2017 Activities

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December 2016

NIGHT WALK - Barry Fitzhugh

Mulled WineMeet UpOur traditional 50+ winter night walk! Jenny started the proceedings by bringing round chocolates. After this she asked if anyone wanted another, which is why I am writing this.

We set off - first right, first left and stop. After 20 yards, we needed to re-group. Someone missed the start (easily done in the dark). All together, we went up the road towards Drayton House. The evening was very dark, no stars or moon but our eyes quickly adjusted when the torches went out. Drayton House is a large country estate in parklands, well hidden from any public roads.

Torches at the readyNear the house, Jenny asked Frank to give a quick history of it, as he had been round it in the summer. Taken by surprise, he gave an interesting account and added that tours could be taken by groups of up to 15 people in the summer. Probably worth doing. After walking about another mile and disturbing several horses (their hooves thundering across the fields in the dark) we stopped and Jenny produced some mulled wine and mincepies for us all.

We then returned down the road. Walking at night really showed up the light pollution from towns in the distance, especially the large warehouse near Islip.

Back to the Fox - where we were made very welcome - took over the dining room and had a welcome drink.

Many thanks to Jenny for organising a very enjoyable evening.


Indoor Bowls - anon

Kevin in actionWell, as usual, some bowls went one way and some went the other, one day we might get the hang of the "bias" element of a bowling ball - there is definitely more to it than meets the eye! Anyway, everyone had a good time and the bowling club's coaches were extremely patient; we know that one of them turned down the chance of playing in a club competition that day just so that he could be with us.


Apart from the fact that the Christmas crackers did not arrive in time, our meal was excellent but, even so, many members still found room for huge mincepies and mulled wine with the Chairman afterwards. A great day to round off the year.


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January 2017

Barn Dance - Anon

Excess Christmas calories were flying all over the place as we tried to make sense of the dance instructions from our excellent "caller" He had called for us in the past and remembered us (this is not unusual, we seem to make some sort of impression wherever we go!). The band was excellent - we found ourselves dancing to Nellie the Elephant and Ain't Misbehavin' during the course of the evening - this was a barn dance with a difference.

M&S puds in the interval gave us the energy to tackle the rest of the evening. What a great night we had and we have already re-booked the Banana Band for next year.

We'll let the pics tell the rest of the story ................

Yeeee Haaaaahere we go



Curling - Kate Hewitt and Ron Hanson

On a bleak Sunday in January, 32 adventurers turned up at Beckworth's ice rink to be introduced to the fine & noble art of curling. None of us had much idea of what we were letting ourselves into, but it seemed a good idea when we'd booked it.

The sport is played in 2 teams of 4 people & at Beckworth's there were only 2 curling rinks, so (quick mathematical calculation here!), it meant that our group had to be divided up into 2 separate sessions. We were in the 1st "shift".

Curling 1Curling 2After fitting crampons to our boots, we ventured out, rather tentatively, onto the ice. We needn't have worried, though, as we soon realised that they do work & you can walk on water.

Before letting us loose on our own, a young expert showed us the ropes & told us the rules, before it was time to have a try ourselves.

Curling stones are heavier than you think & most of us couldn't slide our stone more than half-way up the course initially. Of course, there's always one, isn't there (Barry!) who, without effort, slides it straight up & spot onto the target 1st time!! However, after shaky starts we soon began to get the hang of it & then the competitiveness took over & some good games evolved.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves & most of us had silly grins & satisfied expressions on our faces as we indulged in hot chocolate with marshmallows afterwards.

Thanks very much to the committee for coming up with this novel activity - hope we can do it again next year.

Go Karting - Frank Boyell

The temperature was hovering around - 3 degrees C as I chiseled at the ice on my car. This could be an interesting day. Would there be ice on the unheated track? Thankfully, by the time we arrived at Corby, the sun was shining blindingly brightly through the crisp, clear winter air. The drive through the white frosted landscape had been magical and serene; but all that was about to change.

Karting 1Kart 2













Things had changed since our last visit 2 years previously. The track had been extended making it faster down the main straight which terminates into a 200 degree left-hander. A potential for karting carnage if ever I saw one.

We think of Formula 1 drivers as singularly focused on winning, determined, ruthless, calculating; but they know nothing! They have never raced with the 50+ Adventure Club.

There being 13 of us (unlucky for some) we were split into 2 heats of 10 minutes, with lap times determining the starting grid positions for the finals. The first group had the unfortunate task of heating up the very cold tyres and there were more spins than on a series of Come Dancing. The second heat benefitted from the now hot tyres and were able to post some slightly faster times.

There now followed 2 finals: one for the last 6 and one for the first 7. The first final was fast, competitive and relatively incident free. Well done everyone. The latter final was somewhat more lively, beginning with total carnage as the late/no brakers made their suicide dive into the first corner. For the next 15 minutes the uber-competitive cut and thrust continued, with more thrills and spills than Alton Towers on steroids. I can only assume the circuit had sent their black flag to the cleaners as somehow, we were all allowed to finish.

In the end, the overall winner was Keith, but everyone had a great time and will no doubt be back next time for another overdose of adrenalin. Thank you Paul for organising the event.

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February 2017

Quiz Night - Sticky Boots


We all arrived at Stanion Village Hall to tax our brains with Pauline's unusual questions, one of which some members still cannot understand even after hearing the answer! We were split up into teams of four or five and each team gave themselves a team name. During the questions we munched on crisps, peanuts and other nibbles whilst drinking various brews. Did this help our team with the answers? apparently not, hence we are doing the write up. A fun time was had by all with members shouting out with what they considered to be the correct answer or humorous made up answers, but the "Quiz Master" remained supreme with her written down answer.

The Plonkers, namely Mary & John Wilson, Sheila Tilbrook, and Valerie Jolly, conquered all! followed by Winning Women and First in Line.

Thank you, Pauline for arranging yet another good Quiz Night (and the Booby Prize).

Runners upWooden spoons











Jive Talking - Hilary Connon

25 Fifty Plussers turned up at the Millbrook Centre for a Rock 'n Roll taster. Our teacher was Susan Szoltysek of Margo's Dance Centre ably supported by her daughter, Cheryl.

Rock and RollWe were put into pairs (I danced with Cheryl) and learnt the first basic move of a simple turn and return. There was much hilarity as the various arms, legs and feet would not move in the right direction. It was even funnier when the fast jive music came on and no one could meet the frenetic beat, but Cheryl kindly slowed it down and gradually things fell into place.

Once everyone was individually instructed and became more comfortable, a drinks break was held and then on to a second move where the leaders were shown how to transfer the hand of the followers to perform another turn and return and then catch with the original hand.  The ladies were now twirling enthusiastically.

Then Susan decided it was time the gentleman got to do a move. She taught a slightly more complicated shoulder drop and man (or temporary 'man') turn.  The whole routine was then joined together.

Everyone was smiling at the end of it and some even signed up for further classes.

Thanks to David Chapman for organising such a successful evening.

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March 2017

Trapp'd (In Corby) Room 1 (Aliens) - Alison Andrews

Room 1Lab coats and brains at the ready our team of six entered the room of Area 51 for 60 mins of puzzles and anxiety with the hope of escaping with downloaded secret files. This was a room developed around the concept of Aliens in a government laboratory with the setting and effects being well done. Without giving too much away the room has codes and information to be found and as various answers are entered into a computer system, one answer leads to another question or puzzle and by following the chain you should escape. Our team did escape with only seconds to spare - we blamed our slow progress on the low lighting and our poor eyesight! The site is planning to add another room soon giving it four rooms to escape from and with a sister building opening soon in Northampton this is an ideal winter months' activity for the club.



Room 2 (Prison Cell) - Sheila Tilbrook

Room 2Dressed in bright orange prison tops and trousers (and orange is so not my colour!) each with our individual prisoner number on our backs, 6 of us were trapped - locked in a prison cell in near pitch darkness. The cell had obviously been previously inhabited by numerous filthy people with no respect for their surroundings - and a toilet that not even a sewer rat would be seen dead in!!

Did we find this gross? Did we find it terrifying? No we did not - it was brilliant fun!!

We had 60 minutes to find and crack the clues to enable us to escape from this hell hole cell. I won't give you examples of the clues or the tools we needed to find in case any of you visit this activity under your own steam, but I will say that they were very devious and well hidden. But we all worked well together and escaped with 5 minutes still to spare! Aided of course by Mathematical Super Sleuth Pauline who ingeniously cracked the number codes, and Mick who actually volunteered (was not pressganged) to retrieve one item from aforementioned toilet!!

A brilliant way to spend a few hours (along with the other activity). Many thanks to Pauline for organising and I think we all look forward to doing something similar in the future.

Caving - Mike Buxton

cave1cave 2After eating a hearty Derbyshire breakfast in Castleton's Old Nag's Head pub, we all had to sign a disclaimer from the cave's owners; mainly to say that they took no responsibility for what might happen to us and to promise that we wouldn't rub up against any of the general public in the show section of the cave on our way out and pass on the mud from our suits (or words to that effect).

Our instructor, Adam, who is a highly experienced caver and trainer of cave rescue teams, had brought along his pal Phil, a trainee cave rescuer, so we were in excellent hands.


Cave3cave4Once booted and suited (an adventure in itself, just ask Pauline who has previous experience) we had a short talk then descended into the murky depths of Peak Cavern (alias The Devil's Arse) where we waded and stumbled through the water course. After about 15 minutes water was over the top of my wellies and it wasn't long before I was soaked through and covered in mud. Thoroughly enjoyed the day, it was quite strenuous, my knees will take a time to recover, only down side was that I drew the short straw so have to do the write up. The up side for me, whilst everyone else was driving home I stayed with friends and was greeted with a glass of red wine, a hot Radox bath and a lovely beef stew, and all my clothes were in the wash.

Orieteering - Ian's Angels

OrieteeringTwenty-five eager orienteerers gathered at Stanwick Lakes on a bright and sunny spring morning to test our geographical knowledge of the surrounding area, unfortunately due to heavy traffic our group missed the initial briefing, but was filled in with the essentials. 

Our first marker proved a little difficult to find even though we were equipped with a compass and map! However, after that it was plain sailing and all groups successfully completed the course then it was back to the visitor centre for debriefing and to collect our prizes! In our case it was the booby prize! It was then that we learnt our organiser had locked her car keys in her boot where the prizes were located. I hope your guardian AA man managed to retrieve them for you Carol.

Thank you Carol for organising the event and booking the lovely weather.


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April 2017

Foot Golf - Carol Pullen

Teeing offIt was a glorious afternoon when we assembled at Brampton Heath Golf Course and were each given a football!! Possibly a big mistake on my part for taking part because I am not noted for my kicking abilities and I reckoned that the men might have an advantage because they have played football at some stage in their lives. However, we were in mixed groups and only the best score counted so there was some hope for me.

As in 'normal' golf we stood on the tee then kicked our footballs towards the flag, which indicated that there was a large bucket to get the ball into. Hhmmm - that was the theory; but as with golf it is putting this into practice. Footballs were retrieved from the next-door field after climbing over electrified fencing (luckily not on!!), from under a gorse bush and I do believe that I saw the Chairman trying to kick his football out of a bunker - with little success if I may add.

However, the final scores of the teams were very close and we lost by 2 points, so had to do the write-up. Thank you Dave for a good afternoon and for arranging the meal afterwards and congratulations to Tim who kicked his ball nearest the flag at the end.

Rifle and Pistol Shooting - Gary Sapstead

DDead eyed Jude10 am on a bright and sunny day in April found us at Woodford Airgun Club. We were all looking forward to a morning of rifle and pistol shooting.

After a safety brief, we split into two teams one taking part in pistol shooting the other rifle shooting. The first riflemen/women took up their positions and began firing on the whistle blast. After hitting or attempting to hit our targets we concluded with a competition shoot. We then moved on to try our hand at pistol shooting.

The second group after enjoying their pistol shoot moved on to their rifle shoot. A loud bang echoed around the range, a little surprise from our hosts! This prompted a visit from an irate equestrian complaining that we were frightening her horses! Caps removed we continued, visiting pigeons seemed unconcerned by our presence, safe in the knowledge that we would not be The Winnersable to hit them.

Practice sessions concluded, the competition commenced, this involved 10 rounds the highest score to win. Jude and Gary were level pegging in the rifle shootout but in the final showdown a nervous Gary was out shot by the eventual winner, well done Jude.

Congratulation to Bob on his victory in the pistol shooting and to Mick for coming very close second.

Thanks to Phil and John (pistol) Mick and the two Marks (rifle) for their help, guidance and great supply of chocolate biscuits.

The day was nicely rounded off by a Panini and coffee in the nearby teashop.

A great day was had by all. See you at the next event.

Spring Walk - John Kemp

After yet another pub shutting, the walk and after-walk meal had to be re-jigged at the last moment. Well done Jane! We all met at Wistow Rural park and set off at a leisurely pace.

First Aidanother StileNot long into the walk one of our party gashed his head on a sign and required first aid which was administered competently by Nurse Hilary (although he was starting to look like one of the actors from 'return of the mummy' as yard after yard of bandage was applied) - followed by a trip to A and E.

It looked at one time that this might be an acting out of Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' as the departure of our wounded comrade was then followed by another of our party obviously suffering from hypothermia (judged by the number of layers being applied) together with the possibility of yet more of the party going astray when the map went missing. Was this simple walk going to take on a dark twist?

Group photoHowever, no further unforeseen events unfolded and we carried out with our lovely, interesting walk of approximately 6 miles. We returned to the centre and were delighted to find that the tea-rooms would still serve us even though it was after their usual closing time. The tea and cakes were well received. We then sojourned to the Queen's head at Saddington where I was pleased to see three real ales on offer! Bonus! The food was excellent and well presented.

Thanks Jane for organising an excellent afternoon.


Quad Biking - Ange Hartvelt

Myself and 2 friends, Sarah and Jane, have only just recently joined the 50+ Adventure group. We all still have children at home but as they are getting a little more independent we decided it was time we had some "me time" and open ourselves up to new challenges.

Avalanche Adventure's Quad Biking was to be our first experience:

Getting InstructionsQuad BikesWe were met very warmly at the venue by Jane, Dennis and some other members of the group, all of us keen to embark on our new experience. We were togged up in very fetching camouflage suits and helmets and taken of to be introduced to our new forms of transport for the next hour.

After being shown round our vehicles and how to drive them we then did a few practice laps around a manmade course manoeuvring around some tyres, the tricky bit was you had to lean into the corners in order to make a turn, this was quite hard but I sort of got the hang of it!! We were then let loose in the woods and surrounding farm land....... I LOVED IT, so did Jane and Sarah, it was a little tough on our bodies and we were all still aching 3 days later, especially our arms, but wouldn't have missed it for the world, thoroughly recommended.

Amphibious Vehicle Driving - Dennis Tromans

MudAn amphibious vehicle is a strange beast, having eight wheels but no steering wheel and it floats! Control is via two levers and a twist throttle, like a motor bike.

Pulling a lever back disengages the drive wheels on that side - forward does the opposite, both levers hard back applies the brakes, twisting the throttle to go faster.

group With two levers, multiple positions and a twist throttle it was a tricky thing to drive - who remembers how to stop?

We were of course given a trial run on the flat with wide open spaces, the rest of the group hanging on for dear life in the back. Sadly, several marker canes were killed during this exercise!

Then on to the course proper, with mud, water, steep hills and what seemed like even steeper downs. Everyone survived, including the vehicle and instructor.

It was all really good fun.

Would I do it again? Yes definitely!




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May 2017


Friday - Carol Pullen



A group of us arrived early for a '4-mile Bluebell Walk' through the West Woods near Marlborough and what a stunning sight it was. Beech trees in their first flush of green and the 'English' bluebells everywhere; I think we were all overwhelmed by the sight. A great start to the weekend, or so we thought, until returning to the car park we found one of our cars broken into and a handbag stolen - but that is another story!





Saturday - Ann Cook

Day 2 and a 10.30 start from Avebury minus our walk organiser due to circumstances beyond her control. No problem, Tricia took over and led all 21 of us on an excellent walk.

We headed east up the Wessex Ridgeway onto the White Horse Trail. Then after a picnic stop in a lovely spot, sampling Carol's delicious cake, was another bluebell wood on Fyfield Down and we finished on the Ridgeway Trail. Needless to say, we  ended the walk in a friendly tea shop (the pub for some) back in Avebury, a must for 50+'s.

Lunch stopThis weekend of walks introduced most of us to walking in Wiltshire and it is an absolutely beautiful county. I think we saw some of the best of it and, as always, in great company.

Thanks to Jenny for organising the whole weekend also to Tricia for taking over the reins.

PS and the weather was perfect for walking.


Sunday - Carol Pullen

We started this walk from Barbury Castle hill fort - the weather was sunny and slightly warmer than Saturday and started at the top of a hill so the first part was all downhill.

On the way upat the top Once again this was part of the Ridgway Walk with 'big' skies looking over the Marlborough Downs but in a quiet valley we looked down on a racecourse. As we were in racing stables country I guess that this is where the horses are trained as there were hurdles as well. We passed very close to cows lying down, who did not even move for us, so must be used to walkers and after walking through woods that brought a plague of flies, we found a shady, fly free spot for lunch. Glorious sunshine had arrived at last and after a short, but very steep climb we arrived back at the car park where we were pleased to see an ice cream van!! Very welcome.

On the way downSome of us then went to have a look around the 2,500 year old hill fort with its commanding views over the valley all round. A perfect end to a very good weekend walking in Wiltshire.

Thank you Jenny for organising such a great weekend and I know how much work goes into an activity like this.



Mountain Biking in Fineshade Woods - Alison and Brian Gape

Mountain BikingThe weather forecast was dry, but the few spots of rain that did arrive did not deter the keen cyclists. Helmets are a must on this dangerous terrain, (although the description of mountain biking was a touch misleading as there was not a mountain to be seen) so Frank was sent back to base camp when he arrived without one. Upon Frank's return, all fully equipped, the intrepid 9 set off, keen-os setting the pace; occasionally disappearing from view to tackle one of the death-defying skills loops - twists and turns with mounds of earth up to 50 cm (that's 20 inches) high. Those less adventurous drew up the rear with Carol finally getting out of first gear on her e-bike, once realising that she had them!

Safely back at the car park by 12 noon, the party split; those with boundless energy and no injuries tackling a second tour, the remainder retiring gracefully to the coffee shop. WARNING! Pat discovered that 'a sandwich' in the coffee shop is indeed one sandwich, not the two slices she required after such a strenuous and arduous morning of mountain biking.

Hike and Bivvy - Alison Andrews

Bivvy Site

The activity started with the setting up of camp at the site of the Danish shelters in the depths of Fineshade Woods. The shelters are small wooden three-sided huts topped with grass with an overhang to hopefully keep out any rain. We were amazed at the amount of kit one night out could require.

The group enjoyed a seven mile walk around the woods, flower filled meadows, fields and local villages, getting thoroughly soaked in the process.

Once back at camp fire lighting techniques were practised, not easy with everything being damp, lots of smoke kept the campers coughing and spluttering. After a hearty meal and storytelling some of the group went on a night walk and due to a suddenly clear sky stars and satellites were soon in sight. The campers Bivvy HikeFire lightinggrew tired and the time came to test the shelters, all were warm enough and judging by the number of snores creeping through the darkness sleep was achieved at least until the sound of angry geese circling overhead and the dawn chorus intervened. A good breakfast ended the experience but I think perhaps many of the group went home to bed!

Sywell Aviation Museum - Keith Sulphur

Group pictureOn a glorious sunny afternoon, around two dozen members met at Sywell airport. We were greeted by our guide who led us over to the site of the museum. He gave us a talk about the origin and history of the place. We then entered the museum we were all amazed at the vast array of items stacked inside. Our guide regaled us with a stunning list of facts as he took us through the numerous exhibits.

This visit has uncovered one of Northamptonshire's hidden gems, a most enjoyable experience that was enjoyed by all.

Ed's note - those of us who stayed on afterwards for a pint in the airport garden (well, you just have to, don't you?) were treated to the sight of several aircraft (including a Tiger Moth biplane) landing and taking off, as well as a guy on a paramotor enjoying a flight in the evening sunshine and making a very efficient landing almost in front of us! Exciting end to the evening.

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June 2017


Saturday Walk - Daphne Dye

Norfolk WalkThe sail on the wherry attracted me to this weekend away, the 5mile plus walk however, left me feeling a bit apprehensive. It started with a train ride on the wherry line to the smallest station in England, Berney Arms. Literally just a platform in the middle of nowhere.

The weather was perfect, plenty of sunshine with just enough breeze to keep us cool. The blue sky and pretty, white fluffy clouds were just right for photographs.

We saw lots of birds, butterflies, damsel flies and cows with their calves. There were also a few smart boats on the broads as we made our way. We took a break about a third of the way. At one point we had to abandon the path along-side the broad as it was too overgrown. After a bit of doubt we managed to join the path again to finish the walk all in one piece though longing for the magic cup of tea. Thank you, Jenny for organising this lovely outing.



A Wherry good day out - Art n Mag Marshall

norfolk wherryWe got to the boatyard and stood by the gate
And as usual someone was late
We were going for a sail out on a boat
Our only concern was staying afloat
The sun was shining the sky was blue
We lazed around admiring the view
Marsh harriers, reed warblers & buntings abound
Over the marsh they flew all around
Biscuits at ten, cake at three
and in between gallons of tea
The crew worked hard tacking side to side
Having to quant to give us our ride
Lucy in the cockpit her hand on the rudder
Seeing her in charge made us all shudder
Our thanks to Jenny our queen for the day

Again, it was good what more can we say

Gliding - Alan Wookey

This was the first adventure that Irina and I had undertaken since joining the group. We had both been keeping a watchful eye on the changeable weather however, much to our relief, as the day progressed conditions steadily improved so that by the time we arrived at Lyveden airfield near Brigstock to have a go at gliding the sun was shining and we were set for a very pleasant afternoon.

On our arrival, we were greeted by the gliding club's very friendly staff and directed to the far end of the airfield where we met up with other members of the group to prepare for our impending flights. After completion of the required paperwork our pilots for the day introduced to our two mounts, a rather sporty white coloured G-CJKV and a more solid looking G-CHUF resplendent in its red livery. In addition to our pilots. other experienced gliding club members were also at hand to answer all our questions and instruct us on the use of the parachute!

IrinaBeing our first experience of gliding, Irina and I were, like everyone else, keen and excited, which is as it should be, however, I suspect few of us had any idea of just what it was we were letting ourselves in for. After several of our group had flown, it was Irina's turn to be catapulted into the heavens. Her glider soon disappeared from view and she enjoyed quite a long flight. On her return, her beaming smile said it all.

Safe ReurnThen came my turn. As the gliders are operated within strict weight tolerances, and being one of the more 'portly' members of the group it was decided to dispense with parachutes for myself and pilot Paul as weight saving measures. I was strapped into the front cockpit of G-CHUF, the canopy closed and secured, the launch cable attached and the slack on the cable slowly taken up while the wings were held level by ground staff. Then on Paul's signal we were propelled down the airfield by the winch. Our glider accelerated briskly before leaping into the air and ascending in what seem to be an almost vertical climb before we levelled off and released the launch cable that disengaged with a noticeable 'clunk'. We were then on our own to soar over the Northamptonshire countryside taking in the breath-taking views and enjoying the experience of powerless flight. It was fantastic. All too soon however, our time in the air passed and we headed back towards the airfield where, with air brakes deployed, we gently returned to terra firma and rumbled to stop. It was a tremendous opportunity to experience just what it feels like to soar with the birds - our silent flight was a truly mesmerising experience and one which Irina and I will always remember and would highly recommend to all.

Music & Fireworks at Wistow - Hilary Connon

The main stageThis musical delight was a tale of two halves. Our 50 plussers were met by Dave Chapman at the gate hauling blankets, chairs and picnic hampers from cars to form a large pow wow circle in the middle of the grounds of Wistow Hall. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and the advice to wear sunscreen was wisely given.

The event was run by the Rotary Club of Wigston on behalf of the Loros Hospice and Young Leicestershire charities. Ladies walked around selling programmes and Union flags in anticipation of the latter part of the evening. After a while chatting and sunbathing, the picnic spreads came out and it was fascinating to see what very different and elegantly prepared feasts were on display. However, if you had not brought anything, there was a very nice selection of cakes, rolls and teas for only 1-2pounds on sale at the Loros stall.

Umberellas upThe first half of the evening was compered by Carolyn Oldershaw who sadly announced this was her last 'Music in the Park'. A wonderful 5-piece band called the Double Yellers performed covers of 60's hits - Simon & Garfunkel, the Kinks and the Beatles. Sad to say I knew all the songs, perfect for 50 plussers!

Then the sky went dark and light rain began to fall. Up went the umbrellas and on went the waterproof jackets and the picnic blankets became waterproof covers. No one can say the Adventure Club were caught unprepared.

The second half was a performance by the Ratby Co-operative Band who accompanied Singer Ella O'Donnell. They played a variety of numbers before the grand finale of Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory, which was followed by a Firework Display.

A great evening and thanks to Dave for organising it.


Petanque - Viv Fiander

French BoulesWhat a lovely evening, the weather was perfect. 23 of us enjoyed the fun and there was lots of laughter coming from all the rinks.

After spending an hour and half or so we then proceeded to the restaurant for our meal. As usual, the food was excellent. Chicken, fish pie and sausages were abundant. The sweet was also very nice; so a big thank you to Carol for the organisation.







Hydrobiking on the Soar - Sue Smart

Carol booked a glorious day for this fun event.

Barrow Boating is based by the side of the River Soar and it’s a beautiful little spot. There is a small cafe with picnic tables outside so you can sit and watch people enjoying themselves on the water.

HydrobikesThe hydrobikes were literally bikes on floats and came in singles or pairs. They were very stable and after brief instruction the first group set off biking up the river.

Everyone enjoyed it, no one fell in, the only issue was saddle soreness so most people were ready to alight after an hour!

Carol and I opted for a trike with a bench seat thinking it would be more comfortable. I’m not sure it was!

We saw dragon flies, a heron, 2 young duck families and had a good look at the gardens that backed onto the river. Some were beautiful, some a bit neglected.

It was a very pleasant ride up the river and didn't require too much effort. Getting back, we rewarded ourselves with a lovely ice cream from the café.

A lovely way to spend the morning.

Thank you, Carol,

Aerial Trekking at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre - Marjorie Tomalin

GroupAfter a leisurely hour spent hydro-biking on the River Soar, we set off towards Leicester Outdoor Pursuit Centre to attempt a more serious challenge - The aerial trekking course.

10 metres above the ground it looked a daunting prospect, consisting of several different elements, some involving small stepping stones of wood suspended on ropes from above, some resembling small logs, or yards of scrambling nets to negotiate, interspersed with barrels or wires.

Our two guides, Bhav and Abbie soon had us equipped with harnesses and hard hats and having climbed up the 10 metres to the course, attached us to the safety wire.

High rope courseCargo netAlison seemed undaunted and set off along the course with confidence and skill, closely followed by Paul, Barry, Joe and Amanda and then me, trying hard to stop my legs from trembling!

After the leap of faith to the first step I completely forgot about the height as I concentrated on each suspended wobbling piece of wood I needed to step on to be able to complete the course. Failure was not an option.

All club members were very supportive, shouting advice and encouragement as I very slowly moved along the course.

MarjorieA big thank you to you all but especial thanks to Amanda who slowed her progress at each section to give me much needed advice and support. I have to admit to being quite terrified at times!

With all that help I managed to complete the course but only once while everyone else managed two circuits at least. We returned to ground level by a power fan drop!

Today I have lot of aching muscles and a rope burn to my arm where I clung on so desperately to the net but I have a real sense of achievement.

Long sleeves needed next time. (NEXT TIME! Did I really say that?)

Thank you to the 50+ club for introducing me to so many inspiring people and giving me opportunities such as this! "What a fantastic club to be a member of".




A Lakes Weekend Overview - by A Nonymous

Group pictureWhat a weekend, what food, what adventures, what great company.

Who ate so much of the 5-star master chef 3 course meal on the Friday and said they would only have a main course on the other 2 nights? Yeah right, well that never happened!!!

Who drank all the 5-star Malbec wine on special offer? Tim!!

When the ghyll scramblers set off, the wet weather gear made all their backsides look like they had been savaged by rabid dogs!!

Who was probably the oldest person to go uphill ghyll scrambling according to Glaramara? Well done. Abseiling was great fun and not at all scary, it was climbing up on to a narrow ledge what was scary. Who was disappointed they came down half an hour early for dinner when they could have stayed in the room for an extra cuddle!!!!

Who went a ghostly colour when some of the ladies found out that Glaramara did wedding package weekends and suggested they could arrange it?

Who tried to show Janette how to do an SAS death stare only to find out that Jannette's stare was better.

Who found out on the last morning that the shower door opened both ways and had been struggling all weekend getting out of the shower!

Friday Evening - Gary Sapstead

As a newbie to the 50+ adventure Lakes weekend I set off bright and early heading north to avoid the traffic on the M6. I arrived at Keswick in the Lake District mid-morning, after a morning of shopping and eating (two of my favourite pastimes might I add) I met up with Joe in the King’s Head for a refreshing pint. Shortly afterwards we were joined by Amanda and Jane and a couple of hours later we set off towards Glaramara which was only short journey up the road.

As I approached Glaramara, I was taken aback by the stunning countryside and views of the hills. On entering the hotel I was greeted by some friendly faces and very friendly staff and after a few greetings and a hug or two, I made my way with my key in hand to my room to get my self settled in and get myself ready for a fun packed weekend. Later on I gathered with the rest of the group for the ice-breaker session.

At the beginning of the ice-breaker we were greeted by Tom who explained we were off to do some archery (in the rain might I say!) We first helped Tom set up before receiving a short safety brief, we then commenced trying to hit targets (some better than others). After a few arrows hit the targets and to get in from the downpour, we made our way to the bar for a well-earned drink and a dry in front of a roaring log fire. We were later informed by Tom that I had a natural flare for wet weather archery;this might have something to do with my long arms and the tips of my arrows only being a few feet from the target!

I thoroughly enjoyed my first weekend in the Lake District with the 50+ adventure club and this is due to the hard work of Jane and David, the friendly company, lovely surroundings, food to die for and well organised activities by a very professional organisation and its staff at Glaramara.

(ed's note: sorry, no pictures of the archery - everyone was hiding inside their waterproofs!)

Uphill Ghyll Scrambling - Jane Thurland & Joe Gasan

Eight intrepid scramblers listened intently to Simon our leader as he instructed us on the basic points of ghyll scrambling whilst we were changing into our 'north sea trawler men's' regalia.

We walked about a mile to the nearby mountain stream, feeling quite hot by the time we arrived at the ghyll.

Our instructions were clear - mind the slippery boulders with slime on and watch out for your fellow scrambler. If anyone needs help, it's OK to offer a gentle push upwards on the buttock area. Righty ho we thought.

We proceeded to walk through fast flowing streams, over boulders and under fallen trees. Before long we were waist deep in cold mountain water - ah the relief - very invigorating. The walking quickly became a scramble - sometimes having to progress on all fours.

We encountered a very deep-water pool at the base of a tumbling waterfall, and the only way to overcome the torrent was to dive headfirst and swim towards the helping hand of Simon. Full immersion! Great fun.

There followed several steeper sections that required scrambling over even bigger boulders and fast-moving water. Jane managed to get a few helpful push ups in the buttock area along the way! Sadly, all I got was the outstretched hand of Gary whilst crossing the torrent.

Ah well, never mind - a great morning having fun, followed by a squelchy walk back to Glaramara with wellies half full of ghyll!

Meandering Morning on Derwentwater - Jenny Haynes

Paddling on Derwentwateron the islandAfter being suitably fitted with buoyancy aids and a brief instruction on how not to 'Rock the Boat', 8 50+s took to our canoe for a thoroughly enjoyable 2 hours on Derwentwater. After navigating ourselves safely out on to the central area of the lake, off we went, no stopping us, the weather was perfect, a light wind and no rain. We meandered along in a relaxed style, a bit more effort needed when we hit the current or change of direction. We made a good team. Eventually we arrived at an island, decided to beach and take a wander to stretch legs and loosen up; then off we went again, entertained with an occasional rendition from Arthur, of whatever song came into his head, we meandered along some more, then we spotted the Dragon Boat! I'm not sure how 8 50+s in a canoe and a Dragon Boat containing 12 young women on a Hen Party, on a lake the size of Derwent, came to want the same bit of water but the result was 'A Race'! Well we 'shone'' (our crewman even said at one point "You're rowing well"). We can be proud of our bit of speedy team work, but after a quick look over our shoulder told us that the Dragon Boat was gaining ground we put up our oars with dignity and let the competitive young women, in good spirit, pass us. We spent the rest of our time meandering further round the waters, enjoying the wonderful scenery and good natured banter, until it was time to head back to the boat yard. A great way to spend a morning.

Rock Climbing - Jan Holt

As we had arrived in the rain on the previous day it was decided it was too slippy and risky to climb outside on actual rock so 9 intrepid climbers were taken to the Kong Adventure Climbing Centre in Keswick with Duane, our instructor.

Duane paired us up (a threesome for Alison) - we struggled into the tight-fitting shoes and donned a helmet and harness. Duane then showed us how to tie a double figure of eight knot to a carabineer and clip it to the harness of the first climber and instructed us how to operate the belay device, which was most important as the second person fed the other end of the rope through it to act as a brake to hold the climber secure during their assent and lower them down gently after their climb. Remember guys V, knee, one, two, three!!

We started off on some gentle climbing walls then, once everyone was confident, we moved to another area where the climbs were a bit harder but we all managed to get at least half way up before the hand holds were merely bits of plastic sticking out with nothing to grip!!

There was a piece of equipment that was spring loaded so you could climb on your own but with no-one holding a rope tight for you once you lost a bit of balance you came off the wall and gently lowered to the ground. At the end of the session this should have been clipped in at the bottom but the last one to use it just let it go (you know it was you Brian) and up it went. Seeing this Duane scampered up the wall, no rope or clipping on, and just as he got back to the ground he accidently let the rope go and up it went again so up he went again, just like a monkey, and this time successfully clipped it back in.

We all had a great time and, as parking time was up, we headed back to Glaramara for a quick lunch before the afternoon activities began.

Viking Boating - Ann and Mick Cook

Last time we did the Viking boating there was not enough wind to get the sail up and we just had to row the boat - easy, how wrong we were to think this is what we would be doing again.

We were sailing on Derwent Water in The Gift of the Gael in winds gusting from all directions and it was hard work. But what a great experience.

The scenery was fantastic, the ships crew were well - getting used to handling the ropes!!! Thought we lost Arthur overboard at one point, but he just sat there enjoying the ride.

We sailed down towards Keswick turning this way and that, getting back to the landing stage was a bit of a problem. The wind would not play ball so much to our disappointment we were towed in but none of us got wet - a bonus.

A great adventure enjoyed by all the crew, thanks to John Platt who supplied us with instruction and info.

Many thanks to Jane and Dave for organising another fantastic weekend.

High Level Fell Walk - Sheila Smith

Here we are again folks, the High Level Walk in the Lake District and under the expert guidance of Rachel, eight of us, Janet, John, Martin, Amanda, Tricia, Tim, Richard and myself set off for our 'walk' with the aim of climbing Base Brown, Brandreth and Grey Knotts all three of them 'Wainwright's'. This year we even managed to get a lift in the mini bus down the long road to Seathwaite farm for the start of the walk, initial leg power saved! Due to high winds of between 30 - 40 mph forecast on the extreme high fells we wondered if we would even manage these!

On the way upFlying the flagOur ascent initially took us up Sour Milk Gill, a beautiful waterfall and once at the top the 50+ Adventure flag, came out for its first airing.  "Better hold on tight" came the shouts as the wind wanted to take it away. On we climbed round and back up to Base Brown, clouds were now swirling all around us - visibility nil. Poor Rachel, our leader, got some stick from us as a group of young fire fighters came up from behind! The flag was out again and photos duly taken at height 646m, clouds having cleared giving us some spectacular views but the wind was whistling and very strong so we did not linger and went to find a sheltered spot for our lunch! It was at this point that the group came up with ideas for the use of the flag - (sorry Jane) - tea towel, table cloth, bib, parachute, head scarf, bandana, sling, and even a nappy!!

On the summitOnwards and upwards round the ridge towards Brandreth at a height of 747m by which time the rain had blown in so we did not hang around. Waterproofs now on, we walked to the third Wainwright Grey Knotts 697m high above Honister, amidst rain, hail, wind, clouds and sunshine. We had it all but it did not deter us, after all we are the 50+ Adventure Club. The final descent of the walk took us down Moses Trod back via Honister Slate Mine for a welcome break and cuppa. Rachel told us that you could find some real gems in the 'Fill your Boot for 20pounds' piles of slate, but after rummaging around nothing took our fancy - besides we only had our ruck sacks! We then followed the footpath down the valley back to Glaramara in time for a beer! Thanks to Jane and Dave for another great weekend - all over far too quickly.

Abseiling - Diane and John West

AbseilingAt the topA group of 19 members headed up to tackle Woden's Crag with Tom and Duane as leaders. Thank you Jane for asking on my behalf if we could do 'the Big One'. Not too many from 50 plus would have done this one.

The leaders went up to rig the ropes while people watched them disappear upwards and wondered quite how to get up so high! Fear and anticipation perhaps as the first group made their way upward on the steep incline and at the top clipping on twice to ensure safety before edging along the narrow and awkward cliff edge.

When it is your turn you realise that you cannot easily see over but you can choose to look down. Two ropes were set up and wide enough for two people to go at the same time and choose their own way of actually getting down. Great encouragement en route from below - "go left mind the tree" "don't drop into the hole" etc (ed's note - other instructions are unprintable!) or you could bounce down like James Bond!! veryone was smiling and a few managed a second go. Great fun and a last look back.

Here we goThe way downWe all moved off helping to carry the gear and loading the van.

Opposite was a huge vast cliff face with two tiny dots - not abseiling but climbing!! Wow – - perhaps we can tackle that next year.....

Sunday Morning Walk


Along the wayBoat jetty repairs on Derwentwater put paid to our planned Sunday morning excursion, so Plan B had to be hastily put into operation (apologies for the split infinitive). Apparently, this was the same route as last year but as the leader missed the 2016 weekend (can't remember why) no-one minded (or probably even realised) and all was well.

Apologies to those who wanted to climb Castle Crag part way along the route (we did this a few years ago and the descent on wet slate debris proved to be extremely treacherous).

The weather was kind, we didn't get lost, the views were tremendous, everyone was in good spirits and the tea/cake/beer stop almost at the end of the walk was most welcome. It was here that the group split up, those who were returning home that evening opted to take the open top bus back to Glaramara, leaving Group photoa few valiant souls to complete the walk along the valley back to base. This stretch of the walk involved the most exciting part of the whole day - negotiating a rocky area by means of a length of chain and some scrambling.

Another successful Lakes weekend, no-one got lost, no-one was injured (apart from a few insect bites - must remember the Jungle Formula next year) and, as far as we know, everyone arrived home safely!

Hurrah for Glaramara and its excellent staff, who make us so welcome year after year. An amazing place to stay in glorious surroundings. ALL rooms en-suite next year folks! 22/23/24 June 2018



Via Ferrata - Gary Sapstead

Cliff EdgeVia Ferrata2Bridge of doomOn the Sunday morning, after a hearty breakfast, I and seven other club members made our way to the equipment shed where we were issued with our helmets and harnesses. We then got on the mini buses and headed to Honister Slate Mine, where after parking we made our way up a steep climb and through a tunnel to the Via-Ferrata.

Showing offFhe GroupAfter a short brief by the two instructors, Tom and Simon, and a small practise in the training area we set off. For some reason, I ended up at the end of the intrepid eight and was the last one to start our adventure. As I climbed down the first ladder and looked around at the breath-taking views and scenery, I had a sudden thought of why was I here? but that thought soon disappeared after I realised what I was doing and that I needed to concentrate as I had full confidence in the equipment and training I received beforehand.

During the climb, Simon would seem to disappear and reappear with a camera taking snapshots of the team of climbers during various stages of the trail. The trail consisted of metal safety wires, ladders, metal steps, wire bridges and cargo nets.

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July 2017

Water Activities at GrafhamWater - Keith Sulphur

First rafting crewOne's first thought prior to leaving home, was to listen to the shipping forecast on 198 LW Radio Four. The following came over the airwaves - General Synopsis High Irish sea 1022 will move across England to Holland 1018 6am on Sunday. Reassured that there would be no gales across Grafham Water we set off in glorious sunshine the temperature reading 74f. Arriving at Perry we drove into the first car park and did not see anyone we recognised, after wandering around we called Judith on her mobile, who was able to direct us another half mile through the village to the water activity centre. Here we met our project leader - THE CAPTAIN - who got us kitted out with our life jackets. Then down to the water's edge where we were shown how to sail our boats. These were a two--person crew, one to work the sail and the second to man the tiller. Eight of us set off in four boats with THE CAPTAIN cruising with us in his motor dinghy. We were on the water for around 90 minutes during which we mastered our turns. As our Second rafting crewconfidence grew we could have wished for more of a breeze as at times we were totally becalmed.

Back on the shore we had a short break and were issued with our safety helmets and paddles. Then back to the water's edge to build our rafts. The materials to hand were as follows 4 long poles, 4 short poles, 6 large plastic barrels and 20 lengths of rope. THE CAPTAIN then showed us how to tie a knot to lash the raft together. Around half an hour later two rafts were ready to launch. The acid test, with a lot of heaving AND pushing our rafts were afloat. We carefully climbed aboard, one person sitting on the barrels at each corner. then with a heave on our paddles we set off out to a mooring buoy about 150 yards offshore. Our rafts stayed intact and we safely made it back to shore. We then had to dismantle our rafts and stash the parts back in the storage bin. Whilst doing this we found the water pleasantly warm, and so it was with a great sense of achievement that we ended our day at Grafham Water.

Grateful thanks to Judith Sampson for organising a most enjoyable day.

Box End Aqua Park - Sue King

The day was a bit overcast but humid when we met at the Aqua Park Reception. We signed in and everyone received a wristband. Then we went and watched a group already jumping and slipping their way around the obstacle course before it was time for our safety briefing - we were advised it was cheesy and it was!

Box EndThen it was off to get changed into wetsuits and don buoyancy aids. We watched people having a go at wakeboarding, kneeboarding and water-skiing, using the overhead cable system before it was our turn on the Aqua Park. Some of the participants made it look very easy but I think we were all agreed that it wouldn't be quite as easy as they made it look.

The previous group came out of the water and it was our group's turn to swim out to the Aqua Park. Once on the structure everyone proceeded to leap, climb, swing and slip their way around the various obstacles. Some brave souls went down the Mega Slide which just looked like a vertical drop from the top.

After an hour, the whistle was blown and it was time to leave the Aqua Park for the next group to start.Everyone agreed that this was a fun activity but quite exhausting and an hour on the course is long enough!

Annual Barbeque & Games Evening

Chairman in the kitchenHome runSausages sizzling, chicken kebabbing, Chairman disappearing in a cloud of smoke, wine bottle corks popping, burgers catching fire, members playing silly games - it must be the 50+ BBQ again!

The lack of bar facilities this year did nothing to dampen our spirits (although we did miss Stanion Hall Barry) and we soon scared off Stanion football club who were training at the bottom end of the sports field. They would have been amazed if they had stayed on to see how well a group of recycled teenagers play their very own version of rounders.

Congratulations to Jude, who made an excellent job of bringing some semblance of order to such an unruly mob. Can’t remember who won, only poor light stopped play. Commiserations to Ann, whose knee decided that it didn't want to get even to first post; keep icing Ann and get well soon.

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August 2017

Summer Walk & Picnic - Tricia Booth

We all gathered outside the village church of Langham, within the rural county of Rutland. The weather was perfect for walking and we were soon striding out through fields of wheat, which could be heard popping in the sun.

WindmillSummer WalkIn the distance, we could see the lovely village of Whissendine, which would be our picnic site, but before we could eat we had the opportunity to visit an impressively tall stone-built windmill, with its four sails and fantail, which produces a range of organic flour. We were allowed to explore all the floors and see the wheat turned into flour. I lost count of the number of ladders we climbed - which were not for the faint-hearted but it helped if you were the size of the miller, who reminded me of Windy Miller from Camberwick Green! We all emerged from the mill looking like we had been sprinkled with white star dust but we brushed ourselves off and headed for the pub. Once refreshed, we headed back through someone's back garden and over the countryside, with views of England at its best.

Thank you Jenny for all the hard work that you put into making our day so great, also for the good company of my fellow walkers.

Paddleboarding - Mike Buxton

PaddleboardingMan overboardChanging in the open air, most had swimwear anyway, there are facilities if needed. Suited and booted we slid the boards into the water and leapt on (well a little more cautious than that if the truth be known) ready for a most enjoyable paddle up the Nene on our knees avoiding the other shipping (we were overtaken by a barge and had to weave through a group of canoes coming in the opposite direction. Eventually it was time to head back and we were encouraged to try stand up paddleboarding (no chance with my knees, it's bad enough on a stable surface) most succeeded, Gary promised to fall in at the start, I think it was to show off his army training, coming up in full camouflage. All arrived safely back then over the road to the Tea Rooms. Thanks to Pauline for organising a splendid day.

Cycle Ride and Picnic - Mike Buxton

Cycle RideMikeDisastrous start for the day, all loaded up ready to go and the car refused to recognise my key, managed to borrow a car and swap everything over, arrived and was ready for the off not too late.

It was a lovely day with beautiful scenery, it's been a long while since I've done any cycling but found the pace very comfortable, half way round we stopped at the cafe, I then realised in my haste I hasn't bought a parking ticket, oh well not much I can do about it! The ride came to an end rather quicker than I expected, ready for our picnic.

Time to reflect on what a lucky and enjoyable day it has been (the car didn't go wrong at Grafham and I didn't end up with a parking ticket, no aches and pains either). Perfick.

Thanks Jane for organising it.

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September 2017

Windsurfing (!!) - Hilary Cave

Ten of us gathered in the lovely September sunshine on the banks of Rutland Water looking forward to mastering the skills of wind surfing. What we failed to notice, until pointed out to us from our instructor Dave, that there was no wind! and wind surfing with no wind is very difficult if not impossible!!!!

KAYAKING-2Kayaking-1Our instructor then offered us several alternative activities and it was unanimously decided that we would go kayaking. After tugging and squeezing ourselves into our wet suits and donning our buoyancy aids we collected our paddles and after a brief instruction on how to use them we divided into pairs and headed down to the shore to climb into our kayaks, Dave our instructor followed in a motor launch, which I, for one didn't think was quite fair! We then headed out to the dam where is was lovely and quiet, enjoying a leisurely paddle and taking in our scenic surroundings in the afternoon sun. All to soon our allocated time had passed and we were asked to paddle back to shore. Thank you, Dave, for organising a most enjoyable afternoon.

Canoeing on the Nene - Carol Pullen

Canoeing on the NeneSheltering from the rainThe new Rushden Lakes shopping centre beckoned for this activity, and not for retail therapy, as we assembled at Canoe2's Boathouse. After all the usual paperwork we were kitted out with our buoyancy aids, paddles and barrels and were briefed. It was decided to go downstream, because the portage points round the locks were much, much shorter than upstream. The sun shone as we passed Higham Lock, with everyone helping to lift the canoes round the lock and back into the water and helping some of us in and out of our canoes!! As we paddled under the bridges at Irthlingborough the sky was getting black and on this short stage to the next lock we could hear thunder!! It was decided to have lunch by the lock and we all tried to find shelter from the downpour under anything we could find.

CanoeingCanoeing-2The sun came out and on the upstream return journey, via Stanwick Backwater, some of us saw a kingfisher, a heron and a white egret. Paddling peacefully back I was thrilled to see a grass snake swimming in front of our canoe and seen by Amanda and Jude as well!! The skies were beginning to darken as we finally paddled across Rushden Lake and after a very good 'docking' (Jude was complimented on her steering!! Will we ever hear the end of this?!!) nearly everyone appeared to have returned without a ducking or a final soaking from the next storm.

Footnote: Pauline and her crew were last seen disappearing up Stanwick Backwater and had not appeared when we all returned. Did they disappear into the 'Stanwick Triangle'??

Bedford Blue Badge Walk - Olive Arnold

Blue Badge WalkAround 18 of us congregated at the allotted meeting point of the gold post box in St Peter's Square. After a bit of sorting out regarding parking we split into two groups and each with our guide headed off in opposite directions to learn more about the history of Bedford.

Our guide, who was Bedford born and bred, was passionate about his town, regaling us with facts about Bunyon's incarceration, the slightly bizarre Panacea Society who apparently still own a house plus allotment for the Messiah for his second coming and of course the facts regarding the castle.

There were, of course, many more of items of interest and a very pleasant couple of hours passed culminating in tea at the Swan Hotel on the banks of the Great River Ouse.


Segways - Brenda Bumstead

Segway-1The weather was beautiful, sunny, dry and not too hot when 15 of us arrived for our Segway adventure. We were divided into 2 groups, novices and those who had Segwayed before as there were insufficient vehicles for each of us to have one. I was in with the novices and was surprised how quickly we all learnt. Maybe we 50+ are all very intelligent! Then it was time for the more experienced riders to have a quick refresher course. After all the instruction we were let loose on our own. Everyone had several goes and the sharing was well organised by Pauline. By the end of the morning we were all Segwaying around like experienced professionals. An enjoyable morning for us all.



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October 2017

Canal Boat Day - Keith Sulphur

Mooring UpOn the canalSunday 1st October, dawned grey and overcast, however a 60-minute drive through light traffic found us arriving at Sileby boatyard. Paul then read from his list and directed us onto our respective boats. Rumble, Jumble and Fumble. Our captains - Mick, Dennis & Paul - steered us out onto the River Soar and we set a course northward to Loughborough. A gentle speed of 4 mph took us past lush green meadows towards our first lock at Mountsorrel. I, like many others in our party, did not have a clue how to operate a lock. Thankfully members from previous canal boat trips were able guide us and an enthusiastic team was able to heave and push the mighty lock gates open. Our next section took us past residential homes whose back gardens came right down to the river's edge. This brought us to our next lock at Barrow upon Soar. Once again, the team sprang into action and with the experience gained earlier we navigated our way through and onto Loughborough. Another 30 minutes boating saw the boats arrive at a lovely canal side pub, The BOAT INN. Although the time was twenty minutes before opening time the landlady kindly let our group in and we were soon quaffing our drinks. Some members enjoyed a game of darts while others a game of Pool. It was here that the party had their picnic. Suitably refreshed we set off on our return journey. Like out on the 1st leg, many of the party was able to enjoy the experience of taking the tiller and steering the boats themselves. At 5.15 pm we arrived back at the boatyard. A special thanks to Paul Rogers for organising a wonderful day's adventure. Thanks also to the ladies who supplied the crew with tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits. A much appreciated gesture. P.S Your writer is still eating Humble Pie having confirmed that HARWICH   is in .......... "ESSEX"  ouch.

Pitch & Putt - Keith Sulphur

Where did that goA full swingOn a glorious sunny morning one was left to ponder how our 50+ committee manage to get the weather for our outdoor activities. 23 members were present and after collecting our golf clubs and balls we were divided into teams of 4. Jane and Dennis elected to go last to wait for a lost member to arrive. It was great fun out on the course, hitting the balls across the greens and sometimes into the hedge.

The WinnersIt was while Carole was searching for her golf ball in the hedge that she disturbed a squirrel that came running out with something in its mouth; as Carole gave chase, one of her team members found her lost ball - the squirrel had run off with a pine cone.

All too soon our 12 holes were completed and it was time to sort out winners and losers. The winning team was JOE JANE HILARY & DAVE with a score of 189. Commiserations go to Janice Pauline Elizabeth & Keith with a somewhat embarrassing score of 282. However, a great day was had by all.

Many thanks to Dennis for organising our Pitch & Putt Adventure. 





Autumn Walk - Richard Stanley

What a walk, full of interest and surprises. First surprise was Dave and Hilary arriving first.

Jenny said there was a quiz to find an unusual use of crockery. Well done to Brenda for spotting Crockery Cottage where the stucco had cups and saucers embedded in the walls.

Group photoMore stiles We had sheep rescuing from Richard Coles who obviously thought it was part of the Welsh Leisure Centre.

We had a secret garden.

Tea breakWe spotted a giant space ship in a field which turned out to be an air traffic control Radar!

We had coffee and a pee half way round at the golf club (and someone had to have a Kitkat) We had glorious weather but a bit windy in parts and beautiful scenery.

And then to round it off a nice lunch at The Red Lion at Litchborough. But who ate all the bread and butter pudding?

28 fifty plussers walked approximately 5.78 miles - there you go Jane I finished with the numbers instead of starting.

Well done Jenny, where do you find these places?



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November 2017

Halloween at Burghley House - Jenny Walker

On a moonlit night, 17 members, met up at Burghley House, for the Halloween Spooky tour. Torches were banned.

We had such a laugh, the actors were brilliant, kept in character the whole time, making the experience really scary. We were led up and down candle lit stairways, down dark corridors, into the ancient kitchen and outside into the stables and courtyard and most scary of all down into the cellars. We heard stories of terrified servants, disappearing boys, and chained up thieves. They had everyone screaming and huddling together like sardines! Never screamed so much in my life, who I was hanging onto at times, I didn't know, I was clinging on to the nearest arm I could find. Thanks for that if it was you!

Thanks Pauline for arranging the evening. A great tour.

10 Pin Bowling - Viv Fiander

Richard BowlingWinnersWe all turned up on time, which is an achievement in itself. We were made up into three teams albeit ours was an odd number, so we invented 'Sue' to even things out. Each of us took turns in being 'Sue'. 'Sue' even put down more skittles than I did!!!!!!

By the hurrahs and noise when each person achieved a strike I would say everyone enjoyed the evening.

Prizes were given out to the winners and loser!!!!! So thanks to Pauline for organising a great evening.

Curling at Beckworth's - Barry Fitzhugh

After a successful first curling event last year, Pauline booked two lanes again for this season at Beckworth's. After putting on the shoe spikes (spikes outside please!) we were given a resume of the rules. You aim to slide the stones onto a target, red centre 3 points, white 2 points, blue 1 point. The stones are approx 30 lb in weight so no lifting - slide only, either by hand or with the help of a handle to aid pushing.

Four players in each team, first to 21 points wins.

Curling TeamCurling TeamIn our first game the yellow team took an early lead. We (red) closed the gap but eventually lost by 4 points. Arthur proved to be very successful at clearing our stones off the target area, although sometimes cleared his own team's stones as well. My last shot landed on the red, unfortunately right at the end, having been too long or too short previously. We had one hour on the ice and were leading well in the last game when time was called, so we called that a victory and went for a hot chocolate.

Everyone enjoyed the event. Many thanks to Pauline for organising.

Race Car Simulator at Twinwoods - Joe Gasan

What a transformation - just seeing the life-like race car simulators and hearing the sound of the roaring formula one engines really got the heart pounding. This is the stuff of boyhood dreams! 

With adrenaline levels souring, I couldn't wait to strap in behind the wheel of my Williams Toyota Formula one car ready to beat all the competition at all costs around the realistic looking Spa Francorchamps, Belgium circuit. I was Stirling Moss, Nigel Mansell and Lewis Hamilton all rolled into one.

RacingPaulineNo sooner off the grid than disaster struck. I crashed three times, blew my engine once and had to start back at the pit lane. This is harder than I thought! Consequently, my lap time was nearly half a minute slower than Barry's who took the chequered flag and won the admiration of all those watching - well done Barry.

Technical problems meant we had to resume racing after an enjoyable (and very wet) spell of flowboarding.

However, back in the seat of my car - this time around a different circuit - Lime Rock Park, USA, I was determined to do better. I had to learn from the other drivers who took fewer chances, and consequently were quicker round the track (tortoise and hare spring to mind). Four green lights and I floored the throttle and went hell for leather off the grid again! It's no good - that red mist came down and I was soon spinning and sliding around that track. Deep joy, I recorded my first victory, albeit with a bent front wing.

The thrill was tremendous, and the simulator really throws you about as you skid and slide around corners and over the rumble strips.

Sympathies were expressed to Jane afterwards, and offers of a lift home were given by those who watched my racing skills that afternoon. However, I'm pleased to say the drive home was uneventful!

Many thanks again to 50 plus for organising a great day out.

Flowboarding at Twinwoods - Richard Coles

FlowboardingI went to this event slightly nervous, due to some comments that had been made to me, from some young and very supple friends i.e. "wow, you really get thrown to the back wall, you'll get bruises, but yeah well, you'll love it, its okay really" This didn't instil a lot of confidence in me.

We arrived at the venue, piled into the cafe and watched a group of kids launching themselves into the fast-flowing water. Ah well, if they can do it, us over 50's certainly can Ha!

We watched the film show, demonstrated by a young fit thing in a bikini. After safety briefing, sent to changing rooms with wet suits (once dressed it was good to feel the neoprene of the suit on my skin again...) we all looked very good in these, Baywatch had nothing on us.

I was third in the queue to take to the water, the instructor then told me to stand on the edge, take two steps across into the fast moving current and launch myself downwards into the rapids, holding on to my board, with elbows tucked in and 101 other instructions. I took the plunge, landed, floated and "flow boarded". Wow I was hooked. Steering came easier than expected and I slipped from side to side. Then all of a sudden, I found I was being whisked away to the side by Amanda where we wallowed in the shallows together! She was obviously overwhelmed by my wet suited body....

I eventually re-joined the queue and watched everybody else go through the same, some successful first time, some ending up being thrown to the back wall. Then the instructor demonstrated a few tricks we could try. Barry demonstrated the kneeling position! Keith demonstrated Superman.

OopsAfter we had all had several goes, the instructor then tried to get us standing on a board. This was achieved for most that tried it. Here Sheila held the record for the longest standing up time 20-30 seconds, but it seemed much longer.

I would definitely do it again despite writing this with an elevated leg and an icepack on my knee.

Full marks to Jane for organising this event.

Night Walk - Maggie Marshall

night walkFor our annual night walk we met at the Briars pub in Kettering on a cold frosty night. Wearing several layers, and well wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves we each chose 2 treats from Jenny's bag of chocs and set off briskly into the dark. Taking our life in our hands we crossed the main road, walking into Weekly woods. The skies were  so clear we kept  stopping to look up at the stars.

Halfway round and more goodies to fortify us - mulled wine and mince pies-yummy! About turn and we walked back through the woods towards a glowing moon 'hovering' low about the Harvester pub. Crossing that busy main road again we arrived safely back at the Briars.

Thank you, Jenny, for a good walk and Barry who manfully (oops am I allowed to say that!) carried the 'emergency rations' of mulled wine and mince pies.

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December 2017

Bowling & Christmas Meal - Jan Collins & Ean Parsler

Indoor Bowls 2Indoor Bowls-3On our first venture with the club we picked up Pauline, who guided us to the Desborough Bowling Club and made us feel very welcome. Our two teams were appointed a coach by the name of Tom Black, who was helpful and very humorous about our attempts at bowling. hen someone sent down a 'dambuster' bowl his comment was indoor bowls meal"it would have been better if you had taken it out of the box!" Also using the wrong bias which sent it veeringinto the wrong lane, was met with the comment "that will cost you a round of drinks at the bar!" In our game,the Home Team had a big lead but the Visitors fought back and won the match.

Afterwards it was really enjoyable to have Christmas dinner with everyone and chat with a few more members. To complete the afternoon, we were invited round to Dennis and Jane's house for mulled wine and mince pies, where we met a few more new faces. An enjoyable first outing for us both and thanks to everyone.

Ice Skating at Beckworth Emporium

Ice SkatingOne dark December evening 6 members met at the enormous 715 sq metre 'real ice' rink at Beckworth Emporium for some great skating. With lighting and music the atmosphere was perfect for some festive fun. Four members donned skates and the other two stood on the side-lines to watch the proceedings. The skaters from the previous session left the rink and the resurfacer drove onto the ice to clean and smooth the surface ready for the next session. Then it was time for everyone to get onto the rink for their session.

There were quite a lot of people on the ice - the rink can take up to 238 people, so some dodging and weaving was called for in order to make a circuit of the rink. All too soon the session was over and it was time to reclaim our footwear and leave the building. Outside it was pouring with rain but as the rink is under cover it was impossible to tell what the weather was like during the session.

A good time was had by all - it's just a shame there weren't a few more members present at the event.


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