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They came from all coners of the area to celebrate a later than usual Christmas, in late January, at the British Legion, and what better way than with that old yuletide favourite, skittles.
The action got off to a flyer, what with Tony's pace, his 9 and the guile and steadfastness of Mark and Peter. The ladies were no slouches either and a fierce end to every front of the competition was all set at the resumption after the excellent buffet from the Legion.
The evental winner was Peter, two ahead of a consistent Simon who just couldn't drop either of the split pairs he was left with - well done Peter, certificate on the way!
They came from far and wide to witness and compete in, the inaugural BP3OWA shuffleboard competition - From Dorchester, The Purbecks, Ferndown, Stapehill, Poole & Bournemouth and it was well worth the trip! The competitive atmosphere was all around as people watched avidly, looking to pick up a better strategy, see who their rivals were or even just a hint here or there.
The first round produced some good scores with 5 people scoring 20 or more, 7 people in the second round, 7 in the third and 9 in the fourth round. Tense battles were played out and with the final go of the night, Neil put in a storming 48 to not only take the score of the night but to win the game with 143, pushing Simon into second place with 129. John W came third with 106 and James proved he is one for the future with a very credible 105.
Thanks to everyone for coming and making it a great success!
David's suggestion of real tennis proved to be one of the nights of the year!
With no one having any exposure to the real version of tennis, our first look at the court only asked more questions that it answered. Steve, the court professional talked us through a brief high level outline of the game and then we moved on to trying to hit the ball!!
Eventually, we managed a few hits with the odd shaped racquets on the not so bouncy balls and moved on to serving, which the ladies proved incredibly adept at. The four ladies played a game of doubles giving some stalwart performances before being replaced by the boys. Steve (the pro) teamed up with David and confused everyone when he explained some of the unusual rules. The one thing everyone could agree, was that they all had an amazing time.
After all that of course, off to the pub for a well deserved drink!
A new year, a new us.
The first meeting of the year saw us in the Bakers Arms, Lytchett Minster, where we wangled our own cosy corner of the place. The service and food were good, priced accordingly and the place seemed very well organised.
Simon ran through a few changes he'd put forward in the way the meetings are done, which raised no objections. The basic premise of which is that there will be a pub meeting every other month (starting January) and in between we choose a different activity, organised by someone in the group. Watch your emails for the many options the discussion threw up...
After a few months away due to illness, we're back!
In a break from tradition, we decided to go for a game of skittles at Hamworthy Social Club. The buffet they gave us was a good spread and just what was needed to keep us going through the hard fought skittles. Hard fought because due to the lane, the ball ended up on a completely different course to the one the bowler originally put it on. Eventually the girl's competition was won by Sam and the boys by Haydon - well done to them.
After the excesses and shenanigans of the last few months, a quiet, low key and altogether relaxed affair was in order this month. The Lambs Green in Corfe Mullen was the perfect venue.
Sat in the cosy surroundings, the walls adorned with lamb pictures and chalked quotes, the food was plentiful and top notch.
Martin and Linda regaled us with tales of their recent holiday, along with the story of the pub being the place of their first date. David M came along a little later for a chat, and the darkness when we left provided the perfect setting for Simon to demonstrate possibly the coolest feature seen on a car...
For the first collaborative meeting with the Salisbury Young Persons' group, we went to the Elm Tree Inn, in Ringwood, for a game of skittles. Outnumbering Salisbury almost 2 to 1, the smart money may have been with the Bournemouth and Poole squad, but Salisbury came determined and heavily armed.
We decided on using the average of players' scores to see who won and after the skittle locations were marked out on the suspiciously short alley, battle commenced.
At the end of round 1, it was clear both teams had some big hitters in their arsenal and the scores were:
B and P: 8.65
Dinner then arrived as a succession of hot plates bearing some really amazing grub, albeit with some arriving after others!
Round 2 endured a delayed start as the skittle locations were moved out a bit, and ended with the round 2 averages at:
B and P: 6.15
Salisbury needed the 3rd round to pull it back, but their tiring squad couldn't quite make it over the line in front as they narrowed the gap even more:
B and P: 5.25
A massive thank you to Kevin, Dick, Ian and Martin from Salisbury for their help in setting the skittles up to keep the game flowing, in what was a fantastic night all round, that saw integration and appreciation as the real winners.
Boasting possibly the best reputation for pizzas in the Bournemouth area, it was about time we hit Da Marios in Westbourne. Sally and Tony, through their elevated status as regular patrons, managed to grab us a booking.
Simon and Anne-Marie celebrated by turning up an hour early, but that at least gave them some time to get a starter down their necks. The wood fired pizza oven turned out some amazing pizzas - one reason why the place was packed from the time we arrived to the time we left. It only seemed right that we round the evening off properly with a quick drink in one of the local pubs, so that is exactly what we did.
Well worth a visit if you like pizza, but book early!
Although it looked unlikely at one stage, Dawn from Parkinson's UK did come and address our meeting, speaking directly to the "people in the know" to gain an insight as to where problems we've faced are, for their development plan.
The well attended meeting room, upstairs at the Grasshopper in Parkstone, saw some great answers and detailed examples to Dawn's questions and probes, and it's fair to say she went way with some extremely valuable information that will shape the future direction of Parkinson's UK actions.
Julia and Simon also recounted their trip to Salisbury to learn about the PD Warrior™ therapy, and Simon was force to apologise for the image left in people's minds after Julia announced that he ran out of the shower to answer the door to her!
After a few eleventh hour date/venue difficulties, the party finally went ahead, at Susie and Peter's - Thanks also to Karen for offering her place.
With Simon sorting who brought what, there was enough food for two parties, but at least no-one went hungry - or to be more accurate, everybody was nothing less than completely stuffed. Thanks to everyone that brought tucker, and thanks also for welcoming new members Sandra and Tony so warmly.
As for non food entertainment, Sally B's Christmas dingbats proved cunningly fiendish, and Rob's scrabble teasers provided the "wordsmithery dessert", so thanks to both of you for the work you put in. The evening moved from the kitchen after three brave people accepted the "eating an After Eight mint placed on your forehead without using your hands" challenge - unfortunately, all three attempts failed. Now in the more comfortable surroundings of the living room, Tim and Terri's "P and D two word extravaganza" was unleashed on us all. Another corker, thanks you two. It took a while to figure out, but was a real tester - Simon eventually won after a tie breaker with Susan and Phil.
Once again, a BIG thank you to all of you for coming, and here's to a vastly improved 2017.....
It was November, which more often that not means Sally B has organised a trip to the pottery painting cafe we know as "All Fired Up".
In a change of circumstance, they no longer open in the evening except by appointment, and sandwiches are now no longer made after 1430. Therefore, it was coffee and cakes to keep us going, whilst the latest in the yearly line of ornaments and trinkets were being crafted in paint. The quality of the painting always amazes me, along with the creative ideas people dream up to work on.
All we have to do now is excitedly wait the lengthened and still agonisingly long 5 days before they fire and glaze the items and we get to see them in their full and richly deserved glory!
In our first visit to the Kings Arms since August 2014, and with it's reputation for good food well known, it's no wonder the turn out was so enthusiastic, even despite a last minute menu change.
There were a few casualties to illness on the day, but we also welcomed new members Kevin and Connie, and with the great food on offer, it couldn't fail to be another great night. Jenny and her team ensured that with smooth delivery of the grub, allowing us to commence and enjoy the revelry.
Even the large group of free masons singing happy birthday to some other unsuspecting punter could only add to the night!!
With more dark horses than the Grand National, the smart money was all over the show as there were at least 4 or 5 contenders with hidden histories!
There were no seedings, just a random draw, but poor Mike J retired unwell whilst in the car park, and Kay had to take him home. As the rounds progressed, players faced the grim or delightful reality of the scores in their most recent matches, and after a while we had two potentially worthy finalists: Simon who used to play a woman at work every so often, and Roger, who used to beat everyone when he was a young chap, and currently plays at U3A Southbourne.
Although the scores rocked along fairly evenly, it was Roger's extra experience and guile that separated the two players in the end, with him becoming our first BP3OWA Open Champion, beating Simon 21-17. After which, everybody used the occasion to play everybody else, and it was evident that everyone had a top shot in their locker.
So, a richly deserved Well Done to Roger, and a BIG thank you to those of you who came along.
Knowing that Trump wasn't planning on building a wall around the restaurant, we went along to see if the stories panned out - to see if the food really was that good, and the reviews on tripadvisor were true.
It only took a few minutes after we ordered our food to find out - the food turned up within five minutes and was indeed good, very good. As the menu works similarly to tapas. this meant we were able to share the tacos and smaller dishes between ourselves, allowing us to taste many of the other dishes on offer.
It wouldn't be one of our nights without there being desserts involved and the waitress recommended the Rojo Chuffle. We can see why too, they were amazing! It is a Belgian type waffle, topped with with honey and banana, and whipped cream, oh yes.
Although the restaurant was busy, it was a good opportunity to catch up on the flowing conversation, with everyone leaving ultimately happy, and of course full.
After a fiercely contested two game event, there were some very interesting results. The main thing is that everyone seemed to have a whale of a time. Poor old Tim had his electrics blown up by a smart meter, whilst Kay Jarvis was injured just before the warm up, and joined husband Mike in the treatment room, so all three unfortunately couldn't play.
Consistency is the name of the game, and sterling performances from Les "spin king" Turner and Rob "dead eye" Small in the first game and Sylvie "have I won with the lightest ball in the world?" Dodwell and Peter "Oh look, another spare" Milligan in the second game, just weren't enough to gain the crown.
Overall, and although not winning the first or second games, with a total score of 252, the winner was Kev "strike magnet" Brinkworth.
Team C had the highest combined score of 1213, so well done to Julie, Peter, Sylvie, Tim, Ellie, and Simon.
A MASSIVE thank you to all who came and made it the event it was.
With the Brexit fallout hitting hard, the good moral souls of the politicians were feeling the heat, with some even resigning!
Well, that is what I am blaming for the number of folk not wanting to do the Segway riding at Upton House. So much so, we had to sadly cancel the event due to lack of numbers.
It is a shame they do not hire them out in the evenings, which is what partly caused the low take-up.
Oh well, roll on the bowling...
After forgetting to get anywhere organised, Simon plumped for the quick fix of The Angel in Ferndown.
The new menus delivered on their intention of good food, and the service was certainly under the attentive bracket, yet still well meaning and helpful. This even continued when Jean was asked if she would like her pineapple upside down cake hot or cold (the same question as the 5 people who had also ordered it), and replied 'medium!'
A quick re-arrange of furniture allowed us all to be together, so we could hear all about Mark and Julia's trip to Australia and Hong Kong. A raft of people taking holidays meant there were only 15 of us, but the fun flowed, alongside the excellent Badger ales.
Jean and John organised a trip to The Fox and Hounds in Little Canford, which after changing hands to be under the Chef and Brewer umbrella, has benefited from new comprehensive menus.
We found that Phil was sat underneath a sign either proclaiming to be either the fisherman's catch (sat as he was twixt the ladies), or the butchers block, but we couldn't decide if he was a fisherman!! Check the picture and make your own minds up.
The grub was certainly most agreeable and the desserts definitely disappeared without a trace.
Thanks for organising Jean.
Pulling ourselves away from the Conservative Club for this year's Gregorian soiree, Julia and Mark very kindly stepped in to host at the 11th hour, when previous arrangements suddenly went South.
As is usual with the question and answer evenings with Dr Gregory, a good number were present, with most coiled like springs, eager to get their points and queries aired. Such is the depth of experience of our group now, some of the questions turned into a forum, with advice and suggestions coming from all corners, so in my opinion, just proving what a well schooled group of inspiration giving people. you've become!!
Dr Gregory was on form, mixing the usual dependable solid answers with real world examples, all delivered in the style we've come to appreciate, with a soupcon of engaging angle.
An extremely wide variety of subjects were tackled this time; everything from gait monitoring labs to long haul flight advice, and self medication to Parkinson's nurses all getting the treatment. Thanks again to Dr Gregory for giving up his evening (and missing the football) to come and help us along.
In a first for the group, following Simon Meyer's suggestion, we were all set to "Arrive and Drive" at the Wessex Raceway. 11 chaps and one plucky lady were briefed, suited, and sat in their steeds for the night - the 50mph LPG powered karts. Their brief was simple - to achieve the fastest lap of the night, in two 15 minute sessions of driving. The track was fully populated with 12 drivers, so getting good laps meant having as clear a track in front as possible.
The first 15 minute session saw some great action, with everybody finding their feet after a short while, and some high octane manoeuvres were certainly in evidence. The gap between first and second place at the half way point was just 3/100 second!
So, the second session started and it was immediately clear people had learnt a lot from their first sessions, as everyone posted big improvements on their times, providing some incredible wheel to wheel racing. When time was called, the marshall announced that 5 people had done a 35 second lap, which was actually quite an achievement, with others close behind.
5th: Kay and Andy's friend,
4th: New member Howard Ramm,
3rd: Simon Smale (35.60).
2nd: Mark Gracey (35.58),
1st was Andy Sutton (Kay Farnden's partner) (35.10).
Well done Andy, but huge congratulations to everybody who took part, and enjoyed themselves.
To get things rolling after a long gap over Christmas, it was off to the Curlew, where the new-ish landlord Richard, welcomed us with open tills, but in a change from all of our previous visits, rearranging the furniture just wasn't an option this time!
We were lucky enough to welcome two new couples, in Stewart and Sarah, and David and Sylvie, and good to have you along for the ride.
As ever, the food delivered on its promises, in terms of portions and taste - quite a few pies seemed to be nailed I noticed! Also in a departure from the norm, there was quite a lot of talk about next month's event - the karting. Maybe folks were trying to size each other up, and Jean was battling with her own conscience: she really wanted to take part, but said there was nowhere to hang her handbag!
Many many thanks to Mark and Julia for hosting the party, which nearly 40 people turned out for. Some of the jumpers could only ever be worn, let's say, at this time of year, but it all made for an amazing night in Julia's new super-kitchen.
Upstairs a Scalextrix with a faithful replica of the Circuit de Gracey allowed all to showcase their skills at the sport.
Thanks and a well done must also go to Tim and Terry Sutton for organising and running the game of grab the present, which when people worked out what it was all about, saw a whole host of punters slugging it out, unbeknown to them at the time, all for a pot of paperclips - just because it weighed the most!
With so much good food brought along, no one complained about bring hungry when they eventually left, and all had a smile on their face. As ever, the Christmas house party delivered again, and check the montage above for some yuletide woollies!!
After a small break whilst Simon completed his travels, it was time to start where we left off. Thanks to Sally B again for organising this one, always a popular night at All Fired Up, near Bournemouth Square.
Every year the bar gets raised with the standard of work on view, and the talented artists we have amongst our ranks didn't let us down, although Simon's idea of a mug with his travel venues listed fell over spectacularly when he found out it would cost over £30 just for the words to be written on by the ladies that run the show.
The coffee is always top notch there, and good to see everyone enjoying themselves with something different.
After not being for a few years, a visit to The Grasshopper was long overdue. A bumper turnout of 30 people agreed, which included the pleasure of welcoming 6 new members into the family - Thanks to everyone for making them feel so welcome.
Having the Dorset Gallery function room upstairs with its flexible layout was good for the atmosphere and conviviality, although not quite as good for the servers taking all those meals up there! Perhaps that explains the two mystery fish and chips we never ordered turning up? Both the staff and the food were good, the former also friendly and helpful, and referencing the latter, the pasties were certainly in high demand with the chaps, but some insider dealing pointed Simon at a rather finely crafted steak and ale pie.
All round, another top night out.
Cheers to Simon M for organising this one - a fully explained and interesting tour of the brewing centre, followed by detailed tasting of six of the beers only brewed at Poole. A phenomenal evening, brimming with good cheer, and some very good food.
We fully expect to be going back after such a warm welcome, Roberto's style and great beers, and a top top night. If you missed it, make no mistake - you definitely missed out!
After favourable reports from the curry club and tripadvisor, Kay booked the curry at Signature Spice Columbia Road. Some were veterans, some had never been before, and some broke their curry duck, and taking up a very sizeable portion of the restaurant, we devoured the presented colourful and delicious smelling repast.
Plenty of great service ensured another smoothly run night out, with a raft of smiling faces which continued even after the bill came too. Well done and thank you to Kay for organising.
Deciding a pint was in order, the amassed throng headed off to the usual warm welcome from The Curlew, who had readied the conservatory for our exclusive use.
The food, as ever, was good, the beers were decent, and the company relaxed and very jovial.
Highlights were hearing about and seeing pictures of Maggie's brave wingwalk for the PD society (which she hopes to do again shortly!), Jean recounting John W's birthday shenanigans aplenty (you old royster doyster John), and welcoming some new people and partners along too. A full room and top drawer all round I'd say!
After Meg's fantastic idea, Dr Gregory, one of Dorset's neurology consultants, kindly agreed to pop in at the March meeting.
The 'audience' asked some great questions, and were given some great answers in return, during the over 1 hour session, pausing only for breath, drinks, and corned beef sandwiches! All concerned seemed to get something out of the evening, Dr Gregory has agreed to come back and do something similar again in the future.
Four tables full of eager punters waving fistfuls of money at the Tote, saw some frenzied action at Poole Stadium watching the dog racing.
The meal was good, the veg so neatly wrapped it looked like it had been posted!
I'm not sure too many orders flooded into Sunseeker the next day, but I'll put a fiver on there having been some folk who won enough for the bus fare home. Thanks to Les for organising.
They danced, they raffled, they buffeted, they drank, and they danced some more.
The Andrew Cannon Band kindly gave their services for free again, playing their wide range of musical styles and sounds. Although a different venue this year at the Barrington Centre, some advocate it made for a more enjoyable night.
At the end of it all, nearly everyone walked away with a raffle prize, and PUK gained £420, thanks to Ronnie's hard work and persistence.
Another visit to All Fired Up in Bournemouth; One of our perennial favourites, with has brought the artist out in many a person, and seen some fantastic offerings in the past.
This year, Sally B got the event going, and due to the time of year, potential yuletide offerings were the painters' favourite.
The quality of artistry bar has been well and truly raised again, with some corking designs and well crafted paintings from some clearly talented artists with applaudable vision and creativity. Such was the scale of many of the projects this time, a few of the artists had to be kicked out at closing time!
With enough people to pack out two lanes and have spares, there would surely be enough talent on display at the Bowlplex to wow even the most experienced bowler. There was a prize for the top score and a prize for the lowest, so our combatants got to work.
There were some ahem, 'interesting' actions on display from the varied experience levels, but the main thing was the smile on everyone's face.
At the end of the second game, the scores were printed, and the prizes were awarded to the person with the second highest score, and the third lowest!! On pointing this out, the prizes were then issued correctly, and this will be one we will be doing again in the not too distant future.
What better way to sit down to dinner - with one's friends about to enjoy a large pasty from Pengenna's in Tintagel, couriered up that very morning - it's not often that the postman turns up at your door with over £100 worth of fresh pasties!
Needless to say, we all tucked in and it all went very quiet. Some had beef, some had the lamb versions, but what was unanimous, was the unconverted were now fully converted.
Some present felt they are the best pasties they had the pleasure to eat, and believe me, these people know what they are talking about in matters pasty!!! Cheers Simon for getting the oggies in, all 24 of them - it must have been hell for the neighbours when we heated them up!