All posts by Peter Jackson

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Alex Burns — Top Ten Chamber Works — 19th August 2019

Member’s Tales — 24th February 2014.

Once again Stumperlowe Probus proved the vari­ety of exper­i­ences among our own mem­ber­ship with two talks and an amus­ing mono­logue.

Michael Clarke, grand­son of Sir Geoffrey Clarke who rose the great heights in the Indian Post Office as Postmaster General, recoun­ted some of his own work exper­i­ences. In his youth he worked at the Army and Navy stores and declared it was much like “Are you being Served?”, where he nearly got the sack for dis­count­ing a camera in the days of Retail Price Maintenance! Realising that shop work had its lim­it­a­tions he went back into edu­ca­tion and gained a degree at Leicester University. He then joined the civil ser­vice where he spent the bulk of his time in what was once called the Labour Exchange. He told amus­ing stor­ies of his days in that ser­vice not least of being held at knife­point by a dis­gruntled applic­ant!

Eric Allsop was part of the D Day land­ings on Juno beach­head and whilst it was, no doubt, a trau­matic time for all involved in D Day, he recoun­ted his amus­ing tale of get­ting a Guy gun tractor stuck in a shell hole with all the food sup­plies for his pla­toon. In Eric’s inim­it­able style he man­aged to make a dif­fi­cult situ­ation amuse us all and we look for­ward to his longer talk about his D Day exper­i­ences in June on the cel­eb­ra­tion of the anniversary of the land­ings.

To round of the morn­ing David Corns, our sec­ret­ary, pro­duced a flat cap which he wore and gave us the “flat cap” ver­sion of driv­ing on the high­way which drew a good deal of laughter form us all. Now we are all more wary of wear­ing our own flat cap!

Peter Jackson


Coffee — James Pogson (Northern Tea Merchants) — 17th Feb. 2014.

Following his very inter­est­ing talk on tea, James returned to tell us about coffee. You may have wondered how it came to be that the pip of a cherry was cleaned of its pulp and outer coat­ing or parch­ment, then roas­ted and ground down to be covered in very hot water to make the drink we all know today. Legend has it that a goat-herder found his goats to be not back in their stable but dan­cing around in the moon­light. He dis­covered that the goats had been eating the cher­ries of an ever­green shrub. This turned out to be the shrub of the genus Coffea from which we get out coffee today. How it got to being roas­ted is yet another legend.

Apparently some pips were thrown on a fire and the res­ult­ing smell led to ground­ing them down to cover with water and hence our coffee drink was born. Today some 85% of pro­duc­tion is by small­hold­ers who gather the cher­ries from the most inhos­pit­able ter­rain where the plants grow nat­ur­ally. The topo­graphy is so dif­fi­cult that even anim­als find great dif­fi­culty in reach­ing the plants and so it is all done by man and by hand. From the col­lec­tion of ripe cher­ries they remove the flesh to reveal the pip, but that is covered in parch­ment. After drying in the sun on a patio, the res­ult­ant pip is now moved down from the farms to the mill where the parch­ment is removed and the raw coffee bean is revealed. There is little that the coffee farm­ers can do to ensure a good har­vest for it is truly depend­ent on God and some years the har­vest is poor and the farm­ers struggle since there is only one har­vest per year.

In Columbia the remote farms are often infilt­rated by cocaine grow­ers who kidnap the farmer and his family and plant cocaine. James told us how he needed an armed guard when vis­it­ing the farm­ers in the hills and the major efforts the gov­ern­ment is making to erad­ic­ate cocaine grow­ing. A fas­cin­at­ing morn­ing and having enjoyed a cup of his excel­lent Columbian, we all felt that out next cup might just mean a little more.

Cromford Mill Visit 18th September 2013


A party of 25 mem­bers includ­ing wives, vis­ited the Cromford Mill for a guided tour of the Mill and the Village. An excel­lent day out for all, which was made all the more inter­est­ing by our well informed guides who brought the work­ings of Sir Richard Arkwright’s devel­op­ments to life. A fuller descrip­tion of the mills and vil­lage can be found in the new sec­tion, ‘Visits’.

Saturday Morning The 7th September.

I spoke to our good friend Canon Trevor Page on Saturday 7th September and I am delighted to report that he is making good pro­gress after his heart “do”. He soun­ded just fine on the phone and announced that he is taking book­ings for 2014!


Charity Dinner with Stephen D Smith at The Three Merry Lads – Friday Sept 13th

This is 4  course dinner with Stephen speak­ing after­wards, in sup­port of the Lowes Syndrome Trust & SRIB. It starts at 1930hrs — to book a place ring 0114 230 2824 or send an email to:

Many of you will remem­ber the most enjoy­able morn­ing with Stephen when we were priv­ileged to get him over from Rotherham to come and speak to us.

I have had a card dropped through my let­ter­box advert­ising the above event at the Three Merry Lads – a pub up at Lodge Moor  where some of us enjoy a glass after Probus on a Monday morn­ing.

Some of you will also know that Jane – the land­lady has recently had a baby boy and he has been dia­gnosed with Lowes Syndrome, so this is really a cause close to home.

I thought that there would be one or two who would like to go along – the cost is £25 which includes a four course meal.

I have booked my slot so I hope that there will be others among you who will sup­port the event and enjoy the even­ing.