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Oddfellows International Membership

Celebrity interview: Dame Helen Mirren In this issue: • Virtual Lodge meeting • Weekend School - Harrogate • George in the garden • Branch profile: St Marnock Lodge, Scotland since 1810

• … and much more

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10

Oddfellows International Membership Welcome to the October edition of the monthly online magazine for Oddfellows members This month we speak to the Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren who tells us about her formative years, her future films and her now-famous bikini body. We head north of the border and celebrate the launch of our new Edinburgh Branch with a look back at the Society’s Scottish roots.

And we have our usual selection of stories and features – including news and photos from our recent weekend school in Harrogate.

We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it. If you have a story to tell then why not share it? Email

George Hill tells you how to prepare your garden for the winter months.

Virtual Lodge inaugural meeting – 10 October Karen Stuart, Deputy Grand Master (Deputy Chairman) of the Oddfellows, answers your questions about the upcoming launch of the online Abercrombie Lodge. Why is it called the Abercrombie Lodge? It’s named after the very first Oddfellows Lodge, founded in 1810. We think it’s a fitting tribute to the hard work of our forefathers, and a good way to mark the Society’s 201st birthday. How have the trial sessions gone? They’ve been really useful. Some potential issues have now been resolved and those members who attended really benefitted from them. How can people get involved? Anyone can come along if they’re a member and have registered to use the Oddfellows website. Visit and sign in – then it’s just a click of the mouse away. Interested members will need to contact to register in advance. Members will get the most out of the Lodge if they have a headset and microphone, but if they don’t they can always type-talk. What will be on the first meeting’s agenda? It will be just like the inaugural meeting of any Lodge anywhere in the world. The first one will be chaired by the Officers of the Order – including the Secretary of the Order and the Grand Master. There’ll be traditional ceremonial and Lodge Officer elections, and all members will be encouraged to help develop the Lodge as they want to. They can see how a Lodge works – with the traditional opening and closing ceremonies – and we’ll welcome any questions they might have. What would you say to anyone interested? Come along and see what it’s like - you don’t have to be a computer wizard. Oddfellows have always made friends and helped people, and we hope the Abercrombie Lodge will help lots more members make new friends.


Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10

Back to School in Harrogate The town of Harrogate

A lively weekend of sharing skills and knowledge took place over a long weekend in Harrogate last month with sixty members representing 22 Districts in attendance. The Weekend School, which takes place in different parts of the country in March and September, is part of the Society’s on going commitment to help Branches grow and develop through training. Everyone attended the open sessions on Friday and Saturday. An ‘Open Forum’ of topics chosen by members was the focus on Friday followed by ‘Planning recruitment activity’ and ‘Care’ presentations on Saturday. After that, members attend six workshops over Saturday and Sunday – these had been selected in advance from a list of nine varied topics including:

The venue for the seminars

• FSA Financial Capability and Money Made Clear • Chairmen and Branch Committees of Management • Third Century of Oddfellowship

Charles Vaughan, Grand Master (Chairman of the Society) introduces one of the open sessions

• Data Security – Fraud and Scams • Property • Promoting Events • Top tips to get in the media • Event Ideas • IT : Files and Folders, Handy Tips, Useful Shortcuts, How to get the most out of pictures It was a new experience for Dorothy and Amanda who were both attending the Weekend School for the first time. Dorothy Emerson, from the Manchester Branch thought that the Weekend School “was a great learning curve and experience for all Oddfellows who attended… the interaction of ideas from other Branches was stimulating.”

Martin Jackson and Diane Burton’s ‘Planning recruitment activity’ presentation

Amanda Fraser, from a new Branch in Edinburgh also found the weekend rewarding, “It was an enormously useful experience and an opportunity to get a real flavour of Oddfellowship in the 21st Century. It was such a packed weekend, I felt like I wanted more of it”.

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10


Events newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership

| March 2011 | Edition 03

Oddfellows International Membership Claire’s tales from the clipper Oddfellows members Peter and Claire Needham (PPGM) are currently undertaking a phenomenal challenge. The father and daughter from the Vale of York District are taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race to raise money for charity. The race is split into 10 legs and Peter recently completed the gruelling 3,390mile second leg from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town. Claire set off on the third leg – all 4,750 miles of it – from Cape Town to Western Australia on 5 October. In between battling the waves with her 17 fellow sailors, Claire is writing regular blogs for the Oddfellows. Here is her entry from 2 October: “What a week it’s been since I arrived in Cape Town. Dad's boat – The Gold Coast – was the first to arrive on Tuesday. He was greeted by the Cape Town Minstrels and some cold beers before we went for dinner. Steak went down well with Dad after 17 days with almost no meat. Wednesday was ‘deep-clean’ day on The Gold Coast. There were also maintenance jobs to do like checking the rigging and repairing sails. I made sure I chose jobs on the outside so I could enjoy the sunshine! On Thursday my boat – Qingdao - arrived. But for me, Dad and rest of The Gold Coast crew it was time for a wine-tasting trip to the Stellenbosch region. Needless to say we had a great day celebrating their success! Friday saw me helping out on Qingdao. All our food had now arrived and we had to split it up by day, label it all and put it into dry bags for the voyage. We visited the local Oddfellows at Alfred Lodge on Saturday for their monthly breakfast event. It was a great chance to share stories and experiences from the other side of the world. Afterwards we returned to the harbour for the award ceremony and dinner at the exclusive Royal Cape Yacht Club. So today has been our first free day and we’ve made the most of it by taking in the sights on a bus tour. Tomorrow is when the hard work starts so I’m off now to get an early night. Speak soon Claire.”


The magnificent Qingdao

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10

DON'T MESS WITH THE DAME s Dame Helen Mirren turns special agent for her new movie The Debt, the lauded actress talks to us about geriatric fights and that now-infamous bikini photo


Dame Helen Mirren is sitting in a chair with her head in her hands, giggling with embarrassment. She’s just been reminded about her most recent honour where she beat the likes of Elle MacPherson, Cheryl Cole and Jennifer Lopez to be crowned Body Of The Year. “I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers,” says 66-year-old Mirren with a familiar and mischievous glint in her eye. “The reality is that I’m in a permanent state of guilt for not exercising enough. I’m just like anyone else really, it’s a constant struggle,” says the actress who won an Oscar for her role as Elizabeth II in 2006’s The Queen. Then she laughs and says that her husband, director Taylor Hackford, is currently working with J-Lo on the new thriller Parker, “so I’m going to have to deal with her sooner or later.” Mirren has never been one to shy away from stripping off on screen. Perhaps Russell Brand, her co-star on the remake of Arthur, put it best when he described her as: “Our punk queen. She’s got a matriarchal authority but she’s very, very sexy.” And indeed she’s always been lauded for her physical attributes and barely latent sexuality during her 40-year career.

That said, the shot of her posing in a red bikini, looking tanned and toned on an Italian break three years ago, still managed to generate headlines the world over. “That photograph will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she says. In a recent interview she said she thought there was a sense of shock that a woman in her sixties could look like that, but today she says: “It's a lie. I don’t actually look like that – I just cover it up well.” She’s doing herself her a disservice, of course, because in the flesh she looks remarkable and effortlessly elegant in a light green dress and cream jacket; her silver hair styled in a soft bob. She’s currently promoting her latest film The Debt – a two-tiered espionage thriller about three retired Mossad agents who have been venerated for decades by Israel because of a secret mission they embarked on in the Sixties. Mirren stars as the only female agent Rachel Speed, while the up-and-coming actress Jessica Chastain, who recently appeared alongside Brad Pitt in The Tree Of Life, plays her younger incarnation. “It’s old-fashioned storytelling with a great, great story,” says Mirren. “And it's a lovely role because we [actors] are selfish and self-interested. We want good roles to play.” The movie sees her reunite with her former Prime Suspect director John Madden (who won an Oscar for the 1998 film Shakespeare In Love). Madden only ever had one actress in mind for the role that, he says, requires a woman “to be very strong, but at the same time, vulnerable.”

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10


Events newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership

| March 2011 | Edition 03

Oddfellows International Membership Of his leading lady, he adds: “Helen's an actress at the top of her game and she likes to test herself. She is fearless.” Mirren responded immediately to the challenges posed by the material. “Aside from wanting to work with John again and the fact this was a good thriller story, I was interested in exploring the notion of how every action you take in life has a result, a consequence, and sooner or later you’re going to have to face up to it,” says Mirren. “Very often you make a mistake, a little misjudgement, and it can blow up horribly in your face. The best thing is always to come clean,” says Mirren. Having learned to live with compromise in The Debt, Rachel slowly arrives at the realisation that it doesn't always work. “She's not a person who reveals much to anyone, not even to the daughter who has written a book about her and her colleagues,” Mirren explains. “Rachel has buried her true emotions and existed for many years on a superficial level, not confronting the depth of her true feelings.” This posed particular challenges for Mirren – who says that while she's never been the kind of actor to take a role home with her, the part of Rachel required a huge amount of concentration. “Although there's not a lot of dialogue, there's this internal story that's constantly going on and you have to communicate that through the camera without words,” says Mirren, reluctant to give too much of the plot away.

“The great thing about action is you don't have to act. All you have to do is get from A to B as proficiently as possible. Tempest [she recently starred as Prospero in a big screen adaptation].” Next up will be period piece The Door and she's currently shooting a biopic on the Phil Spector story with Al Pacino. “To be on the set with one of the greatest living actors and watching him work is really, really thrilling,” she says breathlessly. As inspired and excited by her career as she was forty years ago, this Dame's certainly not slowing down any time soon.

EXTRA TIME Helen Mirren

But once the takes were done, she'd like to think she reverted to “laughing Helen Mirren.”


In preparation for the role, the actress worked with a dialect coach to hone an Israeli inflection and spent time with Chastain “to find little habits, little physical things to give the effect of this being one person.”

:: Of Russian descent, her family name is actually Mironov but it was changed to Mirren when she was seven years old.

She also learnt basic krav maga, the defence skill rooted in hand-to-hand combat used by the Israeli Defence Forces, though Mirren points out her character hadn’t fought for some years, so she wanted to keep that realistic. “When Rachel's called upon to defend herself again, she's far from a credible fighter,” she adds, before laughing and referring to the scene as a “geriatric fight between a 60-year-old woman and a 80-year-old man.” “It's really hard to get back up once you're down,” she says through laughter. 6

Helen Mirren was born on 26 July, 1945, in Chiswick, London.

:: She launched her career playing Cleopatra at the National Youth Theatre. :: She received Oscar nominations for The Madness of King George, Gosford Park and The Last Station, before winning the acclaimed award for The Queen.

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10

Old friendships renewed and new friendships made during Friendship Month Nearly 80 events have been held, many cups of tea and coffee have been drank and lots of miles have been walked during our first ever Friendship Month, held last month. Up and down the country, Branches took to the theme with enthusiasm and imagination celebrations included a Friendship Photo Competition, a Harvest Supper and an Afternoon at the Proms. Many Branches made their events free to attend, encouraging new people to join in the celebrations. Mid-Staffordshire District took part in the first ever Stafford Arts Festival with free Zumba demonstrations and face painting in their Hall in the town centre. Down south, a new Oddfellows Branch was launched in Enfield, North London with not one, but two, events being held during September, both attracting over 40 people. As one of their many Friendship Month events, South Yorkshire & North Derbyshire District organised a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at their newly reopened Hall in Rotherham. New faces came along to enjoy the party atmosphere (and cake!) with new members joining the Society on the day.

Wentworth Friendship Walk

Some of the delicious cakes at the Enfield Branch Launch

Later in the month, members from the District ventured to Wentworth Woodhouse stately home to see how many Oddfellows could fit through the eye of a needle – the Needle’s Eye Folly that is! The folly was built in the 18th century by the Marquis of Rockingham to help him win a drunken bet. Other Friendship Walks were held by King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Boston & Lincoln, Deeside, Erewash, South London, Leicestershire and Nottingham Trent Branches with Mitcham going for an evening walk and talk around Richmond Bridge (a grade I listed building) in south west London. As well as the events that were held, over 1,000 special Friendship Month postcards were distributed, helping to spread the word. This was complemented by an exciting campaign on Facebook and Twitter resulting in lots of new followers and friendships made. Friendship Month - September 2012 We hope that even more Branches will get involved next year so everyone has a Friendship Month event nearby that they can take part in.

Lincoln Friendship Walk

Lincoln Friendship walkers relaxing with some refreshments

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10


Events newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | March 2011 | Edition 10 03

Oddfellows International Membership Branch profile: St Marnock Lodge, Scotland To celebrate the opening of Edinburgh’s new Branch this month, we’re looking back at the history of Oddfellowship in Scotland. Marjorie MacDonald, former Provincial Grand Master (District Chairman) of St Marnock Lodge, takes us back in time to share her experiences. “I’ve been an active member all my life. My father signed me up as a member on the day I was born and that was 60 years ago that made me a fourth generation Oddfellow. When I was a young girl in the ‘50s and ‘60s my Lodge met on a weekly basis. I remember my mum and dad going to Glasgow every Wednesday evening for Lodge. And there were plenty of things for the kids too, like summer trips and Christmas parties, to keep us out of trouble.

Members on a trip to the Rhine Valley

Day trip on the Sir Walter Scott cruise - Loch Katrine

I’m from the west of Scotland and there were six Lodges around Glasgow back then, with another nine in nearby Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock and Fife. When I joined the adult Lodge at 16 the whole of November and December was filled with social events. We travelled to a different Lodge each week – Glasgow, Greenock, Dunfermline or Edinburgh for dinner dances. It was a busy and enjoyable time. Only a handful of Scottish Lodges owned their own building, so most of my memories are of church or co-op halls. My Lodge used to rent a room in the Glasgow City Halls – a small suite of rooms right in the centre of the city. Some Lodges who did own their own buildings – like Kilmarnock or Edinburgh – eventually sold them as the combination of expensive upkeeps and increasing property values meant it made sense. The St Marnock Lodge still meets every 4 weeks at a hotel just outside Kilmarnock. Although there is not the same amount of Lodges or members across Scotland, Oddfellowship is still very much alive and membership is increasing again. We run a great social programme now and our Social Organiser comes up with an interesting event every month to keep us going. In the last few months we’ve been to the Scottish parliament, the races and the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh. We’re also going to Berlin soon after past trips to Bruges and Amsterdam. This, along with the bigger emphasis on the care benefits, has helped to double our numbers in recent years.


Trip to Bruges

Day trip to Stirling Castle

Most of our members are over 50 or recently retired. It would be great to get the grandchildren involved, but I think we’re pitching it at the right age group now, and I feel confident that we’ll still be going strong in another 60 years.”

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10

Local recipe Loin of Monachyle Venison, Mixed Wild Mushrooms, Garden Vegetables, Whisky and Sherry Vinaigrette Serves 4 Ingredients 4 100-150g portions venison loin 4-6 baby carrots, scraped and halved 4-6 young turnips, cleaned and halved large handful young kale leaves, washed and trimmed handful young ruby chard leaves, washed and trimmed 200g mixed fresh chanterelles, birch and bay boletus, cleaned and sliced

250ml rich game stock 75ml port 1 tablespoon Glengoyne 17 Year Old Malt Whisky 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar 3-4 tablespoons olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas Mark 8. To cook the garden vegetables Blanche the carrots and turnips in boiling salted water until tender but still crunchy then refresh in cold water. Lightly steam and refresh the kale and chard. To cook the venison Season the venison well. Heat a frying pan, add a knob of butter and pan-fry the venison quickly until coloured on all sides, then pop into the oven for 4-7 mins, depending on size. Remove and transfer to a warm plate to rest for 5 minutes. Deglaze the frying pan with the stock and port and reduce by two thirds. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together then add to the reduced stock and reduce again until syrupy and the correct flavour balance, checking the seasoning. Add good glug of whisky to taste .Keep warm. To finish the vegetables Heat a frying pan and add a good knob of butter then add the mushrooms and pan fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked carrots, turnips and greens and heat through for a minute. To serve Place a few vegetables on the centre of 4 warm plates. Slice the venison nice and thinly, arrange on top and spoon over the remaining mushrooms and vegetables. Spoon the reduced jus over and around the plates and serve immediately. Recipe courtesy of Tom Lewis of Monachyle Mhor -

Special members offer - Edinburgh Capital Hotel Book two nights and save 20%* Plus: Oddfellows members get a free upgrade to a superior room with a king size bed and panoramic views of the history city of Edinburgh. Call 0131 535 9988 or email and quote ODDCAPITAL *Subject to terms and conditions and availability Thanks to for picture right. Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10


Oddfellows International Membership

George in the garden Top tips from our resident gardener

October is traditionally the end of the growing year. But from an end there is always a beginning as new flowers appear such as autumn crocuses. As the evenings get darker, the lightness of crocuses show up in the evening sun beautifully.

young trees afterwards. Trimming will reduce the crop for a year or so, but the tree will then benefit once it’s formed new fruiting buds.

There are lots of little things you can be doing in the garden at this time of year like lifting tender plants or pruning your rambling roses. And remember to keep fallen leaves off the lawn. You’ll end up spending a lot of time next spring repairing a lawn if it’s been smothered by leaves lying there too long.

Clean out your strawberry beds to keep them free of debris and dead leaves otherwise you lose the fruiting crowns over the winter. You can also thin your raspberry canes, prune your blackberry bushes and take gooseberry cuttings now to help the crop next year.

My favourite plant right now My favourite is the hardy cyclamen. It flowers nicely after lying dormant for the rest of the year. It’s a lovely bright colour and has unique mottled foliage. Once planted and established, the cyclamen looks after itself. It never needs spraying with insecticides and it doesn’t need a lot of feeding. Flower garden Finish off planting up your containers with spring bulbs, winter flowering pansies or primroses. Be sure to do it soon because it’s nice to get these plants established so they survive through the frosts to bring you enjoyment in the spring. Generally tidy up your herbaceous borders and pot the bulbs now for your Christmas flowering plants. Hyacinths are one of the most scented bulbs that you can plant in your house and grow through the winter months. So if you want to have a few nicely-scented hyacinths in the house over Christmas time then buy prepared bulbs. Cheaper ordinary ones won’t flower until the end of January. Fruit garden You should trim your fruit trees by the end of October. Start with any old trees that have been neglected first by giving them a good prune. Then go on to the 10

Vegetables It’s important to keep everything tidy this month – including your vegetables. Cut down your asparagus now and keep the ground around the plant nicely forked through to aerate the plant through the winter. Lift the roots of your parsley too, and pot them in a greenhouse. Plant out your lettuce plants in frames and pick any remaining runner or French beans. Secrets to improve your patch • Keep an eye on the fruit you’ve stored away. Don’t leave them unattended for too long because if one rots then so will the one next one to it •

Turn your compost heap to keep it working

Finish picking your fruit and prepare the ground for any fruit trees you’ll be planting soon

You can still take cuttings of shrubs in the garden, but do it soon before the frosts

If you keep potted chrysanthemums for flowering in a greenhouse, take them inside now.

Newsletter for the Oddfellows International Membership | October 2011 | Edition 10


Dame Helen Mirren: The Oscar-winning actress tells us about her formative years, her future films and her now-famous bikini body. Oddfellows...

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