Category Archives: General




                                                       2.00pm at Haskayne Village Hall

Competition  Topic 1 Holes;    Topic 2 Street Furniture

Shooting Portraits with affordable lighting


Your chance to use a simple lighting set up to practice taking family etc.portraits


Our Christmas festivities will take place on December 5th. 2.00pm Haskayne Village Hall

The cost is £5.00 pp and names/monies will be taken at November meeting.

If you cannot attend the November meeting but wish to attend the festivities, please                 contact Alan Starkie at the competition e mail address





October 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1  Pathway    click for slideshow


Topic 2  Stones    click for slideshow

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

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!


Christmas 2019

Our choir are already rehearsing for the Advent Service on Thursday 5th December at Christ Church at 10.30 am.  All are warmly invited to join us to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.  This will be an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and to have a good sing!  Last year we asked for donations for the Ormskirk Food Bank and members were very generous.  This year we will be once again be asking for donations as, sadly, there is a pressing need for emergency food rations for families within the area.   Please bring donations of basic foodstuffs with you to church, they will be gratefully accepted.

At the end of December choir will be singing at Springfield and Ince Blundell Nursing Homes.  This has now become a Christmas tradition for us and it is lovely to see familiar faces.

September 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1  Summer Snack   click for slideshow



Topic 2   Farm  Animals     click for slideshow


Snooker – Christmas Menus

Here are the Menus for our Christmas Dinner after play on Tuesday 10th December.

SpitRoast_Main Menu

In the Post this is upright. When I read it in the Group it is on its side – Sorry

You will need to just click on SpitRoast to see the Menu.

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.

Snooker Knockout with Handicaps

Draw for the Knockout Competition

Some interesting pairings considering the Handicaps below.




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

Speaker Meeting

Do join us on Thursday 5 September.

Click or tap to view flier full-size.











If you missed this one, don’t forget the next Speaker Meeting on 7 November!

Click or tap to view photo full-size.

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.

Second Chance

Pat Morton, who was recently featured in the local Champion newspaper, is a member of several U3A groups including Poetry, Italian and Film Appreciation. She has now turned her hand to writing, and her first published novel is titled, “Second Chance”.

When I retired from teaching I needed to do something creative. I joined the U3A then started writing. I wrote poetry, articles for magazines and two novels. I love the U3A so when I started my second novel it seemed right to set it there – although the characters are fictitious, you will probably recognise some of the settings and situations. I don’t expect to make a lot of money but will be happy if my book gives pleasure to some U3A members.

Continue reading

June 2019 – Sigurd

The session:

Looked at Sigurd and compared him with Beowulf the ideal Germanic Hero.

1/.  The legend of Sigurd started with the Franks in Eastern Germany and by the Rhine and by the late C5th had moved across Europe and would have been in Britain. By C8th it was in Scandinavia and the Vikings would have brought it in too so it would have been well known.  Like many legends the story is added to over time.

2/.  There are several source materials for the legend –The Elder Edda which are thirty four mythical and heroic poems, the Scaldic poems, the writings of Snorri Sturrluson, the Gesta Danorum, the Icelandic Sagas and the works by known historians such as Tacitus, Ibn Fadlan, Adam of Bremen.  There is a lot of further information available in books and on the internet.  J R R Tolkien has written a book about ‘The Legend Of Sigurd and Gudrun’ and you can see the influences of these legends on his works of fiction.

3/.  Das Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs)

Like many heroes Sigurd had strange parentage and links to the gods.  He was in the warrior elite of society and a favourite of the gods who granted him favours and privileges.  The Song of the Nibelungs covers his parentage, his father was Sigmund a favourite of Odin and his mother was Signy.  Signy and Sigmund were children of Odin.  There is also a splendid sword which was given to Sigmund, he was the only one who could remove the sword from a tree.  After Sigmund died in battle Odin shattered the sword and the pieces were later retrieved and re-forged for Sigurd.  The warrior elite went to Valhalla after death and spent their time eating pork stew, drinking mead and fighting each day, waiting for Ragnarök the final battle.

4/.  The Legend of Otter’s Ransom

In this tale Hoenir, Loki  and Odin crossed a bridge into Midgard the world of men.  There they saw an otter with a sizable salmon it had just caught.  Loki threw a large stone at the otter and killed it.  They were very happy as they had a good meal.

They sought accommodation for the night at the farmhouse of Hreidmar, this was not freely given.  This is a breach of the usual rules of hospitality.  They told the farmer they had provisions for all so they were allowed to stay.  The farmer was horrified when he was shown the otter and the salmon.  The family were sorcerers/magicians who could shape-shift and the otter was the farmer’s now dead son.

The family plotted to take their revenge.  By using magic to stupefy the gods they were able to tie them up.  Odin asked what was happening and having been told they had killed the farmer’s son asked to pay a ransom, blood money for it.  After their explanation of what had happened Hreidmar agreed.  The ransom was set at the amount of gold which would fill and completely cover the skin of the dead otter.

Leaving the other two gods as hostages Loki went to the underground world of the Dark Elves, borrowing a drowning net from Ran a sea goddess.  In a big pool in the centre he caught an enormous pike with the net.  This was actually Andvari the Dwarf who was a skilful smith.  Andvari had a hoard of gold which Loki took from him in return for his life.  Andvari tried to keep a ring but Loki took it from him and put it on his own finger.  The dwarf cursed the ring and the gold, so that it would destroy whoever owned it.  Loki took the gold and the ring back to the farmhouse, where Odin took the ring and wore it.  They covered the skin with the gold but Hreidmar saw a whisker was still showing and insisted the ring was put on it.  The gods then left.

This is where the original tale ended.  In later versions the full effect of the curse took effect, the family quarrelled over the gold, one son Fafnir became a dragon and killed his father.  He drove his other brother Regin away.  Regin became a smith in Jutland.  Fafnir the dragon went to live in the wilds.

5/.  The Legend of Sigurd the Volsung

Following on from the previous story Regin was bent on revenge on his brother the dragon Fafnir.  He looked for a hero to do it for him.  He offered to foster Sigurd and his mother Signy agreed.  Sigurd had been given some pieces of Sigmunds’s sword.  Regin, a skilled smith, re-forged them into a sword for Sigurd.  Regin trained Sigurd and eventually persuaded Sigurd to kill the dragon for him.

Regin told Sigurd to dig a pit and hide in it to attack the dragon from below, not the usual honourable approach for a hero.  Once the dragon was dead Regin told Sigurd the dragon was his brother and that he wanted compensation/blood money and his share of the hoard of gold.  Sigurd roasted the dragon’s heart for Regin but burnt and licked his fingers whilst cooking it.  Instantly he could hear and understand the birds, who were talking about a plan that Regin had to kill Sigurd and the birds advised Sigurd to kill Regin.

Sigurd took the still cursed gold and set off on his horse Grani, a gift from Odin.  He travelled a long way and ended up in the kingdom of King Gjuki, who had two sons (Gunnar and Hogni) and a beautiful daughter Gudrun.  King Gjuki wanted to keep Sigurd and his gold so plied him with drink and persuaded him to marry Gudrun.  Sigurd and the king’s sons became blood brothers.  King Gjuki’s kingdom grew in success.

The story moved on to involve Brynhild who may have been the sister of Atli (Attila) King of the Huns or a Valkyrie daughter of Odin.  This will be continued in July.

Social Events

Whilst our U3A provides many opportunities for learning, we also have a vibrant social dimension to our activities. These bring together people from across a wide range of special interests,  in a convivial atmosphere, simply to enjoy themselves. Many of these excellent events are organised by the Social Subcommittee.

Upcoming Event in 2019

Click or tap to see poster full-size.

Friday, 13 December – U3A CHRISTMAS LUNCH

at Christ Church Ministry Centre, just across from the Scout HQ

Doors open at NOON for Sherry Reception,

followed by 3-course Christmas Lunch (12.30pm), PLUS tea/coffee and mince pie

Bring your own drinks & glasses to have with the meal

then enjoy some dancing to music & songs provided by cabaret duo act ‘PANACHE’!

Tickets £24, on sale at Horizons Social Subcommittee Desk, from Thursday, 17 Oct, onwards.



Events so far in 2019

Friday 28 June:  Our ‘Antiques Road Show’ was a great success!

It was a full house at Aughton VH in late June for our ‘Antiques Road Show’ style social evening. After a delicious hot buffet supper, local auctioneer/valuer, Mike Litherland, then went through the antiques & curios that members had kindly offered to bring along for display & valuation. It was a most entertaining & interesting evening.

Mike rounded matters off by presenting some of his own items, including a pair of samurai horse spurs and that Victorian kitchen essential – a ‘serving spoon warmer’!

Photos courtesy of Peter Gateley

Friday 16 Aug:  Our ‘Song & Dance Social’ – a great evening!

Following a splendid hotpot supper, we had a great evening’s entertainment provided by local excellent guitarist/singer KEN WATERS. He played lots of our favourite songs, to both listen to & join in singing with, plus plenty of dancing too. A particular thank you to Diane & Jim Higgins for their marvellous CHA-CHA-CHA to ‘Under the Boardwalk’ – very much enjoyed by the audience!

Photos courtesy of Alan Nolan

2018 Highlights

Christmas Lunch – 14 December, organised by the Social Subcommittee

15th Birthday Celebration & Groups Showcase – 13 October, organised by the Anniversary Working Party

Summer Social 2018 – 31 August, organised by the Social Subcommittee

Anniversary Celebration – 19 May, organised by the Anniversary Working Party

Click or tap on any image below to run a Social slideshow.

Social Subcommittee

The main purpose of the Social Subcommittee is to put on social events which interest a wide selection of members.

Chair: Paul Andrews

Check the Subcommittee Terms of Reference (TOR) for further details.

Please view the Social Events page for accounts of this year’s treats and some past highlights.

This Subcommittee also promotes the sale of the U3A diaries.

Val and Elva at the Social Desk during the weekly Horizons meeting selling tickets for the Summer Social and the Christmas Lunch and and also the U3A Diaries.

Val (the previous Chairperson) says:

In the past, the Social Subcommittee has put on up to four events a year. As well as offering a Christmas lunch and social gathering, other events have included a Frank Sinatra evening, Race Night, Summer Barbecues, Murder Mystery evening, Summer Afternoon Tea, with, on occasion, additional interest and entertainment provided by some of our own U3A members. As other groups (such as Drama, Musical Theatre, Jazz and Choir) have also put on successful events, the Social Subcommittee will now generally just organise a Summer Social and the Christmas Lunch. It is difficult to slot in further events to a crowded U3A diary which is, of course, an indication of the success of our organisation.

Are Digital Games All Bad?

Wednesday 3rd July 2019

Older people (us?) often have strong views on digital games, social media, emojis, mobile phones etc. particularly their use by younger people (grandchildren?).  Are these views well founded?   Dr. Linda Kaye, a Edge Hill University psychologist, specialising in understanding the social effects of digital media (a cyberpsychologist no less), came to give us some background to the topic including her own research work in the area.  It became clear that much of the negative views on digital games etc. were based on media reporting of particularly aggressive games, often played by aggressive people and that most of digital gaming was fairly benign.  Linda had many questions put to her both during and after her talk which was a measure of how interesting our audience found it.

June country dancing & a bit of May!

Oops…..see May, I missed the 31st May (as I wasn’t there) & had all the dates wrong, we appeared to be dancing on Saturdays not Fridays……apologies.

31. 05. 19 Elfrida recording.

  • Pilgarlic the bald man, danced x2
  • Merry Andrew, with half turns & both left & right diagonals. Both these dances practiced for a big Birthday event in July.
  • Lady Lucy’s Maggot – a new dance. Nice dance with a bit of a challenge, nick named ‘a pousette sandwich’.  A June Jones composition & Lady Lucy is her cat!
  • April’s Lady 3 couples in a circle with a waltz rhythm. We were so good at this, we were praised for our performance.👏🏼
  • Lord Howe’s Jig from 1777.
  • Lead through and Cast away, music from P&P vol4.
  • Jump frogs jump, music same CD as above.

And now into June……also recorded by Elfrida.


  • Lord Phoppington a longways dance.
  • Nonesuch 2 danced before & simpler than Nonesuch, hole in the wall crossings, back to backs and plenty of practice crossing up and casting.
  • Doctor Vincent’s delight – 3 couple sets. Charles Bolton composed it and wrote the music, quite speedy but enjoyable, back to backs, circles, gypsies, L and R turns and changing partners!  Took a bit of practice.
  • The Ladies of London – longways dance
  • We will down with the French, 3 couple sets, danced before with added Allemande as a way of changing sides.
  • Whim of the Moment – longways.


  • Nonesuch 2 (see last week). Walsh collection 1709.
  • Roll the Line a longways dance. Another dance for the Birthday event.
  • Zig Zag Tuesday another longways dance. Obviously includes zigzag moves.
  • Giant Steps a 4 couple dance.
  • Rostillion by John and William Neal 1726.

21.06.19 Elfrida and John calling the dances.

  • Trip to Sheringham a 4 couple dance.
  • Namp(t)wich Fair a longways dance.
  • (the) Fair American longways.
  • Go to the Devil and shake yourself, this title always fascinates me, what can be the inspiration?
  • A Fig for Bonaparte longways.
  • The Farmer’s Joy a contemporary dance from 2012.


  • Elverton Grove from the 1712 Walsh collection of 24 dances, music by Handel.
  • The Irish Lamentation another longways dance from a later the Walsh collection 1735.
  • Pilgarlic  (see May)
  • and Roll the Line again, we should be spot on for July!
  • Deodar a longways dance.
  • Holborn March published by Playford 1742. (I almost typed Holborn Hill!)




26 May 2019

Dee Sheard displayed her digital keyboard memorabilia 🎹and entertained us with some🎶🎶 tunes, followed by Peter Gateley talking about 🏛🏫Georgian Buildings in Liverpool’

28 April 2019

A Debate was chaired by Mia Faza
‘Habitual offenders should forfeit their benefits and Council Homes’. 
Refreshments(of course) and   a sing-a-long with local guitarist 🎸🎙Ken Waters

Novel Digital Healthcare

Wednesday 5th June 2019

We had a return visit by the NHS North West Innovation Agency with presentations and demonstrations of novel healthcare products. organised by the NHS North West Innovation Agency who are tasked with making the NHS better, safer, faster and more cost effective by introducing new healthcare devices, often for personal use.  We had demonstrations by Alertacall, with an improved personal alarm system; Fastroi, a care management software system; and Hospify, a healthcare communication system similar to WhatsApp but which is compliant with the new GDPR regulations.  The cream teas provided by the Innovation Agency were also gratefully received!

Visit to Woolston Eyes – 14th May 2019

Nine members of the Bird Watching group attended this our fourth visit to this ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. Access to the site is restricted to permit holders and our thanks go to reserve volunteer David for unlocking the gates for us and helping with some of the sightings.


The site is well known as the home for probably the largest breeding site in the UK for the rare black-necked grebe.  This year there are 26 of them although we only saw a fraction of this number as many were on their nests hidden among the reeds.

Amongst the total of 39 species recorded another special highlight was the sighting of a Garganay.


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

Continue reading

Visit to Marbury Country Park – 9th April 2019

Seven members of the group attended this our second visit to Marbury Country Park near Northwich, Cheshire.  Marbury is an extensive site with a wide range of habitats and on this occasion a total of thirty two species were recorded.  The highlight was the sighting of three Green Sandpipers.

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

Continue reading

May 2019 – Beowolf

The session:

Started a new topic considering some of the heroes who belonged to the Germanic and Scandinavian people who lived in Britain alongside the Celts.  This will include Beowulf, Sigurd, Siegfried and some of the characters from the Icelandic sagas.

1/  Beowulf as the model for the Germanic warrior hero.  Beowulf, the young warrior from Sweden is eager for adventure so that he can win fame and fortune.  He travels to Denmark where Hrothgar and his followers are being terrorised by the monster Grendel.  Beowulf kills Grendel and also Grendel’s Mother, and returns to Sweden in triumph.

2/.  In the fullness of time, Beowulf becomes the leader of his people, the Geats and we learn that he proved to be the model king- generous, fair, just, honourable and the unfailing guardian of his people.

3/.  He was finally killed while fighting and killing a dragon to protect his people.  Beowulf the warrior hero without a flaw; courageous and honourable to the end.

April 2019 – Merlin completing the topic

The session:

Completed the loose ends from the Arthurian Legends looking at Merlin

1/.  We finished off the story of how Merlin brought the stones of Stonehenge to Salisbury Plain from Ireland, to act as Aurelius’ war memorial to the British warriors who died fighting against the Saxons.  When Aurelius was killed, Merlin transferred his services to Uther Pendragon; and the rest of Merlin’s story we already know.

2/.  For the rest of the session, we discussed the poem “Gawain and the Green Knight” in which Arthur’s knight Gawain is tested by the Green Knight, passes the test and is declared to be a true and honourable man.

2018-2019 Local History Indoor Meetings

We returned to our indoor meetings in the S&G HQ on Tuesday 2 October. By drawing together some of the events of the Great War that we had covered and some that we had not yet presented, our October and November meetings concluded our commemoration of W.W.I.

Tuesday 2 October 2018 meeting included a film, Defeat to Victory. The film centred around the 2nd Salford Pals Battalion of the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers as they prepared for the Battle of the Somme (1916). Authentic and deeply moving, the footage revealed what it was like to go `over the top` and how British tactics changed after the appalling consequences of that first day (01.07.1916).

Tuesday 6 November we reviewed war events from 1916-18 and Daniel Tyler joined us to relate some of the crucial incidents that led to the memorable time and date 11 am 11.11.1918. The Twenty Year Armistice was the title of Daniel`s presentation.

Members shared letters, documents and other memorabilia relating to W.W.I.

Tuesday 4 December – Muck, Fylthe and Executions. It was time to revisit the Tudor era as we mixed facts and fun whilst sampling some themed food and drink. Led by the `Lord of Misrule` with special guest, one of Henry VIII`s wives. Cost was the princely sum of 3 Groats (or £3 in `modern` money).

No meeting in January.

Tuesday 5 February 2019 – Medieval Manuscripts. Illuminated manuscripts are an interesting resource for understanding some aspects of medieval life, not only in castles and palaces, and they provide an insight into everyday life at the time. Brian Farrimond brought along examples of medieval manuscripts and told us more about them. As it was the first day of the Chinese New Year we began our meeting with fortune cookies and our horoscope for the year. Jasmine and green tea was available and enjoyed by all.

Tuesday 5 March – The Architecture of Lord Street, Southport and Bed and Breakfast in Southport. One of the most well-known streets in our local history is Lord Street, Southport, a fine example of a Victorian canopied boulevard. But have you ever stopped to look up at the interesting buildings? Julia Clayton’s illustrated presentation highlighted some of the architecture of Lord Street. We continued our afternoon with Jill Newsham’s presentation of some of the historic venues that have provided bed and breakfast for visitors to Southport over the years.

Tuesday 2 April – The Patients View of Health (19th century)

Author and Historian Elizabeth Roberts joined us to talk about her research including interviews with Lancashire folk and how they coped before the NHS. Members may have family remedies that they would like to share.

Novel Digital Healthcare

On Wednesday 5th June, the Science Group welcomes the return of the NHS North West Innovation Agency to demonstrate a range of new digital healthcare products. For further details see the Science Group page.

Dances in May


  • Corelli’s Gavotte a lively longways dance, with lots of right/left challenges!
  • Bouzer Castle a longways dance that we danced last week , but to a different tune.
  • The Temple of Health a 3 couple dance from the Ken Sheffield collection. Grimstock Heys and diagonals.
  • another 3 couple dance Dunant House Waltz, by Colin Hulme 1993.
  • A Lady Remembered a John Wood longways dance.
  • another longways dance Freeford Gardens by David and Kathryn Wright.

11.05.19 Elfrida calling…

  • (The) Farmer’s Joy a longways Joseph Pimentel dance.
  • Trip to Sherringham a 4 couple dance.
  • very appropriate for dancing in May, Spring Fever  a 3 couple dance to the tune Shades of Green.
  • Orange and Blue a 3 couple dance from 1815.
  • A Fig for Bonaparte a longways dance from Thompson collection 1804.
  • Birthday Reel (although we don’t have any birthdays to celebrate today.)
  • Young Ph(y)llis of Wakefield a longways dance from The Elephant’s Stairs C.D album by Persons of Quality.

18.05.19 June calling..

  • Childgrove a longways dance pub. by Playford 1701 reconstructed by Cecil Sharpe & others to include Cecil Sharpe siding.
  • Happy Hey(s) a 3 couple dance.
  • The Belle of Greenboro a Gary Roodman dance from 2012.
  • Dunant House Waltz a 3 couple Colin Hulme dance, x2, with 1/2 heys and changing along the lines.
  • Wooden Shoes longways dance.


  • Wooden Shoes a longways dance which first appears in 1701 pub. by Playford.
  • The Ruby composed by Bert Eccles from West Kirby Folk Dance Group.
  • Pilgarlic a nippy 3 couple dance. According to the Phronistery ( a dictionary of obscure words)

A Pilgarlick is ‘a poor wretch, self pitying person’ although it could also refer to a bald headed man. I think a current politician may refer to the Phronistery………no prizes for guessing the right one!

  • Roll the Line
  •  Criss Cross Jig a 5 couple dance.
  • and our last dance in May is Holborn March a longways dance from 1740.



Visit to Heysham Nuclear Power Station

Wednesday 15th May 2019

On the 15th May 37 of us set off to Heysham to visit the nuclear power station.  After a tour of the displays at the visitor centre, a talk on nuclear power generation and a safety and security briefing we were kitted out with our high vis jackets, safety spectacles, hard hats, ear defenders and electronic security passes.  We were then split into groups and shepherded  through the security systems by our 8 guides (no opportunities for wondering off or dallying) and finally were were in Heysham 2, which housed one of two nuclear reactors on site.  We were not disappointed – a visit to the reactor top to see the refuelling system was followed by a visit to the control room and the turbine hall with our expert guides fielding all the many questions fired at them.  After shedding all our gear 37 rather tired U3A members happily snoozed their way home on the coach.

If you want a fascinating trip run by highly competent staff who are dedicated to their jobs – visit Heysham Power Station!

West Lancashire Dementia Hub-Talk by Peter Horton

The West Lancashire Dementia Hub – launched in May and its monthly meeting – will now take place at the Age UK building (the Wellbeing Centre) in Moorgate, Ormskirk, each third Wednesday from 2.00 – 4.00 p.m.

On 19th June there will be a short talk by Peter Horton from Age UK Lancashire on ‘Local Dementia Services’.  There will be an opportunity to meet representatives of the local agencies and organisations that support those living with dementia, their carers and families.  U3A members are providing the ‘meet and greet’ service.  There will be tea/coffee throughout the afternoon.

U3A Website Workings

The Web Team consists of :

  • a Web Manager who maintains an overview of the website content
  • a Groups Editor who keeps an eye on the Group Pages and updates those that do not have a Group Author
  • a Media Manager who manages the WordPress Media Library

The Web Team is assisted by a very large number of Group Author who can update their own pages.  Find out if your Group has its own Author and ask them to make any changes required – a great way of making updates promptly and accurately.

The U3A IT Manager looks after the running of the website and can be contacted if you spot errors in the Workings of the website not related to content

Pam’s Past Speaker Meetings

Many thanks to Andrew Thwaite, who kick-started the 2019 programme in February with an entertaining and informative talk on the history and manufacture of chocolate. A great many people braved the elements that wet and windy morning and were rewarded with a most enjoyable talk and freshly made chocolate!

Our next Speaker Meeting was in April, when Carolyn Kirby spoke about her debut novel ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’. Carolyn’s novel has attracted considerable favourable comment in the press and online – more details here.

Carolyn writes:

My novel ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’ will be published in the UK and USA in March 2019. This is a historical thriller set in 1880’s Birmingham about a troubled young woman, Cora Burns, who was born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse. Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of a scientist, Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora?

The novel is inspired by some real Victorian lives and events. My talk will give an insight into the research that underlies the fictional narrative of the novel and will highlight three controversial Victorians: Arthur Munby, W. T. Stead and Francis Galton. This will be followed by Q and A’s and a chance to buy a signed copy of the book.


On Thursday 6th June, a large audience welcomed local resident, writer and photographer, Peter Rimmer,  who presented a fascinating and informative talk on Morecambe Bay. 

Peter is a freelance writer and photographer from Southport, now living in Ormskirk. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in Photography by the University of Bolton in 2013, and has self-published a Photo Book “The tide’s the very devil” about Morecambe Bay and its shrimp fishermen. Peter specialises in Paralympic and disability sports as a photojournalist.

Peter writes

The illustrated talk is based on my Photobook “The tide’s the very devil: Morecambe Bay in photographs” describing the hazards, dangers and isolation of the Bay; some of its rich history; crossing the sands; shrimp fishing – the catch, landing, boiling and picking of shrimps; and the men and women involved. Shrimping is a family business where the traditions are handed down, and remain largely unchanged from one generation to another. The opportunity to use old family photographs enables me to compare and contrast the practices of today with what went before, showing similarity and difference.

The title of the talk comes from the first line of the chorus of On Morecambe Bay, a folk song written by an old school-friend from Southport and recorded by Irish folk singer Christy Moore. Kevin Littlewood was inspired to write the lyrics following the tragedy in February 2004 when 23 Chinese cockle pickers died after becoming trapped by rising tides at Hest Bank. It is a poignant reminder that the tide dictates every move on the sands.

The solitude, isolation and scale of Morecambe Bay were apparent on my first venture out on the sands sitting on the back of Michael’s tractor. I wanted to capture the feeling of isolation and show the wide open spaces. I also wanted to illustrate some of the features of the Bay such as myrings, footprints and tracks in the sand. Including aerial shots from a balloon. I discovered a rich history of literature and painting which under-score the story of life on the sands, and provide an external context largely unchanged today

A large audience gathered in the Ministry Centre on 5th September to hear a talk by Harold Hoggarth on the Civil War in Lancashire. Illustrated by maps, paintings and illustrations and based on the writings of 19thcentury historian Ernest Broxap, Harold’s talk described how Lancashire at the time of the Civil war was divided into 6 regions, or ‘hundreds’, of which only 2 were on the Parliamentary side. The 2 armies were a combination of professional soldiers and ‘clubmen’, or local vigilantes, and towns quickly changed allegiance back and forth. We heard about the use of the musket, and how it was just as likely to kill the user as the enemy when the gunpowder exploded. Between 1642 and 1644 our region saw a number of conflicts, one of the most notable being the Battle of Whalley at Read Bridge, where 400 untrained men defeated 5000 Royalist soldiers. We also heard about the famous Siege of Lathom House, when the Countess of Derby, Charlotte de la Tremouille, held off the Parliamentarians for 3 months before being relieved by Prince Rupert, nephew of the King, in May 1644. The Battle of Marston Moor, west of York, was the largest battle of the Civil War, resulting in victory for the Parliamentarians and the abandonment of Lancashire by the Royalists.

Note: The Battle of Ormskirk (August 1644) was fought in our local area. More details can be found here



May 2019 visit to Erdigg Castle

Our trip to Erdigg Castle in Wrexham – a National Trust location