Covid Special: May No.1 2020

I am delighted to be receiving more copy and even letters of appreciation. Thank you everyone!

It is evermore important to keep a sense of community and these items help! On this theme please E-mail, phone or write to each other particularly those we know to be alone, just to say hello is so heartening.

“Begone dull care,” Motto of the Royal Signals Corps.

Please feel free to send any items or requests etc. to your editor, they will be appreciated. Please email me: vincent@fosdike.com

or send to: 3A Grosvenor Ave., Carshalton Beeches, SM5 3ET


The Joy Of An Rookie Audit Clerk by A.K. (Grumps)

When I was a lad (80 years ago) the Royal Navy was for me. I joined the sea cadets, learnt knots, compass points, port/starboard. Dartmouth? Not for me!

So, what now? How about a Chartered Accountant – what is that? My Mother was in advertising and knew their auditors. Having matriculated I was interviewed by the staff partner and offered articles, £500 guineas deposit, repayable, half passing the intermediate exam, balance passing the final. So, I was introduced to MR T department, (five years).

Big Bill was my first tutor, I almost fell asleep. Every debit needs a credit. No adding machine then, by hand. Confined to the department for four months. Then, with Mr C, we all liked him.

THEN, disaster, the bad-tempered ex-army Major, junior audit clerks cannon folder. Yes, Mr T, no MR T. As the month’s past, I began to understand what it was all about. On an audit with Major T, I could not balance one for PMM test papers. Let me see, there’s your mistake, it now balances. A smile, well maybe he’s not such a tyrant after all. Much to the surprise of the senior members of the department I passed my intermediate exam. Mr T stated that the institute standard had fallen. Cheque for 2500 guineas in the post.

NOW, I am a semi senior, with juniors in tow. Senior audit clerk to follow!!!


Desperate Gritter – Edition 1 by Andrew Banfield

As part of what is now called career development, I once accepted an appointment as Head of Environmental Management of a London borough which had to some extent fallen upon hard times, resulting in more staff but with a smaller budget. True my previous appointment did have better resources and therefore more scope for development this one reminded me of my roots, having been brought up in just such a borough. In a way perhaps it felt like going back to the good old days. The challenges were welcome! They boiled down to sorting out the consequences of historical underfunding, poor morale, and worn out obsolete equipment. So without any new money it was my job to turn things around. The borough was responsible for roads and street cleaning which incidentally meant that I was ultimately answerable for the endeavours of people like Trigger (of fools and horses fame). As a further bonus there was a geographical feature of the borough which mattered when it snowed. This was a long winding hill with a considerable gradient. I could foresee trouble in the event of severe weather.

The first winter approached and snow was predicted. Therefore, in anticipation I arranged for the Transport Manager to inspect our fleet of snow clearing vehicles. We did not have dedicated snow gritter and clearers. What we had were four old trucks, Leyland, I think with demountable equipment. They were hardly ever used but in the cold weather they were kept warm with paraffin heaters under the engines. Winter was very expensive, lots of overtime, but welcomed by the staff.

All went well, snow duly fell and out went our vehicles. As the evening went on I was kept up to date with progress. I was at a Committee Meeting in the Town Hall. Unfortunately the gritter got stuck on the steep hill. A note was handed to me by the Town Hall caretaker, could we call out the Fire Brigade? I needed to agree to this as it could be re-chargeable event. I agreed, and returned to the meeting. Half an hour later another note. Now the Fire engine was stuck, could another be called? Yes, I replied a second time. This engine also got stuck. At which point, knowing that the Fire Brigade had their own recovery vehicles I decided to abandon the gritter. The driver had to walk home. I just about got home to Carshalton, much to my surprise. I was snowed in the next day and conducted all my business by phone. The gritter stayed on the hill for a couple of weeks. We were never billed for the rescue.


Adrian Lasrado

It is with great regret that we have to report the death of Adrian Lasrado who passed away on Wednesday 22nd April following complications from diabetes and pneumonia. We send our heartfelt condolences to Flavia and his family. Adrian was a well-loved member of Coulsdon Probus and our Chairman in 2016.

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