July 2019

Business Meeting 6th June 2019

24 members were present plus our speaker Neil Sadler. The Chairman presented new member, Brian Morris, with his name badge. Chairman Roger Gourd then led a short silence to remember the fallen on D-Day, exactly 75 years ago today. Following our speaker ‘The Beat Goes On’, our Chairman, also an ex-policeman, led the thanks.

Almoner, Andrew Kellard, reported the absences of Reg Baker (a fall took him to Mayday – now at home still a bit shaken), Roger Davies (rather unwell, mostly sitting), Tony Simpson (won’t leave house without daughter) and Lionel Downton (no contact). Other absences: holidays.

Andrew Kellard (acting Luncheons Secretary) reported one late cancellation.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.

Correspondence: Copies of the Summer Probus Magazine and Membership Forms were available. Ian Payne reported that we had received a ‘Certificateof Appreciation’ from Air Ambulance having raised £137.72 last month. The charity collection raised £45 and the raffle £27.

Outings and Events

‘9 to 5 the musical’: Jim Mulvey had been offered a special deal but had only just managed to fill the ten places available. Unlikely to try again.
Ladies Lunch: 17th October at the Chateau Napoleon (change of venue). Entertainment – a mandolin player. Please complete invitation/menu.
Quiz: 22nd November, Cameron Hall. Quizmaster Dennis Evans, fish & chips(or alternative) supper. Individuals, pairs or teams welcome. Please diarise.


Today – Colin Jones:  This may kill you
August 1st – Robin Ford: Kidney Foundation, Diabetes Research, Helier
September 5th – Jim Mulvey: Fake History
October 3rd – Vic Quale: Fun on Four Wheels

Neil Sadler: The Beat Goes On!

Neil Sadler is always a welcome speaker with his lively anecdotes and easy style and lived up to his “police record” again this time.

No doubt policing has its dark side but this is hardly suitable for after lunch audiences, so he put together a number of incidents and experiences showing a more light hearted take on policing including some statistics to add just a little social perspective. Some points in particular did give an element of social commentary. For example, the reason that we seldom see a police officer is that the ratio of officers to the general population is 1:496. Dilute this by the numbers who must be more office based and further by those on leave or sick and the uniform presence becomes even less. Of course, we should not forget that many are plain clothes officers so visibility falls still further. Clearly the idea of routine foot or even car patrols as a deterrent could never have been realistic.

However, as Neil mentioned, some criminals do help the clear up rate as in the case of the one who wrote his name and address in the visitors book of the church he was stealing from. 

Meanwhile back to the serious side of internment, there was the long term inmate of one of the high security category prisons who was allowed a key to his cell in the interests of his long term hobby of bird keeping. He had two such companions and owing to the risk of them being stolen or meeting an untimely demise (“there are a lot of thieves in here”) was given the said key. The key only allowed him to lock the birds in as he left the cell not to let himself out! 

Sadly one police officer found himself trapped by debt from a poker game into driving a getaway car which did not complete its getaway, leaving a rather lengthy period of reflection to be undertaken behind bars.To end on a sunny note Neil mentioned that he was sent to help train the police in Abu Dhabi which had to be done entirely through an interpreter and was essentially a health and safety course. Unbeknown to Neil one of the officers was the executioner!

Things that go bump in the night (Conclusion) – Vincent Fosdike

You may remember that in last month’s edition there was ‘part one’ of this little anecdotewhich ended at the point where a wardrobe door had unexpectedly opened itself in the night and worse still CLOSED itself again!

I must admit I did not approach the wardrobe until the morning. Of course one is quite relaxed in daylight. I don’t know what I expected to discover. Perhaps I was able to find the cause but I shall never know if I was right but I offer the results of my deduction for your consideration. …

… The evidence is as follows:

  1. Resting on the floor of the wardrobe was an old-fashioned flying jacket as worn by fighter pilots in WW2. These are quite soft and with a fur lining and a fairly thin flexible leather outer covering.
  2. Resting on top of the jacket was a motorcycle helmet, (upside down).

So I suspect the helmet had rolled against the door pushing it open. Not surprising as perhaps the jacket was settling as the room cooled. For a little while it held the door open and then the jacket gave way under the new weight distribution and the helmet rolled away from the door allowing it to swing back which it does tend to do. So mystery solved unless of course it was just an old Battle of Britain pilot stepping out for a pint at the White Hart!

You Should Get Out More!!!!! – Vincent Fosdike

O.K. Grandad!? What did you do today?

Perhaps these thoughts are in the minds of our grandchildren whilst they reluctantly pause in their mad career through the day to reluctantly “sort out our computer” because we could not keep up when they showed us exactly the same thing last week or was it yesterday? Well you think defensively – at least I do use a computer – surely this must be a merit point?

You may well pick up requests from publications such as the U3A or perhaps “The Oldie” or professional journals from universities of which you are an alumni. The requests I have in mind are to take part in research studies of people of our age. The ones I have taken part in involve measures of learning abilities, perceptual skills and where appropriate, physical strength and eyesight.

Before you decide your G.P. has already had a look at these items and you don’t feel inclined to leap out of the armchair to repeat the experience, please let me put things into perspective.

These University studies will really take you back to your student days and well away from the tedious “Surgery M.O.T” carried out by overloaded G.P.’s who have seen it all before and could do your updates in their sleep.

In my most recent volunteering “event” things went as follows: an initial exchange of e-mails which outlines the exact purpose of the study, what will be required of you, arrangements for tea and coffee, handling of data and financial recompense or even gratuities you may receive.

If all is agreeable a suitable appointment is made often by a direct phone conversation with the researcher who is normally using the information for a PhD. or post-doctoral studies.

Enthusiasm is the keynote of the conversation; you are more than welcome join the project and make your contribution. Dates are arranged to suit mutual convenience and of course a meeting point. Challenge number one is to meet each other normally by waiting in a reception area through which shoals of students ebb and flow. You are not actually required to wear a white carnation but it might help. Suddenly a tall sophisticated young lady emerges from the swirl and asks if you are here for the study. Does this sound interesting? 

Whilst walking to the interview room the study is further elaborated and a degree of empathy is established to facilitate the procedure.

So what is the procedure? Well in this case it starts with a file of sheets of paper in plastic wallets with a single word on each sheet. These are to be read out loud and hesitation or misreading is logged. This tests reading skills and establishes an element of educational background. Some words will be beyond everyone so that “cut off” points can be found, (there are no fake words).

Next visual acuity appears to be tested by judging where the centre point of a line is on various pieces of paper. You may well know this type of test in which perceptual queues are inserted to make lines look longer or curved when they are not. This is the second challenge. Quite fun!

But as with many psychological tests there is quite a devious element designed to prevent even knowledgeable candidates outwitting the study design. In this case the experimenter has told you that none of the marked points which you have been asked to locate is really at dead centre. You must decide whether the “centre point” is nearer the left or the right side. I imagined that I was driving between posts and must put the car on the exact middle. I concluded that my perception was not all that exact. You can talk to the interviewer whilst calling out your decisions but of course they will not help!

I could not accept that I was wrong in my judgement, but I was told that all mid-point markers were biased and I must nominate the bias, left or right. So I complied. Latter I was told much to my relief that I had been lied to and some were true mid points. What they were after was to expose my brain bias by forcing a choice. Good trick? Mine showed the normal left bias. Are you liking this so far? Well it is now time for a tea break. Such researchers have lively minds and conversations are fun and help you to settle down before the technology comes into play.

After Tea/Coffee I am invited to put my head into the same device that opticians use for eyesight checks but with added toys. In this case an eye movement scanner. After calibration during which general conversation is allowed, the machine is calibrated and registers exactly what your eyes see by tracing their movements and correlating them with images on the computer screen in front of you. The game begins! The screen fills with images which change and appear to repeat in a cycle. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to press the mouse when repeats are detected. By now you will expect the un-expected, so this is the third challenge, don’t let her catch you out. It sounds easy but the screen has up to fifty similar images and is refreshed and changed when you call out “next”. The differences are quite small often involving groups of similar birds or animals. One or two will perhaps have changed from left to right orientation and must be spotted! The screens get harder and can take up to an hour, (breaks are allowed). You might think this is just a memory test Think again. Told you these psychologists were devious. Well what do you think? At this point I should leave it till next month.       

to be continued

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