The forecast for the rest of the week is much the same and thank heavens for that, for tomorrow I drive my daughter down to Cornwall for a long weekend with my other daughter, her husband and my two grandsons. We were to have gone a couple of weekends ago, but the snow and frost warned us off trying to make the three hundred-odd miles to risky, so we postponed.
Something really odd is happening to our climate as I am sure we have all noticed. Whatever happened to February Filldyke? We should have had something like five times as much rain in this short month, if our water supply is not to be rationed. I noticed yesterday that no less than four immediate neighbours were hosing their cars clean, which drove me to nip down to the car-wash; just as wasteful by all of us and something that we can expect to see stopped unless the heavens open.
We are luckier than our neighbours in Croydon, though. The East Surrey Water Company is using last year’s rain at present, safely tucked under 300 feet of chalk, so our rationing – if it happens – will not be so severe as Croydon and the rest of the Thames Water supply, at least until next year, but perhaps we shall have a truly wet summer to save the day.
It really does appear that the we are having a major change to its climate, something that has happed dozens of times since the World began, but why now? Is it truly due to the hydrogen we are pushing out of our cars, planes and heating systems? Surely not just that, just a small percentage of the hydrocarbons produced by natural things. At least we are helping to keep Earth warm enough, for with no hydrocarbon the planet would have normal temperature of -13 degrees – too damn cold for life as we know it.
I hope it keeps dry and warm this weekend, though; selfish old me.
Ian Payne talked about Genealogy and his own researches at our February meeting and what a fund of knowledge he displayed on the subject and how he held his audience was an example to all our speakers.
It was some ten years ago when his mother died and Ian saw the family papers, that he discovered both his father and mother were born into Jewish families. He had always known his mother had grown up in Slovakia but he didn’t recognise her maiden name as Jewish. Their marriage certificate showed his father’s name as Goldman and it turned out that he had changed his name to Payne six months before Ian was born. Research showed that his mother’s parents had died in Auschwitz and his other grandfather came from Russian Poland in 1897 to escape the pogroms.
With such an interesting line to follow, when Ian retired he decided to try to sort out the family tree. How to start? Well, he had considerable ability with working on the Web and discovered much basic information on how to find ancestors through that. Being Ian, of course, he developed a method of laying out the tree that did away with too long – or too wide – charts and invented the ‘Pedigree Circle’ whereby the further out from the centre, the more room there is for increased numbers of ancestors.
Many of us have attempted to find our ancestors, your Editor included, but our efforts pale into insignificance in comparison with Ian’s. His presentation used his own database and from the pedigree circle, a click on each person revealed a personal story page which itself had direct links to birth, marriage and death certificates, synagogue records, censuses, gravestones, Auschwitz records, nationalization papers, letters and documents in German, Slovak and Hungarian (with translations), spouses, children and relevant European history to put it all in context. All these documents were displayed as Ian revealed the fascinating stories he had discovered about his ancestors. By comparison, the efforts of most of us pale into insignificance as we try to remember what our parents and grandparents told us and we rely on the limited resources of censuses or write to churches known to them, hoping for news.
With advancing age, at least in the case of your Editor, people and things from our own past fade in the memory; their occupations, where they lived all disappear as time goes by. With this damned fading goes the chance to tell your grandchildren about their great-great-grandparents who lived up to 150 years ago. Maybe we should all follow Ian’s example.
A fascinating subject, well told, generating our interest in the subject.
Today:Andrew Banfield – our Chairman’s charity.
April 5th:Derek Barr, about Fairfield Halls
May 3rd:Ladies’ luncheon and Jack Devlin’s Magic Life
June 7th:David Brown tells us about the Titanic, lost
just one hundred years ago this year.
We regret to inform you all that Walter Aburn died on February 11th at Purley View Nursing Home after suffering a long decline due to Alzheimer’s. Those of us who knew of this sad loss before this edition went to press will have had the opportunity to attend a Memorial Service at St. John’s in Old Coulsdon yesterday. We extend our sympathies to Walter’s wife Betty and the rest of his family and friends.
Phil Munson continues to recover from the rotten fall he had down the steps at his home in January on his way to our meeting. He is currently in a rehabilitation unit and tells us it will be a long job, but get well soon, Phil.
Norman Cockcroft’s wife Janice has finally got home after five weeks in hospital and is slowly recovering from her bout of internal bleeding. It will be a while before full recovery and she is still under hospital and Norman’s care.
Peter Babler is prevented from attending Probus by continuing medical appointments, but otherwise is feeling quite well.
Peter reminds us that there will be a big jazz night at the Coulsdon Comrades Club at 7.30 pm on March 29th. Tickets for the show at £15 each cover the Bill Geldard Big Band and vocals by Christine Scott as well as a generous buffet. Tickets can be obtained from the Club at 194 Brighton Road (opposite the library) or by phone on 020 8660 0132.
Graham Bass, Mayor of Croydon and a Purley Probus Club member asks us to support a charity dinner at the Purley Way Hilton on March 9th, in support of the London Air Ambulance and the Croydon Dyslexia Association. Tickets are available at £45 each (or £410 for a table for ten) from the Hilton by ringing Alison Thurgood on 020 8668 4485. Dress is black tie evening, please.
Don’t forget the National Theatre & Maritime Museum trip on Tuesday March 27th. Tickets at £25 pp available until today from Peter Coombes of Sanderstead Probus by telephone on 020 8657 8372.
Jim Mulvey has arranged a superb cruise down the Thames from Maidenhead to Henley with lashings of tea, coffee, pastries and shortbread on the boat. Date April 12th. Early start from the Tudor Rose at 8.a.m. Tickets are £32.50 pp and that doesn’t include lunch at Henley.
Jim has also arranged a theatre trip to Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre on June 21st, for the 2.30 pm show. That’ll cost £36 each, plus £14 for lunch at 12.30 at Porters in Henrietta Street; both getatable from Charing Cross station, so use your Freedom Pass instead of paying for a coach.
Note: Our August luncheon is on August 16th, not the 2nd.