June 2016 Extra

Visitors to this month’s Memory Cafe Extra on June 20th entered the realm of espionage and the ‘Cold War’.
A word-search based on ‘Spies and Detectives’ led on to a fascinating illustrated talk by Brook Blackford, a local resident and Parish Councillor. Brook was an RAF pilot for thirty years, reaching the rank of Wing Commander before being seconded to the British Embassy from where, after a tough ‘crash course’ in Russian he spent seven years working behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ ostensibly as an interpreter and liaison officer but in fact as an information gatherer or spying on Russian planes, tanks and equipment. He gave us a revealing insight into his experiences in a world of secrecy and suspicion, which included guns, prohibited areas and secret photographs, Russian soldiers, East German secret police and borders guards.

During the 1970s and 1980s Brook and his wife Salli spent time in Prague and Berlin where they saw the poverty and dereliction behind the Berlin Wall and the changes which occurred when the wall finally came down which also saw the end of Brook’s work in Europe. Richard showed everyone a small piece of the Berlin Wall, and we looked at contemporary photos of its construction, its effect on the lives of Berliners and its final destruction in 1989.

Teatime gave us a chance to chat and discuss with each other and with Brook about our own memories of those years, and to compare the eye-opening firsthand experiences of which we had just heard with what we had been told by press reports at the time.

After a brief sing-along session of familiar songs, we tackled some code-breaking exercises of our own which proved quite challenging but were met with considerable success!

It was a most thought-provoking and varied afternoon and our thanks go to Brook for sharing with us his first-hand experiences of some key moments in twentieth century history.
Our next meetings will be held on Monday 4th July and Monday 18th July from 2pm – 4pm at Crantock Village Hall. New members are always welcome and we are open to anyone concerned about memory loss, with their carers.  For more information ring Di on 01637 830544 or Joan on 01637 831347. 

June 2016

Cars and motoring form a significant part of all our lives and there can’t be many of us whose recollections of the past and present don’t include memorable vehicles or journeys. With these thoughts in mind, Memory Cafe organisers chose a motoring theme for our June meeting, and guests driving into the Village Hall car park were surprised to see along the edge of the field a display of ‘retro’, vintage and collectable cars together with their proud owners.

Moving into the hall there was a chance to sit and catch our breath with suitably themed puzzles and word-searches and interesting displays of photographs and motoring memorabilia to stir memories: old petrol cans, a wooden steering wheel, early number plates, tax discs recently consigned to history, a driving licence from 1920, souvenir racing programmes, model cars .... and more! 


The weather was on our side, so it was soon time to venture back outside for a close look at our seventeen visiting vehicles which included three Austin Sevens, a variety of different model MGs, a Morris Minor, a 1973 VW Variant Squareback, a 1986 Triking V1000cc 3-wheeler, a 1980 Porsche 911sc coupe sport and even a 1964 Lambretta! There was a chance to look under bonnets and in boots, and to climb inside and recall the distinctive smells and trimmings. Our generous owners were more than happy to talk about and share memories of their treasured motors. To see and hear about such a range of vehicles from different eras was fascinating, and a number of the older cars had distinctive ‘personalities’ and even names, including Olive, Susan, Ardie and Percy!

Then a special treat – for those who were keen and able there was the opportunity to ‘go for a spin’ as a selection of vehicles drove out to West Pentire and parked up in the Bowgie Carpark to admire the view, with the kind permission of Andy and Sally Pickles. Perhaps you saw us pass by?  For those who preferred to stay at the Village Hall there was a further opportunity to peruse the remaining vehicles and displays or some car jigsaws to tackle.

As the travellers returned, everyone was ready for afternoon tea and we were delighted that many of our visitors joined us for this and stayed on for the remainder of the afternoon.
Val Doonican’s song ‘O’Rafferty’s Motor Car’ then set the mood for a Car and Motoring Quiz and there was plenty of time for reminiscences and stories of first cars, driving lessons, special occasions, journeys and much more.

What an afternoon!  The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all and a special thanks must go to all those motoring enthusiasts who gave their time, effort and expertise to enable Crantock Memory Cafe members and helpers to relive motoring days gone by, or to experience them for the first time!  Thanks also to our catering team who were kept very busy and to all who made this special event possible.
Our next meeting will be on Monday 20th June. New members are always welcome and we are open to anyone concerned about memory loss, with their carers.  For more information  ring Di on 01637 830544 or Joan on 01637 831347.