stalwarts assembled in the postgraduate Centre in October for the final Medical
Society AGM at that venue. Some things don’t change – Wendy Kingston
continues as secretary and Alastair Miller (especially after presenting a
healthy set of accounts) as treasurer. Naming her charities as the research arm
of the Multiple Sclerosis Society & the RCOG (“Wellbeing”), Jan Meggy
stepped down as President, relinquishing the gavel to David Malcomson with Chris
Gate as his vice (so to speak).
David’s succession to higher
office meant resigning as social secretary after 14 years outstanding service.
Members had contributed generously in due recognition of his efforts and
achievement, and the gift purchased with the donations was presented. The gap
left by David and Liz will be filled by the double act of Paul Williams and
The meat of the evening’s business was a presentation by Clive Prince on the
new Treatment Centre, followed by much discussion on the disparity between past
promises and the reality. It was a consolation to hear that, although other
personnel from the old staff development centre have been redeployed, Sheenagh
Gallagher will still be around, running the new multidisciplinary centre from an
office opposite the entrance. A farewell bash to the current PGMC was proposed
– watch out for more details.
then joined members for the traditional supper
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is one word or one accessory that makes touring in the
an absolute doddle – plastic! OK, OK,
you can pre book your flights, your car, your hotels and your meals but surely
this takes all the adventure out of it completely. Your holiday suddenly becomes
as boringly predictable as a cheap week in Majorca or an expensive
cruise! And I will throw in another argument – don’t try and tell me that
it is cheaper to book a package holiday because nothing could be further from
the truth. To experience a carefully managed but completely unplanned driving
holiday, totally funded by credit and debit cards is something to write home
about! But more about the plastic and costs later.
annually replenished our Vitamin D reserves in
for a number of years, we decided to do an east coast tour as a final fling
before we started exploring other parts of the world. No definite route was
planned but rather, Isobel and I looked at a map and picked a number of places
which we thought would stimulate our interest. The car we decided on was classed
as an American full size and was booked in advance from the
. The insurance was covered as a freebie by my American Express Gold Card.
so off we went. From
in Flordia. Iit was a full day behind the wheel up to
provided the lodging and baby back ribs, and the following day we did a trolley
tour of that remarkable city which was one of the few that was not ravaged by
the American civil war. Incidentally, we were so impressed by the cost and
quality of Day’s
that we made a point of looking for them on our travels and unless I tell you
otherwise, that is where we stayed for the rest of our 15 day adventure. Then it
was inland towards
, aiming for one of Isobel’s choices – Dollywood in Pigeon Ford,
where we enjoyed 2 days of country music and ski lift rides above Gatlingburgh
. The next stage was to experience more of the Smokies at dawn and on along the
Blue Ridge Highway
. Absolutely incredible sights, sounds and wildlife but, if any of you try it,
about 100 miles at 40 mph is enough because it can become a bit boring. Get up
as far as
, have a look at the injured wild animal sanctuary before you get onto a much
faster Interstate – which is what we did and made for
this time we were into
and were beginning to see the influence of the 1861 – 1865 American Civil
War. And so on to Stonewall Jackson’s modest home in Lexington, Virginia
followed by magnificent Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson (he’s the one
on the $2 note (and yes, there is
one). Naturally the Americans treat these places like shrines and the guided
tours were a very rewarding experience indeed – well, poor things, they
don’t have a lot of history to talk about do they! From here it was to
which was one of the low points of the tour. After all,
is a city like any other city and, being more of a country boy, I was not
impressed. Having said that, a semi guided tour of the
and Robert E. Lee’s house were well worth making the day better. And don’t
forget, a city based Holiday Inn hotel is not cheap!
up to Pensylvania and Gettysburgh where we spent 2 days exploring the
battlefield and the innumerable museums and enjoying every minute.
Then it was north through Amish country to
where we met up with Tina, who was my secretary at Forest Glades back in the
80s. She and Richard, her husband, went there as part of Brinton’s attack on
the American carpet industry and never came back! We spent a superb evening
reminiscing and sampling some of the micro brewery products!
in the first week of October where we hoped to see the glorious colours of the
fall. In fact we were about 10 days too early and, although it was quite
a run for its money anytime! Yet another Day’s Inn 30 miles west of
was our next base for 3 nights and from here we roamed
. This was a very memorable few days and the icing on the cake was a boat trip
out into the
to do some whale watching.
last night was the most expensive but, naturally, we wanted it to be a night to
remember. The Hyatt Hotel overlooking
and sampling a
lobster – magnificent. Oh and yes, we did visit Cheers (established 1895) but
none of the original cast were there on the day!
the costs? Well, our air fares were covered by air miles but for the sake of
this article I looked at standard air fares, and they varied between £270 and
£400 per person return. Hotel costs varied between $50 and $70 for each of the
Day’s Inns – and that is for 2 persons including breakfast.
added another $350, Evening meals were fairly consistent at $40 including tips.
Taking into account tour fees, petrol and other bits and pieces, about another
$500 covered it. Swapping dollars into pounds the total cost of the holiday for
the two of us was in the region of $3250 or £2020. Try telling me what package
holiday could provide such a magnificent adventure at £1000 per head!!
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Never mind the Calories,
Watch the Feet
In an effort to see more of each other, my husband and I
are embarking on ballroom dancing lessons together. Friends have warned
us that it might, like teaching your spouse to drive, have disastrous effects
and end up in the divorce courts, but time will tell! Neither of us is strictly
a novice – he had lessons until expelled from the class for switching off the
lights during “Dancing in the Dark”, and I ( as wonderfully accurately
depicted in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”) suffered the fate of all tall
girls in a single sex school, and only ever learned the man’s part.
have to admit to some nervousness about this venture. The sneer in the petite
(BMI 18) P.E. mistress’s voice as she described my efforts as “galumphing
carthorse” remains with me to this day, and has certainly contributed to my
previous avoidance of the dance floor. It also seems I may have been misled by
the actual advertisement of the classes as “Ballroom and Latin American” - I
had assumed we would begin with more sedate steps such as the waltz. However,
something about the way the signing up clerk said breezily, “Oh, you mean the
” has rung a loud warning bell. Thus, the condition of supplying you with
further reports on our progress is (for
the time being, anyway!) strict anonymity!!
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