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I trust you are all wrapped up warm in front of a blazing log fire as I write this on this snowy afternoon! Sorry – that’s nonsense, isn’t it – you are in front of your computer screen. But at least the snow held off for the AGM and Ceilidh, though the treat of it may have kept some of you away. Some may also have avoided the Ceilidh due to the excess prevailing noise levels that we have fought against with previous bands. I am glad to say that in ‘The Compost Band’ we have finally found a musical, entertaining, affordable and ‘quiet’ band which made the Ceilidh a much more enjoyable affair. The dancing was enthusiastic, but Penguins were also able to hold sociable groups round the periphery. Leslie Hitchen and Freda and her team again did us proud food wise, and we nearly finished the ‘Black Pear’ real ale. Numbers were down a bit despite my attempted ‘drumming up trade’ in the Newsletter – I hope the reassurance of being able to talk whilst the band plays will tempt members to join us next year – I have already booked the band!

The AGM went smoothly, with James Raby elected as our new Commodore, to be ably supported by Julie Sienesi who took over his previous role of Vice Commodore. I had forgotten that Paul Rose had already changed from being a co-opted committee member to a full one, so Lyn Ballard was approached and elected without much warning! He has been on the committee as a cruise organiser many times, and we felt it high time to appreciate his input formally. Derek Carver, our treasurer, has been trying to retire but we have had to delay his repose and ask him to continue, to oversee Ian Rose who was coerced at the morning committee meeting to become our bookkeeper. I have retired from the committee, but will continue to bore you as newsletter editor. I shall attend the committee meetings as a cruise organiser of the Llangorse Camp, of which more anon. The final change during the committee meeting was to co-opt Jane Fanshawe as ‘Committee Member without portfolio’. She was a tower of strength and provision during the mailing preparation, and her new office extension has proved invaluable! There will be at least one committee member place coming up for election next year, so if you are interested do contact James or Julie. I can, of course, forward emails to them. Don’t hold back – we are not a clique and welcome new blood!

The inexorable progress of technology continues – the Club Committee will soon be able to exchange documents on ‘Cloud’ web-based storage, and email mailings remain a priority. However, do not fear that technophobes and Luddites will be excluded – we will continue to cater for all.

We enjoyed hearing of the tales and exploits of the 2012 cruises, but the 2013 plans were also presented. CLICK HERE to visit the page for 2013 cruises.

The water based cruises are to Skye for the Easter Cruise 30 March to 6th April, Canary Islands 31st May to 7th June, and the Aegean 6th to 20th September. Do contact the organisers if you are interested – but they are all nearly full. I believe that there is only one space left for Easter (we are doing well, subsidizing 3 places and sponsoring 2). The Canaries could take 2 more, and the Aegean 2 as well. The fourth cruise, as 5 years ago, is a land based camp at Llangorse Lake near Brecon. This is to celebrate the Club’s 25th year, and was very popular when we did it before. I have booked the same orchard site, and there is plenty of space. Details are as per the website description. This will not get overbooked, but I’d love an idea of how many plan to come – so do send me your booking forms. All the forms are downloadable from the website if yours got thrown out with the Christmas wrapping paper.

I will doubtless send out another Newsletter before the May camp, but till then fluff up your woolly undies, look out your thick socks, and put another blanket on your bed!

Best Wishes

Jonty Pearce