(Click HERE to see photos of the event)


On the morning of Saturday 10th October, the Committee members of High Wycombe Branch arrived early at Great Kingshill Village Hall to prepare for our Convention. Tables were erected for the Nurserymen and chairs duly unstacked and moved into position. Activity was high in the kitchen as snacks, drinks and meals were prepared in readiness for the arrival of our Guest Speakers from the Czech Republic. Things became more frenetic as Rene Geissler, Tony Irons, Stuart Riley of Plantlife, the Toobees, our own Doug Donaldson of Kilnwood Cacti brought tray after tray of plant into the hall, and Keith Larkin set up his Book stall. Our two speakers arrived, having stayed nearby with  Alan Pocock of Amersham, and last minute preparations were made to ensure that all the preparations of digital projection worked smoothly. At this time the hall started to fill, and the activity at the plant sales areas was high, as was the demand for teas and coffees from the kitchen.


Our first speaker was Rudy Krajka (on the right here) from Brno in the Czech Republic who entertained us with his visit to Brazil in 2005. Despite on this, his first visit to Brazil, having his luggage stolen soon into his journey, he sought out many locations for Uebelmannia plants and showed us many different forms. As ever we marvelled at the variety of forms and places in which these plants live, and at the nature of the country that Rudy crossed in his search.


After lunch, Petr Pavelka, (on the left above), also from the Czech Republic, showed us more of his travels in Madagascar and the often rare and endangered plants that he found. This was a complete change in topic from the previous talk, and one that made us all wish that access to such places were easier. Rudy returned to complete the afternoon's agenda with his second talk on Brazil, in 2006, in which he showed us how to travel the country on bicycle, rather than buses, cadged lifts in cars and on foot. Needless to say his comments ranged from the plants themselves to the people, their lives, and their world. By the end of his talks our admiration for his intrepid explorations was high, although a few of we older people also thought he might just be a bit mad! But that is the mark of a true explorer, and we had ourselves experienced a real treat from the two Czechs.


The afternoon continued with the raffle, tickets for which had been sold during the day by Ted Smith, and then concluded with a vote of thanks to both speakers, as well as to the ladies of the kitchen, lead by Doreen Donaldson, who as ever produced a great lunch and kept us all well supplied with drinks throughout the day. And of course, a vote of thanks goes to Doug Donaldson who arranged the whole Convention!