June 2018


Patrick Hellicar, a retired Evening Standard journalist, gave an informative talk on the life of Amy Johnson, starting from her early years as a fishmonger’s daughter from Hull, until her untimely death at the age of 37.  The pivotal point to the talk was “The Day Amy Dropped In” or rather the day Amy force landed her Beechcraft Staggerwing near Chelsfield in 1936.  Patrick had portrayed Amy as being a person prone to aerial mishaps and this crash landing in what was then a semi-rural Chelsfield did not come as too much of a surprise.  Apparently one of the causes of the crash being that Amy simply forgot that the aircraft had a fixed undercarriage.  Again the flippant manner in which Amy asked her rescuers for a cup of tea and a cigarette (despite her clothes being covered in petrol) was so typical of the Amy that Patrick had described.  We were shown a rare photo of the upturned aeroplane taken by ex-policeman turned professional photographer, John Topham from Sidcup, who happened to be present at the time of the crash.

Patrick gave an excellent talk packed with facts about Amy’s life.  He also provided an abundance of supporting material, including photos, a recording of the popular song of the 1930’s “Amy, Wonderful Amy” and even a recording of Amy’s voice (after elocution lessons!).



English Style Grape (Jock Franklin Cup)


1st Cathy Rishman, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Les Maskrey


Wine of the Evening


Dry: 1st Les Maskrey,2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Bob Dye


Sweet: 1st Bob Dye, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Cathy Rishman 


Judges:  Carol and Sylvia



Our next meeting on 5 July will be a talk with tastings on Loire wines, presented by our fellow member, Roy Clements.  Roy used to work in this region of France and is a member of the Sacavin wine order, a group of wine lovers with a special interest in the wines of the Loire Valley.  I am sure that with Roy’s extensive knowledge of these wines, it should be an excellent evening.


WoE (dry and sweet classes)



This event will be held on 23 June at St Philip's Church.


Classes: dry red and white; sweet red and white wines.


I am very pleased to announce that the French trip will be taking place again this year. Wyn has booked the restaurant and coach. The Shuttle will depart at 09.20 and return at 18.20 on Thursday 22 November. More details to follow soon - such as pick-up points, times and menu. We do not have a firm price yet, but it is expected to be in the region of £55 per person. Please let me know at the next meeting if you would like to go on this trip.


Jan and Chris invite members to join them in their magnificent vintage bus on the annual RT3183 rally to Tenterden.  Departure time from 11 Stacey Road 8.00 am, arrival time in Tenterden around 10.00 am.  Guests are then free to travel on the railway or simply enjoy the attractions of the picturesque town of Tenterden.  The bus will depart approx 4.00 pm.  Please contact Jan and Chris if you are interested in taking part in the rally.


Peter sadly died on 18 May 2018 and his funeral was on 1 June.  He was a winemaker, a member of the club for many years and a regular attendee at meetings until a couple of years ago, before going into a nursing home.  Peter was a popular member and will be sadly missed by us all.


This is the month for making gooseberry wine.  However my gooseberry wines are always a disaster, so I will be using gooseberries to make this wonderful tart instead.  (Waitrose Magazine)

Gooseberry and Elderflower Tart

50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
200g ginger nut biscuits, roughly broken
1 large egg white, lightly beaten to loosen
4 tbsp gooseberry preserve
100ml elderflower cordial
200ml crème fraîche
125g icing sugar, sieved
3 large eggs, beaten

For gooseberry topping:

300g fresh gooseberries, topped and tailed
3 tbsp caster sugar; ½ lemon; 1 tbsp cornflour 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C, gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 20cm loose-bottom sandwich tin. Pulse the biscuits in a food processor. Add the butter and egg white and pulse again until the crumbs are coated.

2. Spoon the crumbs into the tin and press evenly over the base and sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, lightly press the base down with the back of a spoon to level and set aside.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 150 ̊C, gas mark 2. Mix the gooseberry preserve with 1 tbsp elderflower cordial; spread over the base.

4. Whisk together the crème fraîche, icing sugar and whole eggs until smooth. Gradually stir in the remaining cordial; pour over the preserve in the tart. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chill until firm, approx 1-2 hrs.

5. Meanwhile, make the topping. Put the gooseberries, sugar, lemon juice and 3 tbsp cold water into a saucepan. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved, bring to a simmer and boil until the gooseberries are soft, but still retain some shape, approx 3-4 minutes. Slacken the cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water, then add to the gooseberries and boil for 1 minute. Set aside to cool, then chill until needed.

6. When ready to serve, transfer the tart to a serving dish. Spoon over the gooseberry topping.



The Telegraph Gin Experience

This is a lovely day out (almost as good as the French trip).  It will be taking place at the Hurlingham Club (approx ½ mile from Putney Bridge Underground) on 31 July and 1 August, two sittings 12.30 and 6.00 pm, tickets £80 (£64 for Telegraph subscribers).  The price includes a gin cocktail on arrival, tutored and informal tastings from a large range of gins, demonstrations on preparing G&T’s, and a splendid BBQ, all in a delightful setting.  Needless to say Geoff and I have booked our tickets! 

A Toast to the Humble Loaf

Toast is a pale ale brewed in Yorkshire using leftover bread from bakeries and unused crusts from sandwich makers.  All profits are donated to the charity Feedback, to end food waste.  It is described as golden with a smooth finish and hints of citrus and caramel.  5% vol, 300 ml, £2.25.

Chairman’s Verdict:

Geoff at first dismissed it as just a fad, but then on tasting found it to be an excellent “creamy” beer.

CUTTINGS (All about women this month!)

More women drink beer at home despite weight fears

Daily Telegraph, 12 May 2018:  A recent survey revealed that more women than ever are drinking beer at home in the evening in preference to wines and spirits.  Almost a third of women said that they preferred to drink beer at home compared with only 3% in 2009. However it is still the case that fewer women than men drink beer.  Apparently this is due to such factors as sexist marketing, fear of developing a beer belly, negative preconceptions about the taste and “being judged by others”.  The Gender Pint Gap report, compiled by Dea Latis, a group promoting beer drinking by women, revealed that the UK has one of the lowest percentages of women beer drinkers in the world.  A surprising result now that there are so many craft beers available.

A bitter pill for male wine snobs: women have the better palate

Daily Telegraph, 14 May 2018:  Researchers asked 208 volunteers to take part in a blind tasting of 2 whites, 1 rosé, and 3 reds. Dr Caroline Chaya of the Technical University of Madrid concluded: “In general men reported higher scores on significant emotions for all the wines.  Although women generally gave lower ratings than men, they reported greater differences between the wines.”  Resulting from this study maybe we should question the traditional role of the man being offered the wine to taste in a restaurant!


Beer from bread and bread from beer! 

Recently there was a recipe in Waitrose Weekend for a seeded beer bread using a Czech lager.  I suppose we should enjoy this bread with a bottle of Toast ale.   I will try making the bread and if successful it may appear in a future newsletter.  Watch this space!

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13.03 | 12:56

anyone interested in 4x 50 litre wine carboys. I stopped making wine about 15 years ago. open to offers.

16.01 | 20:27

Same you only allow 160 caricatures on your site I would like to wright more !!!

16.01 | 15:40

Thank you for your kind comments. You are more than welcome to join us at one of our meetings - the first Thursday of each month.

16.01 | 15:26

Hi There I have just come across your website ...and very impressed, you seem to be a well organised club with monthly events and good membership BRAVO

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