Watch this site for a write up on what we did in 2004!
made their way to the Irthlingborough Community Centre for our
fourth annual dinner dance. A new setting and very nice
too: a newly built Centre, warm and welcoming.
The food, supplied by outside caterers, was hot, tasty and plentiful. Eating over, it was down to the games and dancing, organised by our resident DJ, Pauline. Balloons, dry spaghetti and a plant pot were all put to good use to prove you don’t have to be young to have a good time.
It was a shock to go out into the cold at midnight, but we all went home with smiles on our faces.
One cold evening four intrepid humans set out in their space ship to go where no man had been before. Encountering other travellers along the way and funny looking white stuff lying on the ground (OK we were in Dennis and Jane’s car and it had been snowing). Once we had reached our destination and docked we found ourselves surrounded by strange beings, hoping they were friendly we stepped from the security of the space ship only to find it was the 50+ gang. Peta lead us to her leader Andrew who then took us on a tour of our Universe explaining how we are made up of the matter that stars emit (what happened to the monkey theory?). Helping us to understand black holes and putting our minds at ease by telling us how lazy our black hole is, so it is unlikely to gobble us up.
We then had to find the way back to the space park to look at the new telescope, now was it down the stairs, press the button, across the park, along the covered walkway, right past the moon buggy (okay the mini dumper) left along the runway, right across the park, yes we got there, only trouble was, the water vapour machine wasn’t working and it stopped us viewing the night sky, but, we did learn how you can rotate a 1 ton dome on water. So eventually off we all went back to our space homes in wonder of the world that we live in and guess what we saw as soon as we alighted the space car? Cheeky ORION winking at us as if to say “YES WE ARE IN CHARGE !!!”
Having met some members previously at the AGM and the previous week at the Needle & Awl I was looking forward to my first 'real' activity. As arranged my lift with Jane, Dennis, Patricia & Mike arrived and my thanks for allowing me to squeeze in with them. We arrived at the bowling alley at Wellingborough in good time - enough time to enjoy a drink before starting our games. Not wishing to inflict my erratic bowling skills on any particular team, I hung back but I was soon ushered into an unsuspecting group who I soon learned were Doug, Gordon, Celia, Val and Cecil. We played 2 games with much cheering and encouragement for high scores and strikes alternating with commiserations for all those near misses. For his high scoring achievement Doug won the trophy for star player, duly deserved as at one point he scored 4 strikes in a row and the dubious title of '4 bagger' flashed on the screen. Jane also received a trophy for her achievement at the other end of the scoring spectrum. With the bowling over we all sat down to enjoy a drink, our suppers and chat. It was all very enjoyable and well organised and I am now looking forward to my next adventure.
Against all my best efforts to delay the ageing process, I have finally conceded to being eligible to escort my big sister on her 50+ adventures. This started with a trip to the Xscape Snozone in Milton Keynes for some serious tobogganing.
On arrival, there appeared to be a power cut, but it was short lived, and after a slight delay we were all togged up and on the piste. It seemed an awful long way to the top, especially as the travelator and button lifts were not working. Anyway once at the top we were soon sitting on what looked like an excuse for a sledge, feet up and away to the bottom at a fair rate of knots, great fun.
Somehow I expected indoor snow to be quite civilised and dry, but that’s not the case, it’s just like the real stuff, white and wet. I understand they produce the snow using snow blowers, which is good as you get a foot or so of realistic snow to play on, the downside being you do get rather wet!
After a while the button lifts started working and the travelator occasionally moved, this meant we could get to the top quicker and have more goes and get even wetter.
By the time our session was over
I was actually beginning to feel my age, let’s hope it’s not all down
hill from here…
Having successfully navigated
our way to meet Pauline and companions who were to lead us to Brigstock,
Lynn and I were congratulating ourselves when we realised to our horror
that we had managed to loose the lead car, were lost in Kettering and did
not know where Brigstock was! However, all was not lost as we found
a map in the car, found Brigstock Country Park and joined Margaret and
Sue also newcomers to the group and set off together for our new experience
wondering if we would ever find the visitor centre and our cars again.
In the bright frosty sunshine we marched this way and that at times ankle deep in mud, glorious mud, often returning the way we had just travelled when suddenly the last post was found and we returned to base. To our astonishment we discovered that not only had we taken first place but were also each presented with a much appreciated bottle of wine. What better end to a fun-filled morning.
With a fresh dusting of snow, hopes were high to spot the source of the lost tribes of Brigstock, frequently referred to in anthropological circles as "them queer folk from the woods" . (People from Corby still claim direct decendency if a free pint is involved!)
We took on this expedition with relish. A number of the members didn’t have relish but had mayonnaise instead from Lidls, but that didn’t matter. Luck wasn’t with us for the snow had begun to thaw as we commenced our exhibition (sorry expedition: no I was right first time with gear like that) and the ‘spore’ had begun to vanish as the sun rose.
Grace counted us out: one, two, two, one, three and looked at her watch as we departed. How many departed? Don’t know: several threes, several times over, quarter to ten, “pardon, I heard that!”
I swapped my wife for a retired taxi driver from Brum. Not a bad deal in hindsight as he had The Knowledge and a flask of tea!
Trudge, trudge left, right spot the stake: wot no chips? Hurry back. Grace counted us back in. No casualties or sandwiches either.
We came close to spotting the lost
tribes though and filming them for the first time: that was very evident for
several groups had heard them in the woods with their plaintive cry, which
is still heard in Corby to this day. “Oy where the **** r we?”
“Oh, my word! You don’t expect me to go up that slippery 1:4 rutted hill? No! I can’t drive through there! The water is at least 2 feet deep! What! You expect me to drive through that tunnel?” Well, yes, I did all of those things, and so did 18 other members of the Club. We were driving ArgoCats, which are 6-wheeled amphibious vehicles with a turning lock of a sixpence achieved by pulling 2 levers.
That was just half our adventures. The other half was spent driving Rage Off Road Buggies that accelerated from 0 to 50 mph in a few feet. We were told that the record for the twisty and cambered circuit was 35 seconds. Well, one of our members, Keith Merrick managed 51 seconds on a very wet and slippery surface! Three other lady members were not far behind at 56 seconds and one even won a bet made with a male member because she was faster!
After our very muddy but fun-filled morning, we encamped to a local pub for well-earned refreshments and to swap stories of how we enjoyed ourselves (when we weren’t scared stiff, that is!).
to all you budding cowboys and cowgirls that turned up to have
a real humdinger of an evening. First we were introduced to
the ‘Dream Catchers’, our instructors for the evening, who
also provided the music and gentle instructions. Stetsons and
kerchiefs were there for those who really wanted to get into the
swing of things.
Everyone had a good time whether it was dancing or just watching. During the evening there was a raffle with some lovely prizes and Pauline presented the ‘Dream Catchers’ with £37 to add to their charity collection.
We can all now give a good rendition of the “Red Hot Salsa”.Yee Haw!
“The Art Nouveau stained glass is only rivalled by York Minster”………this was something we had to see. Was it at the Art Gallery or York Museum? We culture vultures thought we should make an appropriate beginning to our visit……to see the glass at the Jaipur Spice Indian Restaurant . The claim is just a bit pretentious since we learned that the Minster has the largest area of medieval stained glass in the world in its magnificent east window.
Saturday began with our three hour walking tour of York. It was fascinating. We viewed the site of the original Roman city and stretched out our arms to connect 1700 years from the ancient Roman fort walls to the modern underpinning of the medieval town walls. We climbed onto the walls of the town and strode along viewing the daffodils that stretch in a never- ending line along the grassy mounds. It was a beautiful time to see the city and thousands of tourists had chosen to come too.
We learned something of vandals including Henry Vlll who seized the wealth of St Mary’s Abbey and confiscated the Abbot’s house (Kings Manor) for himself. We walked through the doorway that he himself had used with his penultimate bride on his penultimate honeymoon.
We heard how York town planners wanted to improve traffic flow for horses and carts and began to demolish the town walls but were prevented by public outcry led by a Mr Etty. We learned that Guy Fawkes was from York and that his school celebrates with fireworks but do not throw poor Guy onto the bonfire.
We visited hidden squares and quiet streets and the beautiful tiny church of Holy Trinity hidden away behind the bustling town centre. The tour ended with an amble along the Shambles, the medieval street that used to be a row of butchers’ shops. We were advised to go and see the best view of York Minster, and that was to be had in Marks and Spencer’s men’s department.
In the calm and balmy evening we took another walk this time to hear of the supernatural. Our guide was dressed all in black and carried a walking stick, which he said brought good luck. As he stood lit from below at the foot of a Roman column he created a dramatic atmosphere whilst telling us of a marching Roman Legion seen by a local plumber in the 1950’s. This plumber, he said, was the founder of the Original Ghost Walk Company - the one we were walking with.
One of the most curious tales he related was from his own experience whilst leading a ghost walk. He had just taken up his position to talk about the ghosts that haunt and play tricks in the modern shops near Jorvik. A small boy grabbed at his walking stick and as he retrieved it and stood up he found he did not want to talk about that place. So he led the party away to his next spot. This was truly fortunate for they heard the bomb that exploded in the bookshop where they had been standing. People protesting about Salman Rushdie’s book claimed responsibility for the bomb.
We ended our evening in the Golden Fleece but the resident Ghost declined to treat us to a round!
On Sunday we all did our own thing before returning home after a very interesting weekend. All in all we learned many curious facts about the history of this beautiful city and a two day visit was only enough to wet your appetite.
Having begun with food I must end in the same way as York is the home of Terrys and Rowntrees (now Nestle). So we learned that 8 million Kit Kats are made in York each day.
TK, TA, CR, JW, DW, LM, DR, LN, PJ and AK.
It came from below and it came from the sky. Water, water, everywhere. But the trusty builders put together a bridge that was surely the envy of the modern world. Members met at the Frontier Centre just north of Rushden to pit their skills against the elements and get themselves across 7 metres of water.
Twenty minutes design time from the most devastatingly brilliant minds of the day, and using ropes, logs, metal clips and graft, produced a good workable method to carry the members to the other side using a harness, sling and pulley to roll down the ‘mathematically designed incline’.
Early passengers made it with minimal wetting. Later, lower fares dipped in before being hauled up the other side by an instructor. Plus the remaining members were needed to sit on the rope anchor to maintain taughtness. But as, one by one, the members went across, the rope slackened and a good wetting was had…except those having the later benefit of the instructors’ bridge, which was so simple to put up (they must’ve done it before y’know).
I’m still convinced that the bridge was excellent, and it was the rain that raised the water level! So on that basis, full marks to all. A great day.
GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY – Murder Mystery (article by Sue Drinkwater)
The scene is set – 24 bold members of the 50+ Adventure Club waiting on a crowded station platform for the 7pm departure of the Loughborough Express.
Transport yourselves backward in time if you will to April 1944 and imagine being amongst the milling throng. Also waiting for the train to leave are Freidrich Kildorf an eminent Austrian professor, his beautiful blonde wife Pearl, obviously descended from the true ‘Essex Girl’, the prof’s highly intelligent assistant Heidi together with a crusty RAF Officer, Wing Commander Rupert Greatrex-Spence. Suddenly out of the night sky two gunshots ring out. The professor falls to the platform murdered by a gun shot wound to his back – thus began the most devious case imaginable.
The mission for our 24 super sleuths (and they did choose to accept it!) is to undertake this dangerous journey through deepest Leicestershire countryside accompanied by the perpetrator of this dastardly deed.
During the journey we were forced to partake of a luxury 5-course meal served in our first class compartment; the meal prepared on board by a team of willing conscripts. Those of us lucky enough not to be driving home were also encouraged to consume large quantities of alcohol obviously a necessity when undertaking the solving of such a heinous crime. The prime suspects, our fellow passengers, moved amongst us revealing clues/red herrings as they went, whilst we risked life and limb in our efforts to reveal the true identity of this daring criminal.
What was to befall this fateful train as it travelled through the gathering gloom? I am unable to reveal – BEWARE, CARELESS TALK COSTS LIVES . Suffice it to say true justice eventually triumphed although a question mark remains over what pressure was applied to result in our “glorious Chairman” being the eventual winner of the prize draw for a souvenir bottle of wine. Would you be brave enough to undertake this heart-stopping journey? Who can tell?
REMEMBER - ‘walls have ears’.
|A simply splashing
time. Yours truly found it an effective “icebreaker’
(no the water wasn’t that cold) to get to
know fellow members for the first time, by way of pretending
to be ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’, traversing the raging rapids
of the River Nene.
A good (and fairly dry time) was had by all, by virtue of the fact that nobody sank, and we all become kids again, in a ‘Swallows and Amazons’ way.
Next year, paddling Niagra Falls, maybe???
HAWK FLYING (article by Pamela Tomalin)
|After bundling into a
small convoy of cars, we arrived at the Hawk Centre and were
met by our instructor Steve Eales and his birds.
We were introduced to the Harris Hawks - Barry, Briar,
Turnstile, and (I think) Goldie - or was it Bracken?
Not to mention the two enormous vultures - George and Helium.
Everyone had a go at letting the hawks take-off and land with a juicy morsel as a little inducement. These beautiful birds are incredible creatures and well behaved (just a few hiccoughs).
Finally we retired to a very nice restaurant on the square in Olney. Thanks for a great event - what a fantastic day!
WALKING WITH WOLVES (article by Lorna Morgan)
On a gloriously sunny day 9 of us drove through some pretty Bedfordshire villages to join other similarly adventurous souls at The Anglian Wolf Society.
The brother wolves are Cheza (Swahili for 'fun-loving') and Peyto (named after a lake). Whilst they were eyeing us and sniffing us out from inside their enclosure a handler explained how we should behave when walking with them. What counts as civilised behaviour in a wolf pack is: a) Don't bare your teeth when you smile. b) Let them see your eyes but don't stare. c) Don't lean over them. d) Never pat them on the back.
Any of the above will be interpreted as an act of aggression as will running towards them. Run away, and they could treat you as prey. This information could come in useful some day when you are exploring a wilderness area in Europe or America. Normally wolves are afraid of us (and who can blame them?) but they are very brave. One glance at these powerful creatures was enough to ensure my compliance with the rules.
During the walk, along pleasant footpaths, Peyto climbed up my front and spent some time gently licking my face. I was not the only one to receive this friendly tribute but no-one was more surprised than I to find it not unpleasant. The very large, wet tongue is not rough and those remarkable teeth were not involved in the ritual.
On our return from the walk we were invited to feed the wolves. I was told that Cheza, the dominant male, sometimes howls for sheer joy after feeding and everyone can join in. Sadly, the day was too hot for Cheza to howl and it would be regarded as bad form for anyone but the dominant male to initiate the performance.
The Anglian Wolf Society supports several projects to save wolves from extinction in their natural habitat. Having learnt a lot on that very interesting and enjoyable day, I find I thoroughly approve of the enterprise.
WATER SPORTS DAY (article by Margaret Warren)
We arrived at Grafham Water on a perfect June morning, wall to wall sunshine. The staff welcomed us with an early morning cuppa in the marquee whilst we discussed the days running order. Then it was time to don our life preservers and board the boats.
After being given a lesson on the workings of the boat, who was to go first? Well not me that’s for sure! Tony got volunteered and was excellent - a natural. We powered up the reservoir at top speed, weaving from side to side and doing big circles. Even from a passenger’s point of view it was exhilarating. Next came Dave’s turn: he started slowly but soon found his confidence and we whizzed around the water. The smile on his face really told it all. As a non-driver he was really taken with this event and told us he had never been so fast in his life! Then it was my go. I had been worried, it’s a big responsibility being in charge of a powerful machine like that but, hey, once I got going I could have done that all day long, it was ace!
Our instructor then taught us to moor by a buoy, then a sailing boat and finally by a river boat and in the afternoon we had a go on a river boat (an ex naval patrol boat they had acquired) it was like driving a bus: no power or speed but it did show us the difference.
Then it was back to the real fun - powerboats. This time we were playing games racing against each other and crossing over bow waves. Then we took turns to ride the boat in front’s bow waves and surf on the edges: that was real fun but required a lot more skill and concentration.
The final hour was spent with our ironing boards on board the two craft as we fulfilled our aim of Extreme Ironing . Ironing on board as we raced over the waters, we joined with Cecil and Terry who where also attempting this feat, followed every inch by Peta and Tony who were recording the events on camera and video from another boat.
What a great day, we all owe the staff a big thank you for making it such a memorable day.
GLIDING at LYVEDEN AIRFIELD (article by Nigel Cross)
After helping to fuel the tow plane and push some gliders out of the hanger to get at a two-seater; I signed my life away, donned a parachute and was told vaguely how to use it all simultaneously while doubting if it would have sufficient height to open! Because a wing had come off a similar glider, the second two-seater was grounded so there was time to chat and sample the clubhouse's tea and issue of jam doughnuts.
The wind gusted across the strip so both the tug plane and the glider were slightly sideways as we gained height amid a lot of wind noise. The ground below was like a map and all the well-known clichés applied. Pilot Alan released the tow unannounced so the bang and lurch as he compensated startled me for which he duly apologised. I took control of the stick and tried to keep the horizon in the same place on the screen while Alan used the rudder and trim to keep disaster at bay. The idea is to keep at an air speed at 40mph while seeking rising air. I even managed a tentative turn.
Landing was gentler than I expected, the air brakes popped out the tops of the wings and, once stationary, one wing tip drifted down to the ground.
NEWMARKET RACES (article by Heather Hewitt)
We had a delightful day at Newmarket starting with a very interesting tour of the National Stud. Our guide baffled us a bit with technical jargon, as it is quite a complex business trying to produce the best offspring, hopefully one day another Red Rum. The handsome horses earn large stud fees with many gorgeous long legged foals all around as proof of their success. One of our members whose name I will withhold, was amused by the word ‘cover’ and offered an acceptable synonym. We then spent some time admiring the Stud’s own mares and foals. We were allowed to touch some of these, which was definitely not an option with the stallions as they were unpredictable.
After the tour we had a very elegant, tasty lunch before we began the serious business of the races. We did miss the first race because we were still enjoying our delicious desserts but we all had a measure of success with the remaining six races.
My luck was exceptional even if I do say so myself. I wasn’t adventurous with the bets though and after spending £18 I only managed to win a total of £23.40. I made a mistake by doing £2 ‘place’ bets then I realized later that I should have done ‘each way’ bets at least. Well, this is the amazing part- I picked 4 horses that came in first and one that came in third. I’d rather not know how much I might have won if I’d had more idea about placing bets. I do wonder though… have I got a gift? ………Should I give up the day job?
|Article by Diane &
Just returned from the weekend in Wales
- wonderful! Thank you Peta, Pauline and team for putting together
a great weekend. Bala Bunkhouse
- great breakfasts and lunches - Wildwater
Rafting and a walk in
the Snowdonia National Park with Alan plus a ride on the Bala
Lake Steam Railway . Let's do it
|Article by Pauline Ashby
Our weekend started with a trolley-dash round Safeways to purchase “vital victuals”, and an event-free journey led us to Bala Bunkhouse – basic but adequate for our needs. Saturday dawned, dull and damp! After a super breakfast – something I usually miss – we set off on our White Water Adventure. After donning our wetsuits and listening to the safety talk, it was time to take to the Rapids. It was exhilarating to be on a REAL river, not knowing what was coming next. We had four trips down the river, each one varied by our very able instructors. The rain did not dampen our spirits and all the intrepid adventurers had a wonderful time.
On Sunday the weather brightened up, two of our members took to horseback for a trek round the lovely Welsh countryside, whilst another group went for a walk guided by Alan Casey. Peta and I decided to give both of these a miss and set off for home. On the way we spent a few pleasant, sunny, hours at Powys Castle.
DRAGON BOAT RACING (article by Allan Bailey)
|Sixteen people paddling
a long thin boat and kept in perfect unison by a drummer, at the
bow, beating time. That's what dragon boat racing is all
about. Twenty members of the Club travelled to the Bedford
River Festival to take part. There were 15 teams entered altogether.
All the rest were young and fit looking - very scary, but we
knew we could take them on!
The boats raced throughout the day, 3 at a time along a 250-yard stretch of the river. Each crew had three races. The best two times were used to calculate who went through to the finals. Our first time was 72 seconds; second try was 70 seconds and third was an impressive 67 seconds, we were improving every time. Trouble was, the leading boats were covering the course in between 50 and 55 seconds. I reckoned that if we kept going all week we would have caught up with them. However, we ended up in 13th position, which means that 2 teams of young fit people were not as good as we were!!
We all had a great day and didn't get as wet as we had expected to although I understand that one crew did capsize.
I would like to finish by thanking Peta for organising the day and making sure we all knew when and where we needed to be.
GO APE or RUNNING SHORT OF BANANAS (article by Terry Allum)
My last 3 events with the 50+ Adventure Club have all involved water (Grafham Water “Extreme ironing”, Bala North Wales “White water rafting” and Bedford “Dragon boat racing”) so the thought of an event on dry land was eagerly anticipated. We arrived at High Lodge Visitor Centre in the dark depths of Thetford Forrest. Go Ape is a cat’s cradle of wire ropes, cargo nets, rickety wooden bridges and of all things 2 wooden barrels strung up 40-60 foot off the ground. All this is split up into 6 ‘runs’; each ‘run’ is accessed by its own twisty rope ladder and ends with a zip wire. After being kitted out in safety harnesses we were instructed as to the use of the 2 carabineers attached to the safety harness, and was told “have both carabineers attached to the safety rope at all times, and when moving about on the ‘run’ move 1 of the carabineers at a time to the next safety rope, and both carabineers must be attached to the safety rope when traversing between the trees”. One at a time we climbed up the twisty rope ladder to the 1st ‘run’, this was a nursery ‘run’ to show us just what the rest of the ‘runs’ would be like, and this is where I noticed a nagging fear that kept me company for the other five ‘runs’. No words I can say will convey to you what goes on at Go Ape, its a lot more than dangling from the tree tops. The sense of achievement and the adrenalin rush is something else and makes you forget the tiredness in your arms and legs. My limbs have barely finished shaking involuntarily.
This event is not for the fainthearted!
BOWLING (article by Linda Vickerman)
On an overcast Sunday morning we set out for Market Harborough for a taste of the ancient sport of bowls.... this will be a doddle we all thought, it’s the pastime of our fathers and grandfathers!!!! BUT not so we discovered ..........
The balls that were plastic bowls were called WOODS! The white ball was a JACK! We were to play ENDS on a green, which was ROLLING HEAVY! The "woods" did not roll straight but had a bias, which meant you, rolled them to the right, a forehand, and they turned to the left, and visa versa. Our patient guide had some problems identifying where the bias was so what chance did we have!!! Well we did our best.... bowls were thrown this way and that... some times we were "on" the jack but more often "off”!!! We learnt to drive a fiendish trolley which collected all the woods together but which had a mind of its own. We even had a match but it was the experienced leading the useless!
The star performer was Jacqy; rumour had it she had been secretly coached by Campbell (who had his OWN bowls). There is NO doubt she had practiced that triumphant "YES” and the victory jig beforehand!!!! Just as we began to get the hang of it all it was time to finish, we then adjourned to the pavilion for refreshments. This was easy and needed no explanations, just tea, sandwiches and homemade cakes, provided by CARE Shangton - YUMMY! An enjoyable morning was had by all!
PS by Jacqy McNinch Afterwards
a few of us decided to have a meander round the park and we weren’t
disappointed, it was lovely. One flower bed was a map of the world
cleverly planted with different coloured flowers, another bed was a stained
glass window from the local church, also there were lots of sculptures
depicting various trades of the town ie an early 20th Century
dustcart made in wood by the inmates of Gartree Prison. All of this was
part of Market Harborough’s entry into the ’Britain in Bloom’ competition.
We were very impressed and it rounded off our morning extremely well.
WHITE WATER RAFTING (poem by Campbell McNinch)
Ten old Rafters, swishing down the brine,
Terry tried to ‘bandon ship, then there were nine.
Nine old Rafters, getting in a state,
Lyn nearly lost a lens, then there were eight.
Eight old Rafters, getting close to heaven,
Campbell, dived overboard, then there were seven.
Seven old Rafters, in a right fix,
David got a soaking, then there were six.
Six old Rafters, ready for the dive,
Diane wouldn’t take the plunge, then there were five.
Five old Rafters, all game for more,
Dennis sent to the bow, then there were four.
Four old Rafters, shouting out with glee,
Cecil stayed as helmsman, then there were three.
Three old Rafters, desperate for the loo,
Jacqy went for a swim, then there were two.
Two old Rafters, having lots of fun,
Heather, bravely jumped in twice, then there was one.
One old Rafter, getting close to home,
Jane, too slow on the brace, then there was none.
No old Rafters, heading for the showers,
Thanks to Paul and Stu, a happy two hours.
STREET RALLY (article by Denise Brown)
When I decided to go on the street rally I thought I
would have a nice leisurely stroll around Kettering on a warm summers
evening...WRONG!!!! As our team left from Pauline’s house the Kettering
monsoon season started! Our team included myself, Linda and Sue, and
we were called The Green Wellies, but unfortunately we weren't wearing
them! As we splashed along we managed to work out the first half dozen
clues then had to put our brains in gear to work out how many tiles would
cover a wall. If we had looked in the tile shop window we would
have found the answer but we like to do things the hard way! We
did get stuck on the 'carpet of flowers' clue but returned later to discover
the answer in the travel agents window - Brussels. We discovered
how much it cost to spend a penny, where to do a jig, and where corn was
stored. We 'lost' some of our group at the 'Pearly Gates', but fortunately
they turned up later.After several more clues we then attempted the general
knowledge questions, then paddled back to Pauline’s house where we all
sat and gently “steamed” whilst eating a very welcome fish and chip supper.
Then we were given the answers, and although we managed to get all the general knowledge wrong, the Green Wellies were eventually declared the winners and we were each given a bottle of wine (and very nice it was too. Hic!).
Many thanks to Pauline and Grace for all their hard work, and to Pauline for her hospitality. How she found somewhere for all 29 of us to sit I will never know!
SUMMER CONCERT (article by Peta Jellis)
Although the sky was overcast,
this did not stop us seeing a flypast by the Red Arrows! A good omen
to a super programme of “Music from the Movies” at Lamport Hall. Twenty-one
members gathered under a bobbing helium balloon and enjoyed their
wine and picnic before the performance. The orchestra played tunes
that were so appropriate to the Club such as a Medley from the
James Bond movies and The Great Escape. For the finale,
the fireworks were alighted to synchronise with the music from
Star Wars and 633 Squadron . What a spectacular sight!!!
SKI (article by Val Wrighting)
WOW!!! This was an activity that I hadn't tried before - I didn't know what I was missing.
Nine of us met at Billing Aquadrome on a sunny afternoon without a breath of wind. We struggled into our wet suits (not the best of clothing when you already feel hot), life jackets and safety helmets, and were given instruction on the use of our jet ski by our tutor Ian. He also advised us to stand in the lake whilst waiting for our turn, as this was the best way to cool down.
Pauline had done this activity before and was soon zooming round the beginner’s course, but the rest of us took a little longer to get the hang of it. A jet ski works like a motor bike, with a stop and start button on one handle and a throttle on the other. You don't have to lean over round the corners though, as all control is by movement of the handlebar.
We had two turns of about 10-15 minutes each around the beginner’s course which is in the middle of the lake, followed by two runs at full speed around the full course for experienced riders, as a passenger on Ian's jet ski.
Altogether an exhilarating two hours that I hope to repeat next year.
MICRO LIGHTING (article by Anne MacGovern)
The sky was blue, the sun was shining and a light breeze
rustled through the trees - a grassy slope, a small hut and
a variety of flying machines – the setting for micro lighting.
After introductions we sat outside with the pilots, in the shade of
the trees, watching the sky and waiting for our turn to fly.
“What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning!”
Micro lights come in a variety of shapes. Some are open with kite like wings and others are closed with fixed wings looking like small light aircraft. The difference between plane and micro light is apparently to do with weight.
Nine 50+ members flew, some for the first time and some who couldn’t resist having another go and I can understand why. I expected it to be noisy, but it wasn’t because we wore earphones under our helmets so that we could chat to our pilots. I also thought that it would feel very windy and cold but even with just a fleece over lightweight clothes, it was just pleasantly cool. The biggest surprise was the speed of ascent. They hardly need the long runway. In no time at all we were high in the sky. The hot weather provided some turbulence, which added to the fun. We were asked where we lived and if possible were flown over our houses. I waved but so far no one has said that they saw me!!
We thought Pauline had been smoking something strange, when she reported seeing all sorts of strange things until she explained that they were shapes that she could see in the clouds as she flew through them. Exhilarating flying in a peaceful, relaxing setting.
“What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning!”
CANAL CRUISING (article by Jacqy McNinch)
Someone it seems was taking care of us, it wasn’t baking hot
just lovely and warm all day with one short sharp shower in the afternoon.
We started off from Blisworth, boarding at 9.30am setting off fairly
carefully with no bumps and then before you could say “Jack Robinson”
we were stopping for coffee at 10.30am.
We had intended going through the locks, but when we found out that there would be 17, it would take us 4 hours and we wouldn’t be able to turn back or stop for dinner, prudency forced us to turn back and just cruise the canal at leisure.
Everyone that wanted to ‘drive’ did and all helped with the food and washing up, so it made it a lovely, peaceful, enjoyable day. We never stopped chatting and laughing.
At dinnertime we moored up for lunch which was wonderful with everyone bringing their own contribution and we absolutely stuffed ourselves (well I did). My punishment I reckon was to be stung by a dratted wasp on the arm but I soon got it under control with some borrowed magical cream.
The gas bottle ran out for the afternoon tea break but we managed with tepid coffee and cold drinks. This was where we pulled down the side canopies to protect us from the rain, but the chatter and laughter just carried on and there wasn’t a murmur of complaint from anyone.
Now we were on the last leg and the rain had stopped so up went the canopies again. We arrived back at base with four minutes to spare. The camaraderie on the canals is wonderful and kept us entertained all day as did the ducks. IT WERE BRILL!!! Thank you all for a wonderful day.
TALL SHIPS SAILING
||Day 1 (article
by Anne Kindleysides)
An early start meant that we had to stop for a second breakfast at Attleborough Little Chef where we planned the rest of our Sunday. A visit to Ranworth Broad and a possible boat trip were appealing to most of the party. Ranworth is a picturesque small village on the edge of the Broads: it has a pub, gift shop/cafe and general store and is thus a popular venue for tourists both water and road bound. It also has a Broads Conservation Interpretation Centre. This is obviously why the District Council has decided to close the public loo…. So we signed the petition.
After a delicious sandwich made by John’s sister - we didn’t know she lived and worked there - we ventured along the cool reed-bound boardwalk to the Interpretation Centre and were just in time for an electric boat tour of the nature reserve with the warden. This was great: a boat to ourselves, a glorious afternoon and a touch of bird watching (heron, coot, heron, mallard, heron, great crested grebe, heron, cormorant) to name a few. The only downside was the dangerous pike lurking below the peaceful waters that might nibble our fingers if we dabbled. Later, after checking into the Travelodge, we journeyed to Great Yarmouth to seek our venue for the next morning. Our first glimpse of the Prince William, moored along South Quay was awesome. The beautiful, elegant, tall ship stood proud among the indifferent docklands. We all agreed it was bigger than expected…. What if we had to climb to the top of that rigging? We were apprehensive/excited - what would the morrow bring?
|Day 2 (article
by Sheila Guilford)
Heaving on the Royals? Some of you might dream of doing this but we did it for real, along with: bracing the yards; hoisting the sails; helming; climbing the rigging (optional) and honking over the side (more or less mandatory). Sailing a tall ship is an exhilarating experience and everybody on board is part of the crew. If we didn't all pull together the ship would just not perform. We might have only been a little way off Yarmouth but with the weather set fair and the wind in our sails we could have been anywhere. All we could see was sea. The permanent and volunteer crew were friendly, caring and knowledgeable and the 50+ crew all enjoyed the day. Anyone out there got a copy of "Master and Commander"?
Club Members would like to thank the Captain and Crew from The Prince William from the Tall Ships Youth Trust for a super sail from Great Yarmouth. The Trust, is a registered charity founded in 1956 and dedicated to the personal development of young people aged 16 to 25 through the crewing of Tall Ships. They also allow adults to sail up to age 75 - providing they promise to be good!
|QUAD BIKING (aricle
by Dennis Tromans)
Fancy a dirty weekend? Then try quad biking at Grange Farm! Intrepid club members donned overalls and helmets to brave the terrain on their 250-cc machines. We set off at high speed down farm tracks, across ploughed fields, through and along streams, twisting and turning on narrow woodland tracks (has anyone seen Tony and Pauline?), doing several laps IN a lake, seeing who could set up the largest bow wave whilst trying to keep our feet dry by putting them on the handlebars! The high point (quite literally) was a series of high mounds – full throttle up and trying not to go over the handlebars (Dennis, what are you doing?) on the way down! At the end of the hour-long session we returned with muddy overalls, wet feet, huge grins on our faces and bruises in places not to be mentioned! A highly recommended dirty weekend event for fifty plusses.
Image opposite shows one of the other activities: Clay Pigeon shooting.
||MINI DIGGERS (or
little Australians) (article by Campbell McNinch)
I had expected little diggers that you can hire for your back garden, and when someone pointed to a big version as we drove down the drive, I was sure it had been brought in to do some pipe-laying for Grange Farm. How wrong could I be!!! It is even bigger when you get close, like a huge iron Praying Mantis, sitting on caterpillar tracks with a long arm and a scoop on the end. (Technical term --- Bucket). The task was to scoop a bucketful of sand into the bucket, turn the driver’s cab around 180 degrees and then drive this contraption through a 90 degree bend and deposit the sand into an oil drum. (I did point out that if we moved the drum to the sand it would be much simpler, but this fell on deaf ears.) Then turn the cab around, retrace the course and do it again. In our group we did all manage to get some sand in the bin and we all improved second time round, so I am sure, given time, we could all have a future in the Construction Industry. But a plea to JCB Ltd. Can you please invent one without so many xxxxxxx levers!!!
(article by Ann Cox)
The sun was shining but there was a breeze, so we decided if we could not hit the target, we would blame the wind!!
Our instructor told us his life story around archery and he thought we would be impressed when he told us he had instructed David Beckham on Archery!!!
Archery is not as easy as it looks: you have to stand correctly; put the right three fingers on the string correctly; pull the string back to touch your face and line the arrow correctly. However, the three of us did quite well, our average score was over 40 points for each turn, so we did not have to blame the wind.
(article by Graham Mason)
(Not to be undertaken seriously unless you know your left from your right)
I set out on a course which passed through a triangle of cones (any direction) then a slalom of 3 cones, through a gateway of 2 poles (holding up a chain-link fencing) round a cone, back through the gateway and come to a stop at your start cone. Having been told that the best time for the 3 of us and being last to go, was 3 minutes 20 seconds and belonged to the lady giving me directions. I set out at what seemed a good speed, foot hard down on the throttle aiming for the best time – some hopes. The first obstacle arrived to cries of “left, no, I meant right” and vice versa. Also “GO STRAIGHT” – where’s that then? I got a cone trapped under the golf cart – time penalty. The slalom next: a disaster of lefts, rights, the other way and reversing – more time penalties. Through the gateway and round the cone was OK but coming back through the gateway was a disaster!! The pole was knocked over dragging about 10 metres of chain-link fencing with it – a lot more penalties!! Stop, reverse, left, right, left, other way, go straight and so on up to the final cone for a time that was the record times 4.
All this to howls of laughter from ourselves in the cart and the spectators. A great experience.
Image opposite shows off-road driving - but not blindfold!!!
by Allan Bailey & Pam Beirne
Another successful weekend at Longtown! Those members who haven’t been yet should give it a try, an experience not to be missed. Beautiful Welsh Border countryside and activities you can become involved in as much or as little as you wish. The weather was kind to us and everyone had a good time. After a delayed dinner we had a briefing of all the activities on offer. Unfortunately owing to the high fast flowing river Wye we were unable to canoe or gorge walk, nevertheless, on Saturday some went caving whilst others walked alongside the gorge and wondered at the amazing scenery and fantastic waterfalls, finishing off with rock climbing – great! The evening was spent walking around the Black Mountain in the dark. One group took the shorter easier route and the other group said they took the longer harder way up along the ridge. They arrived at the meeting point (guess where) and were well down their first pint and enjoying a plate of chips when we arrived. We think they waited until we were out of sight and got back in the bus and went direct to the pub. Sunday was spent at the Centre trying abseiling, walking high poles and wires, the leap of faith (if you don’t know what this is, I recommend you wait until you go to find out!), zip wire, Jacob’s Ladder and more. After an early meal and the presentation of our Certificates of Achievement we began our journey home.
||CAVING (1) -
We wanted to go caving but were warned that the river Wye may be flowing a little bit too swiftly for us, but ‘Lady Luck’ was on our side because our instructors decided we could go and IT WAS GREAT. Yes the river was flowing ‘at a strong lick’, but this made it all the more exciting. We did the ‘letterbox’, the ‘toilet’ (backwards and forwards), pushed up flowing gullies and down water slides, wading against the fast flowing river and ducking under water in small tunnels, slithering along slits in the fissures. The scenery was magnificent and the day was warm and dappled. When we finally and regretfully surfaced, we had the rest of our lunch to look forward to in the sunshine. We must thank Liam and Ben for showing us the wonders and excitement of caving.
(2) - Kath Wykes
Amidst much laughter, 'our gang' who had courageously chosen the caving option were equipped with wet suits, wellies, helmets and headlights. I did not at this point realise the importance of the luminous patch on Jacqy's bum that was to lead me like a beacon through the very wet bowels of the earth.
Ben & Liam who were our leaders for the day, loaded us into the minibus which dropped us at the appointed spot where we were to commence our caving experience. We were given at this point the double edge choice of either entering the cave by the 'worm hole' or wading through the fast flowing river Wye. I chose the latter option having decided that maybe my body was not the right shape for the narrow crevice some gallant folk chose to take. I did however, later discover that wiggling (it was now that I discovered that ladies wiggle, men waggle) through crevices and along narrow ledges SAS-style, led by the luminous patch on Jacqy's bum, (due to the weight of the lamp on my helmet there was very little other vision) we made our way through the chambers and passages, water and whatever until we finally emerged feeling exhilarated and thrilled by our experience. Believing that this was the end of a novel experience we returned dripping to the car park to discover that the changing facilities consisted of two open wooden screens - boy, would I like to know what the sheep and passing birds made of that sight? Having completed many of the activities on offer that weekend, other members will be relieved to know that following this training 'our gang' are fully equipped, possibly with a little help from the SAS and military to DEFEND BRITAIN!!
SURVIVAL SKILLS AT FERMYN WOODS (article by Anne Kindleysides)
As we lined up one behind the other in the depths of Fermyn Woods, blindfolded and clinging to the person in front, I wondered what I had let us all in for. We snaked up the hillside to the survival skills area and had to joke: mind the dip, watch out for change in slope, step over the grass snake! It is disconcerting to be unable to see where you are going. Talking of snakes we learned that a grass snake has a yellow “nape of neck” and I guess all that noise and banter had something to do with scaring away snakes. Our ranger, Hilary Monk had described snake walks with groups of children. They had to walk gently in a John Cleese silly walk fashion, so as to cause as few vibrations as possible if they wanted to see snakes. Grass snakes and adders are sensitive to vibration.
As we walked to the site we were shown edible plants and those that we may find useful. We could make a romantic, if smelly, candlelit tree trunk table with a candle of rush dipped in rabbit fat. We can strew about elder leaves with a pungent smell to deter insects and at the end of the meal we can make a toothbrush by chewing an alder twig and using the fibrous ends. Should we contract a tummy upset from eating all these berries we can eat sloes as an antidote.
Deep in the forest we split into two groups one to build a fire and the other to build a shelter. The fire-makers collected dead twigs and dried grasses and used a bow and stick to attempt to make a spark. The cup of forest tea was particularly welcome. We baked potatoes and ate them semi raw. The shelter-makers could use found materials and two models were developed - a wigwam of branches interwoven with leaves and a tunnel shape made by bending over saplings and interweaving. We were all very proud to crawl in and show off our new homes. We were lucky with the weather. This is just as well for apparently if you do get soaked in the depths of nowhere you must take off all your clothes and dry them by the fire. To wear the clothes whilst attempting to dry them will put you at risk of contracting hypothermia. All in all this was a fun morning with a mixture of novel information and challenging activity. Many thanks to Hilary and Jo.
PUDDING FEAST (article by Linda Street)
It was the treat before Christmas
and all through the house (or in this case Sainsbury’s) the 13 happy
taste testers were met by Mary and staff. We sat at a lovely table
setting chock-full with lots and lots of desserts including cakes, biscuits,
puddings and to make it interesting a few tarts thrown in for good measure.
We were very professional about this serious event. All of the happy
bunch, I noticed, wore comfortable expanding waistline outfits.
Added to the pudds were drinks of wines and water. Those of us who
were able to waddle through the aisles after indulging in pies and Indian
ice creams etc. had fun trying to find obscure answers to obscure questions
in our evening quiz.
A lovely time had by all in a friendly atmosphere.
CYCLE RIDE or TOUR de 50+ (article by Sue Drinkwater)
Eleven lean and hungry cyclists
(not in fetching Lycra I hasten to add) met at 11am at Ferry Meadows
on a bright Sunday morning. By 11.30 those of us who needed them
had hired our bikes. All ready to leave and incident Number 1 revealed
itself: a sizeable split in my front tyre revealing the tube bulging through.
Discretion being the better part of valour everyone waited while I went to change my trusty steed for bicycle Number 2: a mud encrusted beast with gears on each handlebar and no mudguards. (I’d only ever ridden a 3-speed Sturmy Archer years ago).
We all laughed at the Boy Scout who announced, as we left the car park, that he had his pump and puncture repair kit with him. Off we went into the unknown led by Lillian who seemed to know the way.
Everything was going smoothly for at least half a mile when there was the sound of a loud bang and my back tyre this time was as flat as a pancake! I was actually beginning to enjoy the exercise and was daydreaming about owning a bike of my own – is someone trying to tell me something??
Our hero Boy Scout sprung into action (yes, you’ve guessed – Campbell) ably assisted by Dougie and the bike was upside down, tyre off and tube with an inch long split revealed before you could say penny-farthing! It took two of Dougie’s largest “plasters” to patch it and the job was finished off with the obligatory French chalk. A further brief pause to re-inflate and I was continuing with the others; refusing to give up. What would the 3rd thing be, we asked ourselves?
We completed the circuit back to the car park with no more mishaps arriving 15 minutes before the table was booked for lunch. Which way to the restaurant? Nobody knew and our map reading skills were obviously sadly lacking. Having asked several bystanders who gave us totally conflicting advice we eventually found a real native who gave us wonderful directions and we arrived hot and breathless only 5 minutes late. Grace, Pauline, Peta and Jacqy were already there, goblets of wine in hand looking cool and relaxed.
A beautiful Italian meal was thoroughly enjoyed and we were spoilt for choice by the huge menu. But why is there always just one person who has to have a starter or a sweet? They know who they are – your secret is safe with me!!
Suitably refreshed it was back to the bikes only to find two more with flat tyres – one had merely lost its air and was easily blown up but Christine’s had suffered exactly the same fate as mine and we didn’t have a “plaster” big enough for hers!!!!!!! She was scooped up plus bike by the “Bicycle AA” in the guise of Peta and we all finally made it back to base after an enjoyable and eventful day out.
Thanks to Heather for her excellent organisation – just a shame about the lack of maintenance of the bikes. Still it gave us plenty to talk about during the day.
MEDIEVAL BANQUET (article by Anne Dodson)
Fifteen of us arrived at wonderful Coombe Abbey dressed in beautiful
costumes as medieval kings, queens and knights expecting a riotous evening
of food, drink and debauchery…. And were we disappointed? Absolutely
not (although I have to say I missed out on the
debauchery!) We were sat down at the boards and a serving wench came round to each of us and tucked a beautiful white towelling BIB under our chins! Did they think because we are 50+ we needed these? But no, even the youngsters in the room had one. The food was great, 4 courses, plenty of it and hot! We drank our soup out of the dishes, ate the spare rib with our fingers but they did give us daggers (and a fork) to eat the chicken course with. To follow we had apple crumble and elderflower cream. Our goblets were kept full with honey mead and red wine. During the evening we had entertainment, some wonderful singing, but mostly it was funny with a lot of wassailing! A brilliant, fun evening – we must do it again.
I must admit I could get used to being called ‘My Lady’!