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28 June 2021

Today's Speaker was Dr.Sally Lawton. She had been trained as nurse and had a great interest in nurses in the First World War.  She told us about the conditions they worked in and how this had led her to write a novel The nurse who found herself in 1916.

14 June 2021

Club Secretary Peter Schweiger, a woodsman, told us about his project to create a conservation orchard  in Jordan's Village near Beaconsfield.

Peter is a Trustee of the Chiltern Area Quaker Meetings (CAQM), who own a large part of Jordan's village, near Beaconsfield, Bucks. - originally established and built by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), who have been meeting there since the 17th century. 

There is a field that had lain derelict for many years, with 200+ year-old oak tree at one end.  In late 2017 the blackthorn and bramble prevalent in the field was cleared, and a proposal made for the field to be made beautiful to encourage people to use it, with suggestions for the plot to be a multifunctional site.

 Buckinghamshire was famous for cherry orchards, and it was suggested that the oak tree could be used as a feature to encourage people into the field, by planting an avenue of cherry trees from the gateway up to it. 

Peter explained the various phases of the project, which was undertaken by volunteers - including our former Global Scholar Jane Eisenhardt - under his supervision, after clearing the land.

24 May 2021

Today we had three new Members inducted  and one new Honorary Member.

10 May 2021

Charlie White of the Saracens Sorpt Foundation spoke of the work of the Foundation, using sport as a tool for addressing social issues in the community, for example their disability rugby scheme, and extensive work in the prison system.

26 April 2021

The Club held its AGM where the financial and Committee reports were presented and approved. Since the Special General Meeting Tom Lester had resigned and Peter Schweiger was approved as Secretary.

19 April 2021

Our Speaker was Lt. Col. Ray Aldis of the Nelson Society who spoke about Nelson.


22 March 2021


Bronwen Batey  spoke about British wine. She was formerly the Marketing Director of the Marylebone Hotel and had helped the Club in various ways.   She had changed vocation and spent the last year studying wine at the World Spirits Education Trust in London, and had helped with a wine harvest in West Sussex.


 Bronwen told us about the history of wine in the UK, starting with the Romans (what doesn't?), up to the present day.


  Wine had been made in the UK for 2,000 years (i.e. the Romans), but due to our 'Goldilocks' weather, and various annoying invasions, British wine has had some rocky history.  Along with a few other useful items, the Romans brought vines with them when they arrived around AD 43 - the climate was warmer then.  The wine at that time would have tasted quite different from now - very acidic, so would have been sweetened with honey - and as they drank it with every meal, definitely diluted!


 From the fall of the Roman Empire to 1066 (and all that), the climate had cooled but the various invasions hadn't - undoing much of the Romans' 'civilised' lifestyle, including wine drinking.  But by the 6th century, Christianity had spread, and wine-making revived, although better-quality continental wines were preferred by those who could afford it.  Of course, when the Vikings invaded, they destroyed many monasteries, and with them, vineyards and wine-making skills.


 William the Conqueror loved wine though, so when he invaded, wine-making again revived; two decades later, the Domesday Book records vineyards in 42 locations across the UK.  Most of these were about an acre in size, but only 12 attached to monasteries, and the rest owned by wealthy nobles and landowners growing grapes for their own consumption.


 As the grapes were harvested in Sept./Oct. and there was no refrigeration or preservatives, the wines only lasted a few months and were considered winter drinks.  Hence, no-one drank wine in the summer!


 The 12th and 13th centuries were considered the golden age of English viticulture - partly due to warmer summers having returned from about the 11th century.


 After Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine (mid 12th century) - most of S.W. France, including Bordeaux, had become part of the English Crown, increasing wine imports. Thus started the creation of the commercial viniculture industry of France - the money from the British crown supporting Bordeaux and the growth of their vines.  Britain was renowned for its wine expertise, and had the ports to bring in the wine.


 With the 'Little Ice Age' and Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries (and the loss of Bordeaux), viniculture declined in the country.  By the 1700-1800s, tastes were changing, with other drinks coming in, such as chocolate and tea.


 By the 20th century, agriculturists and scientists experimented with German varieties of grape, which survived in cooler weather, to see if they could grow here.  The first commercial - family-run - vineyard was set up in Hambledon in the 1950s - just one acre - using the German grape varieties.


 Bronwen asked who really created champagne?  Louis XIV loved wine made from champagne grapes but hated the fizzy froth caused by fermentation, which was still occurring on the wine.  So he sent this 'inferior' wine to the UK.  As we had started using coal, with higher temperatures, we could make thicker glass bottles that could withstand the greater pressure from the frothiness.  Scientist Christopher Merrett adapted the cider-making example for grapes.  Dom Perignon, 30 years later, also experimented, perfecting the technique - with the well-known result.  But we started it (even though we were using French grapes)!


 The chalk soil in England is similar to that of Champagne, and with global warming, we are now producing wines similar to those of France and Germany, with no growing restrictions.  In fact, big French champagne houses are buying land here, as it is getting too warm there to make champagne!


 In a 2018 blind taste test by international experts, English sparkling wines scored higher than French champagnes (just saying ...).  Although English sparkling wines go through the same process as French champagne, the price is easier to digest.


 Bronwen told us there were some 770 vineyards here with nearly 200 wineries - predicted to produce 30 million bottles of wine in 2021, 72% of which will be sparkling, and only 10% of which will be exported, mainly to Scandinavia and the USA.


 A number of comments and questions followed, after which Bronwen was thanked Bronwen for her excellent talk.

22 February 2021


Our own Matthew Lawson spoke about South Africa, where he was born and had lived for much of his life. He referred to:

 -           The first Rotary development there, and his own Rotary Club in Orange Grove, of which he is a Past President;

 -           The history of the country from the first settlers, then the European settlers, and the various struggles for power as resources such as diamonds and gold were discovered;

 -           The Great Trek and the Boer Wars at the start of the 1900s, and how the country was ruled by the white minority with punitive laws;

 -           Nelson Mandela and his successors - who have caused a huge amount of damage to South Africa with corruption.  Life now is hard for many, with electrical outages and South African Airways grounded.

  However, Matthew would still recommend South Africa for holidays, because of the climate, food and accommodation.

  Question:       What was the position of Rotary during the apartheid years?

 Answer:         They had to comply with the law and were not allowed to have non-white members, but did have non-white speakers.  From the time that things started to loosen up, Rotary invited and encouraged non-white members, but very few wanted to join at the time.

  It was suggested that the 1995 rugby World Cup was a possible seminal moment in helping to heal the rifts in South Africa's history, not to mention the vision of Nelson Mandela sporting a Springboks shirt.  Apparently, a type of reverse racism came into being, obliging the team to have more of a racial mix, rather than recruiting those best skilled.  However, this after some poor results on the part of the team, this practice is no longer, and the Springboks currently hold the World Cup.

15 February 2021

The Club held our first St Valentine's Zoom Meeting  where Members contributed their own thoughts on LOVE


After our Host for the meeting, Steve Rhodes had played the Beatles ‘Love is all you need’ and spoke about differing views on LOVE, we had contributions from Members, including poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning – ‘How Do I Love Thee’ and Robert Browning –‘The Lost Mistress’ – who were married in St Marylebone Parish Church.


We then heard the composer play his love composition – ‘Is it You’, followed by ‘The origins of St Valentine’s Day in the 3rd Century CE when two martyrs were sacrificed on 14 February. Valentine cards were produced in the US in the mid 1800s.

 Shakespeare’s love Sonnet 116 with the words “Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds” followed, and the poem ‘on Marriage’ by Khalil Gibran. A Member read his own contribution “Valentine Rotary Poem’ starting with ‘

 Rotary colours are yellow and blue

We help masses of people not just a few;

Polio eradication is nearly there

With your help we’ll get to the final share.


Rotary people are altruistic

They will be so optimistic.

Here we are gathered on Zoom,

Each in our own personal room

We heard a beautiful sonnet written by the father of a Member to her mother.

 Two goats then featured as potential Valentines despite objections from the Member’s husband.  An extract from A E Houseman’s ‘A Shropshire Lad’ gave warning:

When I was one-and-twenty

I heard a wiseman say,

Give crown and pounds and guineas

But not your heart away


We finished with a Valentine Rugby Poem.

 It was a marvellous meeting enjoyed by all

8 February 2020

The Club had a talk from our Member Li Ping Bartlett about the Chinese New Year.

Li Ping told us that in three days it would be the Year of the Metal Ox.


The Chinese year was linked to astrology, as each year has    


characteristics that are linked to people born then.  There are 12 animals for each cycle of 12 years: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.


It was quite complicated, with five elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth, and BaZi: The Four Pillars of Destiny. A person’s destiny depends on the Year, Month, Day, Hour and Minute of their birth.


 There are great celebrations starting on 26 January with ‘Farewell to the Kitchen God’, where the kitchen is completely cleaned. 11 February is New Year’s Eve, and on 12 February New Year’s Day, where relatives are visited, ending on 16 February with the Lantern Festival.


 18 January 2021

  Rabbie Burns Fellowship Day Programme (Zoom)

Welcome:  Gathering of the Clans                                        Maggie MacPollock (Clan Lamont)

                     Introduction of visitors                                      

                     Toast to 2021

Limerick: St Marylebone Club                                              Tom MacLester   (Clan MacTavish)

The Selkirk Grace:                                                                Maggie MacPollock  (Clan Lamont)

The Immortal Memory:                                                         Dominic MacBrockes  (Clan Cameron)

A Scottish Folk Song                                                            Ginny MacWalton (Clan Gordon)

Poem:   John Barleycorn – a Ballad                    John MacBash  (Clan MacDonald)


Address to the Haggis:                                                         Maggie MacPollock  (Clan Lamont)

St Marylebone “clubs”                                                          Peter MacSchweiger (Clan MacGregor)

About a Poem: Tam O’ Shanter            Li Ping MacBartlett  (Clan Campbell)


Talk: Connection between Scotland and Kenya Masai         Noor MacKassam (Clan Douglas)

Poem: Toast to the Lassies                                                  Steve MacRhodes  (Clan MacDougall)

Poem: Reply from the Lassies                                              Carole MacHarris  (Clan MacLean)

Auld Lang Syne:                                                                    Matthew MacLawson  (Clan Stewart)

Vote of thanks to Raconteurs:                                               David MacLeuw  (Clan MacLeod)


The Raconteurs


The Gathering of the Clans - Maggie MacPollock (Clan Lamont)

A warm Scottish welcome to the “Gathering of the Clans”, suitably prepared with a glass in your hand and the haggis, bashed neeps and chappit tatties ready to enjoy.

Today we celebrate the birth of the great Scottish, poet Robert Burns.  Clans gathered for this occasion are:-

Lamont, MacTavish, Cameron, Gordon, MacDonald, MacGregor, Douglas, MacDougall, MacLean, Stewart, MacLeod and Campbell.


The poetry of Robert Burns ( 1759-96) is characterised by its disarming honesty and humanity, and by the poet’s remarkable lyric gift. Angry or compassionate, sentimental or satirical, romantic or bawdy, Burns’ poetry transcends the Scottish dialect in which it is written to speak to all of us.

Toast: To celebrate in 2021, the magic of Scotland and its great Scottish poet – Robert Burns.


Limerick: St Marylebone Club - Tom MacLester   (Clan MacTavish)

Our President is a very proud and patriotic Scot

As she reminded us at every opportunity she got

She would always lobby

 For her favourite Robbie

Whether he was relevant or not.


Carole is also a great poet

And we soon came to know it

Even when she covered the news

Her humour she never did lose

Her poetry was the same class as Moet


Another poet is called Steve Rhodes

His range of subjects were loads

We would marvel each time

At the touch of his rhyme

Understanding his work needs no codes.


Our treasurer is called Noor

He is always asking for more

But we know he’s very good

Because just like Robin Hood

He is robbing the rich to give to the poor.

The Selkirk Grace:  Maggie MacPollock  (Clan Lamont)

Some hae meat but canna eat

and some hae nae meat but want it.

But we hae meat and we can eat

so let the Lord be thankit

 The Immortal Memory: Dominic MacBrockes  (Clan Cameron)

Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns was born on 25 January 1759 the eldest of seven children. He began working life as a labourer. However his father had had him educated.

 He never visited the USA where he was nevertheless very popular. His work was reproduced there by ‘pirate’ printers in Philadelphia in 1787 and it had a huge impact on generations of Americans.

 Burns hated injustice and was vitriolic in his condemnation. In his ‘Address to Beelzebub’ he openly attacked the Scottish chieftans who prevented Highland peasants from trying to escape to a new life in Canada, and in ‘Twa Dogs’ he pictures the poor lowland peasants badgered by the Laird’s factor when pressed to pay the rent.

 Burns had seen slavery first-hand, when a master could sell his mine and the workers as a going concern. Wedgewood’s 1787 slavery medallion of the kneeling slave carried his words “Am I not a man and a brother’. He wrote: ‘That Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that’.

 Frederick Douglas started off as a slave in Maryland, escaped and became an abolitionist, and had the complete works of Burns, He came to Britain in 1845 and visited Burns’ birthplace. Burns’ philosophy is best summed up by his 1795 poem ‘A man’s a man for all that’ and ‘A Slaves Lament of 1992 which reinforces our view of Burns as a friend of humanity and enemy of injustice and oppression.

 Douglas retuned to the USA in 1847 a commanding and influential speaker and ‘a free man’. He forced home the argument to Lincoln that slavery should be abolished immediately: the President made the emancipation proclamation in 1863 making the freeing of slaves an explicit goal of the war. Arun Sood, author of ‘Burns in the USA’ states: ’Douglas was a hugely gifted orator and very charismatic’. During the Civil War era Douglas frequently alluded to Burns’ songs and poems, particularly when trying to encourage men of colour to enlist in the Union army. Abraham Lincoln had a neighbour Jack Kelso whom he had recite Burns in Scottish dialect.

John Hay, Secretary of State reflected that in April 1865 – ‘the war has come to an end and that he (Lincoln) recites extensively from Robert Burns without notes, all from memory’.

A Scottish Folk Song:  Ginny MacWalton (Clan Gordon)

Ginny played a recording of the music of a beautiful Scottish folk song – by Alasdair Fraser ‘Are Ye Sleeping, Maggie?’  This can be heard on

Poem:   John Barleycorn – a Ballad:  John MacBash  (Clan MacDonald)

 There was three kings into the east,

Three kings both great and high,

And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn should die.


They took a plough and plough'd him down,

Put clods upon his head,

And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn was dead.


But the chearful Spring came kindly on,

And show'rs began to fall;

John Barleycorn got up again,

And sore surpris'd them all.


The sultry suns of Summer came,

And he grew thick and strong,

His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,

That no one should him wrong.


The sober Autumn enter'd mild,

When he grew wan and pale;

His bending joints and drooping head

Show'd he began to fail.


His colour sicken'd more and more,

He faded into age;

And then his enemies began

To show their deadly rage.


They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,

And cut him by the knee;

Then ty'd him fast upon a cart,

Like a rogue for forgerie.


They laid him down upon his back,

And cudgell'd him full sore;

They hung him up before the storm,

And turn'd him o'er and o'er.


They filled up a darksome pit

With water to the brim;

They heaved in John Barleycorn,

There let him sink or swim.


They laid him out upon the floor,

To work him farther woe;

And still, as signs of life appear'd,

They toss'd him to and fro.


They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,

The marrow of his bones;

But a miller us'd him worst of all,

For he crush'd him between two stones.


And they hae taen his very heart's blood,

And drank it round and round;

And still the more and more they drank,

Their joy did more abound.


John Barleycorn was a hero bold,

Of noble enterprise;

For if you do but taste his blood,

'Twill make your courage rise.


'Twill make a man forget his woe;

'Twill heighten all his joy;

'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,

Tho' the tear were in her eye.


Then let us toast John Barleycorn,

Each man a glass in hand;

And may his great posterity

Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

Address to a Haggis:  Maggie MacPollock  (Clan Lamont)

 Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face

 Great chieftain o’ the puddin’– race!

 Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,

 Painch ,tripe, or thairm

 Weel are you worthy o’ a grace

 As lang’s my arm.


 His knife see rustic Labour dight,

 An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,

 Trenching your gushing entrails bright,

 Like ony ditch;

 And then, O what a glorious sight,

 Warm-reekin’, rich!


 Ye Powers who mak mankind your care,

 And dish them out their bill o’ fare,

 Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

 That jaups in luggies

 But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,

 Gie her a Haggis

St Marylebone “clubs”:  Peter MacSchweiger (Clan MacGregor)

Peter MacSchweber with his usual aplomb entertained us with  his skill full juggling with both Clubs and large knives.

About a Poem: Tam O’ Shanter:  Li Ping MacBartlett  (Clan Campbell)

Li Ping told us about The Cutty Sark.

She explained that Nannie, the figurehead on the sailing ship Cutty Sark preserved at Greenwich, comes from Tam O'Shanter, a poem by Robert Burns, and that the Cutty Sark had traded tea between Shanghai, her home town, and London.

In the poem, Tam is a farmer who is chased by a scantily-clad witch called Nannie who is dressed only in a ‘cutty sark’ - an archaic Scottish name for a short nightdress. Cutty Sark’s figurehead is a depiction of Nannie the witch, holding a horse's tail - A dashing figurehead for the fastest of ships!

 She then recited a verse from  Tam O’Shanter, which was even less intelligible in Sino-Scottish;

 Talk: Connection between Scotland and Kenya Masai:   Noor MacKassam (Clan Douglas)


 Even if you’ve never heard of shuka cloth, there’s a high chance you’ve seen it in pictures. Often red with black stripes, shuka cloth is affectionately known as “African blanket” and is worn by the Maasai people of East Africa.

 To give you some brief background knowledge, the Maasai are a semi-nomadc people from East Africa who are known for their unique way of life, as well as their cultural traditions andcustoms.  Living across the arid lands along the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania and Kenya.The MaasaiPopulation is currently at 1.5 million with the majority of them living on the Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya. They are known to be formidable, strong warriors who hunt for thefood in the wild savannah and live closely with the wild animals.

 The Maasai identity is often defined by colourful beaded necklaces, an iron rod (as a weapon) and of course, red shuka cloth. While red is the most common colour, the Maasai also use blue, striped, and checkered cloth to wrap around their bodies. It’s known to be durable, strong and thick – protecting the Maasai from the harsh weather and terrain of the savannah.


So how did this traditional clothing come about. The word “traditional” must be taken with a grain of salt. Before the colonisation of Africa, the Maasai wore leather garments. They only began to replace calf hides and sheep skin with commercial cotton cloth in 1960s.

 But how and why they chose shuka cloth is still unclear today. There are a few schools of  thought. One of them is traced back through centuries – fabrics were used as a means of payment during the slave trade and landed in Est Africa. While black, blue and red natural dyes were obtained from Madagascar. There were actually records of red-and-blue checked “guinea cloth” becoming very popular in West Africa during the 18th century.

 Another interesting explanation is that the Maasai cloth brought in by Scottish missionaries. During the colonial era. The Africa Inland Mission was established in 1895, and until 1909 Kenya was its only operation. This sounds like a logical explanation – after all Shuka clothdoes resemble the Scottish plaid or tartan patterns.

 These days, however, Shuka cloth is usually manufactured in Dar es Salaam and even in China, bearing text such as “The original Maasai Shuka on the plastic packaging. Ironically The Maasai really do buy and wear Shukas made in China, packaged in plastic.  

 Recent years have seen Shuka cloth propping up in the fashion world and gaining fame all over the globe. The Kenyan clothing label has taken inspiration from the pattern of the Shuka cloth to produce clothes and accessories in vibrant tribal prints. Nairobi based Wan Fam Clothing was founded by brothers Jeff and Emmanuel  Wanjala to pay homage to Kenya’s Maasai culture.  By turning a traditional garment into fashionable urban wear, they hope to meet the increased demand for more local products that highlight their heritage. Even Louis Vuitton featured red and blue Maasai checks in their Spring/Summer collection 2012.

 Shuka cloth’s past may still be a mystery, but it looks set to conquer the future.  

Poem: Toast to the Lassies: Steve MacRhodes  (Clan MacDougall

 Words of wisdom.
 A few unique pearls. An all too expected conclusion.
 So here’s to the girls.

The obvious elements, of looks and a stunning figure.

The glamour, in reality, is far far bigger.


 The toast is to the nurses, the entrepreneurs, the corporate ladies, the mothers , the wives,

 the friends, the sisters, the girlfriends, the doctors. The fashion icons in our lives.


The authors, the entertainers, the activist.

Passion and authority.

We cannot resist.


The go - getters, the unprecedented.

The ones overlooked.

Even Mary Berry, whose slightly overcooked.


The sweet ones , the quiet ones , the emotional, the scandalous,

the crazy, and the smart women of substance.


They appropriate your heart.

May they repel gender bias.

Spontaneous and sincere.

Life in society, without fear.


Sportswomen that excel in every game.

Reality stars seeking 15mins of fame.

So many virtues easy to bestow.

Let’s be honest ladies, you had me with hello


  Poem: Reply from the Lassies:  Carole MacHarris  (Clan MacLean)

You did well to do it differently,

Even Rabbie may have approved;

You penned a cracking few verses

Without a whiff of sounding rude!


As he said:

"A gaudy dress and gentle air may 

Slightly touch the heart; But it's

Innocence and modesty that 

Polishes the dart." 


If this were Rabbie's time, the glamour may have overcome

The 'quieter' virtues we espouse, although there will be some

Who fortune has decided, must be blessed with both a figure

And the brains and heart to match - for sure a reality far bigger.


Your list of women toasted - to my eye seems very sweeping,

I do believe that Rabbie would be impressed

To know the number of women in your life is quite in keeping

With his own record - I think you passed the test!


Yet we stand in awe of women such as Jean Armour, his wife;

The mother of nine children and inspiration in his life.


I think you've managed to encompass every type of lady -

The ones looked over and the ones overlooked;

All those women of substance, no sentiment uncooked.


I daresay most men here will have been beneficiaries of

The attributes so generously yet tacitly implied;

And I've no doubt they will agree those attributes

Are well-deserved, and - as we girls acknowledge - should be

duly recognised.


And as for Mary Berry being slightly overcooked

No-one likes a 'soggy bottom' - at least the last time that looked!


So as for having you at 'hello', I say

'Thanks for singing us the sweet tune';

Let's raise our glass now to the Laddies in the room, 

Who bring bloom to our hearts like the warm sun in June.

Auld Lang Syne:  Matthew MacLawson  (Clan Stewart)

Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world. Its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.

The poem's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or, less literally, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old times".

Robert Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788 with the remark, "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man. Some of the lyrics were indeed "collected" rather than composed by the poet; the ballad "Old Long Syne" printed in 1711 by James Watson shows considerable similarity in the first verse and the chorus to Burns' later poem and is almost certainly derived from the same "old song".

There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used in Scotland and in the rest of the world.

Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711), as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase "in the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "once upon a time" in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.

So, to finish off the meeting, I shall read a couple of versus of the famous poem translated by our Scots President Margaret, as follows:

               AULD LANG SYNE

 1)   Should old acquaintance be forgot

      and never brought to mind?

      Should old acquaintance be forgot

      and auld lang syne



     For auld lang syne, my dear,

     for auld lang syne,

     we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

     for auld lang syne.


2)   And there’s a hand my trusty friend !

      And give me a hand o’ thine !

      And we’ll take a right good-will draught

      for auld lang syne.


CHORUS again

 Vote of thanks to Raconteurs:  David MacLeuw  (Clan MacLeod)

David Mac Leuw voiced our unanimous thanks to the organisers of this unique and enjoyable celebration. We look forward to next year when, hopefully we can all actually meet on Rabbie Burns’ birthday.









  President Margaret announced a total of £5168 had been donated to the Trust Fund. She thanked Members for their generosity. There was still time for further donations if any other Members wished to contribute. In addition there was £457 from the District Trust Fund and we had applied for a District Grant of £1000 on behalf of the Fourth Feathers.

She was pleased to say that her target of £6000 had been achieved.

  This meant we were in a position to make the following donations:  £1000 each to Fourth Feathers, Woman’s Trust, West London Mission and The Orion Orchestra, and £2000 to the David Nott Foundation.

 The presentations will be made to each charity at the Zoom meeting on 9 November

 Li Ping Bartlett gave her job talk on Acupuncture.

 Li Ping had originally trained in Shanghai as a dentist but after coming to this country had studied Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for her MSc at Middlesex University. She had now set up her own treatment Clinic.

 Li Ping began by discussing the management of energy  by the body.  In diagrammatic form she showed that it flows through 14 meridians with 365 points. Although acupuncture is not compatible with explanations by the western medical model it had been used for millenia. She showed the hypothesis of its action as follows.

Endorphins are now generally accepted to play a part in various body responses to emotion, fatigue and pain relief. In cancer therapy they can improve the tolerance of therapies and slow tumour growth.

 Acupuncture has a role in supplementing anaesthesia so that lower doses can be used and recovery times shortened. Li Ping showed a video of acupuncture being demonstrated to Richard Nixon in the 1970s.

  New imaging techniques have allowed much more detailed mapping of responses. Factors such as the angle of the needle, its length and diameter come into play

  In response to questions Li Ping talked about the use of acupuncture in Osteoarthritis and tumours. Self applied acupressure can also be used in some conditions.


 Dominic Brockes talked about historical events that had taken place on 19 October.  He referred to 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatmanis, a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the history of England.

For example on 19 October 202 BC Hannibal Barca and the Carthaginian army were defeated by Roman legions under Scipio Africanus, ending 2nd Punic War and in 1781 - British General Charles Lord Cornwallis surrendered to U.S. General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia. It was to be the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War;  in 1812 Napoleon's forces begin their retreat from Moscow ; in 2003 Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa, who had won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her charity work.

  In 2005 Saddam Hussein went on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

 Members were very impressed with Dominic’s research and presentation.


 Past President Peter Schweiger,  discussed his diaries about the Rotary Club and his work in the shoe making industry. Peter joined the Rotary Club of St Marylebone in 1983 after being introduced to the Club by David Leuw. Peter went on to serve as President of the club for 1994-95.

Peter told us that he had started maintaining a series of daily diaries about his Rotary life and life at his shop. He began the diaries in 1981 and they went on to reflect in detail the life of the Club as well as his work in the shoe industry .

  He then went on to discuss some of the events in the diaries including:

June 6 1983 On this occasion the Club was visited by John Poole who was the Lord Mayor of Westminster at the time.

 November 1985: Past President Dickie Allen had to set up the room at the time for the rotary lunch. In those days the Club lunches were very formal affairs and setting things up was quite a chore especially since membership was around 40 members.

Peter reflected on a visit in 1994 to our sister Club in France, the Le Vesinet Club where he was met by the Club’s President at the time Paul Graal.  He especially remembers his stay at the very spectacular home of Nuckie one of the Le Vesinet Club members.

 He showed some of the old Bulletins to the Club.

 Peter proudly recounted one meeting which had the local Fire Brigade in attendance. He had a challenge to see how many throws he could make with his lit juggling clubs. Past President Kevin Coyne was to obtain a counting clicker so the number of throws could be recorded. Kevin recorded 2266 throws. A local newspaper was also in attendance to record this momentous event. Peter took up juggling initially to relieve stress.

 In 2009 44 people attended for lunch. Past President Michael Tierney brought eight ladies along for a lovely lunch during which Peter was presented with the very prestigious Paul Harris Award, a great honour from the Club.

  Peter reported that the Club has met in a number of venues over the years:

       The Sherlock Holmes Hotel when Peter first joined

       The Cricketers Club for many years

       The Sherlock Holmes Hotel again

       The Cavendish Club until it was sold

       The Marylebone Hotel until they renovated its dining rooms

       The Oriental Club which was very grand

       Back to the Marylebone Hotel



 President Margaret said that the scene was set for Mayflower Fellowship Day when Kevin Coyne, wearing his “Puritan Pilgrim Hat,” introduced the theme  ‘Saints and Strangers’.

 She said she feared that we would miss Thanksgiving celebrations this year but looked forward next year.

Kevin introduced his talk by saying that he had spent his childhood and youth near the Plymouth Massachusetts area and was well acquainted with its history including that of the Mayflower voyage.

Kevin began his talk describing those who were aboard the Mayflower, their reasons for making the voyage and life on board during the journey. The puritans referred to themselves as Saints and everyone else as strangers. He also talked about how the journey began including reference to the second ship that originally set out with the Mayflower, the Speedwell.

Kevin went on to describe some those onboard the Mayflower who went on to be prominent members of the new community called the Plimoth Colony. They included John Alden, the ships cooper, Miles Standish, the military representative and the colony’s first commander and John Carver, who wrote the Mayflower Compact and served as the first Governor of the Colony.

Kevin discussed the establishment of the Mayflower Compact and the Plimoth Plantation and Miles Standish reservation - both areas he frequented growing up in the area. He described the development of the Thanksgiving celebrations and confirmed that it was not made a formal public holiday until 1863 during the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a unifying national holiday.

Kevin listed some of the descendants of the Mayflower voyagers including 8 former Presidents, Clint Eastwood, Richard Gere, Bing Crosby and Marilyn Monroe. Kevin took questions at the end of the talk.



 At the meeting we reported the death of Bettie Politi, a Member of the Club since 2004, and recently an Honorary Member.  She was our first Woman President (2008-9).

 Several Members had particular memories of Bettie:

  Kevin Coyne said: “ She was such a character full of energy, enthusiasm and always had a ready smile and a great sense of fun. I remember being Bettie’s companion to the Ballet on several occasions ...especially when Carlos Acosta was performing. We always had a great time. She was a true trailblazer as the first woman president of the club and really lived rotary values. She will be truly missed.”

 Robert Rosenthal remembered Bettie as the first female President of the Rotary Club of St Marylebone, who used her personality and drive to increase membership and help the many Good Causes which the Club supported over the years. He said she was a devoted follower of the St Marylebone Quiz Team, and occasionally acted as official scorer (often with amusing consequences !).   Bettie had a good sense of humour with a twinkle in her eye – although diminutive in height, she was a big presence and a force of nature.

 Her charity work throughout the community has been generally recognised, and Bettie will be remembered with much fondness and affection by all who knew her.



 We had a BBQ  in the courtyard outside the home of our Member Li Ping Bartlett who had organised the event with her husband John, a member of Westminster International RC.  Li Ping said:

 “We finally managed to hold our Near-Normal Reunion this Sunday!

 It was as normal as one can be, sitting two metres apart and eating separately packaged food, and it was a reunion for those eight who were able to make it! I hope that this can prove to be the first steppingstone in a pathway back to normal fellowship in our club.”

 It was agreed it was a great success, Kevin Coyne saying: “Last Sunday August 24th, members of the Rotary Club of St Marylebone were treated to a fabulous BBQ hosted by Li Ping and John Bartlett. The BBQ was held outside in their Mews courtyard and in accordance with social distancing and other COVID 19 precautions. The event had been postponed from the previous week due to bad weather but the weather was most kind to us on this occasion. The food and company were delicious. It was a wonderfully relaxing afternoon with great fellowship. We sincerely thank Li Ping and John for their hospitality and superb organisation.””

 We raised over £250 for Charity.


 YOUTH SPEAKS - A DEBATE - 3 February 2020

 On Monday 3 February, The Central Area Youth Speaks – a Debate was organised by John Bash, Central Area Youth Organiser from our Club at The American School in London in St John’s Wood.  The American School has been hosting this event for many years and generously provided refreshments for everyone. Other Club Members helped in running the very successful event. 

  We had some 12 school teams involved, each with a team of three: a Proposer of a motion such as “This House believes that marijuana should be legalized” or “This House believes that keeping animals in zoos is wrong”,  an Opposer arguing against the motion and a Chairperson.   The teams chose their own topics for debate.

  We had two competitions: for Seniors aged 14-17 and for Intermediates aged 11-13.  The Senior winner was The American School in London and runner-up St Marylebone CE School. The Intermediate winner was Francis Holland School and the runner-up St Marylebone CE School.

  All participants received a Certificate and also a Book Token kindly paid for by London District and presented by DG Tony Sharma. The winners and runners-up go forward to the District Competition on 22 February. 

  Everyone involved found it to be a very enjoyable event, helping to improve the speaking skills of the participants.



 20 members and guests attended an enjoyable Christmas Lunch at The Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel preceded by a Champagne Reception, where the Fellowship was fantastic.  Besides the very good company, the food and service provided by the Hyatt, our Corporate Member, were excellent – thank you Danita..  We all had a marvelous time.

 The lunch finished with the Festive Draw.  

 At the last count the Festive Draw total was around £3,300 and counting.  There were some deposits direct to the Club’s bank account which are not yet in the total.  No doubt Treasurer Noor will give us the total when he has reconciled everything.  It was not a record breaker as it was last year but still a very good effort with thanks again to all who contributed in whichever way you did. This will benefit our Charities.

 President Dominic thanked Margaret Pollock for her brilliant organisation of the lunch under very difficult circumstances (forced change of venue at the last minute) and for the great table decorations and name cards after which everyone disbursed with smiles on their faces.

 (See Picture Gallery)




The Club held a very successful and enjoyable President's Dinner at the Marylebone in Welbeck Street. Highlights were the induction of two new members and the ‘silent auction’ of the Mortimer Raath Rotary Quilt made from the many Rotary ties that Tim had collected over the years. And also we had a fantastic poetic tribute to President Tom from Carole Harris.




TOM LESTER - My tribute


 There was a man in a Sou’wester


Who said ‘I’m a doc, not a jester!’


 My real name is Tom, can you guess where I'm from?


 I assure you it isn’t from Leicester!




 Dear Tom,


 It would be a crime to spend the time


 On a rhyme that I'm not happy with


 To acknowledge you and all you do. 




 These are the words I selected


 When expected to have reflected


 On the year you've been here as 'Head Boy’, er … President




 The rest of the rhyme is about you


 Not to you (without talking through you)


 And I'll blow you a kiss if you don't take amiss


 That my words may not justly review you.




 He's a Rotarian of the highest degree, you all see


 He's brought friendship and goodwill - and does still


 He is warm, does not conform to the norm, but acts


 With dignity and pride, always on our side, always tried


 To do the best for all the rest,


 To forestall in big or small ways


 Problems that may arise, and advise.




 He’s a man who is honest, who does what’s promised


 Always acts with integrity and sincerity


 Full of passion in his own fashion, with no small ration of compassion either.




 He uses common sense - so, not so dense! Nor too intense that would give offence


 He means what he says, as befits a good President


 And is the voice of reason - at least for a season ...




 But there’s more to Tom, more going on -


 He loves to ski, to feel free, flying down the white slope


 Looking through the snow, as through a window envelope 




 Or walking the Camino, pretending to be a Latino


 And craving a cappuccino!




 With his family dear - some of them here - and whether near or far, so lovely they all are


 And I’ve had the pleasure - at my leisure - to meet and greet them


 And I feel confident they well appreciate - though not THEIR president - this wonderful man.




 Tom Lester 


 Is not from Chester -


 And is not a jester.


 No, he's our President


 But not from Brent -


 From Temple Fortune 


 (Not Fortune Green, where I've been seen!)




 And now he's here


 It's been a year


 And come July, we’ll have no fear




 Because it's true


 The next one who


 Will take his place


 We know his face. 


 He has an ace up his sleeve;


 And will not leave


 Until he's brought 


 The ones he ought


 To join our Club


 Not down the pub!


 He'll not be a sub 


 For Tom - He will be Dominic!






(See photos on the Picture Gallery)




The Club held a reception and lunch for Members and friends at what was our last meeting in 2018. The main purpose was to draw the winningtickets of our Festive DrawThe proceeds of the draw - £3,826 - will go to three of our supported charities:




Woman’s Trust - addressing domestic abuse, StreetSmart - helping the Homeless and the Orion Orchestra – a unique training experience for young musicians.


The prizes were first class:


1.  – 2 Nights at the  Westbury Hotel Dublin


2.  – Dinner for 2 at The Royal Lancaster ‘Nipa Thai Restaurant’


3.  - 2 Seats at The National Theatre


4. – Champagne Tea for 2 at ’Aqua Shard’


5 –  Champagne Tea for 2 at The Landmark


6 –  6 bottles of Tanner’s White Burgundy 2016





The Rotary Club of St Marylebone was founded 70 years ago when it had its Charter Night at the Savoy. Since then it has raised funds for the benefit of countless St Marylebone residents and communities across the world. 




The anniversary was celebrated by a formal dinner at The Marylebone. The Guest of Honour was Dr Paul Knapman the Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Westminster. We also welcomed  the head teachers of St Vincent's RC Primary School and St Marylebone CE School, Sally Field a trustee of the Woman's Trust, The Rector of St Marylebone Stephen Evans and the General Managers of the Marylebone and the Royal Lancaster. Both Hotels have been great supporters of the Club over the years and Garreth Walsh and Sally Beck were made honorary members during the evening. 




 After dinner there were a number of presentations beginning with Testimonials from the four charities we support. Woman's Trust, StreetSmart, The Orion Orchestra and The David Nott foundation. The winning photograph from a competition organised at St Marylebone school was shown on a big screen and the winning story from a competition at St Vincent's School was read out. The subject for both competitions was " Marylebone".




 The centre-piece of the evening was a summary of the history of the Club which had been written with the help of past and present members. The history is printed in the souvenir programme. The evening ended with a poem written especially for the occasion by our resident poet.


The evening was enjoyed by all and it was felt the Founders would have been impressed by the occasion and by the achievements of the Club over the years.










 Our speaker, Susanne Albrecht, is a medical doctor in radio-oncology and nuclear medicine, who spoke to us about her ‘cookie with a vision’.


 Susanne, originally from Germany, moved to the UK six months ago, where she was now a Marylebone resident.  She was born in Nuremberg, grew up in Innsbruck, went to university in Vienna, and graduated from medical school there in the mid-1990s, when Austria was joining the EU.


  Susanne worked in Brussels for some time in a lobbying group for European doctors and then trained in Basle, Switzerland.  She spent most of her medical career in Geneva and Lausanne.  She trained in nuclear medicine and focused on early diagnosis on cancer relapse in research and practical work.  She wanted to do more clinics and did a second training in radiotherapy [ radiation in higher dose combining with chemotherapy and oncotherapy, ware that nutrition was a very important factor in the outcome of oncological treatment and this became the central focus in her work.


 Susanne came from an entrepreneurial family and went back to Nuremberg to take over management of the family business.  She admired the culture of the company and training level of the employees, and could relate to it because it was a network of clinical centres and they were providers - building up the centres, employing personnel, working with doctors, dealing with everything non-medical and working with the doctors.  She spent 10 years managing the company, but then the market changed, and she sold the company two years ago.


 She wanted to do something else and combine all the elements she had experienced.  She had heard about the Cordon Bleu school in London,the only one that offered a nutrition gastronomy and food training course.  The first three months were half chef training and half theory - sustainability, and nutrition values.  2018 is the year of promoting fibre intake, due to its preventive value in cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer.  Susanne developed a fibre rich cookie, low in sugar to complement the recommended daily dose of 20g of fibre.  Her idea was that nuts were a wonderful resource for fibre.  She took from her home a traditional cookie and converted it to a vegan version. 


 The original plan was to bring the product to market, but she decided she would like to bring it to a charity project instead, to unite with her passion for prevention in medicine and food sustainability.  She had heard of communal kitchens in London but was not familiar with London, and so wanted to ‘enrol’ into a charity system.  Susanne was familiar with Rotary from her parents, and herself had participated in a Rotary youth exchange.  She had read about our Club on the website wanted to see if we might be working with any health projects or community kitchens.


 Susanne told us that currently she was training in patisserie, the precision of which she found similar to working in a lab - and wanted to develop a health food line where each product had a medical purpose, e.g. cardio vascular - her aim is eventually to build up the business, but go into charity also.  She will be working on refining the fibre-rich product(s) with more knowledge of pastry.



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