New outdoor meet ups in April and May

A kind soul reminded me that this website was looking a bit empty. Thank you for the nudge!
As we come hopefully to the end of this strange year, I wanted to share plans for getting out and about again. Since March last year we have been trying to keep in touch with members as best we can, through zoom groups, telephone groups, 1:1 chats, outdoor and indoor meet ups in-between the two lockdowns and paper mail outs. We’ve sent out 152 Christmas hampers and 35 cream teas. This month The Living Centre will very generously be handing out fruit to members.
Some of the groups that we held via telephone or zoom can now be outdoors. It will be lovely to meet up with Book Club, Diabetes Group and Ukulele Group outside again. And I look forward to holding small indoor meet ups from May 17th. Our Kew Gardens trips and Granary Square talk have filled up very quickly but I will be running many more events in June and July when restrictions are eased a little more.
I know some might find it daunting to get back into the swing of normal life, but we will take things slowly and gradually build the programme up again. You can still call me for a chat or request a door step visit if you don’t feel ready to venture out yet. It will take some time to adjust to face to face life again. Please find the latest programme below. If you would like to join my email mailing list or receive a paper mail out every couple of months or so, do email me: jess[at]
Looking forward to meeting up in person for those that can.

We Are Ageing Better April and May Timetable 2021_page-0001

Royal Collection Trust creative writing group

“Come on Flora” by Lester Hillman (July 2020).

St James's Park and the Mall

St James’s Park and the Mall (1745), British School 18th Century

Here in St James’s Park it is the Feast of St James. Looking southwards and towards the Thames the Collegiate Church of St Peter Westminster stands tall against the evening sky. This year, 1745, the 25th July is a Sunday. Earlier, thoughts elevated, one or two may have squeezed into the pews of the Chapel Royal of St James nearby. But no one is directing their focus heavenward now.

Flora does not need to eavesdrop the snatches of German in the lively banter and Frederick Prince of Wales is not the only royalty in the Park tonight. It is 1745 and ‘ Flora’ is a subtle reminder of the ‘Prince Across the Water’. The name of the Park offers yet more reinforcement. A pair of kilted warriors pass by, adding to the Jacobite July drama.

Flora herself is of course undisputed royalty, acknowledged ‘gold topped cream’ she is at the very pinnacle of her own realm. Yes there are others, eighteenth century London  numbers them in their thousands, but a welcome in the Park  is the stuff of dreams for all but Flora. Her presence confirms her at the very apex.

As the light fades she wearies but her acute senses sustain her. She alone senses the river Tyburn buried under foot. Its faint refreshing gurgling offers a refreshing dialogue. The hidden waters waft up a faint aroma. Sweet moisture helps Flora summon up her last warm frothy white liquid. Her followers rejoice, toasting their loyal allegiance. Flora processes majestically out, taking a dignified leave and a last walk in the park.


Royal Collections Trust creative writing group

Lester Hillman has written this beautiful piece for the Royal Collections Trust Creative Writing group.  If you would like to join, do let us know. You can join via email, phone or post.


eggEgg Timer by Lester Hillman

Perhaps the egg is about the beating of time, the time tensions creating the gift, seasonal cycles and inspiration, the surprise moment of giving and receiving, dramas playing out to a fixed deadline and public ceremonial spectacle. Perhaps there were perspectives looking decades back and focusing thoughts to a dynastic future.

What might have been Alma Theresia Pihl’s thoughts that Orthodox Church Easter Sunday morning in Russia 1914 as the egg was hatching and the surprise drama played out?  Had the inspiration came from there? Others too who had bought it to completion would have invested emotion and could hope for relief. It cannot have been a three minute creation.

The inspiration from domestic contentment, sewing by the fireside, conjures up Winter, the opening of the egg a birth, the embroidery flowers herald Spring and a good Summer. The seasons seem to be there.

Long in advance had a range of ideas been presented to the Tsar for his selection, approval and the adding of a personal dimension? A surprise called for keeping the secret yet practicalities, materials, craftsmanship, second thoughts and last minute options would call for advance preparation, judgements and assumptions with tricky, interwoven and nested time cycles.

Lastly there must surely have been generational cycles. For the Tsar’s family health, life itself and the dynastic succession were ever present concerns. The year 1914 clocked up two decades for Tsar Nicholas II. So here at a significant way marker might a family, cocooned safely, hope for a protected future with a few less surprises.











Dear members

If you are checking this website I hope that you are keeping safe and well. We have had to suspend all our activities and events for now whilst the country tackles the Coronavirus.

Please keep well and we look forward to resuming the programme when it is safe to do so.

Take care