SATURDAY 17th SEPTEMBER 2016 The Firecrest, a pub/restaurant near Wendover, Buckinghamshire
The 2016 meeting was a complete change from what had gone before. To start with, it was no longer possible to meet up in St Albans at the Quality Hotel, as the venue had been sold for demolition in order to build sheltered accommodation for elderly people. After some consultation with regular Jennings Meeting aficionados, it was agreed that we would just meet up for a meal, and discuss the way forward for our future activity.
It was noted that time and circumstances had moved on since the early days of the Northern Old Boys Book Club meeting with the Buckeridge family in Lewes all those years ago. Anthony himself had passed away in 2004, with Val Biro and Eileen Buckeridge having also passed away over the last couple of years. Presentations from contributors were becoming more difficult each year, with a feeling that they were covering topics that had been done before. However, the positive news was that many friendships had been made over the years, and there was enthusiasm for carrying on in some shape or form, rather than let the annual Jennings meeting die altogether.
So…over a delicious three course meal in an olde-worlde inn situated in the rolling Chilterns countryside (not too dissimilar to the Sussex Downs surrounding Linbury Court), we decided that we would be The Anthony Buckeridge Appreciation Society. It was noted that Anthony Buckeridge was noted for works other than the Jennings books, and that we would be flagbearers in remembering and celebrating his work.
Decision made, job done – so what about next year? Over the coffee and mini-puddings, we agreed that we would be heading for Ramsgate next year. Why Ramsgate? This was because Anthony taught at St Lawrence College Junior School in Ramsgate, and the “Jennings” stories arose from the tales he would tell his young pupils in the dormitory. There is a blue plaque at the school, placed there by the Ramsgate Society in 2011. Head Boy Bernard Elwen was tasked to draw the plans up, and submit his homework to the rest of Form Three in due course.
After a team photo in the garden after lunch, we all went our separate ways and looked forward to meeting up again in the future.
Review by Bernard Elwen