The following article was written by David Alison and was first published in the Aug 2011 issue of the FoSCL Journal.
My first meeting with the FOSCLA Committee (as it was then) was somewhat unnerving. It must have been around 1986 and I had just moved up to Lowgill from London. Jenifer and I had been invited (or it might have been the other way round!) to a meeting at the remote Appleby Manor Hotel.
It was on a winter’s afternoon, already dark, with the wind and rain swirling around. The hotel too looked in darkness and deserted. It was with some trepidation that we rang the enormous bell and knocked on the huge front door. After a few attempts we had obviously been heard in the depths of the building. Footsteps were heard in the hall, and the door creaked slowly open - it was just like something out of a Hammer horror film (You rang?.....).
From that moment, though, everything changed. I think it was Philippa Simpson who let us in. Other luminaries present probably included Pete Shaw, Peter Lawrence (Jenifer always liked his pullovers), Kath Smith and Vanda Braid, Alan Earnshaw(?), and other names lost in the mists of time. What I do remember is the welcome we received and the friendships that were formed that afternoon, many of them still thriving today. I have always been grateful for the encouragement, advice, help and companionship which have always been a feature of my dealings with FOSCL(A), ever since that meeting.
Long may the Friends continue to flourish.