June 2013

ELIZABETH II, BY THE GRACE OF GOD QUEEN

article-2235715-161C3296000005DC-159_964x772I cannot help it, I have again been caught up in the Diamond Wedding ceremonies commemorating Her Majesty’s reign.  On Sunday last I turned my TV on at 10 a.m. to the BBC Parliament channel (I would never watch that rubbish usually) to sample the copy of the original TV BBC film of the Coronation.  Well, ‘sample’ was intended but in the end I watched it for several hours, for it was in real time with no shortcuts, when I should have been getting on with this Newsletter, or gardening or hovering the house.

The-Queen-and-Prince-Philip-celebrate-60-yearsWhat it all brought back to me was thought about the British way of governing the country.  Here we are after sixty years of rule by a Queen whose ability to put right her dozen-or-so Prime Ministers shows up the impossibility of having a new ruler every four – or eight if lucky – years of elected President, usually some hardly-known politician as in the USA.

A hundred years ago, when Edward VII took over from his mother (who for ten years had hardly been seen by her people), there was serious doubt about having a non-elected head of Government.  His idea of being a useful Monarch was limited by his lifestyle of wine, women and song, but we survived that brief period, ignoring the Marxist alternative then beginning to attract interest.

239-60-years-marriage-for-queen&h=538&w=800&sz=141&tbnid=q4uxhSDkeUZCrM-&tbnh=89&tbnw=132&zoom=1&usg=__TVr5_jA9dMtOKpdzTw1hcBNkFS8=&docid=Soj7w6ruqrmwHM&sa=X&ei=jZo1UrHYOcrG7AbM44H4Dw&ved=0CEMQ9QEwBQ&Three Kings followed, who each had their limitations in ruling and then Her Majesty, a young lass who had had only fifteen years of preparation, swore her Oath and has stuck by it unto old age, never being found wanting. Even the chap she married – much doubted when she married him – has proved to be the sort of support that has helped enormously.  Their family, too, have proved to be rightful successors-in-waiting, though just how long King Charles III will last is doubtful.

For political reasons we have lost our huge Empire, but Her Majesty has ensured continuing importance for Great Britain by heading the British Commonwealth, keeping over a quarter of all humans in the world on the right path.  Bless you, Ma’am, it’s been a wonderful sixty years.

Club News

We regret to report the death of Dudley Coates last Thursday, May 30th.  at the age of 81.  He has been a stalwart member of our Club for many years, Dudley had been suffering illness for several months.  His funeral will be on Wednesday, June 12th, at 3 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Church in Coulsdon.

We send our deep sympathies to his wife Joan and her family.

Your Editor spoke to Graham Fox last weekend and he tells me that despite our heart-rending request from him in last month’s Newsletter he has not had any volunteers for driving duties.

Your Editor was doing this duty for several years until ill health forced him to give up.  He missed it, for it was a pleasure gathering charming people from the local homes, taking them to Landsdowne Road in Purley in time for their lunch, then collecting them and driving them home in the afternoon.  He made many friendships and was missed by many when he quit.

All you need is a four-door car (some of your pickings-up cannot manage to get into the back of a 2-door) and, I suppose, a clean licence.  There is no additional cost for insurance, for you are not doing it as a business, even at today’s prices the petrol costs are the equivalent of a trip to the shops and indeed your wife might welcome a day at the shops without you, having been brought there and collected before and after your duties.  The more drivers there on the list, the less often you will be called on.

So, good brethren, or your good wives: tell your husband to get in touch with Graham, either at the next meeting or on the phone to 01737 556 092.

Remember the Old Coulsdon Fair on the afternoon of July 6th, when we shall have a stand that needs manning by some of our members.  This is the beast local fair of the summer, well worth going to see.  To help on the stand, give Jim Mulvey a ring on 01737 555974.

There will be an outing to the Bluebell Line sometime in August or September, well worth a trip if you love steam.  Details later.

Our Ladies’ Lunch will be on October 17t at the Coulsdon Manor Hotel. Jim is the man to send your details to.

Dennis Evans is organising a Quiz on November 14th.

There are some 25,000 folk living in Coulsdon and goodly percentage of that must be retired gentlemen like ourselves, so why is our membership stuck at fifty?  Do you recommend our luncheons to your retired neighbours? They may well like to be invited along for a trial lunch.

Speakers

harry_championAlan and Vera Baker came to tell us something of the history of Music Halls; indeed they did more than tell us, for Alan told us the story with the aid of really good film slides and both he and Vera sang us the songs made famous through the Halls; all told a really well presented story.

Music Halls started in the 1840s, when England was developing as an industrial nation, with huge factories being added to what had been just market towns, resulting in their developing into cities like Manchester and Birmingham.  They answered a need from the workers who, no longer living and working all hours on farms had their evenings and weekends away from the factories.  They had cash – through not much – to spend in pubs and it was in these that the first music halls sprang up.

urlsa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=JaK5a9FV-kK23M&tbnid=ZZg95po1Jy3kZM-&ved=&url=http3A2F2Fwww.arthurlloyd.co.uk2FBrighton2FMusicHallAtThePalacePierBrightonThe songs the professional singers introduced rapidly became the most popular.  Many are still with us and allowed us to sing along with Alan and Vera, songs such as My Old Man,  Lily of Laguna,  Burlington Bertie and the like.  Singers became famous following Music Hall contracts, Marie Lloyd became known as the Queen of the Halls and earned even then money like £700 per week  Harry Lauder came down from Scotland and brought his own songs like Roaming in the Gloaming.  In the 1880s Little Tich made his name as a stand-up comedian.

All these professionals needed proper halls, not just a gathering round the pub bar as it had been.  Many were built as attachments to pubs but others set up simply like theatres in their own right, but always with a bar attached.

During WW I the entertainers spent much time giving the troops back on leave something happy to recall, but Music Halls as such started failing in the 20s and 30s, though there were some which reopened during WWII. It was television in the 1950s that saw them off:  get a few beers from the off-licence and settle down at home: that was more comfortable.  A splendid talk by two professionals to present before our Ladies.

Today:Neil Sadler tells us of a policeman’s lot, or “when is a bomb not a bomb?”

July 4th:R M Skelton, MBE, is the Principal Doorkeeper to the House of  Lords, so he should have lots of tales to tell us.

August 15th:  Note late date: The Silk Road in Burma and Bhutan, described by Mike Murray.

September 5th:  Bomber Command at War, by Rupert Matthews.

We regret to report the death of Dudley Coates last Thursday, May 30th.  at the age of 81.  He has been a stalwart member of our Club for many years, Dudley had been suffering illness for several months.  His funeral will be on Wednesday, June 12th, at 3 p.m. in St. Andrew’s Church in Coulsdon.

We send our deep sympathies to his wife Joan and her family.

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