Our treasurer began the meeting with an excellent report on our reassuringly healthy finances. We were delighted to know that these are so secure we are still able to subsidise our outings. The presentation was followed with a formal, and unanimous, vote of thanks to Tony B for all his hard work.
After signing last year’s minutes and giving a couple of apologies, I endeavoured to sum up the Shorelink year, which has happily been very smooth. The only major change we have made in the last twelve months was our decision, at last year’s AGM, to change to this venue, and I think we are all agreed it was a highly satisfactory move.
Shorelink has been busy, as always. 19 workshops, 19 reading weeks, and 2 quiz’s, our usual ‘start of the year’ one, plus Tony M’s Christmas one. Tony has asked for a well-earned break from doing the Christmas one this year, so Ro and I will try to cook up a festive workshop in its place.
We have also had two celebratory meals at the New Inn, one the week after last year’s AGM and the other at Christmas. Safe to say a good time was had by all, and just to prove it we shall be going back next week for this year’s end-of-term supper. And we had two garden parties in August, one in Ro’s and my garden in Brede, and the other in Tony B’s garden in Hastings Old Town. And, as we are creatures of habit, all these will take place again this year, and we shall cross our fingers once again for splendid weather.
It was a pleasure to say some huge ‘thank yous’, especially to Tony B, our treasurer, for not only managing our finances so prudently, but for also often going far more than that ‘extra mile’ to offer support to members of the group. And to Jenny, our administrator, for administrating us so efficiently, most especially for remembering all our birthdays, and for the work she puts in making sure we receive the right menu choices after we have long forgotten our selection.
My thanks, of course, to Ro, our secretary and my right hand. For the many things he does, from keeping the records Tesco ask us for, to proofreading this blog every other Tuesday morning before I post it. Thanks also to Alvin, our vice chair, and to our committee, who a year ago agreed that unless any of us felt a great need to call a physical meeting, we would be constitutionally within our rights to count group email decisions as meetings and that has made life very much easier. We have had no big decisions to make this year, and the committee’s input has been mainly to agree term dates and our supper venue but, for me, knowing they are all there, and also how great their support has been in the past when I have needed it, has been very important. I expressed the hope that the committee members would all stand again.
During the year, we were pleased to be asked to judge a couple of competitions for Seeing Ear, who had previously been given our permission to put some of Shorelinker’s work into Braille for their library. Most of us had some input into that, and they were delighted with our judgements.
I was pleased to mention some individual achievements; Brian attended the huge annual poetry festival in Austin, Texas, and has been asked to help organise it next year. He also, between shooting off to poetry slams all over the place, published a new book of his work, so has had a busy year. Alvin has also performed successfully at many venues, both as a poet and as a singer, some of these aided and abetted by Tony M, who also writes regularly for Hastings Town Magazine.
Sian is about to publish her fourth novel, Vibes, so congratulations to her, and Kate’s latest exhibition is still running in Bexhill. We had a message from Linda, now living in Wales and still writing poetry, sending her love to everyone. We have been delighted to welcome some new members who have all added enormously to both the fun, and to the quality of our writing.
I am sure there are things I have forgotten to mention here or do not know about, but I do know that the best and most rewarding thing about Shorelink is watching and listening to the variety of talent around the tables every Monday, into which every single member has huge and equal input. I took the opportunity to thank Shorelinkers, on a very personal level, for the huge support given Ro and me in what has been, to put it mildly, a somewhat trying year for us.
The committee and officers were then elected (actually, all were re-elected) and we celebrated the end of our year with wine and delicious nibbles and then the treasurer took me by surprise by presenting me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Thank you all so much.
After the break, we played our own version of Radio 4’s Just a Minute, which I had mistakenly expected everyone to be brilliant at. With one notable exception, (thank heavens for Helen!) they were remarkably dire – but a good time was had by all, and, after all, what more can you ask?
Next week, Monday, July 245h, is our summer supper at the New Inn.
Sunday, August 13th and Saturday, August 26th are the dates for our garden parties, and term will start again on September 4th, when we will maintain tradition and kick off with a (mainly literary) quiz.