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News and Views -
After our Surrey DA’s members and Norman Hemsley’s National Countryside Care Group did so well in November at the end of last season, we knew all we had to do this spring was to clear pitches and roadways of winter debris.
Five units arrived by Friday and we made a start on the pitches, it was a lovely afternoon but the wind played havoc with the leaves, blowing them straight back onto the pitches non sooner that we had cleared them. Never mind every one worked hard over the weekend and the site was looking better by the time members had to make their way home. Graffham Club site covers around 20 acres, so not a small task.
Bernard and Dave were allowed to use the site tractor with its trailer attached, so we could deposit the leaves away from the pitches. Bernard really got the hang of reversing and manoeuvring the tractor and trailer (Boy’s and their toys!!).
I would like to thank all our helpers and hope to see many more members getting involved next year, we would love to see you all next time, more hands make light work!
Country Side Care Officer for South Eastern Region.
(Picture top right -
Holiday in Cuba for four 70 year old teenagers
(Or 4 Surrey Ex-
After leaving Gatwick airport in the freezing cold and ten hours later, landing in Holgin airport Cuba, the temperature was in the 30s and stayed that way for the whole of our two week holiday.
Our new home for the next two weeks was to be in a modern holiday complex with accommodation blocks of sixteen rooms, built in an amazing parkland setting. We were placed in a convenient spot, half way between the restaurant area and the pool and beach.
The beach was pure white sand and the sea bright blue, out as far as the reef where it became that famous deep Caribbean Blue..
After unpacking we walked up to the restaurant for lunch, this area was roofed but completely open on all sides, to let the warm sea breezes drift through. The air temperature, night and day, is around 30 degrees and the soft breeze keeps everything wonderfully comfortable. During our meal there were a few cheeky sparrows flitting around, trying to take advantage of any left overs but the waitresses mostly were far too quick for them.
During our stay we could dine, in the evening, at any one of four different themed restaurants, Cuban, Mediterranean, French or Japanese. Our other evening meals, for rest of each week, we dined in the main buffet area. The staff could not do enough for you, always polite and courteous. There was even a man at the beach, to fetch our sun loungers and place them at any part of the beach you wished to stay.
In the nearby town of Guardalavaca is a street market, with lots of gifts and handmade items for the tourist. For our first trip to the market, we caught the open top bus, 5 peso’s return trip. Yes! it was just as you would expect a tourist type market to be. We went there again later in our stay, this time we went by the toy styled “road train” and returned later in a horse drawn taxi. I felt so sorry or the one horse, pulling us four and the driver, up the hills (thank goodness they weren’t too steep)
We booked the “Green Park Tour”, which involved 4 wheel drive Jeeps to ferry us up into the mountains. And what an eye opener! We were driven along the main roads in convoy for about 10klm then turned off and headed up a series of dirt tracks towards the small villages. The first one we stopped at, our guide took us to see the Russian Shop where meagre rations could be bought with their rations books. From there, he walked us over to the medical centre. Each village has one and the doctor lives above the clinic, on call 24/7.
Men at the age of 18 have to go into the army for two years, then they qualify for collage or University. For those who train as doctors, once qualified and by law, have to spend 2 years in a mountain village medical centre before moving on to better things.
From there we were driven further in to mountains and stopped at a pineapple plantation. Here they explained everything how they grow the fruit etc.: then we were given a pineapple rum drink using a cored out pineapple as the cup. I believe this was the best drink I had all holiday. Onwards and upwards, we stopped at a hat factory where ladies were making hats from dried palm leaves. We walked further down the road and were given a short tour of the village school. All the children wore either red skirts or red trousers with white tops. In Cuba, all young children wear this uniform, they also have a scarf there, colour of which denotes what stage of education they have attained.
Back into the jeeps and onto another farm. We were shown how they grind their fresh coffee and we all partook in a cup. Whilst we were at the farm we were allowed to look around the homes, very basic wooden huts, no glass in the windows, everything was kept neat and tidy.
All the homes in the mountains were like the one we saw, very primitive but everyone seems to be happy with their lot.
After having coffee, we were invited to plant a tree. The government encourage farmers to do this as most homes are made of wood and they have many hurricanes which need lots of wood for replacement. Our tree number is 1657. We go all that way and still end up volunteering to do some “Countryside Care” work…..
Our final stop was for a meal at the only restaurant in this mountainous area. We were all greeted by the owners with vary welcome cold drink. We then were given our lunch of chicken, rice and tomatoes, followed by a bowl of fruit. Whilst sitting talking to other tourists sitting at our table, out of the corner of my eye, I notice a Humming bird hovering over a flower on the restaurants veranda but not quick enough to get a picture, shame.
Back down the mountain, along the bumpy roads, we were glad to get back on to the main road but I will never forget the experience of it all. Many of our days were spent at the beach, dining in the beach restaurant and being waited on hand and foot… Our last day however, was spent at the Spa with full body massages, lunch (brought by waiters to our sun beds) and the day finished off by a full A la Carte Dinner at the Royal Hotel that evening -
All too soon our holiday had come to an end, an experience of a life time. We boarded the aeroplane at 4pm on the 21st February and took off. The captain said we had a bumpy ride ahead, as we would be going through a storm named Doris (the storm which hit England the following day), finally landing at Gatwick 7.30am on the 22nd Our body clocks were out for a couple of days.
Last November the works team created new paths around the amenity area -
Graffham Club Site -