.A number of the Windsor & Eton Rotary Club members and partners went off to enjoy a very special evening at the famous Bel Canto Restaurant in London on Thursday, 24 October. The evening arranged by the clubs social committee (part of their exciting social events programme) was a superb mix of an excellent three-course dinner intermixed by young waiting staff that were in fact also very fine voice-trained Opera singers.
During the evening a good number of popular opera pieces were sung to resounding rounds of applause, and at one point all were invited to participate (it can be confirmed that this showed there are no potential opera singers in the club!).
Rotarian Bernard Hawkes, a member of the social committee, commented ‘this was truly a great fun evening, even our non-opera lovers enjoyed every moment, one even commenting – “I’ve been converted to opera from this”, we all made our way home at the end of the evening, on relaxed highs from the evenings entertainment’.
Over the weekend of Friday 11 October to Sunday 13 October a group of Rotarians from Munich visited London, under the leadership of Katharina Bareiss, a past member of Windsor & Eton.
On Friday they came to Windsor where they were met by Rotarians Adrian Benge, David Osmond, Kevin McGarry & Colin Coombs. We did a tour of Windsor Castle and St George's Chapel and then had lunch together in the Two Brewers. A short walk on the Long Walk and then Katharina led her party on a whistle-stop tour of Windsor!
It was lovely to catch up with Katharina and meet some new friends...Rotary really is an international organisation that connects the world!
The Dictionary 4 Life Project is free standing project working in association with the Rotary Club of Battersea, Brixton and Clapham (District 1130), Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland and Usborne Publishing Ltd.
In Windsor it is managed by Windsor & Eton and Windsor St George Rotary Clubs, with support from Rotary District 1090.
The Usborne Illustrated UK Standard edition Dictionary 4 Life comprises 1,000 illustrations, 10,000 entries and 20,000 definitions printed in full colour on leaflet grade paper from a sustainable forest and contains 288 pages. It promotes British English and encourages children to widen their vocabularies and improve their life chances. The project was initiated in 2007 and so far has provided more than 1 million dictionaries across the world.
By using dictionaries efficiently, children will explore spellings, meanings and derivations for example by using alphabetical order, abbreviations and definitions with understanding. One of the most positive aspects of being able to use a dictionary is that it helps to develop autonomy and confidence in the learner — one of the core goals of education. It promotes books and the printed word. It will be a “possession” for the child. It will enable both first and second language users to extend and improve the accuracy of their vocabulary. It should help children with their homework in secondary education. In some homes it may also form a reference work for all the family.
Windsor Rotary Clubs have been running this project since 2007 as part of their Youth Initiatives in the local community along with Youth Speaks, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and supporting local Rotakids and Interact club(s).
We had a very moving talk from Denzil a few months ago, a very passionate man who told us about the Rainbow Children's Home in Nepal.
This Children's home is dedicated to providing the orphaned, poor and marginalised children of Nepal with nutritious food, clean water, quality education and most importantly a loving, secure family and home. It is not only our aim to afford these children the bare essentials, but also to teach them about morality and instil in them a sense of community and respect for their fellow human beings. We will also provide them with a safe play environment where they can have fun, learn and develop the skill of social interaction.
Rainbow Children Home has no official affiliation with any local or foreign organisation upon which it can depend for steady financial support. Thus our children's home relies solely upon the generosity of individual sponsors for its income to upkeep the house and support the children's development.
The charities objectives are:
As a result of hearing about the amazing work the charity does our club have sponsored one of the children, helping to cover the cost of their basic needs and ensure they receive an education to help themselves out of poverty in the future.
There is a bit of old weather folklore that says that it never rains on a Wednesday (when Bob organises a walk). Well, we can lay that one to rest as a group of us headed out and got rather soggy!!
This month we tried another new route around Bluey’s Farm in the Chilterns. We set out from Bovingdon Green, just west of Marlow, on what was a very enjoyable, if wet, walk! Points of interest included:
This walk proved to be rather challenging, not just because of the weather, but because the Chiltern Hills are very hilly, but we all arrived safely in the end. I'm not sure why everyone looks so cheerful in the photos though, it must have been the thoughts of the Bangers & Mash at The Royal Oak, Bovingdon Green on our return!
Bletchley Park, once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers is now a vibrant heritage attraction and one that members and their partners paid a visit to on Friday 3rd May.
On arrival we had light refreshments before meeting our guide, Michael, for a one hour outdoor walking tour. Michael told us about the history and ownership of the original Victorian Mansion before its transformation into a very famous location from the war effort!
In 1938 the mansion and much of the site was bought by a builder planning a housing estate, but within a few months Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), bought it for £6,000, for use in the event of war.
A key advantage of Bletchley Park was its geographical location, that being relatively central in the UK, with the first personnel of the Government Code & Cypher School moving into Bletchley Park on 15 August 1939.
On the outbreak of the Second World War the main task was to break the German Enigma cyphers so that vital intelligence could be gathered. It was spectacularly successful, as history reports! Each separate operation was housed in a Hut, for example, Hut 1, the first to be built in 1939, housed the wireless station.
After our tour we saw a short video about the impact Bletchley had on the outcome of D-Day and enjoyed lunch together before exploring the mansion and the Huts at our leisure. We had such a wonderful day, learnt more than we thought we would and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to Bernard for organising.
Archive photos courtesy of www.bletchleypark.org.uk
This month Bob found another new area to explore that saw us visit deepest, darkest Buckinghamshire!
Our base was Denham Village. Apparently, the name derived from the Old English for “homestead in the valley”. The first point of interest was St Mary’s church & the house nearby which was the residence of the film actor, Sir John Mills. Many of the charming cottages have featured on several films.
We crossed the River Misbourne before reaching the busy A412. Crossing carefully we then tackled the even busier A40. We had to go through a gap in the hedge in the central reservation which was a new experience for all of us! After that our route was very rural.
It was surprisingly wet underfoot and we passed the aptly named Froggy Lane. Eventually, we reached Higher Denham and followed Old Rectory Lane back to the village.
After our new adventure we had a lovely lunch at The Falcon Inn....I wonder where we'll be taken next month!
On Wednesday April 10th it was time for our mystery restaurant social... On this occasion we we headed to Hounslow, where there are 142 different languages spoken and about the same number of restaurants!
Uma had chosen the Yellow Chilli, a family run restaurant serving Punjabi and Afghan food. Not only were we on a mystery tour and club social, we were also there to celebrate Uma's 40th anniversary of joining Windsor and Eton Rotary Club, so the evening started with champagne cocktails to mark the occasion.
Eleven of us sat down at 7.45 and by 11pm we had been presented with, and consumed, up to 20 dishes of authentic and delicious food consisting of a myriad of tastes and flavours. Uma had chosen all the food with the help of the owner insisting on only one condition...no chillies!
All who attended agreed it was an excellent night and Uma confirmed to us yet again how well he can organise such a unique dining experience. The night was a great example of Rotary fellowship and camaraderie, with an opportunity to visit a truly ethnic restaurant which we might normally pass by.
Windsor and Eton Rotarian Derek Bishop, wearing his other disguise as Mayor of Eton, was a pivotal member of the restoration team, not only as part of the driving committee but also in designing and constructing himself the new bridge.
The watercourse restoration project was officially opened last Tuesday with the unveiling of a plaque by Lord Waldegrave of North Hill and a ribbon cutting at the bridge by Eton Mayoress Mrs Glenys Bishop.
What a fantastic community project, with partners galore contributing to what in effect re-established the island of "Eyot-tun", from which the name Eton is derived.
A quiz held on Friday, March 15, to raise money for Thames Valley Adventure Playground and other charities included a visit from Tim Brooke-Taylor. The 76-year-old comedian entertained participants in the Thames Valley Pub Quiz Championship, which was held at the Holiday Inn in Manor Lane, with his trademark humour.
Organised by the Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club, a total of 260 people in 34 teams took part in the event, which is expected to have raised more than £3,000. Half of the total figure will go to Thames Valley Adventure Playground, the rest will be used for Rotary projects.
Our club entered two teams of 8 this year, with the team Mind Bogglers coming 17th place with 162 points and our second team, The Free Thinkers, coming 25th with 144 points. Congratulations to the winners, The Quizlings, with 184 points, and also to Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club who were second, just one point away from winning!
A great night full of laughter that got the grey matter working at the same time! Best get quizzing up for next year!
Written by Colin Coombs
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