Category Archives: General

Search for a new Musical Director

We are a very friendly, sociable group with 35 Members and like to sing a wide range of music including; Musical Theatre, Folk, Sacred and Popular.  We enjoy the challenge of three part singing as well as a good unison sing-a-long at most of our sessions. We give one formal concert a year in the summer and organise the annual U3A Advent service. We are also regularly invited to sing at several local nursing homes.  We meet every Wednesday morning at Aughton Village Hall from 10 am until 12. (Broadly following school holidays).  We have a well organised team who take care of admin, finances and hall bookings.  We need someone who can inspire us, build on what we have already achieved and lead us along an exciting and rewarding musical path.

If you are interested in finding out more then please contact the U3A Choir Group Leader, Ann Henders, on 07847 364330.  Closing date for expressions of interest Tuesday, 21/1/20.

Please note there is no remuneration for this role.

Drama Group

Here we are at the end of our dress rehearsal for “Christmas Pudding”.  We hope you came along and enjoyed the “live”performance.

No time to let the grass grow – we are now in rehearsal for our next performance “Death By Paintbrush”, a whodunnit set in the 1920’s

Looking forward to seeing you on 24th or 25th April at Aughton Village Hall, ready to do some sleuthing.

Summary of visits – June to December 2019

Firstly please accept my apologies for not posting the usual individual reports for these visits.

11th June 2019 – Lunt Meadows

Five members of the group attended and enjoyed a very good morning’s birding despite the persistent rain.  The water levels in all the lakes and ponds were much higher than we have seen before as a result of all the recent rain.  A total of 37 species were recorded and it was good to see many chicks and juvenile birds.

9th July 2019 – Burton Mere RSPB

Five members of the group attended and as on previous visits to this site we benefited greatly from the experience of guest leader Peter Twist.  A total of 51 species were recorded on this visit and a particular highlight was the large number (25 plus) of Little Egret several of which were at their nest site.

10th September 2019 – Marshside RSPB

Twelve members pf the group attended for the morning with a couple of us staying on into the afternoon.  Although we did not see as many species as on some visits to this site, a total of 31 species being recorded, the sighting of the two Ruddy Shelduck was a ‘first’ for the group.  Another highlight was the group of five Cattle Egret ‘doing what it says on the tin’ as they interacted with some cattle.


‘Record shots’ of the Ruddy Shelducks (left photo) and the Cattle Egrets at Marshside.

8th October 2019 – Martin Mere WWT

(One of a number of occasions this year when the venue had to be changed because of the poor weather to a site where there was shelter available.)

Eleven members of the group attended this visit and a total of 42 species were recorded.  Large numbers of Pink Footed Geese and a few of the Whooper Swans had arrived at the site, a little later than usual probably as a result of the mild Autumn.  There were however surprisingly few waders to be seen although 6 Snipe was a highlight.  Another highlight was seeing three Marsh Harriers hunting.

22nd October 2019 – Leighton Moss

On this occasion we were lucky with the weather but had been advised to take wellington boots as some of the paths were flooded following recent rain.  Six members of the group attended and a total of 46 species were recorded.  After spending the morning at the main reserve most of us went to visit the hides located at Morecambe Bay before returning home.  One member who remained at the main reserve was rewarded with the sighting of a Bearded Tit.  Although on the group visit we had heard a water rail we had not been lucky enough  to see it.  The photo included here was taken by Bill Hale who was not on the group visit but had visited the site the following week.

12th November 2019 – Mere Sands Wood

Another weather-related change of venue as the wind-chill and muddy conditions would have been intolerable at the planned venue of Hesketh Outmarsh on the Ribble Estuary.  Ten members of the group attended this visit and a total of 33 species were recorded.  Highlights were the large numbers of Teal and 10-12 Goosander.

The planned visit to Speke Hall on 10th December was cancelled, again because of bad weather.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen on the above visits:

Continue reading


The Bridge Group are looking at running a short course in March or April 2020 for members who would like to learn how to play Bridge, or who would like to return to playing after a break from the game.  If you think you may be interested in such a course, the please ring Nick Dowrick on 07988119408 to register an interest.


Our Autumn 2019 Production

We are proud to present, in November, another new musical written and directed by our own Gill O’Flaherty.

‘Chances’ is loosely based on a true story of finding and losing love over the years, with highs and lows and modern songs that ties up and adds to the emotion of the story line.

Please click or tap on poster to view all details in  full-size.

24 November 2019

Our Creative Writing ✍ group make a first appearance for our last session of the year.  They are very talented and and were  well received.
After early festive refreshments the ‘Sunnysiders’🎻🪕🎸🎷🎤🎧🎶 (musical variety show) entertained us further.

27 October 2019


27 October 2019 –

’REVAMPED’ returned to entertain us with their songs & guitars  🎸🎸🎼plus we had  a display by our Textiles & Quilting group🧵🧶.


22 September 2019

22 September 2019 –

Our marvellous U3A choir 🎤🎶 performed  for us in September followed by refreshments as usual and Prize Bingo🎁


Christmas Cheer

Wednesday 4th December 2019

On the 4th December we had our traditional Christmas Cheer event which started with short talks on the theme of the deep mid-winter: the effects of freezing, when is it actually winter?, the effect of day length on plants and a new slant on the birds of the twelve days of Christmas; plus a quiz and of course Christmas refreshments with mulled wine.  A good time was had by all!

December – Icelandic Sagas and Norse Mythology

The session:

Completed the Saga of Gisli and started Norse Mythology.

1/.  The Saga of Gisli

In the final part of the story Gisli became a warrior hero, honourable and true.  He would have been seen as a popular hero at the time the story originated.  Not all his killings would have been seen as good now but when he was found guilty of a crime magic had been used to prevent people from speaking for him.  His actions would have fitted the social conventions of the time.

In his final confrontation Gisli took a warrior hero’s last stand.  Eyjolf who had been paid to find Gisli discovered his hiding place.  Gisli challenged Eyjolf to attack him.  Eyjolf is portrayed to be a coward in this part of the tale and orders Helgi to attack Gisli first.  Helgi agrees knowing he will certainly die but also tells Eyjolf he must follow him.  Aud (Gisli’s wife), who is portrayed as being strong and brave, attacks Eyjolf injuring him.  Gisli cuts Helgi in two and Eyjolf behaves in a cowardly manner by hiding behind a rock.  Gisli fights valiantly against Eyjolf’s men, killing many of them, but is eventually overcome by his grievous wounds.  The wounds were so bad those there did not know how he fought for so long.

We looked at Gisli’s warrior hero qualities and had a discussion around how he fitted the criteria.  He was a northern hero, existing in an extended family, with family ties and loyalties.  The tale’s scale is more domestic, involving family feuds.

2/. Norse Mythology

This covers Germanic and Scandinavian mythology

This would have been brought to Britain in the 500’s by the Angles and Saxons and in the 800’s by the Danes, Vikings and Norwegians so the stories would have been familiar to the people of Britain.

We had a quick recap of the Creation Myths which generally start with chaos and darkness in a fluid unformed state which had existed for all time.  There was a Sky God who was the father of the gods, he formed the universe and imposed order on the chaos.

In the Germanic and Scandinavian myths little of the original mythology survived.  The Germanic god of winds and storms Woden and Odin the Scandivanian god over time took on the characteristics of the old sky god and the original faded away.

In January we shall continue Norse Mythology

December 2019 Competition Winners

T1 Landscape

T2 Autumn Glory

Last dances in the year 2019.

6.12.19 Elfrida recorded the dances.

  • Childgrove – longways
  • Turning by threes – 3 couple longways, danced it twice after lots of practice.
  • The soldier and the sailor – longways, danced it before, with poussettes and half figure eights.
  • Jamaica – 4 couple dance.
  • Gloster reel – longways.

Then 16 of us enjoyed the meal at the Stanley.

13.12.19 Several of Geraldine’s birthday requests:-

  • Geud Man of Ballangigh a longways Playford dance from 1709.
  • Mirror Me a 3 couple Loretta Holz 2007 dance.
  • another of Geraldine’s waltz requests, April’s Lady, 3 couples in circle.
  • The Queen’s new square (not one of Geraldine’s) longways.
  • Holborn March published by Johnson 1742.

20.12.19 some more of Geraldine’s requests, (she knows what she likes and we like them too.)

  • Wooden Shoes pub. Playford 1703 a longways dance.
  • Loose Ends a 4 couple dance with draw poussettes. This is the first dance with poussettes, see later for a different form.
  • Sellenger’s round, as expected, a circular dance.
  • Dunham Oaks a longways dance, from the dances of Brian Wedgbury 2004, with straight poussettes
  • and finally another of Geraldine’s favourites, a suitably jolly dance to end 2019, The Comical Fellow.

🎄🎄Happy Christmas to all and our thanks to June for her patience and skill, leading our group for another year. Also for Elfrida, deputising from time to time.

See you all in the New Year on January 10th.





Our ‘Christmas’ Do!!

Here we are at spitroast having our meal. Good food and good company.

Thanks Dag for arranging the meal.

2019/20 Snooker League

Here are the Divisions and Matches for the forthcomming Event.


I will update the Match Results as they happen.

November – Icelandic Sagas

The session:

Looked at Icelandic Sagas

1/.  Around 700 survived in manuscript form.  Some are based on family history, others covered leaders and battles, early Viking exploration and heroes.  A mix of fact with storytelling.

2/.  The Saga of Gisli – this is a settler saga based on historical records from around 800-1000 AD.  It was written sometime in the C13th.

It is a story with a large cast of characters, a number of whom start with THOR as the first four letters, and is not an easy tale to relate in a few words.  If you enter ‘Saga of Gisli’ in your search engine a number of sites will give you the story in full.

It is interesting to see that the settler story based on the facts produces a cracking story with family honour, conflicting loyalties, revenge, oaths, prophecies, heroes and daring deeds.  It is also a good example of how stories grow and are embellished over time.  It is about a settler society involving families, kinship groups, protection and defence, family honour and reputation.  The society rules were there to protect the good order of society.  Oaths were very important and were seen as a call to the gods.  At the time it was believed that Odin created the universe and natural laws.  Once an oath was broken fate will have its way.


In December we shall conclude the Saga of Gisli and start looking at Scandanavian Mythology

November dancing

1.11.19 some chosen by Pat as her birthday requests.

  • The Pursuit x3 a longways dance with several layers of complexity from the Walsh collection 1714-19.
  • Trip to Bavaria by James MacGregor-Brown a 4 couple set danced twice.
  • Rostillion from J&W Neal 1726 collection.
  • (The) Working Masons in Merlin a longways dance, also from Neal collection 1726. What an amazing title.
  • St. Katherines another longways dance from the Neal collection 1726.


  • Portabella a longways dance from the Walsh collection 1715.
  • Pool’s Hole a longways dance from Dancing Master 1690 reconstructed in 2011 by Christine Robb.
  • Double Jubilee a contemporary 3 couple dance by Gary Roodman, & tune by Gary Wiesler.
  • Sea Breezes another 3 couple contemporary dance by our very own June Jones.
  • Gasconne a longways dance 1710 & interpretation by Pat Shaw.

15.11.19 recorded by Elfrida, with a limited number of dancers.

  • Lead through and Cast away – longways 3 couple set
  • Broom the broom, the Bonny Bonny broom a 4 couple set, danced twice.
  • A June Jones composition, with no title so far, a world premiere, a 4 couple set, danced twice to 2 different pieces of music, one a slower deliberate beat, the second a more racey Scottish reel. The dancers preferred the more racey one!. I look forward to encountering this dance in the future.
  • Happy Days  – a 3 couple dance. Version 1 with Grimstock heys, version 2 with cross heys. Cross heys preferred.
  • Doldrums – 4 couple square set, 3 figures and a chorus, danced twice.

22.11.19 Session with live music from Frank and fellow musicians. Recorded by June.

  • Nampwich Fair longways.
  • Portabella longways.
  • The Waggoner 3 couples.
  • Irish Lamentation longways.
  • Lord of Carnarvon’s Jig 4 couples.
  • Rostillion longways.

Refreshments followed.

29.11.19 4 new dances today.

  • The Welch a traditional longways dance.
  • The Journey 4 couple dance.
  • The Exact Tuesday a June Jones longways dance.
  • The Bonny Bonny Broom 4 couple dance from 1651.
  • The Greenwich Pensioner the song composed by Mr. Dibdin 1791.

🎄🎄🎄Please note Christmas lunch after dancing on December 6th.

 AND We will be dancing as usual on the 13th. and the 20th. December.




Battlefields Tour

Battlefields Tour –  September 2020

If you have an interest in history and WWI in particular, you may be interested in a five day break which has been organised for next year. The trip, which is led by a professional guide is based in the French city of Arras on a b/b basis but includes three additional meals – one lunch and two dinners. All outings and entrances are included in the cost which is £439.00.

Visits will be made to many of the famous sites of the battles of Passchendaele and the Somme with additional visits to Poperinge, Ypres, Notre Dame de Lorette and Wimereux.

For the full itinerary and details of booking arrangements please click or tap on the Battlefields Tour Flier. Or you can pick up the flier from Ken Moulton at Horizons or call 0151 526 2530.

Please be aware that this is not a U3A organised holiday so the U3A insurance will not apply. Private insurance will be required.

Jane Jones

November 26th 2019 – mid-break meeting

Prior to starting on our exploration of medieval cathedrals of the South and South-east of England in January 2020, there will be a mid-break meeting at the Scout Hut at the usual time of 14.00 on Tuesday 26th November.

This will give the opportunity for a brief preview of the 2020 programme, including the nationally historically important Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

As a holiday treat we will whisk you abroad to look at eight medieval French cathedrals, although separated by relatively short distance we will be able to see some of the differences between English and French Gothic, as well as show regional differences within the large geographical extent of France itself.

Speakers: Peter Goodrich, Peter Hatfield and Peter Gateley

2019 Local History Summer Outings

Saturday 27 April 2019 – The National Memorial Arboretum

The 150 acre site located in Staffordshire is the UK’s centre of Remembrance and home to the iconic Armed Forces Memorial was the location for the first of the Summer outings. We took a land train with commentary to see some of the thought-provoking memorials and we listened to an introductory talk about the Arboretum. The opportunity was taken by some to hear another presentation entitled Shot at Dawn about soldiers who were executed by firing squad.

Departed 9.15am, Long Lane near S&G HQ.

Returned approx. 7.15pm.

Cost – Coach £18 – Land train £5.


Sunday 12 May 2019 – West Derby Courthouse and Speke Hall Liverpool

Firstly we visited the West Derby Courthouse. This stone built Courthouse is the only free standing post medieval court in Britain. Built in 1586 on the authorisation of Queen Elizabeth I it functioned until 1910.  We continued onwards to Speke Hall, a fine example of a timber framed Tudor house with an interesting history to be told by one of the guides at the Hall.

Departed 1pm, Long Lane near S&G HQ.

Returned approx. 6.15pm.

Cost – Coach £10, Speke Hall admission £10. National Trust members no charge. Please remember to bring your Trust membership card.


Saturday 22 June 2019 – A Day in Deva – now known as Chester

The Roman roads linking Chester with Lancashire may have passed through Aughton and Ormskirk, we do have a turnpike road and Roman coins have been found in the area. Our visit included a cruise along the River Dee with a sandwich, cake, fruit, tea / coffee lunch. After disembarking we carried on to see the Midsummer Parade that dates back to Tudor times. Led by a child, the City Drummer and a family of Giants, puppet animals, mythical creatures, hobby horses, musicians and more costumed participants added to the colourful parade as it made its way around the City centre. Later in the day there was the chance to walk in the footsteps of Legion XX.v.v with Titus , our very own Roman Legionary guide. A welcome stop for a meal / snack / comfort break was taken on the return journey.

Departed 9.45 am, Long Lane near S&G HQ.

Returned approx 8.45 pm.

Cost £28. Optional walk £4 extra.

More details and booking at Horizons.


Tuesday 2 July 2019 – A Tour of Liverpool’s Empire Theatre. Lunch at the Adelphi Hotel. A Tour of Liverpool’s Playhouse Theatre.

All the venues were optional but we started at The Empire where we met at 10.50 am for and 11am start. We had an interesting tour of the front of house areas from one of the Empire staff. Much reminiscing took place by members of U3A, remembering visits made there to see, amongst others, The Beatles and other 60’s icons! This was followed by a tour of the back stage areas.

We moved on to The Adelphi for 12:40pm where we had a three course meal and a much welcome sit down!.

After lunch we walked to The Playhouse. We were shown around all the public areas and taken onto the stage and into the backstage areas. An interesting time was had by all.



If you are experienced in Photography/Photo. Enhancement, please come and share your knowledge with us.

If you are new to Photography, we are a friendly group who will always be pleased to help with advice on Camera equipment and how to take better pictures.

Submitting Competition Entries – a reminder

Please ensure that your competition entries are submitted in the correct format – i.e. as JPEG files – and at a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels.  Please also remember to rename the files to include your name and the competition topic, e.g. Joe Bloggs – September Topic 1


  Our next meeting is on  6th February at 2.00pm  in Haskayne Village Hall

Christmas from the Garden

A special Gardening Group Meeting on Wednesday November 13: Jaqueline IddonChristmas from the Garden.

A practical demonstration, making a blue spruce door ring, winter pots and other festive ideas to help decorate your home for Christmas.

All welcome!

Malcolm Jacques Trophy November 2019

The Match took place on Friday afternoon, November 8th.

It comprised of Singles between the A and B teams of Southport and ourselves.

The Teams:



The Singles Resolts;

Ormskirk A beat Southport A [Ash Street] 3-2

Ormskirk B beat Southport B [F&H SSC] 3-2

So the Doubles match to win the Trophy took place between Ormskirk A and B. Ormskirk A won both Doubles.

Barry accepted the Trophy as Captain of Ormskirk A.

Xmas Events & Celebrations


All U3A Members Invited



“Please click on links listed below for each group to view more details of the various festive events.”



November 13th – Gardening – :  Festive ideas to help decorate your home for Xmas. Christmas from the Garden. 

November 29th & 30 Drama Production – :  Come along and “taste” our recipe for  A Christmas Pudding. 

December 3rd – Local History – :  Our seasonal meeting on.   A Winters Day

December 5th – Advent Event  – :  Come along to Christ Church at 10.30 am. for the  Advent performance form the Choir and Recorder Groups

December 6th – Wine Tasting – :  Come along to our  Wine Event

December 12th – Philharmonic Visit – :  Listen to enchanting music in the beautiful St. Georges Hall Concert Room.  Xmas with Septura

December 13th – Christmas Lunch – :  Christ Church Ministry Centre.  U3A Seasonal Social Event

December 19th – Christmas Walk & Lunch – :  Garstang  Golf Club – Walking Group D
Walking Group E

Attrial Fibrillation

 Wednesday 6th November 2019

The full title of the talk was “The global stroke tsunami related to an irregular heart rhythm: A focus on atrial fibrillation” – which really says it all.  Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition which affects 7 in 100 of over 65s and we were lucky to hear all about it from two experts Dr. Deidre Lane and Professor Gregory Lip from the Liverpool University Centre for Cardiovascular Science.  Not only did we have a fascinating presentation but Dr. Lane and Professor Lip then tested those interested with a Kardia electronic device to determine if they had atrial fibrillation and give them advice on what they should do next.

October dances including ‘June’s Master Class’

4.10.19 Elfrida recording.

‘June’s Master Class’ by default. We must nearly all have decided to holiday at the same time as only 3 dancers were present today, hence the 2 couple dance ‘Master Class’. It certainly tested June’s ability to improvise & succeed! Well done dancers and June.

  • Handle with Care 2 couples facing each other, music by Handel.
  • Hoop’t Petticoat 2 couple longways from 1726.
  • Improvised by June for 2 couples – a slip jig renamed ‘June rejigged’. To the music Yellow stockings.
  • Cobblers Hornpipe, a longways reel in triple time so counting in 6s.
  • Turn of the Tide, another adaptation for 2 couples, 1s improper & having a lovely solo part leading down, then reversing, then leading up & reversing.
  • then Handle with Care again, by request.

⭐️ for June, what a talented teacher we are lucky to have, able to adapt such dances ‘off the top of her head’ so to speak.

11.10.19 Back to normal numbers today!

  • Greenwich Hospital a longways dance from 1718 pub. Playford.
  • The Haymarket, a play on hay/hey as this dance included a Morris Hey and a Grimstock Hey. A 3 couple dance.
  • The Leaving of Liverpool. Called by John & danced twice.
  • Cobblers Hornpipe, dance for 3 couples as it should be – see above.
  • Come let’s be Merry another 3 couple dance from 1727 pub. John Young.


  • Zephyrs and Flora a longways dance from The Walsh collection 1715.
  • Sir Watkin’s Jig for 3 couples danced twice.
  • Stafford Castle a contemporary Naomi Alexander longways dance. We had limited success; to dance again with alternative music?
  • Alice another contemporary dance 2002, by Philippe Callens, waltz time & danced twice.
  • Namp(t)wich Fair longways from John Young’s Dancing Master 1726.

25.10.19 Birthday requests for Pat Mc.

  • Wooden Shoes longways dance.
  • She looked down her nose and sneered danced to a new tune.
  • Fittleworth Frolic a circular dance for 5 couples but we danced with 7, the men’s Star was a bit of a dash for the shorter legged dancers!
  • Hole in the Wall a triple time longways dance.
  • Mendocino Redwood written in Gary Roodman’s choreography class at English Week 2005 Mendocino Woodlands State Park.
  • finally Irish Lamentation.

Each year I count (roughly) all the different dances we have danced.

This year October 2018 – 2019, we danced – 178.

Most danced ;-

is – ⭐️ Namp(t)wich Fair

5 share the next place – Orange & Blue, Young Phyllis of Wakefield, Gasconne, Trip to Sheringham and Irish Lamentation.

10 share the next place – Farmer’s Joy, Roll the Line, Ladies of London, Rostillion, Whim of the Moment, A Fig f0r Bonaparte, Wibsey Roundabout, We will down with the French, The leaving of Liverpool and finally Wooden Shoes.

☹️ N.B. Unfortunately the front door will now be locked during classes. (so please arrive on time!) This is following some incidents.





Christmas 2019 – Advent Event

Our U3A Choir gave a sincere and heartfelt Advent Performance on Thursday 5th December at Christ Church which marked the beginning of the Christmas season.  It was an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and to have a good sing!  Once again we asked for donations for the Ormskirk Food Bank and members were very generous.  The Recorder Group  also  performed at this event.

At the end of December, the choir also sang at Aughton Park and Ince Blundell Nursing Homes where we were very warmly welcomed.  This is now a Christmas tradition for us and it is lovely to see familiar faces.  Sadly, Christmas saw the retirement of our Musical Director, Duncan Roberts.  We said a fond farewell to him and wish him all the best for the future.

September dances

Leading down, then they’ll be casting back….


  • Liberty from the Yorktown Victory Ball 1781. A 3 couple dance.
  • Trip to Sheringham a square set 4 couple dance.
  • The Jackdaw a Scottish 4 couple dance.
  • Bells of Oxford a longways dance.
  • (The) Irish Lamentation a longways dance from the Walsh Collection 1735.
  •  Whibsy Roundabout a circular dance by Gary Roodman 1995. A big favourite, everyone is moving all the time! We got a bit stuck when we danced this in August last year but cracked it straight off today ⭐️.
  • The Dutch House a longways dance.


  • Lead through and cast away a 3 couple dance.
  • The Healing Touch choreography by Ron Coxall, a 4 couple dance.
  • The Introduction a 4 couple dance by Fried de Metz Herman 1999. We did this 3 times to perfect it,  a lovely dance but quite difficult.
  • The Doldrums a 4 couple square set dance. From The Maggot Pie Collection 1797 (ref. Colin Hulme)
  • Trip to Sheringham a 4 couple dance.


  • Brighton le Sands a June Jones longways dance.
  • Sion House pub.Playford 1701, longways dance.
  • Newsham Review another June Jones dance, for 3 couples.
  • Conwy Castle a longways dance by Tom Harnden.
  • A School for Scandal a 3 couple dance from 1778.
  • Rostillion a longways dance from 1726 by John & William Neil.
  • Lord Caernarvon’s Jig dance for 4 couples. Adapted by Cecil Sharpe 1910.

We did a lot of dancing today to build an appetite for our enjoyable ‘Summer lunch’. Our thanks to June for organising it. So nice to see a few former dancers.

27.09.19 Elfrida recorded the dances. Thanks to her. Just a select 8 dancers today.

  • Prince of Wales Fancy from 1792, we were wondering which future King this referred to, danced twice.
  • Star Of Kintra a Trevor Monson dance from 2004. Kintra a settlement on the N.W coast of the Ross of Mull. Loads of practice at this dance, but eventually perfected it.⭐️
  • Upton Priory a waltz rhythm, some gypsy moves & slow changes but again cracked it in the end.⭐️
  • Lastly  The Doldrums, see 13. 09.

An enjoyable if brain taxing & physical morning!



Age Related Macular Degeneration

We were due to have a talk on “Age Related Macular Degeneration: Causes and Future Treatments” in September but this had to be cancelled because the speaker, Dr.  Simon Clark, had to go to Germany at short notice but hoped to give us his talk a few weeks later.  However the visit to Germany was very productive in that Simon has been appointed an endowed professor at the renown Tubingen University to lead the macular degeneration work there.  Sadly he has left the UK and will not be able to give us a talk but Ormskirk’s loss is Tubingen’s gain: we wish him well in his exciting new post.

Nuclear Weapons

Wednesday 2nd Oct 2019

Nuclear war is perhaps something not thought about as much as it should be nowadays but was an important topic when we were younger.  Edmund Moynihan gave us a sobering account of the early development of these weapons, the science and technology behind them and the possible results of their use.  A talk which was not only about science  but also politics and ethics.  The talk generated much discussion as one might expect, which was followed by a 10 minute clip of a film for US schools from 1952 on the theme of “protect and survive”.  Takes you back!


September 2019 – Siegfried

The session:

Covered the Siegfried legend featured in the epic poem the Nibelungenlied (the “Song of the Nibelungs”) that was written in the High German language c1200 AD.

1/.  The Nibelungs were a Germanic tribe who lived along the northern reaches of the River Rhine, who possessed a fabulous treasure that was guarded by a dragon.

2/.  It is basically a rewriting of the legend of Sigurd which we covered in earlier sessions, with the same characters under different names, but the writer of the poem has set the story firmly in the early thirteenth century.  There are castles, knights in armour, fair damsels, medieval style battles and so on.  Siegfried and Kremhild (Sigurd and Gudrun from the earlier legend) conduct their love affair according to the rules of “courtly love”.  Otherwise it is the same tale of heroic deeds, and the treasure, and the bickering between Kremhild and Gunther’s wife Brunhild (Gunnar and Brynhild) that leads to Siegfried’s treacherous murder at the hands of Gunther’s follower Hagen.

A Tower with a View

Heritage Open Day in Christ Church, Aughton on Saturday 21 September. Church Tower open for viewing  and a talk on Christ Church History  given by U3A member, Peter Goodrich.  See the Parish Newsletter and also Posters in the Christ Church Ministry Centre

25 August 2019


We had a fantastic Sing-a-Long with our famous Guitar 🎸🎸🎼🎶Group then refreshments☕🍰 before we a lively Beetle🐞 Drive.

28 July 2019


The Great Mr Bill Evans returned with his Annual Comedy 🤣🎼and Quiz Show and, as always, had us all in stitches

Spring Concert 2019


This term culminated with our spring concert “Desert Island Favourites” which took place at Aughton Village Hall on 25th May.

English Medieval Cathedrals – 2019 series

English Medieval Cathedrals of the South West

A series of six indoor meetings, looking at ‘Cathedrals of the south-western parts of England’ + two coach trips (not to SW England!).


22 January – a talk about Winchester Cathedral


26 February – a talk about Salisbury Cathedral


26 March – a visit to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral


23 April – talks about Bath Abbey and Truro Cathedral

Bath Abbey Timeline

Truro Cathedral Timeline

28th May – a visit to Selby Abbey and Sherburn Church, Yorkshire

25th June – a talk, about Bristol Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral Timeline

23 July – a talk, about Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral Timeline

27 August – a talk, about Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral Timeline


and one more week for August…


  • St. James Gardens a longways dance.
  • Bonnie lads and lasses a longways dance by the Neal brothers, John & Will 1726. We were praised by June for the timely execution of this dance.⭐️
  • Six for Gold 3 couple dance by June Jones, for inspiration: see 5.07 19.
  • Roundabout our coal fire Music & choreography Bride 1776, interpretation by Jacqueline Schwab. A dance to remember for a cold Winter’s day!
  • Ladies of London a 1718 longways dance.

August dances

Leading up.


  • Brighton le Sands a longways dance by June Jones based on this area of Merseyside.
  • Alice a Philippe Callens contemporary, longways dance in waltz time.
  • Barbarini’s Tambourine dance from the Walsh collection 1747. Music by Handel.
  • Whibsey Roundabout it will be no surprise to find that this dance is circular. A Gary Roodman 1995 dance and one of our big favourites.
  • Fret and Rejoice. Another Gary Roodman dance from 2015, there is an underlying story to this composition. The music is by Dave Weisler whose son apparently lost his favourite soft toy Tiger, hence the ‘Fret’ followed by the ‘Rejoice’ on finding it.
  • (The) Faithful Shepherd a longways dance with more music by Handel.


  • (The) Faithful Shepherd see last week.
  • Bonnie lads and lasses a new longways dance for us and for June.
  • Fret and Rejoice also see last week.
  • Shandy Hall a 4 couple dance x2. Choreography and music by George Middleton 1977. (lots of turns!)
  • Bonnets so blue a longways dance.


  • The Ladies of London a longways dance from 1718.
  • A Lady Remembered a John Wood longways dance with a haunting tune.
  • Hoop’t Petticoat, a new 2 couple dance, a nice little dance!
  • Monks’s March with the Wanders, another new dance, summed up by June “as interesting”. An interesting figure of 8; lots of clapping with partners and neighbours.
  • Namptwich Fair 1st appears in the John Young Dancing Master 1726.

23.09.19 Elfrida calling and recording the dances. With assistance from John.

  • Birthday Reel 4 couple longways danced x2.
  • We will down with the French 3 couple longways. John calling.
  • Orange and Blue 3 couple longways x2.
  • Leaving of Liverpool 3 couple longways x2.
  • (The) Farmer’s Joy, longways.

Energy: the science behind achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050

Wednesday 4th Sept 2019

Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is perhaps one of the greatest challenges now facing us.  The talk by Jack Brettle covered the basic science behind energy generation and use (we even had some thermodynamics!), comparison of the sources of energy, what we use it for and what actions we might take to achieve the 2050 target.  As might have been expected the talk generated a lot of audience questions: we can’t say we know how to solve the problems but at least we now have a better background to critically appraise all that we see and hear in the media on the topic.

A Taste of Christmas Pudding

click or tap to view full-size

Dates for your diaries – 29th and 30th November.

Come along and “taste” our recipe for A Christmas Pudding.

Don’t forget to bring your own drinks and glasses to celebrate the festive proceedings.

We look forward to seeing you.

If you wish you can pre book tickets by contacting Megan or Jackie on the numbers on the flyer above.

Past Operas 2019

July 17th – No Opera

June 19th at 1:30pm

Lucia Di Lammermoor – Donizetti

The Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti (1796-1848) adapted his opera Lucia de Lammermoor from the novel by Sir Walter Scott, with its tale of a doomed romance between Miss Lucia, daughter of the Ashtons, and Lord Edgardo, the head of the Ravenswood clan driven to a lonely exile on Wolf’s Crag. The 1992 stage production with The Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala as conducted by Stefano Ranzani comes to home video in the release Lucia de Lammermoor. Renato Bruson portrays Lord Enrico Ashton and Mariella Devia is Miss Lucia. The cast also features Vincenzo la Scola, Marco Berti, Carlo Colombara and Ernesto Gavazzi

Synopsis: Click here

May 15th 2019 at 1:30pm

Attila – Verdi

This energetic, noisy opera was a product of Verdi’s ‘anni di galera’ when he had difficulty in keeping up with the pressure upon him to compose operas. It has been described as one of his ‘crasser’ products. I can think of several composers who would give their eye teeth to be able to write such an opera. The problem for Verdi is the standard of what had gone before and what we now know was to come………

So, by Verdian standards, not the best of operas; but by any standards this must be one of the best performances of it. Recorded in 1991, all had overcome their curiosity of the camera so there are none of the early distracting sly glances. All is played on stage and how well it is played, with all characters engaging completely with the text.

Synopsis: Click here

March 20th 2019 at 1:30pm

Carmen Sleeve PhotoCarmen – Bizet

Metropolotan Opera

Bizet’s Carmen has everything you want from an opera: high drama, passionate characters, a love story. And what’s more it’s absolutely packed with great melodies – even if you don’t know the opera, you’ll definitely know the tunes.

First and foremost – the music is nothing short of awesome

Bizet wrote a fair few great works – the Te Deum for a start – but in Carmen he really went up a gear in terms of writing entrancing melodies.

Superstar tenor José Carreras is Don José, the solider from a small town who … Samuel Ramey is the charismatic matador Escamillo, who lures Carmen away 

Synopsis: Click here

February 20th 2019 at 1:30pm

Tito Sleeve PhotoLa Clemenza Di Tito – Mozart


Loosely based on the life of the Roman Emperor Titus, La clemenza di Tito distills the suspense of Don Giovanni, the warmth of Le nozze di Figaro, and the nobility of Die Zauberflöte into one powerful parable of love and friendship, vengeance and mercy.

Synopsis: Click here



January 6th 2019 at 1:30

La Boheme – Puccini

La bohème is one of opera’s most popular and unforgettable stories. When young poet Rodolfo meets seamstress Mimì, it’s love at first sight. But faced by the cruel realities of poverty and ill health, will the flame that burns between them flicker and die? Or will the timeless strength of their youthful passion withstand every trial and tribulation that life can throw at them?

Synopsis: click here

Past Operas Pre-2019

December 19th 2018 at 1:30pm

Porgy and Bess – Gershwin

  • Willard White, Cynthia Haymon, Damon Evans, Cynthia Clarey
  • Orchestra: Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle


“This is the most complete video that I have found anywhere
that has “most” of the songs from the original score in their
orginal form as written musically. The sound, scenery, and costumes
make the story come alive; you feel as though you too are living
in Catfish Row!”
Synopsis: click here

November 21st 2018 at 1:30pm

Julius Caesar – Handel

‘This is Baker at her finest! Though recorded late in her career the sheer beauty of her phrasing, the accuracy of her pitch and the dramatic intensity of her delivery remind us that this was an exceptional singer of her time.’


‘Dame Janet Baker in one of her greatest roles leads a cast of some of Britain’s finest interpreters of baroque opera under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras. John Copley’s acclaimed English National Opera production was restaged in studio skilfully using all the technical advantages offered to create this top quality recording.’

Synopsis:  click here

October 17th 2018 at 1:30pm


“Beautiful cinematography and great performances throughout. I first checked this out from Netflix, watched it several times and then reluctantly returned it. I couldn’t get it out of my head and so, finally got a copy for myself so I could watch any time I wanted!!”

Filmed on location in Rome, 1976.

Real elements of nostalgia here, to see Domingo in full flight. His refulgent voice is one of the enduring joys of this film of Tosca.

Synopsis: click here

September 19th 2018 at 1:30pm
Il Trovatore – Verdi

Il TrovatoreThis 1978 performance of Il Trovatore from Vienna is a definitive performance of Verdi’s war opera, under the stern direction of Herbert von Karajan.

Placído Domingo is at the height of his powers here, singing the title role with power and passion, his dark-tinted tenor ideally suited and still capable of the vocal leaps and bounds required by some of Verdi’s most challenging music. His Manrico is a mix of neurosis and sex appeal whose death in the fourth act leaves the viewer feeling hollow. It should say something about his performance that his “Di quella pira” rings down the curtain on Act III with so much gusto and energy that the aria feels like the climactic finish of the opera. You almost forget that there’s a fourth act to come…..more here

Verdi’s Il trovatore is probably best known for its ‘gypsy’ music: the Anvil Chorus, Azucena’s ‘Stride la vampa’ and Manrico’s heroic ‘Di quella pira’ are key examples. But Verdi wrote wonderful music for all four of his leads and the score boasts a host of thrilling ensembles and chorus numbers including the Count’s aristocratic aria ‘Il balen del suo sorriso’ and Leonora’s prayer

Synopsis: Click here.

August 15th 2018 at 1:30pm

Andrea Chénier – Giordano

Giordano’s Andrea Chénier is one of the greatest of verismo operas, full of heart-stopping big tunes and powerful emotional situations. If it is not as well-known as it should be, it is because in summary it sounds a little too like Puccini’s Tosca: there is a tussle between political opponents over a woman, an attempt to save a condemned man, a tenor aria about writing poetry on the eve of execution. The difference is that Gerard (Giorgio Zancanaro) is not a villain like Scarpia, he is an idealist whom the French Revolution has betrayed as much as it has his rival the poet Chénier (Placido Domingo). His temptation to abuse his power to seduce the virtuous Maddalena (Anna Tomowa-Sintow) is a momentary one, though its consequences are terrible. There is a streak of post-Wagnerian decadence in much of this–Maddalena is at least as much in love with death as she is with Chénier, and the final love duet has a deeply sinister aspect.

Domingo is at his best in this Covent Garden Opera House performance from 1985; at once ardent and serious-minded, we believe in his Chénier as a poet and political figure. Conductor Julius Rudel gives the rich score all the weight and lyricism it demands and the Covent Garden chorus is at its occasional best in the scenes of revolutionary excess.

Synopsis: click here

July 18th 2018 at 1:30pm

The Turn of the Screw – Britten

If you have the misfortune to be born into an operatic family you can expect to be murdered by your own mother (Médée, Lucrezia Borgia), killed by your grandmother (Jenufa), or even bumped off by a hitman hired by your father (Rigoletto).

Perhaps most insidious, however, are the crimes not of violence but of absence, neglect rather than active cruelty. Productions of Verdi’s I due Foscari and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw whispered some of the darkest unspokens of parent-child relations, conjuring nightmares all the more potent for their subtle horrors.

Britten’s ‘curious story’ of a governess caring for two orphaned children in a remote house is a miracle of taut construction. Running at less than two hours, with a cast of six and an orchestra of just 13, its slender precision mirrors Henry James’s original. But Britten’s musical narrative has a built-in device denied to the prose-bound James. Constructed around a single theme, the work unfolds in 15 variations, each ‘turning the screw’ just a little tighter on this single idée fixe. In Jonathan Kent’s endlessly inventive production for Glyndebourne (originally seen in 2006), these variations go from musical transitions to the dramatic engine driving this domestic tragedy to its terrible conclusion.

The cosy 1950s naturalism of Paul Brown’s set is framed by a double, circular revolve. Almost perpetually in motion, propelling beds and baths, children and their ghostly doubles into and out of view, it suggests unseen agency. At its centre is a giant glass panel which twists and shifts with each changing scene. Endlessly reinventing itself, first greenhouse, now French windows, then frozen lake, it remains always a membrane — increasingly and terrifyingly porous — between two worlds. Whether these are worlds of sanity and madness or safety and danger remains deliberately unclear as they merge and bleed into one another, echoing the governess’s own question: ‘Is this sheltered place the wicked world, where things unspoken of can be?’

Scene from Glyndebourne Tour’s Turn of the Screw. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Elegant though Kent’s production is, Britten’s opera stands or falls with its cast. Achieving a rare natural chemistry, the children — Flora (Louise Moseley) and Miles (Thomas Delgado-Little) — dominate. So familiar, so instinctive is their play that it loads the dice even more heavily than usual against the governess (Natalya Romaniw) and her suspicions. A brilliant coup de théâtre finds them playing in the dirt of a fresh grave, ripping petals from a wreath — horrors of the sweetest, most innocent kind imaginable.

If all eyes are on the children, all ears are on the adults of the cast. Anthony Gregory’s Quint is exquisitely sung, his villain all the more disturbing for his vocal beauty. He’s paired with an explosive Miss Jessel (Miranda Keys), whose vocal dramatics contrast with Romaniw’s matter-of-fact delivery — only hinting at hysteria in the very final moments — and an unusually robust Mrs Grose from Anne Mason.

On careful inspection, film footage used in the Prologue reveals itself shot in Glyndebourne’s own gardens. We may watch Bly’s tragedy from the safety of the audience, but shouldn’t kid ourselves that we’re safe from its horrors. It’s the final and cruellest twist for a Screw that’s tightly wound indeed.

Synopsis: click here

June 20th 2018 at 1:30pm

Il Barbiere Di Siviglia – Rossini

Many operas around the world cover on the subjects of love, sorrow, and death, that is to say, they are tragic dramas. If you are not good at such negative stories, I recommend you see this opera-“The Barber of Seville.” I’m sure we will burst into laughter many times, because there are some comical points in this opera. You should especially pay attention to the dialogue between Bartolo and Almaviva. Almaviva disguises himself as Bartolo’s right hand man in Act 2. The audience frequently burst into laughter.

Gioachino Rossini who composed this opera is a musical genius. The overture of this opera is very famous. And Rossini’s melodies are bright and smooth, so the opera’s story flows freely. Do you know the “Rossini Crescendo”? This is Rossini’s unique method of composition to increase sound volume gradually in steps. The Rossini Crescendo probably excites both orchestra and audience at the same time.

Synopsis: click here

March 21st 2018 at 1:30pm

Idomeneo – Mozart

Opera in three acts, Libretto by Giovanni Battista Varesco
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Returning home from the Trojan Wars during a storm, Idomeneo, the king of Crete, vows to sacrifice to Neptune (the Greek god Poseidon) the first living creature he meets ashore in return for his own safety. The first person he sees turns out to be his own son Idamante, and Idomeneo attempts to escape from fulfilling his vow. Idamante, meanwhile, is loved by orphaned prisoner Ilia and by the jealous Electra. Who will be sacrificed, and who will stay with Idamante?

Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera
Conductor James Levine
Chorus Daniel Palumbo

Synopsis; Click here

April 18th 2018 at 1:30pm

Cav & Pag

January 17th 2018 at 1:30pm

Aida – Verdi

This high-definition broadcast of the Met’s sumptuous Sonja Frisell-Gianni Quaranta production brings Verdi’s beloved opera to breathtaking life. The spectacular sets and costumes, the thrilling triumphal scene, and the newly created choreography by Alexei Ratmansky all frame Verdi’s poignant story of impossible love in an incandescent way. Violeta Urmana is the slave girl of the title who loves the warrior Radamès (Johan Botha). Dolora Zajick sings Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter and Aida’s rival for Radamès’s affection. The love triangle ends in treason, imprisonment, and death.

Synopsis; click here

Time 2hr 47m

February 21st 2018 at 1:30pm

Daughter of the Regiment Donizetti

Marie was found on a battlefield as a baby and adopted by a regiment of soldiers. When she falls for Tonio – a civilian – she faces a choice between love and her adopted family.

Pelly’s production fizzes with exuberant humour. It features wonderfully inventive sets: large maps evoke the mountains of Tyrol, the regiment’s camp drowns in laundry and an armoured tank bursts into a drawing room. Gaetano Donizetti’s score weaves robust, military melodies with moments of pathos. Musical highlights include the bravura tenor aria ‘Pour mon âme’, with its vertical leaps to a succession of high Cs, and the delightful duet ‘Quoi? vous m’aimez!’ in which Tonio expresses his love for Marie.

Dessay, Florez

Synopsis; click here

Time 2hr 12m


20th December 2017 at 1:30pm

La Traviata – Verdi

Ileana Cotrubas is stunning as Violetta, the glamorous courtesan who gives up everything for love. Her portrayal is filled with countless little touches that make even the most familiar role seem totally new, and audiences suffered with her plight, and wept at her death.

Plácido Domingo’s golden, seductive voice would make any woman want to run away with him, and Cornell MacNeil is his stern but understanding father.

James Levine’s nuanced conducting is sublime.

Synopsis: Click to download

Time 2hrs 30m

Die Meistersingers von Nϋrnberg – Wagner

From Glyndbourne Opera House

One of the world’s oldest and most celebrated opera festivals, running through the summer months in a magnificent modern theatre situated in the grounds of a country house. This isn’t simply a fluffily glamorous summer beano for the idle wealthy, but one of the world’s great opera houses, boasting unfailingly high musical and production standards that are a byword among the cognoscenti.

The impoverished Franconian knight Walther von Stolzing has come to Nuremberg to dispose of his lands with the aid of the wealthy goldsmith Veit Pogner. He has fallen instantly in love with Pogner’s beautiful daughter, Eva, and followed her this morning to church. As the congregation sing a final hymn and file out, he seizes his chance to talk with her alone…………..

‘Meistersinger is the best-liked Wagner opera, not such a monster as The Ring, clearly better than the slightly ludicrous Tannhauser and Lohengrin, less holy than Parsifal, not so taxing as Tristan. So it is played a lot, and loved by not only Wagnerites, but a lot of the generality of mankind as well.

Meistersinger is the acceptable face of Wagner. There are no hang-ups with sex and sin, no power-mad dwarfs, no sprouting staves, no swans and not a holy grail in sight. Even the racial propaganda mentioned in the notes above can be played down to zero effect except for the unavoidable and disagreeable final outburst about the ethnic cleansing of the arts.

The story is simple, strong and rather slow……….

But the great glory of Meistersinger is its music.’

October 18th at 1:30pm Acts 1 & 2

2h 32m

A superb performance of this melodic comic opera performed at Glyndbourne in 2011. It has freshness, colour and movement which keeps your attention. The storyline is there throughout and easily splits into two halves enabling us to show this exciting video in successive months. We will give an intro to Act 3 to remind you of the story.

See Synopsis .

November 15th at 1:30pm Act 3 of Die Meistersingers von Nϋrnberg,

Wagner from Glyndbourne Act 3, 2h 08m

In which an elopement is frustrated and a serenade leads to an altercation which becomes a riot, our hero rehearses his bid for winning a song contest, a journeyman is promoted and an unscrupulous town clerk makes off with someone else’s poem.

An introduction will be given to remind you of the story so far.

Synopsis; of Die Meistersingers von Nϋrnberg from Glyndbourne 2011

“So it’s three hearty cheers for Meistersinger, a noble life-enhancing work which, although a long sit-down, can give you one of the happiest and most rewarding of evenings in the opera house .”

20th September 2017 at 1:30pm

L’Elisir D’Amore – Donizetti

Except for three passages, Nemorino in ”L’Elisir d’Amore” is nearly a perfect role for Luciano Pavarotti, who sang it at the Metropolitan Opera Friday night in the season’s first performance of the work. It doesn’t overtax the stamina or volume of his voice (both were more than ample Friday); it isn’t too high; it benefits from his lively, pointed diction, and it gives generous opportunities for both of his strongest traits as an actor – clowning and simple pathos. He mugged with relish but was almost never excessive, and he was believable and touching at the moment when poor Nemorino’s hopes topple in the first finale.

Synopsis: Click to open

16th August 2017 at 1:30pm

La Donna del Lago – Rossini

Although thought by some to be one of Rossini’s greatest Neapolitan operas La Donna del Lago is rarely performed, probably due to its demanding florid bel canto vocal writing. I side with Amazon’s staff reviewer, who says that La Scala’s glorious production is graced by some of today’s finest singers and that Riccardo Muti brilliantly emphasizes the work’s dramatic plot, beautiful melodic ideas and touches of local colour.
Set in a dark, glowering ancient Scotland in perpetual strife, battles off stage and three men vying for the love of the soprano. The singing is in this opera … well pointed by Muti. But what singing, as florid as you’ll find and better than you’re likely to encounter in another live performance.

Synopsis – Click to Open

19th July 2017

Turandot – Puccini


In a giant courtyard of the Forbidden City, a woman’s voice soars gloriously into the night sky.

Spotlights illuminate a 580-year-old Ming Dynasty temple where emperors once made sacrifices to their ancestors. Now hundreds of Chinese soldiers and dancers move to the music and to instructions shouted over a loudspeaker. Two ancient-looking pavilions at the front of the vermilion temple hall eerily glide toward center stage, then spew forth dozens more soldiers.

21st June 2017 at 1:30pm

Traviata – Verdi

Netrebko as Violetta

“Netrebko and Villazón . . . are young, attractive and able to convey dramatic emotions. . . . There is not a cough to be heard, nor a crinoline in sight. Yet the passion each lover feels for the other is tangible, and Violetta’s desperation unbearably acute.”

A gorgeous Anna Netrebko not only looks the part in Act 1, she also seizes the sexy essence of the fameous courtesan through sultry actions. There’s no question why man fall for this Violetta. Her conquests include Alfredo, portrayed with equal aplomp by the consummate artist Rolando Villazón. With excellent audio and superb video direction, Netrebko and Villazón’s rather magical rapport comes to the fore, and vocally the two blend superbly . . .Villazón . . . is pure gold throughout. Not content just to blow the audience away with his burnished tenor, he imparts every ounce of Alfredo’s naive and conflicting emotions without       losing the larger melodic contours. His singing is expansive and dark of timbre yet nimble.”

Netrebko · Villazón · Hampson
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker · Carlo Rizzi
Staged by Willy Decker · Directed by Brian Large

Synopsis: click to open

Past Productions

17 May 2017 at 1:30pm

The Girl from the Golden West – Puccini

A youthful Placido Domingo makes a dashing Dick Johnson his greed turned to love on meeting Minnie. His final act aria in which he appeals to the mob not to tell Minnie that they have hanged him but rather let her believe that he has ridden away remorseful to a new life is particularly appealing.

Minnie…Carol Neblett

Dick Johnson (alias Ramirez the bandit)…Placido Domingo

Jack Rance…Silvano Carroli

Ashby…Robert Lloyd

Jack Wallace…Gwynne Howell

The Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Nello Santi

Recorded in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London in 1983

NVC ARTS/WARNER 50466-8356-2-8 [140 mins]

“This is a truly inspired opera with some wonderful music that to my mind admirably evokes the wild west. A soaring performance by the 3 principals, supported admirably and with considerable charm by the supporting cast. I can’t stop watching it”

Synopsis: – Click to OPEN

15 March 2017 at 1:30pm

Othello – Verdi

A Film by Franco Zeffirelli
Otello, A film by Franco ZeffirelliFrom the rousing opening to the desperate and tender finale, this is perhaps Verdi’s most highly charged, sweeping score: a complete masterpiece. It’s a natural project for Zeffirelli, who has filmed both Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet; Taming of the Shrew) and Opera (La traviata) successfully. And he pulls out all the stops here.

His storytelling is lucid, if sometimes overstressed, with dreams and flashbacks, but led by the music.

Domingo is magnificent, the greatest Otello of his generation, no question, with Ricciarelli the most lovely and radiant Desdemona imaginable. Diaz at Iago is fine and the whole production is eye-poppingly sumptuous, as you would expect from Zeffirelli.

Actors: Plácido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, Justino Díaz, Petra Malakova, Urbano Barberini

Directors: Franco Zeffirelli

Writers: Franco Zeffirelli, Arrigo Boito, Masolino D’Amico, William Shakespeare

Producers: John Thompson, Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus

Synopsis: click to open

15 February 2017 at 1:30pm

Sicilian Vespers

Cover Picture Sicilian Vespers


Les Vêpres siciliennes is one of Verdi’s lesser-known mature operas, but was vital to his development as a composer. It was created for the Paris Opéra in 1855, providing Verdi with an opportunity to embrace the elaborate style and traditions of French grand opera.

Stefan Herheim brings Verdi’s tale of revenge, family relations and patriotism to Covent Garden for the first time. His imaginative production draws parallels between the opera and the opera house for which it was written, including a spectacular re-creation of the Paris Opéra itself. Musically, the work contains impressive choruses, passionate duets and some wonderful showpiece arias for the principal singers. Particular highlights include Procida’s aria on returning to Sicily ‘Et toi, Palerme’, the Act IV duet ‘De courroux et d’effroi’ in which Hélène expresses her sympathy for Henri’s dilemma and Hélène’s brilliant Act V boléro, ‘Merci, jeunes amis’.

Leo Nucci, Susan Dunn, Veriano Luchetti, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Gianfranco Casarini,

Conductor: Riccardo Chailly, Producer: Luca Ronconi

Synopsis:- click to open

18 January 2017 pm


Carmen Cover Picture

Placido Domingo, Julia Migenes, Ruggero Raimondi, Faith Esham

Directors: Francesco Rosi                                        Writers: Georges Bizet

All the passion and spectacle of Bizet’s Carmen comes to life in this dazzling screen opera starring Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson. In 19th century Seville, the lusty, tempestuous Carmen (Migenes-Johnson) seduces a naive Army corporal, Don Jose (Domingo), newly assigned to the village fortress. Jose abandons his career, his fianc‚e and even his dying mother for the love of this sultry gypsy. But soon she spurns him in favor of a toreador, Escamillo (Ruggero Raimondi). Crazed with jealousy, Jose begs Carmen to return to him, but her taunting declaration of independence results in tragedy. Shot entirely on location in Andalusia Spain, Bizet’s Carmen has been hailed as the definitive version of this classic opera.

There are a lot of famous melodies in this opera, for example, the famous prelude, “Habanera” sung by title role, Carmen, and other songs. You would never be bored by this opera, though operas generally are long. “Toreador Song” sung by Escamillo who is a bullfighter in Act 2 is outstanding, and the Aria sung by Micaela in Act 3 is lyrical and beautiful. Many first time opera-goers would enjoy seeing this opera.

Synpsis:- click to open

15 June 2016 pm

La Boheme

la-boheme-ss15-production-shots-02-325x250Puccini (113 mins) from Opera Australia

Puccini’s unforgettable tale of love, youth, and tragic loss

It’s about friendship and falling in love. It’s about sacrifice and never giving up, even if it means parting with your lover — or your favourite coat.


20 July 2016 pm


SadkoRimsky-KorsakovPuccini  (174mins.)  Marinsky Theatre,  Kirov Opera Chorus, Kirov Opera Orchestra

You can really smell the sea in this opera – the simple evocation of the rocking sea that opens the opera weaves itself into every corner of the score.

The opera tells the story of Sadko, a gusli player, who leaves his wife, Lubava, and home in Novgorod and eventually returns a wealthy man.

17 August 2016 pm

Pelleas and Melisande

production imageopera by Claude Debussy (Theater an der Wien 2009) (163 Mins)

The only opera Debussy ever completed, it is considered a landmark in 20th-century music.The plot concerns a love triangle.

“This is one of the most beautiful operas of all time.
Debussy’s subtle music frames this mysterious love drama, in which the action and the words dominate. The result is a perfect matching of words, theater and music. In this opera there are no arias, the melody is in the orchestra, not in the voices, it may seem strange to those accustomed to romantic opera, but as one gets used, it’s beauty shows itself. “

21 September 2016 pm

Ariadne Auf Naxos

Richard Straus (134 mins)

Combining slapstick comedy and consummately beautiful music, the opera’s theme is the competition between high and low art for the public’s attention.

19 October 2016 pm

Il Trovatore

Il Trovatore Cover Picture

Four internationally celebrated Verdians gather on the stage of The Royal Opera for an unforgettable night of music and drama. Tenor José Cura is thrilling as the freedom-fighting troubadour of the title; seductive baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is his nemesis Count di Lina; acclaimed soprano Verónica Vilarroel is the object of their love; and Yvonne Naef dazzles as the vengeful gypsy Azucena. Carlo Rizzi conducts, and Elijah Moshinsky’s lavish production, which updates the action to the mid-19th century, fills the stage with breathtaking fight sequences and grand sets.


16 November 2016 pm

Manon Lescaut

Snooker AGM Agenda 10th September 2019

Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Snooker Group

AGM Agenda

Meeting Tuesday 10 September 2019 2pm at the Aughton Institute

Attendance/Apologies for absence.

Minutes/Matters arising from previous meeting (18th September 2018).

Plan for new season 2019/20

Competition formats.

Proposed handicaps.

Malcolm Jacques Trophy.Matches?




Team Captain/s

Web Administrator

Christmas Meal?



G Sumner


U3A Magazine Collection

The next issue of our magazine will be available for collection from Horizons on Thursday 29th August between 9.00 and 11.30 a.m.  It will contain details of group activities through to early December plus lots of other information about our U3A.

We have no one member in charge of Distribution Day this time, so the Communications subcommittee will be sorting things out on the morning.   We will be contacting the regular helpers to ask for support.

If you hand-deliver around your area do please call in for your batch of magazines.  All remaining copies will be posted out.  However, it would help to keep postage costs down if you could collect your own magazine and perhaps that of a friend or neighbour.

Some Group Leaders collect magazines for their members and we will be sending a separate email around to ask if this is possible.

A request for a member or a small group of members to organise the next Distribution will appear in the magazine.  If you feel you could help then do make the offer.  Plenty of guidance will be available from Ian Haskell and it’s only four times a year.

August Meeting

Wednesday 7th August 2019

There was no meeting on 7th August as we had our usual summer break.

July 2019 – Sigurd continued

The Session:

Continued the legend of Sigurd the Volsung

1/.  Sigurd disguised himself as his blood brother Gunnar, rode through the magic fire surrounding Brnyhild’s tower, and claimed Brynhild as Gunnar’s wife.  Back in King Gjuki’s kingdom, a fierce rivalry grew up between Brynhild and Sigurd’s wife Gudrun, over the question of hierarchy and which of them had the better husband.  In the end, Gudrun told Brynhild that Gunnar had not been brave enough to ride through the flames to claim her, and that Sigurd had done it for him.  Brynhild was determined to avenge herself on Sigurd for his deceit.  She told Gunnar, falsely, that Sigurd had betrayed him by sleeping with her, knowing that Gunnar would be obliged to kill Sigurd to safeguard his own honour.  Gunnar and Hogni ambushed Sigurd and killed him.  Brynhild did not wish to carry on living, given her humiliating circumstance, and she killed herself.  She was laid next to Sigurd on his funeral pyre and they went into the next world together.

2/.  In this version of the legend, Brynhild and Gudrun’s actions are seen as justifiable.  However, a thirteenth century re-working lays the blame for Sigurd’s death on the female characters – Brnyhild, Gudrun, and a new character, King Gjuki’s queen Grimhild, who was an evil sorceress.  This re-working possibly reflecting the prevailing mediaeval attitude to women.

3/.  We concluded that Sigurd comes across as less principled than the other heroes that we have met.  The people listening to the stories seem to have been happy with that. They wanted their hero to win; how he did that was less important.  In that respect, Sigurd seems to have had a lot in common with the Greek heroes.

4/.  After Sigurd’s death, the story continues with Gudrun and her brothers, and a long trail of revenge and bloodletting to protect family honour and reputation; this is another prominent theme in the Germanic and Scandinavian hero legends.

July dancing

🎂 A very special Birthday event took place on Wednesday 3rd July, one of our country dancers celebrated her 90th. with a Grand dance, live music and guests from all her dancing groups, with June calling the dances.        😘 We wish her many more dancing years. It was good fun.

5.07.19 Elfrida recorded these dances-

  • Irish Lamentation longways dance, a nice gentle pace.
  • Lady Lucy’s Maggot – a 3 couple longways dance, ‘the pousette sandwich’, as June described it, from the request list. So good we did it x3. A June Jones composition in honour of her cat, Lucy.
  • Six for Gold – 3 couple dance, middle couple always the working couple. Left & rights, half heys, half circles, somewhat challenging since we have difficulty with our right from our left! Another June Jones composition in honour of the 6th Championship of her favourite team, no need to name it! Perhaps we should publicise this to LFC.
  • Double Duet – a Gary Roodman dance, music was a minuet by Handel, in 3 time but not a waltz.
  • Finished with Rostillion.

12.07.19 Some of Wendy & Geraldine’s birthday requests.

  • Comical Fellow a longways dance, published by Thompson 1776.
  • The Drummer also longways, reconstructed by Charles Bolton in 1992.
  • Leah’s Waltz a 3 couple dance by Fried de Metz Herman 1984.
  • Trip to Bavaria a 4 couple dance of some complexity. By MacGregor-Brown, music The Ashoken Farewell, by Jay Ungar 1982.
  • Shandy Hall a 4 couple dance x2. Choreography & music by George Middleton 1977.
  • and finally Bonnets so Blue longways dance.

19.07.19 The Birthday continues………….with more dancing, live music from The Lancashire Workshop Band, Frank on fiddle, Ian on guitar and Will on concertina and lunch. Many thanks to all for making this event go with a swing.

  • Princess Royal a longways dance.
  • My Lord Byron’s Maggot Playford 1701.
  • The Hide(?) a 3 couple dance.
  • Handel with care, a 2 couple Gary Roodman dance, danced to Handel’s Water music.
  • Upon a summer’s day (but it started to rain). Playford 1651
  • Draper’s Gardens a longways dance from the Dancing Master 17th. edition.

26.07.19 a selection of slow tempo dances to allow for the heat outside.

  • St. Andrew’s Gardens a longways dance.
  • Prince William of Glouster’s Waltz by Preston 1801 reconstructed by Pat Wood 1958.
  • Holmfirth Square, as might be expected danced in a square. 4 couple.
  • Greenwich Hospital a longways dance, published by Playford 1718.
  •  Prince of Wales Fancy 1792.
  • Bonnie Cuckoo by Gail Ticknor.




23 June 2019


A great range of poems were  read by the Poetry 📜Group and The Sunday Social Group.   Refreshments 🍪☕ as usual then the Recorder🎼🎶 Group  entertained us with some excellent tunes.