On a pleasant day in June, 51 members of the Club including four founding members, gathered in Mark and Jackie’s garden for a champagne strawberry tea (well Prosecco actually!) to celebrate the Club’s Silver Jubilee. Beyond the happy camaraderie, we enjoyed sumptuous sandwiches – and scones – and strawberries – and a celebratory cake baked and iced by Jackie. 

But the real icing on the cake was a wonderful little jazz band whose members were much the same age as the rest of us and who serenaded us throughout the afternoon with a jolly selection straight from New Orleans. All in all, a delightful afternoon. A big thank you to Jackie and those who helped with the set-up and preparation. Also many thanks to all those who were there at the very end and who amazingly managed to return the garden to its former state in little more than half an hour! 

By far the biggest event of the past three months was undoubtedly our escorted tour of Paris at the end of June. The 47 members and friends who boarded Eurostar unquestionably had a terrific time with masses of activities crammed into a long weekend: a coach tour of Paris by day and another by night, a visit to Versailles and another to Montmartre, dinner and a spectacular show at Paradis Latin for some, and a first class group dinner for those who opted out. And there was even free time to explore further or just chill out. Our hotel was in a superb location right next to the ‘Covent Garden’ of Paris with rows of restaurants where members could sit outside in the glorious sunshine and eat, drink and watch the Parisians promenade their way along the broad and colourful walkway between the restaurants. But the superstar of the trip was Andy – our Tour Manager. Andy was a self-taught encyclopaedia of Parisian knowledge and French history who had been escorting visitors for 30 years. On the coach he made full use of every single moment to help us learn, understand and get the very most from our time in Paris. When we again boarded Eurostar at Gare du Nord we were tired, but happy in the knowledge that we had together enjoyed four fantastic days in Paris. 

Mark Marriott