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Sunday 1 November

Sunday Chez Paul

There will not be any presentations here, due to System Maintenance.

Some of you have said that during these strange and quirky days you quite enjoy to meet up for a chat, so with the announcement that England will be in COVID-19 from Thursday, I thought that it would be nice to open up my Zoom meeting to anyone who wants to drop in for a chat.

Paul Klaassen is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Chat meeting
Time: Nov 1, 2020 07:30 PM London


Meeting ID: 893 4452 9680
Passcode: 1NovChat

I’ll open the Waiting Room at 07:00 p.m. If no one turns up by 08:00 p.m. I might shut down for the night.

I have ordered a new laptop but with the new lockdown, it’s anybody’s guess when it will arrive.

Hope to see you tonight! Stay Safe!

Sunday 25 October

Since Friday I have been wrestling with a broken laptop. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 that I use as a laptop, but the link with the keyboard has ceased working.

It kind of works but it is slow as many keys are in the ‘wrong’ places. So let’s give it a go:

Paul Klaassen is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Paul Klaassen’s Zoom Meeting
Time: Oct 25, 2020 07:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 851 8130 8559
Passcode: Tryit

Sunday 18 October 2020

Chez Pauls

Tonight we should finish the outline itinerary, from Fiambala to Uspillata. Elisabeth and Norbert Sarnes from Germany did this stretch in 1996 where as my experience is from 2008, so I jumped at the chance. They should have been along the route at the moment if it had not been for COVID-19.

Any suggestions or offers for future presentations will be gratefully considered and most likely presented here.

I offered to give more publicity for tonight’s speakers but they asked to keep it small and low key – they quite like the intimacy of the open-mike, small audience feel of these meetings.

Hope to see you tonight!

Paul Klaassen is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Elisabeth & Norbert Sarnes Zoom Meeting – Fiambala to Uspillata
Time: Oct 18, 2020 07:30 PM London


Meeting ID: 838 3645 7229
Pass-code: Elisabeth&

Sunday 11 October 2020

Chez Pauls

Paul Klaassen is inviting you to another scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: Oct 11, 2020 07:30 PM London

Holiday planning Zoom Meeting – Chile & Argentina 202? part 3


Meeting ID: 814 0349 6309
Passcode: HolidayNex

Since the Second Weekend in September I have been planning Angie’s and mine next trip to cactus country. Angie asked for another trip to Chile and I had come across an image taken on 18 May 2001 of me sitting in a field of flowering lupine shown on the previous page. This tends to suggest a travel date of May, but as we are not prepared to put our lives at risk while the Coronavirus travel warning still limits where we can go safely, the start date is left open.

The above map shows an outline of the planned route, flying in to Santiago, Chile, driving north via Ruta 5 until the turning to San Pedro de Atacama. I selected images for this stage on Sunday 27 September. Last Sunday (4th October I showed images of the journey form San Pedro de Atacama, over the Paso de Jama to La Quiaca, Argentina and looked at plants growing along the border with Bolivia.

Today I’ll show you pictures from the journey South, to and up the Quebrada del Toro before returning to a lower altitude via Cachi and Cafayate to Famatina. There are lots of Tephrocactus on this stretch, with many in flower. Next week I’ll try to find all the Argentinean Eriosyce Group known as the Pyrrhocactus Group, to get us back to Uspallata and the border crossing tunnel through the Andes back to Chile.

Sunday 4 October 2020

Last Sunday we had a small but nonetheless cozy meeting where I had intended to share images of my first trip to Chile in 2001. I was a little overconfident that I had all my trip presentations on a plug in hard drive so had done far too little time prepare for the presentation, only to find that in 2001 I was dragging two analogue cameras and about 40 rolls of 35 mm film with me, together with a prototype of one of the early Nikon cameras thanks to the father of a classmate of my youngest son, who was (and still is, I believe) the Marketing Manager of Nikon Europe.

Having to take life easy after I had a heart attack in 2006, I scanned all my conventional slides to digital format.

Why start in May? The above image was taken in May 2001. The area was covered in flowering lupines. My camera gear now is a whole lot better now so this will be an opportunity to retake the image with better results.

This Sunday I’ll entertain you with images from Chile around San Pedro de Atacama, to La Quiaca on the Argentina / Bolivia border before heading south to the Quebrada del Toro and on to Salta.

We did this stretch and more; Yavia cryptacarpa and the Blossfeld Oreocereus forest as well as most taxa in the Eriosyce Pyrrhocactus group and in the genus Tephrocactus.

Topic: Sunday Chez Paul Zoom Meeting
Time: Oct 4, 2020 07:30 PM London
Meeting ID: 868 9966 5067
Passcode: Hols2021

I look forward to seeing you there.

Monday 21 September 2020

I really enjoyed the Second Weekend in September, that just like previous ELK events, once it has passed, soon is filed in the memory banks and planning moves on to ELK 2021, hopefully along the lines that we’ve got used to in previous years.

The ‘core’ members of our ELK party are already talking about a get together in the Netherlands, to visit our friends who run C&S nurseries, chat, eat and enjoy a drink or two. I did not get my annual ‘red cross parcel’ for the first time since my move to the UK in 1967 and I have not yet experienced what I can bring back legally since BREXIT kicked in. I have long run out of Zoute Drop (licorice), Zaanse Stroop Wavels and to pick up some Dutch junk food in the shape of ‘een broodje kroket’.

Here in Wiltshire, at Solstice Park, we celebrate that today in about 91 days, on 21 December, the days start getting longer again. In the mean time I’ll have to make do with playing back old presentations, starting with Chile 2001 this coming Sunday.

Sunday  September 27, 2020 07:30 PM British Summer Time


Meeting ID: 823 5657 0320
Passcode: 2001Chile

Anyone who wants to give a Zoom presentation, even just to try out the format, let me know.

Hope to see you there!

Back home! I never left this time!

So yesterday night we would have arrived home in Amesbury, Wiltshire, avoiding the A303 and the queues past Stonehenge, 5 miles farther on.

Sadly, there was no haul of plants to unpack. The dustbin men woke me forcing me to get up and add the empty bottles of Westmalle to the glass only container. It’s still hay-fever season for me – this time due to the orchid pollen, At least I did not suffer any sneezing attacks during the presentations!

Normally, part of the ELK experience is that I would have finalized the upcoming trips to cactus land – checked that my fellow travelers were ready. Check how many pounds we need to change to dollars, pesos or whatever else we need this year. Nothing! Just as well as the currency exchange rates are not good and quite variable. Last year I had already started planning for the next trip, to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, bought the books and guides and read up the essentials – where do the cacti grow? The plans will still be good when travel once again be possible.

So it remains for me to thank all the speakers for their fine talks, Ronald Fontyene and Ian Woolnough on the Friday, Rikus van Veldhuisen, Finn Larsen, and Wiebe Bosma on Saturday and Alain Buffel and Jonathan Clark on the Sunday. Brilliant photography, wonderful landscapes and for showing us a huge range of varied plants, some I’ll probably never see in nature – clearly I started too late in life!

I looked through my bank statements and see that there is a lot more money in then normally on this date! Yet I would have gladly seen the usual post-ELK nearly-broke status and look back on the real-life experience!

Finally a great thank you to all those who attended – without you it would have been a very empty and boring on these pages.

If you click on the ‘Follow…’ button at the bottom right of this screen, you’ll get a message of my future webinars, mostly on Sunday night. If you’re free, I’ll be happy to see you there.

Hope to see you next year at Blankenberge for ‘the real thing’!

Stay Safe!

I admit that ‘normally’ (for me since, 1985) the 3rd day of ELK is usually waking up with a headache after too much beer on Saturday night, followed by a review of the plants purchased along the lines of ‘Angie is this your plant or did I buy it? Can it fit in your top box or do we start a new box? Shall we take the plants to the car before or after breakfast?’ Then a quiet scratching of the head; How are we going everything in the car? What time shall we leave for Duinkerken? What time do we have to be there? Shall we go for the earlier one? We’d better go for breakfast! Do you have the tickets? Better start saying goodbye to our friends until next year!

This time it is easier. For the first time, we are going to the Sunday lectures without the worry about the journey home. What is the talk? Alain Buffel on his trip with Greet around Australia in 2018!

Introducing himself to his audience, Alain Buffel writes:

‘I bought my first cactus (Mammillaria hahniana and still in my collection in the greenhouse) back in 1978 and a second plant followed the next week.

I was offically infected with the cactus and succulent virus and there was and still is no cure for it. Wanting to see the world of the plants that I grew my first ‘plant-expedition’ followed in 1991 to go and see the then still very exotic world with a 6 week trip to South Africa.

To make a long story short, I never recovered from that infection either and travelling the world to see plants in habitat became a second passion, never to end again. Some 20 trips later I still feel passionate by growing plants, mainly from seeds brought back from habitat plants. This resulted in a trip to Australia in 2018. This the  story of that trip:’

Join Alain at his Webinar at : Sunday 13 September – 11:30 Central European Summer Time
(= 10:30 British Summer Time)


Meeting ID: 811 4472 3794
Passcode: BuffelRoo

Join Dr. Jonathan Clark’s ‘Cacti & Succulents in 3D’ Webinar on Sunday 13 September 15:00 PM European Summer Time (= 14:00 British Summer Time) by following: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84737413362?pwd=am9FZFV4eTVlamxuSHBZbmZlZmVvQT09

Meeting ID: 847 3741 3362
Passcode: DrYClark

Jonathan Clark writes: I have been growing cacti and other succulents all my life since school days, and I have always been interested in technology, especially computers, plus photography. My interests also include anything and everything that enables creation and showing of 3-Dimensional images. I have already given many 3D cactus and succulent talks in ‘real’ 3D, taken both in habitat and in cultivation – my aim being to bring a ‘full immersion’ view of cactus habitats to the audience. However, that uses the same technique as the cinema and requires a special screen and glasses. Since everyone will just be viewing the talks this weekend on their home computer screens, that are (mostly) not 3D, it has been quite a challenge to work out a way of giving a 3D talk that can be viewed on normal 2D screens. The method I’ve worked out does NOT need polarising or ‘funny-coloured’ glasses. I will be showing pictures taken during trips to Mexico, including Baja, that I went on with Paul Klaassen and others, as well as pictures taken of plants in cultivation.

Paul writes: Jonathan’s parents must have had quite a sense of humour giving him a middle name starting with the letter Y. There is already a Doctor Who, so he is Doctor Why! Enjoy the images! We hope to persuade Jonathan to write up how he did this (perhaps in Cactus World?) I’d love to know how to do this AND make it look good in webinars!

And that is it! Feel free to stay until the janitor switches off the lights. Have another drink with friends! Make plans to meet up next year for the Second Weekend in September 2021, hopefully at Duinse Polder in Blankenberge, Belgium.

Normally we would be on the ferry to Dover, gaining an hour before we reach England. Some 3 hours after disembarking I arrive home, rushing to unload the car before dark. Tomorrow the race begins to move all my plants back into the greenhouse for winter, until May next year when they move outside for summer sun and rain.

Thank you to all the presenters and people who sat through the test presentations to minimise any ‘problemettes’. Many people have thanked me to help us to get us through these strange COVID 19 days. Check this page for announcements for future get togethers.

Stay Safe!

Paul Klaassen leaning against an Echinocactus platyacanthus in Mexico

Saturday 12 September – 11:30 Central European Summer Time
(= 10:30 British Summer Time)
Paul Klaassen (Tephrocactus Study Group) ‘But I don’t like Opuntias! 2020’.

In the absence of formal proposals from the TSG, I will present ‘But I don’t like Opuntias – 2020.’ The theme will be similar to the talk I gave at the TSG AGM what seems now quite a few years ago. Once again I’ll show images (newly selected) of Opuntias s.l. that I have seen in nature selected from the 15-16 or so groups using the taxonomy/classification of the New Cactus Lexicon 2006. Plenty of opportunity for differing opinions! No fighting please! 🙂

To join this webinar, click the link at the start time.

Meeting ID: 846 2928 3591
Passcode: Tephros

Saturday 12 September – 13:30 Central European Summer Time
(= 12:30 British Summer Time)
Rikus van Veldhuisen (Euphorbia International Org):

Magnificent Tanzania
Images from my recent trips to Tanzania, with of course any Euphorbia we saw!

Image taken from http://u4ba.nl/about_me.html

To join this webinar, click the link at the start time.

Meeting ID: 849 4186 0792
Passcode: Tanzania

Saturday 12 September – 18:00 hrs Central European Summer Time
(= 17:00 British Summer Time)
Finn Larsen (Denmark) : A trip to southern Peru

Finn writes: I´m Danish and live with my wife to the west of Copenhagen. For many years I’ve been active in our Danish Cactus and Succulent Society (Nordisk Kaktus Selskab) and for many years I  have been travelling to look for cacti and succulents. Paul K. writes: in 2003 we met Finn, on his own, in the Quebrada San Ramon, near to Taltal on our second Copiapoathon. Ian had space in his car, so invited Finn to join us for the rest of our trip. Finn has traveled since with Ian in USA and Mexico and meets up with our group at ELK where he has a sales stand.

Finn Larsen

Finn continues: In 2015 I paid my friend Carlos Jimenez a visit and we made some trips looking for cacti in Peru. One of our trips went to southern Peru and Macusani to see Punotia lagopus and other cacti.

To join this webinar, click the link at the start time

Meeting ID: 897 3673 8932
Passcode: FinninPeru

Saturday 12 September – 20:00 hrs Central European Summer Time
(= 19:00 British Summer Time)

Wiebe Bosma – Succulent highlights from Ethiopia

To join this webinar, click the link at the start time

Meeting ID: 837 7218 8864
Passcode: Asclepiads

Paul writes: within minutes of Ronald’s announcement on Facebook that ELK 2020 would be cancelled this year because of COVID-19 I wrote to my friends suggesting that we should set up Webinar presentations to fill the gap in our diaries. Wiebe was the first to reply, within minutes, and so has been given the Saturday night ‘Top Slot’

Regular attendants of ELK will know Wiebe from his sales stand at the back of the tent in Duinse Polder. In case he needs further introduction Wiebe writes: “Born in 1959, have enjoyed a ‘life-time’ interest in cacti and succulents. I started collecting these plants as a teenager and right now have a mixed collection in a 24 square meter greenhouse. I enjoy looking for cacti and succulents in their natural habitat and have done so in 8 different countries. Wiebe has a broad interest in people, culture and nature from the countries that he visits and being an amateur photographer, so always returns back home with a load of pictures. And yes, he likes the local beers. Cheers!

And so we reach the end of Saturday night. Feel free to continue the chat over a few more (Belgian) beers or wine from cactus country and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning for more Webinars!

Friday 11 September 2020

Today’s opening talk.

I suspect that a gremlin has crept into tonight’s opening talk. Please use use this link to get in. Apologies for any inconvenience!

Time: Sep 11, 2020 05:00 PM London

Meeting ID: 831 4751 2741
Passcode: Welcome

See you there!