Talks and demonstrations

I am an Essex based WI approved speaker and give talks and demonstrations on an eclectic mix of subjects.
My talks currently include ‘A Year in Beekeeping’, ‘The View from Space’ and ’90 years of Social History Through the Eyes of an Austin Seven’, with ‘Blacksmithing’ coming soon. Read my testimonials here. I have spoken to WI, U3A and Probus groups, and am also in the WI book of ‘approved’ speakers.

For my talks I use PowerPoint including video (I have all my own projection equipment) and am comfortable talking to groups of all sizes: from small clubs meeting in halls or pubs to a 200 seater auditorium. To assist with viewing of the PowerPoint slides it is important that venues for daylight talks have the capability to reduce natural light.

Charges: for small groups I charge £60 for 2018 and £65 for 2019, plus travel costs, currently at 35p a mile. Payment is due at the end of the talk. Please contact me to discuss your needs for larger groups.

A Year in Beekeeping

I have been keeping bees for nearly 20 years. Using a real beehive as a prop, supported by videos and slides, I talk about a year in beekeeping, explaining what needs attention month by month, and talking through the seasons from a beekeeper’s perspective.

I talk about some amazing ways in which bees have featured in our history and cover some of the current questions about falling numbers of bees, and what we can all do to help them thrive.

I will also bring honey and hive products to sell.

The View From Space

This talk looks at some of the amazing things we see from space, both looking to Earth and looking out into the Milky Way galaxy and the Universe.

Are we really likely to be alone? What amazing discoveries have national space agencies, including NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency) made, and what will they be doing in the coming years?

The talk also examines some of the myths and realities of what can be seen from space; can you actually see a car number plate from a satellite as spy films suggest, and is the Great Wall of China really the only man made thing you can see from space?

90 Years of Social History Through the Eyes of an Austin Seven

I have owned an 1933 Austin Seven for the last 9 years. She is called Mildred, for reasons I explain in my talk. This is not an oily rag ‘car club’ talk (unless you want it to be!), more a social history story.

I start by looking at life on and around the roads in the 1920s and 30s, the days of the Austin Seven. What made the Austin Seven so popular and why were the roads so much more dangerous than today?

I look at how the Austin Seven became the ‘Motor for the Millions’, finding its way into people’s hearts to this day.

I also  talk about the realities of driving an octogenarian car with string brakes, lights little more than candle power, and just enough power to reach 40mph… downhill… but you wouldn’t; it’s a little too scary.

I intersperse my talk with some of the strange stories people have told us about Austin Seven ownership, often involving buying an Austin Seven in the 50s or 60s for a few pounds, and then driving it with umpteen passengers to a seaside adventure. My favourite story involves a Nigerian Governor, his wife, the Sahara Desert, and an Austin Seven Chummy… but you’ll have to come to a talk to hear more.

Blacksmithing then and now

In this talk I will take you through the story of blacksmithing.

I explain its beginnings, its peak through the medieval period, through to its decline in the 20th century, with some thoughts on where it goes from here.

I will also look at how it was synomynous with the farrier until eventually splitting into 2 trades.

I will also argue that in their day the blacksmith was as vital as the computer engineer today.

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