A report by David Dawson-Taylor
An enthusiastic gathering of Shutists took place in Fareham, Hampshire, UK over the week-end of 29 to 31 August 2014
We met at the Holiday Inn and started the Saturday morning with an introduction by our Vice President, John Anderson.
We were then entertained to a fascinating talk by David Henshall who has lived in the Isle of Wight for many years and has made an in-depth study of southern Hampshire, the Solent and the Isle of Wight as they relate to Nevil Shute's stories.
With the aid of many first class slides, especially of the area as it used to be, he described many interesting facets of the novels, demonstrating how Nevil must have actually visited the places to which references are made.
David's detailed knowledge introduced many new ideas which become apparent when the amount of research he has done is explained.
All in all it was a privilege to listen to such an expert for an hour an a half.
After welcome coffee break, Laura Schneider gave us a guided tour of the courses that she runs in the United States for the ILEAD (which is a rough equivalent of the UK's U3A), and how she became involved in Nevil Shute book clubs in her parts of America.
We then all set off in a coach (thoughtfully organised by John) for Hayling Island, where we stopped for a pub lunch at The Ship Inn. to be followed by a walk round the grounds of Pond Head House (courtesy of the owner) including the boat house and the jetty (the latter now in disuse thanks to the recent storms).
We then had a short coach ride to the seafront on Hayling where stands the memorial to the "Commando Operations Pilotage Parties" (COPP) who were based here in the second world war. Bill Duncan, who was Janet Prentice's fiancé in ""Requiem for a Wren" was working with this organisation in the book.
|The Ship Inn||Pond Head House||Jetty at Pond Head house||COPP Memorial|
The coach then took us to Warsash, which has many associations with Nevil Shute (across the water is Luke's boatyard), where he kept his yacht, the small ferry stills runs across to Hamble on demand, the Corbetts crossed to this side when they were looking for milk - and so on. David Henshall pointed out a number of landmarks to us, including the memorial to one of the D-Day embarkation areas.
After a long day, we were taken back to the hotel to rest awhile before the evening dinner.
The Holiday Inn had laid on a comprehensive menu for us in a private room, after which we were entertained to a number of George Formby songs (? ditties) by Matthew Sproston accompanied by his ukulele - very well done too !!
On Sunday morning we were treated to the first showing in UK of the new film "Fallout" produced in Australia and depicting partly the life of Nevil Shute and partly the making of the film "On the Beach"
The final session was covered by Alison Jenner who explained the outline plans for the next international conference which will be held in Oxford, UK at the end of either August or September 2015. Watch the newsletter and this website for further details.