Pimm's in the Park  

pimms 5Thursday 16 July 2009

Pimms 1pimms 2This previously popular summertime event was reintroduced this year with great success.  Thanks to the kindness of Sally Martyn-Johns, the manager of the Youth Hostel in the Park, we were able to have our party in their lovely garden, beautifully trimmed for the occasion, and the weather was very kind to us: it rained only after the party! Special thanks is due to Sue and Ken Kwok, who produced a most delicious, if potent, Pimms with all the trimmings. It was very nice to be able to invite a few guests, whose work for the Park produces the special environment so dear to The Friends. In particular, we welcomed Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown, part of whose brief is the overall responsibility for the Park. He kindly thanked The Friends for their pimms 4contributions and support. We have been invited by Sally Martyn-Johns to repeat the evening next pimms 4summer and we shall all look forward to that. [Sept.2009]  


Kenilworth Castle Garden  Thursday 11 February 2010 at 7.00pm in The Orangery

John Watkins is Head of Gardens and Landscape in the Conservation Department of English Heritage. He is very kindly coming to talk to us about English Heritage's remarkable project to reconstruct a garden at Kenilworth Castle, created by 1575 for the visit of Queen Elizabeth I, using the archaeological and written evidence. Mr Watkins was himself responsible for coordinating the Kenilworth Garden project and designed the planting.

By happy coincidence John Watkins is very familiar with Holland Park as he spent the first 17 years of his life living within yards of Rassells Nursery where he worked in the 1970s. In the last few years he has been closely involved with the regeneration of Chiswick Park.

Tickets at £12 each, including wine and delicious canapés after the talk, may be ordered on the enclosed Order Form. Please note that non-members may now also purchase tickets in advance. [Sept. 2009]

Christmas Cards  


With the current unreliability of the postal system we will all want to get our greeting cards out in good time. So this is a good moment to remind you of the handsome montage of Holland Park icons which comprise this year's card. All members have had the full brochure including other designs with the last issue of this newsletter, but Rhoddy has some spare ones for those who ask.

The cost, as of all the cards in the brochure, of £7.50 for 10 is very reasonable for cards of this size and quality. If you want to economise there are some packs at £6 for 10 which are a mixture of previous years' Holland Park designs. See our order form for quantity discounts.

The standard greeting within them is 'With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year'. Most designs are also available blank inside, but for blanks Rhoddy only has supplies of the Holland Park montage.

Unless you want your cards overprinted, we prefer you to order them from Rhoddy as that gives us an extra discount. Mountbatten has free delivery for a minimum of 35 cards throughout West and Central London but otherwise charges £5, whereas ours is free for 10 cards or more within our newsletter hand delivery area but we need to charge £1.05 per 10 outside that.

We hope that you will ask for 25% of the proceeds to be donated to the Friends of Holland Park but you are at liberty to chose any other registered charity if you prefer. [Autumn 2009]

Christmas 09 
We also have some cards left over from previous years.  Designs may be ordered individually in packs of ten @ £7.50 or as packs mixed by our supplier @ £6.00.  All have standard greetings.  Free delivery or postage as above.
Christmas 08 Stable Yard
Holland Park
 Christmas a Dutch Garden 
Holland Park
 Christmas b The Orangery
Holland Park
 Christmas c The House
Holland Park
 Christmas d Ice House
Holland Park
Christmas Concert

Sunday 6 December at 7.30pm in the Orangery

 As is the case every year you will have to hurry if you still need tickets for this our most popular event. It might be that the concert is already sold out, so please phone Rhoddy first on 020 7602 0304 before sending a cheque.

We are delighted that the Tallis Chamber Choir (TCC), directed by their founder and musical director Philip Simms, will again be able to entertain us with Christmas carols and readings.

Since last year's concert the choir has given two performances with the Locrian Ensemble and one with London Octave at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and two with the English Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall. A programme celebrating the 500th anniversary of the accession of Henry VIII, in St Alfege Church Greenwich, where he was christened, and a Bach concert in Norwich Cathedral with soloists David Wilson Johnson and Linda Russell were highlights of the year, and a section of the choir gave a 'Burns Night' concert in Paris in January. In October they celebrate their 25 years of music making with a grand party likely to be attended by over a hundred singers past and present.

The TCC are looking forward to their 10th Christmas concert for The Friends of Holland Park. They now consider The Friends to be their friends, and the entertaining to be mutual. This event is our most popular of the year, so please avoid disappointment by booking early, using the order form. Tickets are £15 to include wine and Janice Miles' delicious canapés. [Autumn 2009]
Carys Wynne – an appreciation
15 March 1938 – 2 July 2009
 CarysIt is impossible to do justice to the rich and varied life of Carys Wynne in just a few paragraphs, but here we share a few thoughts in her memory and express our sincere appreciation for her contribution to The Friends of Holland Park. The fact that some 800 people poured into St Mary Abbots Church for Carys's funeral on 10 July speaks volumes in itself. She was loved by many friends and relatives for her warmth, generosity, vitality and enormous capacity for friendship. Athome she was a devoted mother, wife and step-mother. In addition to lively family gatherings, Carys and her beloved Willoughby were also both extremely generous and energetic hosts, opening wide their doors for drinks gatherings, dinner parties, musical soirées or Sunday lunch parties. Much energy and thought was given to introducing guests to one another, ensuring that the conversation flowed and that no one was left out.

Then there were Carys's other duties: she had a firm Christian faith and was for several years a chalice assistant at her local church, a responsibility which she took very seriously, along with other duties in the church; she worked for many years for the travel company Abercrombie and Kent; she was a member of the Conservative Party and was for some time on their committee for Campden Ward. Another demanding and fulfilling role which Carys played was as Chairman of Kensington and Chelsea NADFAS, which involved her considerable gifts of networking, administration and creative thinking. Last but not least, she was Hospitality Officer and a trustee of The Friends of Holland Park.

As her motor neurone disease progressed rapidly over the last few months, Carys would not be defeated. She and Willoughby went on their annual three-week holiday to Kenya in March and she then continued her social life as far as possible. Just before she died, and when she could no longer speak, she was writing down instructions for the organisation of their next party. She was doubtful as to whether she could contribute to The Friends' committee meetings anymore, yet at the last held before she died, Carys was the one who piped up with the name of the new Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea. Carys was above all a 'people person' and right up to the end of her life she was thinking of the  welfare of others. She has been a joy and inspiration to so many, and her passing has left a huge gap in our lives.  [Autumn 2009]

A House Reborn: Leighton House
and the Studios of the Holland Park Circle
Thursday 29 October at 7pm in the Orangery
 Daniel Robbins is the Senior Curator, Museums, with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, responsible for Leighton House Museum and Linley
Sambourne House. You probably know that Leighton House Museum is currently closed to the public for a major restoration and refurbishment programme. Daniel's talk will describe the process of recreating the stunning interiors of Leighton's House and put the house in context with the other artist studio-houses of Holland Park Road and Melbury Road.

The evening will conclude with wine and canapés provided by Janice Miles. Please order your tickets at £12 each using the enclosed order form. Please note that non-members may now also purchase tickets in advance or at the door. [Summer 2009]

Pimm's in the Park Thursday 16 July 2009 from 6.00-8.00 pm in the Youth Hostel Garden  

We have often thought that there is a very long gap between the springtime art exhibition and our October event when we have nothing on offer to members. Indeed, a number of you have said much the same to us and that you would like some kind of social occasion in the Park during the summer months. This year we propose to do just that and reintroduce a Friends' Pimm's Party.

We are going to hold the party in the garden of the Youth Hostel, courtesy of Sally Martyn-Johns, the manager. Many of us have probably never had the opportunity of seeing this part of the Park, other than just a brief glimpse through the railings. It is most attractive and worth seeing. There is no opera performance scheduled for that evening, but perhaps we shall be serenaded by a rehearsal and of course the youth hostel will be in full swing.

Pimm's really is The summertime drink so let us hope that the weather is kind to us. We shall also be serving Janice Miles' delicious canapés. What could be nicer! Please order your tickets at £12 each. [Spring 2009]

Russian Virtuosi concert
3 April 2009
 VirtuosiThere was a full house at the Orangery for the concert by the Russian Virtuosi, Natalia Lomeiko (violin) and Yuri Zhislin (violin/viola), and the audience was not disappointed by the original and eclectic programme and the superb standard of performance. The concert began with Concertante Nos. 1 and 6, short pieces for violin and viola, by Antonio Bruni (1757-1821), an Italian violinist and composer who spent a large part of his career in Paris. The first, in 1790s style, started with a solemn allegro, but developed with the use of very lively dance rhythms. The second was more lively throughout, echoing Haydn rather than Mozart, again employing dance rhythms in the second half. These were followed by Sarabande con variazione in G minor, a piece for violin and viola comprising variations on a theme by Handel, written in 1897 by the Norwegian violinist, conductor and composer Johan Halvorsen (1864 – 1935): a romantic piece with echoes of Bach's Double Violin Concerto. The first half was completed by a suite for solo violin called Maluk Pirin by Dobrinka Tabakova, who was born in Bulgaria (in 1980), but brought up and educated in London. Pirin is a mountain in Bulgaria, and the suite, in three short movements, reflects the techniques used on the Gadulka, a Bulgarian stringed folk instrument, and, using folk music themes, tries to describe the landscape of the mountain. The second half began with the world premiere – an unusual, if not unique, event for the Orangery – of a solo violin suite called Snow Woman, dedicated to Natalia Lomeiko, by Cheryl Frances-Hoad (born 1980), a leading young British composer. The suite was based on a Siberian folksong and, although atonal, varied constantly in rhythm and was at times very powerful in feeling. The composer was present to receive a tremendous ovation. The final work was Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 35, written in France in 1932 shortly before the composer's return to Russia. An atonal work in four movements, but with the first and third being neo-classical in feeling, not unlike Stravinsky's neo-classical pieces, and the second and fourth folk-like with staccato rhythms. It was a memorable evening. The Virtuosi performed for us in 2006 and we sincerely hope that they will come back again. [Summer 2009]
George Law
Conman An elderly man is going round the neighbourhood asking for cash donations to the Friends of Holland Park.

Please be aware that the Friends NEVER collect money at the door.  If you are approached, do not give him anything and inform the police. [Summer 2009]

Vandalism in the Kyoto Garden

The Spirit of Holland Park

 snow lanternIt is sad to relate that the large granite snow lantern by the pond in the Kyoto Garden was damaged by an unknown person or persons early in the spring. It will be a long time before it is restored: it is in too many pieces to be put back together and, for the garden to be authentic, granite must be shipped all the way from Japan. In the meantime herons are using the remaining platform to fish from. (Although the carp are too large for them, the fish are sometimes damaged by the herons' bills, so one is encouraged to scare the birds off.) [Summer 2009]

Members who were at the Art Exhibition will recognise our newsletter front cover as being a reproduction of the winner in this category. Now the artist, Wendy Mackenzie, has made a few prints of this so you can have your very own copy. They have a cream mount and are unframed, measuring 33 x 40 cm .including the mount. Do use the Order form to obtain yours. They cost only £45 and Wendy is donating one third of this to the Friends. Please do support Wendy and us and give yourself a lasting memento of your
favourite park. [Summer 2009]

Support for the Ecology Centre  Under its new manager, Saskie Lovell, who was introduced to members in the last newsletter, the Ecology Centre is getting a much-needed facelift. While the bulk of the funding is coming from RBKC, it does not extend to several items of equipment which will significantly enhance the delivery of the services provided by the Centre. The Friends have helped with the donation of equipment before and we are very pleased to be able to do so again.

Since Saskie's arrival in September, the Ecology Centre has a new floor and cupboards, there is a new storage container in the nursery yard, the wildlife pond has been drained, cleaned, relined, refilled and connected to the borehole, marginal plants have been ordered, a new biodiversity plan has been written (but not yet approved) and 50 new bird boxes for a wide variety of species have been obtained. This gives us great confidence that our donated items will be put to very good use!

Digital projector
A ceiling-mounted digital projector will be a useful addition for both slideshows and displays by external speakers. It will allow the Centre to develop professional visual displays and provide opportunities for showing recorded or live videos of wildlife. The projector can also be used to show photos or videos during educational sessions or holiday activities.

The laptop can be linked to the digital projector to display videos and presentations and can also be used in tandem with other devices.

Webcams will be linked to the laptop and projector to record and show live images of otherwise hidden views from sites throughout the Park, such as round bird boxes and showing bird feeders or from within the Ecology Centre's live animal tanks.

Digital microscope
Again linked to the digital projector and laptop, a digital microscope will facilitate the projection of close-up images of objects on to a big screen. It will mainly be useful as an educational tool, allowing a group to see details of a biological specimen to aid in the teaching of subjects such as classification, adaptation and anatomy.

Tree beating trays and sweep nets
These are used to sample invertebrates living in trees, plants and long grass and will be used by school groups carrying out invertebrate surveys. [Spring 2009]

Winter Warmer: The Birds of Bray

5 February 2009


Eagle owlThe Orangery was more than half full to greet Chris and Sue Mitchell of "The Birds of Bray" and their birds of prey: falcons, hawks and owls, some of which we were allowed to stroke and hold on a leather-gloved hand after the talk. Had the Mitchells' trailer not been snowed under back home in Eaton Bray, we would have seen even more birds. As it was we were treated to a peregrine/lanner hybrid, a kestrel, a harris hawk, a white-faced scops owl, a barn (or "screech") owl, a tawny owl and a (huge) eagle owl. All had been bred in captivity and were therefore unfazed by humans. Most of the time they sat quietly on their perches, except for the restless barn owl which had not been fed for a while in order to make it demonstrate flying the length of the Orangery onto Sue's wrist for scraps of meat all the more readily. Sue sometimes takes the birds to hospitals and residential homes where, for a good therapeutic effect, she gets some of them to fly to patients.

Birds of prey, or raptors, all evolved from the prehistoric raptorsaurus, keeping the four talons and the curved beak. Falconry is using a trained bird to catch wild prey. It is illegal to take a bird from the wild, so falconers long ago started to breed them in captivity. Once the birds are knowingly fed by humans they are "imprinted": they think of a human as a parent. Usually only very large birds such as the eagle owl would survive if let loose into the wild again after imprinting.

The training process was described, we were shown the leather anklets, jesses and hoods (hence the term "hoodwinked") which the falcons wear. We learnt how they will not fly to the lure if they are not hungry enough (hence the term "fed up"): each type of bird has an optimum flying weight at which they will perform, and they must be weighed regularly and fed accordingly. Raptors would never attack human babies because they only eat meat which is covered in fur or feathers. Every 18 hours or so they disgorge a pellet consisting of fur or feathers together with whole bones (no, they do not crunch them up). This also has to be monitored since they would soon die if these pellets were not cast. We learnt how falcons have telescopic vision, how owls have forward-facing eyes but can turn their heads 270 degrees, have soundless flight, and asymmetrical ears to help them locate a mouse.

There is so much more to tell. What a pity if you were unable to come; but we hope to be able to welcome you next February. [Spring 2009]

Joy Puritz

Christmas Concert
7 December
 The Orangery was filled to capacity by some 120 Friends and guests to be entertained by the Tallis Chamber Choir directed by Philip Simms, who were with us for the ninth year in succession. And entertained they certainly were. The programme had a slightly narrower geographic spread than in some previous years, ranging from the Appalachian Mountains in the United States, Ireland, the Basque country, Germany (if you count as German an arrangement by an Englishman of a carol by a German composer) to England. Nevertheless the variety and the number of pieces or arrangements that we had not heard before were as great as ever. Amongst the carols were the Wexford Carol, originally revived by Vaughan Williams and rearranged by John Rutter; "I wonder as I wander", an Appalachian folk carol arranged by Andrew Carter; Herbert Howells' "Sing lullaby"; Philip Simms' arrangements of "Now light one thousand lights" and "What shall I give to the child in the manger", and "The Three Kings" composed by the German Peter Cornelius and arranged by Ivor Atkins. The final number was an unusual arrangement, by William Llewellyn, of "Ding dong! merrily on high", which had very few changes to the familiar melody, but a radically different syncopated rhythm in 5/4 time. There were also many old favourites, including the four carols in which the audience, in unusually good voice, joined the choir. The choir's unaccompanied singing was of the usual tremendously high standard. The carols were interspersed with readings and recitations by Patricia Williams, who was also with us in 2007. All the pieces were entertaining, and some absolutely hilarious. I was particularly amused by "Psalm CLI" by Nigel Forde, and an anonymous piece about the build up to Christmas called "As Christmas approaches....." It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening which was topped off by copious quantities of wine and huge amounts of hot sausages, smoked salmon sandwiches and other delicious bits provided by Janice Miles. We look forward with pleasurable anticipation to the next carol concert on 6 December. [Spring 2009]
George Law