October 2017

Club News

At September’s meeting, Chairman, Gerry Thompson, welcomed back Hugh Roberts, David Holmes, Dave Garner, Martin Bergs and Alan Bird who has made a full recovery since his collapse at last month’s meeting. Roger Gourd is in hospital with ulcerated legs, Arthur Trunchion has had a fall and bumped his head and Alan Green should be back next month after a routine op. We were delighted to see Ray Stemp to whom condolences were offered on the loss of his wife, Marian. There were six birthdays in September including Derek Bass and Alfred Levy who are both 91.


33 members were present last month, The charity collection (Chairman’s Chairty this year: Salvation Army) raised £34.30 and the raffle for the amenity fund, £33. Dennis Evans recommended the Mudlarks rambling club – put your name on the list, you don’t have to come every time – see September Newsletter. Copies of the Autumn Probus Magazine were available.


If you, your partner or another member is unwell, please contact our almoner: hughroberts67@aol.com, 01737 202243. Monthly meeting attendance, please contact Andrew Kellard on 01737 554055 by 10.30 am on the Tuesday. We are still seeking a replacement for Andrew who wants to step down next year.


Outings and Events

Ladies Lunch (with entertainer): 19th October – please book with Jim.

Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email jim@mulvey.uk.net.
Sanderstead and Coulsdon offer each other’s outings but Jim is concerned that we are not attracting enough members to make some outings (with coach) viable.

Quiz: Our annual quiz will be on 16th November – with fish and chip supper – see leaflet on every table. This is in support of our 50th Year Anniversary next year. Other probus clubs are sending teams, so it should be quite exciting.



Today: Peter Jones: National Trust

November 2nd: Neil Saddler: California Dreaming

December 7th: Christmas with Reverend Malcolm Newman

January 4th: Chris Chippendale:

Barbara Stevens: Trials and Tribulations of a Public Speaker


This was Barbara’s third visit to us and she reminded us that her whole life changed when she became president of Downe WI. She became a weekly correspondent of the Kentish Times for one year and, of course, started her famous Calendars which netted £43K profit for charity. Barbara still has 13 grandchildren, but has added three greatgrandchildren – birthdays are very expensive.

On her first cruise as a ship’s speaker, the captain warned not to talk about politics or religion. Barbara responded “Then I can’t tell you that I’m Nigel Farage’s Mother. Barbara’s maiden name is Stevens – her parents call her Jane, which was meant to be her first name but her father forgot when he got to the register office and chose ‘Barbara’.


And now to the title of this piece addressed through alphabetical anecdotes – sorry, but I haven’t got room for all the stories behind each letter – ED.


ddresses for speakers – like extracting teeth from the Programme Secretary.


ookings – three times a second speaker has turned up.






lectricity – a big club had no power – a gentlemen trod on/broke the cable.




rumpy – facial expression static, then afterwards: “I’ve belonged for over 30 years and I’ve never heard of you. You were marvellous.”


eavy – equipment always goes wrong.




okes – elderly gentleman invites in a Jehovah Witness for tea. “What do you want to talk about?” “I don’t know, I’ve never got this far before.”


isses – took Barbara’s hand, kissed it, then: “I have a serious question, will you marry me?”


ate –Barbara is always early rather than late. At a WI meeting, informed by lady that meeting was on third floor. Got to meeting room to find the lady was the chairman, who then said “You’re terribly early”. What a strange attitude!


icrophone – can’t use that, it will ruin my hair! (not Barbara).


umbers – once 300, another time 3 (their first meeting), but 15 a year later.


rganisation – essential, might be giving two talks in one day. Barbara is a Virgo.


ersonal Touch.


uick-witted – I wish I’d said that.


epartee with audience.


now – weather fine beforehand, but end of evening 2″ of snow. Said to other half who’d come with big car, “Can’t do any more evening talks.” “For goodness sake, pull yourself together woman.” Swapped cars and home.


reated well – car park full: found space marked ‘Parking space for Speaker’.


ndress ­– if anyone wants to see Barbara’s calendar pictures, they’re all here.


iewing – screen on floor: I need a small table. We don’t usually have a table.


riting thank you letters – always. E


tra time – 40 minutes usual attention. After one hour, chairman said ‘coffee’, then ‘you can have a second hour now’. Wh


do I do it? – I love it.


ooming, which Barbara does all over the place.


Editorial – Ian Payne



We were pleased to see Barbara again (see page 2) with her endless anecdotes. She is almost a full time public speaker – a far cry from her ‘nude’ calendar days. Barbara’s final joke concerned the Purley Gates. All the men were asked to form themselves into two queues – ‘Dominated’ and ‘Not-dominated’. All the men bar one queued under ‘Dominated’. In response to ‘Why are you here?’, the one man under ‘Non-dominated’ said, ‘I’ve no idea, my wife told me to wait here’.


Have you considered offering yourself as a monthly speaker? Every member must have one interesting topic they could tell us about. Do ask if you need help with slides. Whether it’s yourself or if you’ve heard a speaker elsewhere which you think would be of interest, please contact our Speaker Secretary Alan Green on 01883 341316 or alangreen.hartscroft@gmail.com


50th Anniversary Year 2018


Dates for your diary.

16th November 2017 at 7 pm: Our annual quiz, with fish and chip supper, to support our 50th Anniversary events – see ‘Events’ and leaflet on every table.

11th May 2018 at 7 pm: Celebration Dinner with Mayor of Croydon, special guests and entertainer. £35 per person. We will facilitate car sharing.

2nd August 2018: Open Meeting which will be our club’s 600th meeting.

17th October 2018: Celebration Pub Lunch. Free for members, wives and widows.

All outings and events in 2018 to be themed as part of our celebration year.



‘ R A T I O N I N G ’ by Reg Baker


Part 3 – The Aftermath of World War Two Hostilities

Upon the cessation of hostilities, the Allies designated the 8th May 1945 as Victory-in-Europe Day (V-E Day) to mark their victory in Europe in World War II, following the surrender of Nazi Germany the previous day.


V-E Day brought much thanksgiving, joy and celebration throughout Great Britain, and the lights went on all over Europe and at home. (It should however, be noted that the Allies were still fighting a war in the far east/pacific theatres, V-J day not being until the following August.) Street parties were hastily organised and abounded throughout the Nation: most remaining rations and other sources of food and any other personal small hoards of tinned food were raided and sacrificed for the feast: the corner grocer delving under the counter for goodies saved for ‘regular’ customers. This allowed everyone, especially children, to gorge themselves on any home baking, fish paste sandwiches, jelly, junket, blancmange, and sweets. All the while daydreaming, after five years of rationing, of walking into any butcher’s shop to buy a whacking great joint for Sunday lunch; to scoff eggs, bacon and fried bread; to indulge in unlimited amounts of sweetmeats, confectionery and chocolate; also, the reversal of the wartime customer/trader relationship, with shopkeepers again competing for buyers’ custom rather than that of favouritism. Sadly, none of these dreams or expectations would be realised in full for some considerable time. Britain was bankrupt – virtually everything we produced had to go ‘for export’. The watchword was austerity. (Not much change here today then!)


At the end of the war, the world food situation deteriorated due to war damage, mass movements of populations and shipping shortage. The latter, by 1946 worsened the situation by creating a world crisis in the supply of grain, and other foodstuffs for animals resulting in a cut in bacon, poultry, eggs and other home grown farming products; the outcome of the combined factors of aftermath of war being that food rationing was retained in Great Britain. Rationing not only continued but grew tighter, some rations being reduced to below the wartime level.


More misery was yet to come. The winter of 1946/1947 was the cruellest for many decades; the country was snowbound until Easter; there was a severe fuel shortage; petrol rationing was introduced, with an allowance of pink petrol for essential users; electric fires could only be used for three hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. Winter wheat was ruined, (putting pressure upon the so-called National Loaf – a grey stodgy commodity containing a lot of chalk, and its high roughage content brought on embarrassing attacks of flatulence followed by sheepish grins and the social apology “sorry, better out than in”!); potatoes rotted in their clamps (both basic stomach fillers of bread and potatoes being freely available during war years outside rationing); desperate measures were required. By 1946 the aforesaid shortage of shipping began to affect the availability of the National loaf. The Ministry of Food cut the size of the loaf by two thick slices. However, the canny housewife simply bought more loaves, bringing about bread rationing later that year – the allowance being two large loaves per week for each adult and one for children under six years of age. The Nation was urged to eat whale steaks; while horse meat enjoyed some popularity with housewives queuing for horse steaks allegedly ‘for the cat’. The government also encouraged the consumption of snoek – a barracuda type fish, mainly of teeth and bones. The Ministry of Food imported many millions of tins, and tried to push it with fancy recipes to no avail – and once again most tins went for cat food. Potatoes were placed under what was known as ‘an area distributional scheme’. The tightening and austerity continued.




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