The Club Christmas Party saw us at a different venue this year, the Shepperton Holiday Inn which used to be known as the Moat House. There were actually two Christmas parties being held at this venue on this same night, one of them was for 160 people in a large room and the one we attended was for a more reasonable 80 people in the Hampton room. With two full tables the Club had 25% of the partygoers there.
It was interesting to read the small green notes placed on each table telling us how the hotel was doing its bit for the planet by limiting the amount of waste materials normally produced at these events. Ah! That would explain the one Christmas cracker per two people and the small box of rationed festive party items. Don’t mention cutbacks.
Nevertheless as most of us were on a mission to have a good time it turned out all right. The food was acceptable and the disco was quiet enough during the meal to allow conversation, however once the dancing started the DJ twisted the volume knob with gusto. Most of our lot could be seen at some stage performing on the dancefloor before we trickled outside to a quieter lounge to finish off the conversations.
Most of us had taken advantage of the excellent offer of B & B at the hotel to meet up over the breakfast buffet the following morning.
The Ten Pin Bowling evening we had last week was a great success. Meeting at Tolworth bowling alley late on Saturday afternoon, 12 members were met with the cacophony of noise that can only be created by hundreds of excited young children trying to lob a 10 pound ball (weight that is) at a set of defenceless pins some 60 feet away. We did actually see a ball on the lane next to us that was bowled so slowly it stopped as it reached the pins which caused immense amusement to the 36 under tens on that lane, accompanied by the expected running/jumping/hopping/screaming from all of them, as is usually associated with such events!
No matter, eight of us split into two teams and we bowled two games each with honours more or less even. We had a bit of a surprise when at 6pm sharp the lights over the lanes were turned off leaving only the target pins illuminated, see picture below to show the effect. Special mention must be made of Jim who managed to pick up a 5-10 split. (“split” noun : If after the first ball has been bowled, 2 or more pins are left where the gap between them is wider than the ball)
Afterwards we went down Tolworth Broadway to have dinner at the Restaurante Sorrento where many of us enjoyed a substantial three course meal from the set menu for just under £20. After the main course it was interesting to hear people saying that they were “stuffed” and had no room for a pudding. Ha! That was before they set eyes on the sweets trolley, and nobody wanted to be left out.
Detlef bowls watched by Team “A” members
Team “B” discuss tactics
Watch and learn
Bowling in semi darkness after the lane lights were turned off, presumably to add atmosphere!
Thanks to a passer-by we are all in this picture taken outside the Brooklands Café (where else)
There have been a few events to report on over the last few weeks so I will start right away with the visit to Brooklands that David kindly organised for us. Twelve Club members turned up on cue to look at the various exhibits on display ranging from old racing cars to the mighty Concorde supersonic aircraft.
Nearly all the exhibits are free but there are some that ask for an additional charge, one of these being the “Concorde Experience”, but David was able to obtain a few complimentary tickets for those people that wanted to go on it.
With lots of old cars and aircraft to look at the ladies were in their element, but the menfolk successfully tried to look interested so as not to spoil things. Most of us made a full day of it having visited the onsite café for lunch.
Above: Alan takes the Mercedes powered McLaren out for a spin on the simulator.
Below: David proves that you don’t necessarily have to stay on the track.
Team WBCC on the magnificent stairway in the hall of the old house (picture not sharp as it was taken in near darkness)
Another Warners weekend was arranged this year by Sue and her assistant Alan, this time to the Cricket St Thomas site in Somerset. The weather was really kind to us for the time of year with no rain and pleasant temperatures. 20 members and friends spent the 3 days enjoying the wonderful grounds and facilities. There was so much on offer from archery and rifle shooting to hiking trail walks, there was even a fully equipped gymnasium and a heated swimming pool available but most of us just took the opportunity to explore the surrounding area.
Some people went to Lyme Regis for the day and those of us that went to the Fleet Air Arm museum came back with glowing comments. Personally we went to the Perrys Cider factory cum shop where we, or should I say I, was able to sample most of the 25 different ciders available. They also served the best bacon and brie toasted Ciabatta roll ever and latte coffee that was properly hot.
Sue's list of local attractions proved to be very useful even if it didn’t include the Haynes Motor Museum which was only a couple of miles away from the Fleet Air Arm site. Jean discovered this attraction on the web and to her delight I agreed to go, 400 classic cars and motorbikes, what’s not to like? Her face did drop a bit when we arrived there though to discover that the 3rd Sunday of every month is “Bikers Breakfast” day and the car park was full of hundreds of motorbikes and leather clad men of all shapes and sizes.
The choice of food in the dining room was wide ranging and for breakfast, if it wasn’t available in the huge buffet, you could order specials from the kitchen. We had our own waitress to look after us for breakfast and dinner which again had a comprehensive choice. We all met up in the Terrace bar for pre-dinner drinks before ambling into the dining room where we had tables pre-allocated to the Club.
After dinner there was a choice of a movie in the screen room or a full blown show in the large show lounge where again we had pre-allocated seats near the front arranged by Sue so that there was no bunfight for the best seats. The shows were a good standard especially the “Queen” tribute show put on by the in house entertainment team. If anything it was a bit loud, I reckon that they think all older people are deaf!
Jim presents Sue and Alan a small appreciation of our thanks for a job superbly done.
An interesting shot of the food court down by the lake that was abandoned about 15 years ago.
Part of the car park at the Haynes car museum on “Bikers Breakfast” day
The day was warm(ish) with a light breeze but it didn’t stop a dozen hardy members from packing a picnic, complete with chairs and tables and settling down on the pebble beach.
As the breeze picked up we all retreated to the shelter of the grass covered dune near the café (see photo below). It was really interesting to see the small boats tripping in and out of the harbour particularly the flotilla of dinghies full of children being towed back in line astern towards the safety of the harbour.
The day finished in perfect style with Alan and Sue inviting everybody back to their house for afternoon tea. And what a tea it was with Sue again producing some finger lickin’ fare that was appreciated and enjoyed by everyone. Thanks again to the both of you for your unlimited hospitality.