Good evening to you all gentlemen. It may not be evening when you read this, but as its darker than a black dog’s arse most of the time, it always feels like evening. A few upcoming events to mention, and a few past ones to report on.
Wolverhampton Round Table
David Cole and I are going along to Wolverhampton Round Table’s 90th Charter Night on Monday December 9th at South Staffs Golf Club. It is also their swan song, no more Wolverhampton Round Table after this, and it should be very well attended by many of the local clubs, both Table and 41. We will report back.
We’re booked for the sleigh on Friday 20th December, and we’ll be doing the route round Weston Avenue and some of the Dimbles. It’s a very short route, a couple of miles, and although we already have 12 or 13 members signed up for it, we could do with a few more. So please come out and support it – as a club we will get an equal share of the total amount raised over the whole 20 days so it’s well worth the effort and more importantly, you’ll be able to see me wearing my brand new Santa’s beard, which I will be auctioning off afterwards to the lowest bidder.
I’ll also be providing mince pies and a glass of wine at my house afterwards if you need your spirits raising.
Also at my house this year, Sunday 29th December. It’s maybe a little earlier in the club calendar than usual as the builders move in the following week (I know how these events can get out of hand). 12 noon, drinks and nibbles as normal. We hope to see you there, but please can you let me know if you are able to attend, as She Who Must Be Obeyed has given instructions that She wants to know the quantity of nuts she should have in hand.
Also don’t forget our Ladies Lunch on Sunday 16th February at Fairlawns. It’s a 3-course meal with wine, coffee and sophisticated entertainment, so please come along – details on the website and please book in with David Dimeloe as soon as possible.
A sad event a few weeks ago – a number of us attended the funeral of Bryan Jones, who was a member of this club for many years. The service was held at Fradley Crematorium, and it was standing room only, which emphasizes how well loved and liked Bryan was. A good service actually, filled with poetry and some excellent music. Afterwards we went to Darnford Moors for the “wake”, if that’s the right word –well attended and very much a celebration of a life well lived.
Equally sadly we have heard just recently of the deaths of former members Steward Band and Bob Standing, and also of Rob Dabinett’s wife Gill. Further details of services are on the website, or will be when we have more news. Our deepest condolences go out to all their families.
Several of us were at the ceremonies at the NMA on Sunday 10th Nov, both the main one and the 41 Club garden. I think there were about 20-25 at the garden, including representatives from National 41 Club, Round Table, Tangent and Ladies Circle. Many wreaths were laid on young Mr Davies’ beautiful new wreath rack, and he even arranged for a Spitfire to do a fly past and many loop-the-loops, so well done to him for that.
We then retired to Alrewas Village Hall for a splendid lunch carefully orchestrated by Messrs Cummings, Davies and Dimeloe (P) and cooked by Lorna of Renown. Lots of fellowship, although there were few bottles of red fellowship left afterwards (these will be available for fellowship at Chairman’s drinks). It was a really good event, and thanks again to everyone who did their bit.
Speaker Evening 13th November
Some guests from 250 and Spires joined us for an excellent meal and speaker evening at WHGC. Our main event was local crime author Jim McGrath, who has written a number of non-fiction management books and a series of crime novels set in Birmingham in the 1960s. They are a mixture of Peaky Blinders and Life on Mars (the crime drama, not the David Bowie song) and take you back to a darker time of intolerance and many -isms. Well worth a read, and a tribute to his speaking skills that he sold out of all the books he brought along. Thanks to all who put in the effort to organise and to come along – our numbers could have been depleted by the missing Spanish contingent but as it was, we had a goodly number.
A fine turnout at Rob’s for the traditional Winter BBQ on 27th November, in place of the normal informal. Top Chefs from around the country competed for the title of Professional Masterchef, and Kate and Ellen reported that it was of a very high standard this year (they were watching it on BBC 2 in the kitchen).
Outside, we were treated to a choice of soups – traditional leek, potato and stilton or roasted Mediterranean vegetables, courtesy of John “Jamie” Moore. In a re-enactment of the Brexit vote, the British soup was significantly more popular, but as always, both were exceptionally fine.
There was a stampede when Roger “Heston” Davies announced in his lilting Welsh bellow that the food was ready, but thoughtfully Rob had locked the gate so we couldn’t get away. Happily, Pete “Gordon” Chapman had weaved his magic on the burgers and sausages, and we all went away with six inches of pure pork pleasure.
Donald “Michel” Minor had produced a novel and splendid variation on bread and butter pudding, using Italian panettone instead of Hovis. The word “panettone” derives from the Italian word “panetto”, a small loaf cake. The augmentative Italian suffix “-one” changes the meaning to “large cake”. The origins of this cake appear to be ancient, dating back to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey. So in fact it’s really a cake, which means that it may be subject to VAT if it’s classed as a luxury item, rather than a staple. However, those canny Italians have deemed that as it has the letters “PAN” in the word, it’s really bread, so no VAT. Having spent some time on the phone to HMRC to clarify this, they told me to stop ringing them up and get a life.*
Many thanks to hosts Rob and Kate, and to all who prepared, cooked, served, washed up and organised. Well done.
* Actually, upon reflection, they may have said get a wife. If you want to read more around this subject (and who doesn’t), there is a truly wondrous section of HMRC’s website which explains why flapjacks have no VAT on them, whereas chocolate-covered shortbread biscuits are standard-rated. https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/vat-food/vfood6200
The next “formal” meeting is our Christmas meal on 11th December, at Whittington, 7 for 7:30 as normal. I expect there will be the odd glass of Christmas Cheer on the tables…and no business to cover, so we can all enjoy ourselves. I look forward to seeing you there.