House and Grounds Update August 2016 and Call for Volunteers

Friday, 26 August 2016

Hi Everyone,

As I open this update I can already sense the anticipation (is he or isn't he!?).  Well I can say now that there will be nothing in this update about the new floodlights (that's two in a row!!!).
An Appointment with the Drain Doctor
I am happy to see that the lady members no longer have pained expressions as both the ladies loos were quickly brought back to full service.  The problem was eventually traced to a blocked drain caused by dislodged masonry from an outside inspection cover.  Here I was joined by a local Drain Doctor and had the pleasure of seeing our drains flushed and inspected by CCTV (a House and Grounds Officer certainly leads an exciting life).  The Wednesday Work party Team fixed the masonry in the inspection cover and replaced a second buckled cover with one of a higher weight rating. They also replaced the external waste water pipework which had virtually disintegrated.  We now also have a new barrier to protect our shiny new inspection cover being driven over and buckled again. (please take extra care when parking outside of the clubhouse).  The ladies loos now have a supply of small plastic bags (hopefully further elaboration is not required here). I can now also declare our loos and drains a crocodile free zone.
Fire Safety Work
Over the past few months, new smoke detectors have been fitted and an emergency light has been fitted in the passageway which the Pro-Shop Display looks onto. The fire-extinguishers have recently been inspected and serviced. We are in the process of obtaining a Fire Safety Certificate, the primary aim of which is the safety of all members and visitors to the club but the secondary aim is to meet Insurance Requirements and help keep a lid on the premiums.
Electrical Test Work
We recently commissioned an electrical test and inspection of all of the club's electrics. During the inspection a number of problems were identified and immediately remedied.  Some further relatively minor issues were identified which the Wednesday Work Party Team have been addressing and should shortly completely rectify.  
Stop the Pigeons Stop the Pigeons!
Ok purist viewers of the popular cartoon series by Hannah and Barbara will already be pointing out  'well actually Doug its Catch the Pigeon Catch the Pigeon!' Indeed this may be true but it was just my way of introducing the issues of pigeon poo.  In an attempt to reduce the deposits of pigeon poo on the courts the Wednesday Work Party Team have been fitting some pointed anti pigeon devices to the tops of the light columns (no that doesn't count!). Which if this doesn't dissuade the pigeons from perching should at least generate some high pitched cooing.  I will leave it to our older member's imaginations to assign the roles of Dick Dastardly, Mutley and Clunk to the Wednesday Work Party Crew, younger members will now be convinced that I have finally lost it.
Court Surfaces
We have progressed from my last update on this.  The visit of the LTA consultant has now taken place.  He has given us advice on the best approach to remedy the problems we have together with improving the playing surface.  We are now gathering quotes to carry out the proposed improvements.  As the costs are likely to be significant we will also be applying for external grants to offset the burden on the club.  It is likely that the club will still be left with a sizeable contribution to be made to this project, I will provide a further update when we have a better handle on the projected figures. I thought it appropriate to remind everyone that we have benefited from the current courts without any contributions to their cost for over 40 years.  Although the courts were resurfaced nearly 20 years ago this was actually financed out of the insurance claim from flooding.
Clubspark Court Booking system
As you will have seen from the series of recent emails.  The Clubspark booking system is now in active trial.  Thanks go to Nick for his efforts in setting this up and co-ordinating its introduction plus donating the display device and to the crew for fitting the display device in the clubhouse.  Like any new system it is likely that we may experience some teething problems and it might take a while to become fully familiar with all the workings.  However if we all persevere and give this a serious go we should be able to make this system work for us and we will have added another very useful facility to the club's infrastructure.
They Don't make Kettles like they used to!
Kitchen users will have seen the regular appearance of shiny new kettles four in fact in as many months,  The latest one appears to be a bit more durable but please treat her gently.  I will be sending our consumer report to Which.  On the subject of the voluntary contributions of 10p for the tea,coffee, sugar, milk, electricity (and kettles) they seem to be waning over recent months, as does the willingness of members on observing low milk levels to scoop a pound from the pot and make an intrepid trip to Waitrose to purchase a further four pints of cow juice.  I know many members feel their subs represent their contributions to the costs of tea and coffee provisions, there are also many members who are also sub payers and contribute many hours of voluntary time to the running of club who feel this view to be a little less generous. As reported earlier the club has some big bills looming and I will leave it to each individual to decide whether they feel their subs are best used for filling coffee and tea jars or a smooth, bright, safe, new court surface.
Clubhouse Cleanliness, Bins and Rubbish
Ok the purpose of these updates is to provide a light hearted update to the progress and workings of the club, I do not and will not allow it to become a regular nag nag nag update, Nor will I plaster the notice boards and walls of the clubhouse with No No No No notices. To avoid any possible misconceptions our clubhouse is not immune from the laws of chemistry and physics. Clubhouse bins like the bin in your kitchen if you put food waste in it an and leave it for a number of days (particularly in warm weather) will start to pong. Similarly if you put half filled disposal coffee/tea cups into the bin when the bin is emptied there is a strong tendency for stale tea/coffee to spill on the floor and if particularly unfortunate the emptier's leg.  I would also like to dispel another popular misconception in that the club house used to be cleaned more frequently than once a week, It wasn't.  What used to happen was that if Danny (our former groundsman) and David H (our former hardworking chairman of some twenty plus years) was in the clubhouse and noticed a bin was full or emitting an unpleasant odour they emptied it.  Both of these individuals are now enjoying a well deserved retirement. So the baton has now been passed to the wider shared user community. So by all means please continue to use the bins but if you a disposing of coffee/tea beakers then put the dreggs down the sink first.  If its waste food (particularly the pongy varieties) then when leaving empty the bin into the bins outside.  There is a supply of white and black bin bags in the drawer in the kitchen. If you leave a work surface or table dirty then tidy and clean it before you leave.  I also have to advise that for food crumbs etc on the floor a hoover (named Henry) lurks in the ladies changing room. This will be my last comment on the subject, if problems persist I will just be assuming that many of our members have pretty pongy kitchens, together with stale tea and coffee stained flooring.
Call for Volunteer Painters
The exterior of the clubhouse and the wire netting fence posts are in desperate need of a coat of paint.  On Wednesday 17th, Wednesday 24th and Sunday 21st August there will be special work parties focussed on painting tasks.  Volunteers in addition to the 'old faithfuls' are very welcome. ish start. Please come suitably attired for painting, (painters hat, paint board and easel).  If we don't get everything complete, bad weather etc I will make a call for some more work parties in September.
Keep smiling and enjoy your tennis!
Doug Pell
House and Grounds Officer

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Meet our coaches

Nick Peckis currently the Head Coach at St Neots Tennis Club in Cambridgeshire working as the Club Coach and managing their Community Tennis Programme...
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Scott Martin - Is the Clubs Performance Coach. A vital member of the coaching team with 30 years coaching experience at the top level behind him as well as a formidable playing background. Scott works with Nick on the Aces & Performance side of the programme, working with our Top Juniors to progress into the club or outside tournaments. He plays in the clubs 1st Team.
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Dennis Vincent- Dennis is the Clubs Junior Coordinator, he has been at the club for over 37 years and has been working with the juniors for 30 years giving a wealth of coaching experience. Dennis runs the coaching for the clubs junior members as well as our Adult Beginner sessions on Sunday mornings.
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