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Roll up and book up - join us on our trips out

In spite the rather damp weather as I write this, I’m feeling rather enthused. Enthused because finally we’re able to get out and enjoy things in groups. We’re able to meet up outside and talk to each other in person! Hopefully we can meet in small groups in doors in a couple of weeks! I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to get a little tired of daily zoom meetings with multiple different groups – I’m sure I’ve upset the neighbours with my attempts at singing on rock choir zoom sessions! By now, quite a few of you will have had a least one vaccination and a few of you both. I do hope you are all keeping well and safe and felt ok after your injections.

So, what do we have coming up? Already we have a few walks on the programme (am not sure I’ll have uploaded this before Sunday’s walk, but do come and join us if you can – even if it’s only for part of the walk – 10am start at the Hub – joining and leaving points include Mercer’s Lake – cycle track side, Nutfield Church, the inn on the pond or Aqua Sports if we can’t get into the pub, the Moors nature reserve at Cormongers Lane and watercolour lagoons). Hopefully, if a table is available, we may be able to enjoy a drink at the pub outside – if not, we’ll nip across the road to Aqua Sports at Mercer’s lake for a tea and an ice cream.

On Friday 14th May, I am hoping to lead a short walk around Nut Wood to see the bluebells before they fade away. Meeting at West Lodge on Gatton Park Road at 6pm, we’ll walk to the woods from there. Run on behalf of Merstham Wildlife and Sightings Facebook page, all are welcome. Free parking on Carlton Road and other residential roads near-by. If 6pm too early just join us when you can.

Another walk sometime in June will be to Chaldon Church, from Merstham – I am hoping that the church will be fully open so we can visit as a group. It’s open at the moment for individual visits. If you don’t fancy walking, drive up to meet us there. The Doom painting is definitely worth a look. If necessary, we’ll go in one or two at a time.

There’ll also be other opportunities for willow weaving workshops with Lorraine at Hedges and Hurdles – really great fun and a lovely sense of achievement when you take home something beautiful you’ve made yourself.

When the weather warms up (if it ever warms up!) some of us who are keen swimmers are hoping to swim at a few open-air locations including The Shac at Buckland (soon to have a new café!), Divers Cove and Hever Castle. If you are new to cold water swimming or need a confidence boost, I can really recommend the Introduction to Open Water Swimming run by Jude Palmer, running coach for Run Surrey Hills. I attended her session on a reasonably sunny but chilly Saturday on 1st May and it was really worth attending - I’ll write a sperate blog on my experience (which you can quietly ignore if the thought of getting into cold water outside is your idea of a bad day out!) – in the mean time she has a course coming up on 14th and 15th May at the river at Ripley (where I went) and another at Divers cove in Godstone at some point – there’s absolutely no pressure to get in the water if you don’t want to and if you do take a dip there’s no need to stay in long. All aspects of safety out-door swimming covered. The course does give the owners of Divers Cove and The Shac assurance that you’ll be as safe as you can be in the water, even though the sites have lifeguards on duty. Details of up-coming courses in outdoor swimming can be found here

On to more sedate pass times – I appreciate not all of you are as bonkers as me! We have a pub evening lined up in June, foraging evenings, and trips to castles, national trust venues and visits to London to be tourists! What I’m really looking forward to is a trip to the cinema! Recipe swaps, crafting sessions and breakfast back at the Merstham Mix will be back in June if Boris Johnson’s road map goes to plan -as you can see, it’s not all walks and water!

Not strictly Merstham Women’s group, but Merstham Library run a monthly book group – when we are allowed, it runs on the last Tuesday of the month at the library at 4pm. Why not come and join us? There’s a small fee per meeting and as long as the library has 20 copies of a book, we can borrow it and talk about it after we’ve read it.

We’ll have a picnic in the summer and, if large indoor gatherings are allowed in the autumn, we’ll have a full monthly programme of events for our Monday meetings – including a talk on Father Christmas in November and April will be exploring the traditions of Hallowe’en in October. And, health permitting, we’ll be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner at the Toby carvery in December.

Before I forget, there are a couple of large Merstham events in the calendar, The Merstham community big day – run by Merstham Football club and the Help in the Ham Facebook group – taking place on Merstham Recreation ground on 31st July – full details on the Help in the Ham Facebook page and the Venue Facebook page – it might be nice for a Merstham Women’s group presence? All Saints fair (always popular) takes place on 5th September – all assuming we’re well and healthy and able to meet in large groups – keep those dates in your diary and tell your friends and families. We’ll share the details with those of you not on social media.

Ladies, please do remember, this is YOUR group – if there’s anything you’d like to see on the programme or you have any interesting skill or talent you’d like to share, please do comment on this post or get in touch by e-mail or on our social media sites. We’d love to hear your views and interests. If something interests you, it’ll interest us! Crafty stuff, active stuff, sitting around talking about stuff. Please do check out our events page on the website (which you’re already on if you’re reading this!) and out Facebook page. Our group is your group. We’re really looking forward to seeing all of you in real life.

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Brekkie looks fantastic. Will definitely visit.

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