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Ashton Hayes and Tarvin Flower Club Meeting

17th February 2022 @ 6:06am – by Margaret Dixon
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The AGM at the start of our evening was speedily dealt with. Clubs in the area are finding difficulties since the lockdowns. There is a shortage of demonstrators and all the cost increases are affecting clubs badly. Some clubs have even lost their meeting places. We have weathered the storm quite well thanks to the dedication of our chairman. February is now our month for future AGMs as it is more convenient and flowers tend to be expensive because of Valentine's day. Another decision is not to meet in January.

We have waited a long time but third time lucky and our president Sharon Nolan was here to tell us and show us about India. The World Association of Floral Artists ( WAFA) held their last show in 2020 in Jaipur, India and Sharon visited for 8 days. Her presentation covered visits made and the show itself. Sharon had decided to take part in the show and chose an imposed class. This is when the flowers and plant material along with accessories are provided by the show and the designers have to plan their design on the spot. It was interesting to see how varied the finished designs were even with all the competitors having the same things at the start. After the judging Sharon was delighted to have received a commended award which was very good when there were at least 40 countries taking part.

The pictures from the visits included visiting the Garden of Senses in Delhi as well as the rickshaws, wedding shop window and the overhead electric wires aplenty. The Ghandi statue in its garden was seen and a visit to the Mughal gardens. The group on the trip were all flower arrangers so more garden type places were visited than on the usual tours. The Taj Mahal in Agra was of course seen but Sharon showed some more unusual views and close ups of architecture. Her many pictures of the Golden Temple at Amritsar showed us it in all types of light and the night ones showed what a spectacular site it is. There are volunteers there who feed 10,000 visitors a day. Fancy finding so many to volunteer!

In summer many wealthier Indians escape to the hills where it is cooler. Shimla is where they go. In Chandigarh the group went to a rose garden and what was described as a rock garden. This was very different from our concept as there were many walls, large rocks and waterfalls but no foliage. At a border gate between India and Pakistan the Wagah ceremony takes place. Sharon likened it to a football match! Insults pass from one side to the other and the groups of soldiers wind each other up until the flags are lowered in unison.

That was a vey short summary of what we were shown and my notes were written in the dark so I hope I haven't made major errors. The evening continued with some samples of Indian food. There were mini popadoms, sweet potato crackers, Bombay mix, Samosas and Bhaaji which were all delicious. They were followed by cardoman biscuits, mango kulfi and fresh fruit. It was surprising how filling these mini samples were. All this was prepared by Merryn. Tea/ Coffee followed along with a large raffle and more chance to view the exhibition of Indian goods, clothes etc and a mock up of Sharon's winning design.

For our next meeting we will have a demonstrator. Visitors are very welcome and we will meet in the main hall at the community centre on 9th March for a 7-30 pm start.

Ed: Click on the pictures to enlarge them

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