October 2018 Newsletter

There are places still available for the Christmas Lunch at Wroxall Abbey on Thursday 13th December but please get your bookings in to Alan Bridgman as soon as possible. There are also places still available for the annual Skittles Evening on Thursday 8th November.

Sadly, the trip to see the historic car races at Silverstone was cancelled because of lack of interest.

We are asking for expressions of interest in 2 possible trips next year. See below for details:

Michael Fabianski, Newsletter Editor. E-mail: ibmmidretnews@gmail.com


Event Report: E1809BMW: BMW Mini Factory Tour, Oxford, Wednesday 26th September & Wednesday 10th October

Rarely are events so popular that we have had to make a return visit in the same year, but this was the case for the BMW Mini factory visit. Once announced the available places were filled very quickly with several people saying that they were interested but could not make the original date. The Committee decided that we should offer a second visit which was also filled very quickly. Everybody on both visits was very impressed at the knowledge of the guides, many of whom had worked on the factory floor. However, one question did stump the guide about locking wheel nuts — did it ever get answered I wonder? Everything is checked and double checked along the entire length of the production line and nothing is allowed to move forward until it is fixed — a significant incentive when a new mini drives off every 67 seconds. It was fascinating to see cars with a myriad of variations — 2-door; 5-door; countryman — in a wide range of colours and additional options travelling along the same line with the various components coming together at just the right moment with little human interventions, as much of the assembly is done by robots with staff just making sure they behaved themselves.

Dave Compton



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

Thursday 8th NovemberSkittles Evening, Snitterfield. See September newsletter.
Thursday 13 DecemberChristmas Lunch, Wroxall Abbey. See August newsletter.

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.

Amsterdam City Break by Eurostar Organiser: Paul Gover

Please contact Paul Gover (pmw.gover@yahoo.co.uk) if you are interested in the following event which we might run next year, possibly Friday 5th - Wednesday 10th July 2019.


Covering 5 nights bed and breakfast in a good hotel near, but not in, the city centre, and return travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet. Approximate price per person member and 1st Guest about £850, 2nd Guests £1000. Sadly there would probably be a single room supplement. The travel price for members would be subsidised by about 50%; be aware that Eurostar prices vary depending on how far in advance we book, like airlines, so the current estimate of £300 before subsidy may change.

If there is sufficient interest, at least 10 people, maximum 20, the club will make a cancellable booking for the hotel, and announce the actual price with a booking form next month, requesting £150pp deposit. Note that it appears we can’t book the Eurostar tickets more than 3 months in advance, so the final travel details and costs might change.

Departure would be booked on the 10:58am train from St Pancras, with a change at Brussels onto a Thalys express to Amsterdam, arriving at 17:42pm. Return departing 12:15pm, arriving at 16:05pm, again with a change in Brussels. Times at Ebbsfleet: 11:15am out and 15:45pm back.

You need to make your own way to either St Pancras or Ebbsfleet. Ebbsfleet has “international airport” style car parks for about £50 for a week’s ticket - see here - ebbsfleetintl.co.uk/parking. St Pancras may be easier by rail. In either case, Eurostar point out that you need to take your suitcases and hand baggage with you, so don’t over-pack. Checkin time for Eurostar is 60-90 minutes.

The club will probably be booking the travel and hotel separately and directly, not via an agent, so your booking would not be coverered by ABTA. . Note that in theory the UK will have Brexited, so an EHIC card may be of no use, and your insurance should include adequate medical cover.

Rioja wine region of Spain, Sunday 8th - Tuesday 17th September 2019 Organiser: Michael Fabianski

It has been proposed that we should run a trip to the Rioja wine region of Spain, similar to the successful trips run to the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions in past years.

As previously, the trip would be with Wessex Continental Travel and we would take places on their publicly available trip departing on Sunday 8th September 2019. This trip will appear on their website in the coming weeks. Places will be sold by Wessex Contintental Travel on a first come, first served basis, so we need to guage interest as soon as possible to ensure availability. 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 unsubsidisedtrip cost will be £1245 pp, with a £50 deposit at the time of booking and the balance payable a month 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.

Please see below for provisional details and let Michael Fabianski (michael.fabianski@gmail.com) know by 31st October if you are interested in this trip.

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 8th 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



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 will be 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, terryaking@hotmail.com.


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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