Under the watchful eye of volunteer Becky Pinniger, members of Elizabeth House poured a gritty, sandy compost mix into a glass container, then selected succulents and cacti (provided by Becky Pinniger and Marion Harris) and planted them in the humus-rich soil. After carefully covering the compost with gravel, they added shells for the finishing touch, then watered sparingly.
These gardens in a glass should be placed in a sunny location and watered once a month in the summer.
“I enjoyed doing this activity with the members and look forward to more green-related activities soon”, said Becky.
First impressions count! Members returning to Elizabeth House from their four week move to the Cookham Dean Cricket Club said ‘it’s like a luxury hotel’ when they first stepped into the dayroom, then looked around to see the different features.
Interior designer Sarah Swain had involved members in the design process and the new look dayroom now has comfortable seating, better lighting, air conditioning; a storage unit with TV and audio facilities and new carpeting.
This refurbishment was made possible thanks in part to bequests from past members Dorothy Stevens and Jack Tomlin.
In the dining room ‘state of the art’ presentation equipment has been installed as a result of a generous donation from the Cookham Festival. This will also enhance the value of Elizabeth House to external groups wishing to hire the room for meetings and presentations.
“We aimed to upgrade the building to modern standards, to provide a more comfortable environment for members and to incorporate new technology capable of allowing future flexibility – and with Bill Bennett’s project management skills, we have achieved this”, said chairman of the trustees Chris Harris.
“We used local contractors where possible: Build Trade Ltd, Degrees of Comfort; Climate Solutions and David Butler. Both Bill and Sarah both generously gave their time to the project free of charge, for which we are immensely grateful”.
The refurbishment project was enabled by generous grants from The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, The Shanly Foundation and the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust. Elizabeth House is also fortunate to receive donations from local individuals and organisations, such as The Spice Merchant and Cookham Bridge Rotary Club, who recently raised £5,000 from a concert by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir at Taplow Court.
Cookham’s Geraint Lewis, singer in the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, presented a framed photo to commemorate the choir’s concert at Taplow Court. The concert, organised by Cookham Bridge Rotary Club, raised £5,000 for Elizabeth House.
To celebrate Parliament Week Lord Young of Cookham gave a short talk to members of Elizabeth House, highlighting the cultural differences between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Speaking from experience (he has been a member of both houses), he explained that as a revising chamber the Lords has more time to scrutinise government bills.
Their lordships are specialists, with outside interests. They were generally better behaved and more attentive than the counterparts in the elected chamber and under no pressure from constituents. Ministers in the House of Lords need to be well briefed to respond to questions – not least because each one covers several government departments.
After questions from members of Elizabeth House, chairman of trustees Chris Harris thanked Lord Young for his fascinating insights.
Customers of Spice Merchant have raised over £3,000 for Elizabeth House since June 2015 by paying 50p from the price of every dessert they buy and by adding an optional sum to every bill.
This brainwave came from Bashir Islam, owner of Spice Merchant, who is delighted with its success.
Why not try one of their classic curries in a historic, setting and support Elizabeth House, too?