Yes, I suppose I am adding to it with my monthly Newsletter: another tree bites the dust; more money to be spent at the local stationery shop, but I look around me in my home office and wonder what on earth it is all about.
There are six filing drawers just about full of bumf, several feet high of files, six 3ft shelves of publications, mostly local history publications from the Bourne Society, three inches high of un-filed or un-chucked pages of stuff on my desk plus another two inches high pile of letters i have received from my brother over the years – far too full of family history to chuck out. Plus, plus, plus so many more odd bits that should be either filed or chucked out but which I never get around to putting in the paper waste collection.
There must be several thousand photographs, too, all in plastic bags in various parts of the house including the office. These I shall never chuck out, for they reflect the last sixty or seventy years of my life and those of friends and family; the trouble with them is that I never seem to get around to looking at them and so I hope that when I die my children will keep them as memories.
Quite a lot of the paper work doesn’t even belong to me any more, such as the 85 years of record of my Masonic Lodge which should be handed over to my successor as Lodge secretary, plus the 104 years of minutes recording the history of the Coulsdon Debating Society, again to be handed over to the new secretary who replaced me after about twenty years of my secretaryship. Both these acres of paper will be handed over in the near future, but again I have been telling myself and the new secretaries that for the past eighteen months.
When home computers became the rule rather then the exception, people said “That is the end of paperwork.” Some hope! I blame my computer for most of the output I see around me in paper form, which is silly, since nearly all of it is available at the touch of a button or two to be displayed on the screen, unless, of course when the computer breaks down, so I must continue make paper copies…
We had a moment of real anxiety at our June luncheon when, just after he had finished eating, Don Wilkinson collapsed. An ambulance was called and he was whisked away to East Surrey hospital. They found nothing too wrong and he was sent home. He says that that he is allergic to bright lights after a heavy meal and will miss today’s meeting due to a check up with the hospital physician….
The funeral of Dudley Coates three weeks ago in St. Andrew’s church was well attended by our Club members, with over half a dozen attending. Chairman Reg spoke to his widow and assured her that there are Probus meetings to which we invite the ladies and she would be very welcome.
We welcome a new member, Andrew Durenko, so our numbers have risen! It is still absurdly low, though, considering Coulsdon is a known centre in East Surrey (well, Croydon, if you must) for having a large percentage of retired folk living there.Our annual subscription is still very low at £20, our lunches are worth every penny we pay and we meet in delightful surroundings. All blokes together once a month, many friends to be made.
So tell your retired friends and invite them along for a trial lunch.
Remember the Old Coulsdon Fair on the afternoon of July 6th, this Saturday, 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 and it seems that the weather may well be on our side, too. 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. We shall need to form a party of at least 35 – members and guests. Details later from Jim, bless him.
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.
Friends, attend and remember: If for whatever reason you are not able to attend a coming meeting, be sure to telephone either Andrew Kellard on 01737 554055, or failing getting him to answer the phone, call Dennis Evans, phone number 01342 836163, no later than early on the Tuesday before the meeting on Thursday.
It is vital that you do, otherwise the Club gets charged for an uneaten meal and indeed you will be charged later unless your excuse is acceptable.
Neil was teaching in the Isle of Man for a couple of years and then, wanting to move and finding teaching not such fun as it might have been, decided to join a police force, choosing the Sussex police in 1978.
His duties started as a constable in Bognor Regis, close to the sea again after the Isle of Man. One of his places of duty was the Butlin’s holiday camp, where he discovered that several of Butlin’s staff were known to the police for non-holiday camping activities. No matter, the duties had more positive sides to them.
Sussex was not all camps and the like, for there were other more explosive things to care for, such as handling shoe bombers and such; one such was a failed attempt since the ‘bomb’ in the shoe failed to explode because it was soaking wet. It didn’t always rain in Sussex, though…
Neil progressed though the ranks of the Sussex police for several years, but then was offered another job, this time training local men their duties as policemen in various nations such as Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Trinidad. They were trained not only in local service but also to spot trouble on an international scale.
Sussex couldn’t do without him, though, so between various foreign missions he returned to spells in Horsham, Haywards Heath and Crawley.
Police duties moved with the times and their personal uniforms changed with them. Another change was the disposal of the old wooden truncheon, replaced by a steel one that didn’t quite fit in the trouser leg pocket; the pepper spray was added and the efficient Taser gun, with its 50,000 volt charge became normal additions. Even helicopters were added to the Force.
Neil retired in 2008, the same year that his daughter joined when astonishingly she inherited his near-famous warrant number of 006.
Today: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.
October 3rd:Peter Durrant tells us of the history and humour of
The Green thing
By Jack Florey
Jack Florey was a Probean who passed away some years ago, but his widow Deidre recently sent a tale of his to Jim:
The cashier in a store told an older lady that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. “We didn’t have the Green Thing in my earlier days” replied the lady. She was right, we didn’t.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink and beer bottles to the shop who sent them to the factory to be washed and refilled; so they were recycling. We refilled pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and we replaced the razor blades instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade had got dulled.
We walked up stairs because there wasn’t an escalator in every shop and office. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300 h.p. machine every time we had to go a couple of blocks.
When we were younger, city folk took the tram or bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a taxi service.
Back then, we washed babies’ nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind; we dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine – wind and solar power really did dry our washing in those days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers and sisters, not always brand new clothing.
Back then, we had one TV or radio in the house – not a TV in every room. The TV set had a screen the size of a handkerchief, not one the size of a towel. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do it for us. When se packaged a fragile item to send it in the post we wrapped it in old newspaper, not polystyrene or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn: we used a push mower that ran on human power, so we exercised by working our bodies and didn’t need to go to a health club to run on electrically-operated treadmills.
We drank water from the tap when we were thirsty instead of buying water in plastic bottles flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect to be able to buy out-of season food trucked or flown thousands of air miles. We cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and even washed our own vegetables. We had one electric socket in each room, not an entire bank of them to power a dozen appliances and we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza shop.
So isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folk were just because we had never heard of the Green Thing then?