Chapter 10

International, the Three 88s

TABLE 88 HOLLAND is at Aalten. Table 88 France is in Monaco. The Charter Nights of these tables fell in 1963 and 1964, and it was but right and proper that Table 88 Scarborough should be represented. The following accounts are by Denis Chapman and Mick Thorpe respectively and are here presented in unexpurgated form.

In March 1963 Scarborough Round Table was invited to send representatives to Aalten for the Charter Dinner of Round Table 88 Holland.

Arnold Wilson was Chairman at that time and Mick Thorpe Secretary. A party of seven Tablers, Arnold Wilson, Mick Thorpe, John Ellender, Tom Pindar, Geoff Rhodes, Denis Chapman and Colin Sedgwick, agreed to go for one week. They were to stay two nights at Delft, a useful centre for Rotterdam and district, two nights with Aalten Tablers in their homes and two nights at Amsterdam.

Fellowship was engendered in the party prior to departure, when all decided to learn Dutch, Tom Pindar supplying the gramophone records. Some four or five evenings were spent in various Tablers’ homes and it is believed that the second record was put on the turntable at least once.

Tablers’ wives, who viewed the trip with great suspicion, agreed to drive their husbands to Hull to catch the night boat to Rotterdam. After dinner on board Mick Thorpe suggested a game of pontoon and promptly depleted the others’ stock of spending money. Everyone retired early following a question asked of Tom, ‘What’s the matter?’ Reply, ‘I think I’m getting slightly xxxx actually’. [61]

We left the boat early the next morning and had no sooner set foot on dry land than we were to witness a most serious road accident. A lorry, travelling between 20 and 30 mph. passed the bus queue we were about to join, lost its tailboard, which swung round and hit a woman standing in the queue. After this we checked into the hotel at Delft. The following day we went into Rotterdam sightseeing which we marked by lunch at the top of the Euromast, the forerunner of London’s Post Office Tower.

We had arranged to meet our hosts at Arnhem, after which we all set off in cars at high speed for Aalten, calling for dinner at Doesburg. There were 18 members of the Aalten Table, all of whom spoke English, together with their wives. Needless to say, nobody in the Scarborough Table spoke Dutch.

Eventually on arrival at Aalten we were dropped off at various Tablers’ homes. Mick Thorpe and Denis Chapman stayed with Dr. Hans Hartman and his wife Gees (Je) who had four boys, Hans 10, Burt 8, Yoop 7 and Fred 4. Denis’s and Mick’s initial meeting with their hosts was assisted by their Dutch language lessons; not that they could speak Dutch, but they found Hans and Gees had taken an identical course in English, so at least they could get a laugh out of the subject matter.

The following morning at breakfast, which in itself was an education, Fred aged 4 was to demonstrate how Europeans learn languages, by reciting the alphabet, two-times and three-times tables and colours in English, Dutch, German and French. The day was spent sightseeing, including a trip to a castle the size of Windsor, reputed to be occupied by a member of the Dutch 41 Club.

That evening was Charter Night. It was held in an hotel outside Aalten, set high up in some pinewoods at Montferland. There were about 87 present. Denis Chapman was fortunately seated next to the secretary of the Dusseldorf Table, who taught English and translated most of the speeches.

The procedure was almost identical to any English Charter Night. There was a presentation to the Burgomaster of Rotterdam, which most Dutch Tablers thought a little needless, as Burgomasters are not apparently held in as [62] high esteem as are Mayors in this country, probably because they are paid officials.

After the meal the Scarborough Tablers were invited to the top table, where they were entertained with jokes in English by some of the Dutch National Council members.

The following day Aalten Tablers insisted on driving us to Amsterdam via the Zuider Zee, or Ijsselmeer, as it had then become. We arrived in Amsterdam in time for dinner, after which the Aalten Tablers left for home and the Scarborough Tablers set about examining the night life, all but Pindar who had gone off to visit a friend! Needless to say, we saw Canal Street, and Colin was all set to buy a shop in Bar Street when we got back if he could find the right staff

The following evening Geoff Rhodes, Colin, John Ellender and Denis Chapman went to a night club where there was a floor show that Denis, unbeknown to the others, had seen before in the South of France. Table goodwill was a little fractured some 90 minutes later when he told Colin ‘they were all men’. After some moments of disbelief this was confirmed and the party left hurriedly.

The next day we left for home. Denis Chapman bought a very large bunch of carnations as a peace offering for his wife, which all on the dock at Hull claimed they could see before they could distinguish the boat.

In September 1964, an invitation was extended by R.T. 88 France for two representatives to attend their Charter celebrations. It was accepted with alacrity by Geoff Winn and Mick Thorpe, particularly as the venue was Monte Carlo, and the name of the new table ‘Round Table Monaco’. The jet flight to Nice was probably the first occasion on which Scarborough Tablers had taken to the air to attend a Table meeting.

The Charter celebrations lasted about two days. The presentation of the Charter itself was made in the afternoon in the presence of the President of R.T. France and representatives of Table from Belgium, Italy, France and R.T.B.I. At the exchange of banners, there was a particularly warm burst of applause for the Scarborough banner, and the link between the two 88s was made. [63]

The celebration banquet the same evening was a magnificent affair. Tickets were £6.10 each. The Scarborough Tablers were joined by two other English Tablers, and the Bluebell Girls who were featured in the international cabaret were all British. The following day high jinks continued at the Monte Carlo Lido, but £2 for a swim was too much for the Yorkshiremen, who splashed about privately from a free public beach.

Friendships formed during the visit were cemented two years later when two Monegasque Tablers accepted the return invitation to visit Scarborough for the Millennium Week (May 1966). Keeping us in doubt by not replying to letters, the visitors eventually arrived before they were expected, but were accommodated at the Paragon Hotel by Colin Sedgwick and looked after for the week by a variety of Scarborough Tablers.

Efforts to interest them in Community Service have not yet borne fruit; like nearly all French Tables they are solely a fellowship club, and a pretty exclusive one at that.

Scarborough Millennium Celebrations, 966-1966
The return visit mentioned by Mick Thorpe took place from the 23rd to the 28th May 1966. Raymond Saramito and Philippe Richon came to Scarborough to represent Round Table Monaco T.R.F. No. 88. The following was the programme arranged for them:
Monday, 23rd
7.45 p.m. at the Spa Orchestral Concert Halle Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli.
Tuesday, 24th
12.45 p.m. at the Victoria Hotel Scarborough Round Table Lunch Meeting. Banner Presentation.
Wednesday, 25th
3 p.m. at the Foreshore Millennium Carnival Procession.
8 p.m. at the Athletic Ground, Seamer Road Grand Military Tattoo.
Thursday, 26th
1 p.m. Terry’s Restaurant, York. York Round Table Lunch Meeting.
Afternoon sightseeing in York.
8 p.m. Queens Hotel, Micklegate, York. York Ebor Round Table Dinner Meeting. [64]
Friday, 27th
7 p.m. Meet at Pavilion Hotel for tour of forest and moors including Bickley oil rig. Fylingdales Early Warning Station and selection of English pubs.
Saturday, 28th
8 p.m. at Wykeham Grange Farm Scarborough Round Table Barbecue and Dance.

Return Visit from Aalten
A welcome 3-day visit from the Aalten Table was made in May 1964, when four of its members and their wives, Ad and Yvonne Bulten, Henk and Riek Bruins, Henk and Riek Otten and Wim and Yvonne Westerveld, were the guests of members of the Scarborough Table.

Friendships have continued and there have been subsequent visits to and from Aalten by individual members, ex-members and wives. [65]

Note: as discussed at the February 2020 meeting, if you would like to receive email updates directly to your inbox for all articles as soon as they appear on the Scarborough 41 Club website, please subscribe to the site. The subscription box is on the upper right of every page, just below the Search. Techy hint: check your spam inbox if you don’t see the subscription email immediately.