Category Archives: General

Christmas Dinner at the Piri Piri

After play on Tuesday 4th December we retired to the Piri Piri Restaurant in Ormskirk for our Christmas Dinner.

Here we all are just about to tuck in to our main courses.

With thanks to Bill M for organising yet another successful meal.

Christmas Cheer

Wednesday 5th December 2018

We had our traditional Christmas Cheer event with quizzes and refreshments of Christmas cake, mince pies and a variety of nibbles, biscuits and chocolates.  Proceedings got off to a great start with Patsy’s famous mulled wine which helped everyone’s confidence in doing the quizzes if not their success!  We started with a World Knowledge Quiz which helped everyone decide that they did not know as much about the state of the world as they thought and followed this with a quiz based on the BBC TV show “Impossible” but with science orientated questions.

Some members were interested in more background information on the World Knowledge Quiz and this is given below:


Country dancing in November

Leading down in a longways dance

A few statistics:- from October 2017 – October 2018 we have danced 132 different country dances.

the Top Ten ie danced 4 times or more are:-

1st. joint Comical Fellow and (The) Farmer’s Joy

3rd. The First of April

4th.  joint Namptwich Fair and Whim of the Moment

6th. Jamaica and Indian Queen

        Young Phyllis of Wakefield and Captain Cotton’s Maggot

now to November’s dances

2.11.18 some Birthday requests for Pat Mc. & Wendy.

  • Gasconne a longways dance from 1710 with a contemporary interpretation by Pat Shaw.
  • Maiden Moor a 4 couple dance, choreography & music by Tom Cook & Brian Jenkins.
  • Slof Galliard another 4 couple dance by Pat Shaw, danced twice & great when it goes well…a case of doing all the right moves but not necessarily in the right order on this occasion!
  • The Disbanded Officer a longways dance from 1787.

9.11.18 more Birthday requests, from Geraldine,

  • Welcome in the May a longways dance. The weather was not quite the same as when we danced this in  May.
  • Valentine’s Day longways dance.. from the Walsh collection 1718.
  • Loose Ends a 4 couple dance with Pousettes & called by Elfrida.
  • Sailor’s Wives a 3 couple dance x2, with chevron formation.
  • Heidenroslein a 4 couple square set dance by Pat Shaw 1970.
  • Comical Fellow a longways dance from 1776. (making a bid for next years top dances?)

and 10.11.18… Thanks & well done to the dance team and June….

Country Dancing at the U3a 15th Birthday party.


  • Black Bess a longways dance from 1696.
  • Wibsey Roundabout a contemporary 5 couple circular dance by Gary Roodman.
  • Sea Breezes a 3 couple dance.
  • The Old Mole an old traditional 3 couple dance dance from 1651, which has 6 parts to it, x2.
  • ending with She looked down her nose and sneered, which has to be one of the most intriguing titles.

23.11.18 Elfrida & John calling the dances, thanks to them.

  • (The) Farmer’s Joy from 2012. (also making a bid fro next years top dances?)
  • Gloster Reel 
  • A Fig for Bonaparte from 1804 a longways dance.
  • Whim of the moment a longways dance.
  • Braes of Dornach pub. J.Johnson 1753 a longways dance.
  • Guildhall a contemporary longways dance by Naomi Alexander.

30.11.18 Also our ‘Christmas lunch.’

  • Gasconne (see 2.11)
  • Conway Castle longways dance requested by Geraldine.
  • Marching to Praetorius a 2 couple square dance by Gary Roodman 1996.
  • New German Waltz waltz rhythm from 1795.
  • Lord Caernarvon’s Jig a 4 couple Playford dance.

A treat next session 7.12.18, dancing to live music by  The Lancashire Workshop Band.





November 2018 – King Arthur building the legend contd

The session:

1/.  Completed looking at Chretien de Troyes French Romances (Romance is an old version of the French language).  He produced five Arthurian Romances.  He was influenced by the earlier writers and stories and was under aristocratic patronage rather than working in an ecclesiastical environment so could write a different type of book and add his own details.

He was the first to link Queen Guinevere and Lancelot.  The storytelling in ‘Lancelot or the Knight of the Cart’ employs the rules of courtly love with the female being revered and the male disdained, gallantry, within a deeply Christian context.  It starts with some deep flattery to Marie de Champagne his patron.  The story covers the abduction of Guinevere and other members of the Camelot Court by Meleagant.  Lancelot who is Guinevere’s champion sets off to rescue her.  Along the way he is subject to many trials, temptations and tribulations.  Not all goes well and he suffers conflict and soul searching which at times is at odds with his courtly love ideals.  He hesitates to get into the cart as it is a very low status means of transport linked to the crusades and to losers but he should only have been thinking about Guinevere.  There are suggestions of the other world.

2/.  ‘Vulgate Cycle’ was written just under 100 years after Chretien works.  It is a reworking of the French Romances by Cistercian monks sometime between 1230 and 1250.  The church had wealth and political power and had their own agenda; they rejected the questionable values of courtly love.  They used the Arthurian stories as a vehicle to promote an alternative more Christian/spiritual way of living.  The stories were transposed from the 6th century to the Middle Ages.  Guinevere is used to show the perfidious nature of women, they are sexual, fickle, betraying, and bad tempered; Lancelot is shown as wracked with grief and remorse.  As a result of Guinevere’s behaviour and the failings of Lancelot Arthur’s glory fades.

3/.  Le Morte DArthur, Sir Thomas Malory c1469/1470.  This book was Caxton Press printed so had a much larger potential readership.  There is a mystery as to the real identity of Malory he may have been a noble man who went off the rails and wrote the works in prison.  He may have been a professional gentleman soldier who was a prisoner of war but there is no evidence he was ever knighted so he would not have been a Sir.  Malory read Chretien and the Vulgate cycle and he also knew Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work and the others.  He then added in his own bias and influences.  Malory lived in the time of the War of the Roses and was afraid the country was going to collapse.  Arthur was a strong and resolute king whose power and glory did not last due to unrest within his court.

Christmas Cheer with the U3A

In December, many of our U3A Groups have a special December Meeting with a seasonal flavour.  Check the Groups List or the Programme Page to see if there is one for you to attend

If any Group Leaders would like their Xmas Do added to the Calendar  on the Sidebar of News Page, please email: 

Please also send us photos of your Christmas events (that the memebers on them are happy to have published on the website).

Visit to Lunt Meadows – 13 November 2018

Little Egret at Lunt Meadows

Thirteen members of the group, the largest number this year, attended our third visit to this comparatively new LWT site which is still being developed with new viewing screens being added each year.  There are still, however, no facilities or shelter so it was fortunate that it was a lovely sunny morning, probably the best weather for any of our 2018 visits (last year’s planned December visit to Lunt Meadows had to be cancelled at the last minute because of bad weather).  A total of 38 species were recorded.


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

Continue reading

Pictures from the 15th Anniversary Showcasing Event 13 October 2018


Our Autumn 2018 Production

The last production was ‘Staycation’ at the Civic Hall

Friday November 16 – Commencing – 19.30
Saturday November 17 – Matinee commencing – 14.00
Saturday November 17 – Commencing –  19.30

This is a Musical Comedy written and directed by our very own Gill O’Flaherty.

The Synopsis:  A group of U3A members, who always travel abroad, have decided this year to stay at home – now called a ‘Staycation’.  They use a bus tour company and end up in some great adventures – travelling around Great Britain with song and dance – before returning to their Community Centre in Ormskirk.

Up for it!

Our Spring 2018 Production

Our next production will be an adaptation by John Hardiker of Tony Crimlisk’s highly acclaimed “Up for It”.

At the Civic Hall on the 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2018. commencing 7.30 p.m.

£7 for U3A members up to the 24th April thereafter £8  …Children £5


This is a great musical comedy first shown in 2011 and follows the true story of a  group of pensioners who travel to London to join in a rally in Trafalgar Square. They intended to strip off to protest against pension cuts (sounds familiar). For more information search the Internet for ” Naked Pensioner Protest”.




Musical Memories

Our 2017 Production

Some Great pictures from Musical Memories.

“We Got Life ” directed by our very own Gill O’Flaherty at the Civic Hall – May 4th, 5th 2017. Gill’s synopsis for her show is as follows:-

We Got Life is a generic story located internationally, told in song and dance. Beginnings, hope, reality, oppression, despair, dreams, inspiration, protest, revolution, escape, happiness, fulfillment and renewal. We hope that will reflect history as well as present day, expressing our lives, struggles and diversity and yet have the audience experience the sensation of that space between a tear and a smile with some well loved songs that have already touched our lives and a few ones to intrigue. 

A Review from Katie and Shaun Geldart of the Pleasure Folk

Group visits in October 2018

As there were five Tuesdays during this October, group visits were planned on both the second and the fifth Tuesday.

Visit to Brockholes on Tuesday 9th October

This was the group’s fifth visit to this Lancashire Wildlife Trust site adjacent to the River Ribble east of Preston.  A large site spread over 250 acres with a unique floating visitor centre and a wide variety of habitats it is always an attractive reserve to visit.  Seven members of the group attended and a total of 25 species were recorded.

Visit to Delamere Forest on Tuesday 30th October

This was our first group outing to Delamere Forest.  Four members of the group met at the Linmere Lodge visitor centre where we were joined by guest leader Peter Twist who lives locally to the forest and his extensive knowledge of the area and experience at identifying bird calls was invaluable.  After lunch Peter Twist took us to nearby Newchurch Common in the hopes of seeing the rare Smew.  Unfortunately the Smew did not show but we did record a number of species which had not been seen at Linmere.  In total 47 species were recorded on this visit.

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

Continue reading

The Website turns 3-years-old

The current Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Website has been going now for 3 years. The Web Team hope you find it informative and useful. We know that some potential members do refer to it prior to joining, so please help us keep it interesting and relevant.

This year, we have been making some changes to help the Website adhere to the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law. Please do a quick check for any text or photos referring to you and contact the Web Team if there is anything you would like removing or changing.

Remember – it is your website. Comments are always welcome as are contributions such as News Reports and Photos relating to events to keep it looking lively. Email the Web Team (Joyce Nolan, Maureen Boumphrey and Alan Nolan) at:

The Web Team would like to thank all the Group Authors, past and present,  for their invaluable help in maintaining a very good proportion of the Pages on our extensive List of Groups.  Much appreciation should also go to Willem Wiechers, the IT Manager, who does all the essential background work relating to the running of WordPress on the Host Server. And to Margaret Wiechers, the previous Web Master for her continued help and advice.

Meet our equestrian friends

The horses at Deandane

From left to right: – Annelie with Ollie a 6 year old cob, a willing learner, Ann with Tommy a 7 year old cob who doesn’t like the rain, Margaret with Joey who has won many rosettes and Di with Socks a 6 year old cob who spends most of his days lying down.


Diane on socks showing how to bend on a circle

Hacking at Croxteth

Margaret on a hack with lovely Badger

Riding at Burrows Lane Farm

Annelie on Fred an 8 year old who his honing his jumping skills.

Annelie says that he has great character

Ann on Stan.

A veteran with his own ideas of what he wants to do but behaving beautifully here


post ex






The Malcolm Jacques Trophy

Today, Monday 12th November 2018, we played Southport U3A for The Malcolm Jacques Trophy at the Aughton Institute.

The visiting team


Fran, Ann, Dave,Sheila, Steve & Craig

We began with six singles matches featuring:

Dave & Dave

Sheila & Bill

Craig & Cliff

Sue & Richard

Ann & Eddie

Fran & Mike

The match began with the Singles. There were some very close finishes including a re-spotted Black for Ann and Eddie.

The result of the Singles was 5 – 1 to Ormskirk.

After refrestments we started the Doubles which were all won by Ormskirk. Giving an overall score of 8 – 1 to Ormskirk.

Here I am presenting Barry, the non-playing Captain, with the Malcolm Jacques Trophy.

Our winning Team with the Trophy.


Summer Social – August 2018

This year’s Summer Social held on 31 August was a sell out evening with great entertainment provided by local guitarist/singer Ken Waters. We quickly forgot our SUMMERTIME BLUES as he had us singing along and dancing to lots of our favourites tunes!

The whole evening was superbly arranged by Val and her subcommittee.

15th Birthday Celebrations – Showcasing Our Groups – October 2018

Despite the very poor weather, we had a great 15th Birthday Celebration.

Although we couldn’t go ahead with the Ladies Footie Penalty Shoot Out (too wet!), the following groups displayed their wonderful wares – textiles, painting, local history, and digital photography, and we even had the chance to try out mahjong and some chess puzzles. It is amazing how creative people are, in so many different ways.

There was plenty of opportunity for a cuppa and a piece of birthday cake throughout the afternoon. What a splendid array of cakes we had – some hard decisions had to be taken! A very big thank you to all those who baked or brought a cake to our celebration.

We were also marvellously entertained by some of our performing groups – choir, tap dancing, ukulele, zumba, creative writing, drama, country dancing, recorders and guitars! I think we could all relate to the challenge of buying a cup of coffee so well ‘described’ by our drama group in one of their sketches – the almost overwhelming choice of drink options & variety of payment methods. Anyone, fancy a CAMP coffee – I had forgotten about that post war drink – no, I wouldn’t want to return to that though!

Of course, as well as all the jobs on the day itself, there was a lot of planning and organizing on the run up to such an event. I’m sure you will wish to express your appreciation to all those on the Anniversary Birthday Celebration Working Party who oversaw the event, and also to the Social Committee members who looked after the running of all the refreshments on the day, plus quite a lot of other members too – a VERY BIG THANKYOU to one and all!

Val Bullen


The membership of the Anniversary Working Party for 13 Oct event which focused on 15th Birthday,  was as follows:

Val Bullen (MC), Peter Trigwell (MC), Linda Burden (MC), Jane Astles (MC), Bill Evans (ex MC), Megan Tomlinson (MC),  Alayne Trigwell (SC), June Pardy (SC)

MC=Management Committee, SC=Social Committee

Photos by Geoff Roberts and Peter Gateley




Topic 1 –  Stripes            Topic 2  – Wild

The closing date for the November   competition is midnight, Sunday  28th October

Plan for Thursday 1st November Meeting – Haskayne Village Hall 2pm

Competition Judging

Critique by  George Slawinski


With the advance in technology in modernSmart Phones, George Slawinski will discuss the pros and cons of using a Smart Phone to using a Camera.

Time permitting, George would welcome  comments from members re their experience in the use of Smart Phone cameras



The December meeting will be our Christmas Party.

Lots of nice food will food will be provided

The programme will be Competition Judging December topics (i,e,Topic 1 Grime; Topic 2 Broken Down)

Judging the Winner of Winners for the 2017 – 2018 season

Christmas Quiz etc.



(inclusive of normal attendance fee)

Wives,Husbands & Others are welcome (there are so many categories of “Partner ” in modern parlance)

In order to  determine the catering requirements, Names & Money will be collected at the November meeting

For those unable to attend the November meeting but wish to come to the Christmas festivities,please contact Alan Starkie












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

November 2018 Competition Winners

Topic 1   Stripes     click for slideshow

Topic 2   Wild

The Autumn League Matches

Here are the Handicaps and Draws for the League Matches to be played during the coming weeks with the results as they come in.


  1. All games are over one frame.
  2. 2 points for a win, 1 each for an un-played matches.
  3. All matches to be completed by end of January 2019.. Play-offs the following two weeks.
  4. Players please arrange your own matches, and inform ED of the result.
  5. Draw to decide which 14 Handicaps are in Division 2.
  6. Players level on points to play a single re-spotted black as a decider.
  7. Handicap knock-out to be played early 2019. Winner of Div 1 & 2 to be penalised 7 points for the knock-out competition.

ALICE Seeing Cancer Before it is Cancer

Wednesday 7th Nov 2018

Dr. Michele Siggel-King, a research associate from the Physics Department of Liverpool University explained to us how ALICE, a unique and extremely powerful infrared light source based on a free electron laser facility at the Daresbury Laboratories is being used  in to identify changes within and surrounding cells which indicate  the beginnings of a tumour.  The University of Liverpool has been awarded £3.2 million to develop new diagnostic tests for cervical, oesophageal and prostate cancers which are difficult to detect at an early stage as symptoms only become apparent when the tumours become large.  The talk was a fascinating mixture of high energy physics and biology which emphasised the collaboration between physicists, engineer, analysts and clinicians in government laboratories, universities and hospitals in the North West.

2018 Local History Summer Outings

Tuesday 1 May Imperial War Museum and a Tour of BBC Studios at Salford Quays

The coach departed from Long Lane at 12.30pm for a ‘self guided’ tour of the Imperial War Museum, followed by a guided Tour around the BBC Studios at Salford Quays. After extensive and comprehensive security checks, we were shown one of BBC Radio 6’s studios followed by the ‘Match of the Day’, ‘Blue Peter’ and ‘BBC Breakfast’ studios. Cost was £22.75.  We returned approx. 7pm.

Saturday 2 June Tour and Tales around the Ribble Valley

Our popular trip is fully booked with a waiting list. If your place is reserved please pay at Horizons and select your lunch menu. Cost: £32.

Departs 9.30 am outside S.&G. Hq. Returns approximately 6pm.

Tuesday 3 July Merseyside Maritime Museum and Afternoon Tea at 30 James Street Hotel

We were treated to two role play performances at M.M.M. Firstly, from Robert Hitchins who was at the wheel of R.M.S Titanic on that fateful night, 15 April 1912. We heard his moving account of the tragedy.

This was followed by Hope Chapin who was a passenger on R.M.S. Carpathia, the small liner that rescued the lifeboat survivors of Titanic from the freezing ocean.  We listened to ‘Hope`s’ narrative of the event.

We strolled to our next appointment, along Strand Street, to Afternoon tea at the former White Star Line Hq., Albion House, now restored as a hotel that pays tribute to its history.  We had a short tour of the hotel including one of the themed suites, followed by Afternoon Tea in the Carpathia Restaurant, overlooking Liverpool’s Historic Waterfront.

Cost £18. We met at M.M.M Albert Dock.

October 2018 – King Arthur building the legend contd.

The session:

1/. Completed looking at Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain” including:

Arthur’s exploits in Gaul where he killed a giant on Mont St Michel, subdued most of Gaul.

Arthur set off towards Rome but returned home to fight his nephew Mordred who had seized his crown.   Guinevere had broken the vows of her marriage.

He defeated Mordred and his 8,000 strong army in a bitter battle.  Mordred then retreated to Cornwall.

Guinevere gave way to despair and took the vows of a nun.

Arthur’s final battle was at the River Camblan in Cornwall.  Arthur was mortally wounded and carried to the mystical Isle of Avalon.  This happened in 542.  He was succeeded by  his cousin Constantine, son of Cador, Duke of Cornwall.

2/. Other chroniclers of Arthur based on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work.

Robert Wace – was an Anglo-Norman monk who translated Geoffrey’s History into Norman–French, in verse form c1150.  He introduced the idea that Arthur was not dead but would return, added the first written reference to the Round Table and expanded the chivalry and romance side of the tale.  He dedicated it to Eleanor of Acquitaine.

Layamon – a priest living in Worcester took Robert Wace’s work and translated it into Middle English, in the late 1100s.  He added in a boat and two women who take Arthur to Avalon.  He was influenced by his own time when it was brutal in Britain, he left out the chivalry side of the story and increased the violence involved and the number of casualties.

Chretien de Troyes – based in Troyes at the Court of Marie de Champagne (daughter of Eleanor of Acquitaine) and her husband Henri who were his patrons.  He used Geoffrey of Monmouth and Robert Wace as source material along with other French, Breton and Welsh sources.  He was not part of the clergy.  He expanded the chivalry and romance side of the story.  Romances appeared in 12th Century and were popular with the French nobility.  These were translated in dozens of languages.  He introduced ‘courtly love’ which involved exquisite beauty, morals, nobility, with women worshipped as a goddess by their lovers, platonic in its ideal form, the hero having to show his worth to an outwardly disdainful woman.  The ideal did not always prevail in the stories or reality.

These translations made the story of Arthur accessible to more people as Geoffrey’s work was originally in Latin.  Books were very expensive and were not available to all levels of society.

October – preparing for 15th U3a birthday demo!

June has our full attention-ready to dance.

5.10.18 Thanks to Elfrida for recording once again.

  • Longways – Amazonian Archers
  • 2×4 couple – Trip to Bavaria
  • Indian Queen
  • Oxford Bells
  • 3 couple – Black Nag
  • Longways – Freeford Gardens.

12.10.18 ‘ the volunteer’ country dance group of 6 dancers (no room for more) practise their moves on stage.

  • Spanish Jig longways dance

The following 3 dances are to be danced tomorrow at the party.

  • Black Nag a 3 couple dance Playford style 1657
  • Upon a summer’s day (wishful thinking) another 3 couple dance Playford style 1615.
  • Leah’s Waltz a contemporary dance by Fried Metz Herman.
  • Leaving of Liverpool
  • Fourpence half pence farthing longways dance 1709.

19.10.18 Congratulations to the Dance demo team, well done.

  • Whim of the moment longways.
  • (The) Oldenburgh Bonnet a 3 couple dance. This refers to the bonnet worn by Lady Oldenburgh.

It was quite a challenge ….but fun & danced twice.

  • The Newsham Revue a June Jones dance
  •  De’il take the Warr, a 1721 3 couple dance, reconstructed by Andrew Shaw

26.1018. some of Pat Mc’s birthday requests:-

  • Fittleworth Frolic a circular dance.
  • Pine Cones a 3 couple Pat Shaw dance from 1974.
  • Summers waltz longways.
  • Hyde Park a 4 couple square set dance Playford 1651
  • Captain’s Maggot a 3 couple dance
  • and finally (The) Geud Man of Ballangigh 1698 a longways Playford dance.


October 2018 Competition Winners

Topic 1. Refreshing  click an image for slideshow


Topoic 2 Trees     click an image for slideshow


Innovation Agency Meeting on Digital Healthcare

Wednesday 3rd Oct 2018

Digital Healthcare is being introduced into the National Health Service to make it safer, faster and more cost effective.  This  Science Group meeting was hosted by the NHS Innovation Agency, whose job it is to promote innovation and so improve health care in the region.  After some presentation by agency staff explaining their work, five small companies developing these innovative devices explained and demonstrated them and members had the chance to try them out and give  feedback; this is important to the companies involved to ensure that their products meet our needs.   The companies involved were: Continue reading

English Medieval Cathedrals – 2018 series

English Medieval Cathedrals, from the Wash to the River Severn

Speakers: Peter Goodrich, Peter Gateley and Peter Hatfield

23rd January Norwich Cathedral talk. Norwich Cathedral timeline
27th March Ely Cathedral talk. Ely Cathedral timeline
24th April Peterborough Cathedral talk. Peterborough Cathedral Timeline
1st May Visit to Manchester Cathedral and other historic buildings. Details
22nd May Gloucester Cathedral talk. Gloucester Cathedral Timeline
26th June Visit to Furness Abbey and Swarthmoor Hall by coach
24th July Oxford Christ Church Cathedral talk. Oxford Cathedral timeline

September dances

7.09.18 Elfrida recording.

  • Whim of the Moment danced twice, longways dance.
  • Tipoo Sahib another longways dance.
  • Upon a summer’s day 3 couple dance.
  • Princess Royal longways dance.
  • Indian Queen another longways dance.


  • The Farmer’s Joy, a Joseph Pimentel longways dance.
  • Tambourine Dance from the Walsh collection (with some reconstruction)
  • Lord Caernarvon’s Jig a 4 couple Playford dance, adapted by Cecil Sharpe 1910.
  • Alexander’s Birthday a 2 couple square set dance by Gary Roodman for his grandson. He has named a dance after each of his 6 grandchildren. A clever dance, alternately dancing with your partner & your neighbour.
  • Go to the Devil and shake yourself a longways dance with a terrible title!

21.09.18 Elfrida recording once again, many thanks to her.

  • Jamaica a 4 couple dance. Current T.V series Upstart Crow uses the same music.
  • Le carillon d’oxfort 1706
  • Amazonian Archers a longways dance.
  • Tambourine Dance. See last week.
  • Buskin a 3 couple dance.”A buskin is a half boot which laces closed but is open across the toes”
  • The Farmer’s Joy. See last week. All very enjoyable dances.


  • Prince George-longways
  • Harlequin in the mud-longways from 1742 reconstructed by Andrew Shaw 2012. Another amazing title for a dance.
  • ‘A circular dance under construction’ June Jones work in progress. very enjoyable.
  • Enfield Common Playford 1701-longways.
  • Bells of Oxford-longways.


23 Sept 2018

Dee and the Digital Keyboard Group 🎹gave us a full afternoon’s entertainment with some information about how the instruments work, lots of wonderful music🎵🎶🎼 and a music quiz.  The session was well attended and great fun.  We had home baked cakes for a special treat

September 2018 – King Arthur building the legend

The session covered:

Continued looking at Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain”.

It was only in the Middle Ages that the story of Arthur started to take off.

Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote the “History of the Kings of Britain” c 1136.  He was a well read clergyman.  He would have been familiar with early sources and welsh folklore and poetry.  He wrote it as an interesting read with added colour.  The west is Britons, the east was colonised by the Saxons amongst others.

The time at which it was written would have had an influence.  For example the references to the combat style and jousting were relevant to 12th Century not the time Arthur is supposed to have lived.

Arthur was a Christian waging war on pagan Saxons, which reflects Geoffrey of Monmouth’s beliefs.  There were massive Saxon casualties, in the many thousands.  No evidence of such huge losses has been found.

One of the old sources he used was Nennius’s battle list for Arthur.  This list was covered in our March session.  He changed the order of battles, combined and added to it.  Perhaps he had other sources for which we no longer have a record or made things up.

He reports military campaigns involving thousands of men, travelling great distances.  In one case an army 183,000 going to Gaul.  He conquered Iceland and Norway.

The result is a rollicking tale reminiscent of the Celtic warrior hero.

Five sessions of August country dancing.

I looked for a holiday theme in our dances this month, and found a few:- Sea Breezes, and The Brighton Review seemed the most obvious.

3.08.18 Some of Wendy’s Birthday requests.

  • Newcastle a 4 couple square set traditional dance 1651, which we danced twice.
  • The Slof Galliard a Pat Shaw 4 couple longways dance 1975. A challenge but we rose to the occasion, twice.
  • Nonesuch another traditional dance 1651 Playford, 4 couple longways, also twice.
  • Heidenroslein another Pat Shaw 4 couple square set dance, waltz time.


  • Black Bess Playford 1696 longways.
  • Sea Breezes (3rd. version, June Jones choreography.) 3 couple dance.
  • Sion House Playford 1701, longways dance.
  • Mile of Smiles a Joseph Pimentel contemporary longways dance.
  • The Brighton Review a longways dance.


  • The Siege of Limerick Playford 1698 longways dance.
  • Meillion, a 5 couple Welsh country dance, with clapping.
  • Fittleworth Frolic a 5 couple circular dance.
  • Of noble race was Shinkin another great title but what does it mean? Playford 1698, music from The Beggars Opera.

24.08.18. Elfrida is calling today’s dances.

  • The 1st. of April (well we had April showers!) Longways dance 1773 published by Thompson.
  • Wibsey Roundabout a 5 couple Gary Roodman 1995 circular dance. Our mechanics were a little rusty today!
  • Birthday Reel a 4 couple dance x2.
  • Portsmouth longways dance.
  • (The) Jackdaw a 4 couple Scottish dance.
  • The Comical Fellow a longtime favourite, pub. Thompson 1776.
  • The Farmer’s Joy a Joseph Pimentel dance 2012.


  • Zig Zag Tuesday a longways dance.
  • St. Swithin’s hornpipe a 2 couple dance.
  • The New Exchange a 3 couple dance.
  • Dunant House another 3 couple dance.
  • Namptwich Fair a longways dance.

Looking forward to the future……….

 ………. with Aughton & Ormskirk U3A

A message from your Trustees:
We are interested in your views on what is good about our U3A and your suggestions for improvements.

Following the 10.30 am announcements at Horizons on Thursday 27 September, we invite you to share your thoughts, views and opinions about our U3A and how we can work together for the benefit of us all.

This will be an informal session for about 30 minutes.

 We hope you will join in the discussions.

If you missed this Horizons Meeting, you can still come along to another one any Thursday morning.  There are always some members of the Committees and Groups around to listen to, and pass on, your views and questions.  And, if you cannot come then in person, there are alternative ways of contacting appropriate Officers via the Contact Us Page.

Reasoning Machines: Could a Machine Think?

Wednesday 5th Sept 2018

We hear a lot about artificial intelligence in the media but with Dr. Louise Dennis’s talk we had the opportunity to listen to, and question someone who really knows; Louise is a researcher in the School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science at Liverpool University who has a background in artificial intelligence, robotics and automated reasoning.  We started from scratch, with a teach-in on Turing’s Universal Machine, followed by machine learning and neural networks to finish with the ethics of artificial intelligence; all deep concepts very well explained by Louise – not surprisingly there were many questions at the end of this fascinating talk.

Drama Group Autumn Production

Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October

at Aughton Village Hall.

Curtain up 7.30 p.m.

Tickets, which cost £8.50, will be on sale from 6th September at Horizons, from any member of the Drama Group or you can contact Megan on 01695 578207 or Jackie on 01695 227503.

Early booking is advisable particularly if you wish to share a table with your family and friends.

Please bring your own nibbles and drinks.

We look forward to seeing you.

26 Aug 2018

Denise presented us with some ‘Galton and Simpson Playhouse’ film comedies on this Bank Holiday weekend, a throwback to the 1970s that had everyone laughing 🤣.     Pop corn 🍿and Ice cream🍦 were of course served for the authentic Cinema Experience.

22 July 2018

An Excellent Presentation on Southport Hesketh Park Observatory was given to us by Edmund Moynihan.  Followed of Course by Refreshments then a few rounds of  Lucky Dip Bingo

July 2018 – King Arthur building the legend

The session covered:

Making a start on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain”.

In writing his book, Geoffrey used most of the early Welsh sources that we have also covered, plus Welsh folklore and legends that were current in his own time, plus the Classical writers for his Roman history, plus his own imagination.  He produced a very entertaining mixture of probable history at one end of the scale, through myths and legends, to pure fantasy at the other.  He wanted to tell the story of the history of Britain from a British (i.e. Celtic or Welsh) point of view, so the Saxons get a very bad press throughout.

He starts with the first inhabitants of Britain (a race of giants) and then brings in Brutus, the grandson of Prince Aeneas of Troy, who kills off the giants and takes control of the land.  Brutus is followed by a series of British kings who are all portrayed as great personalities, with Arthur as the greatest of them all.

Geoffrey is the first writer to link Merlin with the Arthurian material, and he also introduces Uther Pendragon and Igerna as Arthur’s parents, and Arthur’s conception at Tintagel.  It is thought that Geoffrey may have found the story of Uther and Igerna in a Cornish legend that has now been lost, but the Tintagel connection would seem to have been his own invention.

According to Geoffrey, Arthur began his campaigns against the Saxons as the King of the Britons and sole commander of the British army.  His first objective was to attack the Saxons in York, to seize loot from them, with which he could reward his own men.  He was entitled to do this because he had a rightful claim to the kingship of the whole island of Britain and all that it contained.

June 2018 – King Arthur is there evidence he existed contd

The session covered:

A number of theories which support the argument that an historical Arthur did exist.

We looked at seven of them

1/. John Morris/Leslie Alcock

Arthur was a late C5th/early C6th Romano British war leader from the Celtic Gododdin people who fought  the Picts and Scots in the north and later moved south west to fight the Saxons.

2/. Graham Phillips/Martin Keatman  ref ‘King Arthur: The True Story’, 1992

Arthur was the grandson of the Gododdin Chieftan Cunedda.  He migrated from the north sometime in the C5th and had his HQ at the old Roman town of Wroxeter.  Arthur being a nickname meaning bear.

3/. Fran & Geoff Doel and Terry Lloyd ref ‘Worlds of Arthur’, 1999

Arthur was associated with the Kingdom of Dumnonia in the south west.

4/. Geoffrey Ashe

He was a Romano British war leader originally called Riothamus

This Arthur took an army from Britain into Gaul to fight the Visigoths on the behalf of Rome.

5/. Alistair Moffat ref: ‘Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms’, 1999

Arthur was a Gododdin war leader based in the north who fought the Picts, Scots, Angles, Saxons and the British kingdom of Strathclyde, had a one off battle in the south at Badon and the battle of Camlann was located at the western end of Hadrian’s wall.

6/. C S Littleton & L Malcor ref : ‘From Scythia to Camelot’, 1994

Arthur’s name was Lucius Artorius Castus a Roman general who is recorded as commanding a troop of Sarmatian mercenaries.  These were from the Russian Steppe Lands, north of the Black Sea.  This theory has the dates as much earlier than the others at around 175 AD.

7/. Howard Reid ref: ‘Arthur the Dragon King’, 2001

Arthur was a king of the Alan peoples who originated from the Eurasian Steppes (Scythia).  Mid C5th he moved his people to Armorica (Brittany) where he fought rebellious Celtic tribes on the behalf of Rome.  The C5th ‘Life of Germanus’ records a meeting between Eothar and the Bishop Germanus.


We also looked at what it would mean if he was not real and was always a mythological figure.  He may have started as a god/warrior hero and been given a human persona.  This has happened before as we have seen in the Celtic Warrior hero tradition.

The story of Arthur as well as being popular in Britain also exists in Northern France, Germany and Continental Europe.  He appears in Grail Myths.  Where might the myth have come from?  Possible European connections are shown in theories 4, 6 and 7.  For example Arthur is in the myths and legends of the Alan people.  In Scythian legends Nart Saga Tales there is a mythical figure called Batraz.  His mother was a frog by day and beautiful woman by night, he grew at a phenomenal rate, he had a magic sword, killed a giant, had a chalice of truth.  Wounded in his final battle he cast his sword into the sea and the legend is that he is not gone.

Further Reading

There is a lot of information available on the internet by using simple searches on the writers’ names or the topic.  Some books are still in print others are available second hand.


John Morris ‘The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650’,

Leslie Alcock ‘Arthur’s Britain: History and Archaeology A.D. 367-634’

Graham Phillips/Martin Keatman ‘King Arthur: The True Story’, 1992

Fran & Geoff Doel and Terry Lloyd ref ‘Worlds of Arthur’, 1999

Geoffrey Ashe ‘The Discovery of King Arthur’

Alistair Moffat ‘Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms’, 1999

C S Littleton& L Malcor ‘From Scythia to Camelot’, 1994

Howard Reid ‘Arthur the Dragon King’, 2001

May 2018 – King Arthur is there evidence he existed contd

The session covered:

The continuation of our search for references to King Arthur in the early Welsh source material.

In the Welsh battle poem “Y Gododdin”( attributed to the poet Aneirin and composed sometime in the early 600s) it is said of one Gododdin warrior that ” He glutted black ravens on the walls of the fort/ Although he was not Arthur”.

In the “Elegy of Gereint” (author unknown) that describes the Battle of Llongborth, we have “At Llongborth I saw Arthur, an emperor commanding the battle”.

We have no way of knowing if these one line references to Arthur were there in the original C7th versions of the poems, or if they were added in later copies, when Arthur had become a well-known figure in folklore.

In the “Spoils of Annwyn”, the poet Taliesin (late C6th) gives us a tale of Arthur and his companions conducting a raid on Annwyn, the Realm of the Dead in the Otherworld, to steal the Cauldron of Plenty (cf Cuchulainn who does much the same thing).  This is Arthur in the context of Celtic warrior hero mythology, rather than telling us anything about Arthur as a possible historical figure.

Summer Break

There was meeting on the 1st August as we took our usual summer break.

Dances in July


  • Princess Royal a Pat Shaw longways dance, check out a good video by typing into Google. Pat Shaw dances.
  • The New Exchange a 3 couple dance.
  • The Prince Regent 1815 – 3 couple dance of unknown attribution.

the first of Wendy’s Birthday requests ( more next week) :-

  • Leah’s Waltz a contemporary dance 1889 by Fried de Metz Herman.
  • Conway Castle 1995.
  • Tipoo Sahib 1792.

13 .07.18 recorded by Elfrida. More of Wendy’s Birthday selection.

  • Comical Fellow longways dance.
  • Black Nag 3 couple dance, did it twice as it’s over in a flash.
  • Wibsey Roundabout circular dance by the great Gary Roodman.
  • Rakes of Rochester longways.
  • St Swithin’s Hornpipe 2 couple dance, with a 1,2,3, hop rhythm- June used it as a rain dance as we desperately need some of the wet stuff. (I think it rained the following day!)
  • A nameless dance so far, longways, but clearly a June Jones composition, music Lord Foppington.
  • Finished with She looked down her nose and sneered. Longways.

20.07 18 again recorded by Elfrida

  • Go to the devil and shake yourself -longways.
  • Sea Breezes – waltz rhythm 3 couple sets.
  • Sion House – Playford 1707 longways.
  • Scotch Cap – Playford 1651 3 couple sets.
  • Mulberry Garden – Playford 1670 longways.
  • Christina  – choreography & music by Naomi Alexander, longways.

plus a feast of food treats today.

27.07.18 Elfrida changes role today & is calling the dances, & I’m back to recording them!

  • Leaving of Liverpool x2, 3 couple dance.
  • Marching to Praetorius x2, 1996 Gary Roodman, 3 couple, music by Michael Praetorius.
  • Birthday Reel x2, 4 couple. Although no one was celebrating a birthday, 2 were celebrating their Wedding Anniversaries. 38 & 68 respectively!
  • Trip to Sheringham a square set dance. Danced to 2 different tunes, Orions Ring CD 17 & 20 (Up & down the City Road or Pop goes the weasel)
  • Jamaica Playford 1670 4 couple set.



The Calvert Trophy Final

On Tuesday 17th July the Champion of Champions Match was held between Bill Evans [Round Robin Winner] and Barry Carr [Autumn KO Competiton Winner & Spring KO Competition Winner] and of course our Team Captain for the match against Southport.

The match was so close that it ended in a “black ball” decider.

And the winner of the The Calvert Trophy is:


Here we have Lawrence presenting the Trophy to Barry with Bill watching on.


And proudly holding the Trophy is Barry

June visit to Penrhyn Castle

We had a splendid day at Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust venue in Bangor with gardens, a nature walk, a railway museum and a stylish interior.

After the castle visit, we stopped off for a 2-course meal on the return journey, which was appreciated by everyone.

Photographs by Bill Fitzpatrick.