2019 ACTIVITIES

 
Read about the activities we have been enjoying this year.

JANUARY

NEW YEAR BARN DANCE  Mike Buxton

'Great night with the Banana Band with the floor filled for just about every dance. I risked serious injury taking these pictures as everyone was dancing around a state of reckless abandon, from ‘Strip the Willow’ to ‘sets’ travelling round the dance floor and through the middle of other sets, complete mayhem.  You can see from the smiley faces that everyone enjoyed themselves.

For those who didn’t make it you missed a great night. 

 

Thanks to Jane and the committee for organising it and the Banana Band. 

 

Looking forward to next year. 

 

INDOOR RIFLE SHOOTING   Jude Ellingham & Carole Houghton

After a very short safety and instruction briefing we were set... ... “Has he gone”? said Jane, when trying to remember what he'd said - at least we all knew which way to point the rifles.

We had a choice of several paper targets, each with its own difficulty, which we clipped to our board, pressed a button and they went automatically whooshing down to the other end of the range. After shooting, another press saw them come back automatically. Impressive!

 

We loaded our magazines with 8 pellets, popped them into the rifle and took aim.

 

Wow ...those targets seemed a long way off, even in the next county, but in fact were only 25yds away. Ok, focus adjusted, safety catch off and “FIRE”.

 

Over the course of the rounds, accuracy amongst us varied, some excuses being “couldn’t keep it steady” “sight seems a bit off”, etc, etc, but we all enjoyed the session and kept our various targets as souvenirs.

 

We didn’t add up scores to see who was the outright winner, mainly because a certain organiser failed to bring along any prizes!   We were all winners on this occasion

FITSTEPS (or dancing  for those with two left feet)  Carol Pullen

FitSteps is a dance fitness programme created by Ian Waite (of ‘Strictly’ fame) with Mark Foster and Natalie Lowe and is a ballroom and Latin American workout; our teacher, Gail, is accredited to carry it out.

What attracted me to this activity was that no partner was required as we danced in lines, so off we went with our first dance - the Viennese Waltz. 

After Gail showed us our steps the music started to the honeyed tones of Dean Martin and ‘That’s Amore’ and I think we sang the song better than we danced, but it was a start. 

Next came the American Smooth, the Cha Cha Cha and finally the Pasa Doble with a great deal of hand and arm movement as if we were bullfighters! Hola!!

GOKARTING  Janet Kemp

The nonchalant nine descended upon the go kart centre, all set for a gentle drive round the track.  Not a single pair of horns in sight!  Yeh right!   As always, the competitive spirit rose to the surface and it was every man or woman for themselves.  We collected our usual set of warnings about track behaviour but remained undeterred.  Frank achieved the fastest lap in the practice and managed to retain his pole position throughout the arduous 20-minute race, with John close up on his trail but unable to take him.  The course was different from previously and was challenging in places.  All in all it was an excellent event.  Thanks to Dave for organising another successful activity.

 

CLIP’N’CLIMB AT WICKY’S

“Climbing may be hard but it’s easier than growing up”

FEBRUARY

A shame that we weren’t a larger group, but we certainly put up a good show, with most attempting the dreaded Leap of Faith.  There were timed routes, awkward routes including one which had to be climbed backwards, one which had to be climbed by inserting wooden pegs for handholds, twisty routes, etc………………………...   It was all over far too quickly and definitely needs a return visit.

QUIZ NIGHT     Brainless

We all gathered at Stanion village hall and purchased a drink to get our brains in gear, with nibbles on the table to keep up our stamina. Jane welcomed three new members to their first event, then the challenge began.

Pauline had devised interesting questions on various subjects There was lots of laughter as members shouted humorous answers to some questions, creating a great atmosphere. At the end of the evening and marks added up, the winners were, team ‘Jack High’  - Jane, Dennis, Janette & Richard.  In second place ‘Right At The Back’ Frances, Terry, Denise & Bob.

 

Third place ‘Fortuners' Pat, Barry Janet & John. Oh Dear! Our team ‘Brainless’ Marilyn, Trish, Valerie and Paul (named quite appropriately) came last, maybe we should have had a bit more beer and wine.  Thank you Pauline for organising a most enjoyable night.

MARCH

 

INDOOR ARCHERY Sheila Smith

On a gloomy wet windy morning 19 budding archers arrived at the Indoor Archery venue on the Brackmills Estate in Northampton to try their luck at shooting arrows. We used Recurve Bows, so called as the limbs on the bow curve away at the ends unlike the long bow which has one arc towards the archer.  The bow is made up of three parts – a handle (riser) and a pair of limbs that bolt on. The arrows we used were light as a feather made of aluminium.

Paul, our knowledgeable instructor, gave us a brief safety talk and the rules of Archery.  Ok so listen up - stand sideways feet either side of the black line; weight evenly distributed through feet; breathe in; draw string back to nose; fingers below jaw line; close left eye (if right handed); line up target through red circle on bow; breathe out; relax and let go! My word so much to remember would I ever hit the target……. well, mentioning no names JJJ, with arrows flying everywhere, one person was not content with his own target but managed to hit the targets on either side as well as his own with each of his 3 arrows.  (Just as well we were indoors!) I soon found out that Robin Hood I was not, but we all improved the more arrows we shot and many bulls were hit, there were even squeals of delight when the yellow bull was hit by us ladies J. 

 

We all had a great time and thank you again Jane for organising another fun event.

CHARLESTON TASTER  Deb Kearney

It was a Best Foot Forward evening ... with the odd left foot thrown in - learning some basic Charleston moves such as Charleston swing/Scarecrow/polishing of shoes/bees’ knees with added jazz hands.  Music consisted of the Candyman and theme tune from the series Heartbeat.

Good fun evening for a week night with lots of smiles, tired feet and aching joints to finish.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE  Bob Gibson

The Mission Impossible Team rendezvoused at a secret location just off the A45 2 miles East of Northampton.  Jim Barry Phelps led a makeshift team of Cinnamon Pat Carter, Dana Jude Lambert, Lisa Sheila Casey, Mimi Alison Davis and Barney Bob Collier.

Much of the mission remains classified but I can reveal that we were required to escape from a mortuary and then summon rescue after being involved in a plane crash on a snowy mountain top.

Unlike our televised missions we weren’t completely successful, even with angelic help (voices from above) we only completed about three quarters of the challenges in the Mortuary and a crack team of secret service operatives had to come to our rescue.

We showed our true metal in the Plane Crash though, easily accomplishing all the code cracking necessary to get the radio working and open the door using only 57½ of the 60 allocated minutes with only three assists from the angelic host.

This was my first attempt at an Escape Room and I found it infuriating, exciting, exasperating and fun in equal measure. Some of the puzzles/codes were logical others require real inspiration to find the solution before the angelic voice points you in the right direction. I’d go back and try the mortuary again in a heartbeat and would definitely be keen to join any other locked room experiences that the club organises.

All members of the team worked well together and I hope we can reconvene for the next episode.

Especial thanks to Tim Holt for organising the event and then not taking part to give others an opportunity.

APRIL

TEN PIN BOWLING  Jude Ellingham

 

A rescheduled event in place of the wheelchair basketball saw 13 keen 50+ bowlers visit the Wellingborough venue where we welcomed Anthony a recent new member for his first visit. Hope you enjoyed the evening.

As usual we were all keen to demonstrate our skills to clear those pesky pins in our allotted two attempts. Some had more success than others obviously and the feeble excuses did surface at times across the 3 lanes. Mick had his own personal ball to use, whereas Ian couldn’t find one that he could fit his thumb in comfortably. Mine had a mind of its own and just refused to clear the 2 pins which always seemed to remain!!

Joking apart, it was the quiet and unassuming Tim who bowled well to register the highest men’s score of 248 and in the ladies, Anne even amazed herself winning the highest score - just under 200, having been the booby prize winner last time out - secret practising??? I wonder???

As for me......... well I thought winning the small box of minstrels as the booby prize was a result, but Pauline only had 1 booby prize and alas, Anthony joined me with that honour. Being the newcomer, he got the prize and I got to do the write up. ☹️☹️

PS. Anthony was a gentleman and gave me the chocs for doing the write up. Thankyou. 😁😁

STREET RALLY  Richard Coles (No, not the one who is always on the telly)

It is not long before we see members of other teams; have they found the answer or are they trying to mislead us? Oh quick!  Another team is catching us up, go down this alleyway before they see us!

Spending a great deal of time in the dead centre of Rothwell searching for family names amongst the two hundred memorial stones led to feelings of despair and about to give up until a team member spotted them.

All finished and back in the Red Lion. Hilary and David had then to mark all the answer sheets and eventually came up with the winners and the also rans.

We all then decamped to the Thornhill Arms Rushton where we had a great Sunday lunch and then, would you believe it, some members were still hungry and went to the Village Hall for afternoon tea and cake!

Well done to Hilary and David it was a good day thank you.

SPRING WALK  Carol Pullen

Oh No – Storm Hannah was coming for the weekend of the Spring Walk with rain and gale force winds!!  But were we worried? Of course not, because in true 50+ Adventure Club style we had the best of the weekend and though we were wearing hats and gloves when we set off from Kenilworth Castle, within a short while we were stripping off as the sun appeared.  We skirted the lamas (or were they alpacas?) and then the path took us right through an Alpaca Farm (it said so on the gate) who took very little notice of us and looked very snooty. 

We stopped for coffee (no coffee shop!) at a very comfortable fallen willow tree with loads of big branches to sit on and then pressed on through fields of sheep and lambs.  Overhead airliners were flying very low as they approached Birmingham International airport with their landing wheels down, but surprisingly quiet for such low planes.

By this time, we were on the second half of the circuit and heading for the Castle but going through field after field of Rape in full flower, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was so warm.  A great Spring Walk of 5½ miles followed by a leisurely lunch at the Clarendon Arms; what better way to spend a Sunday?

Thank you, Jenny, for organising another lovely walk, in an area that not many of us knew.

 

MAY

BLUE BADGE WALK IN LEICESTER  Martin Robinson

Our guide “Roger” was excellent, I wish I had known I would be doing this write up, I would have been noting the dates of all he told us. We started our tour looking at Roman remains from roughly 100AD and ended up with the burial of Richard III in 2015. I think everything else we saw was from sometime between these two dates

The Romans were good at building walls, a good chunk remains right outside the Holiday Inn, behind this were the footings of a significant bath house. Roger warned us not to get too excited at the prospect of visiting the castle. When we reached the Castle Green we were shown a brick building containing a business school, within which were the remains of the castle. There is a building in Leicester that looks like a castle, but this is HM Prison, so it was not part of our tour. There were several impressive gates around the area, Richard III apparently rode through all of them. All the local churches make some claim to having the king amongst their congregations.

A car park was the highlight of our visit, there was not much to see except cars. The King Richard III Visitor Centre has been cleverly extended to cover the parking space where the king’s body was found. Entry is £9.25, so this was an optional afternoon activity for our group. The body now lies within the cathedral. We couldn’t go into the cathedral with our guide, but he told us what to look out for and most of us visited after the tour.

Richard III body was identified by his curved spine, battle wounds and DNA. Roger was asked why statues of Richard III never show him with a curved spine. We were told it was due to the skills of the armourer, then Roger admitted to having his own suit of armour. Apparently, Roger takes the role of St George in historical re-enactments.

 

We ended up in the Guildhall, a Grade 1 listed timber frame building. Most of it dates from the 15th century but some parts are earlier. From there we dispersed to various cafes and hostelries, seating was limited as Chelsea were in town for their last game of the season.

 

Pauline and Tim were thanked for organising the day.

PITCH AND PUTT IN PETERBOROUGH  Pauline Ashby

Oh, I do love an audience!  As the first to tee-off, I thought I would show everyone how it's done.  With twenty-one pairs of eyes on me I placed the ball on the tee – and hit it straight into the bushes.  The second ball was no better and I'm afraid I said a rude word.  I was not expecting to be so bad, but at least I gave everyone a good laugh.  I just couldn't get the ball to leave the ground.  There was a slight improvement as we went around, but unfortunately our team came last – hence the write-up.  After this poor effort (on my part) we headed off to the Beefeater for a hot and tasty meal (the waiter was hot and tasty too).  Thank-you Hugh and Alison for your great company – it's not very often that I meet people who love trains, sci-fi and cinema like I do.  Thanks Dennis for organising a great day, lovely weather and great company.

The Winning team-

Richard, Sheila, Pat & Barry

 

The ‘could do with a little bit more practice’ team

Pauline, Hugh & Alison

JUNE

Thought for the month:

"Be not afraid of going slowly

Be afraid of standing still”

DERBYSHIRE 3 DALES WALK  Barry Fitzhugh

Thanks to Jane for organising a great day.

Most of us stayed on in the area afterwards, walking and sightseeing, but that is another story!

Our first sight on arrival at the walk starting point in Hartington was Jenny W standing in the middle of the road waving her ‘phone about.  No good signals here!  We all met on time, including Lyn and Tony who had the arduous task of crossing the road from their hotel. 

The walk started up a steep hill with loose stones underfoot, at the top we had lovely views in all directions, then across some fields full of of wildflowers.  A squeeze over a typical Derbyshire stile and onto a bridleway. 

Along here we came across a herd of friendly Jersey cows, allowing people to stroke them and good opportunities for photos This track led to Biggin village and access to Biggin Dale – our first dale of the day – with high banks on each side and again lots of wildflowers including orchids.  

We had our first lunch stop.   “Save something for later” said Jane (not heard by Paul). 

Then some excitement; we came across a cave in the hillside.  I was “volunteered” to go in, followed by Jenny H and Tony.  It extended a long way but was very wet, so we abandoned our exploration and re-joined the others. On reaching Wolfescote Dale we came across a friendly HPP and had the obligatory group photo. 

We then followed the River Derwent with ducks and chicks and high rocky cliffs.  Paul was saved from inevitable starvation at our second lunch stop by Jenny W who shared her food with him. 

The walk continued through wooded Beresford Dale and into fields containing several docile cows (which Pat still considers wild animals).  Hartington soon came into sight and the end of our walk.  The group dispersed into cafes and pubs in the village for well deserved tea, ice cream and beer (though not necessarily in that order).  The walk was approx 7 miles in lovely sunshine and enjoyed by all.  Later we all met up in The Bull’s Head in Foolow for an excellent evening meal. 

 

PEAKS (AND TROUGHS)  Derbyshire holiday thoughts from Arthur Marshall

A holiday let   A nice place to stay

This wasn’t the case.  My go? no way

With walking all day and drinking all night

The noises they made gave me a fright

Coughs and sneezes heard all around

Grunts and f***s  Oh God, what a sound

Windowpanes rattled, the doors shook too

So many strange noises.  What a to do

The walks we did, the food we ate

The drinks we drank at a prodigious rate

Then sitting at a table in the local pub

We extolled the virtues of the 50+ Club

CYCLING AT RUTLAND WATER  Tricia Booth

With bikes unloaded, 12 eager club members set out on The Tour De Rutland and, as predicted, it rained so on with waterproofs then off we went on our 13½ mile journey.  We soon lost two members due to tyre problems (then there were 10).  The rain stopped and blue skies arrived but if you think that Rutland is flat, think again.  In need of a rest, we called into the Nature Reserve to watch a live webcam of four osprey chicks on the nest being fed their Sunday lunch of fish.  They start off with eating the head as it has the most nutrients and, as they are flying off to Africa in a few months’ time, they need it but hopefully will be returning to Rutland in two years.

Most of us did a linear ride, but two of the group decided to go all the way round (so then there were 8 – is there a story here?).  With the sun on the water the reservoir looked lovely and, with tired legs and muddy bikes, we arrived back on the carpark and found a convenient hose to wash down the bikes.  Back at base we joined up with the long-distance cyclists (so no story there) and had a picnic lunch.

Many thanks Jane for a great day.

TAG ARCHERY & OTHER ADVENTURES   Alison Andrews

Question --What happens when you put a dozen 50+ members in a field in Moulton?

Answer--   Sweating, laughing, cheating and swearing!

As the two teams gathered under a hot and oppressive sky in sweaty protective masks, all we had to do was fire the weighted, foam tipped arrows at targets and each other, what could be simpler. But the targets were five foam discs that had to be knocked out by hitting them, usually by more than one shot, whilst trying not to be shot yourself by the opposing team. This is where the cheating and swearing came to the fore when someone decided to push the opposition's foam discs back in to the frame!

We also discovered that being hit by the arrows did indeed hurt, but definitely not as bad as paintball. Each team had members who were given shields to protect the others and to try to catch the arrows as a means to get the opposing team out.

After a few games we were then challenged with team building exercises involving balls, tubes and obstacles. However, the only one we struggled with was trying to get a stick down to the ground and back up again with all 12 holding it and moving at the same speed, creaky knees and backs seemed to be at fault. 

Everyone enjoyed the activity and Adventure Ways offers several different activities so we could well return.

OUTDOOR BOWLS  

We will let the photos tell the story (sorry, no pics of us eating cake in the interval).

Many thanks to Hilary for the organisation.

 

JULY

WHERRY WEEKEND  Mary and Steve Lawson

A small group of us joined Jenny on the Thursday afternoon for a glorious walk around Whitlingham Country Park, then back to Jenny’s tent for tea and cake, this was just a taster for the feast that Jenny had prepared for afternoon tea on the Wherry.

Friday morning 12 of us met at Frostbites Sailing Club, weather was as Jenny had ordered……wall to wall sunshine. After our life jacket fitting & safety briefing, we were on our way. As we began to familiarise ourselves with the various nautical terms, such as gybe, boom, flobalobaling etc, volunteers stepped up to raise & lower the sail & mast as we went under the bridges.

They soon discovered it was hard work! Several members took turns at the helm, pleased to say no other river users were harmed during this time.

A well-earned lunch stop was taken at Surlingham Broad before setting off on our return journey.

The Albion was causing quite a stir with people stopping, waving & taking photos. It was not until later in the day, when we had a chance to go out in the dinghy, that we could appreciate what everyone else could see. She was magnificent with her black sail, gliding effortlessly down the broads.

Afternoon tea was supplied by Jenny, a seemingly endless supply of amazing homemade cakes. Thank you Jenny.

During our trip we saw a Kingfisher, Swans with Cygnets, Grebes with their young, Herons & a flock of flamingos (thanks to Arthur’s shorts).

All types of craft were out on the water including a unique steamboat for two, called Bess.

All too soon we were back at the sailing club, our adventure had ended.

The following morning we met in the coffee shop at Norwich Cathedral where we learnt the most important number was 3579 (you had to be there). Then outside the entrance we met our local guide Rod (from Northampton) for the blue badge walk around Norwich. It was an extremely interesting & informative walk where we learnt about the history, architecture & the most famous people connected with Norwich……..Lord Nelson & Delia Smith!

 

Many thanks to Jenny for organising a fabulous few days.

LAKES ACTIVITY WEEKEND  Various contributors

Friday Icebreaker

This was strictly for those who had managed to beat the traffic jams and arrive with time to spare before dinner!

Much lateral and logical thinking was required for what Graham and Tom had in store for us (they really should know us better by now). 

 

The first task should have been a doddle for anyone who has ever constructed MFI or IKEA furniture, but this came without instructions in 40 different languages so proved a bit of challenge; however, both groups succeeded in eventually putting together what looked like a complicated wall shelf for displaying knick knacks.  There was some discrepancy in the finish times, however honour was restored in the second task with the winners of the first failing miserably in the second! 

 

With the aid of various lengths of wood, plastic tubing, a slotted spoon, a golf ball, a bucket and endless rolls of multi-coloured tape, the race was on to build a ballista (a catapult used in ancient warfare for hurling large stones).  The brains behind the MFI/IKEA project only managed to fire their projectile BACKWARDS – endangering life and limb of those who thought that they were well out of range!

This put us all in good stead for the excellent dinner which followed.  This is what happened on the following two days:

Abseiling      Hilary Chapman

It was a beautiful morning as eight of us drove to the abseil site.  Simon unloaded all the kit from the minibus and we helped to carry it up the track.   While he was setting up the ropes, we had time to explore the huge Bowder Stone. a large andesite lava boulder believed to have fallen 200 metres from the Bowder Crag on King How about 12,000 years ago.  It is said that the name equates with Balder, the second son of the god Odin. Balder best known for being slain through the actions of Loki with an arrow made of mistletoe. (ed’s note – we are not just an adventure club, we aim to inform as well!)

The rock we were to abseil down was known as Woden’s Face.   First we had to climb up to the site which was an adventure in itself, traversing the upper rock face clipped onto a rope.  The view at the top as we waited for our turn was tremendous.   Barry went down first so he could guide Jane down.  We had 3 abseil virgins – Viv, Martin and Caroline – who did a fantastic job for first timers.

Dave actually managed 3 descents before we had to pack up.  

 

Many thanks to Dave and Jane for organising this great weekend.

Meanwhile, down on Derwentwater:

Viking Boat   Richard Stanley

A 25 foot boat, pristine and newly varnished, awaited the motley crew to board. After life jackets and an introduction from Mr Platty we set sail across Derwentwater. Well, I say sail - as it was a calm day with no wind we rowed across, well I say we, I had positioned myself in the centre of the boat with Janette and Julia, so I just had to sit back and enjoy the stunning views of Derwentwater while Tim, Dennis, Jan and Marjorie rowed across.

"Wait a minute" shouted Captain Platty "we have got wind " well it certainly wasn't me!!

We were able to stop rowing and hoist the sail.

Then followed instructions about tacking and bowing and which is left and which is right, who should let go of the 'tack' and who should hold the 'bow'. All great fun and after 2 or three goes of 'ready about' and 'man the stays', we sailed gently back to the jetty.

What a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning and certainly better than Asda!

Thanks to Jane and Dave for all their hard work to give us a great weekend.

Up on the high fells, Bob, Richard C, Sheila, Janet, John and walk leader Graham were doing:

All Day High Level Walk   Richard Coles

“Getting to the top is optional, getting down is essential”

On Saturday morning we set off in good conditions to scale Great End 2984 ft (or 910m) and a round journey of approximately 9 miles.

The route was from Seathwaite Farm, up the valley and alongside Grains Gill where we stood and watched two shepherds and seven dogs start to move sheep down to the farm for worming etc. However it was not like watching One Man and His Dog, as these particular dogs had their own ideas where the sheep were hiding and after a while flushed them onto the fells but only after a few well-chosen words of command from the shepherds *!!! ?

Two hours later we were in Calf Cove and finally Great End which was about three hours walk in total. Unfortunately the view was obscured by cloud while we had our lunch and then magically the cloud cleared giving us great views all around. 

Graham then decided to take in Seathwaite Fell on the route down.  We arrived at Sprinkling Tarn which looked great and onto two more tarns to the summit.

Returning by a different route, down Styhead Ghyll, we were continuously passed by fell runners out for the day.

A great day on the fells with good weather and good company.

After a well earned lunch, those who weren’t scaling great heights on the fells piled into the minibuses again and headed off in great spirits to do:

Rock Climbing   Barry Fitzhugh

Just three of us were doing the rock climbing, Tricia, Dave and myself with Simon our instructor and his dog Dotty.  We kitted ourselves with shoes and harnesses, etc. and while Simon sorted out the ropes etc, we made friends with Dotty – a collie/foxhound cross.  We arrived at the rocks near the Bowder Stone (the rock face that we had abseiled down in the morning).  While Simon set up three routes, we donned helmets and harnesses and threw sticks for Dotty to chase.  Simon then explained the figure of eight climbing knot and belaying procedure.  I did the first climb on the shortest route and got to the top but I must say rock climbing is harder than the indoor walls that I am used to!  No coloured routes and nice handholds here.  Simon emphasised to trust the shoes’ grip as the foothold was most important.  Dave went up next and got to the top, then Tricia got about ¾ of the way up and did really well – not being as tall as Dave and myself the holds were harder for her to reach. 

 

We then went onto a longer route – on this one we had to negotiate a large boulder.  With help from Simon I got over this and got near to the top.  Dave went next and got up (well done Dave) and Tricia also did well.  We then did the third route – which Dave and I conquered and Tricia did very well.  On our return to Glaramara, our last task was to tie up Dotty and give her some water while Simon left to pick up the afternoon walkers.

 

Thanks to Simon for his great tuition and Dave and Jane for the whole weekend.

Back to Derwentwater where a merry band of 6 were:

Voyager Canoeing     Julia Brookes/Marjorie Tomalin/Pat Fitzhugh

The only activity party left at Glaramara - have we been forgotten? Half an hour later David, owner and now our driver, was tracked down (a mix up he said so someone's going to get a b*llo**ing)!

So at 2 o'clock off went Hilary, Julia, Marjorie, Pat, Richard and Janette to Platty’s marina on Derwentwater. No time for the safety briefing, just grab a life vest and get in to the 27 foot canoe.  We started paddling against the wind to St. Herbert’s Island - that seemed like 50 miles away - where we disembarked for a nice stroll. We met a family who were camping for the night and dad came from Northampton and worked at Avon in Corby!

Then Ritchie our 'Young Captain' showed us the ruins of the 1,000 years’ old St Herbert’s House, although not much to look at!

Time to paddle back but the wind had dropped so no help there. However we wouldn't let Ritchie put the outboard motor on - we're hard!  Richard complained that he had a numb bum and Janette said 'well, we're all in the same boat!'

Heading back to the jetty, Ritchie pointed out a floating island. This was a mass of fermented leaves and debris that rose up every 10 years and this was a year.

Back on dry land after the shock of being informed earlier that our pickup time was 4.45 p.m. We can honestly say we had such a laugh even if there was only 6 of us.

Thanks to Jane and Dave for organising a brilliant weekend.

 

(apparently this article is a heavily censored version of the one that was drafted out after dinner and copious amounts of alcohol).

Two or three miles up the road this was happening:

Half Day Walk   Glyn Hill

We set off for our walk from Shepherds’ Café, High Lodore, on a beautiful warm afternoon but it soon became hot as we negotiated the fell. The scenery was stunning; we went through waist high bracken, along the becks, through oak woodland and via open pasture. As well as the usual hardy sheep, we met some unusual Galway belted rare breed cattle who looked sort of friendly, but we didn’t stay around too long just in case. Our guide, Adam, was brilliant at shepherding us along and we needed a bit of encouragement towards the end as some of us (me!) found the loose shale really strenuous.

But we had sustenance about two thirds of the way round - stopping for tea and scones at Watendlath, which was a picture postcard, shady cafe next to a National Trust car park and tarn.

 

Google tells me we were at 847 feet in a classic ‘hanging valley’.  From there we crossed the packhorse bridge and over Grange Fell to our minibus.

Phew! Bit of a sense of achievement for me to reach the end after a good three-hour walk. Thank goodness for walking poles!

After more good food, a few bottles out of Glaramara’s cellar and a good night’s sleep we then embarked on another half day of excitement:

Segways at Whinlatter    Sheila Smith

Four keen adventurers, Richard, Pat, Glynn and I set off from Glaramara on Sunday morning to the Whinlatter Forest in the North Western Lakes to ride Segways off road through the forest trails on two eco-friendly wheels, without having to pedal.  (Result!!)  Once arriving at the forest cabin we had to read all the safety notices advising us how dangerous it was to ride their Segways, and then had to sign our lives away!

All four of us had ridden Segways before so we were keen to get out into the forest and race along the paths.  We had the usual initial training to make sure we could stand and balance, step on and step off without falling. We had to test drive around cones turning left and right whilst the Segways were still in training mode.   Our guide was keen to emphasise the safety rules once more before we were ready to follow him in line keeping a good distance from the person in front in case of emergency stops.  (There were hazards you know such as cyclists racing around, dogs, walkers and children.)  The guide turned off the training mode so now we could go at up to 13 mph – whoopee! We went up and down hill, enjoying a mixture of twisty winding trails and wide open, straight tracks passing through the Gruffalo trail.  On reaching the top of the forest we stopped for the most amazing views of the Newlands Valley.  I think the four of us would have loved to have been let loose to ride off on our own - mind you we would still be there lost in the depths of the forestP.

 

Another great weekend at Glaramara, thank you Jane and Dave for organising once more.

MEANWHILE ……………..

Sunday Morning Walk   Marjorie Tomalin

Our last day in Borrowdale and the weather is perfect.

We set off in convoy over Honister Pass to Buttermere where we began our walk around Buttermere (owned by the National Trust). A relatively easy walk (about 4.5 miles) with a few photo-shoot stops along the way. The scenery was stunning.

Our first stop was at the south eastern end of the lake where Jane was able to point out High Crag and Haystacks, fells much loved by walkers because of the fantastic views from the summits.

 

We continued our walk around the lake stopping for a picnic lunch, using fallen tree trunks and boulders as our seats with amazing views across the lake.

On our way back to Buttermere our path took us through a tunnel hewn through the rock with a few of us lighting the way with the light from phones but all too soon we arrived back in Buttermere and bid farewell to our 50 plus friends before setting off for home.

A lovely way to end a great weekend.

Many thanks to Jane and Dave for making this weekend possible.

and up at Honister Slate Mine:

Via Ferrata      Viv Fiander

What a great experience. There were four of us in this activity. Barry, Frank, Bob and myself.

We were given a taster of what we had to achieve to make sure we were capable of completing the course. I found it was quite difficult and scary and almost pulled out but with the encouragement of the other three I went for it.

I was so pleased that I did and carried on. Climbing up, climbing down, across rocks and crossing the wire bridge with our feet on a single wire - albeit we were tethered the whole time. The other members of our team encouraged me all the way.

So exhilarating at the finish and what an achievement.

I must just thank Dave and Jane who put all their time and organisational skills into the weekend for us to enjoy.

ANNUAL BBQ & GAMES  Ann Cook

One thing the 50+ Club never does is cancel an event because of rain.

This year’s BBQ event went ahead as scheduled despite it being a dismal day for weather.                      

A few people cancelled, a few just failed to turn up, but enough decided to have some fun.  And fun it was.

BBQ’s lit

One thing the 50+ Club never does is cancel an event because of rain.

This year’s BBQ event went ahead as scheduled despite it being a dismal day

for weather.                      

A few people cancelled, a few just failed to turn up, but enough decided to have some

fun.  And fun it was.

BBQ’s lit

A quick dash to Asda’s alcohol aisle for M & M – “extra supplies needed” says A as the bar in the hall not open.

Food cooked.

Time to eat and chat in the hall.

Then it was time for games; Pauline and Jane had the foresight to bring along a large bag of indoor games which we all enjoyed.

Nobody got wet.

What a laugh.

 

Many thanks to Pauline and the committee for another great event.

 

AUGUST

CANAL BOAT DAY  Jacqui Clements

So the day arrived for the trip on the canal boat.  With four of us in the car, picnics packed off we went to Sileby only to have a phone call from Paul asking “where are you?” and “are you still coming?” “Yes” was the reply from us all “we are 20mins away” “well you were supposed to be here at 8.45 am we are all waiting!” Whoops we got it wrong, we all thought it was 9.45 am So sorry to everyone, so I’m now having to do the write up!

We clambered onto the narrow boat called Fumble with Jane, Dennis, Richard, Janette, Hilary & David.

The rest of the party were on Jumble. The weather was sunny & warm and off we went along the river Soar with Dennis at the helm on Fumble and Paul steering Jumble.

Soon tea coffee and biscuits were on the table, followed by cake, and we all relaxed to enjoy our day, and what a day, some taking turns to steer the boats.

Some of us decided not to with fear of ending up on the banks. Everyone was excited when we came to the first lock some jumping off to pull the ropes & tie up the boats & others helping to open the locks, phew those locks are heavy. But it was good fun.

After more locks had been negotiated it was time to stop at The Boat Inn for a well-deserved drink & chat with our fellow boaters from Jumble. All happy, we returned to our boats & enjoyed our picnic lunch.

With quizzes on both boats it was time for us to all to get together with our knowledge of flowers, bridges, monuments & cryptic clues on villages in Northamptonshire as we cast off again.

It was then time to turn the boats round and return to the boat yard all tired after a wonderful day on the river with lots of laughs & good company.

 

Thank you Paul for arranging a lovely day out for all of us.

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RIVER ACTIVITY DAY  Alison Andrews

A small group of 50+'s gathered at Yarwell Mill to try their hands at Kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle boarding). The gusty wind conditions made the river dance with waves as we headed out on our sit on kayaks resplendent in our wetsuits. Our instructor ensured that we practised our paddling strokes and steering, taking us under a low bridge before we gate crashed some wedding photos at a local pub. With the wind now behind us we sped back to the launch site celebrating that no one had capsized.

After a picnic lunch we were ready to SUP this was a little harder in the wind with cries of "Aaargh" and "Mummy" followed by splashes coming from all directions with one member face planting the reeds on more than one occasion. To use the wind for additional fun we were given umbrellas to surf, however one just used it to shelter from the torrential rain. Everyone laughed the whole time and we all thought it had been a brilliant day and worth a return visit.

CARPETBAGGERS MUSEUM & WALK  Carol Pullen

So why the Carpetbaggers Museum when all the road signs at Harrington said ‘Aviation Museum’?  I was confused!!  However, our guide for my group, Fred, explained all, before we saw an original film set during WW11 and this explained everything.  In October 1943 senior Officers of the USAAF were told that their 22nd Squadron was chosen to fly arms and supplies to Resistance groups in Europe and they would work closely with SOE (Special Operations Executive).  The project was to be called Operation Carpetbagger.  Harrington was chosen because it could take large bombers, was close to Tempsford, where agent training took place and Holme near Peterborough where the special cylindrical containers were packed ready for dropping.  Converted B24 bombers were used, with bomb bays removed and the cylindrical containers taking their place.  36 and 406 squadrons moved to Harrington in March 1944 and formed a new group – 801st Provisional Bomb Group.

After D-day, and as the allies advanced on Germany, there was a critical shortage of fuel for US General Paton’s army so, at short notice and working through the night, the bombers were converted to fuel bowsers.  On 21 September 1944 25 aircraft, each carrying 2,000 gallons of fuel staggered off the runway at Harrington and headed for Europe.  When the operation ended on 30 September 822,791 gallons of 80 octane fuel had been flown to France and Belgium.  The USAAF left Harrington for the USA on 7 July 1945 with a job well done!

 

After lunch, some of us went on a short walk taking in part of the Brampton Valley Way and the weather was kind to us.

 

A great day out and thank you Jenny for arranging it.

 

SEPTEMBER

North Norfolk Walking Week – Day 1 Tuesday       Carol Pullen

Once again we were blessed with sunny weather and on Sunday, when my party arrived at our accommodation in the Quaker House in Wells Next the Sea, we immediately went out to wander round the town, which was packed with visitors, many catching crabs off the quay.  Don’t worry they are thrown back as they are too small.

Next day we caught the coastal bus as we were to meet up with anyone who was around after lunch in Cromer, but before that we had to have a delicious Cromer crab sandwich.  We walked the 4.5 miles to Sheringham along the coastal path arriving back at the bus station for the trip back to Wells.  That evening we headed for the Jolly Sailor pub in Brancaster Staithe to enjoy the singing of the Nelson Shantymen.  They finished off with ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ that became an ‘earworm’ for me the next day!!

 

In hot sunshine and very little wind we all met up for the first day on Tuesday at Burnham Overy Staithe for a walk to Holkham on the raised path over the marshes, the dunes, the sand and a great thickness of razor shells on Holkham beach.  BUT what is that in the distance??!!  A chariot being pulled by 4 grey horses and driven by a person in green with a camera crew present.  Was this Ben Hur – no such luck?  It was for an advert for Haven Holidays being shown on Boxing Day.  However we were amazed at how many people were present (mostly sitting in the dunes) to make this short film, complete with an ambulance and attendant.  After a stop for lunch at the new Visitor Centre some of us walked on to Wells through the pine trees with a small group catching the tiny 10¼” gauge Wells Harbour Railway for the final half mile.  A brilliant first day.

Day 2  Wednesday  Chris Crick

Today we caught the Coast Hopper bus to Sheringham in order to catch the steam train to Holt.  The country roads are narrow and winding, travelling through lovely villages. Unfortunately, this morning at the narrowest point of the road our bus came face to face with an oncoming bus with nowhere to pass!  With traffic queuing up behind both buses it took both drivers an awful lot of manoeuvring and reversing and traffic directing to extricate ourselves.  This meant our bus was then running late but we managed to catch the train with minutes to spare.

The steam train ride was a lovely experience passing through beautiful countryside.  Upon arriving at Holt, we commenced our walk back to Sheringham.

We walked through Kelling Heath passing though woodland and open heathland with some gorgeous displays of gorse and heather.  We came across a lovely natural spring fed pond which was full of lily pads.  An unexpected delight.

We stopped at Weybourne Station for a welcome break of drinks and refreshments and then continued walking down to the coast path with lovely open seascape views.  We were also lucky enough to see a deer as we walked through the open countryside.

Upon reaching Sheringham we returned to our base at Wells to rest and relax before our evening out at Cromer Pier for the “End of the Pier Show”.

The show was most entertaining with magic acts, singing, dancing girls and comedians.  We were all very impressed with the quality of the entertainers.

Day 3  Thursday  Carole Houghton

"Our Gang" from Sheringham was meeting the others in Cley for the start of the walk.

The bus arrived and it was packed - standing room only. The driver said "Move down the bus, if you don't know anyone now you will when you've finished your journey",. He was a very happy chap and he wasn't wrong. We chatted and laughed with many fellow passengers. A voice from the back shouted "let me know when you get off" it turned out to be Pat who'd got lost at the back of the bus.

Then our stop, the bus groaned with a sigh of relief as we all got off. Who would have thought that you could have such fun on a bus ride.......only the 50+!

Everyone was waiting for us so we started off on our walk. The sky was grey and it was very windy with a slight chill in fact Barry put his fleece on so it must've been very cold! We made our way across the salt marshes - stunning I still can't believe how big the skies are it's a painters paradise. We walked to Blakeney Point where here there was a welcome toilet stop and a hot drink. The tide was going out and very fast, it could be dangerous if you're not aware. We sat and took in the peace. Some left us here to go on for a mooch around and possibly a sneaky cream tea!

Jenny called us together for a group photo before moving onto Morston Quay.

The sun was now out and getting warm - Barry took his fleece off!

At Morston Quay we met Carol & Lucy who hadn't been on the walk but had done a seal trip from there. They had been lucky enough to see seals young and old also a Marsh Harrier.

We stopped here for our lunch and another toilet stop ("AGE") onward then to Stiffkey.

Lots of wildlife to see, White Egret, Spoonbills, some in-flight, geese which I couldn't name. Someone said they saw a walrus but I hadn't got my binoculars so couldn't dispute this! The landscape looking out towards the sea did make me think along the lines of a Norfolk Serengeti.... Beautiful.

Our walk was at an end up a tarmac lane towards the bus stops. Ours going left and those residing at Wells to the right.

Someone shouted BUS and everyone well nearly everyone who could, ran shouting our goodbyes. Jenny and gang boarded their bus we had to wait for ours. Again standing room only....another joyous trip to end our day.

 

A BIG thank you to Jenny for an amazing 3 days of walks and friendship.

SEGWAYS  Miriam Whelan

Arrived at Willows Nursery for a 10.30 start on a beautiful sunny and warm morning - unlike the last time I did this when it rained for the 2 hours.  The first hurdle was finding a helmet to fit correctly (seems I have a funny shaped head) after trying on several I found one to fit nicely.  Then it was on to training.  We split into two groups, one doing the training and the other relaxing with a coffee in the sun.  After about half an hour we had the training mode turned off and we were let loose on our own.  Eight of us shared 5 Segways so we alternated and had a rest every so often.  We soon got confident and were zooming round the large Segway area, which is really nice and set out well.  At the end of the session we had a picnic; this was supposed to be in an old double decker bus, but that turned out to be too hot, so we took a table to a lovely shaded area and enjoyed a very relaxed picnic, drinks and cake supplied by Pauline - thank you.  On the way back to our cars Ann said we could pick some of her very sweet raspberries, a great end to a perfect morning.  Thank you Pauline for arranging a lovely day out.

ORIENTEERING   Barry Fitzhugh

After early rain, the weather cleared for the Orienteering at Irchester Country Park.  Tim had put the teams into four groups of four.  We were given maps and instructions.  The teams were to find posts 1 – 13, two teams in reverse order and all with a timed start.  Our team of Barbara, Janice, Pat and myself set off round the edge of a wood and found our first post but it did not have the expected number.  We set off to the next post and, after several twists and turns, found it then the next one, but again with different numbers.  We stopped and checked instructions again and realised that the map numbers were the order of the posts not the number on the post!  As we were running out of time, Barbara and Janice went back to get the letters, while Pat and myself carried on to find the remaining posts.  On re-joining the others we were still three posts short but had run out of time.  Back to the café, where Tim gave out the results.

 

OCTOBER

TRIUMPH MOTORBIKE FACTORY TOUR  John Kemp

Fourteen of us arrived at the Triumph factory about 1 pm after a very rainy journey.  It was surprising how popular the tour was – 2 coachloads and many cars and bikes.  We all visited the café and museum waiting for our 2.30 slot. 

Danny our tour guide was very knowledgeable and amusing.  He reckoned that the tour was about a mile in length.  About half-way through he pointed out a large black wall with one small door which led to the top-secret research and development area. (Could this be where Q of James Bond fame operates?)  Of course you immediately wanted to go in there (no chance!).  Danny claimed that he couldn’t even get in there.  

 

The factory itself is state of the art, with all the bikes hand built and painted, even the pin stripes on the tanks and wheels.  There is only one robot in the whole factory.  They have a fantastic bike collection on show, going from way back to include Tom Cruise’s bike used in  ‘Mission impossible’ complete with bullet holes also Steve McQueen’s bike used in the ‘Great escape’ which is insured for 1.2 million pounds [as guessed by Dennis – thus winning the competition prize (no, it wasn’t a bike!)] at the end of the tour.

A great afternoon.  Well done and thanks to Dave.

AUTUMN WALK & LUNCH  Carol Pullen

Once again, we were so lucky with the weather; a little cold to start with but the sun came out and we all started to strip off, including Janet!!  We started from Sandy, a place I have passed many times whizzing down the A1 but never stopped at; but what beautiful countryside there is around the town. 

Having walked into the Riddy (the local nature reserve) along the banks of the Rive Ivel, we crossed (in different ways!) a watery stream and went under the A1 and carried on along the riverbank with the traffic noise receding. 

 

Overhead we saw a low flying microlight many times and other aircraft, possibly from the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden which is nearby.  We skirted Blunham, a village surrounded on three sides, by the Rivers Great Ouse and Ivel.  This is a very flat area and is predominantly market gardening.  We crossed the Ivel for the last time at the old eel bridge in Blunham and headed back towards Sandy. 

At this point I decided to head back into the Town Centre, whilst the rest of the group continued for another couple of miles, hence I am having to do the write up!

We had an excellent, convivial lunch in the Queens Head, who were so welcoming and thanked Sue for arranging the walk in an area unfamiliar to most of us.  I think we should try more of these walks in places we don’t know!!

NOTTINGHAM CAVES & GHOST WALK  Jane Thurland

A group of 28 of us visited the city well known for Robin Hood and his band of merry men.  He was a legendary heroic outlaw who lived in Sherwood forest and had many encounters with the sheriff. Our mission was to discover and learn of caves, visit a historical pub and hear ghostly tales.

Most travelled on the 11 am train from Kettering, others arriving by car. Once in Nottingham, we had free time for sightseeing and lunch before commencing our planned itinerary.

Many of us visited the Justice Museum which gave fascinating insights into the development of forensic science, thus aiding in the pursuit of our justice system and leading to the capture of many criminals. A notable experience was standing in the actual dock taken from Bow Street Magistrates Court where infamous criminals such as Dr Crippen and the Kray twins once stood trial.

Another visit of interest for some was the medieval Church of St. Marys

At 3pm, all met for the guided visit to the caves below the city.  First mentioned over 1,000 years ago by an Anglo-Saxon writer called Asser who referred to Tigguo- Cobauc which means “place of caves”.  We were fascinated to learn of the various uses of the caves over the centuries i.e. as a hideout for criminals, use as a sewerage system and water supply (with obvious problems of disease due to cross contamination!), and a leather tannery.

In the Tanners cave, we were initially offered the post of apprentice tanner.  However, after learning, about the unsavoury (and also short) life of a tanner, there were surprisingly no takers. The main processes and ingredients necessary to

turn animal skin into useable leather, included lime, urine and dog faeces. So, if the lime didn’t kill you, the wee and poo would – but on the plus side you were immune from the plague!

In the next cave we were told about their use as air raid shelters in WW2, one of which could hold up to 8,000 people.  Other caves showed examples of houses of the time that had been built upon, and we saw foundations that support the new shopping centre.

We then headed to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, claimed to be the oldest pub in England (built in 1189).  Set into the rock of Nottingham Castle, it was previously called the Pilgrim, as the crusaders were known to stay there on their way to Jerusalem.  Whilst dining in the upper rooms, we were warned of the ghostly tale of the haunted Galleon proudly displayed in our dining area, and that anyone who touched or moved it would surely die within 12 months!

After our hunger and thirst had been fully satiated, we made our way to meet our Ghost Walk leader called Simon.  He embellished many gruesome tales of historical events which had occurred within the city walls, such as the slaughtering of young Welsh princes held captive within the castle, and the hanging, drawing and quartering of Roger Mortimer.  All this heightened our awareness of the cruelty of those times.   Further ghostly tales were recanted whilst standing in a graveyard where mass graves had been uncovered.  Our final destination of the walk was the caves under the Salutation Pub. Revellers dressed as ghosts and ghoulies added to the atmosphere and capped off an interesting and entertaining day in Nottingham.

Many thanks Jenny for organising such a great day!!

NOVEMBER

 

NPS FACTORY TOUR  Ron Hanson

It was a quiet Saturday lunch time in Wollaston, when it was noticed that 4 fierce looking characters, (Steve, Carole, Kate & Ron) were walking up & down the car park of Dr. Marten’s outlet shop. They were watching the passing traffic, trying the factory gates & looking with their wild eyes through the windows of the nearby tea shop.  It all began to be explained when the staff of the shop, fearful of their own safety were made aware that they were meeting friends at the NPS outlet shop. They were soon redirected, & calm was once again restored to the village.  They arrived late to cheers & cries of “should have used your satnav.”

Comedy over we were soon ready to begin our factory tour led by Christian Castle the managing director.

He led us into the cutting room – the clicking room – where the various shapes of the uppers were cut out - usually by men.

Adjacent to the clicking room was the leather store containing some millions of pounds worth of leather. Moving on, these flat two-dimensional pieces were passed through to the closing room where women would sew them together so that a three-dimensional shape of the upper begins to emerge. Next, on to the lasting room in which the upper is wrapped tightly round a plastic former – the last - & now starts to resemble a shoe. Now here comes the piece which determines the quality (& price) of a pair of shoes. As the upper is pulled over the last, the inner sole is inserted. The upper is stapled through a rib protruding from the inner sole.  A strip of leather – the welt – is lock stitched through both upper & inner sole rib, leaving a flap of leather all round. This allows the out sole to be stitched to the welt so that there is no sewing passing direct from outside to inside of the shoe, therefore resists water ingress to the shoe. It also enables the sole to be replaced when worn out.  All that is left to do now is trim up, clean up, & polish up.  You then have a very smart pair of shoes.

It was a brilliant explanation of a very complicated process and after seeing all the work that goes into a pair of shoes the price tag doesn’t seem that expensive after all.

It’s a pity they didn’t sell Wellington boots in the shop as the rain was simply falling out of the sky as we left.

10 PIN BOWLING  Janette Taylor

We all should know what ten pin bowling is. Well, 15 of us tried our luck at Wellingborough Bowl where we threw rather heavy large coloured bowls down an alley at skittles.

Prizes went to:

Best man - Steve Pelling (I think he's won it before)

Best woman - Ann Cook (she won last year)

Most courageous - Janette Taylor (who bowled with a poorly shoulder)

Rudest Joke - Dennis Tromans (who told a very rude joke he had heard at a Bernie Keith concert)

Best bowling action – Keith Sulphur  (who practically threw himself down the lane after his bowl)

Best pictures - Jane and Dennis.

Slowest service - the barman who struggled with working the till. Second place goes to the invisible lady who hands out the bowling shoes.

Finally - best organisation and prize giving – Pauline.  Thanks for putting it all together.

CURLING AT BECKWORTH’S   Keith Merrick

An intrepid group from 50+ turned up at Beckworth’s curling lanes, ready for a very sociable noon start. Another group had arrived much earlier and so there may have been some snarling as well as curling.

We had a practice at curling, divided into teams, and the competition began. We had the stones, a pole to push the stones (for those who felt that if they knelt they might never arise again) and a broom to brush the ice. It reminded me of the new guy at work. The foreman told him to sweep the yard. He replied that he was a graduate with a degree in social sciences. The foreman said “OK then, I’ll show you how to use a broom”.

It was all very friendly – first is first, second is nowhere!

After winning/losing most of us thought duty bound to try out the café – yes, the hot chocolate is delicious!

Thanks to Pauline for her organisation.

NIGHT WALK   Maggie Marshall

It was very cold and dark when 17 of us arrived at the marina car park (locals call it either Willy Watts or Ringstead Mill but on the map it is Woodford Mill) confusing or what!

A couple of choccy treats from Jenny and off we went along the old railway line, sloshing or wading through the deep puddles. For the first time ever Jenny had to rearrange the walk she had planned in the interest of safety because the fields were so soggy!

We passed another marina where the boat lights glowed in the distance and we could smell log fires burning and trekked on into Stanwick Lakes. Torches off and we did some stargazing. Dennis tried out his stargazing app but unfortunately the print was so small on the screen we couldn't see the names of the stars, though we did spot the Plough. Next stop was for more treats, mulled wine and mince pies, oh I do like Jenny's walks! About turn and we walked briskly back to the car park, I understand some of us retreated to The Hare and Hounds for refreshment and to warm up!

 

Thanks Jenny another Night Walk safely completed.

 

DECEMBER

MURDER MYSTERY (with the Hamitup Players)  Judith Sampson

Whodunit? Well that was the challenge for the teams who assembled on a dark Friday night for a Murder Mystery.

The evening began calmly with a session of “Gardeners’ Answer Time” and our only problems were with fruit and vegetables and, of course, the answer to those questions always “lies in the soil”. Then suddenly we were confronted with screams, a dead body and a bloodied trowel. Who could have killed the guest speaker? Who would want to?

Fortified by copious nibbles and snacks (supplied by Pauline -thank you, very important) we inspected the crime scene, searched for clues, listened to suspects and discovered that just about everyone had a good reason for hating the victim. Weapon, motive, but who had the opportunity?

Just one person on our team worked it out. Super sleuth. Did we listen to him? Not a chance…..

Together with the interval entertainment by Neuralgia it was a really fun evening.

If you missed this one come along to the next. I’m sure it’s an activity we’ll be repeating!

INDOOR BOWLING & CHRISTMAS MEAL  Kate Hewitt (with ideas from Ron)

Arriving at the Desborough Bowls Club at the appointed time, we found many eager-beavers already there – correct footwear donned, bowls polished & absolutely raring to go.

A jolly Scotsman called Tom was tasked with guiding our team through the morning.  Luckily he had oodles of patience, which was needed even from the start when one member (Ron) couldn’t even decide which hand he was going to bowl with! Two of our team (Frank & Chris) were experienced outdoor bowlers & when we decided to split into two teams of three, they volunteered to lumber themselves with two ‘amateurs’ apiece – very noble we thought!

We settled down with Tom, who spent a lot of time walking to the other end to re-position the jack ball (always either too long or too short) or retrieving balls from the gulley.  We all thought that there must be a definite slope on the green, but Tom constantly assured us that our wayward efforts & long balls were all due to too much porridge for breakfast.  At one point, there was getting to be a lot more chat with Tom than actual bowling done!  Tom was devoted to his holidays (nothing wrong with that say I!) & in particular to Potters.  As so many members have booked to go to Potters next year with the club, it was great to hear Tom telling us all what a wonderful place it is.  In fact I was beginning to wonder if he actually got commission from them to advertise the place.

After all the hard work of bowling, it was a quick change of footwear & round to the adjoining room for a hearty Christmas meal – for most of us a traditional turkey with all the trimmings.  Finally, it was down to Dennis & Jane’s house for mulled wine & the best mince-pies of the season.

As ever, a most enjoyable way to spend a December Sunday & we give a huge thanks to Dennis & Jane for all their efforts in making it happen.

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