Category Archives: General

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.

Social Subcommittee Events in 2019

Friday Evening 28 June:   ‘Antiques Road Show’ – evening with Mike Litherland – Retired Local Valuer/Auctioneer – Aughton Village Hall at 6.00pm – 10.00pm.

Included a hot buffet supper (served at 6.30pm) – followed by a presentation from Mike and then some valuations of your Antiques & Curios!

Tickets: £12 from the Social Subcommittee Desk at Horizons (in the Scout & Guide HQ) are now on sale. Come and Enjoy!

It was a fun and interesting evening.

A ‘SONG & DANCE’ social evening

On Friday evening, 16 August 2019, at Aughton Village Hall at 6.30pm.

Local excellent professional guitarist/singer KEN WATERS, returns to play lots of your favourite songs, to listen to, sing-a-long with and even dance to. Some of you may still be recovering from last summer’s dancing efforts!

Includes a hot pot supper and tea & coffee at the mid evening interval.

Tickets £10, from Social Subcommittee Desk, at Horizons (Scout & Guide HQ) from Thurs, 4 July.

Come & enjoy!

Friday 13 December:   Ministry Centre

Christmas Lunch

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

June 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1  Memory  click for slideshow

Topic 2  Contrasting Colours  click for slideshow



Our next meeting at Haskayne Village Hall is on 5th September 2019

                                The Competition topics for our 2019 – 2020  season are listed below:

Topic 1                                 Topic 2

  September  19      Summer Snacks                       Farm Animals]

 October 19               Pathway                                      Stones

  November  19          Holes                                          Street Furniture

December 19            Landscape                                Autumn Glory

January  20                                             NO MEETING

February 20               Bark                                          Catching People Unaware

March 20                  Bottles                                        Gold

April 20                      Odd Couples                             Round Things

May 20                       Shoes                                         Gravestones

June 20                        Money                                         Locks

Both Topics 1 & 2  should be your own photographs .

Images should accurately reflect the topic for which they are entered.

Images may be enhanced  sympathetically  by using Photo editing software.


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 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 – 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.


May 2019 visit to Erdigg Castle

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






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

May 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1   Seven    click for slideshow


Topoc 2    Glass  click for slideshow

The Malcolm Jacques Trophy

On Tuesday morning, 7th May, we played an away match at Hesketh Bank against their Team.

Their Team

Our Team


We began with the Singles Matches.

Bill and Craig

Mike and Rich

Sheila and Dave

Dave and Laurence

The Singles were played first and although Ormskirk won all four, two ended as Black Ball games.

After coffee and biscuits we played the Doubles:

Sheila and Craig against Bill and Dave, which they won, then Dave and Rich against Mike and Laurence which we won on a Black Ball.

So the overall score was a win for Ormskirk by 5 to 1.


Solar Energy: Its Journey from the Sun to Your Kettle.

Wednesday 1st May 2019

Professor George King, Manchester University physics department,  explained how solar energy from its birth in the sun through its journey to earth can be harnessed and how we can store this solar energy when the sun isn’t shining.  We had everything from atomic physics to the economics of different forms of renewable energy generation.  A very topical talk considering the current concerns over global warming.  Since the meeting, one of our members, Brian Bennett, has reminded me that a book George King referred to “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” is available to download from , alternatively Brian, , will lend you his copy of the book!

What is Science and How do we Use it?

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 – What is Science and How do we Use it?

In April our own Professor Bill Hale discussed the topic of “what is science” based on his work with government and academic research councils and involvement with many research laboratories.  With a wide range of examples, and a number of the more amusing aspects of his global scientific wanderings, Bill entertained and engaged the audience for a full two hours.

April dances. See 12th for the 1st of April!!

They say variety is the spice of life, we test that theory in April as we have three Dance Mistresses:- June, Clare and Elfrida.


Clare is calling the dances today with live music from Frank on violin/fiddle, Ian on guitar and Will on concertina. Many thanks to them for giving up their time and making a most enjoyable session.

  • Upon a Summer’s Day a 3 couple dance from 1651 pub. Playford.
  • Auretti’s Dutch Skipper a new longways  dance for us, traditional Regency dance from 1756. Pub. Rutherford.
  • Trip to Richmond another new longways dance, music and choreography by Kate Riley 1956.
  • I care not for these ladies a circlular dance by Kitty Creelman Skobela 1969.
  • The Alderman’s Hat a lively 3 couple dance from 1774 pub. Thomson.
  • Young Phyllis of Wakefield 1714 pub. Walsh.
  • The Hop-picker’s feast another new 3 couple dance for us. Pub. 1786 Thomson.
  • the next 2 dances are also new ones. Mr. Heywood’s success a longways dance.
  • Half Hannikin the circular version from 1651 pub. Playford.


Elfrida calling today, many thanks to her.

  • 1st April a longways dance circa 1733.
  • Indian Queen an old favourite, a longways dance reconstructed by Cecil Sharpe 1922.
  • Birthday Reel most appropriate as we have a cluster of Birthdays to celebrate. A 4 couple dance x2 to the tune Connaught Water.
  • still on the Spring theme Spring fever a 3 couple dance x2, to the tune Shades of Green.
  • (The) Farmer’s Joy by Joseph Pimentel 2012, tune by Adam Broome and played by the band Gold crest.
  • Leaving of Liverpool a 3 couple dance to the tune Rigadoon and played by band Brass Tracks.
  • Guildhall a longways dance by Naomi Alexander.

No Dancing on Good Friday.

We welcome back Dancing Mistress June with thanks to her. Several new dances to keep our feet and brains going!

  • Rostillion by John and William Neal 1726. a longways dance.
  • Belle of Greensboro a Gary Roodman dance 2012 to the tune of the same name by Lydia Ievins.
  • Scotch Cap a 3 couple dance pub. 1651 Playford, with a contemporary variation by Andrew Shaw.
  • Bouzer Castle Playford dance from 1679.
  • The New Slip a longways dance.
  • and finally Holborn March another longways dance from 1742.

Even though we missed a dancing session, we seem to have done a lot of dancing, thanks to all concerned.

Some Seasonal Local Walks

A Local January walk around Aughton


A February walk around Mere Sands, Rufford


A great walk in July 2018 around Haigh Hall


A Gallery of Walks from the Past


Click or tap on any photo to see a slide show of bigger pictures!

Gallery of Past Walks

Click or tap on photographs to enlarge. 


The Grand Final

The Grand Final between the winners of the Knockout Competition and The League Competition was played on Tuesday 9th of April.

The Match was between Bary and Cliff.

The winner would receive The Calvert Trophy.

Me Presenting Cliff with The Calvert Trophy

As Barry had won the Knockout Competition he also received a Trophy.

Me presenting Barry with his Trophy.

Guest Visitors

At some Thursday Horizons Meetings  there is a Guest Visitor.  This typically is a representative of an organisation (usually local) providing information of relevance  to the  U3A membership or perhaps a demo of an activity likely to be of  interest to members.

Information on Diabetes

On Thursday 20 June, we welcome Joanne Sephton as our ‘Guest at Horizons’.  Joanne works for the West Lancs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and takes the lead in the diagnosis and management of diabetes.

She will be with us all morning, so do come along and speak to her if you have any concerns at all about this condition.

Janice Tasker: – Ceramic Artist

Janice is an accomplished artist who has a wealth of experience in the field of ceramics. She makes and decorates her own tiles, which she then uses to create beautiful mosaics, often using driftwood or reclaimed timber for the base.

On Thursday 4th July Janice will be demonstrating how to create a mosaic at Horizons, with a view to leading a workshop on Saturday 28th September. Do come along and watch her at work. If you would like further details please contact our Speaker Meeting Secretary, Pam Ball, on 07974 749362.

Visit to Martin Mere WWT reserve – 12th March 2019

Despite the poor weather in the morning, which had prompted the change of venue, nine members of the group attended this visit and were rewarded with a good morning’s bird watching from the comfort of the excellent facilities at this site.  Four members of the group stayed on for a while after lunch by which time the weather had improved though still very windy.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of 51 species recorded:

Continue reading

24 Mar 2019

The Welsh Kingdoms of Old England’ – a very interesting presentation by Edmund Moynihan.  After our refreshments Tony Crimlisk & the U3A ‘UKULEERS’🎵🎶 entertained us plus supporting dance troup from our Musical Theatre Group.  

24 Feb 2019

A Talk from Pete Trigwell about  Punishment 🔐through the ages.  Followed by a quiz  and tea☕ & cakes🍰 for a treat.


Many dances in March….

    and under the Arch…..

Five Friday dance sessions in March with the addition of a joint dancing session with Upholland U3a country dancers.

1.03.19 Jim’s Birthday requests:-

  • Childgrove 1701 longways Playford dance with Cecil Sharpe reconstruction.
  • Geud man of Ballangigh a longways dance 1728.
  • Black Nagg a short sharp 3 couple dance from 1657, still popular after all these years.
  • and a more contemporary dance Marching to Praetorius by Gary Roodman 1996 a 2 couple square set dance.

and Marion’s Birthday request although Tim may have had some influence with the choice?

  • St. Swithin’s Day Hornpipe a 2 couple dance
  • Indian Queen a longways dance.
  • (The ) Whim of the moment this includes an Allemande dance figure. Longways dance published by Thompson 1791.

8.03.19 Elfrida recording. Some more of ? Marion’s Birthday requests

  • Welcome in the May longways, lots of double figure 8’s !!
  • Broom, the broom, the bonnie bonnie broom 4 couples longways. Playford style with starbursts.
  • Trip to Bavaria, another 4 couple dance, one of our favourites, another of Marion’s birthday choices. Lots of half turns and counting 4s for the beat. As June said we are getting better at this, so it’s not as much fun as the chaos it used to be!
  • Peace be with you a 1986 contemporary longways dance by Fried de Metz Herman.
  • Nonesuch, did it twice, 4 couple dance 1651.
  • Nampwich Fair, longways. A good session.


  • Young Phyllis of Wakefield 1714/15 dance with interpretation by Andrew Shaw.
  • A Lady Remembered a John Wood dance with a haunting tune. We remember the loss of former country dancers Mona, Chris, Rosemary and recently Barbara M. All lovely people and great characters.
  • Sailor’s Wives a 3 couple dance with Chevron figures.
  • Welcome in the May see last week.
  • Sea Breezes a June Jones 3 couple dance.
  • Gasconne a 1710 dance with contemporary interpretation by Pat Shaw.


  • Portsmouth ?1670/1701 longways Playford dance. Remember ‘the Billy Bunter theme tune’.
  • Revolution de la France a longways dance.
  • Captains Maggot a 3 couple dance from 1696.
  • Trip to the Dome a large circular contemporary dance.
  • Of Noble Race was Shinkin Playford 1698. Another mystifying title.
  • Kensington Court 1695 longways dance.

Many thanks to Upholland U3a Country dance group for inviting us to join them for more dancing on 26th. and many thanks to June for calling and to Frank & his fellow musicians for providing the lively LIVE MUSIC,

29.03.19 Elfrida’s Birthday requests:-

  • Orange and Blue a 3 couple dance.
  • Hen Run a longways dance, music and choreography by Bernard Bentley. (apologies for miss naming him in an earlier post)
  • Ranelagh Gardens longways dance.
  • Meillionen a 5 couple Welsh dance, giving particular importance to the steps.
  • The Disbanded Officer pub. by Playford 1787/89

and to end an enjoyable but busy month Spanish Jig longways 1721.


Beginner’s Tap Dancing

The recent six week introduction to tap dancing for beginners was a great success and several of that class have taken the brave step to join the regular Thursday class.  However, not all were able to do so.

Due to the enthusiasm expressed by the new tappers, we have started a regular beginners’ class.  We have secured the services of a great teacher and the Women’s Institute has been made available to us once again.

If you would like to join the Tap Dancing – Beginners Group – new members welcome – please ring the coordinator, Irene on: 01695 578263.  If she cannot answer your call, please leave a message and she will get back to you.

Happy tapping!