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10th Birthday Party - Peta Jellis

Barn dancing tenth birthday cake
Ten years of fun I have enjoyed with the Club!  Challenges faced and overcome, laughter until I have cried and good friendships made.  But these challenges almost paled into insignificance with the barn dancing which took place at our party - following complicated instructions to “do-se-do” on a very crowded dance floor.  I watched people’s faces during the dancing: all were smiling and laughing (and some puffing a bit when they sat down!).  In the spirit of the Club, everyone danced with strangers, partners and no-one was left out.  I had a whirl with Campbell doing the Scottish Express – a fast but fortunately uncomplicated dance otherwise neither of us would have coped!

Wasn’t the cake great?  It really captured so many of the activities we have enjoyed over the past 10 years.  Appropriately, it was cut by Roger Lovesay who started off the Club 10 years ago. The buffet was excellent and thanks go to Ann MacGovern and Mike Booth for their hard work, especially Mike who was on crutches!  Finally, our thanks must go to the hard-working committee, not only for arranging an excellent party, but for their past and coming work on behalf of us all.

Ten Pin Bowling - Joyce Roberts

Ten pin bowling at WellingboroughI hummed and ahhed whether to go on this as I had not participated in ten pin bowling for at least 10 years.  My chauffeur for the evening, Pauline, was very informative and assured me I would be fine and welcome - and guess what – I was.  There was the initial trepidation of where to place myself and how to start the introductions but I needn’t have worried – people introduced themselves and spoke to me and I used all my energy (well a great deal of it - had to save some for the bowling) trying to memorise all the names; to which I have failed miserably, so please forgive me if I ask you again what your name is!

The evening of bowling was a success as was the buffet after (even the calamari  was good– joke for some members) there wasn’t much food remaining at the end of the night – I think it had something to do with calories used up after all the strikes!   Needless to say I was not on the winning team who all received the biggest bar of Dairy Milk chocolate I have ever seen ( I did have my eyes on this but managed to restrain myself)  Well done to the winners and thank you to all who participated.
I would just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my first event with the 50+ Adventure Club. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone given that there are approximately 160 members so the events must be pleasurable to have so many members.  All the information and advice I received through people on the night on forthcoming events/trips were positive and gave me the confidence to book my next event. 
Well done to all involved in this club and to everyone please speak to the lonely lady, sorry person, in the corner at the next event – it could be me!!!

First Aid - Janice Munn

Twenty members reported for training on Sunday morning at the St John’s Ambulance headquarters in Northampton.  We were greeted by Paul, our instructor, and given a brief overview of the agenda along with the welcome news that free tea and coffee was available.
St Johns first aid course, bandaging legIn the training room upstairs Paul gave out our student packs and questioned us about any previous first aid experience (which was not a lot).  We were given instruction on what to do in an emergency, dealing with a casualty, CPR and bandaging technique.  We watched video clips giving scenarios of people with health issues and saw first hand how best to deal with these situations.
Of course practical experience is essential so we were given a demonstration, ably assisted by Richard, Paul and Carol, on how to treat our casualties.  Emphasis was placed on staying calm and communicating with the patient – something our instructor knew we were good at as we hadn’t stopped talking since we’d arrived!  We then had to practise on each other and there was a very surreal moment whilst looking around the room to find ten 50+’s lying on the floor, legs in the air with trousers rolled up sporting a nifty bandage applied by their partners.
Paul, our instructor, was very knowledgeable and managed to cover basic first aid procedures whilst sharing with us some of the hairier moments of his career.  The majority of us, when training was completed, ended up at a local hostelry (of course) where we enjoyed a lovely Sunday roast.  Many thanks were offered to Richard for organising the event.

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Archery at Grafham - Carole Houghton

Indoor archery at Grafham Water Sports Centre  As we were booked in for the afternoon session of archery we arrived at Grafham Water Centre in time for lunch and a chat. The morning participants sounded as though they had enjoyed themselves. It was 2.00 pm and time to start. Reggie our instructor was very patient but having Grace and I as students you have to be patient. Not one of us was wearing Lincoln Green and no men in tights which was fortunate as we were indoors. Bows and Arrows were explained and no crossing of the white line permitted "Health & Safety". We were shown how to hold, aim and fire our arrows.....Great but I now only have "one nipple" I wasn't standing correctly!!! We solved a Murder Mystery puzzle, each arrow that successfully hit the target was a clue which we had to solve. Then onto saving Maid Marion - sounds strange but in reality it worked. Three teams, The Mead Drinkers, Robin Hood’s Gang and The Crusaders, each arrow fired saved Marion. Robin Hood’s Gang won only by a hair’s breadth.  Grace from The Mead Drinkers was just pipped at the post or should I say target.  I had a great day and I’m sure the others did too. A big thank you to Paul for organising a great
event.  Can I come again!!!
(eagle-eyed members will spot explicit aiming instructions on this pic!)

Indoor Rock Climbing - Debs Moore

Indoor climbing wall at Grafham Water Sports CentreWell what can I say?  It’s like all these things, you look at this wall, well it’s not too high, and there’s lots of pretty coloured knobbly bits to put your feet on and hold onto, yeh easy(ish)!  And Richard said he would gladly administer first aid if I fell off as he had just got his certificate, so all was fine.
Then it’s your first climb and the adrenalin is rushing and you wish your arms and legs were just a few inches longer and then it would be easy and then half way up you stop and give yourself a serious talking to, saying that I can do this, but oh my what a sense of achievement when you get to the top and then realise that you are breathing properly again.
Then it was my turn to belay and I was a little concerned when Matt (our, as always, excellent instructor) clipped me to a sandbag - I was worried.  But he explained that it was because I was so light, and as I had been climbing another climber fell off and almost met his belayer half way up the wall – that was a missed opportunity for You Tube.
On my second climb I got to the top, with a bit of encouragement and it was easier, and then as we moved across the wall to harder a climb, that was it, I was up for all of it!  They couldn’t keep me off, all I kept hearing was ‘are you going again?’ and with a big cheesy grin I replied ‘Yep!’  Ok so I wasn’t climbing like Spiderman like some of the men were, but they couldn’t scream and whoop like I was. I have to admit the last 2 beat me but I didn’t give up, in fact I should have been doing archery in the afternoon, but that all of a sudden looked so tame, so I stayed on the wall.
So thank you to my excellent belayers, and for the words of encouragement to push myself further than I ever thought possible.
What a great morning, and afternoon, with much encouragement and applause from the floor, and although not everyone got to the top we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  In fact I enjoyed it so much I am going to join a club they have started, probably be the oldest member, but who cares, you’re only 50+ once and I for one mean to make the most of it.
A huge thank you to Paul for organising another great day.
And a little foot note, particularly for Joyce Roberts who went ten pin bowling, don’t worry about not remembering peoples’ names, I am useless too, maybe we could wear name badges, health and safety permitting of course, it would help us newbies, food for thought for the members/committee maybe ?
(ed’s note: we used to have name badges but as hardly anyone ever wore them, they were dropped).

Handbell Ringing - Julie Thorley

Handbell ringingThe Stanwick hand bell ringers made us feel very welcome as we took our seats for a quick but impressive demonstration of how their music should sound. Then we were given a lesson on technique. Less is more when it comes to chiming, as, perversely, if you swing the bell too enthusiastically it makes no sound! There were strict instructions never to touch the bells without wearing gloves and, most importantly never to bang two together. They are liable to break and even a small one costs £180 to replace. Thus warned, we took it in turns in small groups to have a go.
Those who don’t read music had no excuses, as the notation was not presented on a conventional stave but written out as C, E, G, etc in neatly defined rows and bars. So in theory all we had to do was count 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, look for our given note, give a flick of the wrist and Bong! We were playing a song!
  But as is so often the case, it was not as easy at it looked, and the frowns of intense concentration had to be seen to be believed. While one group performed (and I use the term loosely!), the rest of us played ‘Name That Tune’, with varying degrees of success… (Was that really ‘Londonderry Air’?)
Thanks to everyone involved in organising this interesting evening (sorry, I’m new to the club and haven’t got a handle on names yet).

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Indoor Go Karting - Tricia Bayley

I arrived at the Northampton GP Go-Karting reception at 1.30pm. I was given a very “stylish” race suit to wear; the man there must be very good at women’s sizes because it fitted me perfectly even though he didn’t ask me what size I was! Years of experience I guess. I was introduced to everyone and then Richard Stanley took some photos of us as a group. We all then ventured into the Karting area. By this time I was feeling a little bit wary because I have never been Go-Karting before. I was teamed up with Roger; the poor man. There was a health and safety demonstration about all the do’s and don’ts on the track, what the different flags and lights meant, etc. We were then given a full face crash helmet and gloves. Bravely I stepped forward for the first 5 minute warm up session. I found it quite difficult to get into the kart as it was so low down; once in position I felt powerless to change my mind as I was wedged into the seat so tightly there was nowhere for me to go! The warm up session went well; I was still in one piece but still quite nervous. After the warm up sessions the race was on! I did the first 15 minutes; the sweeping bends & tight hair pins were quite scary for a first-timer. Roger had his turn and then it was my turn again. Roger did the final 20 minutes. My confidence grew throughout the race but it was so difficult to get in and out of the kart for change-over. Poor Roger had to pull me out as I was stuck in the seat like a cork in a wine bottle! The whole experience was quite enjoyable and very competitive. Chocolates and cakes were on offer during the whole session which was a very nice touch. Okay, so the winners were - in 3rd place Keith and Janette who received a bronze trophy, Janet and Malcolm were the silver trophy winners and came 2nd. The winners on the podium were Debs and Barry who took away the gold trophy. Congratulations to all three winning teams. Congratulations also to all those who took part because without them there would have been no competitive race.
The day was an unforgettable experience and thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome. (I was glad to get back to my “proper” car with power steering!!!)
Towcester Races - Richard Stanley
18 of us gathered at the Plough Inn for a 2 course lunch of homemade soup (the spicy Parsnip was wonderful) and a roast which everyone seemed to enjoy.  We then set off to the Racecourse where Richard provided us all with a Race card (well done to Sally for selling hers at a profit!).
It was a lovely dry sunny day but as Towcester Race course is on high ground, there was a chilling wind on one side so we spent a great deal of time on the sunny side.
Then they were off!  ‘Who’d have thought it’ kept winning each race but some were luckier than others.  Two race horses were named after Richard! Simply Irresistible and Man Of The Moment.  Cecil kept running round telling all that the ‘Hookie Bookie’ was a dead cert for the last race – Blaze Ahead won – good job we had left by then or we would have lost our shirts as well.
In the excitement, Richard forgot to ask someone to do the write up – so not only did he organise the event he has had to dictate the write up too.  Well done and we hope to have better luck next time.

Survival Skills (1) - Julia Thorley

My New Year Resolution for 2010 was to try something new at least once a week. Well, following the excellent Survival Skills day at Fermyn Woods, I am well ahead of my target of achieving 52 new experiences before the end of the year.
I now know how to: set up and participate in a blindfold trail (great trust-building exercise to do with a bunch peopleHow to skin a rabbit you hardly know!); start a fire without a match (OK, it took some of us a while, but we all managed it eventually – the trick is to use some of the ‘fluff’ from a reedmace, which is that plant we all call a bulrush); build a shelter out of whatever natural materials are lying around (so long so it doesn’t rain and there is nobody more than 5ft tall to be accommodated); to forage for food (again, reedmace is useful here, because the fleshy roots can be boiled, peeled and eaten like potatoes and the inside of the woody stem is also quite tasty, apparently); to set a snare and a trip trap, which catapults the caught animal up into a tree out of the reach of predators, until the hungry hunter can retrieve his/her dinner (not that we would set such a trap, because it’s illegal in Britain); to skin a rabbit (in theory – I was one of the few who declined this activity, preferring to watch from the sidelines); to catch a fish on a stick, a wing and a prayer (congratulations to Lucy who managed to land a roach, and to Barry, who caught something so big it snapped his line and disappeared back into the murky depths); to make string by literally ‘stripping the willow’ and to gather precious water by walking in the long grass with a tea towel tied around my ankles (something that has to be seen to be believed!).
To a born and bred townie like me, this walk on the wild side was a real treat. Thanks to Jenny for organising it and to Rangers Pete and Eric for patiently sharing their skills and knowledge with us.

Survival Skills (2) - Denise Johnson

Building a shelterRain threatened as we arrived so wet weather gear was the order of the day. Blindfolded to disorientate us we walked slowly holding on to a rope and the person in front.  We split into two groups, then into 3 small teams.  Our first task was to make a shelter using whatever we could find. We chose a tree and leaned branches against it, interlocking them as we went, to produce a crawl in tent type shelter.  We covered the structure with grasses, leaves and moss to form our roof then we made a bed support from sticks, and covered them with grass.   When we had finished Peter crawled in while Pete poured water onto the roof to see if it was watertight.  Not quite, but not bad given the short time allowed. Our next task, with Eric, was to light a fire using a flint striker or just one match.  Everyone chose the no match method.  Patience and perseverance were needed.  Some teams were more skilled or maybe just lucky and got their fire going quickly.  Others found it tricky but in the end we all had a fire.  Then lunch round our campfires before Pete took us off to try and collect drinking water, by walking through long grass with cloths tied round our ankles. Next we tried our hand at fishing but first we needed to find a long stick to make our own rods.  Did anyone have any bread for bait?  Steve managed to catch a fish but it got away!  Eric then showed us how we could catch birds or rabbits should the need ever arise and finally how to skin and prepare a rabbit.  This was cold work as the rabbits had come out of the freezer!  We thanked Pete and Eric for a very informative day and Jenny for organising the day for us.

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Lazer Maze - Richard Owen

A trip to Wellingborough Laser Maze is one of the club’s regular activities.  This makes it very difficult to say anything new when doing the write-up for the newsletter.  So, if you read this in conjunction with any of the previous Laser Maze write-up, then I apologise if it sounds a little familiar.
Our visit this time should have been in February but had to be postponed due to adverse weather conditions (anyone remember the snow?).  Some of us were ‘old hands’ (in more ways than one) having been before, however there were also several ‘rookies’.
Picture the scene:-
A bunch of fifty-plusers, rushing around in the dark, shooting our laser gun at anyone who could be seen, before they had the chance to shoot you.  Great fun!  Of course, every hit counted towards your score, which was presented to you at the end of each session.  These were examined and compared in some detail, not that any of us are competitive!
Everyone enjoyed themselves and the club is due to go again sometime in December.  Then it will be slightly different with different games – you have been warned.
Spymaster - Joyce Roberts
Spymaster-keep of the floorWe arrived at the venue not knowing what exactly to expect and found ourselves using a short zip wire, crawling on knees through a small opening, stepping over laser beams in a smoky corridor and sliding down a slide to escape the Russians!  Oh I nearly forgot: blowing a door out.  What on earth was going on you may ask.
Before beginning we were informed that the Russians had taken English money in return for a shipment of guns which were never received.  So our job was to enter the Russian Embassy, without setting off any alarms, and use our brains to complete  puzzles/tasks, some on computers and some physical to enable us to proceed to the next stage and finally getting the shipment of guns and escaping the Embassy undetected.
The event was a new one for the club but I don't think it will be the last visit and I believe, from those that participated, that it was thoroughly enjoyable.  It was suitable for all ages, shapes and sizes. At the end we all got our spy authorisation levels- some lower than others (in fact I think I was assigned to office work).    
Of course, after all the calories spent in sorting out the Russians, we all retired to the pub for lunch!!!
Thank you to Mary for organising this event.

Blue Badge Walk,  Cambridge - Diane Evans

39 of us met in front of the Guildhall and were split into 2. Rosalind, our guide, was excellent and provided many anecdotes enhancing the walk. I made copious notes – virtually none of which feature here!  Our tour began with visit to Emmanuel College and ended at Kings College chapel. Here are some of my memories which may give you ideas for your future visits.
I loved Emmanuel College.  Reputed to be the friendliest college, it had a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. The pews in the chapel face each other, as in a Dominican friary. The wall panels in the refectory are painted eggshell blue edged in white.  Items on the refectory menu were cheap, game main course £2.75.  Very big fish in a pond in the grounds – no-one knew the type.
Group Photo in CambridgeThe walk to Kings College took us down ‘museum’ street, along Free School Lane and past Cavendish laboratory. Many Nobel Prize winners studied there.  It had large windows with very deep window-cills to reflect the light into the rooms for experiments.
Stopped at The Eagle, an old coaching inn owned by Corpus Christi and leased to Greene King. Through an archway is the ‘RAF bar’, where airmen, many American, put their initials and squadron on ceiling in lipstick. (Must visit to see inside and sample fish & chips on Rosalind’s rec.).  Lease states one small window always kept open, where a little girl burned to death in 1500s, said screaming heard if window is closed.
On corner of Corpus Christi college, behind bullet proof glass, is a huge Chronophage (also known as the Corpus Clock) which uses grasshopper mechanics and cost £1 million. It was created and given by ex student John Taylor, an inventor who developed the kettle thermostat.  It was unveiled by Stephen Hawking who is still based in Cambridge.
King’s College backs onto the river Cam and is well known for Christmas Eve Services from the chapel. Choir boys don’t know who will sing the opening solo until just before service, to prevent nerves.  The chapel is very high roofed and ornate. There are 5 highlights to see: stained glass windows and the stonework around them; the carvings in the ante-chapel screen; the organ screen; the fan vaulted ceiling; and the Rubens' painting over the altar Adoration of the Magi gifted to the college.  Originally painted for a nunnery in Belgium, Sleeve of Virgin Mary’s gown is done with Lapis Lazuli, ground down and more expensive than gold leaf. Nuns didn’t have much money so rest of gown used cheap paint which faded. The painting was attacked and scratched by IRA and now has shutters to protect it.
Alan Turing was a Cambridge student and a Fellow of King's College. He was gay and in later life committed suicide with a poisoned apple. Apple Computers logo has an apple with bite from it which is probably in honour of him.
Two hours had flown past and my head was filled with information. I was ready to adjourn to the Boat Inn for a welcome lunch. Many thanks to Rosalind for her passion and to Carol for organising the event.

Shropshire Weekend  ( Or the weekend of a hundred cakes) - Anon

The Dinney-Shropshire Relaxing outside the Dinney
The "Dinney" Working hard!

Some brave (?) 50 plussers with knees stiff and unbending
Were starting to feel that the “screws” might be pending
(The veins and age spots are starting to show
It takes buckets of cream for the dark circles to go).
So thought we would go on a healthy retreat
A weekend’s good living, with only good things to eat
We moved into The Dinney, with just this in mind
But no-one prepared us for what we might find.
Our des-res was so comfy, a real home from home
But no plastic flowers and no garden gnome
We had white fluffy towels and arch of wisteria (poetic licence that last bit)
Even Cecil didn’t suffer a bout of hysteria.
We did lots of walking (canoeing, horse-riding, cycling) and unlocked the knees
We sniffed all the flowers and hugged a few trees
We communed with nature and said a few prayers (Please God, don’t let this weekend end)
We staggered back from the pub and scared a few hares.
The spag bol and breakfasts (thanks Anne!) settled right down on our waists
But the local hot talent was a question of taste
We even dispensed of a huge Toblerone (more poetic licence)
And had no inclination to write or ‘phone home.
We will all miss The Dinney, the ducks and the streams
The freshly baked cakes, all loaded with cream
We headed for home, well and truly chilled out
Having had a brief glimpse of what life is about
Many, many thanks Anne for all your hard work.  It was brilliant!

Bacon and Eggs Shropshire-last of the summer wine
Arthur - Feeding the Multitude! Last Of The Summer Wine!

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Art's Shropshire canoeing experience - Arthur Marshall

Rumour has it that I fell into the river, tush tush, the day was so hot, the canoe ride was so exhausting, that when we stopped I couldn't help myself - I just had to go for a swim. SO THERE.  But, if you want a rumour, remember The Lakes, R&J - conserving water. Well this year, ask him about the "button mushrooms".  Great w/end, great crowd, great everything.
Trying to stay dry in Shropshire (1) - Nigel Cross
Nigel canoeing on the river SevernPauline and I had never paddled the Severn before so this was a good opportunity. On Friday we did some research and looked at the notorious Trimpley rapids which were guarded by a heron and then paddled upstream from Upper Arley over two challenging rapids to Stanley followed by a quick return. On Saturday we left my bicycle at Hampton Loade (West bank) and then paddled upstream from Severn Park, north of Bridgnorth, past Fort Pendlestone until we had had enough and then swept downstream through Bridgnorth averaging 5.5 mph with little effort until we stopped to chat to a couple of paddlers lunching on the bank. Pauline then settled down to read her book while I cycled back for the car. Then we investigated the sailing club near our base and sampled their very low priced beer.

Trying to stay dry in Shropshire (2) - Linda Vikerman

It was a glorious sunny day and after a hearty breakfast Tony, Cecil, Arthur and myself set off to Bridgnorth for a days canoeing. As the sun was beating down we quickly abandoned thermals, fleeces and cagoules and donned life jackets and found paddles to fit! After some tuition on land we hopefully knew how to go forward, left, right and stop, also what to do if we capsized ….. try standing up as most of the water is quite shallow!!
We climbed aboard two by two (just like the Ark!) and practised manoeuvring with reasonable success amid a lot of squealing and screaming from a party of girls canoeing for the first time.
Arthur and I set off in front expertly negotiated the first bridge under the correct arch and promptly got stuck on a gravel bank! We were pushed off and continued happily along watching birds, running rapids and trying not to eat too many flies!
Lunch was at Hampton Lode, on landing Arthur decided to check the water temperature by falling full length into 12 inches of water … enough to get soaked!!
After a beer and packed lunch in the sun (Arthur steaming gently!) we set off again and reached our destination with no further excitement. We enjoyed a cup of tea, an ice-cream and boarded the steam train for the return journey. It was a great day out … Cecil, Tony and I stayed dry throughout!
The weekend was thoroughly enjoyed, weather brilliant, digs superb, food excellent …. especially the CAKES! Many thanks to Anne for organising and everyone for their company!

Shropshire walk that grew and grew - Maggie Marshall

Shropshire walk with Blackthorn blossom Group photo on Shropshire walk
Lovely blossoms! Take a break
The sun was shining, the lunches were packed, and the battle for slices of lemon drizzle cake was over. We debated taking fleeces/or not, safety first won & we carried them all day!!
Crossing the fields we walked along the ridge with fantastic views, passing hedgerows bursting with the first blossom of the year (Blackthorn). We stopped to give way to cow with large horns and a calf    crossing our path - we are townies after all!
Crossing the railway line we walked on to the river, crossing the bridge up to the country park. Up the hill to the picnic benches for our lunch break, or was it a cake stop? Those lucky enough to have slices of lemon drizzle cake guarded them carefully. We wondered why some back packs looked heavy but then the emergency rations of Boddingtons appeared - some of us only had juice or tea from the Visitors centre. We stayed for while, some snoozed in the sun (too much cake) others ambled to the bird hide where the birds too were sleepy.
Then it was back down the hill to the river where we picked up the path again. The plan was to cross the river at Hampton Loade for the foot ferry but this wasn’t running so we went on to the Unicorn Inn for refreshment. Unfortunately the short cut bridle path up to the road shown on the map had disappeared so it was up the long steep hill on the road,  then across the fields, by the sailing club  returning to the Dinney. We all agreed that although we were tired and power naps were in order (after tea & more cake) this was a lovely walk. Much discussion took place on its length, 6 miles, no 7, no 8, final answer 8.5 miles Phew! Thanks Ann for a good walk, well planned and led as always.

Horse Riding in Shropshire - Janice Munn

We arrived at the stables of ‘Country Treks’ in plenty of time to be fitted out for our ride, with only a slight hiccup over a footwear dilemma.  We all managed to mount our trusty steeds without too much hassle, albeit in a rather ungainly fashion, and set off in glorious sunshine.  Amazing views are obtained whilst seated upon 14.2 hands of horse; looking out over the hedgerows we could see for miles into the distance.  Our bird watching skills were put to the test as we tried to identify the variety on offer.  The delights of the countryside could be enjoyed as we meandered along at a leisurely pace – attracting the attention of a number of skipping lambs in the fields – I don’t think it was our equestrian skills that distracted them but probably our discussion of ‘mint sauce’.  After 2 hours in the saddle we returned to base, somewhat sore but clearly satisfied with our wonderful experience.
Oswestry visit  Hoping to make the most of all Shropshire has to offer Anne and I set off for Oswestry, a medieval town on the Welsh border.  Undertaking the ‘Town Tour’, a very nice lady, called Margaret, divulged the history of the area – some of the information was slightly hesitant and the dates a bit hazy (within a 100 years or so) but a pleasant 90 minutes passed in the sunshine.
Whilst in the area we visited the lovely village of Whittingdon.  In the centre of the village are the ruins of the moated Whittingdon Castle – formally a Norman home. The site is maintained by locals (with aid from the Heritage Fund) and given an additional boost by having a pleasant teashop, second-hand bookstore and souvenir shop to browse. This was chosen as a lovely spot for lunch and a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Paintballing at Pidley - Nesta Hall

Paintball gang at PidleyThirteen club members met at Pidley for the dubious pleasure of killing each other with paint balls. We joined forces with a large group of 'fit' young men, divided into two teams (red and blue) and equipped with battle dress, face guards, guns and bullets were sent forth to annihilate our foes and capture their flag. Not having a clue what to do I charged around like an elephant and was swiftly slain - I think the blue team won that battle. Game 2 - having observed more experienced combatants I decided the best strategy was to lay low behind a large mound of earth - this I did and managed to fire all of about 40 rounds - boring. Game 3 - survived.  Game 4 - One team had to defend a tower from within, the tower being constructed of wooden slats on three levels whilst the opposing team attacked and attempted to liberate an oil can.  The victors were definitely the blues. This should have been the conclusion of the war but having time and bullets in hand we were encouraged to prevent a kamikaze fool rescuing an oil can from the centre of a bridge. I found a good position behind the roots of a fallen tree.  On a high mound to my rear were two 50+ who proceeded to use my prone body as a target - I know who you are boys - and like the proverbial elephant - I won't forget - revenge is sweet.
Thank you Carol, for a fun day though I would add this game is not for the faint hearted or lame. Having said that, would I do it again – YES!

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African Drumming - Barbara Lees

African drumming practice16 members gathered for African drumming at Thrapston Church Hall. We were greeted by our tutor and quickly learnt how to clap in rhythm. We were then introduced to the drums. A Djembe is a skin covered drum played with bare hands. As a result of the density of the wood and the thickness of the skin a wide range of tones can be produced. The drum made from the skin of a ‘billy goat’ had a lower tone than that made from the skin of a ‘nanny goat’. We learnt how to play notes made by a ‘bass ‘tone’ and ‘slap’ though not necessarily in the right order. It seemed quite easy until more than one tune was learnt and keeping to your own part amongst the laughter was more challenging.
We then learnt a song which can be translated as ‘beautiful mother’ or ‘beautiful earth’. Our confidence building we merged our song with our drum rhythm – multitasking was not necessarily our forte.
The evening finished with a ‘Jam’ – everyone doing their own thing including the use of an African version of cow bells.
A good time was had by all. I hope the neighbours were tolerant. We certainly amused the teenagers who walked past.
Thanks to Ann for arranging the evening.

Canoeing - Sheila Casey

"         "Take my advice,
There's nothing so nice,
As messing about on the river."
Even on a cold, overcast day in early May, with a biting wind, canoeing on the River Nene between Irthlingborough Frontier Camp and Stanwick Lakes Park takes some beating.  After two hours, pulling against the wind on the way there and also (I swear that it changed direction!) on the way back, we felt so invigorated that we could have started all over again.
Suitably attired, we launched the two- and three-seater canoes and set out in the safe hands of Rob and Adam, who promised that we wouldn't capsize - and we didn't!  Although we travelled more or less as a group, the learning was differentiated, with complete beginners gaining confidence and improvers acquiring rhythm and steering skills.
There was time to share interesting facts, chat to crew members and take part in friendly rivalry with other teams.  And how we enjoyed those final cups of tea afterwards!
Many thanks to Pauline who not only organised the visit, but turned up to sort us out when she herself was not staying - a real selfless act. Cheers, Pauline!  "

Team Building at the Frontier Centre - Steve Pelling

The team building exercise I remember best was the Gutterball game. One of the other events I think involved listening to your partner’s voice, so I was on to a loser there straightaway! 
Anyway as the name suggests, we were all given a piece of plastic guttering about two feet long. The idea was to transport a tennis ball 50 yards into a barrel. While the ball was in your piece of gutter you were not allowed to move, so you rolled it along to the next person and then ran to the end of the line to wait for the ball to get there. Sounds easy, but when that ball picked up a bit of speed it was hard to get there on time, also we were going down a slope on wet grass. I think it took us three goes to get it in the barrel after a lot of slipping and sliding on the way, but there was a great cheer when it eventually dropped in so I think every one was enjoying themselves on that one.

Cycle Ride - Les Carter

Who said Milton Keynes was flat?
Look out point Milton Keynes cycle ride19 intrepid cyclists met at Willen Lakes Milton Keynes car park on a cold windy Sunday morning. Whilst some went to the café in search of coffee or hot chocolate others were deciding how many layers of clothing to put on.
Our guide for the ride Jenny Cook (daughter of Mick and Ann Cook) arrived and we set off, alongside the lake, past the miniature railway and the “going ape “ course and out into the water meadows past some medieval fish ponds and continuing through pasture land and some of the small villages that are now part of Milton Keynes.
Where else can you be inside a cathedral without walls? The whole outline is done using trees, very effective. The shape is a scaled down version of Norwich cathedral.  
We then entered the Peace Park, passing the Buddhist temple and then on to the Pagoda for a photo stop. We continued back into the built up areas going down a zigzag path to rejoin the canal tow path, travelling along until we arrived at a disused railway track that is used as a cycle / walking track. As we were a fit lot of cyclists we were ahead of time for the lunch stop so it was decided to make a round trip to New Bradwell Windmill (now a museum).  Upon return to the railway bridge it was back down onto the tow path on the other side of the canal to cycle to our lunch stop the Black Horse pub for refuelling with food and drink. As the morning had progressed the weather had warmed up so those that had put on extra layers were now removing them.
After lunch we returned to our bikes to find that Denise had a puncture in the rear wheel tyre, so a slight delay whilst many hands changed the inner tube and put the wheel back on only to find that Peter (Denise’s husband) cycle helmet had gone walkabout whilst we were at lunch (at time of writing this report it is still missing). We retraced our route back to the village of Great Linford, rejoining a Redway route to the Lookout Point with fabulous views towards Bedfordshire and this spot is only about 800 yards from the Theatre. Time for another group photo before we said goodbye to Jenny our guide. There are two ways down from the lookout point, one is the gentle sloping path down and the other is straight over the top which a few of us did, mad or what? Then it was a very gentle ride back to the cars. Total distance approx 16 miles.
Many thanks to Ann and her daughter Jenny for a very enjoyable day.
There is more to Milton Keynes than roundabouts and concrete cows and for those interested in exploring you can obtain more information on :

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Human Table Football (or The Morning After the Day Before) - Debs Moore

Human football - opening the bubblyWhen I joined this club I was impressed to find a good bunch of guys who by all accounts struck me as ‘gentlemen’, having a lot of respect for us gals.  Play 5 a side human football with them and that attitude goes out of the window!!!  I can’t remember the last time I had so many cuts and bruises on my shins, a few placed there by some of the gals too, I must add.  Oh and a few aches and pains in those muscles which only seem to get used on ‘adventure days’, but hey it was worth it.  What a good day out, superbly organised, thanks to Janette.
And hopefully nobody got me opening the bubbly on camera, my street cred will disappear rapidly, well I’m not used to bubbly stuff with the wire round it, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.  Also thanks to my champion team members (The Ash Clouders – devastating but thick) we did play well together.
Perhaps the club could organise a night’s training for the guys – how to tie your shoe laces – I lost count how many times the game was stopped because their laces were undone!

Human Table Football (more ……..) - Hilary Connon

Despite the forecast of rain it was a bright, sunny day when we arrived at this lovely venue.  A number of stable girls and immaculately dressed equestrians were working with the horses.   We enjoyed a tea/coffee and really nice selection of chocolate biscuits to get us into the mood and then headed across the field to the games area.    Human Table Football is a giant inflatable version of the popular pub game. Two attackers and two defenders for each team are attached to poles, and slide from side to side in a bid to get as many balls as possible against the free moving goalies. When teams were not playing they could watch and cheer.
We had four teams:  The Bone Breakers (guess who was in this one), Mixed United, The Ash Clouders (devastating but thick) and Misfits United.
Human football at Grange FarmThe opening match was experimental and in high good humour between the Bone Breakers and Mixed United.   After a five minute scramble and lots of giggling but not much ball control it was half-time and substitutes were brought in so everyone had a chance to play in the ten minute match.   The score was 1-1 and we were already exhausted.
Next match was between The Ash Clouders and Misfits United. Having the advantage of watching all of our mistakes they were a little more competitive and the score was 4-1.
Then the Bonebreakers had a match with the Ash Clouders and lost 1-3, while Mixed United beat Misfits United 4-2.
By now the pace was hotting up and the pain level shot up as those with heavy boots battled with softer canvas shoes and many a shin was battered in the fierce struggle to gain ball control.   During the next match Steve Pelling had to come off because he thought he had twisted his ankle and was ministered to by a couple of angels who elevated his foot and applied cold cans.   (Later he was found to have broken a small bone in his leg and ended up in plaster which will remain on for the next six weeks)  I thought the Bonebreakers’ name was a joke!
Our semi-finals were Mixed United against The Ash Clouders losing 0-3, and The Bonebreakers beating Misfits United 5-1.    This meant the final was between The Bone Breakers and The Ash Clouders.  Both sides failed to score so it was a case of sudden death and first goal was the winner.
A very serious final team was made up from these teams with only 1 female on either side and some strong male players in the attack and defence positions.     The concentration was palpable and feet were deadly in this match.   Suddenly Barbara Crowther managed to get hold of the ball and sent the winning shot through the goalposts for The Ash Clouders.
The win was celebrated with a bottle of bubbly provided by Grange Farm.   It was brilliant fun and thanks to Janette and Pauline for their parts in organising it.     Next time can we have a soft shoe rule though?

Out of County Walk - Richard Stanley

Group picture - Derbyshire walk Warm down Excercises-Derbyshire Walk
The begining.......... ..........and the end

15 of us gathered at Kettering Registry Office on a sunny morning at 7.30 am (this surprised Dennis as, since retiring, he thought there was only one 7.30 in a day!).  We set off in a mini-bus to the stunning Derbyshire Dales arriving in Youlgreave around 10 ish and starting our walk with Ordnance Survey Map in hand (thanks Jane) downhill to the River Lathkill, along the river and after two lunch stops – one main and one cake – climbing upwards to the pub.  Along the route the more observant of the
group pointed out local wild flowers including orchids, blue bells and dandelions.  The wildlife included Richard spotting a beaver that the others said was a water vole.
At the pub we downed thirst quenching drinks then split into two groups – the ladies heading back down to the river to complete the walk and the men opting for the ‘difficult’ route along the road back to the bus!
Travelling home, we played I-spy hot air balloons and ‘who’s snoring?’  Paul won both -spying 7 balloons and giving the loudest snore.
Words can’t describe what a perfect day it was. Thanks to Jane for organising and supplying all sorts of chocolates and drinks, Dennis for the safe driving and plenty of comfort stops, Jenny for the foot revival care and Marilyn for the final stretching exercises.  

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Jungle Park Ropes - Hilary Connon 

Jungle Park ropes course ai Irchester country parkMe Tarzan, you Jane.   Yes we were swinging through the canopy.  All right, not quite the jungle setting, it was Irchester Country Park, but just as exciting.   It was a lovely sunny day and we were ready for adventure.  
We had full instruction, but there were still occasions when we forgot to clip on the karabiners for the safety harness in opposite directions!  There were also some scary moments, especially on the difficult route when my hands got sweaty and as I wiped them on my trousers I slipped and nearly fell off the swinging planks.  At one time we thought we would have to rescue Cecil as he was nimbly stepping across a netted structure when his dangling pulley and karabiners got tangled in the netting, fortunately he managed to extricate himself. Also zipping from tree to tree meant a huge thwack on a padded trunk and I nearly toppled backwards off the landing platform, but it all added to the adventure.  Climbing up the cargo net and hauling up the ropes on ends of the slides did mean I had some aching shoulders the next day.  

It was worth it though, and I felt it was really good value and thanks to the organisers.

Gliding -  Lynne and Peter Toomey 

It was a beautiful sunny evening when we arrived at Husbands Bosworth Airfield.  A perfect time to take to the skies and, as we viewed the gliders, we wondered which ones were ours.   Gliding releasing the tow line
During the war the airfield was used for bombers.  Imagine seeing a squadron of Lancasters and gaggles of Wellingtons taking off on the main runway all day and night.  There are some buildings, now derelict, from that period that can still be seen.   
We were put into two flying time slots – 5pm and 6pm.  There were two different forms of getting airborne, one a static winch launch (which took you to around 1,000 ft) and the other aircraft tow, (around 2,000 ft), and hence up in the sky for longer. 
Everybody seemed elated after their flight with comments like “fantastic”, and “terrific”.  Most people wanted to go up again and possibly would after now qualifying for a temporary 3 months membership with the Club.  
Looking down on a clear evening (no volcanic ash here) the terrific views could be seen for some miles – Gordon (Aero tow) said he saw the old Express Lift tower in the south to Leicester in the north.  
There was much banter from the ladies about eloping with the pilot for the weekend to France until they realised that without engines they would not make it over the channel, so in the end decided to return to base.  
Last but not least to go up was Cecil the young seadog.  He was persuaded to swap his lifejacket for a parachute!  
Thank you to Pauline for organising this event and Janette for deputising on the evening.

Wherry Weekend (or the Werry Lucky Twelve)  - Jane Mills

The cold windswept weekend started off on the Friday for some of us, others arrived on the Saturday. Friday evening began with a Thai green curry, imported especially from Thailand, well not really, I made it and Jenny supplied the strawberries, meringues and cream…. Yum Yum.  A good start to a weekend and a good evening was had by all.
On the Saturday we had a chilled out morning pottering around Potter Higham and then a trip to the museum that tells the story of the Fens and the Wherry workers, who had very hard lives living in cramped conditions with their wives and children. They must have been tiny, tiny people as the beds were very short. In the afternoon a walk in the blustery wind around the fields of Potter Higham was enjoyed by all and sundry. The rain kept off until fifteen minutes before we finished and the happy band was drenched on returning to their cars………… Boo Hoo…
In the evening we had a nice pub meal where we were seated on one round table with a revolving centre, much to the amusement of the man who played with it non stop (as they do!). The food was good, the service was………. well, they were busy….. and paying was good fun with Cecil getting a bill for £67… That was soon sorted, as the men admitted to having a few more pints than they first let on…
The big day dawned…………….
Norfolk Wherry sailing on the BroadsWe were up with the lark to prepare the picnic ready for us and the crew; after all we must keep them sweet. Unfortunately it was still cold and windy, or was that the beans I ate last night??
We arrived at the appointed time to find the crew already there and working hard to get The Wherry ready for our Adventure. After an initial safety chat, we sailed out to the sound of a lone cuckoo in the distance; it was lovely and quiet, only the sound of birdsong and the whirring wind.  We could not raise the sail at first and had to rely on a little rowing boat that was fitted with an outboard motor pushing us along. Standing on the front of the boat we saw all manner of wildlife, including Marsh Harriers, many Mallards, young and old and lots of grebes, with their Punk Hairstyles (Featherstyles) combed and gelled to the nines.
When we lent a hand (guess who was first to help, Cecil, well I never) to raise the sail and all the other people on the boats took pictures of us (not the boat of course) and we obligingly posed for the camera. It was like being a film star. Perhaps I had at last been an overnight success. ;o)) It became too windy so we gave a hand scandalising……….  Well you know that lady over there well, she……. Oh, No….  it means to partly lower the sail. We also used the quant to, well, push the boat along, it was fun to literally ‘put your shoulder into it’ for a time, but it could not be fun doing this for a job, day after day.
We sailed from Ludham up to Cockshoot Dyke and then on to Ranworth Broad, where we stopped for a picnic lunch and most of the party went on to dry land for an hour, while I stayed and attempted to find the chocolate that people had brought. They hid it well as I did not find any. So I fed the ducks instead. Unfortunately I used Jenny and Lucy’s tea (sorry) but the dicky birds enjoyed it. We then returned to Ludham, again to the pleasant sound of the cuckoo.
A Wherry good weekend was had by all. Sorry to the people who did not manage to get a place this year.  It will be well worth waiting for.
Many many thanks to Jenny for organising such an exhilarating weekend.

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White Water Rafting - Carole Dupont

White water rafting at NorthamptonI wasn’t quite sure about this to start with, so being a bit of a wimp I took a wander down to the centre before I committed myself. I watched them go around once and thought; no problem, I can handle this, and went home!  Had I have stayed maybe I wouldn’t have been so sure of myself. Thank goodness I didn’t!
First we were briefed on all the do’s and don’ts, and then clothed ourselves appropriately. When all the chat was done, we carried our boats to a wide stretch of water. (That bit worried me the most. The depth of the water, not carrying our boats!)  And we practise our paddling techniques. “Then to the course.” We went around it once, good fun and quit easy. Little did we know we were being lulled into a false sense of security? Each time got harder. On the third and last time they kept us at the bottom of the course under the biggest rapid in hopes we would fall out!  Just as we were feeling smug with ourselves for not taking a dunking, and tittering at our friends in the other boat for doing just that. (Although we did have one little mishap which we are keeping very low key!!)  They made us all get out of our boats and on to the bank, so we could dive into the rapid and be swept half way across the river, choking and spluttering!  As if that wasn’t enough, we had to shoot the rapids, on our backs, minus our boats!  I would never have done that in my youth. Who would have believed I would start at 50, give or take an ish or two!  I’ve had a fantastic time. The weather was perfect, all the 50+ crowd were good company, the guys at the centre were all very nice and made it great fun, and the guy on our boat was a bit of a hunk as well, which made it all the better. Oh to be thirty again!! What more could a girl ask for, on her first time with the club

See more white water rafting  pictures

Stamford Street Rally - Christine Wakefield

Looking for clues during Stamford street rally 31 intrepid explorers started with clues and clipboards in hand from the car park at Stamford, to explore this wonderful ancient town. We were split into teams of 5(ish) and it only took 100 yards for my team to lose one of our seekers. He did turn up for the food at the end though!!
We set off on our trip around the town spending far too much time looking for the first clues along the first road, after that we entered the mindset of the clue mistress and were away. The trick was to look every way that was possible, divide into sub teams and double check each other. That sounds an almost impossible task but when you are exploring such a historic place you want to do this anyway.

One of the problems that arose was the heat, we were vying to stay on the shady side of the road as we searched, as the morning went on it got hotter and hotter, the coolness of the Almshouses courtyard was a blessing in more ways than one. It was another sight that was tucked away behind a street not to be missed.

There were clues that had us stumped and it was good to see other teams ‘stuck’ in the same place, there were others that were right under our noses and took a while to ‘click’. The one that caused the most controversy was theChilling out after the rally monkey/lions on top of one of the buildings.
Towards the end our team ‘The trilbies’ stopped for coffee and cakes when we decided that the heat was just too much to contend with. We then continued and arrived back at the muster area to be met by most of the others going for ice-cream.

After lunch of picnic or hostelry the sheets were scored. Ann was taking no prisoners her answers were FINAL this time, only a couple of dissenters tried to argue without much success. There were two joint winning teams with 24 out of 30. But we were pipped at the post when the two papers were remarked, boo hoo.  It was too hot for chocolates anyway!
Thanks go to the other members of my ‘nearly’ winning team, who ensured that we all had a really enjoyable time.

The day was finished off with boules, football and croquet for some of us; others couldn’t be bothered to move from the shade of a very big tree we had gathered under and then it was time to rush home to watch England lose the football.
Thanks go to Ann and Carol for a wonderful day - can’t wait for the next one!

Caving in Derbyshire - Tricia and Mike Booth

Underground lunch stop in Bagshaw CavernAn early start was needed on this fine Saturday morning to meet with our leader Fay at the rendezvous point, which just happened to be a café.  After a hearty breakfast we followed Fay to Bagshawe cavern, which was once worked for its lead by children some as young as nine who chiselled away in the dark but once they got the rhythm going the candle was blown out due to the high cost. When lead went into decline it was opened as a show cave but it is now is only open to a limited few at a cost of £2 per head.

 After the usual struggle to get into the funny suit off we set through the mystery door leading us to a very different world where stalagmites and stalactites join up over many years to form columns and minerals make weird and wonderful shapes and colours which are hidden from all but a few. We came to the dungeon or “Pot” which is a vertical shaft where the water goes to the next level when the cave is in flood but no fear of that today and on through narrow wet and muddy passages to the Gallery but no paintings to be found hanging on these wall only the force thatnature has left us to marvel at. For a few of us that ventured nearer the sump,Tired muddy but still cheerful which is where the water enters the cave system, we heard the roar of the water but it was getting very narrow so we returned to join the rest of the group to make the return journey up steps and back through the door to the sunshine of Derbyshire.

 We all wondered “how are were ever going to get out of these suits?” because they seem to have shrunk but with a bit of help from a handy person we all managed it and off we went back to the café for afternoon tea, cakes and a talk about the day’s event. The people who had been apprehensive about going underground wished they had done it sooner so, if you get the chance, go for it because it is nothing like you imagine.
Thank you Fay for stepping in at the last minute to take us on this underworld adventure and many thanks to the 50+ and Jane for making it possible.  Thank you also to Adam for a glimpse of the teddy bear suit - I bet you didn’t have as much fun with the youngsters as you would have had with us! Hope the suits were not too dirty but there was no handy stream to wash them in this year!

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Petanque Evening - Caroline Cardozo 

Petanque at the White Hart LyddingtonIf you have never been to The White Hart in Lyddington you have missed a treat, especially when a band of 50 pluses gathered to play Petanque on a very warm July evening.
Thirty-six players were split into 6 groups of 6 and away to the pistes we went; apparently this is the name for the courts/alleys. The 6 then became 2 teams of 3 competing against each other.
This would be my third time and I think I have just managed to work out how to play and how to score – not bad eh?  It primarily consists of throwing two steel balls per player at a cosh (a small red ball) nearest ball, or balls if they are from the same team, score the points – simple or what.
After a lot of noisy debating and raucous outbursts we all returned to the restaurant for another noisy debate on who ordered what, then hush descended as we sat down to a very welcome two course meal with wine, coffee and sweeties.

A lovely evening, thanks Janette for organising it so well, especially the weather.

Canal Trip - Anne Dodson

Navigating the locksWould it, wouldn’t it… rain that is, the clouds were very low and very black as Linda, Cecil and I left Raunds early one Sunday morning. Oh dear they were moving towards Sileby, where we were heading to pick up the canal boat.
But, with Linda’s foot firmly on the accelerator, we left them behind and didn’t see them for the rest of the day!
However, it was a bit breezy when we got there and the first person we saw was Dennis, hugging himself to keep warm, hadn’t brought a jumper had you Dennis?
  Captain Paul was on duty, guiding us to our boats, there were a set of three, Rumble, Fumble and Jumble. We had two of them, Jumble and Fumble.
Fortunately, even with Cecil on board no-one took a tumble! 
All the food stacked neatly away and after a little tuition and with one of our chaps at the helm we were off!   After about 25 yards we stopped. Lock No 1!
With about 20 people pushing and pulling we were soon safely through that and we were really on our way.
group photoThe sun came out and remained out for the rest of the day.
In true 50+ tradition (after Shropshire) the kettle was on and out came the cake. A choice of two! Gliding along the River Soar at 9.30 on a Sunday morning with coffee and cake… perfick!
Considering the amount of locks we went through, we made good time and decided we had time to explore a little further up river than had been planned.
Delicious lunch on board and it was homeward bound.
We moored at Watermead Country Park on the way back, a lovely country park on the edge of Leicester.   On a platform in the lake is a statue of the last scene from King Lear, and legend has it that he was buried in a chamber under the River Soar.  However, our culture vulture 50+ lot were more interested in climbing all over a replica of a mammoth, for a group photo, much to the amusement of other visitors!
It was a lovely, lovely day and we arrived back at the boatyard just on time.

Thanks to Paul for arranging a great day out.

Disc Golf - Peta Jellis

What a daft idea!  Golf with a frizz bee!  Just the activity for the 50+ Adventure Club!  Fourteen members travelled to Leamington Spa and fortunately, the rain mostly held off whilst we took a couple of hours going around the course admiring the wildlife en route.  One team was so hopeless that they stopped keeping score of the number of throws they took to get the frizz bee into the cage!  No names of the person whose frizz bee ended up in the top of a tree and in the brook: sufficient to say that this particular gentleman usually gets wet if we have a water activity!  The other two teams diligently kept records and Trevor was the clear winner at 47 throws over 9 holes – the majority of us took over 70!  At one point I thought my life was in real danger: Ann’s frizz bee did not go in the direction intended and hovered above my head.  I dodged to the left – so did the frizz bee.  I dodged to the right – so did the frizz bee!  I began to wonder if it was controlled by aliens!  We did see some “professionals” practising for the national championships (they have international championships too!).  They “cheated” by polishing their frizz bee before every throw.  But I don’t think such tactics would have helped any of us!

Barbeque Evening

Barbeque at Irchester Country Park
Quiet - men at work!!

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Segway Racing - Ian and Madelin Atkinson Mick segway racing

segway racingThe event was held at Whilton Mill on Sunday 1st August attended by about 30 intrepid members. As new members we received a great welcome to the club by everyone and they have even allowed us to do this event write up!
The weather played its part being dry and warm but not too hot and we learnt to ride the Segway in a lovely green meadow. We all found the balancing really strange initially but once you relaxed and didn’t concentrate too hard it was really fun. The organisers set up a slalom, ‘figure of 8’ weaving, oval track and cross-country routes for us to try with groups moving from one event to the next.
The biggest problem our group found with riding the Segway was when it achieved top speed it started to tilt back and so after a bit of practise they were easier to ride on the faster settings.
After a few practise runs we were timed on 3 of these – for picnic bragging rights! Debs and Joe were at one with their Segways winning most of the ‘bubbly’, along with Trev R who managed to get Debs off the top step of the podium for the ‘figure of 8’  – but all the participants were winners, even those who took a tumble, Joe – corner cutting, Cecil – crunching cones and Mick – well, he said it wasn’t his fault……yeah!
Everyone at the picnic agreed the event was a big success and a great time was had by all of us.

Wakeboarding - Judith Sampson

Only the brave or theWakeboarding up and running foolhardy signed up for this one!
First of all you struggle into the wet suit and then you have your dry land instruction which involves lying on your back with your knees tucked under your chin. Then it's into the boat and out onto the water where you lie on your back with your knees tucked under your chin (I kid you not). The boat engine revs, there is an enormous pull on your arms and you are up and away - if your name is Tim, that is- or alternatively face down in the water for the rest of us. Still there was lots of time to persevere and to finally skim over the water, even if it was only for a short distance.
It was great fun, an absolutely must-do activity. Don't miss it if it comes around again!

Wakeboarding - (from a spectator’s viewpoint) - Anne Dodson

Grendon Lakes was the venue for this activity one Saturday morning in August.
Six very brave people turned up to do this (7 with me but I’m not brave!) I had a seat in the lovely power boat!
After struggling into their wet suits, one by one the adventurers were taken out into the middle of the lake.  They were instructed to climb onto the back of the boat and had their feet pushed into the two shoes that are fixed to the wakeboard. You have to have universal feet for this! I still haven’t fathomed out how this worked. However, when they fell into the water some of the feet came out and others didn’t!
Judith up and runningSo, we were ready to go, the first victim was all set, I was sitting comfortably in the boat with the camera ready to get the first shot of Cecil rising from the deep! Snap, there was Cecil with his face in the water and because I had told the driver that Cecil was our oldest member, I think he panicked and we were back with Cecil in about 2 seconds. I nearly ended up in the water with him!
We had one exceptional wake boarder, Tim, who by the end of his session was flying across the lake holding on with one hand. Two of the girls managed to actually get up for a while.  Our driver was very impressed with all of our brave people. He said that even the young men who do this sport only manage to wakeboard for about 20 minutes, because it is so tiring on the shoulders and arms. Ours were booked for 40 min slots.  The majority found it totally exhilarating.
Me, I had a lovely time in the boat, I ended up almost as wet as them but I have to say that I am full of admiration for all of them for having a go! Well done!

Sailing - Sally Shone

We met at Grafham Water Centre, Perry, Huntingdon at about 9.45 am on a blustery August day, following the torrential rain and thunderstorms that we were subjected to the day before.  It was alleged that the wind speeds at Grafham were blowing at 30 mph and there was some debate as to whether or not the instructors would let us novices loose on the lake.  However, all finally went according to plan and we donned wetsuits, waterproof jackets and shoes and walked down to the ‘beach’ to be given our instructions on how to set sail.  Eight of us teamed up in pairs and got into the fun boats (two person fibreglass boat) and happily tacked and jibed along a stretch of water, marked by two buoys.   Our instructor weaved in and out on his motor boat ensuring that we did not come to any harm.   The rest of the club members took off in a motorised vessel, enjoying the waves and fresh air.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  Our thanks to Paul Rogers for organising the event and to Ann Cook who deputised on the day.

Power Boating - (on the sailing day) - Carol Dupont

I am not trying for my own column, but due to the other guys in the boat not wishing to do a write up I am landed with it again!! So here goes.
When it was eventually decided that the weather was OK to sail in, we went off into our two individual groups.  Three other guys and I (my friends outside the club say I fixed that on purpose!) opted for the Whammel, which was a six person sail boat.  After some time trying to put the sail up and then trying to get the thing out, our lady instructor decided it was still too windy, and suggested we went on the power boats instead.  I don’t know why I was concerned, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We had a power boat and an instructor between two and we went zipping off like Bay Watch, I just wish I had a few other of their attributes!  Our lady who was very nice, convinced us that the boat wouldn’t capsize, so I decided when offered, to have a drive, but soon gave it back when I realised we weren’t going nearly as fast and it wasn’t half as much fun!!  I will definitely do that again next chance I get!
Raft Building - Bernard Hogben  
Two teams had a challenge to build a raft and once made, have a race on them.
They could choose from the materials of plastic containers, ropes and two different lengths of poles. Once built both crews were to paddle out to a moored Whammel, touch it and then return. Both designs were quite different to each other. After 20 minutes it was time to launch the rafts. It was pretty obvious that raft A was of a superior build and won the first race clearly.
We were allowed 15 minutes "tinkering" time to change things if needed. Raft A crew were very happy with theirs but Raft B was completely rebuilt with guidance from the instructors. So, race two began and Raft B got their revenge quite comfortably. Building was a challenge but paddling into a 25 knot headwind was also.  Great fun, enjoyed by all.

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The group outside Glaramara

Adventures in the Lakes -  Diane West

An intrepid group of 30 travelled north to enjoy a glorious time at Glaramara.
Everyone from the 'first timers' to the 'old timers’ agreed it had been wonderful; comfortable accommodation; terrific food - especially the LS and the STP!! - and really exciting activities. Of course we got wet but did we mind? No! Actually we had several events in sunshine which enhanced everything. Good camaraderie; lots of innuendo and laughs (no names mentioned) and a rewarding weekend.
Thanks especially to Jane and Dennis for organising everything so wonderfully well. Much appreciated.  

Ode to The Lakes  -  Art’n’Maggie Marshall

Clippityclip, clippityclack, there goes the shoulder, there goes the back
Clippityclip, clippityclop, there goes the knee and down I drop
No pain no gain you cry as one, so carry on and have some fun
Shoot an arrow, climb that tree, see if you’re as good as me
Sail a boat, walk up a hill, the air so fresh, breathe your fill
Slide through the water, drop down the ghyll, giggle and titter it’s such a thrill
Scale a mountain then drop back down; it doesn’t take long to lose your frown
So thanks to Jane for arranging this; the weekend once again was bliss
Sheila puzzling it out
Mike showing his skills at archery                                        Janette after the tree climb

Upstream ghyll scramble - Janet Kemp  

With the sun shining on the righteous (and the members of the 50+ Adventure Club) ten of us set out to tackle the wild tortuous river on our up-stream venture. (OK, so it might have been a little more sedate than that).  With much intra-group support, including providing soft landings for those slipping on the slimy rocks, John almost severing a finger (slight exaggeration), Dennis damaging his shoulder and Janette nearly chipping a finger nail (no exaggeration), we overcame all obstacles to reach the impassable water-fall. (Although I think Peter secretly questioned Dan’s use of that particular adjective – as with what I now recognise as typical 50+ spirit, I think he’d have made a valiant attempt to continue on.) All in all, it was an excellent morning – so many thanks to our guide Dan (known to some as Stan!) and to Jane for organising the whole weekend.

Rock Climbing  -  Lynn Lewis-Nichol

abseiling downTrish on the way upThe August sun shone brightly as an intrepid band of would be mountaineers set out to conquer the sheer cliff of Woden’s Face. Wes, the guide, set up three short lines and one long. Then he took us through the drill upon which each of our lives would depend:” V, knee, one, two, three”. Les the Lithe, Carter volunteered to demonstrate the art of scaling the wall and scrambled up it with dextrous speed. Inspired with confidence by the evident ease with which he had assaulted the rock face, we all set to follow his example, with varying degrees of success. Having flexed their muscles on the short climbs, Steve “Spiderman” Pelling, Richard “Rockman” Owen, Tony “Tenzing” Kightley and Les the Lithe went on to tackle the long climb. Unfortunately, the reach required on this climb, meant only those with gangly arms in the female contingent had any hope of success.  Tricia and Carole made valiant efforts but were forced to retire, bruised and battered. As Maggie cheered all on, Ann “Armstrong Jones” Cook captured the ascents and descents on camera and Jane M vowed to go into training for next year!  

Viking Boating - Mary Owen 

viking boat on Derwent WaterThe weather was sunny with a gentle breeze – just the day for a spot of sailing on Derwentwater.  We were kitted out with waterproofs and life-jackets – not quite Viking warrior wear but very practical – before walking to the jetty to climb aboard our vessel for the morning.  ‘The Gift of the Gael’ was just as I imagined a Viking boat to look like, except a lot smaller seating only 10.  We were told it is a replica of a genuine Viking Longship.  Having sailing experience, Cecil was given the job of helmsman for our journey and the rest of us were seated and put in charge of various ropes that were joined to the sail via pulleys. At certain points when the boat needed turning, Cecil gave the command and we either pulled on our rope or slackened it off! You can probably tell I’m not a seadog and was quite happy to sit back and enjoy the views and the peace and quiet of being on the water.  Our Viking Chief, John, passed on some of his knowledge of the Vikings in the Lake District and explained how the boat came into being and how it ended up on Derwentwater.  All-in-all a very enjoyable morning.  Thanks Jane! And thanks to Cecil for getting us back in one piece!

Abseiling - Richard Stanley

AbseilingTen of us set out on a warm, sunny afternoon with our instructor, Dan and his Australian helper, I think herabseiling name was Sheila.  They set up the safety gear, and after about 25 minutes, we climbed up to the top of the rock (100 ft at least) to start the abseil.
Les was first over the top and was excellent at guiding us all down.  Arthur and I pretended to get very scared as we were very high up on a narrow ledge but Lynn helped by holding our hands until it was our turn to go.  I reached the bottom – legs aquiver!  Diane rewarded us all with a sweetie and a pat on the head.  The more adventurous of us went up for a second go (guess which option I took?)  Great fun and laughter.

Downstream Ghyll Scramble -  Steve Pelling

Gorge or ghyll scrambling has to be experienced to appreciate how much fun it is.  Our initiation to the ghyll was to stand in the shallows, fill our safety helmets with the cold water and then to place them back on our heads!  Once we were nicely soaked, off we went down the stream.  Wes, our excellent instructor led the way and showed us the technique for each gully as we reached it. 
We started with a gentle slide into a pool of about two feet of water.  The water is stone cold and it takes your breath away when you go in, but the fleecy suits we were wearing soon warmed us up (a bit).  Each gully and drop then became more exhilarating as we slid, dropped and plunged into the various pools on the way down the ghyll. 
As well as the fun aspect, it was great to be able to see the work of nature right up close.  Only from in the stream can you see just how the water and gravel have worn the rock into fantastic variety of shapes, a real David Attenborough experience!
When we got to the end, there was a last daredevil jump of about ten feet into a narrow but deep pool.  This is nicknamed the washing machine and you had to stand on the edge of the rock and leap in feet first, where Wes would promptly haul you out again. 
I would like to have carried on all day but it was time then to head back to the minibus and return to Glaramara and the excellent dinner that awaited us.
I’d like to finish by thanking Jane and Dennis for organising a fantastic weekend for all of us and look forward to next year.

Canoeing  - Maggie Marshall

10 intrepid canoeists plus instructor set off to cross Derwentwater in 2 pairs of canoes. Arriving at Squirrel Nutkin island we had a brief sortie into the woods to see the damage caused by inconsiderate campers felling branches of mature trees. Returning to our canoes we battled with stronger currents, our small group lagging behind as the instructor was in the other boat. Luckily we were rescued by a passing speedboat (driven by a 6 year old - under supervision) who towed us in so we finished in style, if slightly soggy!

Go Ape (or No prunes for the Apes) - Jane Mills

Go Ape in the Lake DistrictIt was my second time on Go Ape and WOW, I did enjoy it! The first time I found I was very nervous and could not trust the harnesses and it was my first event with the club and I did not know many people.  But that was 5 years ago and my confidence has risen and I found this time much more fun than scary.
We first had to put harnesses on and, me, being a little (lot) on the tubby side had an extra harness, which I was bolted into (kinky). We did the first t Tester set to practise our safety skills with the instructor looking closely on. After this we had the option of not carrying on and could have our pennies back if we did not continue, which I thought was good of them.
On to the first real and most strenuous set.  We had a small amount of climbing on a cargo net, but there were always HHP’s around to help if we struggled. This was also the first high zip wire and stepping off the platform takes some courage, but, as I said to myself, ‘Jane you have to just remember that you are safe as long as you remember the rules. Red to Red, the Blue goes through and the Golden rules ‘always stay attached’.’ I sat into the harness, stepped off and Weeeeeeee! It was fantastic. I landed on my back, as for some reason I always turn round, and lay giggling for some time on the huge bank of bark chipping that is there to prevent you hurting yourself. Next time I MUST remember not to wear a white fleece!
Half way round my breakfast prunes began to do their stuff.  I carried on to the end of the second set, then went to be unbolted and go to the loo. I soon caught up with my troupe of ape friends and carried on to the next set, more for fun and feats of daring. Then at the end of each a long zip wire -step off the platform Jane and Wheeeee!
Many, many, many thanks to Jane T for all the hard work she, again, put into this wonderful weekend.
Come on all you new members you must get in and book early as soon as this event comes out next year.

A Monday morning walk in The Lakes  - Ann Cook

On the way to WatendlathEveryone was setting off on their own adventure on this slightly damp last day on our trip to the Lake District.  Five of us decided to opt out of the Go Ape & Via Ferrata (events mastered at various other times) and take a not so gentle stroll up a ‘mountain’.  Having been dropped off by the side of Derwentwater we climbed up to the Lodore Falls and passed into the magical world of a hidden valley, following a river along to Watendlath. By then  the weather was getting a bit damper so, of course, it was time for a mug of tea at a very convenient tea shop - try finding one of those up a great big tree or in a slate mine!  Lunch was in a nice dry spot under some trees before our descent into Rosthwaite and back to Glaramara for a well earned rest before the weather turned really nasty

Via Ferrata    Steve Pelling

Via Ferrata Honister Pass100% fear, 100% safety.  At one point, a helicopter flew by.  About 100 ft below us! 
You spend a lot of time on a rocky path, close to the edge, but always clipped on to the safety line.  There are some scrambles over larger rocks and when the going is more difficult, steel footholds have been embedded into the rock to form a ladder.
Then there’s the scary bit!  The path ends andclimbing on the via ferrata rock face turns 90º left over a 100 ft drop.  There are plenty of steel foot and hand holds so just a matter of psyching yourself up for it!  After this bit, things get less scary but it’s still a hard climb and scramble to the top of the mountain (Fleetwith Pike).  I was well puffed when we arrived at the summit but there’s lot of fresh air up there so recovery is quick.
After walking back down on the easy side of the mountain, we paid a visit to the shop to buy a coveted Via Ferrata T Shirt.  I was that proud, I didn’t take mine off for two days!
PS  Don’t let the scary bits put you off, it’s great fun.

Canoeing On The Nene - Heather Hewitt

canoeing on the Nene
using the portages on the Nene

Twenty two of us gathered on a fine Saturday morning to experience a trip down the Nene. We collected our buoyancy aids, had the necessary safety briefing, then we were off to enjoy a leisurely paddle from Ditchford Locks to Ringstead.
Eleven very comfortable canoes, complete with backrests, slipped into the water one by one and we started to make our way over the 6 mile distance.
 Our experienced members, Nigel and Pauline, accompanied us in their own canoe and acted as back up. When we reached the first lock we had to haul the canoes out at the portage landing and drag them over land on little trolleys to re-enter the water at the next portage just after the lock. Our gallant male members helped our ladies with the heavy canoes during this manoeuvre and also at the  following two locks. Two gentlemen in particular, after all their kind efforts to help, even went as far as testing the temperature of the  water for us! It may have been a rather unexpected idea judging by the shouts, but a sailor does love water, (if you know what – who - I mean!!), so I’m sure one of them enjoyed it at least.
It was really lovely, paddling gently through the water, admiring the wildlife, the waterside flowers and the abundance of blackberries. It was idyllic.
Thank you very much 50+ Club once again for a great day!

Trip To Camden Lock, London  - Jenny Haynes

Camden MarketA party of 12 travelled from Bedford railway station to St Pancras, from where on a fine Sunday morning we meandered our way to the canal museum which was built around 1863 as an ice house.  We learned much about the history of canals and their use during yesteryear.
Continuing our journey on foot along Regent’s Canal to the bustling cosmopolitan Camden Market, we were assailed by the sounds and smells of the world.  One stall fascinated us, in which people could have a health treatment by placing their hands and feet in tanks of water containing well fed fish, which ate the dead skin off recipients’ extremities!
Despite the variance of stalls, we were hungry by now and spoilt for choice by foods of the world.  We settled at last for Chinese and eating on Vespa scooter seats – a photo shoot was necessary before sauntering off to a REAL tea shop with teas of the world.
We relocated with the other group, took the river bus narrow boat on a trip from Camden via Regent’s Park Zoo to Little Venice.  After re-tracing our steps and stopping for a very welcome drink we congratulated ourselves on a wonderful day out.
As a new member and my first activity with the group, I had a great time.
  Many thanks to Anne for organising a super day.

Rifle And Pistol Shooting -  Nesta Hall

rifle shootingpistol shootingManor Park Farm in Woodford was the venue for the Rifle and Shooting event.  We were welcomed on arrival with very tasty refreshments.
  Two groups of six people were deployed, one to the rifle range, the other to the pistol range.  The rifle range had two gun positions. One a normal rifle and the other fitted with a telescopic sight.  We were instructed in how to handle the guns, load and fire. We were allotted five pellets for each gun. Success varied but there were a couple of bulls eyes.  I found the gun with the telescopic sight impossible - I was unable to get the target board in the cross hairs - trees, fences, hay bales, in fact everything but the target.
The pistols highlighted the more experienced.  We were given ten pellets for each of two types of pistol.  In my group there were a couple of sharp shooters - I did wonder if bank raiding was their hobby.
We all enjoyed ourselves very much and would like to thank Paul for arranging the event. 

Orienteering  - Gill Johnston

orienteering at barnwell country park32 people gathered at Barnwell Country Park for a morning of orienteering.  The weather had been wet but held off nicely as groups of four set off to find all the cunningly placed clues.  We didn't run (perhaps we should have) and everyone was back within one and a half hours.  One or two questions eluded most groups but the Mad Hatters missed only one and were suitably rewarded with bottles of wine.  The slowest were the Man Beaters who won a wooden spoon each, presumably to help them beat the men next time! Thanks for arranging this fun morning Jane.

Multi-Activity Day At Grange Farm

Off Road Driving - Les Carter

My final event of what had been a really fantastic day was Off Road Driving.Along with Tina and Michael we were introduced to our instructor John (who drives in off road competitions) and led to a Ford Maverick four wheel drive vehicle. Tina drove from the farm to the first course and after we had instruction on how to drive on the course it was time to experience the thrill of driving the humps and hollows of the course. Feet off all pedals at the top of the humps and allow the natural momentum and gravity to take you down the other side. After we had all had a go it was time to move on to the second course - this one being steeper and with tighter turns and greater side slope angles. Due to the drizzle and splash pools, this made the course a little tricky, but was good for testing our nerves and skill (or lack of) as the case may be. Then all too soon it was back to base. A truly great experience.

Sincere thanks to Janette for organising all the events and to Pauline for standing in on the day

Quad Biking - Keith Merrick

Quad biking at Grange FarmIt all started innocently as the instructor led nice and sedately along the road with five of us following, l was bringing up the rear. I had not realised, but the other four were having a competition for the silliest thing to do on a quad! As soon as we turned off the road one turned the handle bars the wrong way and disappeared across a ploughed field. A little while later, another hit the throttle instead of the brake and somersaulted into a fence with such force that her helmet got stuck in the fence. The best though was L and J (names omitted to protect the guilty). At the deepest, dirtiest, muddiest pond, L stopped, with J close behind. Then L hit the throttle, churning up the water and the deluge went all over J - just like you see in the films - think standing behind an elephant with diarrhoea.
Oh, we had such fun, thanks to Janette and Pauline.

Clay Pigeon Shooting  -  Carole Houghton

There were 8 of us taking part so we decided to have a 50p bet each – winner takes all.
We were split into 2 groups – 4 men and 4 ladies.  We were shown how to hold the gun and given safety instructions.  Les asked if we could shoot real pigeons if they came into view (typical).  We were told “NO!”
We started shooting; it was great fun, especially when we hit the clays.  A cormorant flew past – it was very tempting, but it survived to fly another day! 
Shooting over, the winners were the 2 Crackshot Caroles, from the ladies team and Mike the Magnificent from the men’s team.  Girl Power rules!
Can’t wait to beat the boys again.

Blindfold Driving   - Trev Roberts

I’m not sure what we all expected but we arrived on a cold and damp windy morning at Grange Farm reception to check in and get organised for the day’s events. The coffee and biscuits were a nice start.
Blindfold driving - Les tries to cheatFor our event we were led to a field where we gazed in awe at our transport.  I am not sure what everyone expected to be driving but the awesome power of the beast that stood before us sent shivers down our spine and raised hairs on our necks. Les was actually so frightened that he had to cover his eyes, having done so …… Debs decided that this might be a good time to start praying.
While the first two victims - Les and Debs - prepared themselves for what was to come, the rest of us stood motionless and silent, well clear of the beast of Grange Farm.
We were clearly not the only members to be disturbed by the beast.  A number of group members were witnessed leaving the farm at high speed on whatever transport they could find. Quad bikes could be seen racing towards the exit while others leaped into a range rover. Shot gun fire could be heard moments later and a land rover was seen racing across the adjacent field followed by the fleeing members on their quad bikes!
We all bravely took our turn and faced our nemesis but it was clearly too much for us all. Even Cecil, our fearless warrior and slayer of beasts completely lost control, while Carole’s arms flailed in a desperate bid to tame the beast, it was hopeless and Cecil was last seen heading towards Stamford at a lung bursting 4 mph, such is the power of the beast of Grange Farm.
All of the members on this event had tried - and failed - to slay
The Beast of Grange Farm
But we had some fun trying.

Autumn Walk -   Janice Taylor

Bradgate Park autumn walk
Turning off the alarm on Sunday morning on 3 October, I looked out to see the rain, wondering “will the walk still go ahead and did I really want to go Bradgate Park?” but as I had arranged to travel with Sandra and Ray (also new members) I thought I had better make the effort.  After loading the car with boots and wet weather gear we set off.
Arriving at the car park, seeing everyone kitted up in their walking gear ready for the off, we were met by a lady holding a clip board, saying she had to “tick us off”; we then asked if the walk was really going ahead – she answered “of course, we never cancel, we are an adventure club!”.  With that, we booted up and prepared to walk.
We joined the second group of walkers, going at a fast pace, crossing the road, over a stile heading for the woods, avoiding the fresh cow pats.
Pouring with rain, we carried on regardless, trying to keep up with the leaders thinking coffee stop would be soon.
If only the sun had shone and the deer had come out to play, the day would have been so much more enjoyable.  At last, we saw the coffee shop – oh, what a disappointment – it was closed!
We then headed back to the car park, whilst some took a detour hoping to see more deer.  After getting out of our wet clothes, we headed for the Wheatsheaf Pub and really enjoyed our meal.
To sum up our first outing with you all – it was enjoyable and we look forward to seeing you all gain but we realise that we are fair weather walkers!

Going To The Dogs -  Denise Sayer

I’d joined the Club months ago but this was the first time I had dipped my toe in the water and tried for an event.  So on a cold October Saturday evening I put in an appearance at the Pemberton Centre to be welcomed by Carol Pullen; that was the first thing she said; the second was “Of course you will write an article”!!  At that point it felt more like “in at the deep end” than a “toe in the water”.  My protestations about going away on holiday on Wednesday were brushed aside – so here goes.
Gone to the dogsTwenty two of us were going to the Dogs at Peterborough; the coach arrived on time and we picked up people en route.  At the Stadium we were given a programme and tickets for 2 bets, 2 drinks and a meal.  The first hurdle to overcome was that the tickets did not include reserved seating but were we downhearted - no we were not.  With the thought of standing all evening driving them on, Ann Dodson and others went on a determined hunt for seats.  Don’t know how they managed it but in the end we did have seating at a number of tables.  
For me the second hurdle was to understand how to place a bet – I’d never placed a bet in my life.  After listening to other members of the party who were obviously very experienced in this area I was still no nearer; I thought a glass of wine might help.   So, with glass of wine in hand, I studied the programme.  This could have been written in Hindustani for all I could understand it.  Then I had my Damascene experience – I found a page in the programme headed “A Beginners Guide to Tote Betting”.  Nothing could stop me now as I came to grips with such things as ‘Reverse’ Forecast, ‘All Ways’  Place, Trio and Each Way.
By the end of the evening everyone at our table was looking at the parading dogs and making such comments as “No 2 looks light on her feet” as if we had studied greyhounds all our lives!  The TV screens above the tables remained a mystery to the end; for one thing the information was flashed on an off at such a rate it was impossible to study it.  Still perhaps mastering the different bets was a successful outcome for the evening.  Some on my table had huge wins – like £19.50.  I won a modest £6.50 on Win and Place bets and guess I was down a little by the last race at 10.30. 
Talking afterwards it appears no-one won a fortune or lost one but everyone enjoyed themselves.  I think this comment sums up the evening – “I won £2.20 on the last race although of course I did bet £5”. 
I thoroughly enjoyed my first event with the club and look forward to many more.

Scalextric Evening -  Kate Taubman and Bill Traynor-Kean

scalextric eveningWednesday 20 October saw 21 would-be Jenson Buttons gathering at the Wellingborough Scalextric Club for an evening of thrills and spills and, after everyone had done a few warm-up laps, the competition began in earnest!
Every member “drove” each of the 6 cars in turn (some more skilfully than others!) ably assisted by “marshals” stationed strategically around the track ready to reposition any of the vehicles that came to grief: there were a few pile-ups and some quite spectacular spin-offs but nothing fatal for cars or drivers!
Well over half of our intrepid racers managed to bag at least one first place (the real show-offs managed several!) and, after 21 heats, the top 6 scorers mustered for the final – the atmosphere was electric (oh, no, that was the cars!).
So, the final event over, our winners were announced: double congratulations went to Barry, who was not only declared the overall champion but also achieved the fastest lap (6.352 seconds, for the statisticians amongst you) and a special mention for Art, who received the wooden spoon award!
Many thanks to Pauline (who was one of the show-offs with two firsts!) for organising such a fun evening – it’s definitely worth repeating!

Ghost Walk And Punt , Cambridge -  Richard Amos

The members of the Club who were brave enough to venture into the world of the ‘paranormal’ duly assembled at the boat yard. We were then presented with light sticks and lollypops, a good way to start an evening of being scared out of your wits.
Then the fun started, we had to get into the punts. The joints creaked and complained but we all made it, suddenly it dawned on many of us, will we ever get back up! But never fear hotties and blankets were on hand to ease the ancient limbs.
Ghostly punt on the CamThe steersmen assembled the three punts in line abreast on the river and off we went, like a very large raft. We passed Queens’ and Kings and other colleges each with a little tale of horror and intrigue imparted by the young steersmen.
The bridges of Cambridge look large and impressive from above but when one is sitting in a punt aiming at a small arch in the middle of a river they are really quite small. The outside steersmen doubted the width but were ordered to keep station, such is democracy, and through we went. We made it through several more with warnings to keep hands and elbows in.
It was time to return and the delicate turn was made with all punts keeping station together. The return journey was punctuated by the avoidance of other punts full of people willing to risk their lives in pursuit of horror. We all arrived back in one piece and the dawning of the thoughts ‘will I be able to get up!’ some were better than others; I will leave it at that. There then followed a short walk interspersed with little stories at historical points on the route. At one point on the tour we were being told the history of The Eagle pub when several voices from behind enquired “Is this the queue for Darwin?” the reply was “No he’s been dead for several years”. The membership secretary slipped up there, we could have had 10 new members.
We all then all adjourned to The Anchor Inn for a meal and a well-deserved drink. The evening was enjoyed by all and it was a change from the walks we have had before.
Anne is to be congratulated and thanked for organising a very enjoyable evening.

Tobogganing -  Elaine Pell

Had a really pleasant drive to the Snow Dome, thanks to Mary and Janice, who were really good company.  I did think that when we got there we would have the slope booked just for sole use of the 50+ group  for an hour or so.  How wrong was I.  We were herded like cattle through narrow walkways, en masse, after instructions that went over my head ‘cos I was battling with my locker.  Luckily Jane, passed some important info down the line, "left for left, right for right and both together for braking”.  Yeah right.  After being handed a plastic tray, we then made our way up the travelator which kept getting stuck (though not as often as usual – ed’s note)  I couldn’t make out where the sledges were being launched from, then after another travelator I realised there was a bend on the slope.  You’re joking, I don’t do bends.  There was no going back.  I was stuck in the middle of the herd and lemmings came to mind a few times.  After my first launch down the slope, I was hooked.  I did think the young girl near the bottom of the slope who was shouting "brake" was very brave and must have been paid danger money.  Was quite pleased with my spectacular collision with a young girl who careered right in front of me..  Serves her right for being younger and prettier than me.  We both lived to tell the tale.  Evening finished off by a very good meal at Hinckley which we eventually found after zooming up and down the A5 a few times. 

Ten Pin Bowling -  Brian (Batman) Bateman

tenpin bowling winnersAs a new member and this being my first outing, I would like to say thank you to the club members for making me most welcome.  It was a real pleasure to attend with so many greeting me as if I had been a member since the club started.
A large turnout of club members ensured that a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
Members divided into various bowling lanes, high fives and hip shaking when strikes occurred was going on all around.  Despair was shown when bowls went into the side gulleys.
As I said earlier, the event was thoroughly enjoyable; the food afterwards was very good.
Prize for the highest score of the evening went to Paul Rogers, the highest scoring lady was Judith Ellingham and Elaine Pell was the very sporting lowest scorer.
I look forward to my next event.

Jitterbug Evening - Madelin Atkinson

About 30 members met on a freezing November evening to learn the Jitterbug. Alistair and his partner told us there were several different types of Jitterbug, and we were going to learn “The East Coast Swing”.
Alistair and his partner started off slowly showing us the basic steps. After we had practised these they added a few more steps and turns - one at a time. We all had great fun practising – some of us were more adept than others at the complicated double turn!
It was an action packed learning session, and Alistair explained if you take regular lessons the instructors take things more slowly - making sure the dancers are comfortable with one set of steps before progressing to the next stage the following week.
Anyway it was great fun and we all thoroughly enjoyed the session, so if this activity is offered again – dust off your dancing shoes

Indoor Bowls - Clive Thorley

indoor bowling at desboroughIt was with some trepidation that I approached my first 50+ event, but having seen how much fun my other half Julia has been having for the last year, I decided the time had come to give it a whirl.
I picked indoor bowls not least because there was the promise of a good lunch at the end of it – and I'd seen it on TV and thought it looked do-able. Shows how much I know!
None of us could believe how long the rinks looked, and one or two of us had to reach for our spectacles. We were divided into groups of two teams of four. Then after some brief instruction (in my case from Geoff and Glenys), we were off. The woods have bias so you have to bowl away from the target jack, which took some getting used to. It was all about judging length, apparently, which we managed with varying degrees of success.  Barry turned out to be a natural, but the rest of us sent woods in all directions – including invading adjacent matches at times – and there were several references to Barnes Wallis and his bouncing bombs.
I play golf at the moment, but will be looking for something to replace it, once my swing deserts me completely. On this performance, I'm not sure that I shall be turning to indoor bowls…
Thanks to Jane and Dennis for organising the event and for their hospitality afterwards.

Laser Maze - Hilary Cornwell

laser maze group We all gathered in the foyer of Laser Maze, Wellingborough where, this being my first outing, I was made very welcome.  We went into the briefing room where the games and equipment were explained to us, which this being my first experience of a laser maze I found most useful even if I could not remember all the technicalities!  It was then off to get our ‘armour’ and guns which depicted which team we were in - Christmas/reindeer or dwarves; once inside we then had fun shooting our opposing team members and their bases scoring points for every successful target hit.
Some of us seemed far better at this than others; my major accomplishment was being able to get round the maze without getting lost forgetting sometimes that people were shooting at me!  All teams were very well balanced with each one having won at least one round, although Christmas team having the slight edge.
Half way through we all enjoyed refreshments of sausage rolls & mince pies courtesy of Pauline.  Then it was off for more fun including one game in the dark, surprisingly some of us were better at this than with the lights on.  Afterwards some of us retired to the pub for a resumé of the evening’s tactics.
A great evening was had by all and I look forward to my next event

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