June 2014


Thank heavens for the NHS. My wife slipped on a flight of stone steps at the end of April and fractured her elbow, hence our absence at the open meeting last month. We were in Streatham babysitting and the dog had to be taken out for his last performance. Pauline staggered back inside where I was asleep in front of the TV. We called 999 and were told “we are arranging support” and although a doctor phoned back and asked detailed questions, I was still given the same message. What did it mean? – presumably a little vague to cover their backs but an ambulance arrived about half an hour later and they were excellent and re-assuring.

Mayday x-rayed, put the arm in plaster, x-rayed again and admitted Pauline to a ward. She was operated on a day later and discharged the next day full of metalwork. Two weeks later the plaster was changed and is due to be removed this Tuesday. The treatment and care was excellent although one can always find a few niggles. The first ward was superb and always answered the phone promptly. The surgical ward (after the operation) appeared understaffed and never answered their phone. Furthermore, they forgot to pass the papers through to the fracture clinic which I had to phone repeatedly to get the appointment we had been promised. “Sorry, we are full, we have no appointments until . . .” I had to escalate the matter up and up until I got an appropriate response – “Can you come in tomorrow?”

We had to postpone our trip to America to see our grandchildren and attend Hala’s christening (though we were ultimately present by Skype). Going through the cancellation and insurance recovery (still on-going) hoops is ghastly. Just think how difficult it would have been if the accident had happened in America. Would they have accepted our proof of insurance – would we have had to fork out tens of thousands in advance? I finish where I started – thank heavens for the NHS.

goodall-pam2Guest Speaker: Pamela Goodall: Cycling around the worldPam Goodall was approaching her sixtieth birthday, but she traded in her possessions for a bicycle, tent, compass and puncture repair kit and set off to pedal her way through Europe, Asia and America . . . alone. She had no idea where she would be sleeping that first night nor any subsequent night until her return to England a year later.

Undeterred by constant warnings of danger, her presence prompted spontaneous friendships which resulted in invitations to weddings, engagements and birthday celebrations, beach parties and barbecues. Frequently treated as a VIP houseguest, she enjoyed family meals, local sightseeing and an unusual day at a private health club.

riding-it-outOther stories included the trials of finding a place to sleep each night, the reality of owning a Brooks saddle and choosing to ignore persistent warnings from well-meaning strangers of the dangers lurking ahead for a lone female cyclist. There was an appearance on ‘Good Morning India’, a disassembled bike at Islamabad airport, police searches in Vietnam, raccoons for company in frozen woods, chased by a rabid dog in Mexico and intimidation from angry youths in Romania. The challenge of obtaining visas throughout Asia proved nerve-wracking and costly and once obtained there were other officials trying to relieve her of her passport.

Pam covered some 10,000 miles and 20 countries in her travels and the presentation captured her adventures and the different cultures of the countries on her journey. China was particularly fascinating with countless examples of amazing hospitality and human kindness. Pam put her story to writing in her book ‘Riding It Out’ (available on Amazon).

Your Editor was not present and is indebted to Ewell Probus for this article.


Today:Dr Ron Cox: How the railways altered Britain

July 3rd:Bob Ogley: Biggin on the bump

August 7th:Talk by a Chelsea Pensioner to commemorate start of WW1

Club News

There were 26 members and 22 guests plus our speaker at our Open Meeting in May. £35.32 was collected for the Chairman’s Charity and £36 for the Amenity Fund (raffle).

Ken Carter It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Ken on Thursday 29th May. We will all want to extend our condolences to Jean, his son Gary and the family. Ken had many great friends in Probus, was our Chairman in 2001, and served our Club in an exemplary manner.

Laurie Painting is still unwell. Norman Cockcroft is now out of hospital. Hugh Roberts’ son is suffering from ill health. Ian Payne’s wife fell and suffered a fractured elbow and is in plaster.

Ron Furniss and Norman Pollard are both returning after a long break.

Please advise news of members to almoner, hughroberts67@aol.com
tel: 01737 202243. Please remember to let Andrew Kellard know if you can’t attend a meeting: tel: 01737 554055.

Outings and Events

Ashdown Forest Coach Tour Thursday 12th June: £41. Plus country house tour, lunch/teas. There are still some vacancies.

Contact Jim Mulvey (01737 555974).

Old Coulsdon Fair, Saturday 5th July: Support Jim Mulvey who is running our stall.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Thursday 10th July: full.

Last Night of the Proms, Fairfield Halls, 27th September: £18 tickets available (usually £20) from Hugh Roberts (tel: 01737 202243).

Ladies Lunch, Thursday 16th October at Coulsdon Manor: Diarise

Coulsdon Probus Quiz, Thursday 20th November evening: Diarise

Lord of the Manorby Jim Mulvey

6493172297The last of the Coulsdon squires, Edmund Byron, was very distantly related to Lord Byron the poet, having roads of a whole housing estate named after poets in his memory.  The Byrons bought the Lordship of the Manor in 1782 and luxuriated in the manorial deference accorded to them by the local peasants, opening fetes, flower shows, annual cattle markets and behaving in a patronising manner at summer tea parties on the lawns

When after WWI, to fulfil the government’s pledge to build homes ‘fit for heroes’ Byron refused to sell any of his land for Stoats Nest Village.  Purley and Coulsdon Council compulsory purchased the land and built the village.   As one drives down the modern Coulsdon Road towards Stoats Nest Village the road becomes decidedly gloomy because of the row of large yew trees along the roadside.  In 1918 before there was any buildings along Coulsdon Road the land was open countryside right up to Coulsdon Manor, and Byron, from behind his haw-haws, had magnificent views over the valley.  Not wanting to have the great unwashed spoiling his outlook Byron had the yews planted, but he never had benefit because he died two years later.  Edmund also removed the drinks licence from the Cherry Tree pub in Coulsdon Road for an alleged slight to Mrs Byron.

15-Coulsdon-Court-Building-smallEdmund Byron’s main claim to infamy was the ‘Marl Wars’.  Marl is a mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, which Saxon farmers used to spread on their land as a conditioner.   Fast forward a few hundred years, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the height of the Industrial Revolution when the Dark Satanic Mills were belching out fire and smoke, it was discovered that Calcium Carbonate was excellent for purifying iron ore.  Squire Byron’s attempt to enclose the commons so that he could extract the calcium carbonate on an industrial scale was thwarted by local farmer William Hill.

Other notable Lords of the Manor for Coulsdon were the Darcys, the Earls of Portland, the Masons, the Des Bouveries and the Roffeys.  The first Lord of the Manor, Sir Nicholas Carew was a jousting partner of Henry VIII, but fell out of favour over his support for Catherine of Aragon and was exiled to Calais.  Carew was permitted to return to court only by the insistence of his cousin, Anne Boleyn, but when Anne was dispatched by Henry, Sir Nicholas and other members of her family were arrested on trumped up charges and executed for treason, with their estates confiscated.  However, the estates were returned to Sir Nicholas’s son by Queen Mary because of Nicholas’s support for Mary’s mother.

The Earls of Portland were one of those aristocratic dynasties that drifted into gentle penury.  Never-the-less, the present Earl is listened to with great interest by over five million people each week, and thousands obey his commands every day.  The present holder of the title is Tim Bentinck, the actor who plays David Archer in the ‘Archers’, and is also the voiceover who, on the Northern Line, commands you to ‘Mind the Gap’.

A business woman for twelve years, Pam’s shop closed down due to competition from a nearby supermarket. The collapse of the property boom in the late ‘80s left her facing bankruptcy and the desk job which followed led ultimately to redundancy. Enough was enough – three months later Pam left the comfortable surroundings of West Sussex one spring morning and began her Grown-up Gap Year.

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