(December 2017) Sibfords Society

The visit from our speaker on 19th October is now a long way off, but Dr Gillian White’s talk on’ The Great Fire of Warwick’ was unforgettable – a wealth of information delivered with great panache and humour.

Unfortunately, the long-awaited talk by Dr Richard Buckley on ‘Life after Richard III’, due to take place on 16th November, had to be postponed. We found not one speaker, but two at short notice: Oswyn Murray and Ivan Tyrrell.

‘How well do you know your father?’

Oswyn began with his depiction of the journey of a bundle of love letters written in 1943 by a young woman, Eileen Alexander, to her beloved who was serving in Cairo and later became her husband. It is an entrancing story, and all based on so much coincidence -the connection between this young woman and Oswyn’s father, the very fact that Oswyn’s name is unique, the dedication of the man in Glasgow who transcribed the thousands of letters, eventually having them published, and seeking out Oswyn.This is the compelling stuff of fiction but it is all true. It must have been a joyous revelation for Oswyn to learn from a stranger, long deceased, things about his father that he never could have known.

His message : we are the custodians of our parents’ memories.

‘Memory and Memoirs’

As if that were not stunningly interesting enough it was followed by Ivan Tyrrell’s fascinating story of his life – his memoirs condensed into half an hour. We were expertly taken from his babyhood to his boyhood and then to his adult life, and shown how all his experiences played a role in the person he has become: hypnosis as a 14 year-old when his arm was fractured, his genuinely curious questions on Bible stories, for which he was beaten at school, his artistic gifts, and later his interest in depression and psychotherapy. We went away, our heads spinning with Archimedes’ Eureka moment, Idris Shah, the Law of all Living Things, Why we Dream, The Human Givens ,The Brain’s Big Bang ,Sufism, and much, much more.

On behalf of the Sibfords Society Committee, many many thanks to both of you; please come back and let’s have a week-long seminar next time!

We are taking a break for Christmas and our next meeting will be the Social Evening on 15th February 2018. Please lend Tony Haynes a photo of yourself as a child for the quiz, and if you have an amusing anecdote about Christmas please let us know.

Diana Hughes