July Main Meeting – The Last Naval Hero? – talk by Roy Smart

Our speaker at the July meeting was Roy Smart, who gave us a rip-roaring talk about “The Last Naval Hero”, David 2nd Earl Beatty, hero of the WWI and the darling of the nation.  Blessed with the Nelson touch, this matinee idol had a darker side to his character and was something of a bounder. We heard about Beatty’s astonishing climb to fame and fortune and  his involvement in the Battle of Jutland leading to the death of over 3,000 British sailors but the surrender of the German fleet.  He became immensely rich and had a Downton Abbey life style with his hedonistic, American, socialite wife, Ethel, Countess Beatty, which was marred by marital strife and scandal.  Roy posed the question to us , “Was Beatty a bounder or a cad?” Answer: Probably both!


Guided Tour of The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park

The Group had a most interesting 2 hour tour of The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park, led by Mr Robert Dowell. This covered the evolution of computing and software technology from the Colossus of WWII decrypting German Enigma and Lorentz codes, through all the decades since, culminating in devices such as the present-day IBM PC, the Apple Mac, iPad, smartphones, etc. Continue reading Guided Tour of The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park


Walking – June 2018

Long Walk 6th  June led by Jenny & David Brown

Remote Chiltern Villages – Stokenchurch to Fingest circular 10 miles

In a walking guide book, this area is described as a ‘remote and tranquil landscape, more reminiscent of the northern dales than the Chilterns’. As a bonus, the walk also visits three attractive small villages Ibstone, Turville and Fingest. Turville of course being famous as the film set for the Vicar of Dibley’ TV series starring Dawn French.

On a bright and sunny morning, our group of 8 began the walk at Stokenchurch and after walking under the M40 motorway shortly reached wood and field paths taking us away from the drone of the motorway traffic. We had far reaching rural views across the Wormsley estate, owned by the Paul Getty family. The wooded path then led down into the valley before making a steep ascent to Ibstone common. Continue reading Walking – June 2018


Current Affairs Report 3rd July 2018

6 members and 2 visitors attended the meeting.  Bob Bowyer had kindly arranged a visit by a volunteer speaker from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.  Jenny had come with her black Labrador Tas.  Tas is 21/2 years old and has been with Jenny for 18 months.  She is Jenny’s 4th dog.

Jenny started by giving us a brief history of the charity which was setup by Lady Wright (then Chairman of the Deaf Association) and Bruce Fogle (Ben Fogle’s father) following an appeal on Pebblemill at One.   The charity started in a portacabin near Chinnor 36 years ago and sadly has been turned down twice for Lottery funding.  Originally the dogs were those abandoned in the  Stokenchurch area, but now they are bred specifically for the purpose.  A good quality for a dog is nosiness. Continue reading Current Affairs Report 3rd July 2018


Open Gardens around Risborough

Our June meeting was the “Open Gardens round Risborough” event.  The weather was perfect and over 50 people wandered around the eight beautiful gardens that were open.  A huge thankyou to all those who opened their gardens and to those who donated the superb array of plants for the Plant Sale. A very special thanks to David and Jenny Brown who hosted the teas and Plant Sale in their garden and to all those who helped make the day very special.   It’s always a lovely occasion and as in previous years, very much enjoyed by everyone.


Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter at the  Empire Cinema Haymarket
What a wonderful show! Brilliant Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter
described as one of the most haunting love stories ever written and
cleverly acted by the award-winning Kneehigh Production Co. An onstage band in cinema-usher outfits play along as characters sing Coward songs that deepen the romantic mood.  A very good advert for theatre as a cinematic adaption can be. Very cleverly done!  It seems everyone enjoyed themselves!

June Main Meeting – The History and Work of Great Ormond Street Hospital

Our speaker at the June main meeting was Clare Smallman who was an ambassador from Great Ormond Street Hospital. Clare gave a most interesting talk about the history of the hospital, the current work being done and its future plans.  With a very clear and enjoyable slide presentation together with video clips, Clare explained how the hospital was an international hub for the treatment of children and how it was at the forefront of ground-breaking research.  Some very touching footage of young patients and their families telling their stories of how the hospital had saved lives enabled us to see the wonderful work of the hospital.  Clare told us of the new buildings that had recently been constructed and the exciting fields of research that were being investigated to help children to survive life-threatening illnesses.


Trip to Hidcote Manor Gardens and Kiftsgate Court Gardens

Our coach trip in May to Hidcote Manor Gardens and Kiftsgate Court Gardens was blessed with the most beautiful weather, sunny and warm.  The journey through the Cotswolds was trouble free and our first stop was Hidcote where the beautiful gardens were at their late-Spring best with cascades of wisteria and borders filled with tulips.  Fabulous wildflower areas and woodlands with camassia made the garden feel like paradise. After lunch we went to Kiftsgate just a few minutes away, and were rewarded with another fabulous garden. Peonies, budding roses, mirror ponds and a sensational cliff garden with wonderful views over the Cotswolds. A welcome cup of tea in the tea room and a chance to buy some plants completed a most enjoyable visit.


Learning Together