TRURO - MONTHLY MEETINGS:
Since September, we relocated our autumn Truro Meetings to All Saints Church Hall, Tresawls Road, Highertown TR1 3LD, in the hope that that it will attract more members. Our Truro Monthly Meetings at this new venue will be be on Fourth Mondays, at 2.00pm.
All Saints Church Hall provides limited on-site parking. Please help by bringing other members or come by bus, numbers 14 or 18. Additional parking by prior arrangement about 400 yards from Hall. Please advise of any offers of, and requests for lifts or any other inquiries to either Tony Herring (01872) 273678 or to John Dearman (01326) 318630.
Mark Smith, a Cornwall Council Fire and Rescue Service officer spoke about Fire Safety in the Home. Mark explained that the Cornwall Fire Brigade was now known as the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and worked together with both police and fire-fighters, to determine sources of ignition on both domestic and commercial fires.
He illustrated this with a clear and rather dramatic PowerPoint presentation, of a tour around a typical domestic home, starting this, perhaps the most vulnerable room, with the kitchen. The Fire and rescue service focus particularly on those most at risk, from the elderly and those with mobility issues, single parents homes and this room represents the highest risk area of the home, focussing upon those at highest risk, single parent families and particularly where children are mobile and warning never to leave items on the hobs or gas if the room is unattended. We were encouraged to take special care with deep frying, which can catch fire rather easily. These days, we were told, the classic chip fan fire is rare, with temperature controlled covered utensils which can’t overheat, cook with a higher level of safety.
Simple matters, such as keeping the oven, hob and work surfaces clean and in good order. Planning use of electrics these days also can be an issue, with perhaps a limited number of outlets in a kitchen. In the lounge, there were many sources of potential risk with many electronic devices from TVs and other entertainment accessories, most of which required connection to power supplies, again requiring management of suitable mains connections and correct fusing of all 13 amp plugs, according to loads. We were reminded not run long cables under carpets, where wear cannot be monitored readily.
Taking quick vote around the hall revealed only one smoker amongst our members. Mark also pointed out that call-outs to restaurants had almost ceased following the ban on smoking in public places! At home, the use of candles was strongly discouraged for fear of setting furnishings on fire, or even when the small foil containers for classic night-lights could actually melt through the top of a plastic cabinet, such as a TV, with disastrous outcomes. We had a discussion about smoke detectors and we were asked how often the detectors should be checked. The nearest we got was a month, whereas the recommendation is every week! Should the worst happen, we are encouraged to exit the property immediately, calling the fire brigade, perhaps on a mobile and not stopping to get dressed. Make sure you can unlock windows immediately, to gain fresh air but not to jump out, until the fire brigade have arrived and identified occupants.
The second part of Mark’s presentation was the work he undertakes with his dog Nelson, a four year old Springer Spaniel, specifically trained to detect accelerants following fires. It takes two years to train the dogs for this vital function at a National Training College and Mark and Nelson are together 24/7 and will cover call-outs across all of Cornwall and Devon, being the only dog and fire officer on call across the West Country.
Nelson proved to be an admirable and was quite happy to sit, or lie down quietly through Mark’s presentation, when he was not sitting with members of the audience! Nelson is the third sniffer dog Mark has had since the County started using dogs for accelerant detection from the mid nineties. Mark produced a miniature set of four bootees that Nelson would be shod with, when walking in fire-damaged rooms, to protect his paws from hot cinders or shards of glass. Mark is based at St Austell Fire and Rescue Station and may be contacted via the Cornwall Council web-site in the event of queries on fire protection: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=7130
Mark answered a number of questions before the discussion was closed, with Duncan Tribute proposing a vote of thanks to both Mark Smith and of course, Nelson!
25th February: "Brunel's Railway Heritage in Cornwall"
Thirty of our members attended the monthly meeting in All Saints Church Hall, to hear one of our members, Bill Anderson, who is Emeritus Professor of Geotechnical Engineering from Sheffield University, gave us an excellent illustrated talk about Brunel's Railway Heritage in Cornwall. The Royal Cornwall Museum has a large collection of historic railway photographs, and in 2006 (the bicentenary of Brunel's birth), it was decided to catalogue these photographs.
A team of workers then visited the various sites and took fresh photographs, to compare with the original nineteenth century ones. He described the building of the railway bridge across the Tamar to Saltash. We saw the old and new pictures of viaducts, bridges and stations.
Bill explained that many of the original wooden viaducts had to be replaced by new stone viaducts after 50 years or so (with some of the original pillars still standing alongside the newer structures). It was an erudite talk but also very enjoyable.
John Eddy gave us an interesting talk about Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses. There was a lot of incest and cannibalism. We were told how Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitalia into the ocean.
Aphrodite was created when his blood mixed with the sea foam; she emerged from the sea at Cyprus and then joined the other gods on Olympus. Zeus swallowed his pregnant wife Metis, but later their child, the goddess Athena, emerged fully armed from his cleft skull.
John explained how Zeus courted many maidens after undergoing cunning metamorphoses. Thus he changed into a swan when he pursued Leda and changed into a shower of gold to assault Danae. Many of these metamorphoses became the subject of renaissance paintings or operas.
Eric Rabjohns - "Cornish Engine Houses"
NB: We will not be holding our Truro Meeting on 27th May, since it falls on a Public Bank Holiday.
For all activities, please check our Google Calendar to confirm dates, times and location
Groups Coordinator - Jon Skelton (01872) 865316