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Piet De Bie – Memorial Walk 2023

Wednesday 8th February 2023 at 10:30am

Come one, come all ! Get ready for a brisk, bracing (3km) winter walk. The very-nearly yearly Piet De Bie Memorial Walk will be taking place this year on Wednesday 8th February.

As in the past, we will be meeting at the park bench in Vendays at 10:30-10:45am. There is off-road parking (Google Earth GPS coordinates : 45°21’24.00”1°05’23.00W) at the bench. The day will kick off with a “tailgate party” to keep 1st arrivals cheery and warm while waiting for everyone to gather, so come prepared with a thermos flask of hot coffee (or, whatever…), sugar and cream will be provided as well as a few morning nibbles.

We will then offer a toast to Piet before we strike out on our walk, and once back at our cars, we will motor to lunch at “La Part des Anges” restaurant in Montalivet at 32 blvd Front de Mer, 33930 Vendays-Montalivet. (Telephone : 05 56 41 14 83 Website :

Click READ MORE below for restaurant menu, contact details and directions

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A Novel Idea: The lamplighters – Emma Stonex

Zoom Meeting Time: 7pm Monday, 13th March

Suggested by Norma

Inspired by a haunting true story, Emma Stonex’s The Lamplighters is an atmospheric novel about the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote tower miles from the Cornish coast—and about the wives who were left behind.

In December of 1972, three men disappeared from a tower lighthouse off the English coast. When the relief team arrived, they found the door barred from the inside. Dishes were set out for two at the kitchen table. Both clocks had stopped at a quarter to nine. And there was absolutely no trace of a struggle—everything had been perfectly polished and cleaned. 

Twenty years have passed and the Maiden Rock Mystery remains unsolved. Numerous theories have been posited over the years, some grim but prosaic, others far more outlandish. 

Perhaps one man killed the others, then himself, as the Trident company has strongly suggested. Perhaps all three were seized by a suicidal impulse. Maybe a monster attacked, or the sea swept them all away. Some swear they’ve seen a trio of white birds hovering over the light, and believe the men were transformed by some supernatural power.

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A Novel Idea: Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus

Zoom Meeting Time: 7pm Monday 10th April

Suggested by: Henley

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

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A Novel Idea: Destiny of the Republic – Candice Millard

Zoom Meeting Time: 7pm Monday 8th May

Suggested by Elizabeth

Destiny of the Republic A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, is the story of James A. Garfield’s life and assassination. Born in poverty on the Ohio frontier in 1831 and raised by a widowed mother, he would go on to achieve fame and fortune, becoming a national hero and President of the United States.  As a young man Garfield works on the canals in his native Ohio before discovering a love of learning that lead him to pursue his education.  A gifted student, Garfield rapidly rises though the academic ranks before the Civil War breaks out.  He enlists as an officer, again rapidly rising through the ranks and winning some key battles for the Union.  The resulting fame accelerates his political success, leading to his unexpected nomination for the Presidency by the Republican Party in 1880.

Garfield’s ascension to the Presidency puts him on a collision course with another man: Charles Guiteau.  Raised in a fanatically religious household, Guiteau is convinced that he was chosen by God for some special purpose.  Unsuccessful in love or business—and believed by several of his closest relatives to be insane—Guiteau becomes fixated on Garfield, often visiting the President in the White House in pursuit of a government position.  When this proves unsuccessful, Guiteau takes the drastic step of shooting Garfield on a railway platform in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881.

The President initially survives the gunshot, but lingers between life and death as surgeons frantically try to repair his wounds and remove the bullet.  His attending surgeon, Dr. D. Willard Bliss, eschews modern ideas of antiseptic surgery, so that a severe case of sepsis sets in as the infection spreads through Garfield’s body.  In an attempt to remove the bullet, Alexander Graham Bell invents a metal detecting device which allows for the non-surgical detection of the projectile.  However, Bliss only allows Bell to use the machine on the right side of the President’s body, where he believes the bullet to be lodged.  This proves unsuccessful, and the infection spreads, resulting in Garfield’s death.  With a nation in mourning, and many calling for Guiteau’s head, a trial for murder commences. After a three month trial, Guiteau is convicted and executed.

Destiny of the Republic ends with a surprise: after Garfield’s death an autopsy of Garfield’s body reveals that the bullet took a different path than originally believed.  It broke part of the President’s spine, lodging in the left side of his body.  Bell’s device, had it been used there, would have worked perfectly. This mistake in diagnosis, and Bliss’s denial of the sepsis plaguing Garfield’s body, resulted in the President’s death.

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A Novel Idea: Richard Osman’s – The Thursday Murder Club

Zoom Meeting Time: 7pm Monday 12th June

Suggested by Robert

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

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