JIM Cox and Phil Bawn vied this week to prove that alternative comedy is not a prerogative of the young, with a story and comments about transgender issues, whatever they are!

Anyway, our speaker this week was Tom Constance of the Bourton on the Water Probus Club. He is a retired engineer who entitled his talk ‘From here to Istanbul’ or rather ‘Expect the unexpected’.

He described his works journey from Barrow-in-Furness where he started as a Fitter and Turner with Vickers Armstrong and progressed to quality control before ending his career as an MoD approved quality assurance inspector. His travels began when he joined General Motors and got sent to America, many of the European countries, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Turkey.

His unexpected experiences included being invited to NASA where he met Helen Sharman the first British astronaut, his screen collapsing as he was giving a presentation, and being arrested as a suspected drug smuggler. He also toasted as an honoured guest in Yugoslavia, observed an attempted killing on a Belgium motorway, almost got caught with Arabic materials in Tel Aviv and was rescued by a newspaper reporter in Turkey.

His experiences have enabled him to have respect and tolerance for all others.

Following questions, Tony Davies thanked Tom on our behalf. Tony said the talk had been fascinating not least because it had been so unexpected with such strange situations in different countries and some very human stories.

On 9 February we shall hear about Santorini and then on 16 February, we shall be treated to a presentation of his life from our own local man Richard Lawrence. Modestly, he tells me that he’s had an ordinary life. I’ve seen his presentation – and his life is actually most extraordinary! Do join us.