September 2017

Club News


During the visiting speaker’s presentation at our August meeting, one of our members, Alan Bird, fell from his chair. A paramedic was called and later an ambulance. Jim was able to speak to Alan’s wife Shirley who told him that Alan came home at 11pm after extensive tests at the hospital. It appears that Alan had a very high blood pressure which may have accounted for his collapse at our Probus meeting and the hospital did not want him to go home until they had corrected the problem. Other than a broken finger caused by the fall, we are pleased to report that Alan is now recovered.


Chairman, Gerry Thompson, postponed the meeting during the emergency and, due to the delay, our speaker retired. A short business meeting was held later. There were 34 members present and the Chairman’s charity collection raised £36.15.


If you, your partner or another member is unwell, please contact our almoner:, 01737 202243. Monthly meeting attendance, please contact Andrew Kellard on 01737 554055. We are still seeking a replacement for Andrew for December onwards.


Outings and Events


Painshill Park and Brooklands Motor Museum: 27th September, £34. Contact Peter Coombes, Sanderstead Probus, Tel: 020 8405 8406 or 07941 234945.
Ladies Lunch (with entertainer): 19th October – please book with Jim.

Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email

Quiz: Our annual quiz will be on 16th November – with fish and chip supper.



Today: Barbara Stevens (of calendar fame): More anecdotes

This is a change of programme: Rupert Matthews is now an MEP!

October 5th: Peter Jones: National Trust

November 2nd: Neil Saddler: California Dreaming

December 7th: Christmas with Reverend Malcolm Newman


Glenda Law: Wildlife of the Seychelles


The Seychelles is different by a thousand miles, Glenda told us. It’s 500 miles from Madagascar and 1000 miles from India and Africa – and different it is! The main island, Mahé, is the only granite oceanic island in the world – left over from Gondwanaland. The capital of Seychelles, Victoria, is on Mahé.


Mahé is a contrast of 1st and 3rd worlds – there is only one pavement on the island. The people are British, French and Indian. Before independence it had two flagpoles for the British and French flags so that they could quickly raise whichever was in charge at the time. There is no racialism, the president could be anyone. Buses traverse the island but they only just make it over the mountain, cutting corners at the bends.


The surrounding coral islands are a nature reserve and it is illegal to take living coral from the sea. Heron can be seen in the capital – Cattle Egret, a sub-species, is endemic. The Common Mynah doesn’t talk (unlike the Indian Hill Mynah) – it ousts local hole-nesting birds. The Malagasy Turtle Dove pinches the crops. The cost of living is high due to upmarket tourism (weddings and honeymoons) – hence a black market flourishes, e.g. fishermen selling by the roadside. Glenda tried snorkeling – she got beached along with sand and coconuts. A glass-bottom boat is fun – there’s a giant angel fish 3′ by 2′.


Unfortunately, at this point, one of our members, Alan Bird, fell from his chair (see Club News) and Glenda was not able to continue.



Editorial – Ian Payne


Catching up after the Summer holidays brings one back to reality. I’ve had to put everything aside (see article page 3) and I know many of you will have put aside your usual activities and are now wondering what you need to do in a hurry. Did I remember to send out copies to last months absentees?


One such item has been preparing for our 50th Year Anniversary. A full report was in August’s Newsletter. A committee meeting has been arranged for 12th September when I hope to get moving on all the proposed activities that so far have only been down on paper. Please let me (or Dennis or Jim or Michael) know if you have any new ideas.


How to survive two months with three grandchildren – Ian Payne


They arrived from Abu Dhabi mid-June – Faris 5, Hala 3 and Cyrus 2. Mum Nadia had to go back to work after one month, and Dad Christopher had, of course, to meet up with his old friends scattered around the country – which left us holding the babies on quite a few occasions. Somehow, they didn’t seem to understand ownership, so, what with snatching from each other and refusing to let go, there were screams, punchings and general mayhem. The 2 year old’s grasp of language left us wondering whether “it’s mine” was a statement of possession, desired re-possession or genuine belief in ownership but his occasional “wait for me guys” was hilarious.


Early on we had a week’s respite with a trip to Centre Parks. Then they went camping for two days with our other son and his daughters (ages 12 and 10) from Streatham. The girls later came over a few times and were incredibly mature taking the weight off our hands until they went on holiday to Scandinavia. There was a week in Norfolk supported by Nadia’s sister from America, who was replaced by Nadia’s mother for a week in Kent (dogsitting in a large house in the country) – we visited twice. After that it was just the three of them, the two of us and Christopher, who occasionally disappeared to go gallivanting around the country.


We did day trips to Brighton, Hastings and Littlehampton (in Christopher’s hired seven-seater) and copious visits to local parks and playgrounds. In between, the galley edition of Christopher’s book arrived and he and I had to find time for comprehensive proof-reading – his English publishers wanted to meet him and his fellow author and then later they made a publicity video – more days for us to cope with.


Keeping them in all day was impossible, despite falling back on TV, and we couldn’t go far because our car only had booster seats. So it was Marlpit Lane Memorial Ground, The Grange, Lloyds Park, Priory Park and Bushy Park – a lovely park with very tame deer and a lake. We went fishing in Bradmore Green Pond. At first we wanted large fish, but when Faris realised that he could fill his jar with tiny pond life that darted hither and thither he was delighted. And there were dolls and teddies and cars and lego and our own garden with cats and chickens and tents and small inflatable pond (on the one really sunny day that it was possible).


Every night there were tears and “I’m not tired”s, long hunts for Tiny Ted and Baby Bunny which always went missing, then baths and stories and eventually bed – followed by shouts of “Grandma” or “Grandpa”. Somehow we got through – we do love the little darlings really.


‘The Quintessential British Pub’ by Dennis Evans


It is a fact that the famous British Pub has been in decline in the last few years, and that a pub just selling drinks and snacks is unlikely to survive. Most successful pubs are now in fact restaurants that serve food, are licensed to sell drink, and try to establish an authentic British pub atmosphere.


As a member of a local rambling club, The Mudlarks, we visit public houses for our mid-walk lunch break. [Ed: Several Coulsdon Probus Members are also members of The Mudlarks – see invitation in final paragraph below.] Many are mediocre to say the least. However some stand out as meeting what I consider the essential criteria to merit a second visit – as representative of a very good modern but archaic British Pub.



The criteria I consider desirable are:

  1. A good selection of real British ales/ciders. Straight glasses and Jugs.
  2. A variable choice of good adequate well-presented British food.
  3. Good and prompt service by friendly staff.
  4. Reasonable prices.
  1. Historic premises with appropriate or esoteric decorations.
  2. Good outside dining area.
  3. Heart of the country or village.
  4. No loud music / TV / gaming machines or noisy children.
  5. Oversized lined pint glasses.
    No drinking out of bottles.



I herewith recommend seven pubs in the Home Counties that mostly meet the above criteria, which you may like to visit.


‘THE DRUMMOND AT ALBURY’, The Street, Albury, Guildford, GU5 9AG
(on the A248, off A25) – with Tillingbourne stream flowing through a superb garden.

‘THE JOLLY FARMER’, High Street Bramley, GU5 0HB (on A281).
This is a little museum of memorabilia.


‘ANCHOR INN’ Anchor Lane, Lewes, BN8 5EA. 18th Century (very difficult to find).

Sits on the banks of the river Ouse, boat hire available, and helicopter pad.

Also try up the road in Barcombe Cross, ‘THE ROYAL OAK’, High St., BN8 5BA.


‘HALFWAY HOUSE’ Horsmonden Rd, Brenchley, TN12 7AX. 17th century.

Full of artefacts, an old barn with various small rooms. Also known as ‘The Isle of Wight’ because the lanes around it form the outline of the IOW.

‘THE SPOTTED DOG’, Smarts Hill, Penshurst, Tonbridge, TN11 8EP. 15th century.

Views over the Weald from a terraced garden. Inglenook fireplace. And just round the

corner 400 yds ‘THE BOTTLE HOUSE INN’ Coldharbour Rd, Penshurst, TN11 8ET.


I would add that we are a very small rambling club. If any Probus member would like to receive our monthly walk schedules do not hesitate to contact me – hopefully to join us on some of our rambles, and at lunch in establishments as described above. There is NO charge for membership. Disclaimer: Because of the fragile nature of the Pub industry, I cannot be held responsible for any changes of ownership or chef which may alter the character of the venue, and the quality of its food. Indeed possibilities of closure. Let me know of any pubs you can vouch for ?


Cheers, À Votre Santé, Skål, Prost . . . . . Dennis

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