The meeting was opened with Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. advising that six apologies had been received. Two guests of Speaker Terry Byrne , Tony Brown and Keith Jones, were welcomed.
Chairman Derek shared a short anecdote about Sir Gerald Dobson who through the 1930’s–1960’s spent time as a Judge/ Recorder in London but as he approached his dotage was having hearing and understanding issues. He started to sentence a felon by initially confusing burglary charges for a more serious and personally intimate crime and when corrected indicated no less severity for the crimes actually committed– a tale that caused much amusement amongst members!!
Secretary Neil Ramshaw gave the second call for the April 24th A.G.M. and stressed the urgent need for members to consider taking the position of Second Vice Chairman.
Today’s topic was provided by the Forum’s own Terry Byrne and titled “A South African Journey”. The discourse was provided in three sections beginning with the Capetown Area; secondly the Drakensberg Mountains and finally time in the Kruger National Park. Terry’s talk was supported by an extensive slide show and some illuminating videos.
Terry displayed to his audience the sights and sounds he experienced on his trip highlighting the enormous size difference between South Africa and the U.K. He started with the Cape of Good Hope, its nature reserve including a baboon area. The National Flower of South Africa, the Protea, was shown, and told about a sunshine cruise around the Capetown Area with some stunning pictures of Table Top Mountain.
The Speaker moved on to Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Hermanus Bay, all very scenic, and our taste buds were aroused with his meal of Wildebeest and Pumpkin Pie in the Haute Cabriere, a restaurant in the French Quarter of Franschhoek. We were shown one of the largest Penguin colonies in South Africa at Stoney Point Nature Reserve and saw them living in harmony with the Rock Hyrox (the Dassie).
The final stage of his journey saw a stop at Fugitive’s Drift Lodge (also used by Prince Charles and his sons but on a different occasion!!) and he then detailed the locations and account of incidents from the Zulu Wars notably Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift both in 1879. Some of the actions and characters involved were described.
His final stop was Arathusa Safari Lodge in Sabi Sands, flanking the Kruger National Park, and excellent pictures/videos of Lion families; Rhinos; Elephants; Hippos; Water Buffalos and a Leopard concluded an interesting and informative morning with a small number of questions /comments in the remaining time.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty-six attendees was given by Peter Staples.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY