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

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