Seahouses, Probus

Seahouses Harbour
Seahouses Harbour

Glorious gliding

After David Morgan informed us that Bill Weekes, who helped to set up Seahouses Probus branch, had died, our chairman Ian Wilkinson told us that John Durnford, an honorary member, had also passed away.

Secretary Fraser Suffield gave the apologies and our chairman gave birthday wishes for this month’s celebrants.

Satisfactory reports were given by the secretary and the treasurer, including mention that we now have 36 members, with room for more. Anyone wishing to join can contact Mr Suffield on 01665 576236.

Our speaker was Andy Bardgett, from the Borders Gliding Club of Millfield, who spoke about Gliding in the Cheviots. What followed was an excellent exposition of gliding.

There are four controls, elevator for up and down, rudder for left and right, ailerons for roll, and spoilers for slowing down. Rather dauntingly, it was explained that while flying the glider is always at the mercy of gravity and falls through the air.

We were told about the different types of glider and powered gliders, and how they get into the air.

Mr Bardgett explained how it was necessary to find air that was rising to counter the falling of the glider, and that there are four ways in which air can rise – hill or ridge, thermal, sea breeze and lee waves. After a discourse on clouds and a photographic show of the Cheviots from a glider, the talk closed with a question and answer session.

Gordon Cowan gave thanks for a talk that was most enjoyable and a very good advert for gliding.

At the March meeting we received satisfactory reports from our secretary, and treasurer Forbes Grant gave good wishes to all with upcoming birthdays.

Our talk was entitled Chasing the Dragon, by Isabel Gordon.

Mr Suffield told us that Mrs Gordon and her husband Peter had retired to Kelso some 25 years ago and live in one of the oldest houses there, dating back to the 17th century. She is chairman of the Friends of Kelso Museum.

The talk was the story of opium and how it funded the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution.

We were told how its history went back at least to the 4th century, and how it was potentially a good medicine used by Hippocrates. It was also used by the Romans for recreation and by the Arabs as medicine. However, the early Christians banned the reading of Greek and Arabic text so missed out on the advantages.

It was used in 8th century China as medicine, and by the Indian moguls, however, it proved to be a cheaper means of intoxication than alcohol so the problems began.

Mrs Gordon told the story of the Opium Wars and of problems in the UK from its use, and of the beginning of problems in America.

After a question and answer session, thanks for a splendid and thought provoking talk were given by David Wilson.