Monthly Archives: February 2018

Happy Anniversary!

The club’s financial year is drawing to a close, and March 21st is the date of our AGM – fast approaching.

AGM stands for Annual General Meeting – not Angle Grinder Man, which is my role in this Blog!
Club AGMs can be a bit boring/formal, but this one definitely won’t be! This is a special year for the club – our 25th anniversary, and still going strong!

According to Derek, our Club Archivist, our club’s first meeting was on March 10th, 1993, and of the original 54 members, 7 are still active members of the club, with a further 3 remaining as honorary members!
To have 10 of the original 54 members still in contact with us after 25 years is quite a record for a club.

We’ll be celebrating at the AGM with a special buffet, and with some special guests, including the Deputy Mayor of Harrogate and representatives of the two other Probus Clubs in Harrogate.

We currently have 69 members, but are always looking for new members, and subsequent friends.

There’s so much in a Probus year;
• About 25 club meetings with interesting and very different speakers,
• A similar number of Probus walks in our lovely local countryside, and
• Some very special social events, spread throughout the year – topped off with a lot of informal contact between members!

It’s a way of life – and all for £45 a year!

Come and join us soon – see this website for details.

Fly Tying and Tangling

Well that was a new experience!

My Probus friend, Fishing Bill (as opposed to Walking Bill, often mentioned in these musings), invited me round to try to teach me how to tie trout fishing flies. I believe that in the best circles this skill is called ‘fly dressing’, though tying, or tangling, seems a bit more appropriate to my first attempts!

Bill first demonstrated how to tie three different flies – a partridge and orange, a nymph and a spider. Don’t these flies have great names – and they look so wonderful (to me at least!), representing as they do different insects in various life stages.
Two of these flies I’ve seen Bill catch trout on, and using one of them even I caught a trout once!

As far as I can appreciate, flies are tied by putting layers onto the shank of a fish hook (hence the term ‘dressing’) – first an initial layer of silk thread, wound round the shank and then secured at one end. Then a copper wire is wound sparsely over the silk to represent the insect’s body structure, and then a feather or similar to represent the wings or legs of the insect – according to the insect being imitated. I’m sure there’s a lot more complexity than that, but Bill’s being very gentle with me – it’s on a need to know basis!

Well, I’m still at stage 1 – trying to tie off the silk thread without it unravelling! I could blame my eyesight for the difficulties I’m experiencing, or my lack of dexterity in poking the threads under (or is it over?) each other to secure them. Or maybe I’m not patient enough. I’m a bit more ‘ball-park’ than ‘exact’, as a personality.

The process reminds me a bit of learning how to tie a bowline knot when in the school scout group. Learning then was accompanied by an incantation that went something like ‘pretend you’re a rabbit – make a loop, go through the loop, round the tree and back through the hole’.

It doesn’t work for fly tying – so far!

It is, however, an illustration of how wonderful our Probus Club is in the selfless sharing of experience, the mental stimulation and the enjoyment – and in this case also the anticipation of catching a trout on a fly that you’ve ‘dressed’ yourself!

Here’s hoping!

Want a New Motor?

It was one of those unsolicited phone calls that we’re supposed to dread, block, avoid …. The car dealership where I had bought my current car, getting on for three years ago. Would you like to review your account with us (meaning – would you like to trade up, presumably?)

Usually I’d say no, pleasantly, and put the phone down – but why shouldn’t I? A bit of a daydream, imagining myself behind the wheel of a new car, with that wonderful smell inside that takes some of the sting out of having parted with a lot of money, and seen the value of the new purchase drop like a stone as soon as you drive it out of the dealership!

So, a few days later sees me sipping a coffee, talking to two energetic, smart young men about how it would really be cheaper to get a new car (more economical, packed full of gizmos), and didn’t I deserve it, after a lifetime of toil… (that’s me talking!)

A brief look around, and sit in, a new model showed that the direct replacement car would feel very much like the current one (that’s a plus for me!). It’s got a bigger engine, bigger screen for accessing loads of functions (most of which I haven’t used yet or can’t imagine the need for) better lights, smoother lines etc. etc.

Then there’s the drama – the salesmen disappear into the ‘office’ section of the showroom, accessing the systems that work out how much it would all cost. Time passes… The first computer ‘prediction’ is way too expensive. Another is set in motion, still way above my current payments but £100 a month cheaper, and only a brief summary provided– not the details of where the ‘discounts’ have come from…..

Where will this drama end? Still thinking about it…..

At this stage of life one is tempted to either:
• stick with the current car, leaving a bit more income every month with which to spoil myself and my wife in other ways, or
• SKI (spend the Kids Inheritance), such as it is, and take out a long term finance deal with a large amount to pay off at the end of the deal (thinking that I might be dead before then, and the unpaid bit would be void!)

Decisions Decisions….!