PROBUS NEWS - JULY 2018
This glorious weather resulted in an unusually relaxed dress code - smart casual - for our July lunch. Guest speaker Margaret Taylor, from the National Trust, thought it "splendid."
Our Chairman, Ian Reeves, spoke enthusiastically about the good turn-out, some 55 members, the weather, and the three new members that had joined.
Please note that the Investment Group is now on a summer break - the next meeting is Thursday, September 20th, when we welcome Joe Davies, from the Guildford office of Investec.
The golf team has done rather well - please see the detailed report under Bowls & Golf. The planned bowls match against local rivals Guildford Probus has been cancelled - neither managed to raise a minimum team. We'll try harder for next year.
Our July 2018 Lunch
And a very hot day it was. How grateful we were for that bar!
Our speaker for the meeting on Thursday 5th July was Margaret Taylor. She is a retired teacher of History and has been a National Trust volunteer for the past five years. Margaret has worked at Clandon Park for most of that time and now gives talks about the property to various groups.
Her presentation started with a brief history of the house up until the time of the catastrophic fire on 29th April 2015, at which she was actually present when the fire alarm first sounded. As there had been no indication that day that a test alarm would be sounded, Margaret and her colleagues duly evacuated the building, all believing that they would be back in within minutes. As Margaret had said earlier, history would tell them otherwise!
The presentation continued with Margaret detailing the subsequent salvage operation and what was learnt about the house as a result of the fire. She also appraised us of the aims of the National Trust with regard to the renovation of Clandon Park and brought us up to date with the current state of progress. The ambitious main objective is to complete the work within four years. As Margaret said, it would wonderful if that could be achieved, but we shall see.
Before the talk, a few members were wondering what Margaret could tell them that they did not already know. In the event, they were all pleasantly surprised and, given her knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject, it was difficult not to be carried along by her presentation.
June 2018 Lunch
At our lunch on Thursday 7th June Dr Colin Summerhayes gave a talk entitled: "Antarctica's Journey: from North Pole to South Pole". Dr Summerhayes, returning to speak to us again by popular demand, was trained as a geologist and geochemist and is currently an Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University.
The presentation started with a movie of drifting continents showing how Antarctic moved from the N Pole to the S Pole over the past 500 million years (and how Scotland and England were once separated by a vast ocean). What makes the continents move? We used to talk of Continental Drift, but since 1968 it has been superseded by Plate Tectonics. Plate Tectonic theory explains how the continents move, and their relation to ocean ridges and trenches, earthquakes, volcanoes, heat flow, and mountain chains. Colin explained how different East and West Antarctica are, and why. He goes on to look at the modern volcanoes of the continent, and what may happen to Antarctica next as the climate continues to warm.
MAY 2018 LADIES' LUNCH
MESSAGE FROM YOUR CHAIRMAN
I am happy to report another highly successful Ladies Lunch last week, entertaining not only the ladies, but also the Guildford Chairman and his wife.
The event was enhanced by the arrival of further, unexpected, shinshine, which allowed many members, and guests, to socialize on our large decking area, with its lovely views, whilst enjoying their Welcome Drinks ( see photos above). A lucky lady on each table took home the beautiful Orchid Table Centre Decoration, by winning each table draw prize. I have already received a thank you letter from the Guildford Probus Chairman, expressing how much he and his wife had enjoyed their time with us.
This May Ladies Lunch follows on from the very successful Christmas Ladies Lunch, when we entertained the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford, who also sent us an extremely complementary thank you letter.
These events involve a great deal of organisation by certain memebrs of our committee, to ensure that out members, wives, partners, friends and guests thoroughly enjoy themselves. Their efforts are rewarded by seeing those attending having a great day out, and the many favourable comments received from those attending.
The speaker, Alf Turner, gave a talk entitled The NHS @ 70 - myths, truths and transformation, with particular reference to The Royal Surrey County Hospital.
Alf recently became the Managing Director of Healthcare Partners Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Surrey, which effectively owns and maintains equipment of the Hospital. His task is to drive transformation of medical equipment, servicing, contracts and procurement, somewhat neglected areas of the NHS, which can yield significant clinical and financial benefits. As he spent the earlier part of his career in the private sector with major companies such as Unilever, British Oxygen, British Gas and Serco, he is able to look at problems from a different perspective to those who have always been in the NHS.
The Royal Surrey’s main challenge, as for all other NHS trusts, is to stay within budget, despite the ever-increasing number of years of life expectancy, the problems of Social Care causing bed-blocking and the much greater expectations demanded of Secondary Care. However, other major factors impact on the Royal Surrey and, in particular, the costs of living, housing and travelling in and around Guildford. Car parking is a challenge for the hospital with a limiting factor on expansion being Highways England which does not want to see increased vehicle flows on the A3 at peak times which is already at capacity. Whilst consultants and doctors can be recruited fairly readily, the same is not true of lower-paid workers, including nurses where the Trust has had to go to the Philippines. Another factor is increasing layers of national regulation, though necessary as a result of the failures at the Mid-Staffordshire Trust, but which further the funds and resources available to the Hospital. On the positive side, there are the successes. The Royal Surrey is renowned for the care it provides and has an excellent Intensive Care Unit and is destined to become a world leader in the treatment of prostate cancer. Alf is currently involved in setting up the Prostate Project to enable the Hospital to be a Beacon Trust for Urology.
Although one hour was barely enough time for Alf to do justice to the subject of his talk, nevertheless his presentation was very well received and many favourable comments were heard from the members of the Club and their ladies.
APRIL 2018 LUNCH - WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY! SPRING IS IN THE AIR.
MESSAGE FROM YOUR CHAIRMAN
Perhaps it's because I'm just back from four weeks in Australia, or is ot the lovely weather we had for the lunch: Whatever it is, I feel there is definately "spring in the air" at Probus '83.
The lunch was very well attended. We had an excellent speaker in Jim Kemp, and the meal was particularly good.
Next month is Ladies Lunch - our chance to show off a little, and impress our lady guests. Look forward to seeing a large number of attendees for this special lunch.
Please let the organisers of the golf matches, the bowls match and the visits know if you would like to participate. The Investors Discussion Group meetings are open to all members. The next one of on April 19th. Full details of all these activites are in the latest Probus News.
March 2018 Lunch
Dr Richard Phillips, our March guest speaker, has a Chemistry PhD and, since retirement, has completed an MA in Classical Studies and is researching for a PhD in Ancient History in the Department of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology of Birkbeck College. Much of his research is focused on the Cyclades, where he and his wife spend several months each year based at their village house on the island of Antiparos. The full title of Richard’s talk was ‘Hard Rock and Soft Power: Parian marble as a source of wealth, prosperity and influence in the ancient Greek world.’ Some might have anticipated a rather dry subject, but all were carried along by Richard’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.
The small Cycladic island of Paros was remarkably prosperous during the Archaic and Classical periods of Ancient Greece. This prosperity was based predominantly on its trade in Parian marble, an exquisite material that was widely sought-after by prominent sculptors throughout antiquity for its use in the highest quality statuary and the most prestigious sanctuaries and public buildings. Many of the most beautiful statues found on the Athenian Acropolis, as well as many of those now housed in the great museums of Europe and the United States, are of Parian marble.
Some of greatest sculptors of the period were from Paros and others were drawn towards the artistic community that developed there in the late Archaic period. Artistic styles reflected the trade that Paros had established throughout the Eastern Mediterranean over many centuries. The famous marble, combined with the excellence and prominence of Parian sculptors, endowed Paros with considerable influence in the ancient Greek world, influence of a kind that we would now call ‘soft power’.
February 2018 Lunch
Our guest speaker at the February Probus ’83 lunch was John Bryant. John’s career started working on the British Rail ferries operating out of Dover and then latterly as Headteacher at a Primary School.
John’s talk began by introducing us to the Norwegian shipping line Hurtigruten which operates out of Bergen with a daily service up the Norwegian coast into the Arctic circle and round the north coast to the Russian border. The shipping line was established nearly 125 years ago and for nearly 100 of those years it was the primary means of mail communication for the 37 ports of call many of these being remote communities. Nowadays much of the mail service has been given over to airline services but the shipping route still continues to provide an important and significant mail service. John illustrated many of the ships that have served on the route.
John’s talk was amply illustrated with some excellent photographs, the last part of the talk showing us the principle ports of call and the scenery to be enjoyed en route. Bergen and Trondheim are particularly attractive towns and some time spent in these towns is very worthwhile.
January 2018 Lunch
Our speaker, David Skillan, gave us an excellent illustrated talk on Lincoln at Gettysburg. So much has been written about the subject, and all attendees probably had some knowledge of what occurred, but David managed to weave an incisive series of facts into a wonderfully entertaining 30 minutes. A good sign of appreciation is the number of questions posed – and these came thick and fast.
PROBUS NEWS - DECEMBER 2017
We've managed to obtain a lovely photo of our December speaker/performer, Margaret Watson.
She enthralled us all so much there there is no doubt she will be asked to entertain us again.
In the Festive spirit, we immediately recommended her to our sister club, Guildford Probus.
MESSAGE FROM YOUR CHAIRMAN
For those of you that missed what turned out to be one of the most interesting Ladies Lunches, with Mayor Cllr Nigel Manning and Mayoress Cllr Marsha Moseley in attendance, we were wonderfully entertained by speaker and harpist Margaret Watson.
There was more than a hint of party atmosphere present, and, unusually, a number of attendees, encouraged by what they found on the tables, managed to create just that - a truly relaxed and convivial lunch environment.
Margaret Watson will certainly be requested to come again. She not only played some exquisite pieces, during which no-one fell asleep (probably a first), but gave some truly amazing details about the harp.
The harp has 47 strings, equivalent to white notes on the piano. It has 7 pedals, each with 3 settings - equivalent to the black notes on a piano. The harp rarely stays in tune for long, the atmospheric changes playing havoc. Shostakovich once remarked that a harpist spends 90% of time tuning the harp, and 10% playing the harp out of tune!
Every harp has alternate black and red strings every 4 strings. The red being a "C" and the black an "F."
Having learned just how difficult, thereby, a harp is to both tune and play, no wonder everyone present was mesmerised by what we saw and heard.