December 2013 & January 2014

KIRTON AND FALKENHAM W.I

Next Meeting - February 13th 2014
Speaker – Mary Moore
Subject – Forty Years at the Forge
Competition – A piece of decorative metal work

DECEMBER AND JANUARY REPORT

The theme for our December meeting was Christmas Fun and the afternoon was organised by Edna and Wendy who had previously arranged our whole itinery for 2013. There was no speaker but instead we played games such as pass the parcel in which small presents were included in each layer that was unwrapped. We also tried to identify various world-wide landmarks in a picture quiz. Delicious food was provided by Hilary Twomey and Pauline Topple and a good time was had by all.

Now we are into January 2014 and are looking forward to the New Year. A number of us are having lunch at the Orwell Hotel on January 30th. We are also going to join two Ipswich guided walks; let’s hope the weather stays fine. The Suffolk East Federation is planning a couple of holidays: one to the Loire Valley in July and one in the Lake District in October. These are always very well organised by Jill Denny, a leading light in the Ipswich Office.

Our speaker at the January meeting was Mrs Pauline Taylor who came to tell us about the Past and Present of Galloway Coaches. The idea from her point of view was obviously to fill us with enough enthusiasm to go on one of their many holidays. The firm certainly has a mouth-watering programme ranging from excursions to New Zealand, the Canadian Rockies and a musical tour of the Deep South to day trips to concerts starring people such as Rod Stewart, The Eagles, Elton John and the Arctic Monkeys.

Like many businesses Galloways started in a very small way in 1965 with just three coaches for local and private hire. In 1978 they took over another firm and established premises on the outskirts of Mendlesham. By now they had over fifty vehicles. At that time they concentrated on tours and educational school trips. After a while they decided that the general public might be interested in the sort of thing they were doing for schools and so expanded that side of the business. At present they have 150 staff with branches in Felixstowe, Colchester, Ipswich and Stowmarket.

My own experience of coach travel has been varied. One disadvantage is that on a long stretch you cannot get up and walk around as you would on a train and you are at the mercy of road conditions. Also it seems almost impossible to get the temperature right inside the coach: it’s either too hot or too cold. Being picked up from home, as Galloways do, is a great advantage and is helpful to people travelling alone. An entertaining guide or driver is also a great asset. Frequent comfort stops are essential as the on-board toilet is a bit of a mixed blessing. I remember on one journey, when we were travelling smoothly and steadily up the M4, thinking that, yes, now was the time to spend a penny, only to have the driver turn off at Swindon and start negotiating a whole series of roundabouts!
V E Bines