January 2018

In January  Vic  Quayle recalled  his ‘Life  of  Grime’ when many years  ago  he was  working  as  an  environmental  health  inspector. He was  able  to treat  us  to the  whole  range  of  horrors to  be encountered in that  profession – from slaughterhouses and appalling  restaurants to obsessive  hoarders and  the  keepers  of  venomous  snakes and  wild  animals – as  well as  covering  more  routine  matters  such  as  the remedying  of  sub-standard  housing. It would have been hard not to conclude that even if Vic’s talk had been addressed  to  a much  younger  audience  it  would  have  done little  to encourage  recruitment  to the  ranks  of  the  environmental  health  officers. We must be thoroughly grateful that the  job  gets  done.

February 2018

In  February  former MEP Michael  Hindley gave an excellent talk on Britain and Europe – What Next? After a valuable summary of our relationship with  Europe since World War II he provided a balanced consideration of the  factors governing current negotiations and the possible alternative outcomes. He then dealt authoritatively with a longer than usual session of questions which confirmed members’ deep  interest in the  issues and an appreciation that  Michael had cast genuine light on them at a time when public debate is still largely conducted in emotional terms and from entrenched  positions. This was  the type of mature assessment that would have benefited the whole country in the weeks prior to the Referendum but which proved no less welcome after the event.

March 2018

Due to adverse weather conditions the speaker was cancelled on the day.

April 2018

David Rose spoke to us in April on Guildford Industries and provided an excellent and amply illustrated account of several of the major manufactures in the town from the medieval cloth trade through to the twentieth century domination of Guildford by the Dennis motor works. Between these periods we learnt of the less well-known local clay pipe making and of the brickworks in Guildford Park and Stoughton the first of which provided a substantial proportion of the bricks for the Cathedral. Over the years the Dennis family had moved on from Rodborough Buildings to the Woodbridge site and from the manufacture of bicycles through to cars Churchill tanks lawn mowers and the variety of buses dustcarts and fire engines on which their reputation latterly rested and we were reminded of the vast size of the Dennis factory and its importance to the town

May 2018

As it was the AGM, there was no speaker.

June 2018

Alan Williams reflected on his time with the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.  More to follow.

July 2018

In July on the day before England’s quarter final triumph the Club  revisited the  Conquests  of  1966 with  Brian Scovell formerly  of the  Daily  Mail. In the course of  a long  and  prolific career  as  a sports  writer  Brian had the  distinction of  being the  only  journalist to  cover  both the  football  World Cup  and  the  cricket  Test series  against  West  Indies  in 1966. Brian had  personally known most  of the  leading  players at that  time and  for  many  years  afterwards and  this enabled  him  to treat  us to  a most  interesting variety  of insights and  stories around the  England campaign  under  Alf  Ramsay leading  on  to some  stimulating  reflections  on the  current  manager  Gareth  Southgate  and  his  squad. Time  sadly ran  out for us  all  too  soon

August 2018

No report

September 2018

Geoff Beer took us back through decades of state snooping into our private lives. His talk looked at the use of technology from the 1930’s to today with emphasis on the electronic trail we leave behind us. Happily, in Britain we have had fairly benign governments which have not intruded too much but the chilling fact is that the capability is there.

Monitoring of the behaviour of suspected spies, activists or potential terrorists is understandable but there is a fuzzy line between acquiring information for genuine security reasons and holding it on file against the interests of individuals. Geoff explained the strict rules which applied in the UK to prevent unnecessary information being held by the authorities. He also described how sensitive information can fall into the hands of commercial concerns or indeed criminal operators. He considered the possibility that some of the electronic equipment in our homes could be used for continuous eves-dropping on our daily lives.

October 2018

Alan gave us a witty and involving talk about trees and woods, drawing on his experience with the Forestry Commission. With plenty of audience participation greatly encouraged by Alan, he tried to dispel the myths and mysteries which darken our perception of the world of woods and forests. Fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin all helped to create a rather evil image of our woods in the minds of children which often stayed with us into adulthood. Everyone could remember bedtime stories which cautioned us never to venture into the forest, particularly after dark.

 Historically, in less civilized times, woods may have been “off limits” to decent folks but nowadays  they should be valued for the assets which they are, providing havens for wildlife, sources of woodland products and places of recreation.

November 2018

Phil Holt described how control systems had developed over the years and how the UK had been at the forefront of European air traffic control since the war. Air traffic controllers are responsible for each aircraft as it travels, using radar to track its exact position, keep it safe in the airspace and provide the most efficient journey route. He explained how approach controllers ensure that planes are placed in holding patterns when airports are busy and deal with instrument landing systems, which allow some planes to make automatic landings,

He took us through the various elements of control whereby air space was divided into sectors and then airport zones where duties are divided again between air control and ground operations. He also touched on the implications of Brexit and the possibility that the UK, who had set up much of the European system, may have to pay a large premium to buy back into it.

December 2018

The Club held its Christmas lunch at the Cranleigh Golf Club/  It was much enjoyed be all.  There was no speaker.