November 2015

The Coulsdon Probus ClubSpeakers

Today: Neil Saddler: Canals
December 3rd: Christmas with Reverend Malcolm Newman
January 7th: John Chisholm: Pub Signs
February 4th: (our own) Gerrard Thompson: Pewter

Club News

At the October meeting, there were 37 members present (the highest for five months) plus our guest speaker. The Chairman’s Charity collection raised £41.48 (you are allowed to empty your pockets of loose change) and the raffle £36. Phil Munson was unable to attend, but he has already filled the 2016 speaker programme. There is one vacancy on the committee.

The October committee meeting had a brainstorming session on finance and then membership. Unfortunately, to meet costs and due to falling membership (currently 44), meals will go up to £18 (from £15) from November. Bar prices for Probus members are being held but for others going up 12%. With regard future membership and activities, options forms will be distributed for completion at our November meeting.

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

Andrew will ask in November for Christmas Lunch preferences.

Outings and Events

Annual Quiz: 19th November at Old Coulsdon Centre for the Retired – £4 per head. Tea/coffee, soft drinks, biscuits provided – please bring own alcoholic drinks. Prizes to be won! Contact: Dennis Evans.

Spring 2016: Jim Mulvey is working on possible activities.

Jean Haynes – On being a bailiff

The Coulsdon Probus ClubBailiff – the second oldest profession in the world and certainly given a boost by the Domesday Book. Bailiffs operate under the Law of Distress as defined by the Rent Act 1885 as updated. They operate under the auspices of the Lord Chancellor. Jean started off running a business, but it ran into trouble when her clients started not paying her invoices. Issuing summonses seemed like throwing good money after bad, so Jean’s husband sent her on a debt-collecting course. She heard every possible excuse for not paying: Lady: “Sorry I couldn’t pay – I was under the doctor and couldn’t get out”.

So Jean decided to become a bailiff – when she asked for an application form, everyone around collapsed in laughter. She was the only lady on the ‘Law of Distress’ course – the others were all men 6′ high and 3′ wide. Having passed the exam, Jean appeared before a judge to get approved. The Judge gave her a sherry and being concerned that it’s not a job for a lady, only gave her a bailiff certificate for three months.

Without experience, Jean only got her first job because she could drive. She had to go to high rise flats in London and Birmingham where conditions were appalling. Jean needed a warrant for each job, but no-one wanted a woman so she applied for a job with Customs and Excise – her application said ‘J Haynes’ (no lady mentioned). First job: go to Gatwick, seize aircraft and levy £.M. Her ID eventually got her air-side – she levied distress by putting a notice on the aircraft’s nose. Half an hour later a cheque arrived, but Jean needed cash or a banker’s draft. Jean’s boyos found a pilot and got permission to take the aircraft to Stanstead. That worked – £.M cash arrived in boxes. Boyos can get anything.

Being a woman has its advantages. Restaurant – tapped on window – “can I come in” – they never knew what hit them. Farm at end of four mile track – smelly old man had outstanding rent – Jean’s ID brought expletives so she levied distress on his horse and cart (which would be held for five days then sold if payment not received). At the office, the girls murmured “she murders horses” – but he paid. Moral: never levy on livestock – it upsets the office staff.

Our last story was about evicting Gypsies – Jean’s boyos loaded up some JCBs for the job. On being given seven days’ notice to quit, the boss man took out a wad of £50 notes from his back pocket – but you can’t bribe a bailiff. Seven days later she returned without the diggers which had been sold – but the Gypsies believed they were ‘up the road’ – that was sufficient.

Editorial – Ian Payne

Thank you to Vincent for his back page piece. If you want to know if your VW is compliant, go to the appropriate web page – VW, Audi, SEAT, Škoda etc. and enter your VIN number from your Service Book or Log Book.

Ladies Lunch 2015

The Coulsdon Probus ClubWhat a splendid afternoon – the secret entertainer was an opera singer: Fabienne Borget. We had excerpts from Godfather, Traviata, La Bohème, Figaro, Carmen, Turandot, Merry Widow, My Fair Lady and ended with Andrea Bocelli’s Con te partiro (Time to say goodnight). And as she sang, Fabienne told us her story, and visited each table, clinking glasses and kissing the gentlemen – oh what blushes!

The Coulsdon Probus Club The Coulsdon Probus Club The Coulsdon Probus Club

Vice Chairman Adrian toasted the Ladies. Our Chairman’s partner Jenny responded.

Arthur Henry Davy 1933 – 2015

Arthur had only just joined us from Coulsdon Rotary. It was with sadness and profound regret that we heard of his death the day after we enjoyed his company at our October meeting. Arthur was well known in Coulsdon where he participated in many community activities including St Johns where he was involved in creation of the Garden of Remembrance; Scouting where he was district commissioner for Croydon in the 1970s/80s; Rotary; 35 club; Walking and rambling.

His marriage to Ruth lasted 51 years. At his memorial service, his grandchildren paid deep tributes by way of poetry and anecdote. More than anything he was ‘Mr Fix it’ and was always on hand for any duty. The family side came out strongly in tributes from other family members. Ruth passed away seven years ago, however, Arthur did find happiness again with Celia, herself a great friend of Ruth.

The Coulsdon Probus ClubA trip to Uganda in 2010 with Sandra and Trevor saw Arthur get involved in the building of a school house in Kassase. He took the community there to his heart. Arthur’s motto by which he lived was “Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy”.

Decisions Decisions !! : Vincent Fosdike

I am not thinking of buying another car. This must be one of the most comforting areas of relaxation in my otherwise challenged psyche.

One might think that as all cars are reliable and will last as long as most of us will be likely to want one there would be no problem in simply choosing a model to suit ones pocket and ones ageing ergonomic requirements. Sit in it, drive it, choose the colour, sign for it. What could be simpler? The problem arises when looking perhaps five years ahead and deciding what sort of vehicle will be the best bet in technical terms when all one wants to do is short local trips but perhaps with the odd long holiday run to Cornwall or the Continent.

In the showrooms we have a large selection of Diesel offerings which are now somewhat under a cloud and in any event may not recoup their higher initial costs if only low mileages are anticipated. Petrol engines are said by many to have reached their developmental limits and in both cases they are fossil fuel dependant as well as using the rather old-fashioned but difficult to replace piston approach. Perhaps all this is small beer as electric cars promise all sorts of advantages and are offered by all big manufacturers. I am sure you will have noticed the traffic on major holiday routes and will now wonder what happens when they all suffer Low Battery alerts at about two thirds of the way to Cornwall and need to top up for probably a couple of hours at the same time. There would need to be charging areas the size of Heathrow together with additional electrical engineering to supply a medium town and matching food and sewerage provisions for the “are we there yet dad” occupants of these already tense groups of motorists. Yes the range is improving but it will really have to be a lot better yet and performance figures can’t be left to anyone but groups of serious would be consumers looking after their own sanity before buying what is still a very expensive conveyance. I think none of us would take manufacturers or ministry figures at face value. I suppose one can hire one and see what it really does.

Hydrogen power is now available although only just on the horizon, and recharge times are only minutes but there are only about four points in the U.K. so a bit risky at this stage of the game.

Assuming you can comfortably sort out the sheep from the goats and are ready to put your money down there is a further nicety – the DRIVERLESS car. Many are now operating in the U.S.A and I believe Arizona now allows a taxi version. Would you get into one when it pulls up to take you to the airport? I wonder if they can be hacked. In any event the law seems to be that the human owner must always be ready to takeover. How do you feel about having to scrutinise your robot driver and finding yourself second-guessing its every move? Might it not be more relaxing just to drive it yourself?

Of course you can perhaps hedge your bets and find some kind of hybrid which might include the driverless option soon. So as long as I can still swing the crank handle and remember where the choke is I’ll avoid any big automotive decisions – perhaps I’ll get some seat belts fitted, after all I am getting older and you never know!

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