2021 Meetings

December 8th 2021

December Party!

We had a lovely time in December, meeting up at the Storey’s Field Centre in Eddington for a party and craft session. Members had the opportunity to make beautiful beaded star and Christmas tree decorations, ably guided by our secretary Kate.

November 10th 2021

My dog’s nose knows

We were thrilled to be joined at our November meeting by Dereck Wheeldon, on behalf of Medical Detection Dogs. This is a charity that trains dogs to detect the odour of human disease with the aim of developing faster, more efficient and less invasive diagnostics that lead to better patient outcomes. We learnt about the amazing power of our canine friends’ noses and how they are being used in early diagnosis of a range of diseases, as well as how medical alert dogs can keep their owners safe by alerting them to changes in their medical condition. The freedom that this can give people is truly life changing.

October 13th 2021

Tales from Mill Road Cemetery

For our October meeting, we were joined by Claire Martinsen from the Mill Road Cemetery History Group, who research the lives of people buried in the cemetery. Claire has researched over 1,800 graves in the cemetery, but she picked out a selection according to different “plot lines”, such as rags to riches, tragedy, comedy and so on. In short, she gave us a fascinating insight into the lives of Cambridge residents and the social history of our city. 
Some of us realised we had never set foot in the cemetery. Her talk and the photos that she shared have motivated us to discover this green space in the heart of Cambridge.

September 8th 2021

Lighting the Fuse

For our September meeting, we were joined by Lucy Lewis who gave us a fascinating insight into her life as a bomb disposal officer, a member of the military police and more recently, a University Marshall. It was particularly interesting to hear how life has changed for women joining the armed forces today from her early experiences in a male dominated world.

August 14th 2021

Our Summer Social

For our summer social we thought it would be nice to meet up and see each other face to face for the first time in a long while! We had a lovely afternoon at Milton Country Park, sharing cake and enjoying the sunshine.

July 14th 2021

Hotfootin’ Dreaming: a sojourner’s tale

We were inspired by a talk by American artist, Angela Davies Johnson, who joined us from Florida. She gave us a fascinating journey through her work, which included paintings, videos and installations. Deeply personal and deeply resonant.

June 9th 2021

Summer Spa

In June we were joined by Olivia from Temple Spa who guided us through a Slumber Radiance experience in the comfort of our own homes. As we were meeting on Zoom, Olivia delivered a beautiful box of professional spa products directly to members so we had everything we needed to enjoy a very luxurious and relaxing facial.

May 14th 2021

Blue Belles Annual Meeting

We really enjoyed a chance to look back on the year that has gone. Despite being confined to Zoom, we seemed to cover so much ground. We enjoyed poetry readings, talks about courtship in the Victorian period and how to practise detached involvement; trips into space, out to sea and behind bars; jam tasting, Pīrāgi baking and gardening, as well as Japanese-style fabric mending, seasonal cross-stitching and mindful mandalas. 
We thanked our outgoing committee members and welcomed in our new committee. Yvonne Chaplin is our new President, Kate Bradley is our new Secretary, Jan Chadwick remains as Treasurer, Jenny Kavanagh is still doing PR & Comms, Emily Peirce is now concentrating on Membership, whilst Emma Connolly has joined us as Member Meeting Coordinator and Liz von Hippel and Sue Collins are sharing the role of Programme Secretary.
Finally, we tested our general knowledge in a fun quiz put together by Emma Connolly and inspired by the year’s programme of talks and events.

April 14th 2021

Behind Bars

We really enjoyed the talk by Sophie Ellis, PhD student at the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge, at our April meeting. Most of us had little idea of just how many prisons there are in England and Wales, what types of prisons there are and how large the prison population is. There didn’t seem to be a correlation between the size of the prison population and crime rates, which was interesting to think about. It was also fascinating to reflect on the different roles that prisons are expected to fulfil; Sophie showed us these roles are not necessarily compatible with each other.

March 10th 2021

Mindful Mandalas

Mandalas, meaning “circles” in Sanskrit, are sacred symbols that are used for meditation, prayer, healing and art therapy for both adults and children. We spent our March meeting creating mindful hand-drawn mandalas, led by experienced artist Ann O’Shaughnessy from Handmade Creative Workshops. We all followed the same basic mandala pattern, but look how different the results were! You can find Handmade Creative Workshops on Facebook.

February 10th 2021

Love in the 19th Century

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we had love on our minds at our February meeting. Maggie Kalenak, a 3rd year PhD student in History at Girton College, University of Cambridge, shared her PhD writings with us. She told us all about Victorian love letters and how they played a crucial role in courtship and engagement. The talk covered the specific epistolary culture of the Victorian
period and its relation to courtship and engagement; after the passage of the Postal Duties Bill in 1840 correspondence as a practice exploded, and almost-daily correspondence became a crucial part of courtship and engagement throughout the rest of the century. The talk drew on over 30 correspondence collections which Maggie consulted in her research, to talk about
relationships and things like; pet-names, building intimacy, sexual content, planning future homes and weddings, sending gifts and hiding salacious letters from the authors’ parents. We learnt about the material aspects of letters– how they were judged by recipients for length, appearance, taste in stationery, and frequency. And, perhaps our favourite part, we saw examples of Valentines correspondence, including vinegar valentines – insulting cards which were sent anonymously!

January 13th 2021

Joyful January

January began with a positive focus, as we were joined by Dr Prashant Kakoday from Inner Space in Cambridge. Dr Kakoday has a background in surgery and integrated health, and his main interest is in the relationship between the psyche, emotions, behaviour and health. He has spoken on these subjects in many countries and institutions, including the WHO and the Medical Teaching Program in the USA, so we felt very lucky to have him talk to us.

The talk focused on creating a mindset of detached involvement, enabling you to observe your own life as well as to participate in it, and to accept all experiences as part of this journey without viewing them as good or bad.

Inner Space is a charity organisation which provides courses, talks and workshops free of charge, to members of the community.