Probus clubs get together for lunch

Dr Janet Pennington sitting centre with lady Probus members. Picture by Stacey Mitchell at The Roundabout Hotel SUS-160908-125925001
Dr Janet Pennington sitting centre with lady Probus members. Picture by Stacey Mitchell at The Roundabout Hotel SUS-160908-125925001

‘How to make friends and influence people’ has been the Fryern Ladies’ Probus Club motto over the past month as we, barely two and a half years old, have been inundated with invitations and support from other Probus groups; which we greatly appreciate

One particularly welcome return invitation to lunch, from Felpham Ladies’ Probus to our committee, was most enjoyable as it is always interesting to meet like-minded people, to compare running notes and most importantly to make new friends.

Felpham Ladies Probus committee - picture by Margaret Castledine SUS-160908-125914001

Felpham Ladies Probus committee - picture by Margaret Castledine SUS-160908-125914001

Needless to say the ambiance, at The Beachcroft Hotel, was light and welcoming and the meal was so delicious that we all needed a brisk walk, along the seafront afterwards, to burn off the excess calories!

We intend to include this excellent social occasion in our own future planning and to invite the committees from other Ladies’ Probus groups from around the county.

We particularly enjoyed the committee photo, sent to us by the Felpham Ladies’ Probus, and we certainly won’t forget them or their hospitality in a hurry - cheers.

Now whilst there are over 140 Ladies’ Probus groups in the UK there is a predominance of male Probus clubs – especially in our area - and it is with pleasure that we receive regular communication and support from them.

We shall therefore look forward to meeting some of their reps on October 18 when we shall share views and goals; and are indeed grateful for the invitation and opportunity to meet with them – thank you.

Speakers are the mainstay of the majority of Probus meetings and we are fortunate to be booked until the end of December next year.

Our most recent speaker was the accomplished Dr Janet Pennington, a born and bred county girl and who more able to speak on one of our favourite subjects - The History of Sussex Inn Signs.

Janet, has an impressive range of 18 talk titles from shoes/witches/shopping as well as being able to give guided/historical walks around local areas explaining architectural and social history.

During her talk we discovered a whole new vision that lies behind the common village pub signs, that we take for granted, and how they can reveal patronage, land ownership, history and social status as well as advertising the quick drink in passing.

We discovered that ale houses and inns were two very different establishments and that ale (being made without added hops) was produced every few days but that beer (plus the hops) lasted forever!

Ale houses were lower class but inns definitely for the upper class with accommodation and stables plus the usual rip off charges.

Inn signs had meaning and there are 17 White Horse Inns alone in West Sussex originally depicting the heraldry of the powerful Dukes of Norfolk.

The Crown Inn depicts loyalty to the monarchy and The Dolphin and The Anchor are religious symbols for Christ/Hope /Salvation.

The Swan Inn reflects the purity of The Virgin Mary and The Star Inn the Star of Bethlehem.

We appreciated the tradition that all inns originally showed ‘Chequers’ which can be clearly seen in William Hogarth’s work and that there is a pub called The Three Kings with a pub sign showing Elvis, King Kong and Henry VIII – that’s in London of course!

Wine was later represented by the hanging of bunches of grapes at the end of the inn sign, often with a model of The Wine God Bacchus, and we were also informed that there is only one pub ever to be called The Black Rabbit.

Sue Borrett warmly thanked Janet for her informative and entertaining talk promising that we would all pay more attention to pub signs in the future.

Our next meeting will be on September 1 when we shall look forward to hearing about the important topic of ‘dementia’ by Jacqui Swindells.