Southampton April Newsletter

Southampton April Newsletter

Quiz Night Report

Once again, more than 60 people wracked their brains for a good cause. Amongst us there were JOKERS a plenty, including me, who once again was not asked the right questions, the ones I know the answers to. I always feel a bit out of place at quizzes, and feel like apologizing  to the other members of my team for being of little help. At least no one can accuse me of being a Nerd or an Egghead. Nevertheless the evening was a good test of general knowledge and we owe a huge thanks to David Pitter and his helpers Ralph and Annie. We had to leave before the end of the Quiz Night, as it got late due to no fault of David, we had a long drive home and an early start the next morning, and for that I apologize. Eileen still belongs to the hard-pressed, time poor modern British workforce. So we missed the prize-giving. The winning team each  got a bottle of wine, but the real winner of the night was Southampton Hospital's Charity Trust who receives the money raised during this event.

Sad News

Long serving Member of Portsmouth Skal and later also a member of Brighton Skal, Donald Clarke  has died. He passed away a year after his wife Florence died. Eileen and I first met Don and Flo some 30 years ago at Skal International Portsmouth. At that time Don was Director of Tourism and Entertainments at Portsmouth City Council. There he can be credited with bringing revenue for the City by attracting Conferences to the town. It was through his efforts that the D-Day Museum now houses the D-Day Tapestry, it was him who promoted Portsmouth in France taking British Bobbies over there with him who patrolled the Cherbourg Streets together with their French colleagues. Don was a member for some 40 years, he never took Office but made a very great contribution to Skal affairs in many ways. With Don's passing we are once again reminded that Life has an expiry date.


BREXIT has become more of a reality, it has now been launched in earnest with the Article 50 letter to Brussels. Our Industry was quick to voice it's concern regarding EU workers in the UK, which is at the moment estimated at 60.000 in the Hotel and Catering Sector alone. In case that they are no longer available freely in the future will leave gaps that are almost impossible to fill. Apart from that standards will fall  as alternative qualified British staff will be few and far between, too expensive for middle class businesses and will be moving on after they have been trained to a better paid job.

I had to work for 25 years in those conditions where we suffered a constant shortage of experienced staff, and I was not alone, within the UK's Hotel and Catering Industry we had 50.000 vacancies at any one time during the 1980/90th. The situation changed for the better when Eastern European Countries joined the EU bringing a flood of trained staff to our shores. What our industry is facing now is likely to be an echo of what Managers like me had to live with for most of my career. We might have to turn back the clock some 20 years and go back to applying for work permits, having to prove that we were unable to find British staff, in our desperation we will rather lose a customer than a member of staff, even if that member of staff was complained about by a customer. Needless to say, that I am pleased that I am retired now and out of that.

Our body clock still has a problem with the change to Summer Time. I wake up either too early or too late.

I like to share with you a little luck story that came my way in the form of two free tickets for flights to Munich by BRITISH MIDLAND REGIONAL Ltd or bmi, from Southampton.

Bmi contacted me by e-mail to tell me about a treasure hunt they had organised in three cities with dates and times. The city and the venue was in code and once you had the identified the right place it was relatively easy to find the clues which were in the form of little plastic toy bmi plane hidden nearby. It took me two minutes to find one and that earned me two return flights to Munich. I know the City well enough having been there with Skal, attending a World Congress there in the 1990s. I always wanted to go back and attend an October Beer Fest there and now is my chance.


Our Club is celebrating Skal International Day in the form of an Asian Dinner also in connection with this year's International Skal Congress which will be held in Hyderabad – India from the 5th to the 9th of October 2017. Our function will be held at THE BASMATI RESTAURANT on Wednesday the 26th of April at 7.00pm. You will find this Basmati Nepalese and Indian Restaurant at 4. Bedford Place, Southampton, SO15 2DB. The booking form with details has gone out a month ago and I am pleased to see that most of you have already booked. As a reminder I quote again on what is on offer: Join us for a tasting of Nepalese culinary delight in this bijoux Restaurant. It will be Buffet Style delivered to your table. The menu includes Starters, Side Dishes, Mains and Dessert. The cost per person is just £15.00. To book please contact Brian Chambers on

It is in the month of MAY when we always hold our Annual SKITTLES Competition. This event is always well attended and guarantees a fun night out.

John Bright, the man in charge on the night has once again booked us into the SOUTHWICK PARK GOLF CLUB for a night to remember. The date is Tuesday the 9th of May, 7.00pm for the competition to start at 7.30pm. We shall have two teams, men against the ladies, plus a knock-out contest afterwards. There will be a break when we shall have a supper consisting of one course. The cost for the evening is £12.50. Which is the same we paid last year. Menu choice and directions on the booking form. Please book with John Bright no later than the 1st of May. There will be a prize for the highest scorer and many more prizes at the compulsory Raffle. Please be so kind and remember to bring a Raffle Prize!

We now have the full year Diary of events available and I will try to attach this to the Newsletter. The one important date to reserve for now is my President's Dinner Dance which will be held once more at the Marwell Hotel, on Saturday the 4th of November. As we are featuring this function as a joint 3-way event with Oxford and Brighton, we are expecting a good turn-out. We only hold such an event every other year, so if you miss this one you will have to wait until 2019, and by then we shall be well and truly outside the EU and Lord knows if I am still be allowed to reside in this country.

With this thought in mind I sign out as your newsmonger.