All posts by Andy Henderson

Walking routes

The following pages contain maps of some of the walks done by the Walking group since September 2015. You'll see a button to show the route towards the bottom of each linked page. You will also see a button to download a 'GPX' and/or 'KMZ' file that you can use with:

  • a GPS device
  • a smart phone with a suitable app (such as Osmand)
  • a PC with suitable software (such as Google Earth)
  • a web site that can work with route files (such as GPS Visualizer)

You can use the maps to plan another walk for the Walking group, or to walk the route yourself.

Available maps:

A story from the creative writing group

The lost property office

For a short time while I was growing up my Dad was in charge of the Lost Property Office at Victoria Station. This meant that he was occasionally part of the shift system manning the front desk. He would bring home amusing tales of what people had left on trains: there was a leg of lamb in a shopping bag more than once, an unplucked fowl tied by the legs with a label attached with someone's name written on it was occasionally abandoned and once a hare (fur still on) similarly labelled. There were umbrellas galore of course. I was more interested in a magician’s cloak. It was black on one side, my Dad described it in detail. He said that would render its wearer almost invisible, then went on to say that the other side was a luminous blue with shiny stars.

Every three months items that had not been reclaimed by their rightful owners were sent to public auction (edible leavings were put in a fridge and kept for a week before being disposed of). Items that received no bids at auction were first of all put in a sale where railway employees and their families had the option of buying the things that the travelling public had abandoned. The proceeds from the sale were given to charity. Items left over from the sale were then sent to charity shops to be sold. I wanted the magic cloak my father had described so very much that I kept my fingers crossed as much as I could over the days preceding the next sale, subscribing to a theory I invented that the magic of crossed fingers would reach the shadowy world of the magician’s cloak! Eager anticipation for my mother’s return from the sale had me hopping from one foot to the other as she opened the front door. When she told me that the cloak had not been in the sale after all I was devastated. Her sole purchase, to my disgust, was a brand new dustpan and brush!

My disappointment had not gone unnoticed by my kind mother: that Christmas the first present I opened was a majestic magician’s cloak which she had made. It had all the features described by my father. It reached the ground of my 10 year old self but I continued to wear it over black trousers right through my teenage years when I practised my magic acts for family and friends. I read about magic tricks enthusiastically and joined the Junior Magician’s Circle, eventually graduating to full membership of the adult Magician’s Circle. Now, all these years later, I still practise the art and am much in demand. I followed my father into a career on the railways and as I work shifts I am able to fit my one-man shows into children’s party times. I am often asked to perform at grown-up parties too. Occasionally I am invited to attend séances because of a mistaken idea that I have connections ‘on the other side’ but those invitations I always decline. I stick strictly to the rules of the Magic Circle. While I am not yet in the Darren Brown class, I am proud of my expertise which all began because a magician left his cloak on a train: Magical!

Gill Heather

Croquet group report

The weather earlier in the Spring stopped play on several occasions, so we spent these mornings in the conservatory playing Rummikub and Mexican Train.

We are now pleased to see this sunny weather and are getting into our summer season. A few of the group are definitely improving, but some of us are simply inconsistent. However, we all enjoy the game, and we are a very close group.

We combined our Annual Trophy Contest this year with the Coronation celebrations. Everyone contributed to a finger buffet after the game, and then the trophies were presented to the winner by last year’s winner. Later in the year, for the first time in our six-year history, we will be playing for a Doubles Championship Trophy.

Jenny Devaney with her winner's trophy

Phil and Sue Blagdon

Science & technology group report

This group is open to all who wish to hear about anything science-related and for that there is a nominal charge of £2 on the door to help towards the hall hire and refreshments.

Venue: St Patrick’s Church Hall, meeting 4th Wednesday of the month.

There are 43 Members of this group and there is 50% average attendance.

This year we have had a presentations about:

  • Superconductors
  • Is this the Future of Farming? From the Laboratory and not the field!
  • A supercomputer in your Pocket: Mobile Phone
  • A Mathematical Story: Why Sunday walks around the city in 1736 became a new set of Mathematics

Coming up in the next session we have topics such as:

  • Wasps - love them or hate them, we need them.
  • he Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) space mission - Hitting an Asteroid Head On.
  • Radar: From its beginnings to current applications.
  • Electromagnetic radiation do we need to worry?

There is always an urgent requirement to find speakers to come and give us a presentation. Reaching out to the local u3a’s has given us another source of speakers, but they are also very limited. So if anyone has any contacts or topics they can present, then please contact me.

Bob Hornby

Blockbusters group report

One of our favourite books was the story of Ernest Shackleton and his exploration of the Antarctic, a remarkable story of endurance which if I gave details, they would spoil the experience for those who do not know the history. We also studied Living Dangerously by Ranulph Fiennes which is another favourite of mine.

The biography of John le Carré was to be endured not enjoyed by most of us!! All in all we have read a very varied selection and enjoyed most of the books.

What is a surprise is how varied opinions are about some books, which can be loathed or loved by someone in the group, such as H is for Hawk by Jane MacDonald. We all very much enjoy our monthly meetings.

Adrienne Pearson

Reading group 2 report

The past year has seen our group add a new dimension to our reading experience. One of our members has an extensive collection of DVDs and has generously invited us to her home on a monthly basis to view films based on books. Among others, we have viewed “Memoirs of a Geisha” (Arthur Golden), “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (John Fowles), “The Notebook” (Nicholas Sparks) and “A Room With a View” (E M Forster), all modern classics.

For this year we chose books from the Queen’s Jubilee list – only a few reading group sets from this are stocked by the library – including Iris Murdoch’s “The Bell”: we considered her prose style cumbersome, and did not warm to the characters.

Other reading has included Kate Adie’s hilarious account of her early days in journalism and as a BBC foreign correspondent “The Kindness of Strangers”, and two autobiographies: Captain Tom Moore’s “Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day” and Tim Peake’s “Limitless”. Both men had a very positive outlook on life, loved the outdoors and challenges, and were keen to learn and advance in their careers. Very different was Maggie O’Farrell’s account of 17 near death experiences in “I Am, I Am, I Am”, some of which were quite shocking and terrifying.

Fiction has covered a wide range of subjects, from the rollicking 18th century-set tale “The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock” by Imogen Hermes Gowar (involving a sea captain, his niece, a courtesan, historically accurate depictions of high class bawdy houses, their madams and frequenters – and of course the mermaid - or was it?) to two classic novels: “The Haunted Hotel” by Wilkie Collins, which we agreed was not one of his best, and “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Brontë. The latter has been belatedly recognised as an important early feminist work, covering addiction and domestic abuse, and Anne’s literary reputation has soared. Anne’s sister Charlotte suppressed the manuscript after Anne’s early death, judging these subjects unfit for a novel written by a young lady! We also read one of the year’s best-selling crime stories “The Appeal” by Janice Hallett. This proved a “marmite” book with some loving it and others hating it, mainly because of the format: the book is written entirely in emails and WhatsApp messages. This might, of course, be considered the modern equivalent of the format of Anne Brontë’s novel, which was written as a series of letters to a friend.

Jen Cayley

Philosophy group report

We have been meeting monthly for nearly fifteen years. In the beginning, we met at Mike Sylvester’s house and in that venue, the group became good friends. When Covid arrived, meetings were held on Zoom, later on when everyone was vaccinated, they were changed to the spacious surroundings of the Royal British Legion near the Hayling Co-Op.

In January 2023, Mike passed the group leadership on to me. I have a tough act to follow, and I am grateful for the guidance he is giving me. We all owe a big debt of gratitude to Mike for his unstinting work for fifteen years.

After my initial stumbles, we now have a way of working where individual members lead a discussion on a subject chosen by the group. Recent meetings have been lively and interesting.

Chris Skerry

Card making & paper craft report

Each card making group meets monthly and makes a card. Throughout the months January to August we make a card that can be adapted for Birthday, Thank You, Happy Anniversary etc, but from September to December we concentrate on making 4 different Christmas cards. (Again, we make one each month) The photo shows the cards that the groups will make this year, all quite different from each other but there are lots of different card making techniques to master. Alongside making the card we have lots of giggles as well as having refreshments.

If this is something you think you might like to try, I do have some spaces. Tuesday group 3 has 2 spaces, Tuesday group 4 has one space and Tuesday group 5 has two spaces.

All materials are provided and the cost is £2.50 per session

A match report

November 14th saw a group of 13 walking netballers travel to Whitely to play a match against Whitely Wanders.

In the hour that we played the first quarter was 5 all. In the second quarter it was 5 -2 to Hayling. We then slipped behind in the third quarter 5-1. The final all-important quarter began, but as time ran out the final tally was 18-12 to Whitely.

The ladies then invited us to tea and cakes and there was a raffle in aid of Children in Need which raised a whopping £125.10!

Anne Hollis (Group leader)


Meeting reports - January - April 2023

David Boag - January Speaker

David is a wildlife photographer and the author/photographer of 18 published books. His first book ‘The Kingfisher’ was published in 1982 and contained many unique photographs illustrating the life of this remarkable bird.

He lectures regularly to a variety of natural history, photographic and general interest audiences. He has often spoken at major conferences for organisations such as the National Trust, the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology and the Royal Photographic Society.

His work has led him to travel in Europe, Australia, Africa and America.

Over the years he has taught photography to photographic degree and wildlife illustration students and has also taught on online courses, of which he is proudest.

He regularly led African camera safari trips to destinations that included Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

He has been a Cruise Ship Speaker for many years now and his talk was very interesting.

David's website with editing by Maggi Bridgman

Susan Howe - February Speaker

Fun, Fluent, Flippant and E-ffervescent
Inspired by her extraordinarily colourful life and passion for history, Susan Howe is an entertaining speaker in demand all over the UK. She has a phenomenal memory for quirky and unusual facts and her talks reflect her exceptional experiences and her love of history as a living and vibrant subject.

What marks her out as different is the funny, individual, conversational way that she speaks, without notes. Her enthusiasm is contagious.

Living West Sussex and Hants/London

From Susan's website

Brian Freeland - March Speaker

Brian’s theatre career started in 1959, direct from National Service, and has taken him to forty-four different countries including three residencies in the Middle East, eight tours of the Indian sub-continent and two circumnavigations of the globe.

He told us many amusing anecdotes about life on the stage years ago. He was drawn into the career by Peter O'Toole and became a trainee stage manager for Moss Empires, which in the 60s included the London Palladium, the Hippodrome and the Victoria Palace. ATV bought the Palladium and the staff were subjected to fingernail checks. He was once told to remove an elderly 'blue' comedian from the stage, to avoid more embarrassment. He worked with Sybil Thorndyke, Noel Coward and Franco Zefirelli amongst many others.

He has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Scottish Opera, Sadler’s Wells and London Festival Ballet Companies, Nottingham Playhouse, Manchester Library Theatre and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop Company.

Approaching retirement he has started to ‘branch out’ - directing, writing scripts, and giving talks.

From Brian's website and editing by Maggi Bridgman

April Speaker - Andrew Negus

We were entertained by 'The Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful' part 6 today. Andrew told us how he and his friend, Malcolm, had hitch hiked from France across Europe, sleeping in barns or in fields and seeing all the wonders of the world such as the Acropolis and Knossos in Crete, the home of the minotaur. They were perpetually short of money but made do with such delicacies as figs picked from the trees. In Venice they had to sleep by a canal under a plastic sheet. In the morning, across the bridge they saw a fruit market. The stall holders discarded leftover fruit, which they gave to the adventurers.

While in Greece they met a man they knew as Big Ed. He owned a battered Ford Zephyr and offered them a lift to India. They accepted albeit rather nervously. At a checkpoint Ed stamped his own log book with an old penny! The Turkish officials let him drive through without comment. They saw the walls of Constantinople and stayed in the New Gullhani Hotel which cost 4d a night to sleep on the roof.

They drove overland to Katmandu, making a detour to Troy, of the wooden horse. They also saw where the Gallipoli landings took place and went to Anzac Cove where there are many graves of Australians and New Zealanders.

They travelled through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, a journey you couldn't make nowadays.

At last they reached Australia, flying into Darwin which had an international airport but only contained a shack where travellers were processed.

Andrew left there with that 'what have I done?' feeling.

Maggi Bridgman

John Ireland

John Nicholson Ireland is an English composer, known for the instrumental work ‘The Holy Boy’, the hymn tune ‘Love Unknown’ and the choral motet ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’. He was born in Bowden, Cheshire on 13th August 1897 to a 70 year old father, Alexander, who was Editor and publisher of the Newspaper the ‘Manchester Examiner and Times’ and a 40 year old mother, who was his second wife and is best known for editing the letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle and writing her biography. He was the youngest of five children and exhibited an early musical talent, which his mother encouraged.

Ireland did not have a happy childhood. His mother suffered from a heart condition and was often confined to bed. It is reputed that Ireland’s siblings punished him for the slightest misdemeanour. At the age of 13 Ireland took himself up to London, telling his mother he was going to the Manchester Motor Show, where he persuaded the Royal College of Music to take him on as a student and where his sister Ethel was already a student. In September, 1893, six weeks before his 14th birthday and shortly before his mother’s death Ireland entered the Royal College of Music.

Ireland studied Piano and Composition and at the age of 16 was awarded a fellowship of the Royal College of Organists, the youngest student ever to do so. Fellow students were Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. Not long after the end of the First World War, he joined the staff at the Royal College of Music as Professor of Composition, a position he held for many years, one of his pupils being Benjamin Britten. By 1920 he was regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation having been taught by Sir Charles Villiers Stamford, who had a reputation for teaching by discouragement rather than encouragement. He was strongly influenced by Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky and Bartok and from these influences he developed his own brand of ‘English Impressionism’ related to French and Russian models than to the folk-song style then prevailing in English Music. He began to make a name for himself as a composer of songs and chamber music. His Violin Sonata No. 1 won first prize in an International competition as did his Violin Sonata No. 2, although his Piano Concerto is considered among his best works.

Some of Ireland’s compositions were influenced by landscapes. ‘The Island Spell’ and ‘Sarnia’ were inspired by a visit to Jersey and ‘An Island Sequence ‘ by his visit to Guernsey. His symphonic rhapsody ‘Mai-Dun’ was influenced by historical images of the South Downs and his ‘Cello Sonata in G Minor’ by the countryside of the Sussex Downs. Ireland produced several hymns and church pieces that became well known including ‘Vexilla Regis’ written at the age of 19. The majority of his output consists of piano miniatures and of songs with piano often setting them to the poetry of Thomas Hardy, A.E. Houseman, Christina Rossetti, John Masefield, Rupert Brooke and others.

It has been said that Ireland was a self-critical, introspective man haunted by memories of his sad childhood. In 1953 he retired to Rock in West Sussex where he died of heart failure at the age of 82 on the 12th June, 1962 and buried in the churchyard of St. Mary the Virgin in Shipley, West Sussex.

Maura Chapman