First & Last, Journal of the Halton 81st Entry

Issue Number 53

Nov 2017

The Journal of the 81st Entry

Edited and uploaded by Brian Spurway

Welcome to the 53rd edition of The Journal.

Last Post:

The loss of any member of the 81st Entry diminishes us all.

The 81st Entry extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of John 'Ginge' Melville who passed away on Wednesday 25 October this year. He will be sadly missed by us all.

Now for a little bit about our recent Entry reunion; very sadly one of those present and, I thought at the time, looking so very well, was John Melville - see above. His loss and the fact that I was chatting to him so recently has made thinking about that evening, and then writing this account, a bit depressing; so please bear with me and I'll keep this as light-hearted as I can.

After our last reunion in 2015 Adrian agreed to arrange another one, at the same venue, for September this year and near enough sixty-two years after our arrival at Halton - so no major anniversary to commemorate there then. At one of our RAC based reunions I recall notices being put up letting others know that it was "The 81st Entry reunion"; the impression this may well have given to anyone not in the know was that we must have all been very old to have had so many. Interestingly at our latest reunion the hotel staff also slightly misunderstood and had similar notices up pointing to the "81st Entry 62nd Anniversary" - the question must be: Are we getting younger?

Anyway, cut to the chase:

On the 16th of September we all made our various ways to the Holiday Inn in Birmingham's busy city centre - those of us using public transport having far less bother in the process than those using their own means of carriage - some, myself included, arriving early(ish) and then being faced with a long wait whilst rooms were being prepared; however I can certainly recommend the 'spag-bol' that I had, served at the bar, whilst waiting.

Although we were at the same hotel as in 2015 it had undergone a transformation during the break; gone was the upstairs bar where we had all gathered during the day, and which happened to be next to the room where we sat down to eat, instead the bar could now be found adjoining the reception desk and our dining room in an annex only found after navigating seemingly endless corridors.

Eventually, come eventide, twenty-five of us 'old boys', twenty ladies and a single guest, Mike Johnson's son Paul - sorry, twenty of us 'OBs' and nineteen ladies as a serious accident on the M5 meant a traffic hold up that had led to the late arrival of one couple - having negotiated those corridors gathered in the allotted meeting room's bar. For a while nothing much happened as the bar wasn't ready to serve us, however this delay was to our advantage because, as compensation, first drinks were 'on the house'!

A late request to Adrian from the hotel regarding individual menu choice for the majority's chosen sit-down meal meant that, with insufficient time to find out those choices, we would revert to the only slightly less popular choice of a fork buffet. In the event there was a compromise and we sat down to a waiter service with the food that would have been used for the buffet arriving at each table on a succession of trays.

Unfortunately I had to leave the room for a while having had an asthma attack - becoming a bit more frequent as time passes - but my impression was that everybody was having a good time enjoying the chat and the occasion. Back after a trip to my room for a bit of special powder inhalation - with an inhaler not a credit card, "Ged it?" - I was able to stand and say a bit about this website's future and to thank Adrian, on behalf of all present, for arranging the event.

At our age we can still learn but are also very likely to forget things, so having forgotten much about the 2015 reunion I repeated the mistake I had made then by accepting a room on the wrong side of the hotel; as others will also have found out, 'Brum' city centre's night time activities(?) do not allow for a good night's sleep. My wife has always reckoned I could sleep for England, no matter where I lay my head - she was wrong this time! I bet, unless some kind person reminds me, I'll do the same again next time - and its a "Yes", Adrian has said he will arrange another reunion; when? I know not, but watch this space.

It really was really great to see everybody who was there; rather than adding their names here I have put a dozen or so images into Gallery 2 - some taken by Ken Francis and a few that I took with my Nexus tablet. Paul had his camera with him and obviously used it extensively as Mike is sending me a CD with another fifty odd images on it; I will get them up and running in due course.


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