24 June 2012
The 2012 Summer Barbeque was hosted by the President, Andy Moule, on Saturday 23rd June 2012 in the Rose Garden of King Charles 1 School.
For several weeks prior to the date, pessimistic Old Carolians had forecast a change in our fortunes. Previous barbeques had always been sunny occasions in almost balmy evening weather conditions but this year, with our summer becoming an absolute disaster and the worst for decades, members wondered if our luck had run out. As the news from The Isle of Wight Pop Festival spread across the news media and as the queues of cars negotiated acres of Somme style mud at the Festival site, it was natural to wonder if designer wellies would have to be the order of the day. There would not be any hikers' tents floating on carpets of deep slime but we were outside in the Rose Garden and it would not be an easy exercise to accommodate all the guests in the nearby Science Building . Who wants a barbeque indoors anyway?
In the event, the weather was as kind as we could have expected, and although rather cool, at least we did not get a soaking. The atmosphere was very congenial and humorous with Peter Picken's large marquee accommodating all the diners. The heavens did not open until all of us were safely home again.
It was Peter Picken in fact who worked heroically before the event to organise the Barbeque without Martin Humphries. As many Carolians will know, Martin is unwell in hospital at the present time and he was in everyone's thoughts during the evening. As Principal Chef, Peter was aided in the culinary arts this year by eager volunteers Dave Laverty and Pete's nephew Jeremy Davis. All worked resolutely to produce a feast fit for a king, with the addition of superb salads and sweets provided by Committee Members, their wives and families. In this context, we must also include our Honorary Secretary, Colin Lloyd, who brought his expertise to the fore before and during the evening, together with Martin Hobson who sourced all the meat from his special connections in the wilds of Blakedown. Unfortunately the organist for the past few years, Tony Pearson, was unavailable and so we relied on a hi fi, loudspeakers and the Picken / Lloyd collection of oldies and goldies.
Another problem successfully overcome was the lack of a bar as our celebrated source of all things alcoholic, Ken Garbett, had been head hunted to help at the Carnival. However, an appeal to the Dunkirk spirit of those attending to bring their own drinks, proved very successful and is likely to be repeated next year.
A very special and delicious addition to the drinks menu was also provided by a small and extremely talented group of Sixth Form entrepreneurs from the school. They are involved in a student run Social Enterprise called Cattleya which is a registered company and only the second of its kind in Britain. They offered a range of alcohol free beverages such as cocktails and fruit smoothies brought from ethical sources in Colombia. The exotic fruit sector in that country has huge potential to replace coca cultivation as an alternative and sustainable rural economy. Hopefully, these enterprising young people will be visiting South America in the near future. Speaking from personal experience, I dragged myself away from the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to taste a range of the cocktails - they were truthfully absolutely wonderful. Please look up Cattleya on the internet and give them some support.
At the end of the evening, the raffle raised the princely sum of £80. A notable highlight of the proceedings, was Senior Vice President Ann Mullard's choice of some sticks of rhubarb as a raffle prize rather than a bottle of wine. Leadership of the Old Carolians' Association obviously brings with it some distinctive gestures of self- sacrifice and generosity. The proceedings ended therefore on a high note and the dedicated efforts of several stalwarts had helped to make the festivities, memorable as usual.
OCA's Home Affairs Correspondent: "Captain" Peter Vaughan