November- Digest

November- Digest


November 2021

“Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it”

Will Rogers


Many thanks to those who signed my birthday card, gave me a box of ‘Black Magic’ and those who treated me to lunch at the Miller & Carter.  After getting celebrated out I realised I had forgotten to send in my tax return by the 31 October deadline!

The chocolate box reminds me of a time long ago when the New Zealanders soundly beat Wales at rugby.  The NZ captain sent the Welsh team a box of ‘Black Magic’.  The same teams arrived at the same sort of result recently.  I saw nothing about chocolate this time.


It was pleasing that David Norman, our president, was able to be with us but due to mismanagement of his medication he was unable to chair the meeting.  Bob Howes deputised for him.  Our guests of honour, the deputy Mayor and Mayoress were unable to attend due to all Council activities being cancelled that week as a mark of respect for the senseless killing of David Amess.

All did not go according to plan so the committee is in process of deciding what to do differently next time. The business outcome was that the old committee was re-elected.  Thus we are still short of a chairman and membership secretary but we do have a vice chairman, Jill Allen-King.

Contributions from Barry Todman of NPC London Branch:

Energy Companies

Many of you will still remember the days when we got our gas supplies from British Gas. That was of course before the days when it was privatised on the basis that with more competition the prices would come down. Of course the reality is that any subsequent profits went to shareholders rather than to the benefit of the wider economy. Once again many customers are facing a period of uncertainty. At one time there were around 70 different suppliers and soon we could be down to 15 or less. As a consequence of the demise of these suppliers many of whom had little or no plan on how to meet their obligations, we will see many more £millions added to bills on top of the £60 million it has cost so far. The lesson is that cheapest, is not always best.

The Cinamon Trust

Caters for elderly and terminally ill people and pets.  For more information call Jill Allen-King on 01702 477899.

Are you (women) missing out?

If you got to pensional age before April 2016 you could be.  Some examples:

  • Being paid less than 60% of husbands basic State Pension.  (£137.60/week maximum)
  • Divorced after retiring and not had your pension re-assessed.
  • Widows whose pension did not increase when the husband died.
  • Women over 80getting less than £80.45/week

Info at 0800 731 0469

 Off the rails.

The privatisation of ‘British Rail’ continues to be a disaster, with yet another rail network operator, the Go ahead group, ie Southeastern Trains, losing it’s contract after apparently hiding more than £25 million of excess profits from the Treasury. It’s unbelievable that the finance director has now left with a payment of six months salary of about £165,000. It seems like it’s profitable to fail as similarly, Deloitte who were drafted in last year to help get the ‘Test and Trace’ system up and running and paying consultants up to £1200 a day, have increased their profits by about £300 million. As a consequence the firm’s 691 partners who take a share of the profits instead of salaries, took home £854,000 compared with £731,000 the previous year. A bit different to the millions of families who now find that they have suffered a £20 a week cut in their Universal Credit payment


 It seems like a good idea in an attempt to help customers avoid bank scams. Apparently you will soon be able to dial 159, a hotline number, and you will then be able to get straight through to your bank. For example if you pressed 1 you would get through to Barclays, 2 Bank of Scotland, 3 Santander, 4 Halifax, 5 Lloyds 6 NatWest 7 RBS 8 Starling and 9 Ulster Bank. However as there are only 9 digit options some customers with banks such as HSBC, Virgin Money, Nationwide and Monzo will not be able to use the service.

How to save the Planet

The answer is to go back to the 50’s.  This caught my eye in the Oldie.  It’s from a lady who was brought up in an Irish Convent in the 1950’s

In hindsight the regime was exceptionally green.  Heating?  Being cold was good for your character. It built backbone, while central heating made you decadent and soft.  Lights?  Switch off everything unnecessary – don’t waste electricity!  People have made do with candles for eons – so don’t resort to electricity until it’s pitch-dark.  Baths?  Too much bathing is self-indulgent.  One bath a week is quite sufficient.  ‘Top and tail’ flannel wash is adequate for the rest of the time.  (Good Queen Bess was known to take a bath once a year whether or not she needed it!)  Laundry?  Once a week is quite enuff.  Fresh air?  Plenty of it!  Open windows – stuffy rooms are bad for the brain.  Food?  It’s a sin to waste any so eat up every scrap.  Never buy more than you need.  Think of the starving children in Africa.  Exercise?  Walk as much as you can and as often as you can.  Country children often have to walk 3 miles to school – and in the rain.  Transport?  Use the bus or a bicycle – (then) most families didn’t have a car.  Clothes?  Good quality clothes were the cheapest in the long run.  Invest in tweeds and wool and they’ll last you a lifetime.  Don’t buy frivolous, cheap clothes for reasons of vanity.

Every young woman needs to know how to knit, sew, patch, repair, dye and in effect, recycle garments.

Yes, the new protocols around virtuous ecology and prudent energy use are a surprising excursion in ‘back to the future’!

Parking and Bus Service Surveys

Parking closes at 5pm on 2 Dec.  Bus on 31 Dec.  The Council website denies any knowledge of these.  As I read about these in Leigh Times I called them for help.  It took a while for the following answer to work.  Google ‘have your say survey’.

Dates for your Diary

22 Nov:  An evening for reflection on David Amess at Leigh Community Centre, Elm Road.

5:45 to 8pm.  Share your story about the man.

To attend first call the Centre on 477248

Ongoing:  Leigh Farmer’s Market @ Leigh Community Centre, Elm Road.  First Saturday and third Friday morning. 9am to noon.

28 Nov:  Winter Fayre at Leigh Community Centre.  11 to 4pm.  40 stalls on 2 floors.  Free

30 Nov to 19 Dec:  Leigh Library Gardens Festive Lighting.

1Dec:  Fund raising lunch at The Shorehouse Harvester, Shoebury.  12 noon. Jean is away so call me to book a place by 24 Nov.

3 Dec:  Christmas Concert at St Mary’s, Prittlewell.  7pm.  Southend girls and boys choirs.  Mulled wine and pies.  £10

4 Dec:  Trust Links Christmas Fair at 47 Fairfax Drive, Westcliff, SS0 9AG.  Noon to 2pm.

Fireworks display 2021 – every Saturday to       4 Dec – 19:30 to 19:45 – Marine Parade Southend-on-Sea.

5 Dec:  Jack Dee the inestimable successor to Humphrey Littleton @ the Cliffs. 

01702 351135 or

15 Dec:  Members meeting at Balmoral Centre. 2 – 4pm.  Bob Howes talking about his musical life  followed by sausage rolls and mince pies.

© JDS/ November 2021  Tel 01702 472670