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Summer Term 2007 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter (No. 74)

Summer Term Review

We started the summer term during an almost record-breakingly warm spell on Monday 16th April 2007 – it was more like the end of the summer term than the beginning. (That was the summer!)  It was the usual start to proceedings – a general club evening (GCE) with a DVD performance in the hall. This time about 15 of us enjoyed ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ which is a very successful romantic comedy from a few years ago. Ian Bedford thought it was ‘Alright!’ and Carla Mayall said it was ‘Very good’.  The rest of us chatted, played pool, and consumed much from the coffee bar which, courtesy of proprietor Anne Alderson, included lots of fruit. (Can we have chocolate back again soon please?) Most of the Committee disappeared for half an hour or so for the Club’s AGM in the library (see below)

The flapjack making on Monday the 23rd (Jemma in charge!) was a little chaotic due a mixture of ounces and grams in the recipe!  Let's blame the person who typed it up, namely Jemma's husband!  The helpers had to guess the amount of oats which led to some tins nearly overflowing and others only half full!  Elva was the first to start cooking as her apron was on ready by 7.31pm!  There were five members able to mix their ingredients at one time which resulted in 'a not very orderly' queuing system.  Members were able to choose whether to add raisins, cherries, apricots or chocolates - many had all four. Ian Faulkner was so excited by this choice that he nearly toppled out of his chair.  Despite running out of honey, 19 members took home their delicious looking flapjacks.  Kira and John Morton managed to cook two lots during the evening.  The helpers then had to tidy up the kitchen and found nearly half a pound of oats on the floor! Jemma brought in from home Lego, jigsaws, K’nex and Jenga for those not wishing to cook. These went down really well - something different for people - the large size jigsaws particularly with Nick Stanton, Ian Bedford, Dick Prior and others. Also a 'Mars Attack' type game like ‘Whack Attack’ but electric and better until Stephen White hit the on/off switch and that was the end of that (we did tell Jemma!) Also the Indoor Bowls rink was being well used.

On Monday 30th April we had another very popular bingo evening: six games of one line, two lines and a full house plus the stand-up-sit-down game where the winner is the last person to get a number called out. This time Penny Teagle was the last one standing and she got a very large box of PG Tips tea bags for her trouble. Winners of line prizes were Sarah Fearnley, Kevin Legge (twice), Keith Tollitt, Elva Clarke, Carla Mayall, Sarah Walford, John Curtis, John Morton (three times), Brian Heath, Brynley Morris, Molly Arthur and Andrew Rowland.  Winners of the full houses were Sarah Fearnley (mug tree and two mugs), Ken Stickley (garden gnome), Elva Clarke (Thunderball DVD), Sarah Walford (12 cans of Pepsi and some stamp pens) and Andrew Rowland (sorry can’t remember!). Where is the winner of the sixth game? Sorry, forgot that too. We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jane Carrington.  It was Bryn’s last evening (see below).

After a break for the Mayday Bank Holiday, we resumed on Monday 14th May with a GCE, but a very busy one nonetheless.  The school pool table had been repaired and so we returned ours (which we had been lending them) to the garage. The repaired table was in use all evening. The school had also just purchased a table football set and that, too, was well used. We could have lent them ours too!  There were one or two small games going on in the hall but the area was dominated by the ever-popular colouring activity which kept about a dozen of us fully occupied.  Henry ran the indoor bowling rink which was enjoyed by several including Ken – hooray we’ve found something that you seem to enjoy Ken!

We had another GCE on 21st May with the usual table football and pool in the coffee bar area, but in the hall we had a display of freestyle clay and Playdoh modelling. Yes, Julie Furlonger had found a few hundredweight of modelling clay in the garage which was fortunately in sealed packs and so was fresh as the day it was pinched from the Early Learning Centre. Jemma Howland supplemented this with vast numbers of moulds and modelling aids from son Archie’s toybox and some rock-solid Playdoh.  So there were some very inventive designs although it has to be said that the majority were either balls or sausages. Keith Tollit produced a pretty good dog, although the breed was a little difficult to establish.  It was Nick Holmes last Club evening (see below).

After a break for half term, we resumed on Monday 4th June with a ‘Pub Evening’ at Grove Rugby Club.  We were all regally entertained by the committee and members of Grove RFC and after getting all of us over there, we had an excellent time.  Luckily Sabine had a new silver estate car so we were able to transport both Penny and her trolley across to Grove. Some played darts and about half of us took part in a great ‘pub quiz’ organised by club helper Vera Hollister.  Sarah answered nearly all of the quiz questions on her own and wrote down the answers for the whole team.  The winning team shared the prize (sweets – don’t tell Mark C!) with the losers, which was very nice of them. There were drinks in the bar and everyone enjoyed hot dogs and burgers from the barbecue outside.  We tried to keep tabs on the amount of booze being chucked down people’s throats but it was difficult. All we can say is that Elva knocked a drink over, Jeremy dropped a glass which smashed on the floor and discretion forbids me from naming the person who had three pints of lager. Although her name has eleven letters and rhymes with ‘Tenny Peagle’.  A large group of female helpers were seen lurking by the barbecue, clearing up the left-overs, including one who was seen with a small bridge roll with a sausage and two burgers in it!

Ten of the wonderful ladies of Ridgeway Harmony (plus musical director Sandra) stepped in at fairly short notice to provide the entertainment at our musical evening on Monday the 11th.  They provided a super 45 minutes worth of very professional close-harmony singing, including such favourites as ‘Daydream Believer’, ‘Summer Holiday’,  ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’, the gospel song ‘Do Lord’ and ‘I Don’t Know Why’.  They also sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to John Curtis (5th June) and Chris Roots (15th June).  Elva managed to sneak in at the last minute and get a chorus of ‘Congratulations’ out of them because someone she knew had had a baby. (Who? When? Does anyone else know her?).  Elva also featured in the later collapse of the school snooker table when she leant on it.  Not to worry Elva – it had been very poorly repaired after the last collapse! After the singing we had an hour of the Club DVD showing some activities from 1991 – 2005 which was much enjoyed by all.

On Monday the 18th Andrew Harwood organised a treasure hunt. This is always a much-looked-forward-to event and he didn’t let us down. We divided into three teams. Firstly there were the ‘Belmont Beaters’: Ian Collins, Kira Beaver, Kathy Watts and Elva Clarke helped by Tim and Julie; then ‘Dr Who’ with Carla Mayall, Keith Tollitt, Brian Heath, Andrew Latchem and Kevin Legge helped by Sabine and Jemma and last but not least a team with no name which comprised John Curtis, Amanda Williams, Lavinia Clarke and John Morton helped by Anne and Vera. We were given a map of the Belmont Park area and 31 clues to find.  These included specific things at specific addresses – like how many pots are there outside 13 Donnington Place and more general things like ‘Spot someone doing gardening’. The householder at 45 Elizabeth Drive (What colour are the beautiful flowers outside the front door?) was somewhat alarmed at groups of people standing outside her house and pointing and when we told her it turned out that she had changed her hanging baskets that day for different colours.  No team got the correct number of satellite dishes in Blackcroft and the mechanical digger spotted by Andrew at the weekend had gone, but we all did very well, the Belmont Beaters winning with 28 out of 31.  The half time drinks and snacks at the rec were a welcome break. Andrew forgot to buy any prizes.

June 25th was the pubnic which, in spite of the appalling wet weather, was a ‘fab time’ for all.  It was raining, cold and windy – typical for what turned out to be just about the wettest June on record. (What a contrast to the start of term!) Just a few of the bravest took the stroll down to The Lamb, most nabbing lifts from helpers. Even Ian Collins gave his services as chauffeur.  Apparently it was worth it for those who braved the elements: Kira Beaver said it was ‘great’, but all Kathy Watts said was that ‘It flippin’ well rained!’  As usual, the landlord and staff provided beefburgers with oodles of onions and ketchup and the Club bought the first round of drinks.  Some rather unwisely supplemented their ration with their own money!

Monday 2nd July was a GCE when we painted all those clay shapes we had made on 21st May – hearts, snails, stars, teddy bears etc.  The rest of us played pool and bowls or just sat around and chatted. We also investigated a vast array of new equipment which had just been delivered to us courtesy of a donation from the local Freemasons  Lodge.  Thank you very much chaps!  Mark and Garry spent most of the evening assembling a basketball net and then a very sophisticated crosstrainer.  We shall all be very fit soon.  But this wasn’t all: we had Kerplunk, Gunslinger, Monopoly, Cluedo,  Putting, Buzz the Wire and a golf putting game.

On July 9th we had a visit to Wantage Police Station, although this time the door to the Magistrates’ Court was locked, so we couldn’t enjoy seeing Elva in the dock!  It didn’t really matter because we were very well entertained by Natasha, Sue and Darren, who are based in Wantage. Well, we saw the cells and the interview rooms and the custody suite – all of which are no longer used! (You get taken to Abingdon if you are arrested in Wantage or Faringdon these days – that’s efficiency for you!) . We had a good look around a police car and one of those police Landrovers you see on the motorway. We soon had all the lights flashing and sirens wailing. Sorry Wantage.  Carla felt she had to try out all the seats in both vehicles for some reason.  We then went back into the operations room, well more like a bar and social club really and had a very interesting talk from Penny, Elva and Sarah F about anti-social behaviour in the area.  When Darren got the chance to get a word in we saw and heard all about all the uniforms and equipment used and had a demonstration of batons, riot helmets and shields and what to use if you want to break open a locked front door in one hit.  We finished with a bit of a personal safety talk and a question and answer session where the biggest problem for members seemed to be drunken yobs ringing doorbells late at night and running off. Very frightening!  But it was a jolly good evening.

Weatherise July had been very similar to June, but Monday 16th kept cool and fine for an evening of rounders on the school field organised by Anne Alderson.  It was a real hoot!  All formality was resisted almost from the start and most of the evening was members batting, helpers fielding and the principal rule was ‘However you are out, you’re not’. So Lavinia Clarke, Sarahs Walford and Fearnley, John Morton, Kevin Legge, Steven White, Dick Prior, Amanda Williams, Andrew Latchem spent the whole evening individually trying to clock up the most ‘rounders’.  This was more difficult than it sounds even though we allowed those rounders not done ‘in one’.  The main problem was hitting the ball, but there were also significant problems remembering to run, remembering to drop the bat and running in the right direction. At the start when we had formal teams of members and helpers, it was difficult to remember whether you were fielding or batting so that’s why it was easier not to change things. There were, in spite of everything, some excellent performances: Kevin Legge and Andrew Latchem managed some mega hits. Amanda Williams did some great running and throwing and John Morton managed a few rounders at a gentle stroll with a few very low energy swipes at the ball. But better than anything, we all had a good laugh and plenty of fresh air.

With floods everywhere, the record-breakingly wet June and July came to an end for the Club on Monday the 23rd July. Although not raining it was dark, threatening and cold and so we decided to have the barbecue indoors!  Oh yes – and the disco too.  Well Jim Shoemark was away at some Disco operators’ conference so son Tom, doing his first solo performance and with Mum Alison as van driver, drove the Electroloom decks competently and gave us a very creditable performance. Meanwhile it was all hands on deck by the (mostly female) helpers in the kitchens with all ovens firing.  Surprising how long it takes to cook burgers in an oven!  So it was an evening of food drink and dancing – a normally unwise combination but we all survived.

Summer Outing

On Saturday 7th July we all trooped off to Beale Park at Pangbourne near Reading.  It’s a beautiful park with lakes full of massive carp and a veritable arboretum of trees and plants just by the river Thames.  Also, it turned out to be the best weather we’d seen in weeks – a lovely sunny and not-too-hot day. Sadly the boat trip was orff owing to the level of the river following the wettest June on record but we all went on the little train. The carriages were probably designed for small children but we all managed to squeeze on.  There were loads of empty cages (well I couldn’t see anything!), but in the owlery most cages had a dozing feathery thing up in a dark corner.  In the pavilion was a spectacular permanent exhibition of model boats of all kinds – more even than you could shake a stick at.  We all brought picnic lunches which we ate in the sun or under the shade of the trees. Kevin Legge did a collection for the coach driver on the way back.

Committee News

The Club’s annual general meeting was held on the first day of term, the 16th April.  Nothing much of any import emerged, your Committee is as before. Just to remind you who they are: Club Leader Mark Clutterbuck, Chairman Garry Shand, Secretary (a new one!) Jemma Howland, Treasurer Tim Pocock, plus, equally important, Julie Furlonger, Andrew and Helen Harwood, Anne Alderson, Vera Hollister, Sabine Wood, Tricia Shand, and Jan Collins.  If you need any details see any Committee member.

We had a Committee meeting at King’s Cottage, Kingston Lisle and enjoyed Anne and Mike Alderson’s usual excellent hospitality. The weather (once again) prevented us sitting in the garden. It was quite a long meeting and we got a lot of business sorted out, including the programme for the autumn term, arrangements for the Christmas draw (same as always!) and the Christmas stall.  We have been doing very well for donations this year, having received a further £1050 since the previous meeting.  Progress has been made on the Club’s new website and Ampersand (via Jemma) are also working on our new all-colour flyer. Perhaps most importantly, and partly driven by our insurers, the Committee voted to adopt a Health & Safety Policy and a Personal Protection Policy covering all members, helpers and drivers. The piles of associated paperwork and forms are ongoing and should be ready for next term.  Tim was appointed as the Club’s first Health & Safety Officer.

News of Members/Helpers/Drivers

On 30th April we were all very sorry to say goodbye to founder member Brynley Morris (not only that, but also member No 1) who is moving with his family to Measham in Derbyshire.  Only Ken Stickley, Caroline Burson, Pearl Marshall and Ian Bedford remain as founder members!  Bryn was 16 when he joined the Club on its first meeting on 12th February 1973 and has been coming regularly therefore for over 34 years.  He has become a real character and done much for the Club, always helpful and polite.  We shall miss him a lot. We presented him with a card signed by everyone and hoped he would come and visit whenever he was in the area. His sister Jenny Lineham sent us a lovely letter thanking all of us at the Club for looking after Bryn for all those years.

We were equally sorry to say good bye to Nick Holmes on 21st May, member number 54.  Nick (44 years old) is moving to a new home in Wood Farm in Oxford. He had been coming to Club for almost as long as Bryn, having joined on 7th June 1976.  Nick was a very regular attender and joined in as much as he could.

Ken Stickley received a letter from a Lady-in-Waiting at Buckingham Palace, thanking him for wishing Her Majesty a very happy 81st birthday.  The Queen was very pleased to hear from Ken apparently and sent him a lovely photo and a family newsletter. He later appeared in an article in The Faringdon Folly and Diary about his own  75th birthday party in Faringdon Baptist Church.  He had a magician and his all-time favourite band Wantage Silver Band turned up to play for him. What a party!

Mick Portsmouth, one of our drivers, on and off, for the past 25 years, ran in the London Marathon, raising a lot of money for the Alzheimer’s Society.  Very well done Mick, 4 hours 49 minutes beats the time I could have done by about three days.

14 Club Gossip

Notice Board

Don’t forget, parents and carers, to let us know when members will miss Club.  Last-minute problems cannot be avoided but when you know in advance please give Garry a call on 01235-764222.  We cannot afford to send our volunteer drivers on wild goose chases!!

Parents! Don’t forget to let us know about any medical problems which members may have or medication which they may need to take. We try to update medical forms regularly but we can never be up-to-date on everything.  We should also be told if there is anything else which could be relevant - eg any foods to be avoided etc. Also, should we restrict any members on what they purchase at the coffee bar – even though these days it only serves low-calorie drinks. The onus is on you to tell us - we can’t be expected to guess!  Thanks!

Drivers!!

Thank you for all you hard work bringing our members to and from Club in all weathers.  You really are the lifeline of the Club and without you it could not exist.  Please let us know when you’ve swapped runs - it could save us ruining Coronation Street for someone!!

Did you know that drivers can be helpers too?  Yes, obvious though it may seem, we have been asked to point out that if any of you wonderful drivers would like to give up even more of your time to become helpers you would be more than welcome to give it a try!

Any More Of You Out There?

We’re always desperate for more drivers.  If you can help, or if you know someone who might please call Garry Shand on 01235-764222.  It’s really not too bad - one or occasionally two trips per month during school term time.

Is anyone out there interested in being on the Committee?  We are particularly looking for another parent or guardian. (Parent Jan Collins is already on).  If anyone out there would like to become involved in this interesting and rewarding job, please contact any committee member - you could just come along to a committee meeting or two to see if you like it first!

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