July 2016

Club News

Following new members Norman Williams and Nigel Paget in May, it was Roy Soloman’s turn for induction in June. Chairman, Adrian Lasrado did the honours. He also welcomed the 35 members present plus our speaker and especially Roger Davis who having made a splendid recovery was back with us with his new valve much earlier than expected. Norman Pollard was unable to attend as his wife is poorly. The charity collection raised £35.70.

We got a scare mid-month, when we heard that Michael Blake had collapsed at home, and after some time managed to contact some help. He was taken to May Day Hospital, but transferred immediately to St George’s Hospital, Tooting where it was found he had suffered a stroke. I am pleased to report that he is now back home and relaxed. He still has weakness in the left leg anzd hand but is expected to make a full recovery.

Please advise news of members to almoner, hughroberts67@aol.com, tel:
01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.

Dennis Evans reported on Comrade Harry Cundell who has just been awarded a war-time medal by the Russians – see page 3.

 

Outings and Events

Ladies Lunch: Thursday 13th October – with entertainment as usual.

Orpheus Centre Bletchingley (young disabled artists): Looking for a date to visit a rehearsal before it hits the West End. Proceeds to charity.

Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email jim@mulvey.uk.net

Annual Quiz: Thurs 17th Nov. –- £4 on the evening. Contact Dennis Evans.

 

 Speakers

Today:            Mick Taylor: Mills on the River Wandle

August 4th:   Peter Jones: Milestones of the National Trust

September 1st:          Dr R Cruthers: Doctor at Sea

October 6th:  Ross Baker & Lynn Whitfield: Bats (mammal)

 

Товарищ Harry Cundell

Harry moved to Saffron Walden some years ago but has continued to be a Companion Member of Coulsdon Probus. We are delighted to hear from Harry’s current club, Audley End Probus as follows.

On 11 February 2016 an Attaché of the Russian Embassy, Oleg Shor, presented the Ushakov medals to five of the Arctic Convoys veterans. Among them was our own Harry Cundell, who was awarded this military honour by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation for his personal courage and bravery dis-played in WWII. [Allied convoys to Murmansk on Russia’s artic coast.]

Harry continues the story: “It was quite a surprise on Wednesday 10th February to receive a phone call from Captain Oleg Shor, the Defence Attaché at the Russian Embassy, to say that he was visiting me at home the next day, Thursday, to present the Ushakov Medal to me. The next day he came and handed over the medal with all the official papers from the Ambassador and told me it was the highest Russian Naval award for services on Russian convoys during the last war. I really feel very honoured especially as it has taken 70 years for it to be allowed!”

 

Editorial – Ian Payne

Our speaker, last month, reminded us of the storm of 1987, but little did we expect what happened on Tuesday 7th June. The lightening was directly overhead for 15 minutes and the skies opened. Kenley got the most rain in the whole country, drivers escaped from submerged cars in Wallington and Coulsdon in-between had a flooded Chaldon Way and a new lake – Marlpit Lane bowling green.

We seldom talk politics in Probus, but Brexit was an exception. In June, we discussed the options but no one had any information. On the Remain side there was fear and on the Leave side there were unsubstantiated promises. The ‘Leave’ vote knocked me for six. I’m worried that we’ll repeal the EU legislation on environmental protection, food quality, polluting cars, and part time work protection, etc. On the positive side we can ditch the metric system and go back to pounds weight, pints, gallons, pound

 

The Great Storm and how it changed my life: Bob Ogley

This was Bob’s third visit. On his first visit we heard about the V1 and V2 rockets and then, in July 2014, the history of Biggin Hill Airfield. Last month Bob told us about his experiences of the hurricane of October 1987. Bob lives at Toys Hill above Westerham, about 800′ above sea level. His cottage is surrounded by National Trust woodland. On the night in question, Bob went to the Fox and Hounds with his dog.

The landlord knew better than Michael Fish and warned of a storm. Being a normal autumnal night, Bob and his dog walked home through the woods – the next day the woodland was gone, all 800 acres. Overnight, great flashes of lightening lit up the sky and the trees came tumbling down in the wind taking with them all the power lines. Bob was the editor of the local paper in Sevenoaks, so naturally he went outside to take a look – he was overtaken by a rabbit hutch! The chimney pot was down, the conservatory had lost its glass and there was a new horizon with the little red lights of Gatwick visible for the first time.

No water, no electricity, no telephone. Climbing out over the trees, Bob set off for Sevenoaks. The roads were abandoned and the only noise, that of a solitary chain saw. In Brasted a tree had sliced a house in two and the family had moved into a field. Everywhere roads were blocked by trees. Bob was determined to get some photos from the air. The council set up a telegraph mast and contacted Biggin Hill – the army cleared the road, and Bob was able to use one of the few undamaged aircraft to take 150 photos from above. Trains were stationary, Knole Park had been stripped of branches and six of the seven oaks had gone (newspapers abroad reported that Sevenoaks, the town, had gone).

Bob wanted to publish the photos in a book. Hodder and Stoughton tuned him down, but a local press ‘Froglets’ took up the challenge and 5,000 copies of ‘In the wake of the hurricane’ sold within a week and another 22,000 by Christmas. A national edition followed with proceeds to the National Trust. It was in the top ten for eight months and reached number two. Bob later met Michael Fish who complained that it wasn’t a hurricane (we don’t have them here), just a hurricane force wind.

Of course, we all wanted to tell our own stories – after all ‘we was there’, but time permitted for only a few.

 

As Time Passes By: Reg Baker

Early Times – Part 5 (section ii) – Daily Callers: Finale

It was in May 2014 that the first part of Reg’s memories appeared in our Newsletter under this title. Eight episodes later we have reached the end of this fascinating look into the past and how our daily lives have changed.

Because of its association with the Post Office and although not strictly a ‘daily’ service’ mention should be made at this point, of the telegraph service, with messages of urgent or important nature being delivered to homes by young members of staff working from the local office, and who would always offer to take back any reply or message. The arrival of a telegram, in direct contrast to anything the postman might deliver, often engendered a sense of dread or foreboding especially in times of conflict. This service ceased to exist with the introduction of facsimile machines and electronic mail.

Another, almost essential daily caller, especially to households, would have been the milkman (again the butt of many cracks and jokes) mainly delivering the product in pint glass bottles fitted with cardboard closures. It was these closures that often presented a challenge to the unwary or overenthusiastic. In the centre of the cap was a small semi-perforated area intended to be removed by pressure of finger. If too much pressure was applied the whole cap could be thrust into the neck of the bottle resulting in a gush of milk over the perpetrator. Also, the housewife quickly learned not to leave bottles of milk on the doorstep for too long a period lest they attract other daily visitors in the form of birds, pecking out the cardboard cap to get at the “top-o’-the-milk” cream. This comparison raises a query. Why is it these days, when purchasing milk in plastic containers, from a supermarket, no “top-o’-the-milk”, even when sold as ‘whole milk’, ever appears? Door-to-door milk deliveries were probably the earliest example of efficient recycling, empties being collected at time of deliveries, and returned to the dairy’s depot to be washed, sterilized and reused.

Over the last five years or so, door-to-door deliveries of milk have virtually ceased to exist with the consequential disappearance of the milkman. The overall picture may be that dairies which previously supplied milk to households in the form of daily deliveries by milkmen now do so through supermarkets, probably by contract with major stores; with collection by the customer.

 

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