March 2015


The Government have just announced the extension of the Pension Bond scheme to May 2015. But is this the best place for your money? Reg Baker suggested this topic, but neither of us is an authorised financial advisor, so here are some outline hints – however, if in doubt, do consult a professional.

Pension Bond (NS&I): What interest does it pay? Interest earned is subject to tax depending on which tax bracket you are in. The investment is for a fixed term and if you cash it in early you lose several months interest.

Cash ISA: Issued by many financial institutions. Interest rates are currently low, but free of tax. Cash can be withdrawn at any time with minimal penalty, but cannot be re-invested if current years investment limit has been reached.

Premium Bonds: The payouts are based on the total fund earning interest at a given rate (quite low). If you have enough bonds, however, you can expect payouts equivalent to that interest and the winnings are free of tax. Bonds can be withdrawn at any time without penalty. And, of course, there’s a (miniscule) chance that you win millions.

Check out all the rates and conditions and, if necessary, consult a professional.

Ian Henry David Scales 8th December 1927 – 24th January 2015

PROBUS. 020When we retire, getting involved in local societies is a great attraction but Ian won the prize – Probus, of course, but also Church, Freemasons, Bourne Society, Debating Club, Residents’ Association. And not only active, but a leading member in each. But back to the beginning . . .

Ian was born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland (his parents came from Dublin) and attended Portora School where his father Henry taught science. Ian loved history so, having always kept in touch as an Old Portorian, it was with great pleasure that for the 2008 celebrations, he researched and wrote the book “Portora – The School on the Hill – A Quatercentenary History: 1608-2008”. It was an instant sell-out.

Ian was bigger and stronger than his brother Peter, avoiding the common childhood illnesses. He played rugby for Portora, enjoyed camping with the scouts and being tall and strong, was attractive to the local girls. However, Ian left all this behind to come to Croydon to train as an electrical engineer. In 1952, Ian took up a teaching post in Nigeria in telecommunications – he was an expert in telex machines.

IMG_6022During 1953, Ian returned to Enniskillen on leave to visit his parents but during this trip he met, wooed and married Valerie who was duly whisked off to Lagos. There they entered the exciting social life around the Country Club including performing in HMS Pinafore.

In 1961, Ian and Valerie and family returned to live in Coulsdon. For some years, Ian worked for United Press International which gave him the opportunity to travel widely, mostly in northern Europe. Maybe this is a good moment to mention the pipe – whether in Europe or back in Coulsdon, Ian was always known for his pipe. He continued with his beloved pipe to the end.

Following his retirement, Ian became very interested in local societies and particularly the history of Coulsdon which he had come to love. Foremost, was St John’s Church, Old Coulsdon. Ian became its greatest authority on its history and, on the days he was church-sitting or carried out his warden duties, he delighted in showing visitors round and pointing out interesting features. Ian passed on his knowledge to the children on visits with their schools and acted as ‘shepherd’ at the door for the monthly Pram Service.

Everything Ian did, he participated in fully. He entered the Freemasons as a brethren of Woodcote Lodge, becoming their secretary. He was a leading member of the Coulsdon Debating Society writing up all the debates and keeping historic records. Ian wrote the definitive history of the Debating Society and was a main speaker in many debates – perhaps the most memorable being on the pronunciation of ‘Colesdon’ as Ian would insist, not ‘Cooolsdon’.

Ian’s historical bent came out most prominently in his book ‘Coulsdon’ as part of the ‘Village Histories’ series for the Bourne Society. He wrote a series of articles ‘Where We Live’ for the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association covering from Anglo-Saxon times through Smitham Bottom (the old name for Coulsdon), The Red Lion and the Coulsdon ‘Byron’ squires to the present.

Ian has been a longstanding member of Coulsdon Probus being Chairman in 1999 and editor of the Newsletter for 2000 editions until I took over in January 2014. At home Ian was a devoted father, grandfather, DIYer, and cook. Ian lost Valery in 2004 and, despite his loneliness, continued to be active until his recent illnesses and retained his old fashioned wit right to the end. As a close neighbour for 40 years, I will always remember his friendship to everyone he knew and his keen interest in everything going on around him. Thank you to Jenny, Denise & David for their wholehearted warmth towards all their Dad’s friends.

Outings and Events

Gypsy – Savoy Theatre Wednesday 27th May 2015 – includes coach plus optional lunch. Please let Jim know if you are interested. Tel: 01737 555974 Email:

Today–AGM: Chairman’s Charity: Macmillan Support Group
April 2nd: David Lindridge: The Fire Service
May 7th: Open Meeting: Margaret Thompson: Harpist
June 4th: Colin Jones: Around the world in 80 gardens
Ladies Lunch: 15th October at Coulsdon Manor – please diarise.

34 members present including our latest member John Morgan. 
The Chairman’s Charity collection made £37.57 and the raffle raised £31 for the Amenity Fund.

Next month is our AGM. All officer posts are due for re-election – please pass any nominations to the Secretary, Dennis Evans. The annual accounts will also be presented. At our February meeting the chairman asked for a show of hands on changing our luncheon venue. Subject to further investigation, the Committee will make a recommendation on this and any other financial matters.

Last month we had to postpone the regular talk (it was to be yours truly on decimalisation and old coinage) in order that our members could attend Ian Scales’ funeral. A large number of Ian’s Probus friends did attend a very full St Johns. I have a message from Denise saying “David, Jenny and I were very grateful for the welcome and support received by all those attending the service(s) last Thursday to celebrate the life of our Dad”. An obituary is on the back page.

Please advise news of members to almoner,, tel: 01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.

Letter from Kuwait: Ian Payne

data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x3fc5363fbeea51a1-0x74726bcd92d8edd2sa=X&ei=2bYOVbvFH4WsOtSSgIgJ&ved=0CI8BEPIBMBIMy younger son’s wife is an American diplomat currently posted to Kuwait. Nadia had to attend a weeklong conference in Vienna, so what better opportunity to invite us over to help look after the children. Christopher had to work for the first three days but then followed two days national holiday then a weekend (Friday/Saturday). So here we are in Kuwait.

kuwait2Strange place – not on the tourist routes – but they use UK electric sockets. We’re not the only foreigners – 70% of the resident population are foreign workers and 30% Kuwaiti nationals. The ‘guests’ are the workers – from shops to nannies. They are the lowest paid (by law, Kuwaitis are paid more, even for equal status work) and cannot acquire Kuwaiti citizenship. And the Kuwaitis whether they work or not, all get a substantial allowance from the government – how else do you spend all that oil money?

urlsa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http3A2F2Fwww.kuwaitlaborlaw.com2F&ei=OrgOVY7TBcfDObeqgJAF&bvm=bv.88528373,dMost of the shopping is in American style malls – the most prestigious, ‘The Avenues’ is huge with every large store you can think of from the UK and USA. Dress code is quite free. One sees many Kuwaiti men, young and old, in white dishdasher (long-sleeved garment down to the ankles) with the traditional headdress of khitra held in place with a circular igal. And some of the women wear the black abaya (full-length, long-sleeved robe) and the black niqab (only a slot for the eyes) or coloured hijab (shows the whole face). But many Kuwaitis wear western dress and it’s common to see two women together one in niqab and the other in western clothes with no head covering. Non Kuwaitis, the majority, wear what they want (but not mini-skirts).

&h=444&w=792&tbnid=xzjFqP1Sjx9x3M-&zoom=1&docid=OkMwZBqxJm83-M&ei=FuEOVanyLoGfPKv4geAL&tbm=isch&client=safari&ved=0CEAQMygHMAcThe population is about 4 million (Kuwaitis and foreigners) and they mostly live in the one large city. The city is crisscrossed with motorways/dual carriageways which separate the different districts which are thus each isolated. Traffic light crossroads give each stream its own ‘go’ which allows for u-turns to reach intermediate turnoffs on the other side. The most northern district is Kuwait City itself, where there are many tall impressive buildings. But in between these buildings is derelict and undeveloped land as is the case everywhere else. The total effect is of partial neglect.

&h=2215&w=3363&tbnid=ztQALWL1eSvUJM-&zoom=1&docid=ffm4OD4f-qwAcM&ei=FuEOVanyLoGfPKv4geAL&tbm=isch&client=safari&ved=0CEEQMygIMAgWe’ve been to the beach, seen a couple of museums (not much to write home about), been shopping including the souk (bazaar) and drove into the desert (dotted with tented shanty villages and camel herders) to see a camel race track. Apparently, robots ride the camels controlled by remotes in chasing cars. Kuwait has every type of restaurant, but the local food – different types of kebab, large unleavened bread and plentiful fresh fish is delicious.

And we were ‘lucky’ to be here for National Day (25th February) celebrating the new nation of 1961 and Liberation Day (the following day) celebrating liberation from Iraq in 1991. Flags and lights are everywhere and the very long Gulf Road is taken over by kids with their ‘Kalashnikov’ water pistols and water bombs, pelting all the cars in one huge traffic jam as the locals come out in national dress to enjoy the festivities.

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