Yet another special outing (Classical Spectacular) has been organised but is unable to go ahead due to low take-up. Jim Mulvey has worked hard on several arrangements lately which have fallen through due to the difficulty of reaching minimum numbers. This is a matter that the Committee is considering for the future. However, if you have any ideas about outings and/or how we can attract members, please let us know.
I was to have given today’s talk on Decimalisation – unfortunately, it’s had to be postponed so friends can attend our dear member, Ian Scales’ memorial. Ever since my teenage years, I’ve looked at the date of every coin that’s passed my hand often to the amazement of shopkeepers who think I’m querying the change they’ve given me. I was particularly active during the decimalisation era picking up every related piece of literature. There are still some valuable finds to be made from general circulation. I look forward to another occasion to present my talk and exhibition of my coins and memorabilia.
Like every young boy I collected stamps and I continued collecting British stamps until 1990 when the number of varieties of perforation, gum and phosphor lines let alone the number of special stamps each year overwhelmed me. In the meantime I’d tried first day covers and post mark cancellation promotions and advertisements.
Then there was matchbox labels which entertained me for several years. My set of ‘index’ Safety Matches (“Impregnated”), for example, contains a series of five with ‘average contents’ going down from 50 to 40. A hidden price rise until they were forced to put the price up from 2d to 2½d per box. I’ve also collected advertising blotting papers and cheese labels.
How about you? Do you have a collection you’d like to tell us about?
Our Chairman, Gerrard Thompson declared it to be one of his happiest duties to induct a new member. Welcome Eric Jenkinson. Tie, name badge, constitution and rules were presented in the time-honoured manner.
EricIt is with great sadness that we announce the death of our long-standing member Ian Scales on 24th January. Ian will be sadly missed by his many friends in Probus and in the many other local groups in which he was active. Ian’s funeral is today, hence the special arrangements to allow members to attend. We will carry a full obituary in the March edition.
Please advise news of members to almoner, email@example.com, tel: 01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.
r Ian Scales on 24th January. Ian will be sadly missed by his many frind in the many other local groups in which he was active. Ian’s f
Today: Talk postponed to enable all his friends to attend Ian Scales’ memorial service. The talk and exhibition by yours truly on decimalisation and old coinage will be given at a later date.
March 5th: Chairman’s Charity: Macmillan Support Group
April 2nd: David Lindridge: The Fire Service
May 7th: Open Meeting: Margaret Thompson: Harpist
January Guest: Jeremy Downer: Water supply in the 21st Century
Jeremy is Head of Customer Services at Sutton and East Surrey Water (SESW). Jeremy started as a chartered engineer, worked for several water companies here and abroad and joined SESW 13 years ago. There are ten water companies in England and Wales most providing water and sewage services, but SESW is one of the few that only supplies water – it doesn’t deal with the ‘foul stuff’. SESW coverage includes Gatwick Airport north to the South Circular and extends from Guildford towards Sevenoaks in Kent. It services 270,000 properties, mostly residential but with a distinctly different environment north (urban) and south (rural) of the M25.
85% of SESW’s water comes from bore holes, some shallow e.g. in Redhill and Reigate, but some very deep. Bough Beech reservoir in Kent is a nature reserve, bird sanctuary and sailing venue. There are water treatment works at Woodmansterne and Kenley. SESW is an amalgamation of water companies taking over Dorking in 1959 and Sutton in 1966. It has had several owners over the year and is now jointly owned 50/50 by two Japanese companies.
Ideally bore holes recharge in Winter/Spring as Summer rainfall tends to evaporate. So the right sort of rain is needed which in 2011 didn’t happen until a hose pipe ban was announced – then the skies opened. More recently rainfall has been above expected and bore holes have been at their highest ever Summer level. In 2014 the Bourne flooded closing the A22. Major works were undertaken to protect the pumping station at Kenley. Both the Mayor, Boris Johnson and Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, visited the site.
Managing water resources is a 40 year plan. This includes reducing leakages by mains replacement, extending household metering and promoting water efficiency. Leakage is now down to 15%, considered a satisfactory level (versus the cost of rectification), but finding leaks is very difficult. The old listening stick is still in use alongside modern acoustic methods. Digging is sometimes interrupted when bones are found and archaeologists or the police are called in, or if protected newts have to be moved.
Each person uses 165 litres per day – 7% drinking, 30% toilet, 21% baths, 13% clothes washing, 12% showers, 8% washing up and 9% other. Challenges arise due to population increase and the high energy cost of water treatment. Remedies come from education including school projects, new build dual water supplies (re-circulated water used in toilets) and lagging pipes to prevent bursts. A tip: turn off your stopcock and see if the meter stops. If it doesn’t you’ve got a leak.
As Time Passes By: Reg Baker
Part 3 (part ii) – Cold Callers and Other Visitors
Seasonal visitors and callers included colourful characters in the form of onion sellers and that of knife sharpeners. The onion seller having arrived in the UK, at local ports and harbours, and usually of French or Spanish origin, would tour local areas on his pedal bicycle, to knock on doors and offer his wares to housewives. He would travel mounted on his trusty steed and, if French, would likely be clad in jersey with horizontal blue and white stripes and black trousers; all topped with characteristic beret, and probably smoking a Gauloise cigarette. The seller would be festooned with garlands of onion strings; across his shoulders and hanging from handlebars and any panniers. Sometimes strings of garlic were also offered, but in those times garlic was not accepted by most housewives and often dismissed, to put it politely, as ‘that foreign muck that makes your breath smell’.
Knife sharpeners would usually be locally based, again touring local areas on a specially adapted pedal bicycle. By adopting cutting edge mechanical technology the operator was quickly and efficiently able to convert his machine in such a manner so as to allow the turning of a grinding wheel whilst sitting in the saddle and peddling. This operation often produced showers of orange sparks, just like a firework display, whilst sharpening knives, scissors, gardening shears and the like, to the delight of any young children watching.
Other seasonal traders, touring local areas, were ice cream vendors operating from a number of choice locations; outside schools, seaside locations; housing estates, and so forth. The origins of each business in this trade could either be independently, or business sponsored.. Vehicles used would be either motorised vans, some with refrigeration units others with dry ice cabinets, or pedal tricycles with dry ice cabinet mounted up front. The main products sold were those of the cornet and wafer varieties, of varying sizes, colours and flavours. To attract attention, vans would sound their klaxon which also emitted musical jingles, one of the most popular of these relating to “Popeye the sailor man who lived in a caravan with a hole in the bottom to let the rain out”. This jingle has survived to this day as, incredibly, the writer heard this jingle locally during a recent hot spell! Operators of tricycles were less noisy having just the use of bell and/or horn, combined with advertising slogans on cabinet with, perhaps an overhead placard; the most famous of slogans, belonging to a national ice cream chain being “stop me and buy one”. Overall this activity remains almost unchanged over the years, albeit to a reduced scale; but there was just one unpleasant incident that is probably worth of mention. A number of independent operators of ice cream vans and other devices were perceived to be of Italian origin. When it became known that Mussolini had thrown in his lot with axis forces during the Second World War, small bands of local vigilantes attacked their vehicles, and in a number of cases, caused them to be overturned.