September Main Meeting – London Oddities and Curiosities

By popular request, our September speaker was Sally Botwright, a well-known London Blue Badge Guide who gave Part 2 of her excellent talk “London Oddities and Curiosities”.  We were entertained and educated with some of the unusual sites in London with many amusing anecdotes and intriguing pieces of information.  I’m sure we will all be looking for those special red telephone boxes identifying them as listed buildings!  Sally’s extensive knowledge of many aspects of London life always illustrate what a wonderful city it is and we hope that she will return in the future to give us Part 3 of her talk with more about the interesting things we have not noticed in our capital city.


The Special Theory of Relativity, Part 1 – Time and Distance – Richard Jones

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was presented to the world in 1905. It had its origins in Scottish physicist J Clerk Maxwell’s work on the propagation of light. From experimental laws of electricity and magnetism he used mathematics to derive a formula for the speed of light which made no mention of what that speed might be relative to.

Continue reading The Special Theory of Relativity, Part 1 – Time and Distance – Richard Jones


Report Current Affairs – September 2017

Two apologies were received and one member from the waiting list attended. Nine full members attended.

  • We have cancelled our visit to the Crown Court. When the new Court is ready, we may be able to visit that venue.
  • Today we had a visit from David Jones, Head of Community Focus for BCC and responsible for the Bucks County Library service. He gave us a first-class account of both his history as a librarian, and the present structure of the Bucks Library Service. It is plain that the financial situation both locally and nationally have placed many challenges before the library service. It is equally plain that David Jones and his staff have been creative in facing the challenges. Much remains to be done, but the County Library service is now flourishing, with each individual library having found a model which suits their local needs. We were immensely grateful to David for sparing time to talk to us, in such a positive and humorous way.
  • Next meeting: On 2nd October. We are juggling with possible topics, so will provide details later. The possibilities are that there will be an open meeting on ‘Our previous selves’, so that we each give an account of our early days in our chosen career.

At a future meeting we are to have a visit from a County Councillor, who came to talk to us a while ago, but this will have to be confirmed once his availability is known.


Princes Risborough – Shops and Shopkeepers

On the 1st of September we had an exceptional number of both members and visitors who joined us for an afternoon with the popular Michael Payne. His talk highlighted the local shopping area both past and present with an interesting slide show. One slide showing Granny’s Pantry at the Market Square end of the High Street created much interest as few remembered it having been sited there. They had always known it more in the middle of the Town in the now Indian Restaurant next to Shaw Trust. The trip down memory lane certainly bought back many memories of the very busy shopping area and also the many different shops and characters all of which made up our ‘then’ bustling market town. Following many questions we enjoyed our refreshments and continued to discuss our topic.

It was a very pleasant and informative afternoon

Walking – August 2017

Long Walk 2nd August led by Chris Mansfield

Eight of us met at the public car park in Goring on a rather grey day with rain promised later. We set off at 9.30 up the High Street, over the railway then crossing the road to walk through an estate of nice houses to reach fields. Our path led uphill giving good views before descending into a valley and entering Great Chalk Wood. After half a mile we turned off right to follow a pretty bridle path passing Bottom Farm to reach a road at Blackbird’s Bottom near Cray’s Pond. We crossed the road to continue on a wide track across a field to reach another road. This we crossed into woodland but then missed our path by turning too soon and reach an encampment of young people living off the land. Continue reading Walking – August 2017


August Main Meeting – “Amy Wonderful Amy”

The August Main Meeting speaker was Roy Smart, who gave an excellent talk entitled “Amy. Wonderful Amy”, which detailed the life of the famous aviator, Amy Johnson.  Roy described how Amy, an unknown woman from Hull with very little flying experience,, became the darling of the 1930’s after she became the first woman to fly solo to Australia.  The fascinating story of her flying exploits, her disastrous relationships with men, her brief stay in Princes Risborough and her mysterious disappearance when her plane crashed into the Thames, was superbly presented. Roy’s slide show complete with film and music clips, was absorbing and entertaining.  We hope that Roy will return in 2018 to give another of his excellent talks.


Financial Workshop Presentations

Over the past few month a number of presentations have been given which are attached below.

In March Andy presented a Talk on the People’s Budget looking at the various options available to the Chancellor.

The People‘s’ Budget

In May Noel Austin gave us a talk on Tax, Care and Toy Boys. The latter caused some merriment but became serious with the legal and financial implications of late life marriages being discussed.

Tax Presentation – Sept

In July Andy gave us an update on the options for Brexit which was well received despite all the recent publicity. Again the presentation is attached for interest. This followed up Rt Hon David Liddington’ s marvellous talk on Brexit  last autumn.

Brexit – The Options


Biodiversity – Dr Martin Hodson

We were treated to an excellent talk, “Biodiversity”, given by the environmental biologist, Dr Martin Hodson, a lecturer and researcher at both Oxford Brookes and Oxford Universities. After detailing the history of the study of biodiversity, Martin gave details of the current number of identified species (1.2M) and said that it was believed that 86% of species had not yet been identified. The number and distribution of plants and therefore other living species varied depending on the habitat, with regions enjoying warmer wetter climates, such as tropical rain-forests, supporting the greatest variety of species. 17 countries contain 75% of the world’s biodiversity with hotspots in the Sunda Islands, the Philippines and Madagascar, all areas which are undergoing substantial man-made environmental change. Continue reading Biodiversity – Dr Martin Hodson


Current Affairs report – 7 August 2017

Eight members attended, and apologies were received from four others. Two members from the waiting list were welcomed.

Details of the September meeting: on 4th September, David Jones, Head of Library Services for Bucks, will come to talk to us about the service.

We discussed whether it was feasible to go ahead with our planned visit to the Aylesbury Crown Court in November, in view of the access problems of the building. The consensus was that it was preferable to cancel this event but explore a visit to the new Crown Court when it opened in 2018. Access issues, we are told, will be resolved. We will pursue this and report back. Continue reading Current Affairs report – 7 August 2017


Learning Together