MMMMM – Birmingham Council House Tour

posted 21 Feb 2018, 03:03 by Phil Williams   [ updated 21 Feb 2018, 03:18 ]

Another MMMMM away day on Monday 5th February and another memorable one attended by 24 members. The day included a guided tour of the Council House in Victoria Square and lunch a short walk away in the Old Joint Stock pub. Having walked past the Council House for 20 years on my way to work, I was intrigued to actually visit inside for the first time and was not disappointed. Most of us arrived at New Street Station and made our way to the Council House avoiding the obstacles as the tram line is being extended up Pinfold Street.

Our tour around the Council House lasted for over an hour and we were led by an enthusiastic and very informative guide, Julie Goodall, who had worked for the Council for 27 years and there were no questions she could not answer. Although Julie did say she ‘needed a sense of humour to take us around’! On our part we were able to recall how many women Lord Mayors there had been when asked later by Julie – the answer is 8.

We were given some fascinating facts about the Council House and that when it was opened in 1879 it cost £163k to build. Today the building needs a massive overhaul that will cost somewhere around £70m! Our tour inside included the Mayor’s Parlour and
the Council Chamber. Bob Johnson took his rightful place by sitting in the Lord Mayor’s seat in the Chamber! Whilst the Council Chamber has a traditional appearance, it has many up to date electronic features, notably, if you want to watch a Council session, you can simply view the live on line streaming.
Once the tour ended we made our way to the Old Joint Stock pub which has a magnificent vaulted ceiling and a very decorative island bar. Particular thanks go to Ron Hines who had already tipped us off that if you sign up to the Old Joint Stock pub website you receive a voucher for a free drink. Free beer!!! The majority of us indulged in steak and kidney pie or fish and chips which were excellent, served by Kate and her team.

Suitably well fed and watered, those travelling by train rolled back down the hill to New Street station resisting the temptation of other hostelries en route.

Thanks go to those who supported this event and in particular to the organiser, Bob Frisby.

An excellent day!

John Wright 

MMMMM - Christmas Lunch

posted 10 Jan 2018, 01:57 by Phil Williams   [ updated 10 Jan 2018, 02:00 ]

This year, on Monday 18th December,  the MMMMM Christmas Lunch took place at Ye Old Toll House, Willenhall. It was originally constructed in the early eighteen hundreds to collect tolls from those travelling between Wolverhampton and Walsall. This restaurant has been family run for over four decades and has an enviable reputation in the West Midlands.

Well it did not let us down, when arriving at 11:45 the bar/reception area was well filled with members that had the appearance of a coach party, with well filled glasses and noisily welcoming new arrivals. The dining room looked beautifully presented and we all moved in just after 12:00, although a few people arrived slightly late and blame was placed on a faulty Sat Nav. (It is alleged in a Land Rover Discovery Sport!).

About 40 of us were sat at tables for 8 and most members, as ordered, were wearing something red with a selection of strange headwear. Bob Frisby (thanks for organising this do) began his master of
ceremonies duties and welcomed everyone and introduced the 2017 song sheets, to a fair level of moans but everyone/most joined in the first song to the tune of ‘God
rest ye merry gentlemen’. The singing was not as wild as normal but sounded almost sweet, although the words weren’t always in line with the tune. The starter course was then served and another song preceded each course.

The meals were served very quickly by the efficient staff and only good words could be heard. Listening to comments on the meals, they were well presented and most enjoyable with plentiful portions. So I would say the reputation of the Toll House continues.

The meal continued with lots of happy chatter, till we broke up at about 15:15 Pausing for a group photo on the way to our cars. I believe everyone enjoyed themselves, if you haven’t been to an MMMMM ,give it a go.

Bill Todd 

MMMMM - The Rose Inn

posted 27 Nov 2017, 01:46 by Phil Williams   [ updated 27 Nov 2017, 02:00 ]

Monday 6th November was a cold autumn morning blessed with glorious sunshine, 15 members (including Roy Shields who had forgotten all about it but made a speedy recovery) made their way to the Rose Inn at Baxterley for the latest MMMMM Away Day Lunch with a noon start. . The Rose Inn is located in the beautiful rural area of North Warwickshire in the village of Baxterley opposite the old Baddesley Colliery behind the village green and duck pond. The building dates back to the 18th Century and has served in the past as a courthouse, jail, and mortuary. For more than the past 100 years it has been a public house. Very picturesque.

Once inside, we dutifully lined up to place our orders for a cool beer and moved into the private dining room that had been allocated to us. The Cornish ale Tribute, Bombardier Wells, and Wild were the cask ales on offer and proved very popular in providing fuel for the non-stop raucous banter and chat that followed before and after lunch was served. The staff were very attentive and the food was of the highest order with faggots, gammon and pie being
especially enjoyed. With the cask ales flowing, all members were on fine form and much appreciated the ice cream desserts that followed. John Turner especially liked his vanilla. 

The good humour and camaraderie was ever increasing together with the number of glowing faces. Regretfully we had to call time and exit into the wonderful sunny day outside for the statutory group photograph before making our way home.
A fabulous time was had by all. Once again a very successful MMMMM Away Day. I would encourage all members to take part in the MMMMM Away Days. They are great fun. 

Thank you Bob Frisby for organising and choosing the venue. A great choice!! 

Ron Hines 

MMMMM - The Black Eagle (re-visited)

posted 18 Oct 2017, 01:54 by Phil Williams   [ updated 18 Oct 2017, 02:19 ]

On Monday 2nd October, 16 intrepid Probus venturers set off from various points on the globe (well Sutton and Walsall actually ) to travel to Factory Road in darkest Hockley. On arrival we were greeted by the new manager of The Black Eagle, a very witty and bubbly lady. After many of us sampled the excellent Bathams ale we took our places at the table ready to order, there were of course the usual suspects who couldn’t decide, but we did get there! We were served to their excellent home cooked food including faggots, beef stew, and steak pie, which were all
very generous portions. When it came to the puddings it was another matter, indecision was rife but after much deliberation we finally got there with sticky toffee pudding and apple pie being the outright winners. At the time of ordering Bob J did question the potential viscosity of the custard to be served with the sticky toffee and was offered “Green Custard” by the very quick witted manager, but I won’t go into that!! As ever there had to be one who was no doubt trying to gain brownie points by having cheese and biscuits!

Once again a very agreeable lunch with like minded friends.

Many thanks again Mr F.

Alan Griffin

MMMMM - The Cottage Inn (re-visited)

posted 20 Aug 2017, 03:09 by Phil Williams   [ updated 20 Aug 2017, 03:19 ]
On Monday 31st July, thirteen members set out in brilliant sunshine to arrive at the Cottage Inn at 11:39am all in good humour, to enjoy this pub well known for fine food with a reputation far and wide and with some very fine cask ales on show we soon settled down and placed orders for our favourite ales and moved into the old house with chimney to order
meals from an extensive menu which offered two or three courses from the Senior Citizen lunch offer and with help from Linda, orders were placed and all the MMMMM'S were enjoying every minute. ALL meals were served by the lovely Linda who later helped Bob Frisby with photos and is shown on one. On leaving we asked a few Q's about the Pub and were told that the old house was 10 years old before the extensions were added, these are now 30 years old. This old pub with its old fashioned style and situated in Fillongley Village is well worth a visit. We all enjoyed this away day.

Tony Cabral

Editors Note:- Spot the difference between the two pictures (top and bottom). Now you see what happens in MMMMM after a nice lunch and a few drinks.

MMMMM – Visit to Mad O’Rourkes

posted 12 Jul 2017, 01:01 by Phil Williams   [ updated 12 Jul 2017, 01:26 ]
On Monday 22nd May, nine members visited the Black Country to enjoy one of Mad O’Rourke’s tasty famous pies. As usual we travelled to the venue in car sharing and John Harris had an unusual “Sat Nav”. The guidance was very vague, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. The instructions ranged from a deep manly voice to a squeaky female. However we arrived in very good time.
Mad O’Rourkes Pie Factory was built in 1856 and was initially equipped with shell die presses from the Royal Ordinance Works at Bilston. The factory produces 17500 pies per day to a unique set of recipes known only to three people plus the parish priest and a cat. Just like members of Maney Probus Club, Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor. Roll on 2018 when we will once again enjoy one of Mad O’Rourke’s Pies.

John Rootham 

MMMMM - The Bartons Arms (Revisited)

posted 17 May 2017, 03:11 by Phil Williams   [ updated 17 May 2017, 03:16 ]

Eleven Probus members congregated at The Barton Arms, following in the footsteps of Laurel and Hardy, Dame Nellie Melba and other dignitaries, to be greeted by an impressive array of Oakam Real Ales, a stunning staircase and stained glass windows and beautiful Thai waitresses.

Whilst waiting for our delicious food and beverages to be served, we naturally discussed the burning issues of the day, such as North Korea, President Trump and whether one of our founding members, Mike Herridge, had yet ordered his Probus tie.

The food was delicious and five of our members even ordered sweets. The others looked on with spoons cocked, to no avail.

We all had our photographs taken, together with our lovely waitress’s and we departed, duly replete.
Tony Galloway

The first X1 team from Probus visited this iconic hostelry in deepest Newtown,------many of us have been before, but were still amazed by this wonderful gem---a listed building with all those fabulous tiled pictured emblem walls and oak panelled backing. Previously, many of us have enjoyed the full tour.

The selection of Oakhams breweries beers were delightful followed by a huge selection of imaginative Thai dishes which were enjoyed to the full by all, including Ron remembering to order sides of 'Thai Fries'-----well done Ron.
The one big problem which didn’t seem to go away was that our dear President , just 3 days before, had forgotten Jackie's birthday!! Huge volumes of brownie point recovery were suggested including John vacuuming the house and mowing the lawns that very afternoon------we will await further updates!!!

However, this was almost the final event of John's Presidency and he is commended to have attended practically every event!

Thanks as always for MMMMMMs for our great Social Secretary Bob for organising another lovely Monday of fun & fellowship-----this is what we are all about!!
John Mayall 

MMMMM Awayday – The Vine, West Bromwich

posted 15 Feb 2017, 01:32 by Phil Williams   [ updated 15 Feb 2017, 01:35 ]

A somewhat depleted party of 11 gathered on Monday 6th February, at The Vine for another splendid Away-day. Noting reserved signs on the tables in the front rooms as we entered, your President approached the Bar Staff with a cheery ‘Hello, I am pleased to see you have reserved our tables’ only to be told that those rooms were out of bounds on health and safety grounds owing to major window replacement works, and anyway no parties had been booked in for today!

Slightly taken aback, our merry band was directed into the back room, known as the Conservatory but after a taste of the delightful ‘Holdens Ale’ (N.B. only raspberry and tonic for Ron Hines) we all recovered our composure and ordered from the menu mainly of multi choice curries. The waitress, who had worked there for 22 years, encouraged our choice with mouth watering descriptions and gave us a brief recent history of the development of the Pub since the present owner had bought the premises some 42 years ago.

The pub proved again to be a little gem as the food was delivered in record time and tasted delightful. So efficient was the service that we left a little earlier than usual but glowing from the good food and beer and as always the lively banter that is generated at all Maney Probus gatherings.

John Langley 

MMMMM Christmas Lunch

posted 13 Jan 2017, 01:43 by Phil Williams   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 01:51 ]

On Monday 19th December, thirty six members suitably attired in Santa Hats, Christmas Jumpers and red turned up for the annual 5m's Christmas lunch at Sutton Park Hotel (one more than expected).
After a rendition of God Rest you Maney Probus Men (penned by non other than our very own Master of Ceremonies) it was time to dig in.

Starters were followed by a rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night. Main course followed but beware of moving away from the traditional Christmas Fare. Steak and chips soon became seconds!

More Carols with the Christmas singing sprit moving on to such as "My Old Man's A Dustman" and "Battle of New Orleans" etc, etc while we waited for the Puds. They duly arrived apart from one which eventually arrived to much cheering leaving one member enjoying it while we all watched.

Not certain what the other customers thought of the choir in the corner, but we all enjoyed singing.

Many thanks to the Master of Ceremonies for arranging it and conducting the choir.

The Waiter (teach me to be last to arrive)

Chris Meadows 

The Pretty Pigs

posted 18 Nov 2016, 03:10 by Phil Williams   [ updated 18 Nov 2016, 03:29 ]

Thinking of dining out in a pleasant English Countryside Inn. Then please book with us, Confused. Com/West Midlands. We will make your travel eventful.

The writer was originally booked as a passenger in one car, subsequently changed to the car of a more local driver by e-mail, but on the evening before the excursion was due to take place was requested to take over driving duties as the previous driver was injured. Not a problem. I phoned up the remaining two passengers and made the necessary arrangements to pick them up and to transport them to the dining experience of ‘The Pretty Pigs’ Public House, nr. Alvecote, Tamworth.

On Monday 31st October, with the expertise of my navigator, our esteemed President, we arrived five minutes early at our destination. Within a few minutes, 13 club members were queuing up at a small bar to order food and drinks, when Charles Hamilton said, “where did you get to? I came to pick you up”. I explained that I had received different instructions by e-mail.

I think that Wendy was quite concerned when a car carrying three men suddenly turned unexpectedly on our drive. Especially on HALLOWEEN.

Fortunately it didn’t take long for the usual good natured club banter to resume over lunch.
The Carvery was reasonably good and inexpensive with a generous portion of meat. However the meal was served on dinner plates that would be more appropriate to the T.V. series ‘Porridge’. Four members, who shall be nameless, managed to eat ‘puddings’ and made the rest of us envious.

This was another pleasant club outing which was appreciated by the members attending.

John Harris 

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