August 2019

Business Meeting 4th July 2019

25 members were present plus our speaker Colin Jones plus AdrianLasrado’s guest David Read. Chairman Roger Gourd reported that the Committee this morning had considered a report on membership prepared by Chairman/Secretary/Treasurer, and had concluded that the finances ofthe club were insufficient for the club to stay ‘as is’ for more than three orso years. Following further research, a proposal will be put to the club in October to either stay as we are (and run down) or to admit lady members. Other options were considered non-viable. An indicative vote suggested about 1/3 support for admitting ladies.

Almoner, Andrew Kellard, reported the absences of Reg Baker (on his feet after a fall a month ago but still unsteady), Roger Davies (self-reliant but housebound), Tony Simpson (now has a carer – housebound unless daughter drags him out), Lionel Downton (finally made contact – very weak), Chris Starkowski (recovering from operation), Brian Thomas (dialysis: had a relapse but should be out of St. Helier soon), Andrew Kellard (reported that he had recovered from backache).

As acting Luncheon Secretary, Andrew Kellard reported a couple of cancellations. Please notify Andrew by 10.30 am the prior Tuesday if you are not able to attend. Also, if you, your partner or another member is unwell please contact almoner, Andrew Kellard on 01737 554055.

Vacancies: Luncheon Secretary to replace Andrew Kellard. Accounts Examiner. The charity collection raised £56.20 and the raffle £26.

Outings and Events

Ladies Lunch: 17th October at the Chateau Napoleon (change of venue). Entertainment – a mandolin player. Please complete invitation/menu.
Quiz: 22nd November, Cameron Hall for individuals, pairs or teams. Quizmaster Dennis Evans, fish & chips etc. Please complete entry & choice of menu form.


Today – Robin Ford: Kidney Foundation, Diabetes Research, Helier Hospital
September 5th – Jim Mulvey: Fake History
October 3rd – Vic Quale: Fun on Four Wheels
November 7th – Andrew Warde: The London Roman Wall

Colin Jones: This may kill you

Colin is President of Sanderstead Horticultural Society. You think you see a lot of plants at Tesco, but they only have 60 varieties compared with about 400,000 on Earth. We can only eat plants that aresafe, but plants don’t want to be eaten – they want to take over the Earth – so they invent poisons. Fruits are normally safe to eat because the plants want us and animals to spread their seeds. Over 50% of modern medicines come from plants but often tiny quantities that otherwise could kill.

Colin got interested in poisonous plants when he saw a news item on Monkshood – “Murder by aconitum – dead within 4 hours”. It was premeditated murder – Kew Gardens helped identify the poison. Also known as Wolfbane and used in South America to tip arrows to kill wolves.

Colin decided to investigate poisonous plants much to the chagrin of his wife. Green potatoes – indigestion, cancer forming. Tomatoes wisdom tellsus is a fruit, but don’t add green tomatoes or its leaves to a salad. Rhubarb is delicious but don’t eat the leaves – oxalic acid damages the kidneys.Tulips are pretty but don’t eat them – pain, vomiting, dermatitis if handled a lot. Laburnum seeds contain cytisine – two seeds could be fatal to a child.

The Royal College of Physicians have a Garden of Medicinal Plants near Regents Park – you can go on a tour. Some plants there are poisonous, some purely medicinal. The plants Dahlia and Fuchsia are named after the doctors who worked with them. Deadly Nightshade or Belladonna contains atropine which can cause muscle twitching and paralysis, but it’s used intiny quantities to dilate the pupils. Lungwort looks like a diseased lung butit’s used to treat many conditions from coughs to tuberculosis. St. John’sWort is used by herbalists to treat depression. Foxglove is toxic but it is used to extract digoxin used to treat heart failure.

‘The Poison Garden’ in Northumbria, Chelsea Physic Gardens and the‘Poison Plants Garden’ in Montreal Botanical Gardens are other examples of once widespread medicinal gardens. The list of common poisonous plants with medicinal properties (in small quantities) goes on: Hemlock (quinine,Socrates’ poison), Coca (cocaine), Cannabis/Marijuana/Hashish etc. usedfor pain relief. At Kew Gardens you can see the African Strychnine Tree – rat poison or per Agatha Christie, convulsions and exhaustion.

Poppy (opium), Delphinium, Lilies, Rhododendron, Rosemary Laurel, Crocus, Yew, Ragwort – the list goes on. Nausea, vomiting, dermatitis, heart failure, kidney failure, cancer in humans and animals – whatever evil you will. And then we have the known killers – Tobacco (nicotine), Mushrooms (kidney damage, hallucinogenic, if you get the wrong one).

Remember, plants don’t want us to eat them. Thank you Colin.

Editorial – Vincent Fosdike

As you may (or may not) have noticed you will not need to read my thoughts this month beyond those written here.

First and most importantly my thanks to our contributors: Norman Williams, Andrew Banfield and some extra work in my absence by Ian Payne covering our guest speaker synopsis item.

Second a heartfelt call for SHORT LIGHT ITEMS, for our newsletter. I would be delighted to get items as short as four or five lines.

By the very nature of our membership you have all had interesting and challenging lives which MUST have left choice nuggets well worthretrieving. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like typing them up. Have a chat with me before lunch and I’ll do all the work with pleasure and enthusiasm.Your memories really are “worth it”.

We all have incidents from our early days at work or in the forces which as callow youths put us on our metal. I remember my first day in court with instructions to appear as agent in litigation but not telling me which side Iwas “for”!! We’ve all had tricky moments, so let’s laugh at them over the wine.

Historic Kent Thursday 20th June

After leaving the Tudor Rose in Old Coulsdon, we travelled to the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne situated on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Channel. The site includes the RAF Memorial Wall and replica aircraft. It commemorates one of the most important events of the 20th century. On arrival we were taken to the “Scramble Experience”. This was an interactive and immersive experience, giving a taste of life duringthis important time in the nations’ life.

From here we travelled to the Old Lantern Pub for lunch. It is situated in the village of Martin near Dover. A very old 17th century building, with an equally old interior. We approached the pub along some very, very, narrow lanes. All credit to our driver Steve who managed to get us there safely.

In the afternoon, our visit continued to the 16th century Walmer Castle, historic home of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Lord Wardens included, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Duke of Wellington. The Castle is one of a number built on the South Coast by Henry VIII in the 16th century to defend England from invasion. After a tour of the castle, one was able to visit the magnificent gardens, albeit a short visit.

Following the visit we came home to Old Coulsdon after an interesting and eventful day. We were fortunate in that we had lovely weather and a good run on the motorways.

A Jolly Boy by Norman Williams: Part 1

Some years ago I became a Jolly Boy, no it’s definitely not what some of youmay be thinking.

The Jolly Boys were a group of 25 members within a social club and to join you had to be proposed (by an existing member) when there was a vacancy and there had be a 100% acceptance by all the current members.

The group was originally set up to encourage the club members to go on day trips which each Jolly Boy was to attend so having a base number on which to rely on but evolved into two trips being made each year solely for the Jolly Boys. These were a day trip (Beano) for the men and a weekend for each member and wife, partner for which you paid a weekly sum towards the cost of each trip and there was generally a small sum left over for each of us.

My first trip was to Hastings and I turned up at the club on the morning to find everyone ready to go and we quickly board the coach and I settled down with my friend Eddie (who was also a new member) to discuss the day ahead.

However much to our surprise, cans of beer bottles, of spirits and plastic glasses appeared and were being passed around and everyone started to drink as we were expected to do. I had never drunk this early in the morning before and was a bit reluctant to start but decided that being a new boy I had best join in and soon found out how easy it was to become an early morning drinker. At some point we stopped at a roadside cafe to so that we could use the loo and have something to eat (I was advised by an old hand to have something to eat to supposedly line my stomach), so I settled for a bacon sandwich and to this day still do not know if it did any good.

A group had started a game of heads or tails where an old penny was tossed up and you could bet (against the person doing the tossing) whether the coin landed on its head or tail. It was fascinating to see that the person doing the tossing never lost so I decided that his luck must run out and had several goes only to join the queue of losers. Whether there was some form of cheating I do not know but the penny was changed regularly so probably ruled that out so I can only presume that he had some method of throwing the coin.

Then some boiled eggs were produced (obviously they had been brought along for this purpose) and a new game started whereby the eggs were rolled out into the road and each player could place a bet on the number of the first car to squash an egg this proved to be much harder than you would think.

Some cars seemed to deliberately avoid an egg and quite what the drivers must have thought to see a group of men jumping up and down laughing and willing the car to go over the egg. Eventually an egg was run over and the winner had a nice sum to use in Hastings and it occurred to me that being a Jolly Boy was much about drinking and gambling neither of which I was accustomed to.

As we approached Hastings we were caught in a queue of traffic and stopped beside a bus stop where an elderly gentleman was waiting so someone suggested we offer him a lift as it looked as if he would have long wait.


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