April – Digest 2021

April – Digest 2021


April 2021

Live each day as if were your last, and garden as though you will live forever!

Member’s News

Bob Howes has an in patient appointment at the hospital on Monday 19 April.  Join me in wishing him well and that he is soon home again.

Members Contribution

Dave Wiggins one of our members sent this:

All three of these firms have given me excellent service:

Penny Poppins of Westcliff / my sweep.  Lovely lady too. (Penny will be one of our speakers in the near future)

TOPS fireplaces Bridgewater Drive.   They called on me last week to upgrade the log burner they sold me.  No charge.

Premier Computers / Cuckoo Corner.   They just updated my laptop.  Marvellous service.

In Committee

It will meet before the members meeting.  Due to the long hiatus there are important decisions to take.  Examples are, when to hold the AGM and what to do about subs.

The Outlook

Now we are past 12 April there is a semblance of normality.  Altho infections have levelled off death rate is going down.   It is now a month since schools went back and it has not made an impact.  However, it’s still the case that a thousand deaths are a statistic but a single death is a tragedy.

Our plans

We return to Balmoral on 21 April.  Do not forget your MUG if you want an interval drink.  As Bob is not available to play his talk  Colin has been called up from the reserves.  His talk is ‘My time as a Toastmaster and Master of Ceremonies’. If you have any doubt about attending we have been told Balmoral has been deep cleaned and is covid 19 safe.  It will be a polling station on 6 May so they cannot take chances.

A TRUE STORY (Norman Sutcliffe)

It was Christmas 1961, and I was a young assistant in General Practice. My partners had delegated me to take the evening surgery on Christmas Eve. This was for two reasons; firstly, it would leave them free to be with their families and, secondly, it was a kind gesture, as in those days patients frequently attended bearing gifts – cigarettes and wines were often given as a thank you for care during the year.  I sat in my chair and the presents were mounting up – most gratifying!

I called in Mr. Davis, a crusty old man with several health problems. He plonked on my desk a half bottle of Scotch and said: ‘That’s for you’. I knew he could not afford to buy me that gift. I went into my usual thank you speech and said, ‘You really shouldn’t do this. It’s not necessary and it is always a pleasure and a privilege to look after you.’

There was a pause and then he said: ‘That is the specimen of urine you said to bring for testing when you visited me at home last week.’

The Frog – You couldn’t make it up

As a kid did you ever collect frog spawn and see it through the metamorphoses  into frogs? 

The spawn’s subsequent development over 3 months is a complex phenomenon. It gives us a sense of what was entailed in that momentous evolutionary event 300 million years ago when the earliest amphibious forms of life emerged from the primordial seas to colonise dry land.

On emerging from the jelly it has to develop three features to live like a fish.  External gills to breathe, a tail for propulsion and a mouth for feeding connected to an intestine. 

Later and in a few days its organs and parts are broken down, refashioned and replaced.  The tail shrinks rapidly providing the building blocks for a much enlarged skull, a widely articulated jaw and a muscular tongue for capturing insects, worms and beetles to satisfy a carnivorous diet.

Its small, sideways directed eyes grow large and bulging kept moist by tear glands and swivelled by a set of muscles that confer 360° vision.  Meanwhile the limb buds that grew when a tadpole grow into the characteristic legs giving it a jumping prowess unparalleled in the animal kingdom.  Internally the long gut becomes a set of organs just like our own. 

Its most dangerous moment in life is at the change from amphibian to air breathing.  It needs a place to crawl out of the water.  If you kept your tadpoles in a bucket you are guilty of murder!

Characters in Word

Ever wondered how to make ß, ¾ or ü?  These are called characters and can be found in your computer by going to, all programs, accessories, system tools and character map.  Alternatively put character map in the search box.  You will find every character has a unique number starting with 0.  To put any of them in a document input the number while holding down the ‘Alt’ key.  The latter is most important.  I suggest you print what you find as character map.

Something from the Kitchen

Southend Association of Voluntary Services and Anglian Water’s Keep It Clear programme have teamed up again to help create awareness of a new project in the town and surrounding areas to help protect our environment from pollution.

Many tonnes of waste which should not be flushed down loos or poured down sinks are being taken out of around 80km of sewers in Southend and the surrounding area.

An initial investigation was of the condition of the pipes from homes and businesses all the way to the water recycling centre. Jetter trucks have been brought in to suck out the waste, some of which is almost as hard as concrete, transport it away, analyse it and dispose of it safely.

Many of us love cooking up a delicious treat for the family in the kitchen, but for Anglian Water’s sewer technicians the ‘dish of the day’ which greets them when they get called out to a blockage is food waste and fat. These can mix together with wipes and other unflushable items to create a disgusting fatberg which can lead to flooding and pollution of the local environment. If the sewage is blocked and has nowhere else to go it can overflow and find its way into waterways, rivers and the sea.

The lighter side again

A group of men, all turning 40, discussed where they should meet for lunch.  It was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Southend because the waitresses had big breasts and wore mini-skirts.  Years later, at age 50, the friends once again discussed where they should meet for lunch.  Finally, it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Southend because the waitresses were friendly, the food and service were good and the beer selection was excellent.  Ten years later, at age 60, the friends again discussed where they should meet for lunch.  Finally, it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Southend because there was plenty of parking, they could dine in peace and quiet with no loud music, and it was good value for money. Ten years later, at age 70, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch.  Finally, it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Southend because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a toilet for the disabled. Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch.  Finally, it was agreed that they would meet at Wetherspoons in Southend because they had never been there before!

Dates for your diary

19 May:  Members meeting.  2pm at the Balmoral Centre, Salisbury Road.  Bob Howes on ‘My life in Music’

© JDS/ April 2021.  Tel 01702 472670