Tables were arranged and colourfully adorned with both blue and yellow napkins and very pretty table decorations of spring flowers. The sound system and screen were set up (after a slight panic, as the mike and the controls are locked away in a cupboard and we couldn't find the key till help arrived) and Richard, our ever dependable caterer, got to work in the kitchen heating up the main course.
Guests are always prompt to arrive. We were up to 80 this year and as the place filled up it became a centre of warm, friendly activity. There was a welcoming cup of coffee and four tables of plants for sale spanning the whole width of the hall. It was lovely to be able to start buying a few things for the garden now that the worst of the winter rains seemed to be behind us and I'm sure that the sunshine flooding through the windows that morning encouraged people to buy! The plants sales and raffle, which was held just before lunch was served, really go to help make a decent profit for the charity.
Hush then descended as the speaker, Penny Hammond, Head Gardener of Saltram, started her talk entitled, 'Saltram Through the Seasons'. She had many beautiful slides to show us encompassing all the interest there is to be seen throughout the whole year, even a rare covering of snow from a few winters ago. Suddenly the projector unfortunately started to crunch the slides. However, all was not lost and during what was probably a good ten minutes while Penny's assistant, Sue, very ably repaired the projector, we had the any questions slot that's normally held after the talk. Members rallied round and really kept the questions coming to a totally unruffled Penny.
Lunch followed: gingered pork with green beans and Pilau rice, followed by a choice of either lemon crunch pudding with chocolate mousse or with coffee mousse, coffee and mints. The deserts are always prepared by committee members. We do take the luxury of paying two people to come and do all the washing up - a price worth paying after all the hard work put in by the committee.
During lunch there was the chance for each table to attempt the quiz sheet put infront of them. This is fun and a good way for any new members who might have come on their own to get to know people. There was even a pretty potted primula for everyone on the winning table.
With that, the day drew to a close. It really was most enjoyable and I'm sure we could fit in another couple of tables (just) next year if this has whetted your appetite.