Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lunch at The Redbrick House, Mansfield Woodhouse

Gail and I travelled over to Mansfield Woodhouse for lunch today (Sunday, 28th October) and met up with a number of Past District Governors and their respective wives.   Also present were the widows of some past DG's, - Elizabeth Broome, June Gaunt, Jan harding and Meg Nelson who were warmly welcomed by PDG David Power.

There was a choice of menu and I opted for melon, followed by chicken - very slimming and then Treacle sponge and custard - not so slimming.

I gave everyone present an origami crane, that I had personally made to represent this year's Rotary theme of "Peace Through Service."  After the meal IPDG Gordon gave a short resume of his year in office and I was then asked to give a short presentation on the issue of Re-Districting.  I kept it nice and brief and just gave the basic facts.   After a couple of questions I was thanked by PDG David Power. 

Spent some of the evening answering emails and preparing my speech for the Charter celebration tomorrow at The Rotary Club of Beeston.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A few quiet days - 26th October

Well, since my visit to Sutton in Ashfield on Monday evening, I have had quite a quiet week with no Club visits and no charters.

On Tuesday, 23rd I met up with David Pedlar (Wollaton Park) and Noel Harrison (Sherwood Sunrisers) for a meeting with Karen Welsh from RIBI.  We were looking at producing an RIBI policy for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. It was a most productive meeting and the end result should not be that far away.   It may also help us in District with our Business Project.

On Wednesday 24th October I attended the District Finance meeting at The Novotel.   No big surprises here and nothing particularly outstsanding to report on.

With a completely free day on Thursday and just the Assistant Governors' meeting this evening (Friday) it has given me a chance to catch up on emails, letters, outstanding telephone calls and the writing of one or two speeches for forthcoming events.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Visit to Sutton in Ashfield 22nd October 2012

Nearing the end of my club visits now, with a trip to St Joseph's Social Club at Sutton in Ashfield for the early evening meeting of the Rotary Club of Sutton in Ashfield.   Rtn Nick Blurton had volunteered as my driver for the evening and also took some photos for me - so thanks to Nick.

We were initially cordially greeted by Past District Governor John Kirkland and then by President Elect John Bates and President Danny Patterson, both of whom were excellent hosts.   It doesn't seem five minutes since I sat with John and Danny at their Charter Night.

With almost 40 members present there was a good atmosphere in the room for the meal and business.    I was then invited to speak, and talked about the Rotary theme for 2012 - 2013, "Peace Through Service."     I presented President Danny with an origami crane, a symbol of "hope for Peace" and a letter from the RI president Sakuji Tanaka.

Chatter on the top table

President Danny examining his origami crane.
My thanks to Danny and all at Sutton for their friendship and hospitality.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Emotional Farewells to the GSE Team 19th September

Today is the last day of the visit by the Group Study Exchange Team from Nepel - tomorrow they will start their journey's back to Nepal.

The day got underway at the Museum of Brewing in Burton upon Trent where we held the de-briefing session, chaired by Terry Leivers, now back from his holidays.   Also at the meeting, as well as the team were Malcolm Murray, John Dain, Roger Summers, Peter Halliday and myself.

I have to say that the feedback from the team about the arrangements for their stay, their vocational days, their programme and particularly for their hosting arrangements was all very positive.  The team expressed their individual and collective gratitude and thanks for the way they had been generally looked after.

After the feedback session we had some light lunch of sandwiches and chips, before the team split up with their respective hots for some last minute shopping before their return to Nepal.

In the evening the team were all back together again at the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion FC, for the final night get together.  Many Rotarians and partners attended and said their final goodbyes to the team, making for some emotional goodbyes.

Each of the team was asked to give a short, impromptu talk on their reflections of the visit.    It was very clear from the way they each spoke that they had all enjoyed the relations they had forged with Rotarians and their families and that they were returning to Nepal, much rounder individuals with plans to use what they had learned for the benefit of their communities.

When asked, both at the de-brief and at the get together, what the highlights of the visit had been, the one that attracted most of their attention was a visit to a crematorium, organised by one of the host families!   Now that's something to remember for the future!

All in all I think this has been an absolutely outstanding visit and I personally will remember it for a long time to come.

I think our outgoing team next February are in for a wonderful time.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Last presentation by a GSE Team 27th October

The Rotary Club of Derby Mercia hosted the Group Study Exchange Team from Nepal this evening as they made the final presentation of their visit.    There were about forty (40) Rotarians and guests present representing ten Rotary Clubs in and around the Derby area.  (Nice to see Derby Mercia getting well and truly involved in District activities - congratulations Presidents Tony and Ashley)
After the meal The team presentation was started by their team leader, Rtn Nugal VAIDYA from the Rotary Club of Mount Everest Lalitpur.  He introduced the first member of his team, Dipika Shrestha who spoke about her family background and life in Nepal.    This was followed by the other three members of the team, Suyesh Pradhan, Roshani Manandhar and Shresna Basnet who each contributed additional material to the talk.
Having heard the presentation several times, it is clear that the confidence and public speaking skills of the team members have increased significantly over the last four weeks.
I have to say that the team have been most professional in their approach to the visit.  I know they have all enjoyed themselves.  I have not heard one request for changes to the programme and all the feedback I have received about them has suggested that they have been outstanding ambassadors for their country, for Rotary District 3292 and for themselves.   I shall be quite sad to see them leave the District at the weekend.
I shall be at the de-brief on Friday morning and at their leaving party on Friday evening - I trust you have booked your place - its not too late (If you're very quick.)
Many thanks to all the hosts and Rotarians who have been responsible for the activities of the team in any way. 
The team with Origami Peace Cranes presented by DG Dave

Monday, 15 October 2012

Church Wilne _ DG Visit - 15th October

After a day working for a living I was collected from home at 5.30pm by Rotarian Martin Drake, acting as my driver for the evening, to take me to the Rotary Club of Church Wilne.   They meet at the Royal Oak at Ockbrook at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.

Chaired by their President, Derek Sheehy-Smith the meeting started on time and after a well prepared meal of lamb the business of the club was quickly and efficiently conducted by President Derek.   I was then invited to address the club which I had pleasure to do.

I spoke about the Rotary International theme for 2012 - 2013, "Peace through Service" - an excellent theme that no-one can disagree with.   I presented President Derek with a Origami Crane - a symbol of a "hope for peace" and a letter from RI President Sakuji Tanaka, which he duly read out to the 34 club members present.

President Derek with his Origami Crane (and the DG)
After a short spot of photography Martin and I made our way back to Belper, where we were just in time to hear the presentations by the Groups Study Exchange (GSE) Team from Nepal.   Present at the Belper meeting were Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs of Heanor, Ilkeston, and Amber Valley - including all the hosts of the Team - as well as the Chairman of The Nepal Trust (UK) - a Rotarian from Somerset - whose name escapes me at present.

Many clubs in District 1220 are presently engaged in Projects with Nepal and I would like to see a presentation of these projects at the next District Council meeting on 11th December at The Novotel, Long Eaton.

 GSE TEam with local Rotarians
Rotarian Nugal with President Graham (Belper & Duffield) and President David (Amber Valley)
Many thanks to Martin for acting as my driver, to President Derek from Church Wilne for the hospitality of his club and to the GSE Team for their presentation.

District 1040 Conference at Scarborough

After a couple of days without any Rotary jobs to attend to, today saw Gail and I set off mid morning for Scarborough to the Conference of District 1040.  We were the guests of two good friends, District Governor Keith and his wife, Edith Davison.

We stayed at The Crown Hotel on the Esplanade and I have to say that as seaside hotels go this was one of the best.  The rooms were modern, light and airy with all mod-cons.  Slightly more expensive than some, but well worth the extra.

Another advantage was that this hotel is almost immediately at the top of the Cliff Lift that goes down to the Spa Complex which made walking to and from the Spa much easier than from some hotels.

Whilst Scarborough is a very popular resort I do think it has seen better days.   As we looked round the town, we came across a lot of hotels that looked somewhat dated and worn out, a lot of empty premises and a lot of amusement arcades and the like.

The 1040 conference was of a similar format to our own and had a similar number of people attending - just over 700.    Interestingly they do not have any sessions on the Friday afternoon - just the House of Friendship open for business.

Friday evening saw a Black Tie Dinner, with an after dinner comedian. I had a sense of De Ja Vue when the comedian proved not to be what the organisers had hoped he would be and they asked him to leave the stage, because he had died a death - he was just not funny and was somewhat rude into the bargain.   The District Governor had his performance cut short - just as happened to me the previous week.  It can happen in the best of circles.

The conference programme on the Saturday and Sunday was varied and interesting.  On Saturday evening we were entertained by Driffield Silver Band - they were very good - apart from the fact that they were half an hour late starting because their Musical Director had come without the music!  A band member stood in and told some jokes and stories till they were ready to start - much better than the comedian the night before - he received a really rousing applause when he stepped down and the band came on.  Their programme was based on a "Last Night of the Proms" and went down very well.  Excellent entertainment.

We set off for home at lunch time on Sunday arriving back at tea time just in time to get changed and drive over to Clay Cross to the Gurkha Restaurant there, where we enjoyed an evening of fellowship with the GSE Team from Nepal and their hosts from the Rotary Club of Amber Valley.   Rotarian Phil Harris did his best to give everyone the "Man Flu" from which he was suffering, but hopefully we will have avoided it.

The GSE Team I have to say are great company with their Team Leader Nugal Vaidya from the Rotary Club of Mount Everest.  I shall be seeing a little of them hopefully on Monday at Belper & Duffield and then on Wednesday at Derby Mercia.   (Do come along to either if you are free - they are worth listening to.)

A second day with no Rotary commitments - Thursday 11th October

Is this a record I ask myself.  Two days in a row without any Rotary related visits or tasks?   Spent the whole day yet again catching up on my day job.  I certainly had plenty to do as tomorrow (Friday) Gail and I are off the Scarborough for District 1040's Conference.

No Rotary - Wednesday, 10th October.

Well, apart from answering the normal amount of emails I had no Rotary duties or commitments today.  In stead I spent the day trying to catch up with business matters having had six days at Southport with Conference recently.

Just one small deviation from this was at lunch time when Gail and I went to St. John's School in Belper, for "Grandparents Day".  Two of our grandchildren attend this school and this was the day when Francesca's class invited in all their grandparents to joint them for a couple of hours doing whatever activities they wanted to do.  

We ended up digging the school, laying compost in containers and planting bulbs for the spring - I was really pleased I went dressed up for the occasion - carrying dirty bags of compost went down really well with my best jacket !!  The children really enjoyed planting the bulbs that (hopefully) will flower in the spring.

It was very nice to be able to mix with the children in the school and do something to improve their environment.

Spent the rest of the day on pretty routine work related jobs and managed fairly early night.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Visit to Long Eaton Dawnbreakers. 9th October

After a good night's sleep the alarm went off at 6am to get me up ready for attending a meeting of Long Eaton Dawnbreakers at Cafe Zing in Long Eaton.

There was a good turnout at the meeting with three members of the Long Eaton Club also in attendance.  We had a most interesting and enlightening discussion about the future of District Conferences - what keeps people away - what makes them attend etc etc.

The meeting broke up about 8.30am at which point I started work on my "Day Job", which kept me busy till late evening.    A long day after a really hectic weekend.  Perhaps tomorrow will be quieter.

Back to normality Monday 8th October

Well, after all the excitement of conference today was the day when we had to resume normal duty.  After breakfast in the hotel and packing the cars and the van with all the kit, Gail and I set off for home about 11am.

Once we were home I had to go out and do some paid work, before getting ready to attend a meeting of my own Rotary Club, Belper and Duffield in the evening.

I thanked all the members of the club who had held positions on the conference team or had acted as stewards for all the hard work they had done.

I would also like to thank all the other members of the conference team for their individual contributions that went to make the event such a success.

Sunday morning - Conference finale

The Conference Director, David Pedlar, allowed us to have a lie in this morning as he called the morning briefing for 7.30am instead of 7am - Thanks David.    I enjoyed a full English Breakfast this morning as we held the briefing.

Once again the presentations this morning were first class from all concerned.  The conference closed with a reminder of all the inspiring speeches and presentations we had heard over the last few days. Cantata opened their spot with the Rotary Anthem which their Musical Director Lisa Mills had specially written for District 1220.  They followed this with a number of other inspiring and uplifting songs, between which I made my closing remarks.    Cantata's final song, "One Voice" marked the end of the conference, after which I rang the final bell.

Overall the weekend seems to have been a success.

Several members of the Conference Team had one further night in Southport to allow them to pack all the equipment that we had used and to relax for a while before the drive back home.

In the evening we all went out and had a quiet dinner in a French restaurant, before making for an early night.

Saturday - Main Conference Day

After a fairly sleepless night worrying about the Freddie Mercury act, the Conference had their daily Team briefing at 7am.    Everyone was looking forward to the day and all the final preparations had been completed.

9.30am and the First Plenary Session started with welcomes to various officials from Rotary and elsewhere.   The session after coffee break went down a storm with "Canine Partners" putting on their show with three dogs in various stages of training.  What these dogs can do is amazing - putting the washing in the machine, taking it out, opening and closing doors and cupboard doors, picking up things that have been dropped - even credit cards, pressing the buttons on pedestrian crossings - the list goes on and on.

All the presentations from the stage were very well done and when I closed the conference for lunch we agreed that things had gone very well.

At the District Governor's lunch the inspiration speaker, DR. Alison Mobray had the audience enthralled and captivated as she told how she had become an Olympic Silver medallist after being useless at school sports.  Prior to lunch Lilly Taylor-Ward entertained us with just a couple of songs.   Her performance was great but was slightly spoiled by the thoughtless chattering of a number of Rotarians and other guests present.

Early evening was the time for a reception for all the Club Presidents followed by the evening meal and then the entertainment.

Gail and I in our formal attire.
No repeat of the problems of last night as all the entertainers, performed absolutely magnificently.   Cantata, Revival, Lilly and JD & the Impressions were all fantastic and made for a really great evening for everyone.

Gail and I went up to our reoom about 12.30am - tired out but having had a great day.

Friday 5th October - Conference starts

After breakfast in the hotel, it was down to work getting all the equipment we needed into the Theatre at the Conference Centre ready for the start of the Conference this afternoon.   

At 9.30am I drove over to  Formby Golf Club to T off the start of the annual District Golf Competition.  It seemed quite windy and the ground looked very wet, but the staff at the course assured us that the course was fine.   Before the start all the competitors (and myself) enjoyed a bacon butty and a cup of coffee which went down very well.  I managed to hit the ball without too much problem, wished everyone good luck and drove back to Southport to help with the preparations - although I did seem to be somewhat superfluous to requirements most of the time.

By lunchtime the "Rotary Showcase" hall was filling up nicely with stalls and exhibitors, ready for opening at 1pm.

The RIBI President, John Minhinick and his wife Sheila arrived as did the RI President's representative, Lynn Deavin and her partner Bruce.

By the time I had to leave to start the second set of golfers off on their way at Formby the Showcase was looking quite busy with a lot of Rotarians calling in to collect their registration packs and browsing the stalls.

The table cricket game being organised by Cerebral Palsy Sport was getting quite busy and although I had a go, my score never really looked like being a winner.

The golfers had a fairly rough day with what was clearly a waterlogged course.  Several golfers lost their balls in deep water on one of the fairways and others got very wet from slipping over in the terrible conditions.   Oh well, they're made of strong stuff these golfers.

The Showcase was buzzing all afternoon and everyone seemed to be enjoying the new format, except for the Conference treasurer, who was getting more and more worried about how much the free  tea and coffee was costing us.   All the RI, RI BI and District officials wore badges announcing "Ask me a Question".  This was taken on board by a lot of members who took the opportunity to chat to the senior Rotarians present.

In the early evening there was a reception for guests of the conference, VIPs and some stewards, during which professional photographs were taken.

Following the evening meal came the entertainment in the theatre.    The first act, Johnie Casson, a comedian was fine and went down well with the audience.   The same definitely could not be said for the second act, a Freddie Mercury Tribute act.    He went down like a lead balloon and I can't see him being re-booked for any other Rotary events.

Overall though a good start to the conference.

Last minute preparations for Conference.

The day before Conference starts and most members of the District Conference Planning Team and some of the lper and Duffield are now arriving in Southport.    One or two last minute details have to be arranged, such as plants for the stage etc.  Generally though a fairly low key day.

In the evening we held a small reception for members of the Team and the Stewards.    Just a couple of people had not received their ticket for the reception, but other than that it went off very well.

View from our hotel room

Enjoying the reception
After the reception we had our evening meal in the hotel, following which Gail and I had a fairly early night so that we were ready for the start of Conference on the Friday.

Drive to Southport for Conference 3rd October

Just a couple of days to go now till the District 1220 Conference starts on Friday. Gail and I spent the morning load up the car and then setting off for Southport.

It was an uneventful journey and we arrived in Southport about lunchtime when we met up with David and June Pedlar for a bite to eat at Carrisbrick Marina. After a light lunch we went the last few miles to the Ramada Hotel. We booked in and unpacked, before having a quick look round the town.

In the evening we went to an Italian Restaurant called "51" just opposite the Ramada, where we had an excellent evening meal with a couple of glasses of wine - just to relax the nerves.

Ready for Thursday and the arrival of the conference team.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

CHarter Night at Sutton in Ashfield - 2nd October

The 82nd Charter celebration of the Rotary Club of Sutton in Ashfield too place at the Hostess Restaurant, at Sookholme on 2nd October.  With one hundred Rotariansd and guests present it was a very enjoyable evening. The quality and quantity of food served was excellent, with several options for ech course on the menu to choose from.   Service was efficient and generally the venue did extremely well.

President Danny Patterson was in the chair and his main guest for the event was Tim Robinson a former Nottinghamshire and England cricketer, who recounted a number of amusing stories of his time in the game.

Prior to his talk and during the familiar roll call of clubs, all the members of the Rotary Club of Kirkby in Ashfield gave a rendition of "Danny Boy" with new words penned for the occasion.  Apparently singing the greetings of the club is a long standing tradition at this charter - and it was highly entertaining.

The whole evening was relaxed and very enjoyable and as they say, "a good time was had by all".

My driver this evening was Rotarian David Collard and many thanks to him for accompanying me.