Ruthin Probus Club

THEY are already up and running for 2020 at Ruthin Probus Club.

The first meeting began Norman Jones' year as club chairman, succeeding Bill Evans, whom he thanked on behalf of all members for an excellent 12 months.

Presenting Bill with his past chair badge, Norman said he hoped to be able to maintain the high standard set.

If the lunch of paté and chicken pie is a precursor to the gastronomy to come, then his year could not have got off to a better start!

This must also be said of the talk with slides which followed.

Ten years ago, Norman had taken the chair and on that occasion, he had enlisted Phil Durrell, a long-time walking companion of his, as his first guest speaker.

Phil had enjoyed the experience and decided to become a Probus member.

Thus in several ways this was a repeat performance - although not in the subject chosen.

A world map displayed on screen was Phil’s intriguing introduction.

He pointed out that a latitude of 60oN running through Alaska, Canada and Russia also happened to touch the northern-most part of the UK – the Shetland Islands.

This archipelago of 30 miles by four consisting of more than 30 islands, about half of them inhabited, had attracted him to take a 10-day walking holiday in 2018.

He was pursuing his hobbies of walking, photography, ornithology and landscape with an emphasis on seascapes.

From the ensuing scenic display, all could judge that Phil is and skilled and dedicated in all of these, as well as blessed with an artistic eye.

Of his audience, two members admitted to having visited the Shetlands, nevertheless they, no less than the rest of us, sat enthralled with the artistic capture of Phil’s lens but also the accompanying historical, archaeological, geographical and cultural insights bespeaking no mean scholar.

This extended from interpretation of the dialect based upon old Norse to the long Viking history explained perhaps by the shorter distance to Bergen than to Inverness.

This proximity also facilitated the Shetland Bus – the name given to the service of Norwegian fishing boats hazarding escape from Nazi occupation in the Second World War to which a memorial stands proud.

Given their long personal friendship, it was appropriate that Norman chose to thank Phil Durrell himself, but all joined enthusiastically in loud applause.

In February, Ruthin Probus Club is looking forward to a presentation by Myran Lloyd of ‘Folk Songs from Pembrokeshire to Anglesey’.

If you are reading this and wish to be a guest to listen, after enjoying one of David’s commendable lunches of course, give Bill Evans a ring on 01824 702005.