News from The Rural Life Centre
The RLC Website is now being maintained again, but because this began in mid-September the older news for this year will not be reported
Some notable things that have happened in this year:
- Our long-time Director, Chris Shepheard, resigned and Emma Midgley took the reins early this year. Many of you will already have met Emma. Chris is still associated with the Museum as a Rustic; he can often be seen around the grounds, especially in the 'Woodies' area. Thanks for everything you have done in your many years as Director, Chris.
- Many of the events of 2015 occurred again in 2016, plus some musical evenings which are a new feature.
- July 2016 saw another succesful Rustic Sunday, which exceeded the 1000-visitors level easily! We missed some of the 'regular' stallholders, who told us they were unable to attend in the short time leading up to the Event. We enjoyed a lot of new stalls this year, though.
Picking up the thread from when maintenance re-commenced (mid-September), let's go to town and report on all the events for the remainder of this year. Next year the News will be unable to contain everything, but will look similar to the stuff below!
Don't forget to try 'clicking' on the images from November onwards...
September 18th: An imposing Gathering of Classic Vehicles
No surprises, after last year's amazing quantity of entries, that 2016 attracted no fewer Classic Vehicles from around the world!
They took over the entire museum site, which was so full that the last arrivals had no choice but to remain in the overflow car-parking area! All the vehicles evoked feelings of nostalgia and reminiscences of those cars & motor-cycles that were common sights in years gone by; some even holding a special place in our memories.
Prizes were awarded for outstanding vehicles; the one which best represents its period and the one in the finest condition.
An auto-jumble was also held by the Surrey Classic Vehicle Club, who organised the event, giving attendees the opportunity to obtain that elusive component!
We were again delighted to see the Surrey Association of Woodturners, who also attended for the whole weekend, providing the ideal opprtunity for anyone with an interest in wood-turning to see what can be done and to talk to the people who do it.
September 25th: Harvest Home & Scarecrow Contest
This year, our Harvest Home celebration included a Scarecrow Competition (intended for the children, not the adults, Dad)! In keeping with this theme, those children who arrived bearing a scarecrow were allowed into the museum at no charge. Materials were available for everyone to have a go at making their own scarecrow, even if they didn't bring one with them.
Of course, there were all the traditional Harvest Home features — a service in our Chapel conducted by Michael Phillips in the afternoon, and superb harvest displays to mark the season's abundance.
Cider was being made, the Wood Yard was operating; even the steamroller and train were running. The Rustic helpers were in period dress for the event and had beautifully decorated the Chapel and the Frensham building.
A lot of fun was had by all, and everyone enjoyed celebrating the bountiful produce of the year.
October 9th: Land Rover Day
Once again we were delighted to welcome the Land Rover Day organised by the Central Southern Vintage Agricultural Club.
About 90 Land Rovers and Range Rovers - mostly, but not all of conventional appearance - arrived from far and near to fill the museum grounds with their presence.
The event gave many people the opportunity to catch up with old friends and to see the great variety of vehicles. Dave ran the customary auto-jumble as well, so there were opportunities to get hold of that elusive part.
All of the many visitors had a thoroughly enjoyable day.
October 27th: Our Final Activity Thursday for 2016
The final Activity Thursday for 2016 was held today. Next year it will begin again - see our information leaflets for details of this (and many other RLC activities).
Loads of small children (and their parents) travelled from far and near to enjoy our final Activity Thursday of the year, held regularly during the school holidays and giving kids and parents alike a break from the rigours of life and lots of fun things to do. The volunteers had arranged for over 20 different practical tasks for the children's enjoyment, including topical activities such as Build a Guy, make a Christmas cracker and an Autumn leaf book mark, and old favourites like build a rocket, pole lathe turning, the dolls house and many others. There were new ideas, too - paint a parrot on a peg and try your hand at building a gear train. The RSPB supported us as always, today with badge making and fir cone animals.
During the day the headmaster rang the school bell, summoning the children to our Victorian lesson in the schoolroom. Much to the delight of the children it was the mums and dads that got to wear the dunce's hat and receive the cane!
All the children (and parents!) had a great day. Armfuls of rockets, plaster casts, parrot pegs and guys vanished to the car park and went home as a definite reminder to come again next year!
Activity Thursdays will continue again in 2017 of course, when the weather is good enough, starting on April 6th. In the meantime, we have the long-running and ever-popular Christmas event, Santa Specials, where every child who attends can visit Santa in his grotto and be given a present - unlike commercial Santa events, there are many attractions for children and parents before this, all provided and supervised by friendly Museum Volunteers!
November 2nd : Winter Opening
Winter Opening began today. The Rural Life Centre hibernates until March 2017, but don't miss the very popular Christmas Craft Fair and Santa Specials. During this time the Museum is open for fewer hours; Wednesdays and Sundays between 11am and 4pm. The Rustics Volunteers will congregate on Wednesdays as usual, busily planning and preparing for the forthcoming events - why not come along and meet them? You will be very welcome!
We hope to welcome YOU to one of our remaining Events for this year and to see you regularly through 2017. Remember that annual passes are available at very competitive prices, should you wish to visit frequently.
The picture is from one of the Christmas Card sets produced by us. You can buy them in our Shop. The cards are in packs of 6, with two types per pack, all with envelopes. They are professionally produced and all images are from within the Rural Life Centre. The price is extremely reasonable at £1.25 a pack (far less than the cost of posting them), with all profits going directly to support the museum.
November 12th: Christmas Craft Fair
It was not the best day, weather-wise, but almost all the booked exhibitors arrived for the Christmas Craft Fair and there was no shortage of visitors.
The Fair was, wisely, an indoor event, although the weather improved through the day. It was spread between the Tilford, Frensham and Churt buildings and the Village Hall. Only about three of the many stalls went unused and the visitors were clearly very happy with the result. Because the Museum itself is now only open on Wednesdays and Sundays (winter season), there was no admission charge for visitors.
The museum Volunteers had set out the 43 tables and decorated the buildings for the Fair, and booked in the many exhibitors who had paid for a table. About 200 visitors came - they seemed to keep arriving throughout the day, which is just as it should be.
December 10th to 18th: Santa Specials
Santa Specials are always popular. This year the Workers spent considerable time getting things right, just to complete the effect for all the visitors.
Surprisingly, it was warm enough to play in the Children's Playground - no sign of snow (perhaps it will snow on Christmas Day?)
Although there were a very few unbooked spaces available for the first weekend, the second was fully booked. We heard many parents express very positive opinions of the event and everyone seemed happy. Many families had visited in previous years and lots of you said you were looking forward to next year! We are, too - without your little one's help making Santa's signs and testing his toys, things just wouldn't be the same!
We all wish you and your family a wonderful time this Christmas and hope to see you at our events next year!
This 2016 News will remain in place until 2017 brings something new ;-)