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 UKARA    SPRING SOCIAL 

2020
The meeting was due to be held in Cardiff on Saturday 25th April
but had to be cancelled due to the Corona Virus.

2019

Report on the UKARA Spring Meeting

26 April, 2019 at Shoreham Yacht Club.

The weekend started well for Richard and I, as we settled in to our hotel, a mere ten minutes drive from the Yacht Club.  I know the Welsh contingent were in a hotel in the opposite direction – about 20 minutes away.

I have to be honest and say that we had a good dinner and then retired, after a longish day.

On Friday morning, following a good breakfast we set off and found the yacht club easily.  Having managed to get as far as the room we had been given, without the crate in which the tape recorders were, falling to pieces, we were greeted by Keith and Gwen and the Welsh contingent.  The crate did then fall apart.

Shortly we were joined by Steve B-W and Dan, also Paul and Margaret Reeve.

Keith and Ken wrestled with the technicalities of the kit, whilst Gwen issued coffee, tea and biscuits.

The morning was refreshing in its laid back lack of timing and rush.  Keith introduced the programme and then Peta gave details so far about the Autumn meeting and AGM – see later.

We then had a selection of ‘old’ recordings and some comparison recordings from more recent times.  Keith showed his expertise in editing with a piece he had made for Soundtrack many years ago.  Ken had brought a recording of the Cardiff Military Tattoo. 

Richard gave a potted history of how Hospital Radio in Oxford had changed, including references to the portable tape recorders brought in the now deceased crate.

After more coffee, Peter showed a video of how the recording of the Military tattoo had been made.  It makes you remember how hard these things were before the advent of transistorised and digital recording gear.  It is a good thing we were all younger and able to carry the kit up many sets of stairs.

Shortly we set off for Shoreham Airport, where we were told a little of the history of the airport and then expertly guided on a tour of one of the hangars.  Here we were fortunate to meet the owner of a Chipmunk who was only too happy to talk to us about it.  We also had to wait whilst a small helicopter took off because there was no way we could have been heard otherwise.

Back to the ‘terminal building’ which is frequently used as a film set, having been unchanged since it was built in a wonderful Art Deco style.  Inside, it was the same too and very elegant.  A brief encounter with Ken Alwyn – now in his 90’s, who we all remember from Friday night is Music Night -was an added bonus.

A quick look at the fire station and it was back to the Yacht Club for a splendid lunch.  A super array of sandwiches, chips, samosas, fish things and chicken bits, dips and other oddments.  There was plenty, we all ate our fill and then took some away.  The table looked as if it hadn’t been touched.

Back to our meeting and we viewed a couple of videos from Cardiff and a recent recording of a swing band by Richard.

Thanks to Keith and Gwen for looking after us.  It was a very enjoyable day, more relaxed than some of our other events and really enjoyable for that.

Peta

2018

A report of the 2018 Spring Meeting

Saturday April 14th

SEVERN VALLEY RAILWAY ENGINE HOUSE AND EDUCATION CENTRE

Station Road, Highley  WV16 6NZ

The meeting was held at the museum of the Severn Valley Railway.   Thanks are due to Mike Dickins, who, living nearer than the rest of us, undertook to sort out the details and make sure we were getting what we needed.  It was pleasing to see that Tony Faulkner was able to join us.
We started, as was customary, with coffee, served in the meeting room of the ‘Engine Shed’.  This was never in fact an engine shed, it was purpose built to house an interesting collection of steam locomotives and memorabilia, plus a cafe, shop and aforementioned meeting room.   First item of the meeting proper was a talk from Malcolm, one of the volunteer guides, on the history of the Severn Valley Railway, and an explanation of how it now operated as a charitable trust, with a few paid staff and a lot of volunteers. 
Following the talk we split into three groups, so that we could visit the ‘King’s Carriage’, a coach which was designed as part of a royal train for King George 6 and the Queen, as they toured the country during the second world war.  Once again Malcolm was our guide, so he had to repeat his talk three times.  We could understand why this was necessary, as the coach had little space for moving about,  and we had to progress from room to room in single file.
Next was lunch.  This was a do-it-yourself affair, most people opted for the cafe (there were no other food outlets for miles) and fortunately the food proved to be highly satisfactory.
After lunch we reassembled in the meeting room, and had a minute’s silence in memory of Mike Thompson, followed by a tribute to him put together by Peter Jones from You Tube material and Ken’s photographs from past meetings.   Peter also updated us on the financial position – we are still solvent  - and then we discussed the content of the next meeting (details elsewhere) which Peta has arranged.
The rest of the afternoon was occupied by playback of various items contributed by members.  David Holland offered three items, the first of which was a visit to HTV studios in Cardiff in May 1991.  This brought forth many comments on the lines of “there’s a young .......” and “I had hair then”
Mike Dickins had a fascinating recording in which he discussed, with a wildlife expert, a Victorian book which attempted  to represent bird calls in print.  This caused some hilarity as the written descriptions were compared with actual bird recordings.
Stewart Smith had made several recordings in Bolton Abbey, a very ‘live’ acoustic, and we were able to compare recordings including a choir and a guitar duo and see on the accompanying photographs where the microphones were placed.  We discussed the merits of using a mid/side configuration to give some control over the stereo spread at the post-production stage.
David’s other items were his recording of part of Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Four Scottish Dances’ and a short film of a visit to the war cemetery at Dozinghem, where his Grandfather James William Holland was buried.
In the course of the afternoon we had drinks and muffins to prepare us for the ardours of the trip home (except the six of us who were staying overnight in Telford – we had the tea and muffins anyway, then went out for a meal).
 
Richard Simmons
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