charge and tea, coffee and biscuits are served.

We have kept the Book Group going by discussing our reads by email each month. We have chosen the following for the next few months:

12 July - “Notes from a small island” by Bill Bryson
9 August - “The Gustav Sonata” by Rose Tremain
13 September - “Enigma” by Robert Harris

11 October - “Girl Woman Other” by Bernadine Evaristo.

Depending what happens we may meet in person somewhere but we will keep the email discussions going.

For more information please contact Janet Havers ( or  tel: 01603 759644).

Film Group


This small, lively group meets once a month, on a Monday, at Cinema City. Whenever possible we go for a late morning/early afternoon screening to allow time afterwards for refreshments and to discuss the film before going our separate ways. New members are most welcome.
For more information please tel: 01603 743464 or email:

Evelyn Mould

Games Group


Games afternoons are held on the third Tuesday of the month starting at 2.00pm at the Pavilion. We have regular tables for Cribbage, Dominoes and either Whist, Rummikub or Scrabble. Additional board games and cards are available at each session with the opportunity to learn something new.

The emphasis at games afternoons is on enjoying playing games rather than skill and you are welcome to bring your own games for other members to try. Refreshments are provided.

Croquet Session on Tuesday 21 September 2021

The event planned for 27 July has been cancelled and rearranged for 21 September when the clubroom will be up and running and available for refreshments. This event which is organised by Jeremy Kitchener will be held at Eaton Park starting at 1.30pm and finishing at 3.30pm. Balls and mallets will be provided, and the only requirement is that flat shoes or trainers are needed. The green is located near the boating pond and there will be a charge of £5.00 (which includes refreshments). 

There is ample parking and a room for storing coats as well as a loo facility. Numbers are limited, so it will be on a first come, first served basis.

If you want to come or require further information please contact Jeremy on 01603 610708 (or  email him at to book your place.    


Future Games dates planned are:

19 October 2021

16 November 2021

21 December 2021

Garden Group


Garden Group meetings are normally held every two months throughout the year, actual dates are given below and in the Renaissance diary.  Activities include talks, open gardens and garden visits.

Please pay £1 per person at the door for talks, including tea and biscuits. This payment goes towards the cost of speakers and refreshments.


Recent events: 

Monday, 2 March 2020: Companion Planting for a Balanced Garden by Dr Ian Bedford


A balanced garden is an environmentally friendly garden where plants and animals are interdependent and each benefit from the other.

Companion planting is a method of growing two or more plants together, for their mutual benefit, with the aim of controlling pests, aiding pollination and increasing the crop yield.  People who choose to garden organically without using chemicals, including fertilizers, herbicides and plant feed, often rely on companion planting to control pests.

There is a vast choice of possible companion plants and a lot if information can be found on the internet, not all of it accurate!  Companion plants are usually grown amongst food plants and are thought to control pests by either repelling, attracting or confusing the pests. For example, marigolds when planted with tomatoes are said to repel white fly from the tomatoes whereas if grown among beans they will attract aphids from the beans. The scent from other plants such as herbs like mint or sage may confuse pests.  Most companion plants have colourful often highly scented flowers, which are attractive to pollinating insects. How these interactions work is not understood and they cannot be checked scientifically as there are too many variables too consider.

Companion plants can also be used provide ground cover to help prevent soil erosion or they can be used to suppress weeds. They may act as shade or support plants for each other especially when grown in a group of plants of different heights or they can be grown as a green crop and then ploughed in to increase soil fertility. For the companion/food plant relationship to be successful both plants must have the same horticultural requirements.

Other forms of wildlife must be considered in a balanced garden, a pond or any source of water will attract many creatures including birds and hedgehogs, both valuable assets for the number of bugs and snails which they consume. Hanging up bird feeders, making homes for bees, wasps and ladybirds, providing nesting material, leaving some part of the garden “rough”, all will help to encourage the wildlife to the garden. With time and patience, a Food Web, where everything in the garden is interdependent and sustainable, can be established

Ian pointed out that commercially this type of horticulture would not sustain the growing world population and chemicals would always be needed to produce the amount of food needed.  He also suggested that we should look to different food sources, especially protein-rich insects.  Anyone fancy a Cricket flour butty filled with crunchy Crickets?

A very interesting talk on a very complex subject.


Future dates:

Thursday, 19 August 2021, 2.00 – 4.30 pm: Visit to Dale Farm, Sandy Lane, Dereham NR19 2EA

Dale Farm is a delightful 2-acre plant lover’s garden with a large spring-fed pond, owned by Graham and Sally Watts.  There are over 1000 plant varieties in exuberantly planted borders and a collection of 130 hydrangea. There is a kitchen garden, orchard, naturalistic planting areas, gravel garden and sculptures.

A private group visit has been arranged for Thursday 19 August, 2.00 – 4.30 pm. The cost of the visit is £7.50 a person, including tea and cakes. This is a return visit for the Garden Group, the previous visit being in June 2015.  The description of the garden at the time noted that there were over 800 plant varieties, there are now over 1000 and so plenty to see!  Graham is an Assistant County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme. Dale Farm has featured in ‘The English Garden’ and ‘EDP Norfolk’ magazines.

Please note that there is a gravel drive entrance to Dale Farm. There is parking available for about 8 cars in the drive so anyone who finds walking on gravel difficult may park near the house. Parking for the rest of the group is in a free Council car park adjacent to Sandy Lane.  The rest of the garden is mainly grass with one paved path along the pond. There is stepless access from one end of the pond. The experience of the owners is that wheelchair users and those on crutches can negotiate the whole garden with care. There is a ground floor toilet available but not suitable for wheelchair users.

Information about Dale Farm, including directions, is available on the NGS website. There are regular bus services from Norwich to Dereham Market Square which is about 400 yds from the garden. There will be plants for sale by cash or card.

If you would like to go on this garden visit, please complete the booking slip at the end of this newsletter and return with payment to Pam Janacek by Monday 9 August (this includes those who emailed me in response to the May circular advertising the visit - thank you!). Numbers may need to be limited due to COVID restrictions at the time.

Any further information, including directions, will be provided to those booking on the visit. We look forward to seeing you again!


Tuesday 28 September 2021. Talk at the Costessey Centre – ‘What was so special about Humphry Repton?’ by Professor Tom Williamson

In 2018, ‘Repton 200’ celebrated 200 years since the great landscape designer Humphry Repton died and there were many events to mark the bicentenary.  Repton is said to have carried out some of his finest work in Norfolk, including Sheringham Park and Catton Park.

Tom Williamson is Professor of Landscape History at UEA and is co-editor of a book ‘Humphry Repton in Norfolk’, published in 2018.  He previously gave a talk to the Retirement Association in March 2015 on ‘Ancient trees in the Norfolk landscape’, reviewed as a very lively and interesting talk. 

This will be a joint talk at the Costessey Centre, Longwater Lane, Costessey. For further details see under the ‘Forthcoming Talks’ section. Thank you to John Johnson for arranging this booking.

The Garden Group is organised by a sub-group of five members. We now have a vacancy and would very much like to hear from a willing volunteer to join us in taking on the role of organising the winter programme of talks. For further information, please contact Pam at

I circulate occasional emails about Garden Group events and gardening activities.  If you would like to be included in this circulation, or for general enquiries about the Garden Group, please contact Pam at

History Group


Suzanne Cunningham and Evelyn Mould are the ‘committee’ which organises the History Group programme. We both feel it would be best to leave any History visits etc. until 2022.

We had planned to visit the John Innes Library and organise a Hidden History Tour. However having looked into these it would not be possible to realise the full potential of these visits given we would have to follow Covid guidelines.


Suzanne Cunningham & Evelyn Mould

Knit and Natter Group


We are a small group who appreciate the company, friendship and fellowship of meeting with like-minded people. We have people knitting a variety of pieces from garments and baby items through to novelty items and toys; tapestry making; felting; fresh lavender bags; Christmas decoration construction and beading/jewellery making. It is interesting to see what other people are doing and to help each other with our projects. Some of our group have been knitting items for charity which are delivered via the Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers to whom we are affiliated.

If anyone is interested in coming along (you don’t have to commit to every month) we meet at the Colney Pavilion, 2-4pm on the third Monday of the month. If anyone would like further information, please contact me                   

The Group will meet on the following dates:

20 September 2021

18 October 2021

22 November 2021

Luncheon Group


The lunch group has had two enjoyable lunches since the rule-of-six increased to up to 30 people meeting outdoors. The first lunch in June for 14 members was at the Eagle on Newmarket Road when we enjoyed a lengthy lunch in good weather in the pub garden.

The second lunch is taking place this month at the Shoulder of Mutton in Strumpshaw. There will be 15 participants with a forecast of some  rain so will be in an open side marquee in the pub garden.

The next lunch group will be:

Thursday, 2 September 2021: The Red Lion, Eaton NR4 7LD  meeting at 12.00.

If you would like to come to this lunch, please email  or phone 01603 456465 by  Wednesday, 18 August.   Please say whether you would prefer to sit inside or outside the pub.

Music Group


Musical events are appearing on the calendar but as yet it is not possible to organise group trips. Although I will continue to forward to members all the information I receive, as yet bookings must be made individually. However this is a welcome sign of things to come and we look forward to September and the Christmas season with hope.

If you would like to be included in this circulation or wish to publicise any concert or musical event, please email Verity at or phone 01603 613698.

No dates planned at this time