Chairman’s log December 2021

As Kylie Minogue once chanted to great success, Lucky, lucky, lucky; I should be so lucky! And so it was for us in late August with our Sunday afternoon picnic at Painshill Park, and more recently with our Bath and Bristol Getaway. When a dry day is critical for success, there’s always risk and uncertainty in our green and pleasant land! It’s the kind of uncertainty that causes younger event organisers to go prematurely grey! However, on both occasions the Gods were unbelievably kind.

At Painshill Park, in a gloriously spacious open-air setting shielded by surrounding trees, we relaxed and enjoyed mellifluous music whilst gently imbibing whatever tipple we had brought. In the interval there was ample time to enjoy our picnics and catch up with friends whom we had rarely seen in recent times. We were blessed with a warm and windless day – and even the sun put in a respectable appearance. All in all, we couldn’t have been much luckier.

And then there was Bath and Bristol. In the days prior to the event, the forecast was unremittingly dire. Rain, rain, and yet more rain – with lots of wind and occasional lightning for good measure! Just what you want when you are looking forward to a long-awaited getaway with numerous opportunities to explore the streets on foot. But amazingly there was scarce a spot of the wet stuff. Some of us went on a fascinating guided walking tour of Bath and guess what, not a hint of rain until the moment that the tour was ended. And the following day, when exploring Bristol’s historic harbourside, the forecast thunderstorm was no more than a swiftly passing heavy shower – in fact, the sun was in the sky for almost the whole day. Yes, on our final evening we had to contend with rain and a lot of wind when walking to and from restaurant, but that was about the height of it. Lucky, lucky, lucky! We could not have been more lucky! Until, that is, our return to Esher when the heavens opened just when we needed to retrieve our baggage and get it to our cars. But Mike, our fantastic coach driver, was as wonderful as ever, running back and forth twixt coach and cars laden with our bags. As you will hear elsewhere in this newsletter, the getaway appears to have been a great success and my thanks go to my wonderful wife for her relentless pursuit of the dreaded detail in which the devil always lies!

By the time you read this newsletter we will hopefully have enjoyed a terrific annual dinner at Leatherhead Golf Club and we will be looking forward to our festive pre-Christmas party at Claygate Village Hall. We hope to see you there.

Since this is our last newsletter before the turn of the year, may I take this opportunity to thank our fantastic committee for yet another outstanding year despite the obvious challenges. It is coming up to five years since I took over as chairman and that is more than long enough. I will be standing down at the next AGM so if there is someone you would like to nominate as Chairman for the next 12 months (no greater commitment required) then please propose them when you receive the nomination form. As I sign off from this, my last Chairman’s Log, may I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy year ahead.

Mark Marriott