IRENE STRANGE: A perfect day out for the Red Hat Society

Irene Strange, far left, and the Scarlett O'Hara's at the Queen's Hotel, Southsea. They are part of the Red Hat Society.
Irene Strange, far left, and the Scarlett O'Hara's at the Queen's Hotel, Southsea. They are part of the Red Hat Society.
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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I am part of a friendship chapter for the over sixties – the Red Hat Society.

Each chapter is represented by a red name. In Southsea we call ourselves the Scarlett O’Hara’s and we meet for community, fun and friendship.

Our group includes Ann Thompson, Pam Harvey and Jeannie Strangeway plus other friends. We range from 70 years young to 99 years young and we all have pseudo royal names such as Baroness Strange Irene, Countess Chardonnay, Lady Chocolate and Princess Sew & Sew.

We recently thoroughly enjoyed a Sunday afternoon with a large glass of Pimms in the gardens of the Queen’s Hotel, Southsea.

The catering manageress, Amanda, personally, and with three very smart and proficient waiters, brought us out pots of tea and coffee, courtesy of the Queen’s Hotel.

Since the new management took over the Queen’s Hotel, afternoon cream teas are only served inside when booked at £17 per person.

The china is not taken down the steps into the gardens, which is understandable.

So we were privileged and all was served with good humour as we enjoyed the melodious tones of two handsome young gents singing to the crowds in the garden.

Some happy souls dared to hot foot and dance to the music.

Smartly dressed security guards in the car park treated all obligingly with parking directions and with the Kite Festival nearby and the sun shining warm and bright, we all enjoyed our afternoon together.

A pleasant time was also had by the hundreds of people crowding the hotel bar, dining room and those around us in the open garden.

Incidentally, the new owners of the hotel had previously decided to re-carpet the main large reception hall. In pursuit of this they had taken up three layers of carpeting to discover a beautiful black and white marble floor which now looks astoundingly magnificent in its Queenly surroundings.

I have visited other Red Hat chapters around the world, including Perth in Australia, and Amarillo and Houston, in Texas. We went out for the day on a bus trip with the bus being loaned from Houston Prison, which had a huge logo on the side, HOUSTON PRISON.