According to several club members we spoke to, one agreed theory is that it’s a post-pandemic evolution; we’ve had time over lockdown to reflect and explore what we really enjoy doing and how nothing beats sharing these experiences with others. In. Real. Life.
And so, with the emergence of spring, with new growth around us signifying new starts and beginnings, if there’s an air of want to try something new, then what are you waiting for?
Let’s go clubbin’!
“We all just have a go at it!”
Local accountant Sara Fowler has been a member for five years and says, “I was nervous to start, thinking everyone would be professional and really good, but we’re all levels; some have been coming for years and are brilliant and others are here because we just enjoy it.”
“The love of flowers makes you look at life so differently.”
Barbara Meineck, 91, is the Club President and has been a member for 45 years and says, “During Covid we did a few Zooms, but this is nicer, gets you out and about.” Sheila Stracy, Chairman of the 50-year-old club agrees and says, “A lot of friendships are made here.”
“This is my first time here and it’s been just the tonic.”
Janet Harris, a retired nurse, has found respite in flower arranging after her husband was recently hospitalized and says, “I thought this would take my mind off things and I love flowers. Roses are my favourite, I have so many.”
Ewell Floral Art is part of the Ewell Horticultural Association.
For more information on their monthly meetings go to ewellhortassn.co.uk/floral-art-group
“On a deeper level, chess locks right into your arteries.”
On reviving Epsom Chess Club in 2018 (which originally formed in 1929 at the Cricketers Inn) Marcus Gosling, a local chess teacher and now Club President says, “It’s a club enriched in local history, we have original members from the 60s who attend along with a new generation rising of both young girls and boys.”
“All my family play, so we travel here together.”
With her Mum an International Master (one of the three regular Epsom members to have achieved this title) Lucy Buckley says, “After uni, I joined as a way of continuing a hobby I’ve had since I was young. The club is friendly, sociable and really inclusive with a strong community-feel.”
“She’s grown in confidence since starting.”
Reiko Keen accompanies her 13-year-old daughter Maya, who through lockdown, would play online league chess, obsessively. She says, “Sometimes I’d have to stop her and say, it’s too much, switch off but since she can play offline now and with a group that really praise, advise and encourage her, it’s helped so much with her confidence.”
For more information on both adult and junior clubs visit epsomchessclub.com
“Mentally, it’s a reset a way of refueling the tank.”
With a busy job as a NHS doctor, Alex Simonovic says, “I come most weeks before I head to the hospital. We’re overwhelmed at work. There’s a huge workload and the pressure is on, so walking in the outdoors, is a total recharge for me.”
“You can overthink it to start but it’s a very natural movement.”
Essy Carter, a part-time lifeguard says, “There’s a lot of things to think about when first using the poles – where to land them, how to propel – and while it might not look like it, it’s only when you try it, do you feel the full body work out that you get.”
“After one walk we finished at a vineyard for a bit of wine tasting.”
For school administrator Tracy De Villiers, Nordic walking has been a way of meeting new people and having fun. She says, “Initially, I started after my twin daughters left for uni. I didn’t want to be home by myself, so after dropping them off, I just went for it! It’s been incredibly therapeutic.”
Qualified Nordic Walking instructor Riikka Williams runs several groups in the area.
For more info visit movenordic.co.uk
“We’re a small store but it’s always cosy in here!”
Korie Ford, Founder of a monthly Book Club at Waterstones, Epsom says, “We have 26+ members currently and if the group gets bigger we’ll just move more of the furniture! We haven’t missed a month since it started a year ago and every book so far has been very different.”
“It’s fascinating how people come at a book with so many different interpretations.”
Writer Mina Ikemoto says, “I write but I’m not a good reader. I’d just left my job and I wanted to try something new that involved the community I grew up in, so this was a good overlap of lots of things I was looking for.”
“We do laugh a lot, too!”
Merinda D’Aprano an educational consultant adds, “We’ve all made great friends from this club.” And with so many different generations, retired Dee Peck says, “Some of the members could be my grandkids but no age is irrelevant because everybody then brings a different perspective and viewpoint.”
For more information speak to an advisor in store. Waterstones, 50 High St, Epsom, KT19 8AJ
“This year I said to myself, I want to do things that bring me joy.”
Local PA Romana Nelson was gifted the course by her husband and says, “I did A-level art – but was crap! 40 years on, amidst the busyness of life, this is now my time to spend losing myself in art; looking, learning, thinking…I LOVE it! I want to do another course!”
“I’d NEVER done anything like this before!”
“Apart from drawing cartoons with my young daughter, I’d never done art before!” explains Cristian Mantio, a BBC news cameraman. New to the area, he says, “I stumbled across this place while out exploring. The space and light is beautiful and I love the silence and calm of the class.”
“I work in software, so this is very different to my day job!”
Two decades on from studying art at college, Matt Hart says, “I never did anything with it but just before the pandemic, I began drawing again, then everything shut. Once things reopened though, I grabbed the chance.”
For more info on Life Drawing at The Horton Arts Centre hosted by Steve Trimm visit thehortonepsom.org