Category Archives: General

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. 


April 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1  Balance  click for slideshow

Topic 2 Signs of Spring  click for slideshow

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, arranged by Sue Watkinson. This typically is a representative of an organisation (usually local) providing information of relevance  to the  U3A membership.

Our Guest at Horizons on Thursday 11th April is Jodie Taylor from Macmillan Information and Support Services, West Lancashire.  She is coming to promote an event they are hosting at Christ Church Ministry Centre on Friday 12th April which is for anyone who has ever had a cancer diagnosis and for their careers, friends and family.  Come along to Horizons and find out more between 9.30 and 11.00 a.m.

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 intend to start a regular beginners’ class in the very near future.  We have secured the services of a great teacher and the Women’s Institute has been made available to us once again.  However, owing to the existing commitments of the tap-dancing teacher, it will take place on a Tuesday morning at 10am.  If you would like to join – new members welcome – please ring the co-ordinator, Irene on: 01695 578263.  If she cannot answer your call, please leave a message and she will get back to you.   Happy tapping!

Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meetings are held at 10.30 on specified Thursday mornings throughout the year, usually in Christ Church, Aughton. Coffee is available in the Scout & Guide HQ (very nearby the Church and its Ministry Centre) from 09.30 to 10.15 before the meeting. Everyone is welcome, so bring family, friends and neighbours.

Speaker Meetings in 2019

Here is the latest information from our new Speaker Secretary for 2019 – Pam Ball


Our second Guest Speaker this year was Carolyn Kirby, whose debut novel The Conviction of Cora Burns has recently been published in the UK and USA. Carolyn’s fascinating talk focussed on the background to the novel, set in Victorian Birmingham, and in particular on research being carried out at the time into the question of Nature v Nurture, and what influences are at work in the criminal mind.

We heard first about Francis Galton, whose wide-ranging work included statistics, fingerprints, the first weather map and a counting system which enabled him to observe women and put them into categories: attractive, indifferent and repellent. It was interesting to hear that, according to Francis Galton’s survey, London had the best looking women and Aberdeen the ugliest! Arthur Munby studied working class women and married scullery maid Hannah Cullwick, who sported a 14” bicep. Their strange relationship was a living experiment, and we saw photographs of Hannah dressed as various different characters including a gentlewoman and a slave. WT Stead became known as ‘The Father of Tabloid Journalism’ and based his research on child prostitution. He was eventually prosecuted and convicted of abduction of a child, Eliza Armstrong, aged 13. The case hastened the raising of the age of consent from 13 to 16, where it remains today, and Eliza was immortalised in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

We are grateful to Carolyn for sharing her extensive knowledge and research with us in such an interesting and entertaining way. We wish her well with her new career and look forward to perhaps welcoming her back in the future.


On Thursday 6th June, we will welcome local resident, writer and photographer, Peter Rimmer,  who will present a 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.

Looking ahead

5th September – Harold Hoggarth: The Civil War in Lancashire
7th November – John Winter: Blame it on the Beatles – and Bill Shankley

I would be very pleased to hear from any members who would like to give a talk, or maybe you remember a past speaker you would like to hear from again.

Please email any ideas to  or phone 07974 749362.

A Message from the Speaker Secretary:

  • These meetings are open to the public.  So do invite your friends even if they are not U3A members.
  • Parking can be tricky on Thursday mornings.  So, if you can, please consider car-sharing or alternative modes of transport.  The handy half-hourly  310 Ormskirk – Liverpool bus stops very nearby on Holborn Hill. Some members ‘get active’ and walk, while a few even cycle now and then.

Past Speaker Meetings

Much appreciation and hearty thanks to Sue Watkinson, who has recently ‘retired’ from the Speaker Secretary role, for a wonderful series of Speaker Meetings over her time of office. The variety and quality of the speakers arranged by Sue was truly excellent. Please take a few minutes to view and recall the extensive and interesting range of Past Speaker Meetings organised by Sue (as well a few from her predecessors).


DVD recordings

The Speaker Meetings are recorded on DVD. DVDs can be obtained from Bill Evans at a cost of £3.  To order one, phone Bill on 01695 312479 or contact him at Horizons.

Away Match at Southport

On Wednesday morning, March 27th, we visited the Ash Street Snooker Club in Southport to play a team from the Club.

Our Team [Barry, Dave, Eddie & Cliff]

Southport Team [Tony, Martin, Steve & Cyril]

The match started with four Singles matches with mixed fortunes.

Tony v Cliff

The result was a win for Cliff, 63 to 35.

Martin v Barry

The result was a win for Martin, 52 to 23.

Dave v Steve

The result was a win for Steve, 81 to 18.

Eddie v Cyril

The result was a win for Eddie, 45 to 17.

So the teams were all square at the finish.

After refreshments we then played the Doubles.

Barry & Dave played Cyril & Matin which Southport won, 58 to 34

Cliff & Eddie played the final match against Steve & Tony and won the match, 64 to 38.

This meant the Match finished 3 -3 so the scores had to be used to find the winners.

Ormskirk – 247     Southport – 281.

So Soutport won by a mere 34 points.

What a really close Match!!

Keyboard Gallery


A fine performance from Pat and Dee


Deep concentration during practice

Click on the movie to see the group in action.


Phil Sanderson celebrating U3A’s 5th anniversary in style


Digital Keyboard Music group celebrating their 10th Anniversary


Past Meetings 2019

In January Cliff Porter, training officer and Geoff Todd, membership officer from Liverpool and Merseyside Beekeepers Association presented “Where would we be without Bees”. The emphasis was on how to encourage bees in to the garden. Several myths were dispelled.


On 13th February Anthony Brougham presented “Miracle Planter”.

On 13th March Steve Halliwell, Public Speaker, Author and Biographer presented a talk on “Holker Hall – The Park and Gardens”.

Past Meetings 2018

The October meeting was an informative talk by Maureen Sawyer, a garden designer and consultant, on the A-Z of garden gems. In November – Matthew Smith from Brighter Blooms presented ‘Weeds ~ to love or to loathe’, a topic that effects all gardeners. This talk aimed to get you thinking about weeds differently. Samples of Mare’s Tail and Nettle tea bags were on offer and a variety of bulbs were on sale.

On 27 November, five members visited the World of Glass, St. Helens to attend a talk by Marcus Chilton, Curator at RHS Bridgewater, on ‘The Making of RHS Garden Bridgewater ~ plans and progress’. Members are already planning garden visits and trips for 2019.

The December meeting comprised a fun quiz with a twist, prizes and mince pies. The winning team was “The Girls”, well done!

March 2019 Competiiton Winners

Topic 1   Flying High  click for slideshow

Topic 2  Waterfalls  click for slideshow





Topic 1 –   Balance          Topic 2  Signs of Spring

The closing date for the April  competition is midnight, Sunday  31st March

Plan for Thursday4th April  Meeting – Haskayne Village Hall 2pm

Competition Judging


              April’s presentation will be looking at Street Photography as a Social History,

recorded by the lens of amateur Vivian Maier when compared to professionals

Henri Cartier-Bresson and Bert Hardy, plus today’s local images

brought to presence by Bill Soens. “


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

Drama Group

Tickets for our next production “Two Weddings and a Conference” are now sold out for both Friday 12th April and Saturday 13th April.

Thank you to everyone who has bought tickets.  We look forward to seeing you.

Finance & Resources Subcommittee

The Finance & Resources Subcom­mit­tee (F&R) meets several times a year, usually a week before the Management Committee (MC).

Subcommittee members are:  Alan Starkie (Chair), Vacant (Treasurer), John Tomlinson, Derrick Fewings, Iain Smart, Sally Kirby, David Blanchflower
F&R responsibilities include:
  • Its main business is to consider applications from Group Leaders and others to provide funding for a special event or function, or to authorise the purchase of equipment.
  • It is also responsible for safeguarding the organisation’s assets, providing appropriate insurance and financial reporting to the MC.
  • In recent times, the U3A’s migration to the new Beacon accounting and membership system has occupied much of F&R time, especially in maximising its potential for greater transparency and in facilitating financial reporting and membership records.

Check the Subcommittee Terms of Reference (TOR) for more detail.

March 2019 – King Arthur – Tying up the loose ends

The session:

Started tying up the loose ends from the Arthurian Legends by looking at the origins of Merlin

1/.  Merlin seems to be a composite figure whose story was added to over time.  We covered Llallogen/Lailoken, Merlin/Myrddin, Ambros/Emrys and Merlin Ambrosius.

2/.  In the North of England, Llallogen/Lailoken, was the bard poet to the King of Carlisle and was driven mad by the events at the Battle of Arfderydd.  At the time it was thought mad people could see the future.

This story seems to be combined with the Welsh legends which have Merlin/Myrddin as a wild man and prophet who lived by the River Conwy.

People moved from the North to Wales so it is feasible that these characters could become combined.

The records which exist such as the Welsh Annals and Welsh Genealogy match up with the timelines and geography generally attributed to Arthur.

Merlin is the Latin name for Myrddin.  Myrddin has more than one version of his tale.  Each tale has some mystery for his birth as a boy with no father to the issue of a nun and an incubus.  The progeny of a spirit father would have gifts.  There are different versions for his end in a cave or in a house of glass.

3/.  Nennius has Ambros/Emrys as a boy with no father.  Selected for sacrifice for a fortress which would not stand he talked his way out of it by explaining this was due to a pool underneath and two dragons on red and one white and giving predictions for the future.

4/.  Finally we looked at Geoffrey of Monmouth’s version which brought together a number of different sources.  The sources for Merlin are similar to those for Arthur and include Gildas, The Venerable Bede, Nennius, The Welsh Annals and then added to by Geoffrey.   Geoffrey was the one who really made the connection between Merlin and Arthur.  His Merlin was called Merlin Ambrosius

5/.  We looked at the Prophecies of Merlin which were translated by Geoffrey of Monmouth from the Ancient Welsh long after the time of Merlin.

February 2019 – King Arthur building the legend contd

The session:

Continued Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur”

1/.  Despite previous events the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot developed and Arthur heard that Guinevere had committed adultery with Lancelot.  Arthur was bound to sentence Guinevere to death and condemned her to be burnt at the stake.  Lancelot got to hear of this and rescued Guinevere just as the fire was being lit.  He took her to his castle Joyous Garde at Bamburgh, Northumberland.  This split the knights between Arthur and Lancelot.  Arthur laid siege to the castle, there were many casualties and eventually the Pope had to intervene.  Lancelot was given safe passage to Brittany and Arthur reclaimed his queen.  Sir Gawain persuaded Arthur to follow Lancelot to Brittany to attack Lancelot whilst leaving Mordred in charge.

2/.  Mordred forged documents to show that Arthur had been killed.  Mordred tried to force Guinevere to marry him.  Guinevere locked herself in the Tower of London and Mordred received news that Arthur was returning from Brittany.  A number of knights were loyal to Mordred and there was the battle of Camlann where 100,000 men were killed.  During the battle Mordred inflicted a fatal wound on Arthur who then managed to kill Mordred.

3/.  The Death of Arthur – Arthur knew that he was mortally wounded and asked Sir Bedivere to take Excalibur and return it to the lake.  Twice he hid Excalibur and pretended to return it to the Lady of the Lake.  On his third attempt he returned the sword to the Lady of the Lake.  Arthur then asked Sir Bedivere to carry him to the water’s edge where a barge arrived to take Arthur’s body.  On the barge were 3 ladies, one of whom was Morgan Le Fay, and they carried off Arthur’s body to the other world to heal his wounds.

Malory tells us that the next day Sir Bedivere came across a hermit at a small chapel near Glastonbury.  He was beside a recent grave and said that a group of women had brought the body of a knight for burial (thought to be Arthur).  Sir Bedivere changed his life and devoted himself to fasting, prayer and penance.  Guinevere entered a Benedictine convent and Lancelot joined Sir Bedivere in his life of prayer.  6 years later Lancelot became a priest and after Guinevere’s death he took her body to the chapel at Glastonbury and buried her next to Arthur.  After Guinevere’s death Lancelot wasted away and died.

4/.  Sir Constantine became king after Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were disbanded.

January 2019 – King Arthur building the legend contd

The session:

Continued Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur”

1/.  The story continued and it was interesting to see the impact on the story of the life and times of Malory, there was a bitter civil war.  Although he used the existing stories as sources he added in his own interpretation and elements to the story.  One particular character “improved” upon by Malory was Morgan Le Fay who in earlier stories was a loving sister to Arthur became an almost James Bond-like villain in her attempts to remove/kill him in his version.

2/.  The concept of Camelot was introduced by Chretien de Troyes and included by Malory.  Malory first suggested that Camelot was Winchester however later in the story writes as if Camelot and Winchester were different places.  The Round Table was also introduced as a wedding present to Arthur and Guinevere and was big enough to seat 150 knights.  Malory set out the rules of Knightly Conduct.

3/.  Merlin was introduced as a magician who could see the future along with his nemesis a water sprite called Nenive/Nimue/Vivienne who was one of the handmaidens of the Lady of the Lake.  She tried to manipulate Merlin, wheedling knowledge from him.  Merlin knew what was going on because he knew everything but was powerless to do anything about it.  Merlin knew his time with Arthur was limited and tried to give Arthur as much information as possible.  He told Arthur to look after his sword as a woman would try to take it.  Once Nenive had gained as much information from Merlin as she could, she trapped him for eternity in a cavern.

4/.  Arthur went on a hunting trip with Sir Accolon and King Uriens of Gore.  They got lost in the forest and found themselves in the other world.  Arthur was faced with having to fight to rescue the others but Accolon gets a secret message from Morgan Le Fay telling him he has to fight a battle to the death with an unknown knight.  She gave him Excalibur which was taken from Arthur while he slept.  Arthur, the unknown knight, agreed to fight and Morgan Le Fay manoeuvred it so that Accolon and Arthur fought each other.  During the fight Arthur realized that his sword wasn’t Excalibur and Nenive took pity on Arthur and made Accolon drop Excalibur so that Arthur could pick it up.  Arthur revealed who he was and Accolon spared him and crossed Morgan Le Fay.  Morgan Le Fay stole the scabbard of Excalibur and threw it into a lake.  Morgan couldn’t resist one final attempt to kill Arthur so sent him a special cloak.  Nenive advised Arthur not to try the cloak on and had it put on a handmaid who instantly dropped dead and then burst into flames.  Arthur then left Morgan Le Fay in the Land of Gore.

Arthur gathered an army and set off to Gaul to kill a giant and then went on to conquer Rome.  Rome had insisted that Arthur should pay taxes to them.

5/.  We considered the story of Lancelot du Lake.  Lancelot became Queen Guinevere’s champion and bound by the conventions of courtly love.  However the relationship between Lancelot and Guinevere moved beyond courtly love and gossip soon started to spread.  To protect Guinevere Lancelot tried to distance himself but Guinevere was unhappy with this.  Lancelot faced many trials.

Guinevere and her party of knights and ladies were kidnapped by Sir Meleagant.  Guinevere managed to smuggle out a message to Lancelot to rescue her.  After the rescue Guinevere released Sir Lancelot.

Change of Venue for 12th March visit.

The planned visit to Marshside this Tuesday, 12th March, is cancelled due to high winds from the west, cold and rain.  We are therefore going to Martin Mere which has much better shelter and facilities.  We will reschedule a visit to Marshside for later in the year.

The Great Twin Ponds Project

Wednesday 6th March 2019

Many Lancashire farms have a pond at their field boundaries or in a quiet corner; these are often overgrown and neglected.  Helen Greaves, came to tell the Science Group how these lifeless ponds may be restored to health in partnership with local farmers to improve biodiversity and aid wildlife conservation.  Helen is a great enthusiast for this work, this came across strongly in her talk with the result that many in the audience are now much more interested in what can be done in this area.  We expect shortly some “advertising material” which will tell us how we can volunteer and get more involved: so watch this space!

2018 visits

Drama Group 12th and 13th April

Tickets for Saturday 13th April are now sold out but some tickets for Friday 12th are still available.

Contact Jackie or Megan (227503 or 578207) or come to Horizons on Thursdays.

February, full of birthday requests.

some birthday requests from Marion  and Liz.


  • Alexander’s Birthday a 2 couple contemporary Gary Roodman dance. (Liz request)
  • Newcastle a 4 couple dance Playford 1651 (Elfrida request)
  • Eastbourne Grove a 3 couple dance, see last week. (Marion request)
  • De’il tak the Warr another 3 couple dance from last week. (also Marion’s request)
  • Mile of Smiles another contemporary dance, by Joseph Pimentel, 2012. (Liz request)

Circle left…


  • Mendocino Redwood a longways dance. (Liz request)
  • Freeford Gardens a longways dance.              ditto.
  • Morrison’s Reel a longways dance (Geraldine’s request)
  • Chickpeas and Spinach a 3 couple dance, not a Vegan recipe.
  • My Lady Winwood’s Maggot a 3 couple dance Playford 1726. Maggot meaning a fanciful or whimsical thing.
  • Mount Hills a Playford longways dance 1721. (also Liz request) All nice flowing dances.


  • Gasconne a longways dance 1710, with interpretation by Pat Shaw.
  • Nonesuch a 4 couple 1751 dance with 5 parts ending in a circular hey.(yet another Liz request)
  • Charlene’s celebration a 4 couple, Gary Roodman 2005 dance with music by Charlene E. Thomson.

This was a historic birthday request from Frank, well, he set us a challenge!! Danced 3 times…and still working on it.

  • Elizabethan Tango?
  • Namptwich Fair a longways dance.
  • The Drummer a big favourite with everyone.


  • Ladies of London 1718 longways dance.
  • Trip to Blenheim. A little bit of history here, Queen Anne made a gift of Blenheim Palace (1705-1722) to John Duke of Marlborough, for his glorious 1704 victory over the French and Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession.
  • Chickpeas and Spinach danced last week.
  • No Taxes a 3 couple dance, last danced February 2018!
  • and finally April’s Lady a 3 couple circular dance.

T for Technique, when doing a turn with 3 people cup hands together “to drive” the turn around.

A busy month with a good selection of favourites and new challenges.




27 Jan 2019

27 Jan 2019 – The Musical Theatre Group🎼🎤🎶🎹  provided us with a fantastic, full and varied afternoon of entertainment.  Tea ☕ and Biscuits🍪 in the interval of course.  

Visit to Pennington Flash – 12 February 2019

Our first visit of 2019 was to Pennington Flash, one of our regular sites which always provides a good morning’s bird watching.


Ten members of the group attended and a total of 45 species were recorded.


Highlights of this visit included:

  • A mixed flock of about 10 Lesser Redpoll and 3 Siskin
  • A Treecreeper
  • The large number of Goosander
  • 3 Goldeneye
  • Willow Tit, Grey Wagtail and Bullfinch


Thanks to Colin Ratcliff who took a ‘shot in the dark’ and used Photoshop to recover this image of the Treecreeper.


Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen and some more pictures taken at Pennington.


Continue reading

Autumn 2018


Celebrating the U3A’s 15th birthday

The autumn of 2018 was a busy time for our choir.  We sang at Springfield and Ince Blundell Nursing Homes, took  part in the U3A 15th birthday celebrations and organised the U3A Advent service in Christ Church.  Members of the congregation brought contributions for the Ormskirk food bank and we all shared in the real meaning of Christmas.

The Mechanics of Walking

Wednesday 6th February 2019

Our speaker on 6th February was Dr. Kris D’Aout, a lecturer in musculo-skeletal biology at the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, Liverpool University.  He studies the mechanics of walking on complex surfaces, the effect of footwear and how gait is affected during healthy ageing as well as in disease.  His talk proved very popular and provided us with a record turn out which meant that unfortunately we ran out of chairs!  Many questions followed the talk and many high heels and sport shoes will be thrown out as a result.  We have spoken to Kris since regarding his need for older but healthy people to take part in his research trials and we might expect an invitation for volunteers to go to his laboratory to take part in these: watch this space.

Pics from the Past

Click or tap on any photo to run the gallery as a slide show.


Joyous January

Bend those knees!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR LEADER & DANCERS, may 2019 be a healthy & happy one.

Already 11.01.19 Elfrida is our Dancing mistress today.

  • (the) Farmer’s Joy a Joseph Pimentel longways dance from 2012.
  • the First of April another longways dance but from 1733.
  • Leaving of Liverpool a 3 couple set, danced twice.
  • Liberty from the Yorktown Victory Ball 1781.
  • Sprigs of Laurel a longways dance from 1794. Choreography & music by Ann & Peter Thompson.
  • Go to the Devil and shake yourself a longways dance.
  • Gloster Reel 1796 longways.

18.01.19 Elfrida recorded the dances.

  • St. Andrew’s gardens longways.
  • Lord Phopington longways, from the Walsh Collection 1718.
  • We will down with the French a 3 couple set danced twice.
  • Orange & Blue another very enjoyable 3 couple dance.
  • Meillonen a 5 couple Welsh dance.


  • The New Slip longways. A new dance for the group.
  • Eastbourne Grove a 3 couple dance, also not danced before.
  • De’il tak the Warr a Scottish lament 1721  3 couple dance, 3 times.
  • Deodar longways.
  • Bonnets so Blue also longways.


Birdwatching Group AGM – 15th January 2019

1. Waders and how to recognise them

Ruff in winter plumage (Photo by Pete Gately at Martin Mere, 2018)

The meeting started with a very interesting talk by Bill Hale on ‘Waders and how to recognise them’ focussing on Curlew, Whimbrel, Ruff, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Knott and Stint.

Aggressive Black-tailed Godwits (Photo by Peter Banks at Martin Mere, 2018)






Despite the unreliable sound system, Bill’s recordings of birdsong were memorable, and in the case of the curlew, haunting.  The video of clouds of Knott in murmuration over the Wash in Norfolk was spectacular and the aggressive Godwit behaviour was unexpected as were their ‘bendy bills’.

Bill also mentioned current research he is involved in into apparent seasonal changes in colouration of some birds without a second moult implying that mature feathers must be changing colour – you heard it here first!

Bill had prepared information about several more waders, so we look forward to ‘Part Two’ of his talk!  Bill’s immense knowledge and dry Lancastrian humour made it an enthralling session, we are lucky to have him in our group.

2. Review of 2018 visits and sightings

Peter Banks presented the summary of visits and sightings for 2018, copies of which had been emailed to members before the meeting and are also appended to this report.

Two of the visits planned for 2018 had to be changed.  It had not been possible to arrange group transport for the small number who would have been able to visit Conway RSPB on 29th May, and the wildfires that ravaged Rivington Moor prevented our planned visit on 10th July.

All of our group sightings are recorded on the group’s web pages and also logged at BirdTrack a national project run by the British Trust for Ornithology in partnership with RSPB (and others) that records distributions and migration movements of birds throughout Britain and Ireland.

3. Proposed venues for 2019

Peter Hatfield presented his list of proposed venues for birdwatching in 2019. Six of last years reserves are revisited this year but in different seasons, one site not visited by the group is re-introduced (Rivington) and four local venues not seen last year will be seen this year (Marbury CP, Woolston Eyes, Speke Hall NT, and Hesketh Outmarsh RSPB).

4. AOB

There was a discussion about future possible venues for visits, Sand dunes beyond Hall Rd. Hightown, Seaforth Docks Bootle, and last year we put Sizergh Hall (NT) and Bempton Cliffs on the list. More comments please, we look forward to an interesting year ahead.

Attendance: Fourteen members of the group attended this year’s AGM, and apologies were received from seven.  The list of attendees is recorded on the group’s database and is available on request.

Peter Hatfield and Peter Banks, joint leaders.


Click ‘continue reading’ for the summary of visits and sightings for 2018 and the list of planned venues for 2019.

Continue reading

Spring Handicap Knockout

The Knockout Competition is going well with all Rounds One ties complete.

It would be helpful if you could arrange with your opponent when to play your match. I will update the Table as the results come in.


Independent Living Aids


For fifteen years we have promoted a programme ‘Sustaining Wellbeing in Later Life’. The question does arise, however, “what is the point of all the extra years if they are characterised by decline and dependence?”
Most of the older people I know, like myself, would like to live long, live well, die quickly and have no need to rely on ‘social services’, particularly if the ultimate involvement of social services is to transfer us into a nursing home.
Julia Bate, with a professional background as a primary care pharmacist, has collated an extensive list of ‘aids’ and support systems available to help the incapacitated to continue to enjoy the comfort and familiar circumstance of their own home.
As a primary care pharmacist, Julia has an insight to the needs of homebound individuals and has identified equipment and systems that make it possible to sustain independent living. As a member of the ‘Understanding Tomorrow’s World’ team, with Dr Jack Brettle and myself, she has first hand experience of the potential of robotics and artificial intelligence that will ultimately produce increasingly more sophisticated equipment.
The results have now been published in a booklet, “Digital Aids for Sustaining Independent Living”.  Note that this is a ‘work in progress’, with each day bringing new developments and our hope is that Julia can continue to capture the information and even be able to influence new development.

Dr Alex McMinn, ‘Understanding Tomorrow’s World’ Team

What’s in the booklet?

There are currently four sections in the booklet:

  • Smart home devices, such as devices for voice control of home equipment, or trackers
  • Health Apps, including one for detecting trips and gait abnormalities
  • Robots to help in routine tasks about the home
  • Driverless cars – a discussion of the present situation and future projections

Where can I get hold of a copy?

A digital version can be downloaded from here.


More Work from 2018

Some more of our work from 2018

Our Work displayed at the U3A Showcase 13 October 2018

25 Nov 2018

Our Pre-Christmas Party’.✨🎄  The Cabaret 🎩🎤was  provided by our very own Drama Group who encouraged us to join in.  We had a fabulous time  Yuletide refreshments 🥨🍰were on offer of course. 

28 Oct 2018

– Our regular humourist😁 and local botanist🌲🌼 Peter Gateley talked to us about ‘Autumn Colours in our Countryside’.   Refreshments and a quiz followed.

Visit to Martin Mere WWT reserve – 11th December 2018

Our final visit of 2018 was again to the WWT reserve at Martin Mere where, as always, we were treated to excellent views of a wide range of bird species many of them at close range.

Eleven members of the group attended on this occasion and a total of 50 species were recorded.



We noted the considerable variation in leg and bill colouration amongst the many Ruff visible at close range from the main ‘Discovery’ hide.




We also saw examples of rivalry between members of the same species, particularly among the Black-tailed Godwits.









Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of 50 species seen:

Continue reading

December 2018 – King Arthur building the legend contd

The session:

Continued Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte DArthur”

1/.  This was finished in 1469 or 1470 and was printed by Caxton in 1485 (the first of our sources to make it into print).  The setting of the tale is fifteenth century, and Arthur is portrayed very much as a fifteenth century figure.

2/.  Malory lived at the time of the Wars of the Roses and he was greatly concerned about the damage that civil unrest was doing to England, and the danger, as he saw it, that the entire country was about to collapse in ruin.  He portrayed Arthur as the strong king who came to the rescue when the country stood in similar peril in the past; and as the sort of king that England needed in his own time.

3/.  According to Malory, Arthur fought a long and bitter civil war before he could secure the crown and the kingdom, but then Malory tells us that this security did not last.  According to the Cistercian monks, in their reworking of the Arthurian material (the Vulgate Cycle) Arthur’s glory faded because of sexual sin.  According to Malory, Arthur’s court was destroyed because of infighting and treachery amongst his own knights – Malory’s message to his readers being that England is in the same danger now; and if civil unrest could destroy the mighty King Arthur, it will certainly do the same to us.

4/.  Malory used most of the source materials that we have looked at so far, but then he added a lot of extra details and embellishments of his own.  In fact, most of the elements that are associated with the Arthurian legends actually made it into print courtesy of Thomas Malory.  So we have the sword that Arthur draws from the anvil, to prove that he is the rightful heir to the throne; the magical Otherworld sword Excalibur that is given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake; Arthur’s court at Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table; and Arthur’s act of incest with his half-sister Morgause that results in the birth of Mordred who is destined to destroy both Arthur and his kingdom.

Magazine, enews, Website and Facebook Publicity “Deadlines”

Do you need to publicise a U3A event or activity? Here are the deadlines for advertising in various methods of communication with members.

Remember that you need to separately contact the editors for all ouf the various media where you want your item to appear.  Sending to one does not mean that it will  automatically appear in the others.

Quarterly Magazine

  • copy for next magazine: deadline as publicised in latest magazine

Monthly enews

  • deadline for enews items: NOON on the last Monday of the month

U3A Website

  • Group and other News and Events, Photos etc:  Anytime

U3A Facebook

Please refer to the Communicating within our U3A webpage for more information on these “publications” and how to contact their “editors”.

Note that if you are using the Contact form to send in an item for publication in the Magazine, the enews and the Website, you will need to send in a separate form to each “editor”  individually.

2018 Christmas Lunch

Some photos taken by Geoff Roberts and Bill & Sue Watkinson at the lunch on 14th December 2018, organised by the Social Subcommittee: