The Solent Beer and banter has been going on every second Monday of the month at the Churchillian for I think about 4yrs now.
At first we had 20 or so people turn up every month, and sometimes a few more, then it dropped down to about a dozen.
Over the past year or so it's gradually dwindled down to maybe half a dozen regulars on a good month, and sometimes just a couple.
I see it now a a chance to catch up with some good friends, especially during the winter months when we don't meet up on the water so much, but of course everybody is always welcome.
A lot of those that did turn up each month have moved on to other things, or had some big changes in their lives that preclude them from turning up, and I think some that travelled further just didn't find it worth the journey each month. The personal stories of why people move on have not been posted, but I can tell you that some of the old regulars have had some 'issues'.
It did help with arranging cruises, in that we'd all sit around the table and come up with dates and venues.
I'm quite happy to put the post up every month as I know there will always be somebody there to talk boats with,
I have to say that the monthly get together and the cruises arranged on here have meant I've met some great people that I would now consider friends, people from all walks of life that I would never have met otherwise.
The Solent network has helped people on lots of occations, we all know that help or advise is only a phone call away, and there have been times when one call has set the drums going, and somebody with a problem has been helped out localy by somebody they did know themselves or would not have thought to ask.
Obviously I'm not suggesting that a 'clic' or sub level group has formed, but the amount of people posting from around the Solent area does mean that friendships have been formed 'off air'.
As for the X-mas dinner, people turned up from all over the country and abroad, it will be back with a vengance next year, maybe I'll even arrange a summer ball!
RIBBED For extra pleasure.
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