Saturday, 25 February 2012


Having shelled out for an annual subscription to 'Hampshire, the County Magazine' I received my first copy of it today.

This was a particularly nostalgic moment for me, as during my years in Zimbabwe I did at times manage to buy a  copy of the magazine from a second hand book stall in Hillside, Bulawayo, to whom the copies were donated by a local person in aid of the NSPCA who ran the bookstall.   I never did find out who that person was, and I would so much have liked to thank them for my link with 'England, home and beauty'.

Now I have my very own, paid up front, brand new copy of a beautifully produced glossy magazine which does our county proud, but I did not buy it for its good looks.   I have bought it for the ideas it gives  for future presentations and perhaps contacting people to come and talk to us. There is a wealth of good material within the pages of that magazine, so watch this space.

On the subject of future talks I am happy to tell you that David Judson, BA, historian of Southampton Football Club will be talking to us at out June meeting.  This promises to be a very popular occasion and one I think we might make an 'event' of.

John G

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


The 13 February talk on the history and work of SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association) was well received in spite of the problems your scribe had in getting the DVD equipment to work as he wanted it to......never mind, as from the March meeting we will be using our own DLP projector operated from a lap top computer.  One click of the mouse and that's it, next picture on the screen.  Job done.

We have been able to purchase the DLP projector out of a grant very kindly made to us by Southampton City Council, which means that with the equipment owned by the Chairman and the Secretary, and their making it available as required, we can go anywhere and are no longer dependent on the facilities of the TV Room at Manston Court.

It has all come together at the right time, for as we continue to expand our numbers we simply cannot fit into the TV Room any longer, and as from the meeting on Thursday 8 March we will meet in the large lounge on the ground floor of Manston Court.  To get the use of this room we have had to change our meetings from the second Monday in every month to the second Thursday.  Sadly a few of our members will not be able to make it on a Thursday, but others welcome the change.  We win some, we lose some.

For the February talk we were fortunate to have with us Bruce Hartnell, Secretary of Southampton Division of SSAFA, and a mine of information on the work of the Association.  Thank you Bruce.

SSAFA gained two new recruits from the meeting:  Tony, who had already expressed his interest of training as a Case Worker with SSAFA, and Ryan who will be joining me on the SSAFA 'Public Awareness' side of things.  Both are a very welcome addition to the staff of SSAFA.

The talk on SSAFA was in fact a trial run, in which our members were the guinea pigs for the first presentation of a talk to be given at various locations in the future, the first of which will be in 2 - 3 months time to 50 -60 welfare and social workers who could well have people in their care who would benefit from the assistance of SSAFA.

The team for giving the presentations will be:

Bruce Hartnell.  Secretary of SSAFA Southampton Division
Rev. Robert Sanday, our Chairman.
Dr. John Gurney, our Secretary and Lordshill Representative for SSAFA
Ryan Cooper, who will work his magic at setting up display features.

Thank you guinea pigs, you made a lovely audience.

Going back to the January talk on my experience as a Volunteer Worker on community based projects in Zimbabwe:   Following my posting a spiel about it on this blog I was surprised and delighted to receive an email from Dought, who lives in Dingani Village, Dete, Matabeleland.  Right where the school I talked about is situated.

During the talk I screened a picture of the Bush Pump situated one kilometer away from the school, and from which water is carried by hand to the school, or to be more precise, in containers balanced on the heads of the has always been a source of amazement to me how they manage  such balance..

Dought tells me piped water has now been made available to the school, but not on a regular basis and they desperately  need a 5 000 litre storage tank at the school.  It will cost about £500 for a suitable tank to be purchased in Bulawayo and transported to the school where Dought will do all that is necessary to fit it into place, which will be just another of the many jobs he does for the community, as does the Painted Dog Society, for which Dought is a very fine ambassador.

We are endeavouring to assist Dingani School over that water storage tank, but it being outside our remit to accept donations for it, then the search is on to find the right people in this country to help.

A 'Painted Dog' is an African Wild Dog which some twenty years or so ago neared extinction in Zimbabwe and has been brought back by the great work done by the Painted Dog Society, based on Hwange National Park.

A Painted Dog (African Wild Dog) Which is not really a dog at all.
Long, long ago, back in the dawn of time this was a dark haired 'dog'
who got splodged with white paint and just for the fun of it he stuck his tail in the paint pot.
(Well, that's my version of it, which you are not expected to believe)
I took this photo around 1992 when sightings of them were still rare, and there was this fellow sitting by the road side.  I drove very slowly past so as not to disturb him

Perhaps it is our name which leads some people to think our business is purely local history, confined to Lords Hill and Lords Wood.  This is not so, as it is our aim that whilst retaining a strong Hampshire flavour , our talks will encompass a very wide field loosely related to history in all its forms, and to take such talks to sheltered housing units in our area as we work with Southampton City Council in their programme for the alleviation of the social isolation of the elderly, and to assist in community based projects wherever and whenever we can, which will include projects with which our members are, or have been associated, and in which we would like to encourage them to again take an interest.

Perhaps we should change our name to 'The Lordshill Society'

Next meeting will be in the lounge on the ground floor of Manston Court, Lordshill, on 8 March, and will be given by Ryan cooper.  The subject will be The Mulberry Harbours of WW2 in which Southampton played a leading part - perhaps THE leading part, I don't know, but I will find out on Thursday 8 March.

John G.