July Write Ups
MICROLIGHTING - Hugh Marks
Arriving at Deenethorpe airfield early on the Saturday morning, the cloud and general visibility were low and rain seemed to be on the way. I and the 3 other "flyers" inevitably speculated whether we would be able to go ahead. Our cheerful pilot, Simon, assured us, however, that the cloud would start to lift and, of course, he was right. Moreover, after fuelling his microlight and returning from a test flight, he advised us that the cloud level had risen to 500 ft (the minimum for flying) and that conditions were perfect! Indeed, the weather continued to improve throughout the morning so much that there was blue sky (remember that!) and sunshine by about 11. Waiting around, drinking tea/coffee, we observed and listened to the birds in and over the long grass of the airfield and at one point a hare popped out to observe us. Preparation for the flight involved putting on flying overalls, headphones, crash helmet and gloves, being advised which side of the aircraft to get out from in case of an emergency and then climbing into the passenger seat in tandem arrangement behind the pilot. After a few flight checks at the end of the runway, we were very quickly airborne and heading, at c.1500 ft., into the wind towards Oundle. As always with flying, it was great to be able to pick out villages and other landmarks and on the return journey when we started heading towards Corby, I could see Rockingham Speedway clearly in the middle distance. All too quickly the flight (20 minutes) was over after a smooth landing. As someone who is finding his head for heights diminishing with age, I was pleased to find I experienced little concern and although there was some buffeting, I never felt unsettled. Thanks go to Dennis for his organisation and help on the day.
PETANQUE - Kate Dent and Les Carter
On a beautiful summers evening.... (believe that if you like). Rain was beginning to fall, but we are the 50+ Adventure Club, therefore nothing will dampen our spirits or stop us from enjoying ourselves. So after the customary pre-event drinks it was off to the courts, to be introduced to the rules of the game by young Katie from the pub. Having been split into 6 teams of 6 players each, it was let battle commence. Whilst some of the teams were on a Male vs Female basis (with all the gender banter that goes with it) others were mixed teams, so overall the result was a draw. As dankness (sorry darkness) began to fall it was time to return to the pub for post match discussion on what might have been, before sitting down to our meal. The whole evening was a resounding success, so many thanks to Janette for a well organised event.
TREASURE HUNT - John Doherty
Full of enthusiasm, Janet, John, Cecil and I set off for East Carlton Park - our first destination in this year's car treasure hunt. We had to miss out one of the villages, not that we were running late but because there was a gang of locals armed with pitchforks; obviously the other treasure hunters had been there before us and they did not want any more! We finished up with a very good meal at the Sondes Arms in Rockingham and for coming last we were each awarded with a mug and a Bounty bar. Well done to the winning team - "Local Yokels" Mike, Tricia, Dennis and Jane and many thanks to Richard and Janette for organising another well crafted "hunt".
MULTI ACTIVITY DAY
Egg Launch and Blindfold Driving - Peta Jellis
It is always better to have an engineer on your team if there is something complicated to build. Fortunately I was in the Wakefield team: Bob understood all about trajectory angles and height for the projectile. Christine was used to binding two bits of wood together tightly - something to do with when she was an orthopaedic theatre sister but I thought it prudent not to press the point. Our competitors (the Marshalls and Cecil) did not stand a chance! The proof of the pudding was our winning launch of 163 feet. And the egg didn't break! Next activity - Blindfold Driving. Christine and I would have had it licked if only I had not sent her the wrong way through a gate. Not allowed to give instructions of "right" or "left" our conversation was, "To me, to me. STOP! To you, to you! STOP! REVERSE! Straighten up! Straighten up! STOP! To me, to me....." And so on. They say that women are better communicators but I must improve my navigation. The other team won by only 30 seconds! I am not naming any names but one of the members kept getting his port and starboard confused! It was lovely to be back at Grange Farm again, particularly on a beautiful day.
Clay Pigeon Shooting - Jeremy Furnish
22 July saw several of us assemble at Wittering Grange Farm for an afternoon of Multi Activities. I only did Clay Shooting but it was very interesting. The coach was very good indeed, not only did he get us shooting well, but he had a fund of information about countryside lore. Being a good teacher he made us feel confident, which is half the battle. Being a decent shot with a rifle can actually be a disadvantage when trying a shotgun. The stance is quite different as you stand square on to the target rather than sideways, and you don't look through sights. You are only interested in the end of the barrel and in keeping the butt tight to your cheek. As you follow and then catch the target the gun moves without any direction from the shooter. There were three in my group, a lady and two men. Guess who won!! We couldn't even say "Oh well, she's done it before", as none of us had. I had a great day out, helped by the coffee and biscuits when I arrived. Thanks very much Anne, it was a blast.
50+ OLYMPICS CHECK LIST:
Venue complete? Yes
Weather arranged? Yes
Security? Yes (we have some big guys in our club)
Seb Coe, eat your heart out! We can organise Olympics too! We even had club member Barbara Crowther with her Olympic torch to give a touch of authenticity. No time for any fancy opening ceremony, our competitors were arriving thick and fast and eager to get started. Stanion sports field was soon full of 50+ members doing the strangest things!
Down at the bottom of the field, teams of 4 were racing up and down in fancy dress, while others were taking part in a combined egg, spoon and hurdles race. The blindfold competitors were quickly finding out if their partner knew their right from their left (Peta and Christine, what were you doing? You should have won this after your recent practise at Grange Farm!) and the skiers were attempting to find some semblance of co-ordination (unsurprisingly, the team with the x-army officer in charge made short shrift of the course, slaying all competition). The winning javelin throw nearly landed in Brigstock and the winning bean bag thrower scored maximum points. After quarter finals, semis and finals were completed, the results were announced as follows:
Fancy Dress Relay - Sharon Hunt, Tracy Cooper, Anne MacGovern, Diane West
Egg and Spoon Hurdles - John Wilson, Steve Pelling, Bill Traynor-Kean, Kate Taubman
Skiing - John Wilson, Steve Pelling, Bill Traynor-Kean, Kate Taubman
Javelin - Men - Bob Wakefield
Javelin - Ladies - Hilary Hearnshaw
Blindfold Driving - Peter & Anne MacGovern
Bean, there, done that - Mike Buxton
Special award for distinguished achievement during the whole evening - John, Steve, Bill and Kate
Extra special award for underwhelming achievement - Peta Jellis and Christine Wakefield for their memorable attempt at blindfold driving.
Medals awarded, speeches made, it was then time for what this club does best - eating and drinking. Special thanks to Mike Buxton for his advice and provision of specialist equipment, Mike and Tricia Booth for cooking 150 sausages, Barbara for bringing along her precious Olympic torch and Barry for manning the bar. Great evening, with almost 50% of the club membership taking part. Repeat performance? Not just yet!
Post Script: Funny things, feet. They are not mathematical. Car wheels and angles to turn can be worked out in ratios. Feet aren't like that. Maybe the instructions were too complicated. "Left", "right" and "stop" not quite as explicit as "To me" or "To you". The fact that the feet's owners had a severe attack of the giggles half way round the course didn't help us to complete it speedily. But over seven minutes? I demand a rematch sometime! Peta Jellis
CANAL TRIP - Hilary Cornwell
We all met up early on Sunday morning in the car park at Pitstone Wharf with blue skies above and looking forward to a day on the canal. After a short delay whilst they got our boats ready we were then split into two groups, Barry taking charge of the "Little Grebe" boat whilst Ann took charge of ours called Lady Jane. After a short briefing and a visit by Mummy swan showing off her six growing cygnets we were off. We had barely left the wharf and the call went out "anyone for coffee"? Drawing water on Lady Jane was a challenge though as our water pump kept getting stuck and needed throwing about a bit to work. We headed north, through a swing bridge and up to our first lock, which was negotiated with ease. The scenery was rural with Dunstable Downs and Ivinghoe beacon in the background then the Whipsnade Lion came into view. After negotiating several more locks and seeing a kite and heron we found a lovely peaceful place to moor up for lunch. Well I say lunch but anybody would think we had not eaten in days! Ann was keeping a strict eye on time and announced we had less than one hour to devour all this food and head our way back. Unfortunately the weather deteriorated on the home journey with forked lightning, and heavy rain showers, not surprising there were not many volunteers for coxperson!!! But in true 50+ spirit others got drenched manning the lock gates and mooring up but soon dried out when the sun came out, only to get soaked again later on. As we made good time on the way back we managed to have another stop for - would you believe it - more food; this time enjoying Jane's fruit cake and cup of tea. Thanks go to Ann Cook for organising a very good day out.
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