January 2015

A Happy New Year to everyone. Were you lucky enough to get a new shirt for Christmas? Are you dreading the label unpicking game?

It always seems to me ridiculous that the shirt label is made of the roughest material and is placed on the neck to make it sore and irritable. The bizarrely placed rough label is so absurd that the decisions must have been made by a committee. Just imagine the discussions that went on to reach the desired result:
We’ve got to have a label to remind the wearer who made it;
The wearer mustn’t forget where the label is so let’s put it somewhere irritating like the inside of the neck;
The label must be made of course cloth (unlike the shirt itself) to make it most uncomfortable and to make sure the neck is sore by the end of the day;
But what if the wearer removes the label? We must do something about that – we’ll make sure that the thread is strong and tight with the stitches so fine that one needs a magnifying glass to unpick it;
That’ll do the job – why don’t we have a separate label for the size?

On the back page, we give some choice questions from the Quiz. At the end of each round there was an extra question for an ‘instant prize’ to the first to shout out the answer. Blowing my own trumpet, everyone was dumbfounded with my almost instantaneous answer to ‘what is the sum of the roman numerals on the clock faces of Big Ben – answer in roman numerals?’.
Clock faces of Big Ben: 4 faces x sum of numbers 1 to 12 {= 12/2 x (1 +12)}
= 4 x 6 x 13 = 312 which in roman numerals is cccxii.
Clock faces of Big Ben: 4 faces x sum of numbers 1 to 12 {= 12/2 x (1 +12)}
= 4 x 6 x 13 = 312 which in roman numerals is cccxii.

Years ending in ‘15’ have been very significant in English history.
In 1015 England was invaded by King Canute (Knut in Viking)
In 1215 King John was forced to sign Magna Carta
In 1415 King Henry V won the battle of Agincourt
In 1815 Wellington beat Napoleon at Waterloo
In 2015 (September) Queen Elizabeth II will have reigned longer than Victoria.

What auspicious or inauspicious events may befall us in 2015? Will we beat ebola, will the NHS collapse, will we leave the EU following the general election or will the world come to an end as predicted by the last of four successive total ‘blood-red’ lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons – on September 28th?

Do have a happy and prosperous 2015.

Club News

IMG_5902In December 34 members were present plus our Christmas guest Rev. Malcolm Newman and Eric Jenkinson, who has now become our latest member. Do bring along a guest – as a prospective member, the club pays for their lunch.

The Chairman’s Charity collection made £35.34. In keeping with tradition, the Christmas raffle money of £42 was donated to Rev. Malcolm Newman’s charity ‘Crisis at Christmas’ which provides night shelters and food for the homeless. We reported last month that Adrian Lasrado won the November raffle for 30 bottles of bubbly. However, showing no bounds to his generosity, Adrian re-donated the bottles and raffled them to members, one bottle to each lucky number.

IMG_5894Our Chairman, Gerrard Thompson, has had a reply from his old Probus Club in Cape Town who are interested in pursuing twinning arrangements. [Cross visits would be nice and I’m sure we will be welcome guests. I suspect, however, that we’d have to meet our own travel costs.] We’ve had a letter from Bletchley Hall thanking us for our donation (November’s speaker). If you haven’t already done so, please let Reg Baker know of any updates for the next members’ list. Phil Munson is working on 2016 speakers bringing back some of our popular guests.
Peter Brunton and Arthur Trunchion wives are both ill and were therefore not able to join us for Christmas lunch. We wish Anne and June well and hope Peter and Arthur can join us soon. Ian Scales, who had a health scare, is hoping to be here today.

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

Our Christmas Guest: Reverend Malcolm Newman

Malcolm was given our warmest greeting at his regular Christmas slot.
This Christmas we were treated to a ‘Minister’s Experiences of Christmas’ – the humble, the bold and the humorous anecdotes over the years. He claimed always to turn down the sherry in favour of coffee, but mince pies and homemade cakes went down well – except for the one that was so heavy and hard, he hid it in his pocket – please do have another one?

Malcolm is familiar with the role of Father Christmas – usually planned but once as a stand in he had to fit in between services. Costumes can be light or heavy and instruction informal or formal – a Surrey school passed him two pages of A4 instructions. On a hospital ward having given a small boy a present and asking what to bring when he comes down the chimney at Christmas, the boy bemoaned that dad had blocked the flue when the central heating was fitted. Malcolm had to think fast – I’ll borrow a key and come in the back door. Fully kitted out, on his way to a party at one time, Malcolm met a police check point – he was fourth in the queue. Despite a ‘Ho ho ho officer – I’ve got to deliver presents’, he was breathalysed and forced to walk a straight line. As he drove off, the police were seen in the rear mirror laughing their heads off.

Carol services can be fun. At one, his co-minister, an Anglican, whispered “Malcolm, I’ve got to nip to the loo – carry on”. He took the microphone with him and Silent Night was accompanied by tiddly, tiddly and aaaaah! Then there was the service in Old Coulsdon where an old lady thought the church was on fire and put out all the candles – the service had to wait until they were relit.

Today: Jim Barnes: Water supply in the 21st Century
February 5th: Ian Payne: Decimalisation
March 5th: Chairman’s Charity: Macmillan Support Group
April 4th: David Lindridge: The Fire Service

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