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NEWSLETTER 2007

WATCH THIS SPACE TO SEE THE FUN WE HAVE IN 2007!

Dinner dance  (Article by Jane Tromans)

chairs  Our 2007 programme got off to an excellent start at the Carriage House in Higham Ferrers – good food, the usual friendly company and the beer wasn’t bad either!  Pauline kept us all organised with a mind boggling quiz, non stop music, party games (won by I can’t remember who, I was laughing too much) and some dancing to finish up with.  It is always great to see our members dressed up to the nines – makes a change from the usual attire of boots and muddy waterproofs!  Many thanks to Pauline (and her helper) for all her hard work in making this evening such a success.

Ten pin bowling  (Article by Gordon Curtis)

Well hello to all you young folks who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting the wife (Celia) and myself (Gordon) and welcome to the club that stretches the normal expectation and allows you do dam silly things that you probably would not dare to do otherwise.
Cat woman (Pauline) asked me to write a few words, I tried to duck out of it, she said “can’t you write?” - cheeky thing – “I have just completed teacher training” I said, “24 3000-word essays I think I can write” (would shock my old school teacher).
Thirty-one members turned up to play, with one observer later to be joined by another two, that’s impressive in itself. We sorted ourselves into four teams, looked for balls we could lift or get our fingers in and take over the far end of the complex. Our first game got off to a slow start, Grace got off to a poor start and then sent the ball true as you can and pulled off her first strike, later up come another but was disallowed by the laser trap at the start of the lane. Lane 24 gives up to Janette’s power play and refuses to work. The team transfers to lane 18.
Lane 23 seemed to be scoring well; Pauline was disgusted and stamped her feet when the tenth pin wobbled and stood defiant,  their top scorer was Ann 131  
Lane 21 top scorer was Allan 126; Peta came good in the second game with a double strike and a John Travolta style celebration.
Our top scorer was myself with a triple strike and a turkey dance 145, one team still playing and Marilyn their top player at the ocky with a score also of 145 has two pins standing either side of the lane one ball to go, and it misses by a fraction. We have a draw, but the rules (Pauline) say we take an aggregate of the two games - Marilyn wins by four points. Well Done Marilyn.
Oh, we did have some food afterwards, which gave us the chance to discuss our near misses and what we have been up to. Well I hoped you all enjoyed the event I sure did, and I have had a laugh doing the write up.

Indoor Kurling  (Article by Ann Cook)

A 7 o’clock gathering at the Pemberton Centre and something new for the 50+ Adventure Club.
About forty of us turned up to play and were split into 8 teams of 5/6 and were given sheets of rules and instructions as to scoring. After a bit of discussion as to how these should (and would!!!) be interpreted and we were ready to play 5 ‘ends’ each, or was it each way?
Starting from the ‘hack’ box, playing for the target over the ‘hog’ line - red team against blue team playing with red stones and blue stones - teams gradually being knocked out until 2 remained.  After a closely fought final the winners were declared and given their prizes.
Some members seemed to have a natural ability to place the stone exactly where it was needed nearly every time.  Although throughout the evening I think everyone must have played at least one shot to save the game, either by placing a Bulls Eye or more often than not throwing the last stone of the end and knocking all other stones out of the scoring ring thus giving a nil score on both sides.
Although I don’t think we are quite ready to join the Kurling League it was an enjoyable evening and many thanks to Pam for organising it.

Tobogganing  (Article by Max & Dianne Lang)

tobog With a fair taking place in the car park near to Xscape, we searched for a free space. Our luck was in and we slipped into a recently vacated spot.
This being our first time out with the 50+ Adventurers we were unsure what to expect – athletes in their 50s or 70 year olds with skates on their Zimmer frames; when we had tracked down the vanguard of the group to the Xscape reception we found them to be somewhere between the two extremes!
We were soon made welcome and introduced to those present, we put names to faces but then they moved about and we lost track again.
In the end 22 of us proceeded to the slope, accompanied by about 50 young things out celebrating, togged out in waterproofs with safety helmet on head and streamlined tea tray in hand. A calf tightening climb on loose snow up the side of the run took us to the top where with at first some trepidation we launched ourselves down the slope – lean left to turn left; right to go right; and back to go faster. After a couple of runs we started to get the hang of it, once even getting as far as the orange safety netting at the bottom. Then round again and again and again …
The exhilarating evening ended in the Trespass Cafe with a meal, drink and time to get our breath back.

Line Dancing  ( Article by Martin Bolter)

It had all looked so simple when I saw it once on television.  Line dancing wasn’t really dancing; it was just stepping in time to country and western music.  I’d got it all worked out.  A couple of hours of leisurely strolling was just the ticket for an evening out.  I was disappointed that I didn’t have a proper pair of cowboy boots (the heels would make me look taller) and a cowboy hat, but it was the thought of how easy it would all be that had prompted me to say, “Yes” with such alacrity when Janice asked if I wanted to go. 

After a foggy drive through country roads we arrived at the hall in Corby where we were greeted by 15 other souls who would be taking part.  Some looked the part with cowboy hats and Dougie even had boots on..  There were a couple of hats left, but they didn’t have quite the Johnny Cash image that I aspired to, so we left them on the table.

We were soon starting the basic steps with our teacher for the evening (a sprightly nearly 70) talking us through the steps as she demonstrated.  It was soon apparent that there were some among us who had done this before.  It was equally apparent that there were some of us who were overwhelmed with the information that we had to take in and relay to our feet!  Our first attempt was a four wall dance in which we progressed through facing each of the four walls of the hall in turn.  I never seemed to be facing the same way as everyone else when we stopped. In fact I rarely faced the same way as everyone else.  And that gentle stroll? Well, I was sweating and we’d barely started!  We worked our way through grape vine steps and a kick-ball-change (or was it a shuffle-ball-kick?) and all sorts of other fiendish devices designed to muddle the brain and confuse the feet.

Two welcome breaks came when those dancers who had obviously done it before turned out to be members of a line dance club and they put on an impressive display of how it should be done.

As the evening progressed the steps we had to learn became more complicated.  I couldn’t keep up and, with two others I finally admitted defeat and stood aside to watch.  But then, our teacher announced that we’d do a Charleston.  I’d done this in my school days.  Despite the fact that this was over forty years ago, I decided to have another go.  Wonders will never cease – I actually kept up and ended up facing the same way as everyone else!  The evening was rounded off with a repeat of the very first dance we’d learned and everything finally came together with that as well.

Many thanks to Lilian and Dougie for organising the evening.  It wasn’t the easiest of evenings for some of us, but it was an evening of fun and enjoyment for all of us.  Would I do it again?  Well, I am in April!  I think I’ll get a cowboy hat this time to help me get in the mood.  Watching Dougie on the floor, I’m sure it helps.

Yee hah!

Orienteering   (Article by Mike Garlick

winners  
orient  
The Winners!
It's round here somewhere!
                      
On Sunday April 1st several groups of intrepid explorers set out for Wakerley Woods in search of  7 orienteering markers.  A quiet stroll through the woods – think again, with the clock ticking and back packs reduced to the lightest amount so as not to hamper progress we all set off  in our groups (ours aptly named April Fools).  Along marked paths, through undergrowth, beside small marshes we managed to locate all the  markers and record all the letters.  Just under two hours later with quite a few scratches but also many laughs along the way we hurried back to the car park.  We were not last, achieving a respectable time of 1 hour 44 minutes.  It was a new experience for me, the weather was lovely, the scenery beautiful and the company very enjoyable.  A very worthwhile morning! 

Laser Maze  (Article by Pauline Ashby)

Eleven intrepid snipers joined forces at the laser maze for an evening of fun and games. We sorted ourselves into 3 teams and after a short briefing on rules and strategies entered the dark arena to begin our assaults on the other teams.
Laser Maze is like being a child again.  Dashing round corners, bumping into each other, squealing with fright (and delight) and really enjoying stalking the other teams.
A short break after game 1 and it was back in again with slightly different rules.  A welcome drink after game 2 gave us time to analyse our scores – very comprehensive score cards enabled us to see
1) Who we hit and where we hit them
and
2) Who hit us and where we were hit.
One more game followed, with yet again slightly different rules and after a final analysis of the scores some of us headed home and some of us headed for the Pub. 
A great evening was had by all - this event should be compulsory for all adults.

P.S. I hit Keith more than he hit me this time!

Tank Driving / Paint Balling  (Article by Les Carter)

tank  
crew  
Wish me luck!
The crews
                                                                                                               
So on a fine dry morning, those of us that were Tank Driving arrived at the arranged site. After being kitted out in overalls and the compulsory helmets, we were introduced to our instructors. There were 9 of us so we were split into 3 groups of 3 and then proceeded to our respective tanks. On entering the rear of the tank we could see why the helmets were necessary (a lot of steelwork and very little room ).After some instruction we each had a turn at driving, both with the hatch open so we had our heads out and with the hatch closed and driving by periscope only (quite an experience).
     When we had all completed the driving and parked the tanks. We were given instruction on target practice, firing paint filled ping pong balls at a tank and communication van. Taking it in turns to be loader / firer, aimer, and the driver outside as observer to determine how good the aim was. Then the instructor announced that we were to take part in a mock battle with another tank under proper battle conditions which meant that we were all inside the tank with all the hatches closed. ( not for the claustrophobic). In our tank I was the driver with my 2 male collegues as loader/firer and aimer. During the battle we managed to hit our opponents 6 times out of 8 shots. With this score we were the champions of our group, but we all enjoyed the experience, Then lunch.
paint Some of the members were only there for the tank driving, whilst others were there for both activities and others arrived for just the paintballing.
    We had 7 members for paintballing, so after being kitted out in combat gear and visors, we had a safety briefing and instruction regarding the use of the guns and the rules of engagement with the enemy.Our enemy were 5 members of the Fisher family from Kettering. Then it was off to do battle, the first game was called Death March, kill or be killed. This was quite a quick game just to get us used to the guns and to understand the rules of the game. Each game is time limited. We were victors in this game. The next game was called Flag and Fort, one team to defend the flag and if lost, to stop the other team flying the flag from the fort. We were the defenders in this game and whilst we lost the flag fairly quickly we were able to protect the fort to stop the enemy form erecting the flag, so game 2 to us.  Game 3 was called Convoy Attack, in this game we were the attackers but unfortunately we got our tactics wrong and were out gunned and lost the game. So it was all down to the last game either a victory or a drawn battle. The last game was called Death Bunker in this game we were the defenders but were confined in a small area with very little cover and then forced into a very small enclosure. Even though we had many casualties we managed to hold out until the time limit had expired.So victory was ours 3 games to 1.
    Overall everyone enjoyed the day whether they were Tank Driving or Paintballing or both activities.
A great day, many thanks to Mike for organising the event.
(Note from the editor – our opponents’ excuse for losing three out of four paintballing battles was “we didn’t stand a chance – they all fought in the 2nd World War!”)



An Ode To Tank Crew  (Penned by Mike Booth)
On a hot sunny morning we went off to play
Tanks were the order of the day
After kitting up and briefing done
Time for the oldies to have some fun
Around the course at a steady pace
Knowing inside we wanted to race
Tapped on the shoulder to go left or right
They shut down the hatches
(I thought it was night)
The three person crew then all had a go
It was time to do battle with deadly foe
Hatches shut down and off we drove
Loaded with ammo all ready to go
FIRE!! - a direct hit – what’s that smell?
Are we on fire, or is someone not well?
Open all hatches so we can all see
It’s time for lunch and a cup of tea.

What a great day – thanks crew

Nature Walk - Salcey Forest (Article by Sue Iddon)

On a beautiful spring morning 18 of us gathered at Salcey Forest for a guided walk. The forest is mid way between Northampton and Milton Keynes and was originally a Royal Hunting area with deer being the main sport. First we headed off in the direction of the newly erected “Treetop Walkway". This cost £750,000 to build and afforded us a wonderful view above the tree tops as far as Milton Keynes, Wellingborough and Yardley Chase. It is beautifully constructed and allows access for wheelchairs and prams. We then came down to earth and followed a path around the exterior of the forest and spent some time getting to know the history of the trees. Apparently Admiral Nelson himself was involved in ordering the forest to be planted with a huge amount of oaks as he foresaw the need for the wood to ensure the future of his great navy. Little did he know that metal would be the material of the future!  Still he left a wonderful legacy for the Country as we are enjoying the benefits of his idea even now. A very enjoyable and informative day and I for one will go there again.

Street Rally  (Article by Sylvia & Bob Cowper)

rally This was our first time out together to an activity.  The day started badly as the weather defied the forecast and decided to rain.  As we got nearer to the time of departure, it poured.  I wondered what 50+s do if it pours with rain on the day?  I ‘phoned Peta the organiser to see if it was still on and couldn’t get hold of her. Well, that answered that one!   I dug my nylon mac out, found an umbrella and we set off for the Pemberton Centre where we picked up Cecil. 

We were among the first to arrive and got cheerful greetings from the few already there.   The three of us were paired with Keith and the four of us set off in the pouring rain with a set of questions and a pen.   Keith did his best to keep us on the right track  and, at one point when we lost our way, Keith went ahead to find out where we were, Bob went back to fill in questions we had missed and Cecil and I  ran between the two so as not to lose anyone.   It was still raining, and somewhere around the Cuckoo Pub Cecil mysteriously disappeared!  

As the rain eased off Keith and Bob did a good job of searching out the answers with me trying to write them down on a soggy piece of paper.   Having correctly counted the stones on the white walls we eventually arrived back at Pam and Allan’s to be greeted by a happy chattering crowd of people including Cecil relaxing with a glass of red wine.  We were almost the last to arrive and excellent Wollaston fish and chips soon appeared. 

It was interesting to find out that members had travelled from as far as Corby to be there on the night.   There was lots of lively banter over the answers, but Allan fended of all challenges to the stated ones with the winners and losers both getting prizes. The dreary weather was unable to dampen our spirits and a good evening was had by all. 

Derbyshire Walk  (Article by Geoff & Glenis Simpson

group  
stile  
Smile everyone
Another stile!!!
                                                                                          
In the early morning sunshine we made our first acquaintance with members of the club, along with four other new members, and headed off to Derbyshire. It was with some trepidation as we had not been on a hike for some 10-15 years and here we were, about to attempt an 8 mile walk with total strangers. We soon found out they were a friendly crowd so the latter was irrelevant.

We arrived at our destination, the railway station at Miller’s Dale, and set off along the Monsal Trail before dropping down into the valley for a gentle walk through ancient woodland beside the banks of the River Wye as it wound its way through Chee Dale. The sun glistened down on the gushing rock strewn water where dippers dipped and wagtails wagged and mallards ushered their tiny chicks, and everywhere the pungent scent of wild garlic in bloom. We reached the stepping stones when the first spots of rain came, and we had our first soaking of the day.

Leaving the river behind us, we crossed the main road and skirted the quarry to begin the steep ascent up a rocky path – this did take us a long time to negotiate but eventually we joined everyone else at the top, where they were basking in the sunshine having a picnic. Pressing on, our next stop was at the Church Inn, a delightful old country pub which sold a great pint of beer, and it was tempting to linger there and forget the rest of the walk. Another steep climb as we left the Inn behind us, and again the heavens opened and again we got very wet. We continued yomping across Taddington Moor, over a patchwork of fields and scrambling over stile after stone stile, until the sun came out again and we were rewarded with some breathtaking panoramic views across the dales and hills, and passed through meadows rich in cowslips, lady’s smock and purple orchid to mention but a few.

When it came in view, Miller’s Dale station was a very welcome sight for us. We were very tired with aching limbs but fulfilled, though some of our companions were still looking fit enough to do it all again. Dennis drove us safely home, probably kept awake by the snoring going on behind him. It was a grand day out with wonderful companions, and a terrific introduction to the club.

Editor’s note:  We were joined at the pub by our old friends Campbell and Jacqy McNinch, who popped over from their new home in Cheshire.  Unfortunately, they declined our invitation to join us for the last leg of the walk – wise move C & J there were dozens of high stiles, rain and high wind!

Go-Karting  (Article by Christine Clark)

It was a lovely sunny day and on the way we encountered an overturned caravan, which delayed us a bit.  We arrived just in time for the briefing and donned our overalls ready to roll.  We all took turns in all positions and all karts to make it fair.
I didn't feel that I'd done too badly considering my feet only just reached the pedals.  It might have been easier had I had a proper cushion, but these were all being used by another group.  Being of slight stature I slid from side to side at every corner making my legs seem even shorter.  This meant that I had to hang on to the steering wheel to keep in control of the kart.
As I knew that I wouldn't be in the final I changed out of my overalls ready to watch the final race.  Pauline then suggested a Ladies race, so I donned my overalls again and took my position as "Leader of the Pack".  The green light flashed and I was away. I was not sure where the other two were-they sounded hot on my heels, but after a few laps I caught sight of them, about half a lap behind.  To my surprise I won the Race !
I had a few aches a couple of days later but would definitely do this again.  A GREAT DAY.

grid
On your marks


ladies               men
 Ladies winners                                                                                      And the gents

 ( Article by Mick Cook)

On a sunny Sunday afternoon we meet up at Whilton Mill and  thought "this looks an excellent place for Go karting"  we were right.  The racing begins and after the heats and a lot of bumps and spills I find myself in the first of the semi-finals, and then the final.   I am in pole position,  maybe I can win this at the third attempt, but there is some strong opposition. After six out of seven laps I am still in the lead but am being pressed hard. With the chequered flag in sight, I feel a bump from behind but just hold on to take  it and winnnnnnnnn, what an adrenaline kick.  This has been an excellent day. Thanks Pauline.


Rounders at Irchester Country Park  (Article by Pauline Ashby)

13 members turned up for the Annual Rounders match and B-B-Q in glorious sunshine.  Dennis had the Barbeque going well by 6.30 and we all added our tea to it.  I set out the pitch, trying to avoid the potholes where possible.  After we had all eaten, teams were sorted and off we went. After many missed balls, no-balls and a few very good hits we decided that it was a draw at 8 rounders for each team.  Some of the posts mysteriously moved about a bit but we took it in our stride - I think it was the rabbits!  Trish Booth fell badly and has been nursing bruised ribs ever since and Geoff Simpson - who was the hardest hitter - split one of the tennis balls!  All in all it was a great evening and we all departed about 9pm, wondering why we put our bodies through this every year.

round-5

round-4

Bridge Building   (Article by Christine Clarke)

What a beautiful day – after all the rain the sun felt warm on our backs, just what we needed to give us a kick start.  After being split into two teams our first task was to crack a code in order to open the safe containing PLANS and THE BOLTS.  Each team had an architect, a runner and a construction gang.  The runner’s task was to relay the building instructions from the boss (who had the PLAN and was standing about two miles away) to the gang, without being allowed to look at the PLAN.  Easier said than done. Why was it that the other team always looked as if they knew what they were doing?  Two A-frames, numerous lengths of colour-coded rope, karabiners and shunts were eventually assembled into something resembling a very unstable washing line and erected over a bottomless gorge (imagination needed, this was Irthlingborough after all!).  The next challenge was to put on climbing harnesses, put our faith in our building skills, clip onto the washing line and zip our way to the other side – success was ours!

bridge building

Wheeeeeeeeee!!

After a hearty picnic lunch, we were ready for –

Archery

This activity was substituted for canoeing as the recent monsoon had swollen the Nene to Mississippi-like proportions and had been declared unsafe.  We were again divided into teams – The Red Arrows, Norman Stanleys & No Ideas.  The Red Arrows (Susan, Carol, Jane and myself) soon took the lead, winning the first two rounds.  The scores were then kept secret while we played “The Dating Game” – three arrows – the nearer to the bull the better the date – the best was going to Mauritius with Richard Gere by private jet, while some poor guy had to take Jade Goody to Wellingborough on a tandem! This was followed by a relay race when we had to demonstrate our animal impersonation skills – again, the bull had the fastest animal –a cheetah - while a miss was a tortoise.  It was very silly but hugely entertaining.  I felt as if I had let my team down as my arrows didn’t seem to know where the target was.  To round off the afternoon, we played Stick or Twist when we had to decide whether to stick with our unknown scores or reverse them.  These would then be our final totals – this resulted in a win for the Norman Stanleys, followed by the No Ideas and The Red Arrows.

I met two new members on this event – Susan and Carol so would like to welcome them to the club.  It was rather disappointing that not many members turned up for this fun event – where is everyone?

archery

Bullseye!!


Punting on the Cam  (Article by Denise Johnson)

Bad weather was forecast but sixteen of us met for a picnic on Jesus Green before joining the rest of the group at Magdalene Bridge. We had a bit of a wait before splitting into teams of six.  Then we were given our instructions and the treasure hunt questions and then with a helping hand, in we got.

Peter was unanimously elected as our punter.  Punting was not quite as simple as it looked, with lots of other punts to manoeuvre around, but once we got clear of the first bridge it became a little easier.  Amid much laughter we tried to avoid other punts and obstacles like overhanging trees, and the wall.  Several times the pole stuck in the mud and once Peter only just managed to hang onto the pole when it got stuck.

We had to look for clues on buildings, bridges and punts on both legs of our journey.  Some of us arrived back at the punt station very wet due to water in the bottom of the punt which swooshed up with every movement.




Peter’s punters had much fun
Lots of laughter never glum
Even those who got a wet bum!




Then out of the punt to find the rest of the clues around Cambridge before returning to the bridge to meet everyone else for coffee and beers.

Next time, older and wiser we’ll take a change of clothes!

punting on the Cam



Music in Flight - Sywell  (Article by Lin Lonergan)

aerobatics
fireworks-1

Praying for a dry evening but not to be,  48 or so members  of the 50+ Adventure club donned wet weather gear and headed off to Sywell Aerodrome for an evening of Music in Flight.          
After setting up picnic tables, chairs,  food and wine and of course the much needed umbrellas we settled down to watch the first display by the Aerostars  with heart stopping acrobatics. Shortly followed by the Glider to the music of Saint-Saens "The Swan" and very graceful it was too. With the exception of a short break  the orchestra played all evening with a beautiful rendition of Rule Britannia performed by  Kirsten Johansen and patriotically sung by the audience.
The second half being just as exciting as the first, starting off with the locally based Blades with just as much gusto and thrilling acrobatics as the Aerostars. Christian Moullec followed in his microlight but without the Geese (as we were told) they had lost their feathers due to a moult but instead followed by Cranes, which was absolutely amazing.There then followed a balloon burn timed to perfection to the music, which threw off a bit of warmth to the chilled spectators. This was followed by the Red Devils Night Free Fall in their fluorescent jump suits looking quite spooky and culminating in a spectacular  firework display to "Hallelujah".  All that was left then  was  to wend  our way home,  feeling bedraggled and chilled to the bone (no doubt a good excuse for some for a good stiff brandy).This was a night much waited for and certainly did not disappoint apart from the weather but hey, what's a little rain amongst friends.

       john dianne
Swinging in the rain!

Gliding (Article by Mary Owen)

The forecast for Friday was for good weather but would it hold for the late afternoon / early evening?  Would the phone call come cancelling the event as it had a couple of months ago?  By 3.30pm there had been no phone message and the sun was shining so off we set for Welland Gliding Club (near Fermyn Woods).  One of our members was already airborne when we got there.  There was a mixture of anticipation and expectation (and fear!) as other members arrived.
I donned the parachute (I’m not too sure what use it would be? – Ed) with mixed emotions and waited to climb into the glider.  I was introduced to the pilot, who was very professional and personable and explained what to expect.  I was strapped in securely and the canopy was closed – no going back now!    The winch line was secured and we were on the move. 
Within seconds the glider was off the ground and ascending at 45 degree angle.  The winch line was unhooked and at 1300feet we were on our own gliding through the air.  Wow!  What a view!  The only noise was the air rushing in through the gaps around the canopy.  Every so often there was a beeping sound which told the pilot that there was a thermal.  We flew (?) over Brigstock and around over Lyveden New Bield passing over newly ploughed fields, woods and green pastureland.  Now we had to land – which was surprisingly gentle.
All members returned from their flights wearing silly grins.  I think we all agreed that it was a brilliant experience.

glider
up

                                                                                                                         

Canal Boat Trip (Article by Linda Vickerman)

It was a grey grey morning!
I walked the dog around a very wet field, packed my picnic, waterproofs and golfing umbrella in the boot and picked up the boys (Dave and Cecil)! Then off to Kettering to meet the other intrepid sailors.
After some teething problems.... road closures and missing persons..... we drove to Stretton under Fosse arriving early at the same time as most of the others (including the missing persons!) Our bright red narrowboat was loaded with our multitude of bags (mostly containing food!) After we had been given all the technical instructions.... how to work the loo, cooker, bilge pumps etc.... we set off towards Rugby.
It was still very grey!
The canal was very full of very brown water, swans and ducks, and the banks were full of wild flowers, blackberries and lush green growth. We travelled for 2-3 hours, drinking coffee, eating biscuits and changing hands on the tiller ... hitting the bank or only a few occasions! We went through a beautifully illuminated tunnel and passed lots of other canal boats.
It was still grey and drizzling with rain!
We moored up and lunch was unpacked.... enough food to feed us for a week appeared ... I have never seen so many quiches and sausage rolls!! .... we managed to eat a considerable amount and washed it down with a few glasses of red wine!! Then taking a deep breath we started on the sweet course..... the summer pudding was wonderful, so was the orange gooey creamy thing ... third helpings for some!!
It was still grey!
We set off again but after a short while decided to turn around as it started raining! We did this on a stretch of water only a little wider that the length of the boat!! It very soon was raining with a vengeance... the "crew" in water-proofs and sheltering under the golf umbrella (I knew it would come in handy!) We battened down the hatches and headed for home! We did a lot of talking, laughing, eating and drinking! Despite the grey day we all enjoyed ourselves. We arrived back at Stretton - those inside only slightly damp, BUT those outside very WET!!
It was still grey and raining!
Thanks to Anne for arranging the trip BUT.... Many thanks to Andrew (a first time 50 + er!) who manned the tiller all the way back in the rain!! AND his full supporting and umbrella holding cast.... Cecil, John and Dave!!!!!    Splice the mainbrace boys!!


Lake District Activity Weekend (Article by Jane Tromans)


RECIPE                                                                                                                                  

Ingredients:

1 excellent Youth Hostel (with two-bedded rooms)
3 days good weather
20 happy club members
Enormous amount of good, home-cooked food
4 adrenaline-fuelled Saturday activities
3 energetic instructors
1 large Ullswater lake steamer
Unlimited amount of best quality mountain scenery
Copious amounts of assorted beer and wine
Lots of laughter
S.T.P.
H.P.P. (for the photographs)

Method:

Mix well, divide into as few tins (e.g. CitroŽn, Mondeo, Honda, etc.) as possible - allowing time for ingredients to blend together.  Re-divide as necessary, according to taste, but put all together in the steamer on the last day.  (At this point, some ingredients might try to go their own way so a careful eye needs to be kept on the mixture).  All being well, the finished dish will end up in the handy teashop - nicely browned. 

Gorge scrambling (Article by Jacqy & Campbell McNinch)


Like a family of so many badly dressed ducklings, we climbed the hill out of Coniston behind our instructors Kev and Doug towards the start of our gorge scramble.   gorge
Togged up with boots, tracksuits, waterproof suits, buoyancy aids and safety helmets we were perspiring profusely in the September sunshine by the time we reached the mouth of the ‘Gill’.  Commenting on the rising temperature of his charges, Kev told us to remember how warm we were, as in 15 minutes we would only have the memories to keep us warm.  We giggled nervously, not encouraged to see that he had been hiding a message on the substation behind him which read “BEWARE – DANGER OF DEATH”.
We then proceeded, in single file, to enter the canyon, squealing in turn as the cold water invaded our clothing to previously warm parts then receded as we scrambled over the rocks.
The route had been cunningly planned as each pool we went through was slightly deeper than the last until we were all totally submerged, bringing out Denis’ comment “Well!  That’s the last two inches wet!”  (Of course some members jumped the gun didn’t they Mrs Cook).
We pulled and pushed each other up slippery rocks and through fast flowing rapids, only driven on by the thought of the S.T.P. that awaited that evening.
Then we were given the “pleasure” of jumping into the deep water from a choice of launching pads: a low one for the brave; and a much higher one for the stupid, amid howls of laughter and squeals of delight (or fear) as we disappeared beneath the surface, emerging seconds later, spluttering and splashing – but smiling.
A sloppy, squelchy walk down the hill back to base was followed by a synchronised striptease as our wet clothing was spread out to dry in the brilliant sunshine over cars, floor, fences, fortunately an H.P.P. was on hand to take a photograph of our soggy dishevelled party – wet, tired but very happy.

Aquaseiling  (Article by Diane and John West)

Aquaseiling - the art of abseiling down waterfalls. Our Instructors Andy and Doug were friendly, competent and professional.  13 of us travelled out to a beautiful area, Church Beck with a waterfall looking something like Niagara with about a 25 foot drop.  They rigged the ropes from the top using a handy tree and giant rock – checked and tested them and positioned Andy at the top and Doug at the bottom. Suitably attired in wetsuits, waterproofs and helmets we listened avidly to the briefing – all clipped on individually and safely with a belaying rope for our use to get down.  Wide stance, lean back, heels down and be warned the rocks are very slippery.  We had to make our way initially backwards for some few yards, then over the edge and down. Sounded simple enough.
Peter looked elegant and assured as he manoeuvred over the edge – then hit a big hole and fought to secure his footing; Denise was therefore more cautious but slipped into a different hole and showed us the washing machine technique; Jane M chose to be slow, studied and precise but one wrong move on the way down and she was floundering; Stuart was very assured – smiling and confident, even waving but part way down he too covered himself in water; Linda was spectacular – got very wet – knocked her elbow and got really cold; Liz chose a wide stance- measured and doing well until she slipped and it was legs away; John preferred the horizontal technique once he had made it over the edge and spent a lot of time facing the sky; Diane had watched the others – seen what not to do and managed to get down without getting wet.

Hurrah; Jane T was elegant and dainty but once over the edge and part way down slipped into a big hole and even her hair got soaked. Dennis was keen and eager but got a foot hooked near the bottom and then seemed to be trying to climb back up the rope; Jacqui looked like she was on a test run for Boots – tumbles and spills but her mascara stayed intact; as for Campbell bringing up the rear – he sat so long at the top listening over and again to the instructions he’s thinking of spending the winter training to be an Instructor; seriously though, sheer bulk, grit and determination ensured he didn’t get down unscathed!
We had the paparazzi taking photos on the opposite bank - no doubt overwhelmed and stunned by how elegant we were (or not).We all wished we had time for another try – it was absolutely brilliant – but there was no time. Wow – same time and place next year?  Thanks Jane for all the super hard work putting it together for us. 

Rock Climbing (Article by Les Carter)

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Those of us that requested Rock Climbing were introduced to Andy our instructor who supplied us with helmets and harnesses. We were then driven by land rover to the Langdales, to a near vertical crag which was approx 20 metres (65 feet) high. After Andy had secured 2 separate sets of climbing ropes, it was time for some action. But first -some very necessary safety instruction. Then it was time to begin, with 2 members acting as anchors on the belay rope, we each had a turn at climbing. For some this was the first time and we were very apprehensive, but with words of encouragement from both Andy and the other members we all made the very best attempts at climbing. With very little in the way of hand and feet holds it was difficult to work out the best way up. For some the safety rope was definitely needed after slipping off the rock face, but they got back onto the rock face to continue the climb. We were a small group and as our confidence in both ourselves and the fact that the safety rope would prevent any serious injury, we made several attempts on both sets of ropes, some with more success than others and with Tony being the star climber. We all overcame our fears and were pleased with what we had achieved.
Sincere thanks to Jane for organising the weekend and for arranging the ideal weather for the activities.

Canoeing (Article by Ann & Mick Cook)

After all the excitement of the morning – gorge walking for some, climbing for others, and a good picnic lunch in the sunshine, six members were kitted out with life jackets and a paddle and waddled down to Coniston water. We were led by our instructor for the afternoon, Keith. Now some of you may think that we had picked the soft option, after all abseiling down a waterfall (the alternative to canoeing) does take some nerve but we reckon we had proved ourselves first thing and as it turns out one of our group could not swim, brave man!  Having launched our canoes from a busy shoreline, received a few quick instructions, and paddled across to the quieter side of the lake we had a very entertaining demonstration from two members on how to take an early bath whilst practicing tight turns.  Quite how that happened we will probably never know but Keith got a good laugh out of it. We were then introduced to the game of ‘canoe ball’.  Great fun as the goal kept moving and despite a few tactical moves whenever we got hold of the ball to shoot we were always facing the wrong way to do so! Congratulations to Tony and Gordon for coming from behind and winning that game.
We had a lovely relaxing wind down to the day as we paddled back to shore dodging steamers, sail boats and low flying ducks, and thoroughly enjoyed fantastic views of the mountains and the lake in perfect weather conditions.


Click here to see more Lake District  pictures (Opens in new window)


Rutland Water – Cycle Ride  (Article by Mike Johnson)

Sunday morning dawned fine (just) but quite windy – at least it wasn’t raining! Trusty bikes loaded on to the roof rack and off to Normanton car park on the South-East corner of Rutland Water - one of the largest man-made reservoirs in Europe, located in England’s smallest county. We arrived at 10.00 to be met by about 12 other budding Tour de France hopefuls. After waiting for a couple of stragglers it was decided that we would head off into the wilds of Rutland in the hopes that they would catch up. The idea was (I think) that we would ride in a group with the possibility to back track to Normanton if the body became too weak to continue. Nice idea!!. After about two hundred yards, the group were spread out along the track and the distance between the first and last cyclist increased as the ride progressed.
We were surprised at how few midges there were until we reached a wooded area, where they were waiting en masse to ambush us. Midges everywhere! – in our eyes, up our noses (too much detail?) and down our throats – that’s why we didn’t need a starter at lunch. Finally after seventeen miles and about two and a half hours we arrived back at where we started from. Bikes back on the roof rack and off we all went to regroup at the Horse and Jockey at Manton for refreshment and Sunday lunch.
A great way to spend a Sunday morning.
 

Grafham Water -The climbing wall (Article by Richard Stanley & Janette Taylor)

wall  
On a beautiful Autumn morning, the intrepid dozen met at Grafham Water and after coffees and greetings, our instructor Simon led us round to the centre to meet ‘The Wall’.
We all stood open mouthed at how high it was but, with expert instruction from Simon and after a warm up procedure that consisted of us going from side to side (with a tricky corner in between), we were all ready to start.
There were three sections: easy(ish), difficult and almost impossible. We were given some safety tuition and split into 3 teams with one person climbing and the others as ballast at the end. The climber was hooked into the rope and harnessed.  Then the fun began.
We all did extremely well for our first attempts, with John Wilson even getting to the top of the almost impossible section, with Keith trying the middle section all ways (only red footholds, only blue footholds).
After we all had about three tries, we were joined by Roger, another instructor, and both he and Simon showed us how it could be done.  Imagine how proud we were of ourselves when even they struggled a bit with the last section!!
This was an excellent event which was great value for money, we were very well looked after and our thanks go to Pauline for the organisation.

Grafham Water - Archery (Article by Jan Jordan)

After we had finished our lunch we all went back inside the centre to discover which of us may be able to join Robin Hood’s merry men.  Our Instructor Simon then explained all the safety issues like waiting until all had finished shooting the arrows before walking to the front to retrieve your arrows, and how to load the arrows on the bow with the cock feather at the top. We were then divided into 3 groups and had a few practices. Then we started scoring to see who the best shots were. These were in rounds of 3’s at 3 different distances. At the first distance it was apparent that Janette was a secret Maid Marion   with Keith coming in 2nd and Carol being 3rd. We then moved back to the next distance and everything changed. The men amongst us  definitely found it easier from further away with Keith coming in 1st place with Richard Owen in a very close 2nd place and Richard being 3rd. Once again at the next distance Keith (Robin Hood) came 1st with Richard Owen in 2nd place and John Wilson in 3rd. At the end of the afternoon it was a unanimous decision that our instructor had made it a very enjoyable time for all.
archery  

Peterborough Ghost Walk – (Article by Keith Merrick)

ghost It was Hallowe'en, the last day of the year in the old Celtic calendar and the night of all the witches - so it must be a ghost walk! Cecil and I set off from Rushden to meet up with all the others at Peterborough's museum. There were quite a lot of us because there were other groups as well but the guide was in good voice and the ghost stories were soon coming thick and fast. There were not just stories either - we all saw several ghosts and at one point had to make way for two body-snatchers and their victim! It was also quite educational learning about  the origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles and the connection with Peterborough Cathedral. Several ladies' eyes lit up when they found where to go in Peterborough to have their bottoms pinched! At the end there was an unbelievable story of a man who had an argument with his wife; this led to interments, exhumations and re-interments.
After thanking our guide we sought out the Ask restaurant and had a very flavoursome meal.
An interesting evening, so thanks to our organiser Ann.




Laser Maze – (Article by Liz Parker and Susie Dewart)

Sixteen of us met at the Laser Maze in Wellingborough at 8 o’clock.  We were very excited and looking forward to a night of adventure. Some of the party had been before and we were all keen to have a go. We split into three teams, red, yellow and blue and were shown into a small room where we were told all about the games we would be playing. The aim was for each person to get as many points as possible and these would be added to give team scores. We all had a jacket with flashing lights (your team colour) on the shoulders, front and back, and also a laser gun. Points were scored by hitting the lights on the opposing team member’s jackets, or by hitting their team stations. Once we got started we began living out fantasies of being in James Bond, Star Wars, etc. Everyone was soon hooked and once I got over the initial excitement I made a determined effort to stop shooting my own team members. Some players were devious enough to lie in wait or set ambushes. It was all very thrilling and more exhausting than you might think.

We had three games after each of which we were given read outs of our own and our team performances. They were very detailed and we could see our strengths and weaknesses and try to improve.
The individual winners were Les, Bob and Richard who all did very well. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all and we look for to our next encounter when we will once again reclaim our youth in high drama adventures.

Ice Skating at Kew - (Article by Tricia Booth)

skate1
skate2
We arrived at the Ice Rink on a wet and blowy morning, changed from our designer footwear into bright orange plastic boots, wondering if this really was a good idea as reality kicked in. We ventured onto the ice clinging onto the railings for dear life. As confidence grew a few let go (this ice is very slippy stuff and it doesn’t help when half of your boot is missing).

The sun came out and the 50+ were showing off trying backward flips and turns, but not ending up on their gluteus maximus (Oh all right, bottom) Torvill and Dean here we come!

Thank you 50+ for the company and Ann and Mick for sorting us all out.
P.S I was told not to mention the broken bones.

Kew Gardens - (Article by Pauline Ashby)

kew After a seemingly swift ride to London (I slept all the way), we arrived and Kew and disembarked from the coach into a cold and rainy Kew Gardens.  After poring over the map for a few minutes Jan Jordan and I decided that the best plan was to dash from glasshouse to glasshouse and try and miss the pouring rain.
I have never visited Kew before and it was a delight to see the wide variety of flowers and plants housed there. The glasshouses themselves are fascinating to look at – the feats of construction are breathtaking.  The high-light of the day was the last building we visited – The Marianne North Gallery.  The walls in the two big rooms are covered from floor to ceiling in the most beautiful paintings of flowers, trees and views. Each one is numbered and has a description, and there are over 700 of them.  Next time I visit Kew I will take my binoculars so that I can sit and absorb the beauty of every one.
After a slight delay and detour via the local A & E to collect two of our intrepid skaters, we headed for home – tired, happy and at least two of us plastered.  Thanks Ann for organising such a lovely trip, and thanks Jan for your company.

 

Indoor Bowls - (Article by Sally & Gordon Shone)

indoor On the 9th December some twenty of us took part in a morning of indoor bowls at Desborough Bowls Club. Having seen this highly competitive sport on television many times,  we were sure that it must be more difficult,  than always made to appear. How right we were !

Having set off from Northampton later than we had anticipated, we arrived in Desborough not entirely sure of where were we going – that was until we spotted the impromptu sign that had been located for the benefit of our group. Well done whoever did that – it certainly took the stress out of finding the club which, could hardly be described as a visible landmark !

On assembling inside the club we were made extremely welcome by our dedicated coaches for the session, Pauline and Alec. Their first task was to brief us on the etiquette of bowls – at first that seemed more complicated than the rules themselves ! After that we were kitted out, both with shoes and the bowls themselves. It was quite interesting to discover that to maintain the quality of the playing surface, outside footwear cannot be worn. Our next enlightenment came when we discovered that there is no device for making the bowls take their sweeping arcs – it is achieved by the shaping of the bowls as they have what can be described a chamfer. All very technical but so simple !

Each section of the bowling green is known as a rink and our rink included club members Jane, Caroline, Diane, Richard, John and Gordon. After some 15 or so minutes attempting to put our instruction into practice, we decided to try our hands at a competitive game – ladies versus the gents of course !

For any outsider looking on, and for that matter any member of the bowls club that wasn’t aware of our novice status, I am sure they would have been highly impressed. Well, that’s what we thought anyway ! That was until our concentration diminished, and bowls started being played with the wrong bias – instead of curling delicately to the target of the ‘jack’ – they would take a mind of their own and swerve across the green, interfering with other games and on some occasions, placing other players in danger !

However, that aside, the match contested on our rink was keenly fought with the outcome being a resounding success for the gentlemen with a score 17 to 6. 

After a good morning’s bowling, we parted with those smooth round black implements and exchanged them for some lighter thinner silver ones.  Yes you guessed it – cutlery !   We sat down in groups of about eight on several tables to enjoy a roast lunch of lamb, roasted potatoes and vegetables, followed by a very slimming dish of sponge pudding.  It was very convivial and much banter ensued, encouraged by the spirit of Christmas or just the spirit.

After a very enjoyable lunch we all congregated at Dennis and Jane’s house to partake of mince pies and mulled wine.  If we had sampled the mulled wine first thing in the morning, our bowling may have been even better !  Happy new year to you all.



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