IN the absence of our President, Jim Cox skilfully stepped into the breach for this week’s session. Apologies for absence were received from a number of chaps suffering a variety of lurgies.

Bob Young then had a rant about supermarkets needlessly stocking unseasonable vegetables before Clive Allen confessed to seeing a ghost, which turned out to be a jogger whilst Jim wished, if stranded on a deserted island, to be joined by his Uncle Bert, who owns a boat.

Our speaker this week was Ray Aspden of Droitwich. He spoke about the volcanic eruption on the Greek island of Santorini some three and a half thousand years ago in which the Bronze Age Minoan settlement of Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash.

He told us that as a result, like the Roman ruins of Pompeii, it is remarkably well preserved. Frescoes, pottery, advanced drainage systems and three-story buildings have been discovered at the site. However, as yet no human remains or possessions have yet been found. He accompanied his talk with illustrations and photos that he had taken himself.

He described the work that is being undertaken by the “dirt” archaeologists as well as the Carbon 14 scientists, although his explanation of the latter involved rather too much information for some of us to take in fully.

Jeff Jones thanked him on our behalf for a fascinating talk. With his usual wit, he said it had reminded him of a holiday he had enjoyed when an uninhibited young German had bagged his sun bed.

On 16 February, fellow member Richard Lawrence will tell us his life story before we enjoy lunch at the Rowing Club. Our AGM will be held on 23 February. Please feel free to join us.