April No.1 2021

Club News – Luncheon on 1st July 2021

The Committee have decided to go for a luncheon meeting on 1st July. The meeting will be at Purley Sports Club at noon for 1pm and tables will be set out with social distancing in mind. Details of how to book for lunch will be announced soon. Please put this date in your diary.

Proposal by Ian Payne on cancelling Annual Subscriptions

Please note that the Committee are divided on this matter.

Proposal: That we cancel all future Annual Subscriptions and refund any paid for 2021 (or transfer to the Chairman’s Charity – Member’s choice).

That having agreed to pay no further annual subscriptions towards room hire and other expenses, we recognise that the current balances of about £5,000 will last for approximately 5 years or maybe more and that we therefore expect our club to close after that. If agreed, we can abandon Companion membership and all can again become Full members.

This proposal is predicated on the likelihood of further member losses. Several members have recently asked to resign due to being asked for a second year to pay a subscription of £30 with no obvious benefit. Although starting up luncheon meetings in July should mitigate this. May I also point out that continuation of our club relies on members willing to join the Committee and allow a rotation of duties. Our average age in 2021 is over 82.

I would like to hear from as many members as possible regarding their feelings towards this proposal. Please email me at iangpayne@btinternet.com or phone 01737 554449.

Ian Payne, Coulsdon Probus Secretary

AGM 2021

A copy of the minutes is available on request.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the AGM was held by email and by post. All the motions were carried and the ongoing Committee and Officers are:

Chairman Andrew Jurenko
Vice-Chairman Roger Gourd
Treasurer Michael Southwell
Secretary Ian Payne
Speakers Sec Bob Witham
Outings Sec Vacant
Almoner Andrew Kellard
Luncheon Sec Vacant
Committee Andrew Banfield
Committee Malcolm Guest
Committee Alan Green
Editor Newsletter Vincent Fosdike*
Web-Master Jim Mulvey*
Brian Morris Independent Examiner*
* not on committee

The Chairman, Andrew Jurenko, has asked that we continue to support his charity, NASS, and

that contributions from last year be held over to this year.
Since the AGM, Andrew Banfield and Jenny have agreed to organise an outing for 2022.

A room with a view by Vincent Fosdike

Some years ago I was given a sum of money as a leaving present from my firm. No this is not a polite way of referring to redundancy pay although I also got some of that after the branch office ran out of work and a great swathe of my files got “sold off” when a major client was itself taken over and took the legal work away.

I decided that a good quality pair of binoculars would be in order and duly purchased a reputable pair. These have been used quite a lot recently during lockdown and provided something of a window into the past. In an idle moment I wondered what I was looking at when gazing over the landscape due north of our house. At first I could identify some local landmarks probably within 2 miles. By chance we had lived in the areas along that line of sight over a few years. My vantage point is about a hundred feet above sea level so we are on the rim of what is often called the London Basin and looking north means towards the Thames. The next highest land would beHampstead. Therefore except for tall buildings the “horizon” can be about 15 miles. You may wonder just how much detail a fairly standard specification pair of binoculars can give you. Typically the specification of such items would be 10×50 or perhaps 8×42. Pocket varieties may be 8×20. I have examples of the smallest one and a larger pair which is 12×50. Naturally when you know that the first figure is the magnification of the image you imagine “biggest is best”. But like many technical things there is more to it. The second figure relates to the eye piece (the first being the lens at the front of the binoculars). The ratio between them affects the brightness of the image. Sadly the old rugby song “my eyes are dim I cannot see; I’ve left my specs in the w.c.” becomes increasingly true with age and the best balance must be struck between magnification and brightness with the latter being increasingly important as the years go on. There is a range of prices within the above specifications and two other factors affect what you will actually see. One, how strong and steady are your arms? The weight of the glasses will give a tendency to shake. So get a light pair and or a tripod. Second how good is the frame and focusing action. If there is a little play in the movement you will tend to push the focus out with your eyebrows. At short distances this will not be very noticeable but it is more critical over greater views.

The technical side of course goes on like the binoculars to infinity, (web sites are available). So, what can I see with my best “bins” (8×42 well known but not the most expensive make)? To my great surprise I could initially make out the slightly famous church tower of St. Anne’s on East Hill, Wandsworth, which is the same distance as Wandsworth High Street and within a few hundred yards of the Town Hall. It has large apertures whose outlines can be clearly perceived. How far? Well, I used the AA route planner as the direction is almost a straight line and it turns out to be 8 miles. Not bad and somewhat nostalgic as it is almost next to the college I spent two happy years at doing my “A” levels in the 1960s. I lived about a mile away from it then. But are better results to be had? Across the river I am able to make out Empress State Building (Fulham) wherein I worked occasionally and had yet another farewell from a different kind of employment as government cutbacks loomed!!! Back to the AA route planer, 10 miles! The window frames can be discerned. These are good and meaningful landscapes but onwards again! Reasonably good outlines of spires can be seen further away still, perhaps 12 miles. The earlier landmarks can be found named on street maps. But at 12 miles the problem is that one does not know what to search for. There are several churches named that might be right. I have a small prismatic compass which reads off bearings. You are supposed to use them on a map. But many spires have no name on street maps which also don’t lend themselves to compass bearings. So I try computer aerial maps which can be expanded to give road names. But again, the compass bearing is impractical. I guess 10 miles in urban areas is the maximum easy recognition range. Naturally it is common to find that carefully identified landmarks have disappeared over night! Mist which you don’t notice with the naked eye can take the range down to 2 miles. Heat shimmer is common even at this time of year.

Finally, I am left with an enigma. At about six miles I can see a large Victorian looking building with 2 metallic domes near St Anne’s Church in an area I know so well. Nothing on the map helps. So I rang a friend who lives in that area who suggested 2 possibilities which had already occurred to me. But the google pictures have no domes!!! Until we are free to travel the question is unanswered.

Green Pastures by Dennis Evans

As you may know we keep 3 ponies, at present, one Dartmoor ‘Pumphill Fandango’ our Windsor Horse Show Champion, and two Welsh Ponies. When not in our stables they have the run of our fields to graze. Each field is surrounded by a fence, sub-divided by movable electric fences needing regular maintenance. The place is like a zoo, for we also have 3 cats, 3 dogs, and a dozen chickens on the loose. On one side of our bungalow runs a well-used public footpath. About 15 years ago we got a quote from a reputable fence installer in Tadworth, to replace the old fence bordering the footpath. The quote was £3000. I accepted this, and eventually two Australians arrived who were sub-contracted to the so-called reputable installer. They did the job in two days. But it soon became apparent that they had made a hash of the job (all 191 metres of it). They had not tensioned the wires, and sagging occurred.

After inspection by a farmer we knew, it transpired they had put the fence up upside down! I must admit after many years of country rambling, I did not know there was a right way up for Woven Wire (Horse Fencing). I now know that in the gaps in this type of fencing the smaller squares should be at the bottom, they gradually increase in size to the top of the fencing. Rectification would involve a lot of work as the posts had been cemented in. Eventually the firm agreed a £500 refund and a re-tensioning of the wire.

But it’s now showing its age, and that is what we are now working on at least the worst 100yds. There are no Toll or Customs posts on our footpath fence (see 2nd edition of March 2021). Sorry to bore you but I thought I would tell you the story, for having three daughters and the wife, I miss our Probus male chats on what we Men call important subjects.

On reflection I think that Australian cattle stations and most of the American cattle country could not have been developed without the use of these types of fences which would have had barbed wire strands where needed. I still wonder which way up they put them. Perhaps my farmer friend had made a mistake and the Australians were just following their traditions. I shall never know unless some of you do?

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