Village Friends

We would like to introduce you to Village Friends. We meet on the first Thursday of each month, except January and February, in Grateley War Memorial Hall. We enjoy various speakers and events organised by the committee using suggestions from our members.

We only charge a very moderate £2 per person for our meetings which pays for the speaker (if appropriate) and refreshments. There is usually a raffle when the meeting takes place in the village hall. The meetings last about two hours depending on the event. Outings are also enjoyed to various places which are heavily subsided for members. In March we enjoyed a delicious fish and chip lunch at The Plough Inn in Grateley and at our April meeting hot cross buns were eaten with relish.

We would be very pleased if you would like to join our happy band and you can be sure of a very warm welcome to our meetings. If you would like an introduction or further information please contact Shirley on 889312 or Peter on 889186 who will arrange for someone to help you to break the ice. We look forward to meeting you.

May Meeting

Our talk this month was given by Mark Betteridge from Betteridge Brewery. Unfortunately, although the hall has a good pull down screen, there is no projector and Mark had not been able to transfer his presentation. However, he had a largish laptop so we compromised and all sat as near as possible. This had two advantages: one, we were all able to see the screen and two, no one fell asleep! Actually this was unlikely as the talk was very interesting.

Mark had brought along several samples of his products, three each of Jenny Wren, a pale ale, named after his wife, a slightly darker ale called Old Chap, named after him, a third ale again slightly darker called Private Sector because he spent most of his time in the army and making ale is what he does in private life, and finally Serious Black named after his black Labrador.

He started by giving us an insight into his life from when he was a boy through his army career right up to the present time. Apparently, he was a bit of a lad when he was young, frequently getting into trouble, nothing serious, just larking about, but enough to get him expelled from school!

He had an active time in the army serving in various postings and then transferred to the Army Air Corps and was stationed at Middle Wallop as a pilot for several years.

When he left the army he had little idea of what he wanted to do but heard a programme on micro breweries and decided to do that. He is based in Hurstbourne Tarrant and supplies several local establishments.

We then got onto the serious part of the afternoon: talking about and tasting the various ales. I had not appreciated how complex it can be. There are many types of barley available, and each, dependent upon roasting time, humidity etc will provide a different end product. Similarly the type of hops used and when and how they are used also affect the end product.

We started with the Jenny Wren which everyone who tasted it thought was great. Mark did ask a few questions about it, like what we could taste in it. Some tasted various things but I had already finished mine and was looking forward to the next sample!

Then came the Old Chap which again was good but slightly more bitter (which you would expect) than Jenny Wren. The next was to be Private Sector but it proved a bit too lively so we had to forego that pleasure.

We finished up with Serous Black which is a stout – a bit like a Mackie only stronger. All we tasted were very good and some of us had ‘seconds’.

Mark is a good speaker, the attention level was high, no one fell asleep, and the feedback was very good – just a pity he did not have many more samples, we could have made an evening of it!

Our next meeting is at the village hall on 1 June and is entitled ‘A sailor’s life and death on the Mary Rose’: we do aim for a wide range of topics.
Peter Bye

Programme for 2017

2 March Fish and Chips at the Plough Inn, Grateley, raffle 12.30 p.m.
6 April Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital by Marilyn Korkis, raffle 2 p.m. Village Hall
11 May Betteridges Brewery by Mark Betteridge, raffle 2 p.m. Village Hall
1 June ‘A Sailor’s Life and Death on the Mary Rose’ by Trevor Sapey, raffle 2 p.m. Village Hall
6 July Cream Tea in the village hall 2.30 p.m. Village Hall
3 August Buffet Lunch, raffle 12.30 p.m. Village Hall
7 September Crop Circles by Andy Thomas, raffle 2 p.m. Village Hall
5 October Danebury Hill Fort by the curator, raffle 2 p.m. Village Hall
2 November Canal Boat Painting by Robert Wright, raffle 2 p.m. Village Hall
7 December Christmas Lunch, raffle 12.30 p.m.