November 2018 Newsletter

There has been sufficient expression of interest for the trip to the Rioja wine region of Spain in September to proceed; details and booking form are provided in this newsletter. The trip departing on the date originally advertised has already been fully booked by other clients of Wessex Continental Travel, however, they have organised a second trip, departing a week earlier on September 1st. All other details of the trip are unchanged. If you are interested in this trip, please send bookings in as soon as possible, as it is obviously a very popular trip.

The proposed Eurostar trip to Amsterdam garnered sufficient interest to be a likely event for 2019. However, the proposed 2019 club schedule is congested in midsummer, and the trip will move from July to early October. Therefore we are not taking bookings or deposits as yet.

Michael Fabianski, Newsletter Editor. E-mail:


This is an advance notice that the 2019 AGM of the Midlands Retirees Club will be on Monday 4th March 2019 at 10.30. It will be held, as previously, at the British Legion, Knowle, preceded by coffee and followed by a buffet lunch. Please put the date in your diary now and make every effort to attend as the future of the Club depends on you.



The following is the status of those events which have been announced.

Thursday 13 December 2018Christmas Lunch, Wroxall Abbey. Closed.
Monday 4 March 2019 at 10.30 British Legion, Knowle
Sunday 1 - Tuesday 10 September 2019 Rioja wine region of Spain. See below.

Booking Conditions. Click here to read the terms and conditions. Members should also be aware of Public Liability Insurance provided by the Club.

Photographs from Past Events. Click here or here to view a selection of photographs from past events.

E1912RIO: Rioja wine region of Spain, Sunday 1st - Tuesday 10th September 2019 Organiser: Michael Fabianski

As with previous Midlands Retiree Club trips to this region, this trip will be with Wessex Continental Travel and we would take places on their publicly available trip departing on Sunday 1st September 2019. Places will be sold by Wessex Contintental Travel on a first come, first served basis. The trip originally advertised for departure on September 8th has already sold out, but a second trip has been organised, departing a week earlier on September 1st. All other details of the trip are unchanged. If you are interested in this trip, please send bookings in as soon as possible, as it is obviously a very popular trip.

At the moment we are unable to say what level of subsidy will be available to members, but the trip offers extremely good value compared to other trips to the region.

The basic unsubsidised trip cost will be £1245 pp, with a £50 deposit at the time of booking and the balance payable 2 months before departure. Wessex Continental Travel will provide pickup from Warwick subject to a minimum booking of 12 people; if that number is not reached, it may be necessary to arrange your own travel (possibly sharing) to and from Portsmouth. Wessex Continental Travel do currently offer a reduction of £30 per person for anyone who lives more than 25 miles distant from any of their pick up points.

Itinerary and costs

Ever popular, ever successful, our wine tour programme would not be complete without a visit to La Rioja where quality and value go hand in hand. Over the years we have tried to ring the changes so that it appeals to those who love the region and once again we’re trying a completely new format. You may ask why the triangular ferry route. It’s because of the schedule and the timings of the ferry. It’s not ideal but the best we can do to maximise the time available in Spain.

We pick up as shown below and sail from Plymouth at 15:45. We have dinner together this evening as the ship sails through the English Channel.
We reach Santander at 12:15 and after disembarkation we head east towards Bilbao then south to La Rioja. Our first tasting will be at Bodegas Corral at Navarrete. We continue to Logroņo and check in to the central Hotel Marques de Vallejo in the Old Quarter where we stay for seven nights. Dinner will be at a nearby restaurant and afterwards you’ll be able to explore the famous Calle Laurel.
We travel to Rioja Alavesa to visit Bodegas Baigorri in Sameniego. This modern winery stretches 7 stories underground and after our visit we have lunch on the premises. From here we drive into Haro for a little sightseeing before we visit the oldest bodega in Rioja, Lopez de Heredia where we can taste their iconic Viņa Tondonia wines. After our visit we return to Logroņo for a free evening and another opportunity to wander around Calle Laurel.
We head northwards again to visit the La Sonsierra area with our first tasting at Hacienda Lopez de Haro and Bodegas Classica, noted for their fine white wines. We have lunch at the Bodega and in the afternoon we’ll travel to Bodegas Palacio at La Guardia which makes, amongst others, the excellent Glorioso Rioja. After our tour, one of their experts will demonstrate how the wines are blended .
We return to the La Guardia region to visit Bodegas Viņa Real, part of the CVNE group. We’ll tour the winery and enjoy their Gourmet Tasting Course. Lunch time will be free to sightsee in La Guardia, the charming hilltop town, before we travel to Bodegas Casa Primicia housed in the town’s oldest building. We return to Logroņo and dinner this evening is at El Cachetero in Calle Laurel presided over by its talented Basque Chef.
Today we travel east to Rioja Baja and the large and important co-operative at Aldeanueva. We visit two of their newer wineries where they make the better wines. After visiting Vina Herminia we move on to Fincas de Azabache for a tasting and lunch in their restaurant. The afternoon sees us travelling a short distance to the very modern and classy Bodegas Manzanos Azagra. Although situated in the Navarra region its wines fall into the Rioja DOCa. The evening is free in Logroņo.
This morning we’re travelling north again to Haro to visit an old favourite in its new setting, Martinez Lacuesta. Our lunch will be at another old favourite, La Vieja Bodega in Cassalreina. Our final port of call be the wine complex of Dinastia Vivanco. By this evening we will have tasted in all four regions of the Rioja DOCa: Alta, Alavesa, Baja and Navarra.
Today we are going to have a free day and we’ll drive along the Pilgrim’s Way to the impressive city of Burgos. This is home to the famous cathedral where El Cid is interred and its grand main square is very impressive. You’ll enjoy a stroll in the Old Quarter before we return to Logroņo and have dinner at a nearby restaurant.
We leave the hotel and make our way back to the Santander. We’ll call in at the local hypermarket and then pause for our final moments in the Sardinero district before catching the 15:15 sailing to England. Dinner is at the Le Flora Restaurant this evening.
Continue taking advantage of the sea airs. The ship arrives in Portsmouth at 14:15 and after disembarkation the coach returns to the original pick up points.

Cost includes: ferry crossing with cabin, two breakfasts & dinners on board, seven nights’ 3* hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast in Spain; all visits & tastings as described; four lunches & three dinners, Tour Escort.

Departure date: September 1st Cost: £1245 Single supplement - £280 (Room & cabin)

Shipboard options: 4-berth cabin for 2 persons - £90 per cabin(return)
4-berth cabin for 2 persons with porthole - £140 per cabin (return)

Pick up points: Warwick - Bristol - Exeter - Newton Abbot - Plymouth (with a Feeder from Portsmouth)

Rioja Rioja Rioja

To book a place, fill in the booking form and send it with your cheque for £50.00pp made payable to IBM Retirees Club (Midlands), to:-

Michael Fabianski, 146 Birchwood Lane, Somercotes, Alfreton DE55 4NE

OR if you wish to pay by EFT, email your booking form to and when your booking is confirmed, EFT instructions will be sent to you.

Word document     Printable Booking Form

Refer to the document Event Booking Conditions for terms and conditions.

Amsterdam City Break by Eurostar Organiser: Paul Gover

The proposed Eurostar trip to Amsterdam garnered sufficient interest to be a likely event for 2019. However, the proposed 2019 club schedule is congested in midsummer, and the trip will move from July to early October. Therefore we are not taking bookings or deposits as yet.


We’ll probably book directly both travel and hotel through Eurostar, as they seem to have decent deals, and that way everything would be billed in sterling and be covered by ABTA.

Travel bookings for Amsterdam currently open 120 days before travel (as the journey includes a segment on Thalys trains, and that’s their rule), which means we don’t need booking forms or deposits until June, and therefore expect to re-announce the trip in April or May 2019. However, Eurostar might start direct services by then, and their travel bookings start 180 days before, so we’d re-announce in February or March 2019 instead. Watch this space.

Contact Paul Gover with any queries.


Sub-Groups of Retirees Club and Employee Club

IBM Retirees Rambling Group

The IBM (Warwick) Rambling Club is now a subsection of the IBM Midlands Retiree Club. Any member of the Midlands Retiree club is welcome to join our subsection. Our subs are £5 per person per year. Our programme consists of a meal in late February, a monthly ramble with a pub lunch using own transport and an AGM in December. In the past we have shared a trip using coach transport with retiree sightseers in May or June - this year there was a trip to the Isle of Wight 24-28 June.

Any retiree who would like to give us a try, can come along on one of our monthly walks without needing to join. Meal subsidies are available only to members and not for those joining us on a trial basis.

Go to a list of the planned walks for 2018 and other information.

For more information, please contact Terry King,


IBM Retirees PC and Technology Group (founded by Harry Green)

The IBM Retirees PC and Technology Group meets every alternate month for a lively discussion on PC and technology topics in the digital age. There are usually one or two specific presentations given by members or by outside speakers, which the members of the Group have requested. We try to provide a reasonable balance between PC “techie” topics, new technology, and topics of a more general nature such as digital television, Internet telephony and digital photography. So whether you are a newcomer to the PC or a more experienced user, we hope you will find something of interest. You are very welcome to join us.

Go to meeting dates and other information.


Members’ Notices

We all know Midlands Retirees who are undertaking a range of activities to raise money for good causes. The Committee have therefore decided to offer this space to advertise such initiatives and other events which may be of interest.


Click on the links below for more useful information.

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