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Costa Blanca 41 Club
​​A place in the sun for the Ex-Round Tabler​​

History 2002 - 04


‘plane ....

​​​​Celebrating a wedding anniversary, Alan and Anne Oliver embarked on the ‘Star Flyer’, a four mast brigantine making a repositioning cruise from the Mediterranean to winter in the Thai Islands, Penang and Singapore. Built 
​​ in Gent, this tall ship can carry 170 guests, and has a total of 70 crew. The cruise started with 110 passengers, mainly American but also some Australian, German, Swiss and British. The journey took them past the Greek Islands, down the Suez Canal, Goa (India), across the Bay of Bengal and on to Phuket and the surrounding islands, some 6,000 plus nautical miles.

​Alan became the new VC at the 2002 AGM when Steve Moores took over the chair. David Noakes became secretary, with Len Peacock initially in charge of club finances, (later taken over by Hans Waller). The Club recorded 21 resident members and 32 from overseas. 
'Star Flyer'

​​Again a comprehensive social programme was announced early, which included Ten Pin Bowling, Go Karting, Paella Party and Wine Tasting, as well as the regular annual Ladies and Charter Nights, Octoberfest and Christmas Party. The currency change resulted in a new subscription cost of €10.00.  

Mallorca hosted the Iberian Cluster at the Bahia del Sol in Santa Ponsa. The programme followed the usual format, with the Gala Dinner being held in the Santa Ponsa Golf Hotel. At the AGM ‘it was decided that the inter club presentation of gifts and banners should cease, and should only be given to non Cluster club attendees’. Some members travelled by ferry rather than fly, and stayed extra days either before or after the Cluster.

With such a diverse membership, it is not surprising to discover some unusual hobbies and interests. 

​​John (Bernie) Tarling writes a fascinating article about his ’purchase of a single decker 25 seater Duple bodied Bedford 3 litre petrol engined council school bus, which was converted  in 1985 to recreate the dream of taking our three small children Cliff Richard ‘Summer Holiday’ style to our town house in Oliva’. Bernie chronicles the stages in obtaining the required renovation, use and safety licences, ‘and the fitting out of the bus with beds, a toilet and a portable generator,  
​​​(to provide a brew en route), and an eight speaker stereo system demanded by the children’. He describes the journey through France and over the Pyrennes, and comments that ‘we were able to drive the bus onto the beach in Denia, much to the amusement of the Guardia Civil’.  ​​

Chairman Steve was returning from Dublin after a 60th Birthday celebration. Wife Doreen writes, ‘hurtling up the 

​​runway, we heard a ‘clunk’ and then a rush of wind. As we climbed the cabin got hotter and hotter with a heat haze rising. Frantically twiddling the a/c control, we saw the stewardess crawling up the near vertical plane to alert the captain. No oxygen masks dropped, no announcement was made, we just started choking 
on the hot air. The ‘plane swung round, dropped  and came into land. We said goodbye to each other. The captain spoke for the first time. “This is an emergency. Everyone leave the ‘plane”. We had to use the chutes. All the emergency services were on the runway, running around like headless chickens for 30 minutes whilst they counted and recounted the passengers, freezing in the sleet’. They flew back to Spain the following day.

A new AGM attendance record of 22 members welcomed Alan Oliver as the new chairman, supported by VC Ian Leyland-Ponting, David Noakes and Hans Waller as Secretary and Treasurer respectively. As with Steve the previous year, the Newsletter carried a pen portrait of Alan, and an amusing self 

​effacing story by Ted Homewood featuring a 40 rung pole ladder, a site visit as a surveyor and an undeclared working elevator. Now with 24 resident and 34 overseas members, the social events were circulated for the coming year, with special emphasis on our hosting of the 2003 Iberian Cluster.

British ex-pats in Spain can still vote in the UK Elections if it is less than 15 years since they left the UK. They can also vote in some of the Spanish Elections providing that they are listed on the Padron (a Residents list also used for voting). Consequently there is pressure to ensure that we are listed on the local Padron, one of the side benefits to the Local Authority being that financial benefits passed down from National Government are based on the number of people on the Padron.

 ‘According to the local press, foreigners will soon outnumber the Spanish locals. However, many Brits believe that once they are on the list, they will have to declare all their income to the Hacienda (Tax Authority). This is all down to the passing of information between the EEC and the Tax Havens. A real cause for concern amongst wealthy Brits’. The imbalance between Spanish nationals and foreigners is real.

​​We hosted the 11th Iberian Cluster with a reception at the Hotel Naranjos, with a coach transfer for our visitors to the Rui Rau Restaurant for dinner. The AGM was held in the hotel following which a feet of minibuses took us on a tour of the Sierra Bernia.

Sierra Bernia
Benidorm Palace
Floor Show
​​In the evening we all visited Benidorm Palace for dinner, a spectacular floor show and dancing. The weekend ended with a paella lunch at Restaurant L’Era in Parcent, (for those who managed to find it). National President Iain Kelso was unable to attend the Cluster, but he was a very welcome guest at the Charter, and made a special presentation of an Honorary Life Membership Jewel to Tony on behalf of the club.

Almost lost for words, his reaction was’ I am totally overwhelmed. What is it for? Is it the 16 years and a bit I have been producing the newsletter? Or the hard slog towards organising the Cluster? I moaned enough about it at the time, but I suppose it was really quite enjoyable and very satisfactory for the club to receive all the compliments and praise regarding the weekend’.

Founder member Peter Will wrote about his earlier life spent mainly away from his native Scotland, much of it travelling and working abroad until his early retirement in 1985. Unlike many British ex-pats, who reside close to ‘ex-pat communities’ and don’t necessarily fully integrate into the Spanish lifestyle, he immersed himself totally into Spanish village life, and almost exclusively spoke the Spanish language. He met and married Teresa, an artistically gifted Spanish lady, and fellow member of his choir.

Continuing with the pen portraits, John Mail gives an amusing recollection of his chairmanship of Riyadh Round Table no: 3. ‘The Saudis regarded as illegal any unofficial organisation that they didn’t control, so Round Table existed clandestinely along with many church organisations, (who really were on dangerous ground). At a boozy business meeting, (the booze of course being homemade), we decided to have a gambling night to raise funds. The fact that tabling, gambling, boozing and mixed sex social functions were not in line with the Saudi norm, were dismissed as negative thinking’.

One member had a huge basement that had been turned into a bar, social centre and games room, so a brewing kit was installed and production started on 50 litres of wine and 200 litres of beer. Horse racing films were hired through adverts in the Tabler Magazine, and a suitable London address used for authentication and delivery. Sponsorship was sought for both horses and races, and names typified Table’s sense of humour and decorum in reflecting our love of Saudi regulations. We raised over a thousand pounds for our charity account. It was almost as much fun as our ladies driving competition, (a first in Arabia we think), but that’s another story!

… be continued………


This is the twelfth of a series of articles on the history and development of the Costa Blanca 41 Club. It is being compiled from a large number of newsletters recovered from files held by Tony Ogden, who played a major part in the development of the Club and later in the development of the group of clubs now known as the ‘Iberian Cluster’. All the text above in italics is directly quoted from newsletters published at the time, and the web posting and additional illustration images are provided by Gordon Macnab.

Ted Homewood/Bob Oxley

                                                   Home Page

Ted Homewood
Chairman 2005-06

Bob Oxley
Chairman  2011-12

Another instalment in the history of our Club