Keyworth and Ruddington

Anne Boleyn

Keyworth and Ruddington Inner Wheel are hosting an Evening with Anne Boleyn at Widmerpool Church on Friday 20th May – doors open at 7pm with a ;prompt start at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £12.50. each and this will include a light supper and a glass of wine.

Anne Boleyn is portrayed by Lesley Smith from Tutbury Castle. I am sure that many of you will have seen her in her roles as Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Nell Gwynne.

Lesley portrays Anne just before her execution when she is in the Tower, looking back over her life from her young years at Hever Castle and eventually her relationship and marriage to Henry VIII and then her downfall. It will be a very powerful but wonderful performance in a beautiful Church in the lovely village of Widmerpool.

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Shedding a Light on Homelessness

District 1220 Rotarian Keith Turney from the Rotary Club of Keyworth and Ruddington and MD of Central High Rise, attended Framework’s annual Sleep Out this year. Unlike other years the night was warm, so did he get any sleep?

The theme for the Sleep Out this year was ‘Shed a Light on Homelessness’. Part of the Sleep Out evening’s content is the Box Factor Competition where participants are invited to compete for the best Sleep Out construction which you must then sleep in. The winner is the individual or group of people who provide a viable construction which best depicts the theme. Last year I won the Box Factor having constructed a Fruit Stall representing the ‘Covent Garden’. Planning to be especially clever but did it pay off? I don’t blame myself you understand! Following good advice I included an additional strap line, “For the Dignity of the Key”, something I thought of last year.

8.30 a.m Saturday morning. In the garage, making my ‘KEY’ Now strapline and motif ready….

6pm Friday Night. Sara Blizzard on East Midlands Today said, there “would be rain at 3.00 a.m. Sunday morning”. Great! I made sure the construction had a polythene outer layer, the upper level devised and made to protect my exhibition from ‘this forecast rain’. Weatherproofing I hoped had been installed so that if the rain deluged there would be no leaks. My den appeared like a suitable subject for ‘Arthur Clark’s Amazing Small Spaces’

So there it was; a polythene clad rectangular box made out of timber struts open at one end and an upper level of similar construction but lower in height. Timber is not cardboard but last year had shown me that once you construct above waist height then the construction will sag, especially if it’s a bit damp, any way the structure was cardboard lined. The theme was ‘Shedding a Light in Homelessness’ so my idea was to create a structure that showed Homelessness in two ways. The upper level contained two carrier bags full of cloths titled WARDROBE, a box titled HOME, a pile of Newspapers titled BED, and then a large replica Key with its strap line ‘FOR THE DIGNITY OF THE KEY’.


Keith outside his shelter for the night

The people nearby, my neighbours, if you like, who had been homeless in the past rewardingly identified with this alternative tag line. It rang true to them. One explained how instead of carrier bags a knapsack and its contents quite literally kept him alive. I mentioned the weather being warm but normally at this time of year cold kills. My man said he’s attended several funerals and he only recently attended a man’s funeral where none of the other 6 brothers would attend his, this being nasty but a normal part of the stigma of homelessness.

Two walls and the ceiling to the upper and the lower boxes were lined with cardboard and then covered with foil which was intended to radiate light from the torches at both levels. I was the exhibit on the lower level. Again two walls were left open as I would be seen lying on the cardboard bedding at pavement level.

I am competitive and I was proud of my Den. However, a tour of the site revealed that the landscape of the whole square resembled an estate of a wild architect and a bizarre storytellers’ dream: most were proficiently built. The competition for the Box Factor this year was fierce to put it mildly. I felt therefore lucky to become a runner up alongside a group from Lymms who were also representing the Inner Wheel Club of Keyworth and Ruddington with a construction that had a Lighthouse depicting the theme.

The worthy winner added Santa going head first down a chimney. Still, I wondered if in the morning I may prove to be insufferably smug as I stood proud against my waterproofed den which was designed to remain standing after a predicted soaking. The following morning I expected to witness the vision of melted looking structures as if heat had got the butter icing. I was expecting to be refreshed after a good sleep while others shivered because their unprotected cardboard dens would first sag and then stick to them providing no barrier between themselves and the elements.

Did it rain? Not a drop!

I could have spared myself the construction of the upper deck also and I need not have suffocated in my heat retaining air tight creation. But considering how history has taught us how the Luddites treated boasted constructions, perhaps I was spared some rough treatment from a resentful sleep deprived mob. Still, the warm night this year promised I would not wake up at 3 a.m. absolutely frozen as in previous years, so I would benefit from a good night’s sleep and there would therefore be no need to catch up the day after as I had needed to in previous years. I went to bed at midnight and began the ‘live’ part of my exhibit at pavement level.

I lay back nursing my back after a long day building the den both in my garage and finishing it off at the Sleep Out followed by a walk around the square chatting and admiring other constructions. As I rested I became aware of how noisy the square was. People were treating the warm weather as if it was a summer’s evening, some lay in the open looking ready to sleep, some had retired to their dens but a lot of insomniacs were wide awake and partying, the invasion of the street lights into my den and the illumination of my torches was not helping either. Being prepared, I brought a tarpaulin. I abandoned the ‘sleeping beauty’ exhibit bit, and placed the tarpaulin over the viewing walls and then switched off the torches. But at 1 a.m. as I again laid back it became obvious that the darkening of my den seemed, if anything, managed to magnify the cacophony of sounds; screams, laughs, jeers, conversations. A party were even playing ‘eye spy’ using the limited edges of the street light to illuminate their game. I think the sound which distressed me most, however, was of somebody snoring! How lucky that person is to be able to shut out the sounds of a Karaoke evening on St Pancras station.

It must have quietened at some stage I think its 3.00 a.m.; about the time I rise after persuading myself I am still comfortable trying to maintain a frozen lay in. I remember being awoken by the sound of cardboard being dragged to the onsite refuse lorry. My den which took 12 hours to build now only took 12 minutes to demolish. I did a good construction job; I don’t suppose other dens needed to be kicked in order to part the timbers. Still it was nice to be able to move around freely first thing in the morning this year unlike the previous years where I would have to force my frozen and gelled body which would be yearning for warmth to rise from under the covers or out of the bag.

The queue for bacon butties on previous Sleep Outs comprised of silent pasty faced survivors who shivered and hoped that eating a butty and a sip of tea held by shivering hands would put some life back into their souls as well as their bodies. This year everyone was as lively as last night although jaded slightly from a lack of sleep they were still enjoying humour. The joy of the event is one of the reasons why I continue to attend the Sleep Out. In the first place I attend this event for the camaraderie.

A comment made about my Runner Up rosette highlighted another very good reason why I join the event ‘It’s a bit amateurish isn’t it’? Exactly, that is where the treasure is. Framework’s upper management does not consist of a faceless board of executives who may commission professional yet impersonal set of awards and thank you’s. This management know what individuals have undertaken. I was flattered when they told me that they had read my blog and remembered my previous efforts. They attend this event along with the rest of the nutcases who think the perverse act of sleeping rough on the street for a night out is fun. Framework demonstrates the friendly face of help and not the belittling jobs worth approach. Loyalty to Framework is demonstrated by previous Framework beneficiaries joining in with these Sleep Outs.

Last night was warm, it was a cushy one this year! The weather after the weekend of the Sleep Out however predictably worsened and as winter continues so temperatures will plummet through the day and the nights may become unbearable. Others during this time will be sofa surfing, or looking for a temporary or permanent bed. These people range from those who are perhaps in a state of shock wondering how suddenly the break-up of a relationship which produced children quickly results in a move out of what used to be home, now with bags as a wardrobe the parent avoiding being a refugee in their own city and being stalked by hunger is forced to take what help there is. And there are those for whom precariousness is a way of life, although they can still cry and wish for better.

Remember the man whose funeral the other six brothers did not attend? You have to fast track through the chain of events which lead to such estrangement. People who become homeless are usually required to accept anything just to survive and contrary to unsympathetic observations nearly all of them have no choice in the matter, they are usually you and I in different circumstances.

I always wonder why my circle of friends does not diminish because at this time of the year anybody who is within a handshake of me has a sponsorship form shoved under their nose. I will attend Sleep Out next year and guess what, if you are within a handshake of me………!

I slept out and my friends have given money so others don’t have to sleep rough, and that they will not lose the dignity of that key!

Keith Turney

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Framework 2013 Big Sleep Out

Keith Turney attended Framework 2013 Big Sleep Out on the 28th November 2013 in Sneinton Square. Keith Turney was representing Keyworth and Ruddington Rotary Club. Enclosed is Keith’s account of the evening:

My Prize Winning Structure at the Big Sleep Out

Keith Turney in 'Box Factor'

Keith Turney in ‘Box Factor’

The theme of Framework’s sleep out this year was ‘Covent Garden’ and I made the effort to join in. Covent Garden is famous for two things, the Opera and its fruit market. Don’t worry it was the fruit market theme I pursued. I left the Opera to a trio of talented ladies who entertained us all with unaccompanied recitals using their classically trained voices. For my part I could empty the square with my pub singing efforts.

I made the effort to join in the Box Factor Challenge and my fruit stall turned out to be a prize winner! but bear in mind my den’s ‘Prize Winning Status’ for later on! Being an entrepreneur I made an effort to win a prize and I was glad to learn that you could begin your efforts off site (it’s in the rules). The evening before the sleep out I constructed what I considered to be a sturdy double skin box which was even reinforced by ribs made out of tightly rolled cardboard bound by masking tape. I even added a user friendly detail, if you had read my article last year you will remember I woke up realising my glasses had fallen from where I had perched them and had joined me in the sleeping bag. I did manage to retrieve them intact but I could not rely on such luck again. A design detail brought about by experience resulted in a ‘glasses shelf’ being installed to the back wall of the den. Ribs in place I then constructed the roof of the stall. This too was double skinned and was ribbed to stop it sagging and, of course, it had some weight. Before constructing the supporting legs I gingerly placed the roof onto the box base. My spirits were crushed as the square opening to the box den took on a parallelogram shape in slow motion. Being on my own I could not retrieve the roof quickly enough without distorting or damaging the box section and the ribs were parting from the inside wall. As well as placing too much demand on my construction the cardboard was beginning to weaken as it absorbed moisture from the evening air. Needless to say that concluded my efforts for that evening, and my comments as I switched off the lights were certainly not of self congratulation!

During the following day which was in fact the day of the sleep out, I was on business in North Yorkshire and was very conscious of my half collapsed efforts. One of my visits involved visiting one of my gangs working on site. I am still wondering if my startled client actually understood what I was planning to undertake after I asked him if I could help myself to the cardboard from behind the wheelie bins. With the back of my car crammed with cardboard I headed for home hoping my additional materials and the modification I had in mind would provide me with a viable structure for the event. I reinforced the base with lathes of timber (I know it’s not cardboard, but that had failed remember, only the original bearded one could walk on water and make soggy cardboard stand upright)! Gingerly and with help this time, and after installing the uprights which were a complication in their own right we lifted the roof onto the base and thankfully there was no failure. We dismantled the construction and then borrowed a truck from work to transport it to site. The fruit? (You will remember the theme was Covent Garden) Well, bless Google images, one chooses a fruit and calls it wallpaper and you get a choice of wall to wall lemons, strawberries and so on. The stall is a cardboard replica, I am assuming I was not expected to provide anything other than paper fruit!

It had been a long day up to the point we arrived at the Sleep Out camp just 5 minutes after the gates had officially opened. I spent the evening being snapped with cameras and mobile phones and I even went onto one or two Facebook pages. I wondered if I was going viral. (In my youth in the 70s I would not have admitted to that in case my contemporaries thought it was anti social and/or catching, surprising how the platelets of the English Language move) However, apart from being the object of some attention more rewarding, as in previous Sleep Outs, was the camaraderie which is obvious within the camp. We are there to benefit those whose luck is low or even nonexistent, but we also gain. Wandering around we talk, sometimes being surprised at what mutual friendships we have. There are a lot of young girls there dressed in their ‘Onesies’ and behaving as if they are on a ‘Sleep ‘Over’ not ‘Sleep Out’. I have seen these sights each year, all I can say is these girls are harder than they look and they do the distance along with those of us who are attired for a Polar Expedition. My neighbour was a young woman who, like others, was repaying Framework for the time it provided her with accommodation when she needed it. It would be unfair to repeat what she told me and I will not give her name, but she now lives in a far nicer neighbourhood than she began life and supports her son and is now an employer. She had raised over £550.00 via her Facebook page. It is important to remember that those who benefit from Framework are just like you and I but often have no support network which most of us would assume would be there for anybody. There is also another important item in our lives which we take for granted and which I will describe towards the end of this article. Then came the prize giving and I won the ‘Box Factor’.

I was awarded with a No 7 Toiletries Pack. For those who do not know what that is it contains a face scrub and after shave and such like. I am the original hippy so my 15 year old grandson became the ultimate beneficiary, and he thinks I am ‘well cool’. Earlier I asked you to remember that my effort won a prize. I am from the construction trade and as anybody in the construction trade will tell you, Award Winning Designs can prove to have useless practical detailing. At 3.30 a.m. I understood the original meaning of the term ‘well cool’.

View from within the den with no door

View from within the den with no door

Because I had not provided a front door to my den, (in previous years my constructions resembled mounds which were ‘closed off’ after I crawled in and were therefore warmer or less cold to be in) the searching early morning late autumn breeze regularly washed over my face, even with my head at the far end of the den from the opening, but I was tired so tried to ’sleep it out’. I slept , woke, slept, then came a period when for an hour I put off a visit to the loo, hanging on to my tiredness in order to gain more sleep, necessary to get me through the following day (later on that day I should say!). The moment came when the visit to the loo could not be put off any longer and I knew that when I was up I would be up for the day.

At 4.30 a.m. three of us stood shivering at the tea/sandwich caravan. The camaraderie is even strong at this time and we make a laugh of it. “A bacon sandwich, tea and a hot water bottle” I order, the others laugh in sympathy “I can do the bacon sandwich and the tea my sweet”. This lovely woman was good natured last night and having had no sleep because her role was to be available for nourishment throughout the night, remains nice natured, (not natural if you ask me) “That will have to do” I reply.

Fortified and slightly warmed by our early breakfast we are talking when suddenly the shape and the direction of the gust of wind raises and lowers discarded polystyrene cups and paper from the night before. There was a sea wave of vulnerable looking polythene and tarpaulin coverings and some corners strained and began to fail. A site wide groan soon followed this gust, and so too were some half asleep screams as a number thought their dens were about to fail around them. “That woke a few” I commented. 15 minutes later there is a constant slamming of sprung loaded portaloo doors being let go as the occupant perhaps now more awake than when they went in gingerly re-entered the outside air, drawing their bedding up as far as their chins and around them as they walked around the square. By 5 a.m. there was a long queue for the sandwich and tea caravan. The square was awake! Social groups sat in circles cross legged in their torn dens waiting for 7 a.m. to come, the official end of the sleep out, quieter than the night before but having completed a mission.

My prize winning structure being recycled in the morning

My prize winning structure being recycled in the morning

I will be at the Sleep Out again next year. So why do I want to do it? For the crack to begin with, but my neighbour for the evening reminded me of a reason. I am a male, and therefore familiar with the loss of my keys, and like most males I don’t know what agency is responsible for hiding them, I never find them where I last left them (who is pig headed – moi?) Losing keys can be infuriating. The temperament is not helped when your beloved comes out with that immortal phrase which must exist through different languages and cultures, “where did you last see them?” For the sake of decency I will paraphrase the usual reply “If I knew the answer to that my dear, I would not be asking…..WOULD I?’ But occasionally some of us have lost our keys and it is upsetting. It is as if you had provided uninvited access for somebody into the world which you cherish, your fort against the outside world. Imagine though that you do not possess a front door key, that you have no place to think, to rest, no nest. Worse, imagine you have children who need you for support, guidance and nourishment and you cannot provide that.

Framework is about supporting those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves without something, or about to lose something which gives the rest of us that mental base, a place where we can make our plans, recharge our batteries, laugh, cry, relax, decorate according to your taste, a place you can organise in your own way, a space where you form and nourish your identity and to have your own thoughts in private, that place is the home. What if you have no home and no key to symbolise this. A key is about dignity as well as about the necessary material things a person or a family needs.

I will end with Framework’s own tag line. “I slept out and raised money in order that others don’t have to”.

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