Business Meeting, 7th June 2018
Chairman, Ian Payne, welcomed the 34 members present plus our speaker Colin Jones. The Charity Collection raised £63 and the raffle £33. Sadly, Gillian Roberts has passed away following a fall and a broken ancle– our heartfelt condolences to Hugh. The funeral is on Friday 13th July 2018, 2.30pm St John’s Church, Old Coulsdon and afterwards at The Old Coulsdon Bowling Club, on the Coulsdon Road. We are also sad to report that Maija Bergs passed away after a fall having suffered for several years with PSP. We have been pleased to have supported Martin’s charity workfor PSP. Maija’s commemorative garden party report is on the back page.Roger Gourd is now fit, Arthur Trunchion’s legs are getting better andNorman Pollard is looking after his wife. Since our meeting Tony Simpson has fallen twice and Gerry Thompson once. Both have been patched him up and are now walking wounded. Please contact our almoner, Andrew Kellard on 01737 554055, if you, your partner or another member is unwell (also temporarily for lunches – please notify Andrew by 10.30 am the prior Tuesday).
Reg Baker distributed a new membership list (please report any corrections) and Dennis Evans announced the Summer issue of the Probus Magazine. The Old Coulsdon Fair on 7th July will feature small wooden cut-out models made by Arthur Trunchion – offers of help welcome. Our Open Meeting (our 600th meeting) will be on 2nd August. Our Free (£5) Celebration Lunch on 17th October has a new venue – see page 3 (due to closure of original venue). The Annual Quiz with quizmaster Dennis will again feature a fish and chip supper and invitees from other Probus clubs – changed date and venue – see page 3. Andrew Banfield is working on 2019 guest speakers. The average cost is now £60 so Andrew is seeking members to fill some slots (January and July available with free lunch) – hobbies / holidays or whatever.
Sanderstead Probus Outing: 11th Sept: Stawberry Hill House and Richmond Poppy Factory.
£38 p.p. including coach and lunch. Contact: Peter Coombes 020 0845 8406.
Today: Richard Griffin: Protection Officer for the Royal Family
August 2nd – Open Meeting: Mary Forlenza: Great Lovers
September 6th – Glenda Law: Wild Life of the Seychelles
October 4th – Peter Jones: A Year at Chartwell
Colin Jones: Around the World in 80 Gardens
Colin is Chairman of Sanderstead Horticultural Society. He invited us to the ‘Finest in Sanderstead’ flower show on 23rd June. So being used to giving horticultural talks, on seeing an advertisement, he sent off his CV to be a cruise ship entertainer. There are monster 5000 passenger ships with ice shows and even classic car shows but Colin prefersthe medium 1000. In port there’s opportunity tolocal visit local gardens throughout the world.
We started with Louis XIV’s garden at the Palace of Versailles, André LeNôtre’s great masterpiece which required damming up rivers to provide water for the fountains and took 35 years to build. Le Nôtre was also responsible for the Paris Tuileries and his skills were sought around the world, e.g. St. James Park in London. In the Jardin des Tuileries is theOrangerie and Monet’s Water Lilies which takes us to Monet’s Garden atGiverny with real water lilies, Monet’s collection of Japanese landscapepaintings and the famous bridge.
Colin’s cruises took him everywhere. Unfortunately, this account cannot reproduce the countless photographs which brought the talk alive, so you’llhave to visit yourselves. We were also treated to signage from around the world in poor English. Iceland has enormous glasshouses heated by geothermal geysers and huge areas of lupines shading out indigenous plants. Brussels has a begonia festival with 750,000 flowers. Near St. Petersburg is Peterhof, the Summer Palace. Peter the Great brought over André Le Nôtre to design the gardens with their phenomenal 144 fountains.
So to Holland: tulip fields, Keukenhof show gardens with 7 million bulbs. Austria and Switzerland: Alps, window boxes and tax reduction forsplendidly decorated house. Spain: Granada’s Moorish gardens, the Alhambra with canals and fountains to express the richness. Italy: Lake Maggiore with its Isola Bella – gardens, statuary and symmetry.
Further afield we visited Japan in Cherry Blossom Time, Kyoto’s Philosophers’Walk and the Festival of Hanami (picnicking under the cherry blossom),Buddha’s Gardens of Contemplation (rocks not flowers) and Moss Gardens – 40 different varieties and 40 shades of green. St. Helena was Napoleon’sprison – he was a keen gardener. South Africa: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. India: Taj Mahal and the Mughal Paradise Gardens. Australia: Sydney Botanic Gardens. New Zealand: Rotorua. Fiji. Canada. San Francisco: Alcatraz. Florida: Epcot.
And so home via the Azores and Madeira. Colin’s favourite place is Wisley, RHS’s home in Surrey. His final message: Poinsettias are taking over the world.
Editorial – Ian Payne
Everything was going so smoothly with our 50th Anniversary celebrations, then Dennis received a phone call – the Coach House Restaurant in Godstone isclosing. Fortunately we got back our deposit of £500. We’ve re-booked at The Chateau, Coombe Road, Croydon for the same date. Having decided to have a bumper Quiz with guests from other Probus Clubs, we realised we needed a larger venue. Unfortunately, all the halls in Coulsdon were pre-booked sowe’ve moved to Friday 2nd November.
Have you seen the Coulsdon Probus articles in ECRA, OCRA and CWRA newsletters and in the June issue of CR5 Magazine? These articles and the OldCoulsdon Fair should get our name well known, but it’s up to you to inviteprospective new members. Probus Magazine will also carry an article.
50th Anniversary Year 2018
Old Coulsdon Fair: 7th July 2018, 12 noon to 4.30 pm – 2 days to go:
Please come and help man our exciting stall. Our innovative displays are designed to draw in the crowds, but it needs you to chat them up. Also featuring Arthur Trunchion’s small wooden cut-out models which will be sold by tombola – proceeds to the Chairman’s charity.
600th Meeting: 2nd August 2018:
This will be our annual Open Meetingwith guest speaker to tell us about ‘Great Lovers’.
17th October 2018: Venue has changed to The Chateau, Coombe Lane, Croydon (Coach House Restaurant is closing). Park at The Chateau or get the tram from East Croydon. Meal: three courses, free for members plus partner or friend and widows (reservation £5 p.p.). Menu choices will be available in August. Please car-share if needed.
Friday 2nd November (not 15th as previously advertised) atCameron Hall, Old Coulsdon (new larger venue). There will be a fish and chip supper. Dennis Evans will be quizmaster as usual and other Probus clubs will be invited. Menu order forms will be available in September.
A Garden Party and Farewell to Maija
We were all invited to Chaldon to a fabulous garden party organised by Martinand Maija’s family and particularly Amanda and Robert. And what a garden –three acres at the foot of the North Downs with beautifully scenery, fields of mown grass separated by hedgerows and peppered with gorgeous trees. Parking was all set out in the front of the house and champagne was waiting for us at the back. Before we settled into small groups to natter, a self-guided tour of the grounds was inescapable. At the back of the field to the left, hidden from the house, were two large tents under the trees, to the centre behind the trees was a paddock, but the main, enormous lawn was beckoning. Next to the house, a grand buffet, then groups of garden chairs to relax and chat. Further down on the right was a massive log fire (not yet lit), on the left a marquee for coffee and at the bottom under the trees, a large marquee for soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
The buffet commenced and at a suitable point, the family brought us to silence for tributes to Maija. First Martin who told us about the wonderful years withMaija and the house and how they’d managed it together over the years withhelp from the children with a bit of arm twisting. How the dreadful PSP had taken its hold and how they had appreciated the help from family and friends and the support for the PSP Charity. [The PSP Bogle dolls were on display.]
Robert: ‘Bloody getting on with it’ was what Mum did, whatever it was. She was energetic and determined and achieved a lot. As children we were taken toschool squeezed in her beloved blue VW Beetle. My cello didn’t help! Sheloved being outdoors and took us on long walks in the forest or to the seaside. As a parent governor at Chaldon school she cycled on a 1930’s Tandem dressed in school uniform to raise money for school books. Another fundraiser had thetagline, “Eat like a pig for Christmas then join our sponsored slim”.
Maija had a unique way of dealing with authority. When the Swedish police caught her for speeding she made them pose for a photo so she could prove to Dad the reason for her lateness. She was competitive. In 1976 she won first and second prize for her onions at the Wallington flower show. She came runner up in the’Swim the M25 challenge’ at Oxted pool. In Sweden she won a darts competition.
Amanda: Life at Longlands was non-stop – with four children, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, bees and a large garden to tend, routines were essential and discipline was strong. One child misbehaved – it didn’t matter “who started it” – all four were sent to run around the oak tree at the bottom of the garden. She played piano, painted, drew, knitted us jumpers and scarves, made curtains, clothes and fancy dress outfits – even wove rugs on her weaving loom. Maija was Swedish and Latvian speaking but took a course to learn Russian. She took classes in horticulture, beekeeping, bricklaying and sausage making.
Maija helped teach in schools, and she was a great storyteller, captivating children and adults alike with her tales, often funnier than the truth. She would never miss a bargain – served day old sandwiches for breakfast, lunch AND
dinner because they had been reduced to 5p each at the supermarket the day before; or planting out 25 Christmas tree saplings because it was better value than buying 10. She was a very warm loving person, always trying to help others and never putting herself first. So raise your glasses and join the familyin prieka, cheers or Mum’s favourite, “skål till den schweiziska flottan”.
A fish and chips van arrived for supper and we all moved down to the now lit bonfire to celebrate Latvian midsummer to the music of a jazz band. The children were everywhere paying with gusto but, most of all, they seemed to delight in all squashing in a trailer pulled by a small tractor racing round and round the garden. Unfortunately we had to leave before the fireworks.
Thank you so much to Martin, Amanda, Robert and the family for such a wonderful day and such a wonderful way of saying goodbye to Maija.