October Write Ups
FLOW HOUSE INDOOR SURFING - Julia Thorley
Wow! Thanks, Lyn for such a brilliant activity. We have GOT to do this one again.
Flow House centres around a 10-metre-wide sheet wave called a Flow Rider that allows you to surf using specially designed boards. The water is only about 4 inches deep, and rushes uphill over a trampoline-type material that gives when you land on it.
After a mercifully brief introductory chat, it was into the wet suits and away we went. The first lesson was how to fall in properly, taking care to tuck ourselves into a ball so that when (not if) we hit the sides we would minimise the discomfort. Then before we knew it, we were taking it in turns to launch ourselves into the water in a variety of positions: holding the sides and learning to steer; letting the board go and then catching it again; flipping 360 degrees without losing the board; riding in pairs side by side and swapping boards midstream; gliding forwards and backwards; and kneeling up. We even had a go at standing up (in my case greatly assisted by hunky instructor Adam). OK, so we had varying degrees of success, but we could all do it and we all had a great time. Awesome, dude!
Special mention should be made of our friend Cecil, who although he didn't join us in the water was doing something much braver outside: leaping off a tower 125ft in the air at the neighbouring Vertigo attraction. What a hero!
AUTUMN WALK - Candice Foss and Frank Lawrence
The weather forecast for Sunday was not promising. So when I peeked through the closed curtains I was pleasantly surprised to see mist and hazy sunshine. We all congregated in the Cross Keys car park at the appointed time. I overheard someone saying there were only two stiles on this particular walk; we quickly arrived at the first stile and it was a whopper but we all managed somehow to negotiate it. The second wasn't much lower, the third very wobbly - yes, the THIRD - and I lost count after seven. A very bad case of Chinese whispers?
As the morning went on the sun became stronger and I was soon discarding outer layers of clothing. We couldn't have hoped for a better day, the warm weather meant that only one farmer's field was muddy. Just as the route description correctly stated we enjoyed the views of Laxton Hall and Fineshade Abbey. After a pit stop at the Top Lodge cafe we continued on, the only part I had trouble with was the narrow path after Westhay wood. It was still wet and muddy and I couldn't keep my footing but did just about manage to stay upright. I know I'm very unfit, and I plan to do something about that, but I did worry when the back marker overtook me! Did she know I was even part of the group, or just a lonely soul out walking on my own? I do like the way the club members all work as a team - going over the stiles there were calls of "this one is very slippery/wobbly", and walking along a road, calls of "car"!
After arriving back in Kings Cliffe and changing our walking boots for lighter footwear, I was ready for a long, cold drink in the Cross Keys. They had reserved two rooms for us and we felt quite exclusive, seven of us in a room all to ourselves - and what a meal - the staff certainly did us proud. I told our waitress that she had given me far too much of the vegetarian lasagne, but was told to "be quiet" by the others just in case the portions decrease the next time we're there. I can recommend the blackberry crumble.
Thank you Jenny for a lovely walk. Do we really have to wait until Spring for the next one?
CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION - Candice Foss (Ed's note: "short straw" springs to mind!)
I thought my day job experience of typing up forensic reports for the last eleven years would give me an advantage - but it didn't help at all. Sixteen of us attended the afternoon at Denford village hall and we were divided into three teams; I was with Paul, Mary, Janice and Frank. A well-to-do Lord had been murdered. We put on our forensic white suits, face masks and gloves so that our own DNA did not contaminate the crime scene. The next three hours we dusted drinks cans and a beer bottle for fingerprints, tested for blood and looked at dental records to find out who had left the bite mark on an apple left at the scene. Paul had a Eureka moment and we thought "case cracked", only to tell us that Professor Plum had committed the crime! Thank you Paul, that was not helpful, so it was back to the crime scene.
The photofits of the three suspects looked suspiciously like David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher and Simon Cowell. Eventually, each team had to report on who had the means and motive, and the method they had used to commit the murder. We were quite close, although none of the teams had searched the crime scene enough to find the hidden hammer dripping with blood. I am pleased to report that our team won, but only because of the tea break quiz when Mary knew nine of the ten crime television theme tunes!
Back at work on Monday and telling my work colleagues about the experience they commented "Sounds more like a busman's holiday". It was a fun afternoon, a long time since I have laughed so much. Thank you Anne.
LASERFORCE - Marilyn Savory
Twelve members arrived at Sol Central ready for a Laserforce Mission, or, should I say a "Born Again Teenagers" Mission. We were all given a briefing on how to wear our armour, how to use the gun, and what NOT to do, (which went amiss at times during our excitement). We then split into 3 teams Red, Green and Blue, put on our armour, guns loaded, charged and entered into the maze. The maze consisted of three floors, having high scoring targets, defence hide outs and THE ROBOT, oh was he a nasty looking fellow, he thought nothing of shooting you STONE COLD DEAD! The game began and within seconds we were all children again, hiding, shooting and getting totally lost. During the evening we played three games with different firing modes, the results were Green 1st. Red 2nd and Blue 3rd. The overall winners were Leopard (Mick Cook) 1st, Brimestone (Dennis Tromans) 2nd. Win or lose it was a brilliant night enjoyed by all.
Thank you Lyn for organising this great event.
GHOSTLY GASLIGHT AT BLISTS HILL - Hilary Connon
We were staying at the lovely Dinney Farm Cottages in Chelmarsh near Bridgnorth lounging around comfortably gossiping (or dozing - if you had done the arduous morning walk and pub lunch) as the afternoon sun poured into the sitting room. As the clock approached 4.30 pm we all began to transform into something significantly more ghoulish.
There was a large coven of red, green and purple witches with their hats, spiders, cloaks and brooms, one flashing an illuminated red crone's nose. There was an unearthly paint covered sheet with one illuminated eye that looked awfully like Carole's. A vampire in a stovepipe hat, some unidentifiable male figures in scary masks, and a chimney sweep. I joined as Cruella de Ville, complete with whimpering Dalmatian puppy.
This demonic group then decanted into several cars and drove to the Telford Park and Ride, where we joined up with even more blood stained ghouls and dead-eyed ghosties and little scary monsters on the coach to Blists Hill. A very brave coach driver took us to Blists Hill Victorian Village for the start of our Halloween adventure.
It suddenly became mysteriously foggy as we entered the village and we swore to find each other again when the clock struck 9. Everyone went off in different directions until Bloodsucking Dangerous Dave and I were alone in a swirl of scary strange beings. The village was tremendously menacing with atmospheric lighting and eerie musical sounds punctured by screams coming from the industrial machinery, railway engine and canal. Illuminated ruins were reflected in the water.
Every house or shop that was approached had some ghoulish purpose, the inhabitants inviting you inside to try their wares - such as bread rats, Halloween confectionary, various body parts etc. Each occupant enacted a different scary scene in the dimly candlelit interiors. Sometimes there would be a silent figure clutching the bars staring at you with mad eyes, or a deathly white bride at a clothing shop window. The shoe maker took out his eyeball while brandishing a last at you. A heart was removed from one woman, while in another house the doctor thought it was hugely amusing to shake hands with you with a newly amputated arm, while a nearby crone read the cards for gullible young witches.
The school room had zombiefied students that stared at you and scratched at the desk or jumped out at you as you turned the corner with an unearthly laugh. The dentist brandished a huge pair of pliers to extract a tooth from a terrified little girl who screamed and banged at the window to implore someone to help her escape. A white faced man in Edwardian costume would move slowly with his lantern and then stand like a statue. Hairy monsters would growl at your shoulder.
The ghost buster had a busy time chasing Mr Marshmallow Man, while a zombie policeman dragged a crazy woman around on a chain as she screamed and tried to grasp you to get away. Beetlejuice watched while I was placed in a coffin and the boards hammered down, fortunately I was able to escape to enjoy a nice ginger wine while Dangerous Dave had a pint pulled in the cosy snug. Some strange companions were surrounding us, but we had grown accustomed to it now and barely noticed.
We enjoyed three firework displays as we moved around the village. An old fashioned fairground complete with swing boats and coconut shy was found at the very bottom and was packed with ghoulish little people (and not so little monsters). Candles, pumpkins, gas lights illuminated our way around the darkened streets, complimented by the occasional glow sticks, illuminated angel wings, and luminous skeletons.
Eventually the melee thinned as the little monsters went home, and the queues reduced for the curious crowds waiting to be scared at various locations. We wended our way to find our coven at the appointed meeting place and then set off on the return journey.
A fabulous time was had by all and a million thanks to the two Anns for their swansong event.
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