Minutes of previous meetings:- Click on date below to go direct to minutes for that date


 Thanks to our resident scribe - Bob Matthews - for his continued efforts on their provision.


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21/06/13        27/09/13









































Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 6th June 2003.





I climbed the gloomy staircase and entered the Members dining room, which seemed brighter than I remembered. I soon found that this was entirely due to the member for Bath ( K. Thomas) resplendent in a stripped shirt. From his sun kissed face, it was obvious that the rain in Spain plainly hadn’t landed on him during his recent tour of that country.


We were to welcome some newly elected members today, although no one seemed to know it. First up was the member for Upper Eastville ( R, Crook) who was soberly attired as befitting a former Chief Accountant to the Treasury. Among his multifarious duties one of his lesser known was disclosed in a ditty I wrote some years ago, which went something like this - Accounts each year are put on view,

To the general public, who

We do invite to come along,

We’re honest as the day is long.

So if you wish to scan a book

Just ring up and ask for — er — Crook.


I took my seat opposite and alongside three other new members. There was K. Mahle who used to represent a part of Downend and is probably now of no fixed abode. Then there was the member for Wells ( G. Howell) and the member for St. Werburghs ( M. Willis) who actually lives in St Werburghs — well, I guess that someone has to.


After orders were taken by the son of one of The Men in Black ( he looked young enough to be ), the starters arrived quite quickly. Our former P.M. (N. Fayers) seemed to have quite a lot on his plate. From a distance it resembled a vegetarian version of an all day breakfast — it would have certainly taken me all day to get through it.            For myself I had called for onion soup and a bread stick since I didn’t see any point in upsetting the French any more than we have done already. Orders for main courses included such delights as Ham and chips, Sausage and mash — and even Fish fingers. It was all not so much Egon Ronay as Egg on Toast!


Soon it was nostalgia time. We remembered among others Iris Selman, all of four foot nothing and how she was plonked on top of a filing cabinet and left there. She has now gone to the office in the sky. Gladys Mann was another mentioned. She had her shopping basket filled with items she didn’t want and as she returned them to the counter someone was filling the basket afresh. She worked for the Fire Brigade and has now gone up in smoke. Suddenly we fell silent, no doubt aware that all those we had spoken about were dead. As the silence continued it seemed that we didn’t seem to know anyone who was alive. A glance over to the opposition benches seemed to bear this out!



Whilst it was ajoy to see so many newly elected members, several regulars were absent. They had probably bought one of George Bush’s road maps and shot straight past the bloody place.


I will have to miss the next lunch club gathering due to being on holiday and if no one tells me of a date beyond August, you’ll probably never see me again — there’s food for thought.



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Minutes of the lunch club held on 15th August 2003,




However, things have not stood still since my June issue. It seems that the member for Whitehurch Green ( A. Parker) visited the red light district around the City Centre and took pictures of bus drivers doing naughty things. After the photographs were taken developments followed. I could go on to say that there was exposure by the local press and that the offending company mounted a negative attitude, but I will spare your groans!

The upshot of all this centered around confusion over a couple of sets of lights — which is about as many as we see down there at Christmastime. Then, in a flash, the City Council gave the green light to a re-vamp of the offending area ( at an undisclosed cost) When next year’s Council tax bill lands on the member’s mat, he may well wonder why he was so public spirited.


Not being able to attend the parliamentary division of College Green in August, I considered that it was high time I paid a visit to Headquarters. So it came to pass that I joined the queue of French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and a couple of English folk for a conducted tour of the Houses of Parliament. I was searched for weapons of mass destruction - —which took 45 minutes and then went on to enjoy 90 minutes of information regarding the corridors of power. The tour ended at the gift shop, of course, which then signposted the way to the new public café. I was surprised to fmd not a dollop of Cherie trifle — not as much as a Blair éclair, so that I had to content myself with a bowl of I.D.S. (Insipid Duck Stew).


In case you didn’t know ( and I didn’t), the original Parliament was held in an old monastery which is why, even to this day, members sit facing one another. When a member enters or leaves the Commons, they bow to the Speaker’s chair, which is where the alter stood all that time ago . If you feel that you should bow to our Speaker! Chancellor of the Exchequer (R, Denning) I feel sure that he’ll feel quite chuffed that someone has noticed him at last! More on10th October.



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 Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 6th February 2004.


As somehow remembered by Bob Matthews.


A record-breaking attendance of 32 included some members unknown to me — or so I thought.

‘You know Brian Broome don’t you’ suggested our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R. Denning)

‘I do’ I responded, looking at the tall chap next to him who could have been Basil Brush. ‘Is this him then?’I enquired. When I peeled away the ravages of time, I could indeed see that it was Brian — or was it Basil.


Benches rapidly filled up and trying to fmd a gap was like looking for an empty cell in an English prison, where the grub may be superior to what we were about to receive — may the Lord help us!


The Chancellor had brought along his wife and I sat next to her whilst he, with Prudence, sat elsewhere. How can I best describe Jane’s starter? Well, at home when I clear up after a party and before washing up, I always try to slide the leftovers on to one plate — get it? — Well she did. On my right I was delighted to see the new member for Nausea Riverway (J. Horseman). She told me that she couldn’t stay long, as she needed to go to hospital. Strange I thought, seeing she hadn’t even eaten her starter — after the starter, I could have understood it!


A debate struck up between two members of the Committee for Women (C. Hayes and M. Whetton). This concerned the merits of a shower over a bath and a bath over a shower. I joined in but soon found myself out of my depth — rather like I do in my bath. The member for Nailsea Central (R. Shaw) was away last time with ear trouble. I went over to him’ How’s your ear now?’ ‘Eh?’ came the response, so I decided to have a word in the ear of Sir Laurence Stevens. This proved a waste of time so I tried the other ear. ‘Have you read my latest minutes?’ ‘I’ve gone deaf he declared. ‘Don’t worry old chap’ I assured him ~When I type up the next lot I’ll press the computer keys down a bit harder’.

Such was the noise level from the crowded room, I found it impossible to have an intelligent conversation with anyone — not that we ever do, but that’s beside the point.


‘If we get many more turn up we’ll have to consider going to Thombury Castle’ I suggested to the Chancellor. ‘Well’ he replied ‘the reason we come here is because it’s central’ So is Baghdad, I thought to myself.


Those unable to fmd a place on the benches were rather cross — if I resorted to being corny, I would label them crossbenchers. They lumped a few tables and chairs in a heap and formed themselves into a sort of Select Committee — although upon closer inspection they didn’t look very select to me. I have to say however that one cross bencher by the name of— er, Cross (Ashton Gate member) looked impressive in his choice of tie. It seemed so pure and wholesome, he could have picked it up in the Vatican gift shop!


The member at the far end of the bench stood with coat on ready to go home. It had taken me over two hours to think of his name — John Harrison. ‘I know you’ he said’ but I can’t recall your name’. ‘Don’t worry about it, Fred’ I rejoined’ it happens to us all’.


The next meeting will be on l6~ April when I will be away. Our Chancellor has offered to take the minutes — none too brilliantly I hope, otherwise I’ll be out of a job!



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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 16th April 2004

Parliamentary division of college Green

As virtually and randomly remembered by the Chancellor


Not quite so many Members this meeting (after the record of 32 last time) but a creditable 20 all~ the same.

One noticeable absentee was Clevedon’s own Poet Laureate (our honorary scribe) but he has promised to organise his holidays around our lunches in future and not leave me with this unenviable task i.e. writing about you miserable lot!


A happy band gathered somewhat slowly (old age perchance?) and it was not until number 20 arrived in the form of the Member for Failand that the first (and only) representative of the Women’s Committee joined us. Spring had definitely arrived but with bad news of a spate of apologies from the other Ladies, Hopefully we will be better proportioned next time.

The far end of the House entertained the aforementioned Member for Failand including such luminaries (no I said luminaries) as the Members for Sea Mills, Salisbury (on a well earned awayday) Wells, Keynsham (Posh). They were joined by the former Paymaster General (now Lord of Elmdale) and one other thought to be the twin brother of the Member for Ashton (who had previously advised me that he wasn’t with us today). Honestly if my wife Mrs Chancellor is reading this I didn’t imbibe that much.


At the rowdy end of the Houses’ sat the usual suspects i.e. the (drinks) Cabinet comforted by bottles of the red stuff. Slowly sinking under the table were the ex PM (leading from the front as ever) supported by the Speaker, Sir Laurence Stevens, the newly appointed Chief Constable and the Members for Mangotsfield, Nailsea, Portishead, Staple Hill and Bradley Stoke. This motley crew welcomed the new Member for bundry our old friend Geoff Gardiner from the City Valuers (well nobody’s perfect).

Lots of reminiscing overcame us (what’s new) brought on by some email correspondence received by the Chief Constable purporting to be from a certain Phil Fox in Vancouver, Canada. If you are reading this Phil - we had great fun trying to remember you. You were in the Cash Office, Income, Accountancy - you were very tall, very short -but I think we nailed you in the end in the Cash Office circa 1968. It will be good to have an honorary Member from foreign parts -perhaps you could be or Ambassador to Canada (as long as we can all come and stay at your place - only kidding).

Other names that came forward included Bob Skinner, Brian Taylor, Reg Buston (still bowling in his 80s), Mick Riley, Roy Hillman and Tommy Grounds to name a few - and dear old Len Tully and his wonderful catchphrases (“stand by your beds” - “how’s morale” -‘lately?”). Wonderful.


Your Chancellor spent a happy hour or two reminiscing about the 2nd World War with the Member for Wells including reference to Major Willis the Member for St Werburghs. It was only afterwards that I remembered that I wasn’t born (show off) until after the war and the Member for wells remembered that he didn’t remember me at all (“who are you again” he queried as he raced for the last bus to that historic outpost).

So don’t leave me to write the minutes again Bob - you can see the trouble I get into.



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Clevedon 7th June 2004


Dear Chancellor,


Thanks for a copy of the April minutes. You will soon find out what a thankless billet it is being Hon. Scribe.With one exception, no one has ever asked to see the minutes, invited me to do them, or ever told me they were a decent read. However, I do recall a member of the Committee for Women, having scanned them, looked at me with a puzzled expression and said ‘Oh, they’re supposed to be funny are they?’


I’m not surprised that you were uncertain about the member for Ashton Gate (D. Cross) being present. He’s pretty slight and as a result I’m never sure if he’s there or not.


Regarding the e-mail from Philip Fox, he was a member of the Income Section. I used to think that he spelt his name ‘Fillip Phocks’ until he corrected me. Before he joined us he had been involved in some sort of mishap which had the effect of rearranging his bone structure. Somewhat unkindly I always referred to him as Floppy Fox (well, I would, wouldn’t I) I’m surprised that the member for Whitchurch Green (A. Parker) didn’t remember all of this. However, now he’s in the Police Dept. he probably doesn’t know his cone from his wafer!


Recently I met up with Julie Horseman.”Sorry I couldn’t make the 6th of May’ she said. ‘Just as well,love’ I replied’ it happened on 16th April’. I’ll phone her about 25th June. Any Friday in June would have suited me except 25th when I shall be working — so you’re lumbered again. I should be

alright for August or September.



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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 22th October 2004.


As scraped together by Bob Matthews.


I caught up with the others huddled around a couple of tables in the lower bar. They looked for all the world like a Regional Assembly. For those of you not up to the minute with Local Government, a Regional Assembly is what no one wants and the Government has recently spent a huge amount of our money getting that confirmed. What we had confirmed was the fact that we could proceed in orderly fashion to the Upper Chamber.


We numbered only 14 and I sat there wondering where all the others were  lucky devils ! Glancing out of the window to the eatery over the road, I noticed an illuminated sign that announced an Oriental Buffet. ‘Eat and have fun’ it suggested. Well, I tried that once and I wouldn’t care to tell you where my Chinese meat balls became lodged!


I was somewhat surprised to find the member for Nailsea Central (R. Shaw) sitting next to me whereas the Minister for Pensions (P. Carey) was some way off. In the good old days the only thing that ever came between those two was the Daily Mirror crossword. I did however notice that we were all sitting in perfect crossword formation i.e. 7 Across and 7 Down. I didn’t have a clue as to what Gwyneth (Committee for Women) did for a living. ‘I’m secretary to M. Shorney’ she explained. ‘What does he do these days’ I ventured to ask. The response came quite quickly ‘Well, he doesn’t actually do anything’ ---So there you are, I’m no wiser as to what Gwyneth does.


Before a sumptuous meal was laid before us, I noticed that the member for Ashton Gate (D. Cross) was taking off his tie. I worried that he was about to go over the road and try eating and having fun. It would be a rotten way to loose a member and heaven knows we could ill afford that on this occasion. The member for Upper Eastville (R. Crook) explained that he doesn’t have many free Fridays, so was pleased to be able to be present. A couple of others looked as though they weren’t


With no serving wench present, the lad who performed the task was quick and efficient and I told him that he gave the best service we’ve experienced. I hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (R. Denning)was in earshot and would consider increasing the normal tip from 5p to 10p as a result. I’m using larger than normal type for these minutes as I know that Sir Laurence Stevens has become somewhat deaf.

To become serious, we were saddened to hear that the member for Greater Thombury (C. Davis) was in hospital having undergone an operation. As far as anyone could remember he had never missed one of these Lunch Club meetings. A card was duly signed by all with a wish for a recovery that would not be too far off.

I moved over to the bar for my coffee and to enjoy one of my few daily cigarettes. I’m thinking about packing in fags and maybe having a go at this fox hunting that everyone is going on about. Whatever, we will be back in our lair on 3rd December.




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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 27th January 2006


 as sketched out by Bob Matthews.


The member for Warmley (Dick West) asked me if I was John Stevens. Seeing that John has long since gone to the big bookmaker in the sky, I wondered if I looked well enough to have left home to attend the lunch. Among those who couldn’t leave home today were G. Howell (Wells); C. Davis (Greater Thornbury) and M. Willis (St. Werburghs). We would like to think that they will be well enough to be with us soon. The least I can do is to mail them a copy of these minutes so that they will know that they haven’t missed a thing!

The member for Bedminster, Elmdale (J. Hughes) was unable to be present as he was having some furniture delivered — about time too — he’s been in that house ages.I was also given to understand that the absentee member for Nausea Central (R, Shaw) drank something non alcoholic and has suffered an adverse reaction.


By now some readers may begin to wonder if anyone turned up at all. Well, I counted forty legs so that we numbered roughly twenty (some rougher than others you understand) Most of us had seen our waiter before. He’s the chap I reckoned had come out of a Hammer horror film. Certainly, the current menu sent shivers down my spine. Although not on a main road, the members dining room bill of fare has the feel of a transport café. I suffered what tasted like lukewarm kidney soup which had probably cooled in transit from Southmead Hospital This was followed by real cool chips, an overcooked egg and surprisingly nice ham. I helped to distribute the coffee as I like to be home for the Six O’clock News.


We had a special guest with us today. He was very clean cut, smartly dressed and with immaculately combed white hair. He looked to me as though he would do well in Environmental Health. Eric Hopkins (to give him his name) left the, then, Bristol Corporation in 1948 at what must have been a very tender age, He couldn’t have retired in 1948 as he would be about 122 now. I know we are all getting old but not that old. Now, I think I’ve got this right — his brother plays golf with the member for Mangotsfield (N. Sage) and it’s nice to think that someone is prepared to do so. Sitting opposite to Eric was Sir Laurence Stevens who was going on about some near blind ,dear old lady who seems to have taken a fancy to him. Eric reckoned that the dear lady’s liking was due to poor eyesight.

After the wonderful repast, The Speaker (J. Thorne) invited me to get up off the back bench and join him for a tranquilliser ( a fag). We overheard Gwyneth declare that she was actively looking for a man. ‘Well, that lets us out then’ I muttered, turning to The Speaker. I choose not to record his response. The member for Downend West (R. Short) was darting here and there with his Sony digital camera. No doubt we will see in the fullness of time what develops (or whatever happens inside these digital things, of which I am blissfully ignorant).


John Uncles, who at one time worked in The Speaker’s office became nostalgic about the office cleaners (the people who knew about things long before we did). He recalled one cleaner asking another where she had been for her holiday. ‘I went to Ibiza last June’ came the reply. ‘Oh’ remarked the questioner’ Italy is lovely at that time of year’. (So it would seem that cleaners didn’t know everything.

I was surprised to see the former member for Whitchurch Green (A. Parker) present. I obviously failed to notice his police car parked on double yellow lines outside. As I was about to leave, his long suffering wife, Pamela appeared - an arresting presence on a fairly dull day. Our Chancellor appeared to be in the disguise of a hoodie since he relieved me of a few quid before I finally made it to the door.

Some may make it on 24th March, the date of the next lunch club, although I know now that it will be one of my work days.



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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 18th January 2008


as stitched together by Bob Matthews.


Upon arrival, I could see that members were being held (probably against their wishes) in the Lower Chamber, among feeders and guzzlers. The combination of wet clothes, hot food and cool beer blended well with the worn out tape. These days those who have never known anything better class the noise as music. However, it may have been raining outside but inside it was pure sunshine as each member is, as always, warmly greeted. I was particularly pleased to welcome Alan Barnes and Philip Hodges


Soon we were on the move to the Upper Chamber where the 25 of us took up positions along either side of one long table. This proved to be not a good layout for mingling, essential for a minute writer. However I managed to sit where there was lighting whereas members down the far end were kept in the dark (a bit like being back at work).


Our returning officer (K. Thomas) told me that he had applied to be a volunteer driver for Age Concern. When Age Concern asked him about his reason, he replied that he was concerned about his age, (aren’t we all). He added that most of the elderly he drives around have families that never bother to do this basic task. A sad reflection upon modern times.


Sir Lawrence Stevens told me that he had just been to see his doctor and had to visit again in six months. I told him that was very good news as the doe obviously thinks his patient will still be around. I think that cheered him up a bit, albeit with some reservation. Down in the gloom someone asked ill knew the member for Warmley (R. West) I picked him out easily in the darkness, looking like an egg without a cup. It was he a while back, who wanted to know if I was John Stevens and I’ve never felt quite the same since.


Returning to my seat, I asked the member for East Harptree (Anne Clarke) if Chew Valley reservoir had overflowed. She said ‘Well dear, I think it might have done as I awoke in the middle of the night and my bed socks felt a bit damp. Our former P.M. (N. Fayers) told me that he had to be away by three. Naturally his meal was the last to be served, although he easily reached his deadline without as much as a dribble on his chin. (I’ll draw a line under the shirt). Another Barbie is being planned for the summer if it isn’t rained off.


It was still raining as I made my way to the Centre, where the one-time flowerbeds and shrubs would have loved it. Looking at the new technology in the bus shelter, I noted that three services were due within the next three minutes. After ~ix minutes none of the busses had turned up whereupon the screen went blank. I glanced across the vast expanse of the City’s focal point, now desolate and always depressing and wondered if it ever rained in Guantanamo Bay. Come rain or shine, the next lunch is scheduled for 14th March — don’t be late.




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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 2nd October 2009.


as served up by Bob Matthews.



It was almost a year to the day that I last entered the Lower Chamber. I was welcomed with such warmth by so many members that I wondered if I owed any of them money. Soon we were staggering up the stairs to the Banqueting Hall with tables laid out in an L shape. The whole place was dimly lit so that none of. us realised how old the rest had aged. Today we numbered 19, so it was a case of quality rather than quantity.


The member for St. Werburghs.( M. Willis) was making his first appearance since he fell downstairs after a glass of red wine. I wondered why he didn’t remain upstairs and pour himself another glass, but I didn’t say so. The member for Nailsea Riverway (Julie Horseman).told me that she worked as a gardener at Tyntesfield. In reality she is probably having a dig around in the hope of finding where Lord Wraxall buried his dosh.



Food started to arrive and the member for Ashton Gate (D. Cross) was confronted with an all day breakfast.. Hopefully he had not eaten breakfast, certainly would not have wanted afternoon tea, an evening meal or supper as he tried to polish off what was laid before hum



Our former P.M. (N Fayers) had been in conversation with Field Marshal Sir Brian Harding down at the far end. Having been granted permission to break ranks, Norman picked up his afterwards and carried it up to sit next to me at the top end — one way of making a dessert go a long way I suppose. On his plate, I recognised two dollops of ice cream and two dollops of whipped cream set amid what looked like a stump of a decaying log. It’s the sort of thing you’d find around Abbots Pool. My mug of coffee arrived, dark enough to have been dredged up from the bottom of The Pool itself}however, a spoonful of milk helped the medicine go down.



I noticed that a member of the Audit Commission ( R Skinner) was sat down, so I took the opportunity of going down the far end for a chat .1 can really only talk to him when he is seated, otherwise I find myself addressing a bunch of whiskers !Across the table, I noticed the shirt that Sir Lawrence Stevens was sporting Of a somewhat unusual design it reminded me of the times I’ve opened a new 1,000 piece jig saw and fippéd the pieces onto a table — it was all there but just need~ a bit of sorting out. Next along was our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R.iki~ning) quietly counting up the money to make sure that our financial state doesn’t end up like Woolies Hopefully we will be open for business again in December.



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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 12th February 2010


as scooped up by Bob Matthews.



Members had already gathered in the Upper Chamber by the time I arrived, so that I was lucky to grab a seat just inside the door, nearest the draught. I glanced down the long table and in the dimly lit room several members appeared merely smudges. Later on, when I ventured to walk down closer to them, I found that they were, in fact grey smudges- ah! The march of time.


I was descended upon by the member for East Harptree (Anne Clarke) who gave me haifa hug. I enjoy meeting those older than myself as it offers a brief feeling of regained youth. After she put me down. I felt focused enough to give in my food order and was surprised at how soon grub appeared Our Returning Officer (K. Thomas) tucked into an all day breakfast, which is not on the menu at his home. It looked perfect and in sharp contrast to the plate put in front of the member for Ashton Gate (D. Cross) As I recall, there was a sad salad, a sandwich of greying bread hiding goodness knows what, along with a quarter bag of crisps that looked as though someone had sat on them.


It was good to sit opposite to the member for Eastville Central (P. Hodges) and to talk about the old Accounts Section staff and speculate as to their present whereabouts. Next to him was a chap making only his second appearance at our gathering. He worked for a while at the Dovercourt Road Depot. Waving a leaflet he said that he was a member of the Catholic Players — well, none of us are perfect, are we.


I encountered Sir Brian Harding who was on a sort of passing out parade — passing out to the Gents I presume. Seeing he had to squeeze between the back of my chair and the wail, I would imagine that his visit became all the more urgent. A few others who also seemed to be walking quicker than usual followed him

— it must be something in the gravy!


For the most part, members seem to have escaped the expenses scandal although a member of the Audit Commission (R.Skinner) is being investigated by staff of his own lot over a claim of five quid for whisker clipping, which, on the face of it, appears not to have taken place


We numbered 25 today and it was a scramble to pay our dues to our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R. Denning). I always find that the best way to attract his attention is to wave a ten-pound note in front of him. I wandered down to the glorious City Centre with our Chief Accountant (M Shorney) who told me of his forthcoming trip to New Zealand. I said that I hadn’t been but I did eat Anchor Butter. It’s difficult to impress Male isn’t it? As I sat waiting for the bus I began to understand how some people suffer from bouts of depression. A black, ugly building has sprung up called Coiston Tower and reminds me. of a stack of wire trays we used to use at work. I remember one chap who was a cricket enthusiast, who not only had an IN tray and an OUT tray but one labelled L.B.W. (Let the buggers wait)


You’ll have to wait until 23rd April for the next Lunch Club meeting, after which I will do my best to remember what the hell happened when I sit down to write up the minutes — now in their ninth year of production. Meanwhile, try to keep a smile on your face — it will make others wonder what you’ve been up to.



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Minutes of the Lunch Club held on 4th February 2011


As dredged up by Bob Matthews


Upon arrival in the Lower Chamber, members were doing what they do best. However, once their glasses were empty I joined the trek up to the dining room. There were two empty seats next to the member for Nausea Central (R Shaw) which was hardly a surprise. I enquired after his long suffering wife, Victoria “She’s getting grumpier by the day” he replied. “She goes upstairs with her fags to watch TV”. Being married to Roy, again that was hardly a surprise. Moving to the adjoining vacant seat, John Burns and I recalled our caravanning days at Walton Bay and the hike along the coast road from Red cliffe Bay. The Minister for Pensions (P Carey) is nearing retirement and is looking for ways to stay on. I think that the high altitude at Failand must affect the brain.

Now, you can’t write minutes without a mingle, so I made my way down along the room to have a word with the member for Keynsham North (J Mead) He was sporting a sweatshirt emblazoned with SUPER — Something which I couldn’t quite see, but I am sure that it wasn’t ‘Superannuation’. Sir Lawrence Stevens was barely visibly with his turtle neck (this refers to his woolly, not part of his anatomy). “I hope you are not going to write anything rude about me” he warned, so I moved on. Looking out of the window at the far end, I noticed that the eating house opposite had changed hands into something ca!led ‘Exposure’. It looks too sinister to be a camera shop — probably something more indecent.

The member for Mangotsfield (N Sage) retired on the,day as myself. He reminded me how long ago that was, so I moved quickly on. Our Returning Officer (K Thomas) who, when in office,certainly knew his Bishopston from his Bishopsworth, wasn’t sporting a tie which was probably due to the fact that it was in the wash. On the other hand, our representative from the Audit Commission (R Powell) looked as though he had just stepped out of a Harvey Nicholls window.


I have to say that the quality of the food seems to have improved. The member for Downend West (R Short) was faced with an all day breakfast although most of us didn’t order that as we wanted to be home by 6.00 pm. Service was friendly and efficient. The lady who served us wore a shirt bearing the name of the establishment and printed underneath was No 28. Looking at her close up I think they missed the T off the end of No. We paid our dues to the Chancellor of the Exchequer .(R Denning) and was told that the next meeting was to be held on1st April 2011 — All Fool’s Day!!

I made a note in my diary to try to look intelligent.


I was saddened to read a while ago of the passing of Roy Crook. On the one occasion that he reprimanded me he did it in such a dignified manner that I almost felt it was a compliment. I shall miss him, he was a friend and a gentleman.



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As served up by Bob Matthews


The member for Nailsea Riverway (Julie Horseman) happened to be on the Park and Ride which I caught. She usually works at Tyntesfield on a Friday, so I presume that all the plastering has been completed. As we entered the Lower Chamber, I wondered if the alternative vote was being discussed although I rather think not. In any case, before long we had no alternative other than to climb the stairs once again.


I chose a seat half way down the table and sat alongside our former Clerk to the Council (D Lewis) who had chosen a seat half way up. Our young female waitress, who collected the orders and dished them up, manipulated the long table with the efficiency of a Mini Cooper. MV fish, chips and mushy peas were served up along with the pot of tartare sauce and a slice of lemon, more than you get in many pubs.


Our Minister of Pensions (P Carey) who had looked at ways to continue working beyond retirement age, actually retired last Tuesday. I feel that he must have replaced the heavy atmosphere of Failand for a stroll along Clevedon beach which cleared his mind. I wish him well in his old age.


The member of the Audit Commission (R Powell) looked well turned out in his shirt and tie, but not quite as smart as he did at our last lunch — a bit less Harvey Nicholls and a bit more Debenham’s I thought. I wandered down the room and sat opposite Sir Brian Harding of the First Staple Hill Lancers. He looked as though he had just fallen off his horse. I said to his wife “Brian used to have what I called, a dominant voice” “He still has” she replied, with rather more authority than I thought seemly. Our Returning Officer (K Thomas) was obviously going to tell his wife that he enjoyed his usual sandwich which looked like a taboo All Day Breakfast.


It was a joy to see Maggie and Carol on one of their rare visits. I told Carol that we had known each other for more than half a century. That’s over 50 years I added ( I was always good at Maths at school) It caused me to wonder how many people could say that, if indeed, such gatherings take place these days when computers have replaced the art of conversation and association.


Soon it was time to pay our dues and march down to the Centre, which I have previously described as having the charm of a North Korean Parade Ground — a phrase that has been published twice in letters that I have written to the Evening Post (so there!!!)


However, I now see that three raised beds have appeared filled with healthy looking shrubs and red tulips all in flower, so someone on the Council must read the Evening Post.


We will muster again on 27th May.



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Minutes of the Lunch Clubheld on 27th May 2011

As served up by Bob Matthews.



I thought I had opposition as I entered the Lower Chamber. Copies of ‘Hatchet Times’ starred at me from a mounted stand. The publication invites us to sessions on lndie, Grunge, Hip-hop along with Alternative. No, they’re not medical conditions but what passes for entertainment these days. If that isn’t enough, official Hatchet T shirts are now on sale. They probably sport an all day breakfast on the front side and a guide to the toilets on the back side!


Now, on to loftier things — the Upper Chamber. Our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R. Denning) was expecting 25 today whereas 29 turned up. Poor Richard looked as though he had Ipst his deposit. However, the management came up with an extra table and four chairs so that he was able to hold his seat after all.


With 29 entries our grub didn’t turn up until five to two, which along with myself, the member for Keynsham North (J. Mead) probably thought was pretty poor odds. (this remark refers to our lunch hours spent in the betting office) Soon it was time towander down the long table (even longer today). Sir Brian Harding of the 1~. Staple Hill Lancers thanked me for his knighthood. He looked more relaxed today, having left her ladyship at home.


The warmest greeting came from Sir Lawrence Stevens. I’m not going to record what he said, but I was touched I used to have a desk writing set at work. Over time the pens ran out along with the note pad so that only the cardboard backing was left. Returning from lunch on almost my last day, someone had written ‘Ring L. Stevens — Housing’. I’ve no idea why such a trivial thing should linger in my mind when I would have difficulty in recalling what happened last Friday.


I didn’t have chance to speak to our Minister for Sport (D Bellamy) who was sporting his Barrack Obama haircut. He’d flown off before I could get to him. Partly the delay was caused by the member for East Harptree (A, Clarke). Having given her half a cuddle, I received a big kiss, which I thought was a pretty good return in these days of austerity. Before leaving I did talk to the other half of our former Minister for Pensions — now merely the Member for Failand (P Carey).” He’s obsessed with the computer “she declared “Looks at it as soon as he gets Out of bed” she added. Presumably he views the thing in his pyjamas which is a funny place to keep it, but I didn’t like to say so.


We will be viewing the inside of the Chamber next on 15th July 2011. Even if it is hot weather it’s best not to wear pyjamas, Pete.



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As salvaged by Bob Matthews


To be a minute writer it is advisable to be at the venue. As I sat on the bus crawling aIong Hotwell Road, I began to have doubts. Through Anchor Road it was far worse. Two elderly ladies got off and overtook the bus before sight of the Centre. Things were not going well….

As I climbed the stairs to the Upper Chamber it was close to 1.30 pm. A few cheers and jeers greeted my arrival “Sorry I’m late, the traffic is clogged “I pleaded. “It’s the marching soldiers “someone explained. “Marching soldiers?” I growled “Marching from where?” “Afghanistan” I was informed. I considered that to be quite a hike, surely someone in command could have laid on a bus from Camp Bastion — although if it was anything like the bus I’d been on it would still be in Afghanistan.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer (R Denning) showed me to my seat. Now, I try not to come between husband and wife but found myself with Mr Carey on my left and Mrs Carey on my right and a pleasurable experience it turned out to be. Two people with contrasting interests which seemed to work out well.


I put in a late food order and then went up to have a word with the Member for East Harptree (Anne Clarke) who was polishing off an early feed as she had an appointment. I received not one, as last time, but two kisses, so I look forward to the October meeting. As I tucked into my grub I looked across to Mary Lewis (as was, and still is to me) “I think you wore that dress last time” I ventured. “I didn’t” she responded coolly “It’s new”. How on earth I thought I could recall what people wore seven weeks ago, when I can’t remember who some of them are I really don’t know.


I gobbled up and wandered down to the far end of the room for a bit of solace from my old friend Sir Laurence Stevens “You spelt my name wrongly “he barked “It’s a u and not a w” “Did I? “ I murmured “I’m so …. “ He barked again “a w is used in a surname” I limped back to my seat in time to grab a coffee which served to remind me that 1 needed to buy a tin of dark stain varnish on the way home. 0, where is the milk of human kindness these days?


I apologised to our former PM (N Fayers) for not being able to attend his BBQ which once again falls on the second day of my main holiday. It’s a pity as I do enjoy a buttie packed with bacon (smoked, of course)

Soon it was time to wander down Denmark Street to the North Korean Parade Ground which today lived up to its name with an army lorry and a tank on display. However, there wasn’t a soldier, marching or otherwise, in sight — and neither was my bus home !!

We will be on parade again on 7th October, the British Army permitting.




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With not a soldier in sight, I was able to march into the Lower Chamber in time for someone to offer to buy me a drink. The Upper Chamber when all 32 of us managed to find a seat, looked rather like the Commons on Budget Day. I am beginning to think that we could do with a Speaker (whatever happened to the one we had). I was amused to read a leaflet from our caterers with the news that their famous Sunday Roasts are now available to take away (Sundays only). Whilst I have to agree that Monday Roast does not have the same ring to it, If taken home and warmed up the following day, what would you have? — possibly a congealed mess.


I asked the member for Nailsea Riverway (Julie Horseman) what her job title was at Tyntesfield “Gardener” she responded. Since she was not doing that today, I can only assume that someone had pruned her hours. Looking up the length of the table through the gloom, I spotted someone whom I seemed to recall in adverts for Werther’s Mints. Beyond that, the head of the member for Eastville Central (P Hodges) shone like a beacon and I travelled up to congratulate him on his haircut. I gave our Chief Accountant (M Shorney) a pat on the head and told him he was losing his hair to which he responded in similar fashion. I told him not to worry about it and added “You have never seen a bald headed donkey, have you?” He seemed reassured by that fact.


How our waitress was able to record 32 meals and serve them amid the constant chatter deserves a mention. I sat opposite our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R Denning) alongside whom was Sir Brian Harding of the 1st Staple Hill Lancers. Half of me concentrated on gripping my wallet whilst I tried to look a trifle regimental. Our final meeting for the year will be on ~ December 2011. Although I do have someone to run most of the exams for me these days, I do need to be present on the afternoon of the final day, which unfortunately is on 9th December. So you can relax.




FOOTNOTE It was as recent as February that Roy Shaw featured in the Minutes. I used to encounter Roy in a Supermarket in Nailsea ‘What the ‘ell are you doing here?’ he would demand in his usual gruff fashion. I feel sure that if he had said ‘Hello Bob, nice to see you’ I would have dropped my wire basket. A character indeed, and we will miss him greatly.



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Getting to the Upper Chamber was a bit of an assault course. There were chairs forming a barricade around a chap doing a bit of decorating. ‘What are you up to, then?’ I enquired. ‘Just putting on a second coat’ he responded. ‘I don’t blame you, it’s really cold today’ 1 replied. The speed with which he cleared a way through indicated I’d best be out of there and up the stairs in pretty quick time.


The Chamber was rather crowded so that tables and chairs had been spread somewhat liberally. I

laboured to make a conservative estimate of 27 which turned out to be false, on a recount it was 31.


Our Returning Officer (K.Thomas) wasn’t too sure as to his title, which surprised me, since his wine glass was quite full. The member for Failand (P Carey) had, according to his wife, been on a few holidays with her and so discovered that life existed beyond Failand. Actually, I didn’t know that life existed in Failand.


Members were asked to sign a Get Well card for the member for Mangotsfield (N. Sage) now out of hospital and recovering slowly at home. I think that ‘slow’ is about the only thing you can do in Mangotsfield, and of course we wish him a quick return to the Chamber.


Sir Laurence Stevens managed a trip up from the bottom table to almost the top. He was worried about his radio controlled watch, which seems to be constantly two minutes adrift. Personally, I reckon it’s a television controlled watch, as nothing ever happens on time on the box.


An article in a recent Evening Post concerned the City’s oldest pub. It seems that in its early days, the Hatchet was the venue for bare knuckle fighting. Nowadays the only time that would happen, is if our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R. Denning) offered to buy a free drink to the first six members to reach the bar. Nothing much changes, does it II


We hope to be all in the ring again on 20th April — I just hope that painter isn’t still around ! I



Although never members of the Lunch Club, some may recall David Ettery who worked with me in the Income Section, and Bob Peters who was in the Local Taxation Office at one time and ended up in the Computer Unit. Both are sadly no longer with us.


Bob and I were also involved in the Amateur Stage. I was asked if I could help out one Saturday afternoon by painting some scenery. When I reached the workshop, there was Bob on his hands and knees furiously painting some scenery. ‘How many of us will there be today?’ I asked. ‘Now that you’ve arrived, we’re all here’ he responded, without even looking up!




My first set of minutes is dated Feb 2002 so this is the start of year 11 – Bob Matthews




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Parliamentary division of College Green as scrapped together by Bob Matthews


After several miserable months, I managed to return to the Lunch Club. I timed things just right on entering the Lower Chamber, as the member for Ashton Gate

 ( D.Cross) bought me a tonic water— my choice, not his!


I had been to lunch at Cheddar the previous day, and wondered if Roy Pike was still around. The member for Failand (P.Carey) told me that Roy had died last year aged 92. Mary Lewis (as she was then) mentioned the lifts we used to get home by Roy. His car had a bench seat In the front and the gear change on the steering wheel which, I thought, lead to impetuous driving. On one occasion, I recall, Roy almost missed Mary’s drop off point. He pulled up so abruptly that I looked behind and all 1 could see was a hand and half an arm — the rest was on the floor! The following day Mary said to me,’ When you go In Roy’s car you certainly feel that you have been somewhere’


Soon it was time to climb to the Upper Chamber, all 25 of us. I sat opposite Marion Bennett who had swapped chairs to ease her back. She reminded me of the evening when I had invited 3 from A.B.C.U. to my home in Fishponds and Marion spent the entire time flat out on the lounge carpet, where I duly served her supper.


Not being that mobile, I didn’t do the rounds, so that these minutes are not the norm. My chair was in direct line to part of the kitchen where 3 of the staff were buzzing around like demented flies. Not one of them wore the usual kitchen attire and I was not impressed by what I saw. Pre-ordering seemed to have no effect upon our wait for food, in fact, it seemed a bit later than usual arriving.


I sat alongside the member for Nailsea Riversway (Julie Horseman) whom I first knew before she met her husband-to-be. Later as we walked down Denmark Street I was horrified to find that the good old ‘Bunch of Grapes’ had turned into something called ‘Smoke and Mirrors’. It looked like a sleazy night club. So, yet another bit of old Bristol has bitten the dust.


However a few things never change so that the Hatchet will still be the venue for our next meeting on Friday 27th September.



P.S. My thanks to those who added their name to my ‘Get Well Card’ — I always do as I am told and am now on the way to what passes for normal.


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I managed to crawl up from the Centre with the aid of my stick. Not being sure what my legs would do, I use the walker as I am not certain what support I have got - a bit like Mr. Millipede and his Labour Party or any of our political parties at present. I grabbed my glass of blood (tomato juice) and found a welcome seat. The Lower Chamber was quite full but I did manage to see a tall chap who seemed to have his mouth half open most of the time. A small lady sat up in a corner and a chap who would have profited from being at a barber’s shop rather than here. All my old mates, I guess I just wish I knew who they were!


Service in the Upper Chamber was excellent today. The two attractive young servers seemed highly organised. The member for Ashton Gate (D Cross) seemed intent on getting rid of most of his all day breakfast unto others, leaving himself with a fried egg on fried bread, and two chips.


Due to unforeseen circumstances, our Chancellor of the Exchequer (R Denning) was absent and our former P.M. (N. Fayers) was left to collect today’s offerings. ‘I’m a hundred pounds short’ he exclaimed, whereupon I proffered my ten quid, clutched my wallet and left. Down on the Centre which I nickname the North Korean Parade Ground, it really did seem to sound just like it. A group of drummers were banging out a noise which couldn’t possibly be described as music. It was the same sound all the time. I’ve never been so pleased to see my bus turn up on time.


Our December meeting appears to be on 13th of that month but it wasn’t fixed by the time I left. NB. The majority voted for 6th December 2013.

FOOTNOTE. It has been suggested that previous minutes should be gathered to form a booklet. Started in 2002 it would be rather a bulky bundle. However I have extracted the first 4 set of minutes. If anyone would like a copy my address is; Hardwick House, 58A Dial Hill Road, Clevedon BS21 7EL


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