FRIDAY 25TH OCTOBER – 4 NIGHTS – GROVE HOTEL BOURNEMOUTH with the OARC

See their website:   thegrovebournemouth.co.uk

Only 9 members travelled to support this event, the 10th year that we have carried it out.  The Friday arrival was distinguished by torrential rain and busy roads, and by 3 members, Bob Nason, Ann and myself, being stuck in the hotel lift for about 2 and half hours, 15 mins after we arrived. We were well supported by Manager Brendan, and by his staff, and it became quite a social event, three of us stuck about 3 feet below floor 2, the doors open and conversation etc taking place. We were even asked whilst stuck to choose our evening meal from the menu handed down – not just room service but lift service then!

Saturday brought dreadful weather, and a bit of concern for our walk on the Sunday.  But lo! We were treated to a lovely warm day with no rain and no wind.  The numbers were boosted for the walk by three of Ann’s family.   Two of our group were not walking, so the number setting off from The Grove was 10.  Our destination was Hengistbury Head, walking along the seafront.   Three dropped out at Boscombe Pier, and the magnificent seven made it to the target in good time.   Ann was in charge of logistics, picking up from Boscombe Pier and twice from Hengistbury Head.  Walkers were rewarded upon return with a complimentary cream tea.

The following morning Brendan came to our breakfast table to thank us individually, and we were presented with two framed certificates in appreciation of our efforts over the ten years, one for the OARC and a personal one for myself.

Ann’s family joined us for the evening meal on the last evening, the group photo in the lounge includes all us.  The total raised was £770, contributed by those staying at the hotel, some contributions by both Ann and my family, and by one OARC member who did not attend at the hotel.   I express my personal appreciation for the support of  all those who took part in any way.

Obituary – Keith Frederic Spurgeon 11 June 1932 – 3rd March 2019

I  am grateful to son Paul for this eulogy read at Keith’s funeral held on 25th March at St Lawrence Church Bidborough.  The small church was overfull; the congregation reflected Keith’s wide interests, and included three O.A.’s, suitable attired in striped blazers.

Intro

Dad was always fond of talking about his past, his childhood and his roots.  Whether telling  Caroline and me about his experience of cycling ten miles to school every day through wind,rain, snow and searing heat (not always at the same time) before letting us out of his car at the school gates, his adventures in East Africa as a young shipping agent for Union Castle, or his experiences during the war (I think his favourite story was when a nearby bomb scared his white cat Snowy into running up the chimney and coming down as a black cat Sooty).  And although I never met my grandparents, Dad would often share his memories of them, his Dad Fred stopping a runaway horse and cart on Lewisham High Street, and his mum Vi’s love of singing musical hall songs at the piano.

As a tribute I’d like to share some slightly more recent stories of the things I remember about him as a father.

Sport

I think we all know that Sport was a massive part of Dad’s life.  I’ve not really inherited his talent, but Dad tried hard to get me engaged.

Although tennis, squash, and lately golf were his main passions, Dad had also been a keen footballer, playing one or two matches for one of Charlton Athletic’s reserve teams, and after taking me to a couple of matches as a child, they also became my team. For a short time in the late 1990’s this was quite exciting, and I remember returning the favour and taking Dad to see them play in their first (and only) premiership season.  Dad also tried hard to get me into playing football, driving me to and cheering me on at cub scout matches, and even managing to get the legendary Jimmy Hill (who Dad knew from tennis circles) to write in my autograph book wishing me and the team good luck.

Domestic

Dad came from a generation when domestic duties were more clearly divided between men and women than they are today, although I’m told he did change the occasional nappy, which was apparently quite modern for a 1970’s dad.  Cooking was definitely not one of his passions, andso whenever Mum was out it was normally a choice between eggs on toast or lunch at a local pub.   Most times, we would both agree on the second; I have fond memories of lunchtimes spent at the Beehive pub whenever Mum was away … and slightly fuzzier memories of a few years later when he would always be happy to pick me up from the same pub after it had become the favourite hangout for me and my friends.  Thanks Dad.

Even if he was reluctant to pick up a saucepan, Mum kept him busy with a constant list of gardening jobs, which he would diligently work through with only occasional grumbling or outsourcing to me … it’s a big lawn for 50p).  Perhaps part of the attraction was the chance to compete with the laws of gravity and impress, sorry, scare the living daylights out of, Mum by balancing precariously 30 feet up a ladder with a chainsaw under his arm.  

In later years, although his nappy changing days were behind him, he was always delighted and entertained by his lovely grandchildren (and not just as an excuse to indulge his and their sweet tooths).  One of our fondest recent memories was him singing along with Clara and Amelie to Delilah as part of the entertainment put on at the care home for his Golden Wedding celebrations (his 30 years of training with the Orpheus choir not so easily forgotten perhaps).

Amiable

One of the things I most admired about Dad was his confident and easy-going nature.  He just seemed to get on with everyone and if he ever needed a favour people were generally happy to help him out.   I remember age 9 or 10 Dad taking me to Wimbledon on finals day, and finding all the seats were taken in the Umpires section of the stand, he persuaded the scoreboard operator to let me sit with her under the scoreboard to watch Navratilova play Hana Mandlikova.  He had some explaining to do when we got home and Mum had spotted me on TV, but I think we got away with it and I’m pretty sure I was allowed back the next year.

I think Dad would have been proud that I was visiting garages recently as part of my career with Shell.  This brought back happy memories of “bring your kids to work days” with him, watching him leverage his family man credentials to convince site managers into switching to Shell oils, and bribing me with Smiths Crisps to keep quiet and smile sweetly.

I hope you can join us later at the tennis club to share your own memories of Dad with a pint of his favourite Harveys or, if you prefer, the legendary “Poult Wood Pinky”.

Conclusion

I think it’s no exaggeration to say Dad made the most of his 86 years, focussing on the things and activities he loved.  This shone through in his personality, always seeing the bright side, even near the end when his mind and body wore out well before his patience and charm.

We’ll all miss you Dad, but you leave us with a lot of happy and proud memories.

Obituary – Neville Charles Hodgson 7 February 1935 – 8 January 2019

The funeral for Neville was at St Martin’s Church Ashurst on 29 January 2019. There were no tributes at the service but I want to put some of my own thoughts on record concerning his passing.  I was pleased to read the Old Askean Grace at the conclusion of the Service.

It was with great sadness that I learned of his death.  Ann and I did visit him and Barbara just before Christmas, he was frail then and I believe it was his heart that gave out on 7thFebruary.   He was at home, with wife Barbara and is succeeded by his wife and children Andy and daughter Kathy.

He was a thoroughly good fellow, always willing to give advice and assistance. Although he was a little older than me, we ended our time at Aske’s in the same form, 6th Remove.  We were both courting girls from the Girls’ School at the time, we later found out that the girls were cousins, subsequently both couples were married.  Thus, we were close friends over a very long period.  Until a couple of years ago when his health deteriorated, he and Barbara were enthusiastic supporters of OAA events, including the Rambling Club, Advent Lunchand City Diners.

Neville was a skilled rugby player, back row I think.  I don’t know for sure whether he played for the School 1st XV, but I do know that during National Service he was selected to play for the Army team.

Together with Barbara he was able to establish what is now a sizeable business being run by son Andrew (Advartex, Screen Printers) This firm was established by Barbara and Neville’s hard work and dedication and has resulted in a busy and sound business.

He spent some years as an Ordinary Member of the OAA Committee and he was especially helpful in haberdashery matters and played a significant part in the 2006 Blazer Project. Neville was able to attend the reunion last September of those that started school in 1947 or thereabouts, and with Barbara in recent years he has kindly hosted the OARC Annual picnic in the garden of their home at Linkhorns Farmhouse, Ashurst.   The Rambling Club will return there this year, with fond memories of a good friend.  He is sadly missed by many of us.      Dennis Johnson

Rambling Club Provisional Dates 2019 -2020

SUNDAY 10TH NOVEMBER  – PIGGY BACK – BLACKHEATH RAMBLERS FOR THOSE WHO LIKE A PACEY  WALK WTH CULTURE THROWN IN. CANNING TOWN  UNDERGROUND –

CUTTY SARK DLR   7 MILES  LEADER  – AYSEN BEKIR

SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER   – CAPTAIN’S WALK – THE ROOKERY STREATHAM COMMON 2.5 MILES

SUNDAY 12TH JANUARY

SUNDAY 23RD  FEBRUARY

SUNDAY 15TH  MARCH              

SUNDAY 26TH APRIL  – COTMANS ASH

MONDAY 18TH MAY – 5 NIGHT BREAK – RETURN SATURDAY 23 RD   MAY

SUNDAY 7TH JUNE   – 

SUNDAY 28TH JUNE  PICNIC  LINKHORNS t b a

WEDNESDAY 21ST JULY  – EVENING WALK

THURSDAY 6TH AUGUST  AGM/DINNER  ?

Old Askean Annual Lunch, RAF Club, 30th April 2020

The Old Askean Association Annual Lunch will be held at the RAF club on Thursday 30th April  2020. Members and guests will enjoy a splendid meal, interesting speeches and the opportunity  to dine and drink with fellow Askeans from across the ages.

This was an excellent occasion last year with some 50 members and guests present. Hopefully our 2020 event will be even larger.

 

Sample Menu

Smoked Salmon with brown bread and butter

Roast Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire pudding, traditional roast potatoes and a selection of vegetables

Apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla custard

Coffee and petits fours

 

 

 

Old Askean Annual Lunch, RAF Club, 2nd May 2019 –

The Old Askean Association Annual Lunch was held at the RAF club on Thursday 2nd May 2019. Some 50 members and guests enjoyed a splendid meal, an interesting talk from the Federation Principal Mr Alex Williamson about fostering closer liaison between the former pupils associations and the college.

This was an excellent occasion and hopefully next year there will be an even larger attendance.

 

Menu

Smoked Salmon with brown bread and butter

Roast Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire pudding, traditional roast potatoes and a selection of vegetables

Apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla custard

Coffee and petits fours

 

 

 

View from the Heights – May 2019

  The Heights Hotel overlooks Chesil Beach and Weymouth Harbour. Since the rambling club was last here in 2006 the Olympic Rings had been constructed because, in 2012, some sailing competitions took place off the coast. Sunsets were spectacular from our dining area, and the views are outstanding.

  The first ramble was on Portland itself and involved going part way up the west side and down the east, with a path linking the two. However it appears a housing estate had been built since the guide map was devised! It took some time to navigate our way out but there was, needless to say, a pub for us to ask locals how to find the route, over drinks. The footpath appeared to be especially steep and Dennis and Roger went to investigate. As a result the rest of us waited for three walkers coming in the opposite direction who remarked on Roger’s red tie, and were greatly impressed by his correct dress code for Old Askean ramblers. He was able to tell them that the club was founded in 1889 for cycling and camping, with rambling as a lesser activity. After easy terrain it was a shock to find a small rocky ‘ravine’ to cross. As four of us arrived a woman on a horse came and plunged down and up the other side! I was helped down but, not to be outdone by a mere animal, attempted the climb on my own and fell, causing cuts and grazes to my hand and arm. I was patched up by a passing walker and we continued to the Lobster Pot near the lighthouse to eat. There were pots along much of the coastline, their position indicated by floating markers.

  Since Diana and I were staying for only a couple of rambles I looked back in my diary for memorable events in June 2006 before I was reporting for the magazine. Among them was my unsuccessful attempt to climb Pulpit Rock, on which two of my aunts were photographed near the top in 1928. The caption reads ‘Edie and Win with the wind up’! Unfortunately the quality of the picture was poor, so Uncle Harry is shown climbing instead.

  We didn’t have much joy at pubs on the rambles back then. At The Sunray the distinctly unsunny landlord wanted to charge Roger £10 for parking his car for the afternoon, even though we had eaten there. On a hot day between Higher Brockhampton and West Shalford, I was asked to prevent the leading ramblers from passing a thatched pub. Imagine our dismay when we found it had burned down a month before. Fortunately we were able to cadge water at the village hall where an event was ending.

  Having declined the five-mile walk by the River Frome, Diana and I suggested a short walk through quarries close to the hotel on our last day. Sculptors were working at one and beyond it was a sculpture park with completed figures of an elephant, octopus, lion-faced man and a grinning dog among others. On a rock face Antony Gormley had carved a human figure he called Still Falling– something I am resolved, if possible, not to do again! I will not do so in OA rambling company, anyway, since I regret that this is my last report for the magazine. Age has caught up with me.

  Back in 2006 we had sung The Sandbin outside by the War Memorial but this year, for the benefit of Diana and I, it was sung the night before this ramble and we stayed in the restaurant to sing.  

 

 

Sixteen of us assembled for ‘standing orders’ at our hotel along with Rocky a Border terrier, rescued by Hazel and Roger, previously owned by a friend who could no longer cope with him. Three more members joined us later in the week. Rocky accompanied every ramble and even appeared to lead some, but to claim that would be denigrating the skills of Dennis and Roger! 

When Bill Bryson wrote A Walk in the Woods his understated title referred to trekking in the Appalachian Mountains. However the first Rambling Club walk, a stroll through the forest, was just that. The forest was the New Forest in Hampshire and we began at Lyndhurst Heath near the hotel at Cadnam where we stayed. It was only three fairly easy miles, starting on open heathland with a single cow (an escapee?) and several ponies which would came right up to you. Once among trees navigation was difficult, but modern technology saw through to Beechen Lane and back to Lyndhurst. Presumably ‘beechen’ is the local plural of beech, as in children and oxen, and there were beech trees on both sides of the lane. 

The next day our fittest four accepted an invitation to join the New Forest Ramblers for a fiveandhalf mile ramble beginning at Millyford Bridge. Fearing I would merely stroll and hold up the others I was not one of the four. I understand there were some tricky paths with fallen trees to be negotiated, and the pace was brisk. I also didn’t take part in the slightly shorter ramble at Keyhaven by The Solent on a hot, sunny day. Those who were not taking part in any of the walks went to towns like Lymington where there are cobbled streets and the church has a huge gallery erected in 1798. There are attractive villages such as Minstead, gardens noted for azaleas and rhododendrons, Beaulieu Abbey and The National Motor Museum. 

The final ramble began at Burley which seems to be a village obsessed by witches and things occult. I usually find something historical to write about when recording Old Askean rambles and this time it was a stone rather like a milestone but placed on the edge of the village in 1802. It reads ‘Peace restored 27th March 1802. Rest and be thankful’. This refers to the fourteen months of peace, agreed at the Treaty of Amiens, during the wars with Napoleonic FranceThe path took us along a disused railway track and through Holmsley Bog which fortunately lay below road level. 

Blazers were worn for the last meal of the holiday and The Sandbin was sung more tunefully than in the recent past. Unfortunately there was no Welsh choir present to appreciate our efforts. Jenny set the quiz which was won by Ann Johnson (on her own she insisted). 

Vic Harrup