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Present ;
Mr. B Jones - Chairman
Miss J. Bartholomew - Secretary
Mr J Bathgate - Treasurer
Mrs. J. Bathgate - Minutes Secretary
Mr. & Mrs. A. Boast
Mrs. C. Bradshaw
Mr. J Hamer
Mr. K Haynes
Mrs. C. Ostler

apologies were received from :
Mr. & Mrs. Davey
Mrs. B Kerr
Mr. & Mrs Pickering
Mr. B Young
Mrs Dexter
Mr R Flashman
Mr & Mrs Ager
Miss J Rhodes
Mr & Mrs Mitchely
Mrs M Shewell
Mr & Mrs Parsons

The Chairman welcomed members to the 25th Annual General Meeting of the Tintern Village Produce Association.

1. Minutes of the last meeting
The Minutes of the 24rd Annual General Meeting held on Friday the 16th January 1998, having previously been circulated were agreed and signed.

2. The Chairmanís Report.
The Chairman said it had been a good year despite his doubts about his ability to fill the poast. He gave thanks to Judy and the other Committee members for their assistance. He said we had had a varied programme of six talks and two garden visits. We entered all the County competitions and Brian Young had won the vegetable garden cup.

3. Secretaryís Report.
Judy Bartholomew reported on the County events. In March there was the Quiz from which your Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer were all absent. April should have been the Spring Garden Competition but was cancelled due to Mike Fosterís illness. June was the County Show where we had more entries than ever but sank from fourth to sixth. September was harvest Festival, a very wet evening but a goodly sum was raised at the auction after supper. October was the County AGM at which we heard that Bryan Young had won the Vegetable Garden Competition.
Judy thanked Jean Bathgate for her assistance at the Bi-monthly meetings at Usk and also the Wednesday morning garden parties.

4. Treasurerís Report.
The Treasurer reported that we had held our own over the year and that the Show had made £10.77 profit. We could leave the subscriptions at £2.

5. Election of Officers.
The serving officers were returned unchanged.

6. Programme and Tea Rota.
Mr Ray Flashman sent a suggestion that Vernon Saunders could be a speaker. Other suggestions were Gwent Wildlife at Penallt, and a visit to Plas Cwm Coed.

7. Any Other Business.
As 1999 would be our Silver Jubilee year the meeting agreed to have a special class in the 1999 Show to celebrate. The details would be finalised at the Committee meeting in March.

7.1 Competition Results.
Joan Dexter, Jean Bathgate and Jean Davey all tied on three points which will be carried over to the next season.

The meeting agreed that we should ask Mr Haviland to send two judges from Bream to judge the 1999 Show with Mrs Cook. We also agreed to ask Mrs Kate Rees to open the Show.

A self-drive outing to visit the rhododenrons was suggested.

There being no more business to discuss the meeting was declared closed at 8.15pm.

Annual General Meetings are never the liveliest gatherings on the calendar and this year the third Friday in January proved to be the wettest evening in an extremely wet month. However ten members arrived and sat steaming gently as we went through the items on the agenda at a spanking pace, re- electing all the Officers en-masse and then arranging the 1999 programme.
It contains something for everyone, we hope, with the usual mix of speakers during the winter and garden visits in the summer together with some monthly competitions which we hope will promote more interest this year.
Our first topic in February is entitled "Wild Life Gardening" to be given by a lecturer from Usk Agricultural College. Other titles on the programme include "Birds of Gwent" and "Winning Ways with Weeds".
If you're interested, do join us (third Friday of the month, 7.30pm prompt, Village Hall). Although we have recently had to increase our annual subscription to £2, it must still represent the bargain of the year.

Since the last edition of "Parish News", a lecturer from the Usk College of Agriculture explained how to encourage beneficial wild life into our gardens, whilst in the following month, Mrs Gail Reynolds from Llandogo enthused about butterflies. She divided her talk into those insects she would love to see but are very rare; those she would travel around the country to find and those we could all enjoy in our own backyard.
As she explained that the easiest way to encourage butterflies to visit is to leave a patch of nettles somewhere, we warmed to her straight away, so you would now be well advised to carry the odd dock leaf or two when wandering around a member's garden.
The month of April found us visiting the "Ostrich Farm" near the Gockett Inn. Just as our A.G.M. in January was held on the wettest evening of the month, this must have been the coldest, but we wandered manfully from pen to pen losing degrees of body heat by the second, but gaining some fantastic information.
The strength of the ostrich egg was such that Mr Betts, the owner, could stand on it! and that, unlike other birds who peck their way out of the shell, an ostrich just shoulders its way out.
The next few months also see us out and about, first at the flower meadows near Newgrove farm, Trelleck and then visiting a garden at Plas Cwm Coed, Tredunnock.
I know it's several months ahead, but please keep August 14th marked on your calendar as the day of our Annual Show, held as usual in the Village Hall and open to visitors throughout the afternoon.

A beautiful evening in June found us wandering around a garden just outside Usk but not perhaps in quite the right mood for it as we'd just spent a few hectic hours getting the hall at The Agricultural College ready for the County V.P.A. Show on the following day.
Efforts were rewarded however when Tintern came third out of the nine affiliated V.P.A.s, the highest placing we have ever managed to achieve. July is our Garden Party month and this year we were the guests of Mr and Mrs Parsons in Park Glade. It was a coolish evening but we were warmly welcomed and are very grateful to Diane and Tony for their hospitality.
We are now in August and recovering from our own Annual Show which always seems to come in the middle of a drought or a monsoon. No prizes for guessing which we suffered this year but Show Day itself was dry and it was amazing what people managed to rescue from drenched and battered gardens.
No prizes either for guessing who won the majority of the cups! The one for flowers, the one for vegetables and the cup for best exhibit in those sections were all won by Mr Brian Young, with Mrs Joan Dexter as runner-up in the vegetable section.
The cup for cookery and craft was won jointly by Mrs Christine Bradshaw and Miss Judy Bartholomew with Mrs Jean Bathgate winning the cup for best in those sections for her beautifully decorated cake.
Ellie Lancaster won the Junior Trophy and hopefully her design for the cover of "Parish News" will be seen on the winter edition.
Well done to all who took part and we look forward to meeting again in the Village Hall on the 17th September at 7:30 for a talk by Jim Saunders from Penallt.

Our Autumn session began without a Treasurer, Secretary or Assistant Secretary available but even more importantly - without a speaker! Luckily members scurried round and persuaded Christine Evans to give an illustrated talk which was enjoyed so much that she has been asked to give a repeat performance next year. We were all very grateful to her for stepping in at the last moment.
October was the month when Judy Chaloner from Usk College gave us advice on how to banish weeds and pests from our gardens and did so with humour and an insight into her own gardening methods - keep chickens!
Also in October, we met with other VPAs for the County AGM which left us rather depressed as it seems likely that the affiliation of 9 or 10 Associations may break up when Mike Foster, the County Secretary, retires next year. However we live in hope that someone may be persuaded to take his place.
November saw quite a good crowd of us meeting to listen to Colin Elliot from Caldicot giving us an insight into our local birds and other wild life, which he illustrated with some wonderful slides. We are extremely lucky that the County of Monmouthshire produces so many superb naturalists who are always willing to share their knowledge with such enthusiasm.
Next month brings our annual party so it only remains to give everyone all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

The Christmas Party was held as usual in the Village hall and was well attended, but our Secretary and Mrs Joan Dexter, who usually decorate the room and organise the refreshments were both ill and sorely missed. However the reserve team coped and the evening turned out to be a very pleasant party.