All about Harmony social group
We are a small group of lively, friendly and energetic singles, divorcees and widows aged over sixty, based in East Northamptonshire, England, who share similar interests and enjoy socialising together on a regular basis. Our group of established friends got together again in 2012 to form a new group, after the national singles socialising group that we had belonged to for several years ceased to exist. Whatever your interests, you can be sure that there is always something going on in Harmony that you can join. Some examples of our activities are listed below.
In Harmony there is no need to be lonely on a Sunday. If we have not already planned an activity for Sunday, like a walk or an outing, we get together on a regular basis for Sunday lunch at a central pub or restaurant. Sometimes we even go to each other’s houses for lunch, either bringing our own contribution to the lunch, or paying a nominal amount towards the costs of cooking the dinner.
Saturday Social Evenings
Do you find television boring on a Saturday night, and wish that there was somewhere you could go that doesn’t cost too much? We in Harmony quite often open our homes for small gatherings, called ‘bottle and plate parties’, where every guest brings their own drink and a plateful of party food to share, such as sausages, quiches, pork pies, nuggets, sliced meat, cheeses, couscous, rice or pasta dishes and of course a variety of desserts always turn up for those with a sweet tooth! The host or hostess usually only needs to provide jacket potatoes or a salad, for example, and their hospitality. We usually find some excuse for the gathering like a fun quiz, board games, Wii games, humorous verse readings, murder mysteries, fancy dress or joke evenings (there are always plenty of people with lots of jokes to tell). Think of a theme and we will do it (within reason).
Inevitably, if and when the summer evenings come along, we will often get together for an impromptu barbecue. The host or hostess provides the chicken, bangers and burgers (for a small charge) and the guests bring salads and desserts. We all therefore share the costs and someone will always kindly provide the venue, where we will sit nattering away on the patio until the small hours in balmy weather, or retreat to the sitting room to finish off the evening in our usual jovial style if it has turned chilly.
During the summer months there are always an assortment of NGS local gardens we visit together. Mostly these are in villages where there is a local pub to lunch in either before or after our visit. Now and again we car-share or go by coach further afield and visit public open gardens such as Highgrove in the Spring, Tatton Park Flower Show and Birmingham Botanical Gardens in the Summer, Westonbirt Arboretum in the Autumn, Anglesey Abbey in the Winter and many, many others. Of course, there is the inevitable meal either on the premises or somewhere on our journey home.
We have a variety of day trips planned for 2013, mostly during Spring, Summer and Autumn. These can either be by car, coach or train. This year for example we went by train together down to London on a sightseeing trip, incorporating a river cruise from Westminster Bridge to Greeenwich and the Cutty Sark. Then we walked along the embankment, visited St Paul’s Cathedral and finished off wining and dining near the Jubilee Gardens and the London Eye. Another train trip was down to Brighton for a bit of sea air, fish and chips to die for, followed by a walk along the seafront drinking in the atmosphere of the Annual Custom MotorBikes Rally. Other day trips included Garden and Stately Homes Visits as described above.
Single people often find it daunting going on holiday on their own, even on organised singles holidays. However, we in Harmony have already built up friendships with other members and we take holidays or short away-breaks together. In the past we have had self catering holidays in large manor houses in Cornwall, Devon, Norfolk, Cumbria and Argyll in Scotland. Plans have been made for some members to holiday together abroad, with tour operators. We have also enjoyed several short away-breaks in Cornwall and Scotland, sometimes travelling by coach together, sometimes by car-share.
We all like to get out in the fresh air and walk a bit, and during better weather we take it in turns to put on a local walk – not too far, and nothing strenuous. Three miles or so is usually plenty enough for us, and inevitably we will end up in a local pub or tea shop, or back at someone’s house where we put together a small feast, each bringing our own contribution. During the summer we sometimes will even stop for a picnic en route. In the winter we like to do a ‘village hobble’, exploring one of our local villages, swatting up beforehand on the local history and sampling the delights of the local hostelry.
We take advantage of our bus passes, and take a trip out of our local area to places within reach by bus. We sit on the top deck of the bus and enjoy the journey, with panoramic views we don’t normally see from our cars. We get a chance to see some of the villages that we would not normally drive through on route to the chosen venue, as buses tend to take the scenic route through villages, rather than go directly via dual carriageways and the like. On arrival at our chosen destination, we will make our way to the walk we have pre-planned along a river if possible, or around points of interest in the town or village. Sometimes we are lucky enough to catch a free concert performance. With a packed lunch we have brought with us, we have had a day’s free entertainment!
Now we are retired, we can often feel isolated if we live on our own. Not in Harmony. A quick ring around other members, and a coffee morning can quickly be arranged, for those sitting bored at home. All that is needed is a welcoming living room, a pot of tea or coffee and some biscuits.
Christmas and New Year
The festive season can be a lonely time for those with no family to share it with. Not in Harmony. Someone is always willing to open their home to share Christmas dinner, followed by a games evening. The same principle applies as at our other gatherings, where it can either be a ‘bottle and plate’ type meal, or someone will volunteer to do all the cooking for a small contribution. Someone else will have a mulled wine and mince pies evening either on Christmas Eve or some other evening during the festive season. There will be a Boxing Day walk organised, followed by another gathering, either in someone’s house or in the local pub. New Year’s Eve there will always be a party in someone’s house, with a ‘bottle and plate’. We in Harmony know how to have a good time!
Above are just a few examples of Harmony activities. We also go to the cinema and theatre together, visit museums and stately homes, go bowling or play skittles. We enjoy plant swaps and skills swaps, and are always open to other ideas for activities to amuse us during our retirement. There is never a dull moment in Harmony.
This website is where Harmony Group can share our photos and memories of our gatherings. Sorry but those areas are not for public viewing, and to use them you will need a password, which will be given to you when you join our group and, for the sake of security, will be changed at regular intervals.
As a lot of our events can only be attended by limited numbers, currently Harmony is well subscribed and we are not accepting many new members, but if you would like to register your interest, when places become available we will contact you. There will be a small joining fee, and a nominal annual subscription fee to cover administration costs, but otherwise there is no charge for attending events except where indicated. Please visit our Membership Application page if you would like to register your interest.