September 2014

Editorial – Ian Payne

droppedImage_1A WW1 memorial service was held at the Marlpit Lane Memorial Ground on Sunday 24th August attended by Coulsdon Residents Associations, RAF Cadets, local scouts and others. Wreathes were laid and yours truly was one of many who helped place 121 crosses, each named for a Coulsdon fallen.

IMG_4990Next to the Memorial Ground, the Friends of Marlpit Lane Bowling Green have re-established bowling there and are to be congratulated on being shortlisted for a ‘Heart of the Community Award’. Also to be congratulated are ‘Friends of Farthing Downs’ who are organising the garden project at Coulsdon South Station. They hope you enjoy the flowers and baskets.


Today: Glenda Law: Island Hopping
October 2nd: Christine Jarvis: The rag, tag, and bobtail years
November 6th: Nick Hill: Bletchley Park

Club News

There were 35 members plus our speaker in August. £39.25 was collected for the Chairman’s Charity and £34 for the Amenity Fund (raffle).

Having had his eye operation, Peter Mills will be with us in October. 
Laurie Painting has left hospital and is now in a nursing home and will be pleased to have visitors (please contact Patricia). Doug Elliott has had his eye operation and is fighting fit. David Holmes has had his hip operation and will be with us in October. Alan Horwell is not well and is housebound. Phil Munson who has had leg problems is expected back today. 
Please advise news of members to almoner,, tel: 01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.

Outings and Events

Ladies Lunch, Coulsdon Manor, Thursday 16th Oct: We are low on bookings. A reserve of £150 from the Amenity Fund, if needed, was agreed.
Coulsdon Probus Quiz, Thursday 20th November evening: Diarise.

Guest Speaker
Brian Cumming MBE, KCStG. – Chelsea Pensioner

droppedImageTo commemorate WW1, Brian was invited to talk to us about the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Chelsea Pensioners. Brian, age 82, enlisted 1950 in Royal Corps of Signals. He retired in 1983 with rank of Warrant Officer and has served in Egypt, Transjordan, Cyprus, Singapore, Labuan, Germany and Holland. He is a past chairman of Plymouth Probus.

Brian applied to be a Chelsea Pensioner in 2010 having met all the conditions including ‘unencumbered’. He had to give up his army pension (not civil) and was called up initially as an ‘in-pensioner’ for four days. He had a 6´x6´ room and all was very quiet (apart from the parakeets). Three months later he accepted – sold his house, moved in and felt at home immediately. “Why” asked his daughter, “It’s full of old soldiers”!

Charles II built the Royal Hospital as a home for his veterans. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren – his only hand-built brick building. The rooms were called births (from the French warships). Rooms were increased to 9´x9´ and now, by use of the corridor in the east wing, accommodation is en suite with window in the bedroom and a small study. But 6´x6´ was utopia in Charles II time – bed, food, looked after – but no toilets.

Charles II copied his cousin Louis XIV’s Palais des Invalides but with a bronze statue of himself designed by Grindley Gibbons. The pensioners dress in Scarlet when entertaining (Brian is a tour guide). The uniform has not changed since 1700. There are three types of hat – shako, barracks and the tricorne for formal occasions. The tricorne is not good in rain – it collects water.

There are 300 male Chelsea Pensioners and seven female. The first woman was in 1700 but she was disguised as a boy, suffered harsh treatment and was only discovered when she retired and entered the Hospital. Chelsea Pensioners get invited all over the world. Three are invited to the Ritz each month.

Brian told us about the social life, the staff nurses, the care from arrival to grave and the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary opened in 2009 by HRH The Prince of Wales. On Oak Apple Day (nearly King Charles II’s birthday) there is an annual parade. The mace is brought in under guard and the inspection on parade is always by a member of the Royal Family. One of the most impressive parts of the Hospital is the Great Hall designed by Sir Christopher Wren. When they see it, young children ask “Is it Hogwarts?”

The Birds! – trivial reminiscences
by Vincent Fosdike

Just before part two of this trivial reminiscence I thought by way of introduction I would recount this morning’s Victor Meldrew Moment just to set the tone. I hope you are sitting/snoozing comfortably, then I’ll begin.

Part One
Like many modest gardens we have a small fruit cage about twelve feet long, five wide and six high. Over the last week we have picked what fruit has manifested itself, leaving only some disgruntled slugs and more puzzling some panicky birds who get in by means entirely known to themselves but which they can’t recall when wishing to leave. My wife has led me up the garden path and explained that it must be possible for me to deal with the ent/exit route as alarm company surveyors call it and encouraged me to solve the problem pending a nice cup of coffee and a short read sitting in the sunshine if I don’t fail. This has happened several times and each time having tied extra bits of netting, put bricks around suspect bits of earth and tightened up odd sections, the security has not improved.

The current situation is that each morning I have to go and coax the birds out by opening the door and talking nicely to them (pending coffee for my good deed).

I could leave the door open and can’t see any real problem except admitting to the world that I have lost the battle. To add insult to injury I went to let them out this morning and, whilst watching a robin make a low level escape, was mortified to just catch out of my peripheral vision, a high speed exit at high altitude by a blackbird which appeared to go just past my head through a solid piece of doubled netting!

You could say one nil to the avians except there is
nothing there for them to eat. So perhaps a no score draw?

Part Two
I suppose this latest incident has brought back memories of an earlier attempt to build an antique for the future after watching an item on the antiques road show about a papier-mâché wardrobe. I am sure you all know that serious furniture of this material was quite common in Victorian times and was often lacquered for a smooth finish that was indistinguishable from a well finished piece of wood but less than half the weight.

did these sorts of things at school before we were allowed to use dip pens and other such high tech stuff. A plan was made, waterproofing additives researched, moulds found and the very best Sunday Times Newspapers duly cut and pasted with the crowning glory of a visible “Times Masthead” strip and date affixed in line with the entrance hole. This was to date the box so that one day it could be declared valueless on the antiques road show and my grateful descendants could take it lovingly home vowing never to sell it. And so it came to pass. Incredibly birds arrived and went industriously in and out. After a little while when I knew they were “out” I crept up and looked inside to see how the nesting was going. It was empty not a bit of fluff or blade of grass. However over the next week, in and out they went and were a joy to watch.

A further inspection still showed no nesting material, but the following day little bits of daylight began to show through the box which then started to gradually implode. The truth had to be faced – they were pulling bits out, even the Times New Roman script had nearly gone. I never knew if they used it to line another nest or just fed it to their young for the taste of the glue.

Dreams of immortality ruined (Avians 2 Humans 0).

Vincent’s deftness reminds me of my own invention last week:
A bookmark! The two sides are shown below.
This enables a half page to be bookmarked. Sorry, you’ll have to stand on your head to see the full effect. This is a special preview for Coulsdon Probus members only. Please keep it secret – I haven’t patented it yet.0unknown

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