30 January, 2014

2014 Presentation weekend

by Jack Adams:
As we had arranged to attend the funeral of a very good friend, Beryl Sedgemore just outside Bath, we had a sleep in and left home at 0715hrs. The weather, as we say in Yorkshire was “fair damp” that equates to raining cats and dogs in other parts. We had a breakfast break at Trowel services near Nottingham and devoured our egg and bacon butties washed down with our own coffee and not the ditch water they serve at the services. Our next stop was at Strensham services where we met up with Julie and Colin Jones, then on to the funeral.

Beryl’s husband Eddie was so brave in getting up to speak of his life with Beryl. Also attending were Tony and Kath Bagley and Geoff and Anne De Ath. I was following Colin as I was new to my sat nav, it’s one of these new fangled things that you can enter your destination orally. Either I was doing something wrong or it failed to understand my accent. Julie and Colin stopped for a snack so we carried on and arrived at the Toorak at 1645hrs.

We had been booked into the Victoria, one of the same groups as the Toorak, after our evening meal we decided to visit the starlight room for bingo and entertainment. You have probably heard of the 18 to 30 club, well this was the 75 to 100 club, after saying that they really excelled themselves dancing the night away.

The following morning we checked out and as our rooms at the Toorak were not ready we had a walk into Torquay via the harbour where we spotted a cormorant perched on the harbour wall, it then dived into the outer harbour looking for it’s breakfast, we waited there for 5 minutes but we never saw it surface anywhere, we walked to the end the pier and when we saw it again in the inner harbour when it repeated it’s disappearing act, I would like to know how long they are able to remain submerged.

On arriving back at the Toorak we found our room was ready, after unpacking we met up with Colin and Julie in the games arena, we were amazed to find it full of people all sporting green wrist bands, it turned out they were on a coach trip on an all inclusive basis, this means they get free drinks throughout their stay.

That evening again we visited the starlight room to find it heaving with people, I would hesitate to say they behaved like animals as it would be unfair to animals, it was just as well that the bingo numbers were displayed on a screen otherwise we would have to lip read as you could not hear the caller.

After the bingo we left and went back to the Toorak to give our ears a rest where we met up with all our old friends including Mr & Mrs Barry Bias who came all the way over from Spain for the weekend, how’s that for dedication?

Saturday as usual is AGM meeting day followed by the committee meeting, it was like the changing of the guard with resignations coming fast and furious, well, maybe not furious. Geoff and Anne De Ath we all knew about, then Julie Jones resigned as social secretary via email some weeks prior to the weekend, then came the bombshell that Jeff Chambers announced he was to retire at the end of the year. It shows the resilience of the Association in that Katharine has taken over as editor, Kath Bagley took over as minute’s secretary, Mike Stiff will take over next year from Jeff and Geoff De Ath will look after the late summer weekend for this year and Brian Dawson will talk to the Toorak management for next year’s bookings. On top of all this I have found an assistant route advisor in Chris Hatton, Chris has a wealth of knowledge of walking routes and I will be VERY glad of his help. We have also had an offer of help from Karen Bower that we will certainly take up.

Saturday evening was one of the best for some time, I stood in for Emma Jones who could not make the weekend and I was assisted by my wife Theresa. I think the highlight of the weekend was the attendance of Karen Bower and her two delightful children Imogen and Harry who was up for an award.

There were even more presentations when I had finished my stint: Anne had a presentation to make to a very special guy, Mr Neville teabags Tetley who has been a regular solver of Geoff’s puzzles over the years. The committee decided when we learned that Geoff and Anne were retiring to make a special award after his years of service: they were presented with a delightful clock made by Cliff Harrison, then with a theatre voucher as they are what I call “culture vultures” (no offence intended Geoff and Anne).

As usual there was one mistake when Russell George was given the wrong trophy, fortunately his son had better eyesight than the rest of us and we found the correct trophy in a box. The raffle was another success raising over £270 to fund the QV photos. After chatting with some very entertaining and delightful people we retired to the bar where I must have turned down a dozen offers of drinks, unfortunately I had a long drive home the following, I think I must be at long last showing some sense???

We had intended calling in on an old friend in Torquay but time ran away with us so it was homeward bound through yet more “fair damp” weather.
Another year starts and I hope it is a successful one for our Association.

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