Wednesday October 11th 2017
President Sue Piner welcomed members - several who were wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Week - to the October meeting. Three Committee members are standing down, and nominations were invited for election in November.
We are resuming collections for Stonepillow, and donations of washing-up liquid, bin bags and washing powder would be welcomed next month.
Members were reminded to sign up for several events , many of which seem to involve special meals!
The Harvest Auction raised a total sum of £111.50, which has been given to the Apuldram Centre.
The Speaker, Tony Turner then gave a fascinating talk on “Stealing Chinas' Tea”, which involved large scale industrial espionage! Ever since tea was introduced in Charles 11 reign, it had been a very valuable commodity, and the monopoly held by the East India Company to import tea from China made them very rich and powerful. They exported manufactured goods from Britain to India, opium from India to China and tea back from China. After the opium wars, this trade stopped, and it was proposed to grow tea in India on the slopes of the Himalayas. As no one knew how tea was actually produced, and no foreigners were allowed into China, this presented a problem.
Robert Fortune had entered China before on behalf of the RHS, and did so again (in disguise), with two interpreters. His mission was successful, and he sent back thousands of plants in Wardian Cases. Unfortunately, the first batch died due to being opened too early, but the second lot succeeded, and tea was established in India, as well as the method of producing it. Fortune became very rich, as he also brought back many of the plants we now take for granted in our own gardens, and we now drink Indian tea on a daily basis!
He was thanked by Liz Smart. After tea and the raffle, the Bloom of the Month was won by Ann Wades' clematis.
Next month’s meeting is on November 8th, and is the Annual Meeting.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands' mountains green ?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On Englands' pleasant pastures seen ?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills ?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills ?
Bring me my bow of burning gold !
Bring me my arrows of desire !
Bring me my spear ! Oh clouds unfold !
Bring me my chariot of fire !
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In Englands' green and pleasant land.