The Monthly Speakers’ Meeting takes place on the third Wednesday of each month at 2.00pm in the Baptist Church, Thames Street, OX10 0BH, and is open to all Members of the branch and to potential new members wishing to find out more. Members are addressed by an invited speaker (see below), and this is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits.  There is no charge. The talks are usually excellent and it’s a good chance to see friends old and new.

Speakers Programme 2017/2018

Please note there may be changes from the published programme of Speaker Meetings

Wednesday 19 April 2017 – Agatha Christie the Archaeologist by Henrietta McCall

After the famous crime writer first travelled to the Middle East in 1928, her life took a new and exciting direction when she discovered the lure of the ancient past, its connection with crime detection, and ultimately found personal happiness in the form of marriage to the archaeologist, Max Mallowan. Henrietta McCall is herself an archaeologist and able to talk very authoritatively about this fascinating final period of Agatha Christie’s life.

Wednesday 17 May – Visual Illusions: Can you believe your eyes? by John Ericson

John Ericson, often remembered as “The Corkscrew Man” who last visited us to give his amusing talk on “Pub Signs of Britain” is returning to Wallingford to present the challenge Can You Believe Your Own Eyes? In this thought provoking and entertaining presentation, John offers a selection of images, some of which will amuse you, whilst others will confound you, and some will even challenge your self belief. All done in John’s own delightful style!

Wednesday 21 June – Beer, Sausages and Marmalade – Food in 19th Century Oxford by Liz Woolley

We apologise for the lack of the synopsis of this talk – it will follow shortly.  However, it does sound rather interesting, doesn’t it?

Wednesday 19 July – Paul Nash and the Wittenham Clumps by Christopher Baines

Christopher Baines works as a freelance photographer for BBC, ITV and Channel 4. He lives locally and has become fascinated by our local landmark, the Wittenham Clumps, and in particular Paul Nash’s paintings of them. Better known as a war artist, Paul Nash had a special affinity for the Clumps and returned to paint them many times during his life, calling them a ‘beautiful legendary country’. The talk will explore the paintings and the artist’s unique connection with the landscape.

Wednesday 16 August  – Garden Party

Our August garden party is a very enjoyable and memorable feature of our annual programme. Based in the beautiful Thames-side garden of one of our committee members it is always a thoroughly English occasion, whatever the weather. The tea is superb and In sunshine the setting is idyllic with the possibility of boat trips on offer. In less clement conditions, we are still assured of a memorable time with gazebos for shelter or an alternative indoor venue on hand.

Wednesday 20 September – Faber and Faber, History Through Book Covers by Toby Faber

Toby Faber needs no introduction to our group since his very interesting and informative talks on Faberge and Stradivarius. As a member of the Faber family (of publishing fame), he is well-placed to speak to us about the firm’s history through its illustrations, book covers and designs. Full of anecdotes and personal insight the talk promises to shed a fascinating light on Faber’s rich cultural heritage from the arrival of TS Eliot to the discovery of ‘Lord of the Flies’ and features artists as diverse as Rex Whistler, Peter Blake and Damien Hirst.

Wednesday 18 October – The Biogas Plant at Ipsden by David Bermingham

David Bermingham is a Goring resident who has planned and seen through to completion the building of the biogas plant at Ipsden. This is cunningly designed to minimise any adverse impact on the landscape. The local farmer on whose land it is sited works in conjunction with the plant to grow feeder crops and the biomethane gas which is produced is fed directly into the main gas pipeline supplying Goring. At full capacity the plant will produce 10 million cubic metres of biogas annually. The talk explains the vision behind this innovative project and how it functions in practice.

Wednesday 15 November – Hide and Seek by Peter Preece

Peter Preece is a wildlife photographer who has already amazed us on earlier occasions with the quality and content of his pictures. The winner of many competitions, he specialises in photographing creatures in their natural habitats as they unsuspectingly go about their daily lives, often waiting for hours or even days for the perfect picture. He and his wife spend many months of each year travelling abroad and within the UK in order to capture on film creatures from tiny insects to large mammals.

Wednesday 13 December – Life’s Merry Go Round by Jim Mitchell

A hilarious comedy in two acts, this is a light musical entertainment reflecting life’s ups and downs with popular entertainers Roxy Boulter, and Jim Mitchell and Grahame O’Connor of Flanders and Swann fame.

Wednesday 17 January – Printing: The Future by Sabina Gonzalez-George

3D printing is one of the more recent technologies which is currently revolutionising production processes. Also known as additive manufacturing it refers to the creation of a 3D object by building up layers of material to create the object under computer control. The process has been called the beginning of the third industrial revolution, succeeding the production line assembly which began in the late 19th century. It even has potential for the creation of prosthetic limbs and is transforming medicine. Our talk will explain how this process works and its potential and will finish with a demonstration.

Wednesday 21 February – The Healing Power of Plants by Timothy Walker

Timothy Walker is both a practical and an academic botanist having studied botany at Oxford University but also having trained as a gardener in various leading gardens. He has held the post of Hortus Praefecti in charge of the Harcourt Arboretum and Oxford Botanic Garden. In this talk he aims to show that plant products are used everyday by all of us to relieve pain and suffering through healing wounds and diseases. Who knows what medical secrets your garden holds?

Wednesday 21 March – The Secret Life of Country Houses by Julie Summers

One of your favourite speakers, Julie Summers, returns to Wallingford with  her latest book “The  Secret Life of Country Houses”. This will be Julie’s 7th visit to us, and with such an  intriguing subject, it will be a very popular meeting.

Wednesday 18 April  – Children’s Book Illustrations by John Ericson

Images from our childhood are often deeply etched in our memories. In addition to a wide range of examples John will examine how illustrations contribute to the development of understanding and how the interaction of image and narrative creates such powerful memories.