Mike Ashton has now left Edinburgh; he's currently lodging with John Geaney and working in Colchester, but intends to return to Edinburgh - and buy a flat there - as soon as he gets the chance. (Before next August would be good, Mike, if you can manage it, so that we can have another Edinburgh Festival bash!) His mobile number is unchanged.
If you get a chance, don't forget to have a look at Mark Hows' SHOT website: http:// www.mds.qmw.ac.uk/ medicine/inter/shot. Still on the subject of the Internet, I now have e-mail at home: email@example.com. I may not be in my current job for much longer, so it's better to contact me at home if you can. [It's OK, it looks like I'll be there for a while now - there have been further developments since I wrote this yesterday.]
Reminder from last issue: If anyone wants to take a group of at least 6 people to stay in a YHA hostel before next Easter(ish), get in touch with Rachael H.; she has a YHA group membership card for SHOT, and we might as well get some more use out of it before it expires!
John Geaney and Jill Kirk's wedding took place on 7th June, and I think was enjoyed by all who attended (except that Mashy was absolutely petrified and Emily slept through most of it!). They spent their honeymoon in Olu Deniz, Turkey. Jill (now Dr. Jill Geaney) is currently still working in the Wirral (where she is still known as Jill Kirk) but will be moving to Ipswich to join John next spring/summer. John has asked me to include this message:
"Jill and I got married in June. I would like to thank all of you who donated towards our wedding present, a colour TV, and who also made our wedding a happy occasion. Following the wedding, Jill and I still see each other at weekends, but to fill the time I now have Mashy's company..."
Other successful bashes that have taken place over the summer have included Neil's midsummer Punchbowl weekend, Jayne's Snowdonia weekend in July, and an August bank holiday weekend in a cottage in Normandy. This was organised by Chris & Penny and included visits to Le Mans, Vendome, Le Blois and the Bayeux Tapestry, a memorable game of Monopoly (I'm told) and a missed ferry back to England!
Jayne and Mike spent some time cycling round Kerry in SW Ireland and sampling the local delicacies (cider and cheesecake); and I've been over to see Darren in Japan, where I sampled about as many of the local delicacies as I could stomach - I think I did fairly well on the sushi etc., but I drew the line at raw egg & pickles for breakfast! Of course, I've got lots of photos to bore you all with on the next SHOT weekend! Darren's contract finishes about now, so he'll be home sometime in the next 2-3 months; I believe he's planning on looking for a job in the UK, but if he doesn't find anything suitable then he'll probably go back to Japan to carry on doing the same kind of thing for a bit longer.
Remember I mentioned the Contact Summer Ball in the last newsletter? They tell me it was a great success and they'll be doing it again next year. Maybe we could send a contingency along for the next one - anyone interested? Don't forget that SHOT is supposed to be getting a mention in the autumn issue of Contact, so don't throw your copy out without having a quick look through it first!
No doubt there have also been lots of other events going on over the summer, but I can only include the things that I'm told about...
The next dirty weekend (doing voluntary work for the National Trust) is 19th-21st September and is in the Brecon Beacons. The basecamp is on a farm about 7 miles SW of Brecon. We'll be doing footpath construction/maintenance work, somewhere half way up a mountain (weather permitting), so it should be a fairly strenuous weekend. Accommodation free, food £10 for the whole duration, as usual. There are 12 places, nine of which are already taken [only 7 now - more developments since yesterday], so it could be fully booked by the time you read this - but give me ring anyway if you're interested, as one or two people often drop out at the last minute.
Next SHOT weekend is 3rd-5th October, to Upper Cantref Farm, nr. Llanfrynach, south of Brecon, grid ref. 056258 (not far from the venue for the dirty weekend). This is a posh bunkhouse with prices to match, but we're going to subsidise it out of SHOT funds so that the cost is reduced to £7 per person per night. There are 24 beds available, and a £5 deposit to Gus secures a bed as usual.
Penny has asked me to publicise what will probably be her farewell bash before she goes off to Africa for a year (unless, as she puts it, Rolls- Royce make her a job offer she can't refuse). It's on the weekend of 21st-23rd November and is to Much Wenlock in Shropshire. There is room for up to 27 people, plus camping if required. We're staying in Stokes Barn, a 19th Century threshing barn situated on the limestone escarpment of Wenlock Edge. The "Jack Mytton Bridleway" and "Shropshire Way" pass by the grounds and activities such as canoeing, rock climbing, potholing, horse riding and orienteering can be organised (anyone interested in these should let Penny know in advance). Meals can also be provided and if everyone is keen then Penny will arrange a meal for Saturday night. The cost will be approximately £10-£15 for the weekend, and a deposit of £5 would be appreciated ASAP to help cover the huge cost of the 50% deposit.
As far as I'm aware, nobody has said anything about organising a Christmas do this year. If there are any volunteers to organise something in the Manchester area then please let me know; otherwise I don't mind organising a big balti night in Birmingham. I'll be struggling to accommodate 20 or so people afterwards though!
Now the New Year trip, 27th December to 4th January: this year it's organised by Neil, and it's to Loch Tay. We're staying in "The Barn at Mains of Taymouth" in Kenmore, near Aberfeldy (I believe we went there for May Day about 6 years ago). Here's a copy of Neil's blurb:
"Situated amidst the spectacular scenery near Loch Tay, this newly converted stone built centre can accommodate up to 32 people (bring your own bedding), with a fully equipped self catering kitchen, drying room, showers, toilets, dining area and sitting room with colour TV and video facilities and wood-burning stove. Facilities for outdoor pursuits abound! (their words, not mine). Loch Tay has an excellent multi-sports centre, and Ben Lawers and the many surrounding mountains challenge walkers of all abilities. Taymouth Castle is at the centre of a delightful 18-hole golf course (which, let's face it, isn't likely to be open in the middle of winter, not that many of us play golf) and a horse riding/trekking centre is just 2 miles away (see golf course comments). Mountain bikes can also be hired from Kenmore village. If the weather's really s***e, then Perth Leisure Centre isn't too far (remember the water slides from 2 years ago!). The management regrets that no pets are allowed."
Get working on your acts for cabaret night, no excuses, everyone must do a turn! Also, the theme for New Year's Eve is superheroes/cartoon characters, to give people plenty of scope and hopefully not make it too difficult. Again, there will be no excuses - non-participation is NOT an option!
Accommodation for the week will cost £50 per person, with food probably an extra £15-£20 (catering arrangements as last year, to be sorted out once numbers are known). Please send your deposits (£20) to Neil ASAP, and follow them up with the balance before Christmas, as Neil has to pay the full amount on arrival (27th). He asked for cheques to be sent to his home address (in Shropshire), but that was before he'd found a new flat in Glasgow (see list), so I would imagine it's OK to use either address.
Subs again Thank you to those of you who've already sent me your subs for Sept. 97 - Aug. 98. As for the rest of you, your payment is now overdue, and if I haven't received the dosh from you by the end of October then I'm going to update the address list without you on it and you won't receive any more newsletters! If you're not sure whether you've paid me or not then have another look in the envelope - if I don't have any record of your payment then I've included a note to this effect. I promise I won't mention subs in the next newsletter!
One more thing: would anyone be interested in a short break at Butlin's? I believe they do some good value "adults only" short breaks outside school holiday season, so this may be a possibility for sometime next year. I'll look into it - watch this space...