Local historian and conservationist Bruce Huett shares another enthusiastic response for the Waterlight film, this time at Royston Probus Club at Royston Golf Club on 10th October.
Although the film showing following a sumptuous meal, accompanied by wine, attention was riveted on the screen throughout.
After the showing a lively discussion ensued, encompassing mills, otter hounds, the spiritual nature of water, local fishing and even beavers. The group were very interested in the history of the maintenance of waterways and I was able to describe findings from 13th-century manorial records, enclosure documents, 1950s flood prevention correspondence and the work of the River Mel Restoration Group on how this had evolved.
Members had interesting accounts about other streams they had visited around the country and it was distressing to hear that a local stream in Foxton (described in The Common Stream by Rowland Parker) and the Guilden Brook were now dried up. Someone remembered fishing here and catching dabs.
The group were particularly impressed with the way that the powerful imagery supported Clare’s evocative poetry, effectively set in a historical, social and environmental context. Several members of the local photography group were present and commented on how well the film shooting captured the “spirit” of the river.
The group were so impressed with the film that a walk will be arranged next year to experience the river in more detail, including, of course, the local public houses. The link here is that water for the local beer would have come from the Mel in days now past.
It has also resulted in an invitation to show it at the Royston Ladies Lunch Club next year.
Editor note: Probus clubs are a spin-off from Rotary for retired people to meet socially, often over a meal. Royston Probus Club holds lunch meetings at Royston Golf Club on the second Thursday of each month (starting at 12.30 for 1 pm), with a guest speaker approximately every other meeting.
You can find accounts of other local screenings of the Waterlight film in previous blog posts – at the Community Hall in Melbourn on 25th July and a The Plough in Shelpreth on 13th June — and do check our Upcoming Events page for new screenings.