Energetic Numbers..
16 July 2018

'Energetic Numbers' proved to be a tour de force from club member George Hunter. His talk ranged far and wide in pursuit of an understanding of the uses and abuses of energy in our world today.

Much of the talk focussed on cars and we started of with a look at a Ferrari 488 Spider - an extreme  machine producing some 660 brake horse power and able to accelerate from 0 - 100 kilometers per hour in just about no time at all! Not a car for the school run.

We went on to hear about thermodynamics and the actual limits that exist on improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines.

George showed that more than half of all fuel used in a car is lost - it is not used to propel car and passengers. Even with the best engine designs available today, a diesel engine might achieve 45% efficiency and a petrol engine just 39%. This compares with 66% for a steam turbine, which is the most efficient converter of energy we currently have.

More facts and graphs were revealed, demonstrating exactly where the losses happen, from friction to combustion cycle, to wind resistance to accessories like air conditioning. 

The talk concluded with hints and tips for more economic driving, with graphs showing that steady speeds around 40 - 60 mph and the avoidance of harsh acceleration are best. 

Altogether an intriguing and thoughtful talk - and one that addressed a vital topic of today's world. 

Following questions a vote of thanks was proposed by Bill Batchelor.   

09 July 2018

Club member Charles Thrower was speaker at our 9th July meeting and chose as his subject ‘Nutmeg’.

This proved to be a very interesting if unusual topic, ranging geographically far and wide - as well as covering history over several centuries. What came across very clearly was the extremely high value placed on this and other spices, certainly from the 15th Century in Europe. Perhaps from its value in enhancing the flavour of food - and covering up the smell and taste of food that was far from fresh! It was valued at the time as a food preservative and also thought to ward off the plague.

In 1492 Columbus set out to discover the spice islands - but had to make do with America! The other legendary explorers Vasco da Gamma and Magellan set sail on similar missions. And then there was  Sir Francis Drake, knighted by Queen Elizabeth 1 aboard his renamed ship the Golden Hind on his return from a successful expedition. History tells us that Piracy against ones enemies was actively encouraged by European kingdoms during these voyages.

We heard that nutmeg was once found exclusively on Run Island, part of the Banda Islands. The island was therefore of great economic importance at the time. In1616 Captain Nathaniel Courthope reached Run to defend it against the claims of the Dutch East India Company. A contract with the inhabitants was signed, accepting James I of England as sovereign of the island. 

However the island was fought over and, after Anglo - Dutch wars, the island was signed over to Holland in exchange for New Amsterdam, renamed as New York.

The Dutch monopoly on nutmeg and mace was later destroyed by the transfer of nutmeg trees to Ceylon, Grenada, Singapore and other British colonies in 1817 

Altogether a fascinating story and, following questions, John O’Neill proposed a vote of thanks.


End of Year..
02 July 2018

July traditionally sees the start of a new Rotary year, the retirement of the year's club president and the election of president and vice president for the following year. 

For the first time in the clubs long history, though, the incoming president Findlay McLaren will take on the role for two years.

Retiring president Derek Mathie welcomed Findlay as President, Eric Govan as Vice President and oferred his best wshes for the next two years. 

Derek went on the review the work of the club during his presidency. Much has been achieved during a time when changes meant that Derek took over as President - whilst also continuing to fill the job of Secretary. The club expressed its warm thanks to Derek for his exceptional leadership in taking the club forward. 

President Findlay (on the right) and Vice President Eric are pictured below.

18 June 2018

The 18th June meeting included a very interesting talk by ‘FIFE DRIVEWISE’. Bill Harley and Jill Kelly provided an instructive presentation about driving for older people. Their organisation has as its aim ‘the reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads’  - with advice on knowing when the time has come to stop driving.

Handouts included a copy of the Highway Code - and how that has changed over the years!! as well as an up to date road safety guide and the Drivewise booklet.

Much information was provided about how our bodies change with age - some changes making driving more difficult for many different reasons - but, interestingly, also a recognition that years of driving experience does help make us more careful, considerate - and safer drivers.

It was sobering to hear that in Fife and by age 75 about 75% of people will have one or more chronic medical conditions. Also to hear that the frailties that come with age mean that older people involved in road accidents are much more likely to die or to suffer serious injuries.

We concluded with a quiz to test knowledge of the highway code - we actually did quite well - so perhaps some reassurance that all is not yet lost!!

Bill and Jill’s talk led to many questions and interesting debates. Following this, club member Charles Thrower proposed an appreciative vote of thanks.


500 YearsAgo..
11 June 2018

Club member Tony Lodge spoke of Pittenweem and Anstruther Wester as it was 500 years ago. This proved to be another fascinating and illuminating insight, gleaned from the historical research that Tony is conducting.

We heard that Pittenweem Priory owned the two towns and, around the 1530’s, of the corrupt Prior who started to sell land off for personal gain - with each piece sold having its own charter.

The talk was illustrated with images from old maps, some of which led to the conclusion that parts that had existed, became inundated by the encroaching sea. The area around ‘Kilgreen’ being one such. Tony suggested that in this name could perhaps be found a reference to a ‘kiln’ - possibly associated with the burning of seaweed for potash.

Interesting too to learn that the well known St Fillan’s Cave is a relatively recent name. It would in earlier times have been known as the cave of Mary Magdalene. There remains a ‘Marygate’ as a lasting memory of that. There had also been a fair associated with a Mary Magdalene Day.

Tony is convinced of the importance of the area as an international trading centre. This view being perhaps supported by based on the unusual ‘Lombard Street’ that exists. There is no other such naming in Scotland and it suggests links to Italy and the banking family.

Once again a fascinating insight to days now long gone. Following questions a vote of thanks was proposed by Malcolm McDonald.

04 June 2018

The 4th June was 'Club Assembly' with business activity and future plans being discussed. We were delighted to welcome Assistant Governor Isobel Clifford as guest and speaker.

With club president-elect Findlay McLaren in the chair, individual teams summarised the many activities with which the club has been involved. Included were the several youth programmes with primary schools and with Waid Academy; Christmas postal delivery service - still going strong  after 30 years or so - and with special mention of the annual Charity Coastal Path Walk. This latter has so far raised well over £100,000 for many, many different charities. 2019 will be its 10th year - so the hope is that it will be a ‘special edition’

Both Findlay and Isobel spoke of opportunities and challenges in the years ahead and of ways in which Rotary can continue to engage with communities and attract men and women who wish to join this International service organisation - in fact the largest voluntary service organisation in the world.

We heard too of new initiatives - the innovative ways that some clubs are choosing to develop and also of support that is available from the Rotary District team.

Following questions and debate, Findlay spoke of his confidence and hopes for the club's future and, on behalf of the club, expressed our appreciation and thanks to Isobel for her time and support in being with us.


Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland..
28 May 2018

We were pleased to welcome Nikki Neesam, fundraising officer from Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS). Nikki very professionally described the vital work that this charity does, in helping people who have been affected - and in helping to educate. The statistics are sobering: Every day in Scotland:

25 people will have a stroke
30 people will have a heart attack
46 people will be diagnosed with heart failure
1 in 11 people will struggle to breathe because of chronic chest illness

We heard that ALL age groups can be affected and that chest, heart and stroke conditions account for 40% of all adult deaths in Scotland. More people than ever are living with chest, heart or stroke conditions and CHSS wants to help people to breathe better; people’s hearts to work as well as they can and to make sure that everyone has the best recovery they can after a stroke.

It was good to know that governance costs in the charity are low at just 1% of revenue and to hear of the many aspects of the work of CHSS - and of their plans. 

By 2021 the charity is aiming to  double the number of people supported, so that more people can get the information, advice and support they need. Services include: Advice Line, Stroke Specialist Nurses, Rehabilitation Support, Health Information, Health Defence, Education and E-learning, Financial Advice and Support andPeer Support Groups.

Nikki’s presentation was greatly appreciated and, following questions, with the club expressing its thanks in the usual way. 


Police Scotland..
21 May 2018

Our Club meeting of 21st May was privileged to welcome as speaker, retired Chief Superintendent Andy Morris QPM, who spoke of his role in the creation of ‘Police Scotland’.

This is now the national police force of Scotland and was formed in 2013 with the merger of eight regional police forces, as well as the specialist services of the Scottish Police Services Authority, including the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. The plan to create Police Scotland was confirmed by the SNP Government in its announcement of 8th September 2011.

It was clear that enormous change had to be managed in a very short time frame, within strict political constraints - and with intense media interest. The constraints included £1.1bn of savings over 10 years, 17,234 police officers maintained, no forced redundancies and no outsourcing.

We heard a story that was remarkably detailed and frank - and one that added understanding to the headline stories familiar from media reporting.

Andy indicated that such a complex undertaking was not accomplished without concerns over the loss of local knowledge and effective incident management. We heard of the recognition that some reputational damage has resulted and that worries over morale remain.

A great deal has been accomplished and Scotland does have an effective national police force. It was exceptionally interesting to understand something of the many decisions that were needed along the way - and the mechanics of making it all happen. It was too a little sobering  to be permitted an insight to some of the things that did not go right first time - and of the many lessons learned including the  on-going work remaining in many areas.

This was an exceptionally interesting talk about significant changes made to a vital service that underpins the freedoms and security of our society. Following many questions a vote of thanks was proposed by Eric Dewhirst.  


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