The Chairman, David Cowling, welcomed 48 members to the meeting held on 7th December which was the last meeting of the year. He went on to give details of the arrangements for the Christmas lunch at BCoT on Thursday 15th December and information about the first trip for next year to the Houses of Parliament on 20th March. The Welfare Officer, Christine Broadbent, then updated us on the progress of members who had been unwell and also gave us the sad news that Joyce Neville, who had been a member for many years, had died at the age of 99.
Train to the Arctic Circle
Our speaker this month was Paul Whittle who gave a very wintery talk titled ‘Train to the Arctic Circle’ detailing the trip he had made to Norway in February in the midst of the snow season. The country has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres and a population of about 5.5 million with an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea and shares a long eastern border of 1619 kms with Sweden and has only been an independent country since 1905. He started his trip in Oslo, the capital, before travelling by train, across the country to the West coast and then up to Trondheim in Northern Norway and then by ferry to the scenic Lofoten Islands. After that it was on to Lapland with a stay in the ice hotel and then on into the Arctic Circle. Despite the deep snow and freezing conditions the trains, both passenger and freight continue to operate at all times as they are a vital lifeline in the country.
Following the speaker the usual Christmas buffet was held and there was a bumper raffle where everyone managed to win something. Most of the prizes were contributed by members, but there were also donations of wine and biscuits from Tesco, Kempshott and chocolates from Storck.
The next meeting is on 4th January when the speaker will be Pam Darroch from the Basingstoke Food Bank and then on 1st February Mel Rees has “….another thing he meant to say….!”
The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Brookvale Village Hall from 10am to 12 noon and all retired Civil Servants, their relatives and friends are welcome. Further details about the group and information about our trips can be obtained by contacting – email@example.com.
— David Cowling