The meeting opened with five apologies being offered. Chairman Neil Ramshaw gave a membership update on five members and also advised of the return to the U.S.A. of Lou Cosentine but we are hopeful of still seeing him next season. Congratulations and a birthday card were offered to Bill McNicol to recognise his ninety second birthday with an amusing reply and acknowledgement being given back!! A letter of thanks had been received from Harrogate 20th Scout Group in acknowledgement of the £370 collected at our Christmas lunch.

The talk today was ” Costa What” and was given by the Forum’s very own Vice Chairman Dave Essam. This discourse encompassed an eco tour of Costa Rica, cruising the Panama Canal and touching on places in Nicaragua and Zihuatanejo/ Acapulco in Mexico. Dave and his wife had initially taken a cruise on the P & O liner Oceana which transversed the Panama Canal and stops in Costa Rica whetted their appetite for a longer visit which took the form of a seven-day cruise on a Star Clipper and a twelve day Eco Land Tour of the country. His slide show shared some of the great variety of wildlife seen–snakes, frogs,  birds, monkey’s and iguana’s as well as pictures of the capital San Jose and the Arenal Volcano. (one of the world’s most dangerous!) To conclude Dave advised the audience of some amazing facts about Costa Rica e.g. population four million; famed for its coffee, pineapples and bananas; a country with a high life expectancy; highest literacy rate (97%); ten different climates; no army as it was disbanded in 1948 and one hundred and twenty-one volcanic formations. The overriding concept for Costa Rica could be summed in an oft used phrase from there “Pura Vida”. (pure life)

The Vote of Thanks was given by John Taylor on behalf of the thirty nine attendees following some interesting questions from the audience.



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