Category Archives: News

News items

Sunday Socials Soon

Two Sunday Social Dates – all members welcome.

Sunday 22nd May

The Creative Writing group’s first visit to us since pre-lockdown. We look forward to another very entertaining afternoon of readings and poetry – interesting, thought provoking and definitely some fun!

Sunday 26th June

Bill Evans will be entertaining us with one of his VIDEO shows. Plenty of comedy is assured, but also a sprinkle of serious stuff too. So, sit back and enjoy.

Film Appreciation Restart

The Film Appreciation Group will be restarting on 23rd May at 9.45 for coffee followed by the film which is A Good Year based on the novel by Peter Mayle. See the website Group Page for further details.

It is a good film which will take place in the big room. The charge is £2.00.Colin and I look forward to seeing you.

Regards Pat Morton (Group Leader)

Jubilee Summer Dance

We are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a Summer Dance at Aughton Village Hall on Saturday 25th June, 6:30 for 7pm.

Dancing will be to the 60-70’s music by Roller Coaster.  Supper is provided but bring your own drink and glasses.

Tickets at  £15 (non refundable) are available from the Social Subcommittee Desk at Horizons.

See the  poster for  details.

Drama Group Production Tickets

There are still a few tickets available for Saturday 14th May for “Old Boilers”  followed by “End of the Pier Show” at Aughton Village Hall.

This is the latest production brought to you by the Drama Group for your entertainment!

Tickets are priced at £8.50 and are available at Horizons or by telephoning 01695 227503 or 01695 578207.

Supper is not included so don’t forget to bring along your own drinks, glasses and nibbles etc.

We look forward to seeing you.

Southport Flower Show – Discounted Tickets

Southport u3a are creating a Show Garden at this year’s Southport Flower Show (18 -21 August).  It  will be built and managed by their Gardening Group to celebrate the u3a’s 40th Anniversary. It is the aim to include many aspects of the diverse nature of the u3a as features in the design.

Alongside the Show Garden will be a u3a Stand enabling the promotion of the u3a in general and to talk to existing and prospective members.  Southport u3a’s  “Performing Groups” will also be playing on the Music Stand at times throughout the Show.

In recognition of this support for the Flower Show, ALL u3a members will be able to book tickets for the show at a specially discounted rate of £18, compared to the gate price of £27 using the promotional code, ‘u3a’ when buying tickets on the website  Southport Flower Show.

Local History Outdoor Visits Restart

Local History outdoor visits restarted on 30th April 2022. Further Information on the Local History  Group Page and from the Local History Desk at Horizons.

All members are welcome to our outdoor visits and our indoor meetings.

Margaret Gibbon (Group Leader)

Drama Group Next Production – May 2022

The next production for the Drama Group is a comedy play “Old Boilers” by Adrian Cale followed by “End of the Pier Show” at Aughton Village Hall on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May.

Tickets are priced at £8.50 and are available at Horizons or by telephoning 01695 227503 or 01695 578207.

Supper is not included so don’t forget to bring along your own drinks, glasses and nibbles etc.

We look forward to seeing you.

Health & Wellbeing Reports

Member, Julia Bate is Coordinator for the Health & Wellbeing Group which provides occasional talks on relevant topics for members to attend.

Additionally, Julia herself attends and reports back on regular meetings with the Patient Safety and the Patient and Public Involvement Groups attached to the North West Coast NHS Innovation Agency.  Interesting and comprehensive reports from these meetings are listed below. Normally,  Julia attends them in person, but during times of social distancing, they continued to run using video conferencing.

For further information, email Julia on: wellbeing@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Reports

2022

  • May Meeting – self-referral to consultants using an App; spotting patients with severe asthma
  • April Meeting – Update on alcohol withdrawal project; Cardiac Network and Websites helping with management and prevention of heart disease; Blood pressure testing in barbers’ shops
  • March meeting – Update on Back Pain Management App; Chatbot with Mental Health Advice; Patient Safety (Opioid withdrawal and Medication review)
  • February meeting – Pillow with a hole; Back pain management App; Menopause Consultancy
  • January meeting – Influenza; Mental Health safety; Lipid management

2021

2020

Speaker Meetings

Please note that Speaker Meetings are now taking place on the first Thursday of the month at HQ starting at 11 am and lasting just over an hour. Last orders for tea and coffee 10.45 am. All the usual Horizons facilities (apart from the book stall) will be available until then.

5th May

Sid Calderbank

1860, and the Industrial Revolution is well under way, with 2000 cotton mills employing half a million people, using cotton mostly supplied from the cotton fields of the Southern States of America which arrives regularly in the port of Liverpool with its 7 miles of docks. Then in 1861 war breaks out in America. 800,000 lives will be lost and there are naval blockades of the Southern States. The supply of cotton comes to an end; nearly 50 mills close within a few months and in Wigan alone 10,000 workers are unemployed. With no other source of income or support they are reduced to begging and burning furniture for warmth.

Then in 1862 John Whittaker, aka Lancashire Lad, writes a letter to the paper about the plight of the workers and begins to receive donations. Other philanthropists follow suit, and before long towns are setting up their own Relief Committees. Sewing schools are set up to retrain young mill girls, and by 1865 the war has ended and the supply of cotton resumes.

This amazing tale of triumph over adversity was told by Sid Calderbank, a Lancashire Lad himself who for 25 years has been entertaining groups such as ours. Using songs, poems and extracts from contemporary diaries, Sid painted a vivid and evocative picture of these extraordinary times, and drew parallels with the present tragic situation in Ukraine. A spellbinding talk, thank you Sid!

9th June

Our Speaker for June is author and speaker David Hearne, who will speak about Sir William Brown. David writes:

Sir William Brown

The Brown family, who were originally linen merchants, moved from Ballymena in Ireland to Baltimore, USA in 1800. Ten years later William Brown, the oldest son of the family, moved to Liverpool to take charge of the family’s business activities in Europe. Two other brothers established offices in Philadelphia and New York while the youngest brother remained in Baltimore. Within 30 years the family had expanded their business and were heavily involved in banking and many different types of trade, with $1 in every $6 of US trade passing through their hands.

Although everyone is aware of William Brown Street in Liverpool, few people know the story of the man himself. William Brown’s story is one of sparkling financial success coupled with philanthropy in Liverpool on a grand scale and yet, as we will see, still somewhat of a sad life.

David Hearne

After spending some time in the British Army, David had a first career in banking and a second in management consultancy before going to university for the first time at the age of 55 to take a BA in history at Liverpool John Moores University. This was followed by a Masters in International Slavery Studies at the University of Liverpool. He published a guide to England’s best First World War Memorials in 2018 and is currently working on a book about Liverpool’s involvement in slavery entitled Liverpool: A City Built on Slavery.

David has a small publishing company known as The Dusty Teapot Company which he runs jointly with his older son; the company concentrates on reproducing copies of historic books about Liverpool but also undertakes photographic digitisation and oral history.

 

More dates for your diary (please note there are no Speaker Meetings in July or August):

1st September     Tracey Collins, storytellerGeoffrey and the Gang of 20

6th October         Mike McKennaInvictus Games involvement

3rd November    Philip CaineFrom Barrow to Baghdad

 

Please keep an eye on newsletters, enews and website for the latest information.

Pam Ball


See Pam’s Past Speaker Meetings for info on previous events.

Please email any ideas for Future Speaker Meetings to Pam Ball, our Speaker Meeting Organiser,  at:

speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk  or phone 07974 749362.

Guest at Horizons

On Thursday 24th March at Horizons, we will welcome Maria des Landes, Learning and Development Manager from Citizens Advice. Maria will answer your queries about services offered by CA and will offer volunteering opportunities.

Dancing Fools

Musical Theatre Group is back!

Please come and support your u3a Musical Theatre Group as they endeavour to get back to doing shows. The pandemic has hit the group hard, so their numbers are low at the moment, but they still have a show to present to you.

Although not a musical, the “restart” production – “Dancing Fools” –  had songs and dance from Musicals both old and new, with other items that took you back and comic songs and the like.

It may be that you have not been out much; well now’s the time that you may wish to. Tickets were great value at only £5 each. “Dancing Fools” took  place on Friday 25th March at 7:30pm and Saturday 26th March at 2pm and 7.30pm at Aughton Village Hall. The bar was open and there was a raffle to help the u3a.

Please look out for flyers at Horizons for future shows and give them to your friends.

For those on Facebook, why not join our Facebook Group Page (www.facebook.com/groups/1420169631596658) to keep updated on what we are doing.

You may wish to join us on or off stage as a member. Whatever you decide to do, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Visit to Martin Mere – 14th December 2021

The final Bird Watching Group visit for 2021 was to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust site at Martin Mere.  Eight members of the group enjoyed an excellent morning’s visit despite the mist hampering visibility at times and a total of 43 species were recorded.  Thanks to new group member Ken for these pictures taken at Martin Mere:

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

Continue reading

Message from the Chair

Hello everyone, here we are at Christmas once again and despite Covid Aughton & Ormskirk u3a has continued to thrive through these difficult times.

Since lock down ended in the late Summer almost all our groups and activities have started meeting again, and in fact some of them are oversubscribed and have a waiting list! So thank you all for your support.

Let’s hope that 2022 sees restrictions easing and some normality returning.

I’m sure you will all enjoy the Christmas break and the opportunity to spend time with your friends and families.

Good wishes for Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

John Tomlinson

Gardening Group News

The Group Leader and Coordinator of the Gardening Group have decided to step down from their positions.

This Group has a history of being very popular over many years under several generations of Leaders and Coordinators.

Please consider if you individually or as part of a small team could take on the leadership role to ensure the future of this Group. If you would like more info on what is involved, please contact Group Support via groups@aughton-ormkirk-u3a.co.uk.

In the meantime ………many many thanks are due to the retiring Leader and Coordinator – Pam Higgins and Helen Wilson – for providing interesting, useful, fun and helpful meetings, newsletters and quizzes over recent years, including during lockdown

Christmas Lunch 2021

After the cancellation of the u3a Christmas Lunch in 2020 because of Covid, we were so pleased to get together once again. The Social subcommittee pulled out all the stops to arrange a lovely meal courtesy of Martin’s Caterers and dancing to the music of the Phil Shotton Trio with vocalist Adee Lifshitz.

All the photographs show that the afternoon was a great success and that everybody will be looking forward to the next Christmas social to be held on the 9th December 2022.

 

Drama Group – “Death by Paintbrush”

Thank you to everyone who came to see our performances, in spite of the awful weather.  It was lovely to see so many guests had dressed in keeping with the era of the play.

The Drama Group appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again next year.

Here are a few photos which Bill Soens kindly took for us during rehearsals.

A Walk in Tawd Valley

A report of the 20th September 2021 walk

The September Monday u3a Walking Group walk was in the Tawd Valley Park, Skelmersdale, which is an area of green open space of 65 hectares running from Skelmersdale town centre and following the line of the River Tawd as it heads northwards to join the River Douglas.

Those participating in the walk soon realised that Tawd Valley Park is a hidden jewel in the heart of Skelmersdale. The site surrounds the River Tawd as it meanders its way from Yewdale across a large section of the historic town of Skelmersdale through to Cobbs Clough Brow. The area is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife with birds of prey soaring above the meadows and Kingfishers patrolling the riverbanks.

Barry Carr the walk leader did an excellent job in explaining the history of the area, with the ruins of an old mill, millponds and capped mineshafts providing a glimpse into the area’s industrial history.

Everyone agreed it was an excellent afternoon walk in an area that was previously unknown to most of the walk participants.

Film Appreciation Returns

The first film of the new season will take place on 25th October in the Scout & Guide HQ in the small room. The film is ‘Revolutionary Road’ with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

For more details please consult the Film Appreciation Group Page.

The film will start at 10.00am preceded by coffee. Please feel free to bring your own drinks if you wish. Our treasurer, Derek, has informed us that we will have to pay more to cover the price of the room. This means that the cost will now be £2.00. I will pay for the refreshments as I have  some spare film money from previous sessions.

Please try to come regularly as the u3a needs the funds and of course Colin and I will be pleased to see you all back at Film.

Pat Morton.

Our u3a Open Day

We are holding an Open Day on Saturday 23 October in the Scout & Guide HQ.  It will be open from 10.30 to 3.30 and will showcase groups and other activities that our u3a has to offer its members.
We have over 80 interest Groups ranging from Aerobics right through to Zumba.  Indoors or out, active or leisurely, doing or listening – all our groups are run by our members, for our members and there is usually room for extra people to join in.
This is a special opportunity to look into learning about or experiencing something new or returning to an activity you used to enjoy.  What is Mah Jong?  Did you enjoy writing or painting at school?  Do you need more exercise? Could you try again with French or Spanish?  You may already be in one group but why not now also try something new?
Come along to our Open Day and find out more, talk to those who run the groups, or sign up for a sample session.
And remember, if there’s something you would like to do that’s not already on our list, you can suggest a new group.  Talk to Group Support  at the Open Day and they’ll be able to help.
Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available throughout the day. Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend or neighbour who might appreciate what u3a has to offer!

Creative Writing Vacancies

This is in the main a discussion group, so numbers are limited, but we now have a small number of vacancies. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Joan Potter on 0151 924 6027.

Ukulele Group Plays Again

The Ukulele Group has now restarted!

If you fancy joining, then just contact Tony Crimlisk on 01695 421602 for further information.  Beginners are most welcome too, even if you can only play a few chords.

If you don’t yet have a Ukulele, then come along and sing with us anyway to see what fun it is and also that it is not too difficult an instrument to get started on.   We meet on the first and third Fridays of the month 10.00-12.00 at the Christ Church Ministry Centre (Main Hall).   Next session is 15th October.

For more info, visit the Ukulele Webpage.

Website Review

Most Groups have now restarted following on from the times of  lockdown, tiers and  social isolation during 2020 and the first half of 2021. If you are a Group Leader of a Group without a Group Author, please check your Group Page and contact the Web Team as to any updates your Group Page you require to bring it up-to-date.

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Dipping in to Philosophy

With some Groups restarting in September, your Web Manager had a notion to try out something completely new.  I was seeking a non-techie subject that I’d never before studied.  Spotting a new series of 7 introductory talks being organised by Tim Miles of the Philosophy Group, I thought this might well fit the bill, took the plunge and signed up. Thoroughly enjoying the September talk on Ethics, I am now much looking forward to the next one on Friday 1st October on Politics!

Tim has indicated there may be room for a few more participants. A handout was provided for the September talk, so it should be easy enough to catch up.  If interested, further information and Tim’s contact details are on the Philosophy Group Page.

Joyce Nolan

Social Events

Whilst our u3a provides many opportunities for learning, we also have a vibrant social dimension to our activities. They bring together people from across a wide range of special interests,  in a convivial atmosphere, simply to enjoy themselves. These excellent events are organised by the Social Subcommittee. There is usually a member of this subcommittee at the weekly Horizons meetings from whom you can get more details on their events and book places or buy tickets.

Note that some Groups organise learning and social events that are open to all members ie not just their regular attendees.  They are usually well advertised on the run-up to their dates in enews / at Horizons /  on this u3a website.  Check regularly – don’t miss out!

2022 Planned Events

  • Vegan Lunch

    • at St Michaels Church Hall
    • on Wednesday 23 March, 12 noon for 12:30
    • Tckets on sale at Horizons, £13 each
    • Bring your own drink and glasses
  • Queens Jubilee Event

    • Click on Poster to view details full-size
    • Book at Horizons

  • Quiz Night with Hotpot Supper

    • Late September; further details to follow

2021 Highlights

Click on u3a Christmas Lunch  for a gallery of photos from this social event, the first for a long time due to Coronavirus lockdown and social isolation rules..


2019 Highlights

The Annual u3a CHRISTMAS LUNCH

(in December at Christ Church Ministry Centre)

Although the weather was quite awful outside, those at the Christmas Lunch didn’t really notice – they were generally just too busy enjoying themselves!

Click or tap on any photo in the gallery to run it as a full-size presentation.

Photos courtesy of Alan Nolan


In 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’!

Click or tap on any photo in the gallery to run it as a full-size slideshow presentation.

Photos courtesy of Peter Gateley


In August:  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

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

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

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

Christmas Lunch – 14 December, organised by the Social Subcommittee

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

EGM – 11th October at 1pm

In case you missed reading about it in an email dated 6 September 2021 and sent to all members with email addresses on  Beacon,  here is a special  Message from the Secretary about an Extraordinary General Meeting in October:

Dear Member,

Due to the Annual General Meeting held on 26.08.21 not being quorate, any votes taken were indicative only.  It is, therefore, necessary to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to vote on the following resolutions –

Resolution 1 – To approve the Accounts 2020/21.

Resolution 2 – JVSA to be appointed as the Independent Examiners of the Accounts for the year 2021/22.

This meeting to be held on Monday 11th October, 2021 at Scout & Guide H.Q. at 1.00 p.m.  All members are welcome but please note members attending will be quorate irrespective of the number, as per our Constitution.

Megan Tomlinson

Secretary

Gardening Help

Help is needed to run the Gardening Group.  Please contact Pam Higgins on 0151 364 0041.

In the meantime, restart has been to defered  till New Year.

Local History Return

The Local History Group is returning to their indoor meetings at the Scout  & Guide HQ on Tuesday 5th October – 2pm for a 2 15pm start.

The topic is “Census and Sensibility”.  A light hearted look at Local History census returns 1841-1911.

Calling All Ten Pin Bowlers

You may have played years ago – why not give it another go?

We are very short of members at the moment and we’d love to see new members joining us. It is only once a month! And it is great FUN!!!

For full details, please visit our Bowls – Tenpin Group Page on the u3a website.

Speaker Meeting News

In Person Speaker Meetings are back!

The plan is to hold all Speaker Meetings at Aughton Village Hall as part of New Horizons, starting at 11.15 am. The first of these will take place on Thursday 19th August, when author Carolyn Kirby will speak about the background to her new book, When We Fall, a gripping 2nd World War thriller which was chosen by the Times and Sunday times as one of the 10 best historical novels of 2020.
Please click here for further information, and for October and November dates.

Friday Pilates Returns

A reminder from Leader Pam Ruscoe to members of her class:
The Friday Pilates Group begins this Friday 23rd July at 12.15pm until 1.15pm at the Scout & Guide HQ.
The Tuesday class has already recommenced.

Leg Muscle Ageing Research

Another request for research volunteers has been received:

I have been approached by Liverpool University Biomechanics Laboratory who are looking for volunteers to take part in a research project investigating the effect of ageing on leg muscle strength.  Please see more information on the Research Poster.

Our u3a have taken part in a previous project at the Biomechanics Laboratory on walking gait so we know that they work professionally with proper arrangements for confidentiality and safety.  If you are interested in getting out of the house as pandemic restrictions are eased, seeing university research work in action, and helping the study of the effects of ageing, please contact Dr. James Charles at j.charles@liverpool.ac.uk directly.  I’ve checked with James: the MRI is only on your legs so you do not need to be worried about the claustrophobia which some people may get with whole body scans.

Jack Brettle

A Musical Treat

Our June Speaker Meeting, featuring the Fool’s Gold duo, was live on Zoom on Thursday 3 June…
click the poster for the full size version

Fool’s Gold – Dark Light

This Zoom Meeting was very much enjoyed by the members who attended.  To find out more about Fool’s Gold, and future u3a talks and events, see the Speaker Meetings page.

 

A Brief Brush with History

The sun was very hot, as usual, and my dress was long and with full sleeves due to the local custom. I couldn’t wear trousers of course as these were seen as the sign of a woman of ill repute,  and that’s not what  I particularly wanted to be mistaken for.  We were off on a visit and were driving ourselves so didn’t need to be collected by a car bearing the proverbial red number plates used by the royal family. The drive was quite short and the guards on the entry gate waved us in.  Inside the palace it was cool and we were shown into an ornate room decorated mostly in gold, probably real.

Continue reading

Follow the News

Keep an eye on this website for the latest u3a news – check out the links displayed in sidebar of this Front Page or the items on the News Page. The brand new Restart Page will also increasingly keep you informed as Groups and other activities get underway again over the next few months.

Refer to  your email for past and current enews and special enews and Bulletins, Newsletters. (For the relatively few members without an email address recorded on their Beacon Membership Record, a paper version of certain  important missives such as the occasional Newsletters are hand-delivered or sent in the Post.)

Speaker Meeting Success

Thank you to all those who have supported our Zoom Speaker Meetings so far. The talks have been hugely enjoyable, entertaining and informative, so if you haven’t zoomed in already, why not give it a try? The next one will take place on Thursday 6th May at 11 am, when John Whittles will join us to speak about Mason Bees. Click here for more information.

If you would like to attend, please email speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk by Monday 3rd May to book your place – the Zoom information will be sent to you a couple of days before the meeting.

Pam Ball

A Mystery Monolith

Mystery monolith in sand dunes near Hightown!

The photo is of our son, Michael Ingman, next to the monolith that appeared mid January in Hightown Dunes.

The first monolith was discovered in the Utah Desert mid November 2020 after being seen by a pilot from a small plane. It then disappeared with no trace after a few weeks. Since then over 170 similar monoliths have been viewed around the globe and within days of being discovered have vanished like the first one.

The mystery of why and how these monoliths came to appear for short periods around our Planet has given vent to various ideas. It has been likened to an alien life form as imagined in the 1968 film of “A Space Odyssey.” The appearances and disappearances have both added in equal forms in the attempt to discover a realistic explanation.

In the meantime different artists have come forward to claim credit and the term “Land Art” has been used to describe these metal monoliths. How appropriate, though, for one to appear in such close proximity to Anthony Gormley’s, ‘Another Place’ within a mile further down the coast.

There is, I believe, sadly no mystery over this one’s disappearance within a week, as by all accounts Sefton Council have it in storage, to prevent visitors damaging more of the dune area where conservation projects are ongoing.

As yet though, my understanding is that no-one seems to have claimed this monolith! So could there still be a mystery to be discovered?

Judy Ingman February 2021.

North West Region Project

We are part of the North West Region of u3as,  all 100 plus of them.  From time to time the regional committee organises events and projects for their membership.  “My Street” is the latest one with an aim of fostering local and regional involvement, pride and awareness – a sense of place to present to the outside world.  It’s described as a Collaborative Project.

The project will be a collection of images – photographs, paintings, drawings, embroideries, accompanied by some words to tell the story behind the image.    It can be done by individual u3a members or groups. The image should be of the local area – the street where you live.

If you would like to take part or to find out more about this project then use this link for My Street – North West Region of u3as Collaborative Project.

Diana’s Funeral

Diana’s Funeral by Margaret Kitchen

Journalists go out on assignments with the intention of observing, questioning and reporting. We don’t go with the idea of expressing our personal opinions.

So when, the day before Princess Diana’s funeral, I was boarding the London bound train, I was ambushed by a local TV company asking for my views, I was taken aback. In the maelstrom of the hysterical days since August 31st I had been busy reporting on the situation and had not had much time to consider what I thought.

Continue reading

Signs of Spring

Since entering social isolation started early last year, we have covered the times and seasons in various website ‘galleries’ filling them with items sent in by our talented members.

The first lockdown started in March 2020, so we missed late Winter and early Spring. This new Gallery, on the theme of  ‘Signs of Spring’ aims to fill that gap. We hope too that it will give members cheer that warmer and brighter weather is on its way, new life is returning to the world and there is renewed hope for a safer and more carefree future.

Many, many thanks to all contributors so far. Scroll down the Page to see the latest sections. This Gallery Page is work-in-progress.  If you have snapped any other ‘Signs of Spring’ in your garden or on your walks in February or March, please do send them to us at webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk.  As well as flowers, bushes and trees, we particularly welcome relevant images pics of birds, bees, butterflies and other insects, new life in farm or field such as lambs, and country and garden wildlife awakening from winter slumbers.

Moving Forward into Spring

(Click on any picture to move through the slideshow.)

* Note – According to Wikipedia, the Green Man is a “legendary being primarily interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of new growth that occurs every spring.”

Many of the first photos sent in were of snowdrops.  So here is a poem from Judy. Although written a few years ago, it is particularly pertinent to 2021.

The Snowdrop

Leading us into a warmer direction
Taking us forward away from the snow
Away from the wind and the cold that will go.
As we see Spring colours starting to brighten
And the days grow longer in order to lighten
Projecting the warmth that will help us to cope
We will all move forward into seasons of hope.

Judy Ingman, Jan. 2018.

Early Spring Bulbs and Flowers

 

Early Buds and Greenery

 After the Snowdrops

Colouring the Street

Victoria Park, St Helens Road, Ormskirk

All of these flowers were on display in mid April, making an oasis of colour between two major roads in the town.

Previous Lockdown Galleries

To refresh your memory of the lovely and interesting 2020 Galleries, do revisit:

  • West Lancs in Bloom – galleries set up following a request, early on in the first lockdown, to members for photos taken when  pottering in the garden or out on their daily walk.
  • Gardening Group Gallery – a cornucopia of beautiful summer blooms.
  • West Lancs in Autumn  – gallery of great photos (plus a poem) with a seasonal theme.
  • Christmas Card Gallery – a seasonal webpage contains a miscellany of festive contributions sent in by our talented members.  It started off as photos of cards designed by members to convey greetings within our u3a, then expanded to include crafts, a poem and short stories.

Speaker Meetings are back!

The first meeting took place via Zoom at 11 am on 4th February when Julia Clayton  provided us with a fascinating talk on the topic of What did the Spartans do for us?  Details of this and future Speaker Meetings already arranged for 2021, including how to sign up to attend, can be viewed on Pam Ball’s Speaker Meeting webpage.

If not familiar with joining in remotely, check out Zoom Support for help.

Zoom Support

Spurred on by social isolation from friends and family, many Aughton & Ormskirk u3a members have entered into the world of videoconferencing.  A favourite platform is Zoom.  A good number of our A&O Groups have already been running successful remote meetings for a while now.  See Our Virtual u3a.

If you too would like to give Zoom a go, then you may be asking one of the following questions.  Skip those that don’t apply to your query and current level of expertise.

FAQs relating to Zoom

  1. As an A&O Group Leader, how can I use Zoom to arrange remote meetings with my Group Members?  A&O u3a has two Zoom licences which enable group and other  meetings to run without a restriction on duration. Refer to the Zoom Sessions Calendar to book a slot.
  2. How do I create and use a Zoom Account so that I can set up and / or join  Zoom sessions for my own use?  Check out on the National u3a Office website for How-to-Guidance Notes to find out how to create a personal Zoom account for use on your Mobile Phone, Tablet or Desktop Computer.  National u3a also runs very professional and informative Tutorials on using Zoom for various circumstances.
  3. I have been invited to a u3a Zoom meeting. Can I join in without downloading the Zoom app? Yes, just use the browser link provided on the invitation eg to a Speaker Meeting or a Group Event.  (You do not need to logon to Zoom using the username and password mentioned on the invitation.) If you do not wish to download and install the Zoom App, you can join a Zoom meeting direct from your browser – for details see either of the following:
  4. I would like to try out Zoom for the first time, but don’t feel confident in following the routes mentioned above.  Can anyone provide me with more individual assistance?  The Monday and Tuesday Computer Helpers are still around offering personal IT support to members remotely.   We can set up a practice  zoom session with you, guiding you through by email and phone and then Zoom itself. See IT  Support Contact details below.

IT Support Contacts

Email:

elearning@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Phone:

Local members can refer to the A&O u3a February 2021 enews for Computer Helper names and phone numbers

A day I will never forget

Marine AFC crestU3A member David Wotherspoon had “a day I will never forget” when Marine, the Crosby team he has followed for over 70 years, took on Tottenham Hotspur in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on January 10th this year. The team lost 0-5 but that was hardly surprising, says David, as Spurs had nine full internationals in their starting line-up.

David was taken to watch Marine as a child by his father who had been a player before the war and then a committee member and later president. “The first game I really remember was also in the FA Cup in 1947 against New Brighton, then in the Football League. We lost 0-4 and I cried all the way home on the ferry”. He lived all of his early life in Crosby; attending Merchant Taylors’ with compulsory rugby on Saturday afternoons meant a rush to get to Marine games.

He joined the Marine committee in the late 1960s and served on it for over 30 years before becoming president himself. “We are the only father and son so far on the presidents’ board. I am very proud of what the club achieved in that period. We had a rundown ground and two wooden sheds. Now we have an excellent stand and terracing all round the ground as well as a large clubroom complex.”

David edited the match programme for over 20 years and wrote the centenary history of Marine “The Mighty Mariners”.

“The Spurs game was undoubtedly the club’s greatest ever. I was fortunate to be able to go as one of the small Marine contingent as Covid forced the game to be played behind closed doors. It was more the tie that caught the imagination and put a smile on faces in this terrible time all around the world. I had messages from people I had not heard from for years and the social media support for the club was amazing.”

Marine lost out through having no crowd but the cup run of eight matches gave them a good income from FA awards and TV rights. “When we learnt it was behind closed doors someone came up with the idea of selling virtual tickets at £10 which would also go in a raffle for a variety of prizes.

“We thought we might get 600 but it quickly passed 6,000 and finished up in five figures. All of that was very welcome as lockdown had virtually ended all our normal sources of income.” The main thrust of that came from Spurs’ supporters and David is full of praise for the Premiership club and their followers. “They treated us with warmth and respect. For example, Covid stopped the normal exchange of shirts after the game but Spurs gave our players a complete new set of kit so each one could have a named shirt as a great souvenir”.

Marine also has a strong community operation which has been involved in delivering meals to pensioners in the lockdown as well as a host of other activities including the players coaching in schools. Various Tottenham groups gave considerable support to these efforts to mark the tie.
David hopes the game and the TV coverage watched by 6.7 million viewers will give people a better idea of what a club like Marine is about. “It is very like u3a with people coming together to enjoy something special. It welcomes families and creates lifelong friendships. It relies on a group effort”

He reckons he has seen around 4,000 Marine games, still travelling away on the team coach until Covid struck. “I suspect the virus has put an end to this season for non-league clubs but the memory of that Sunday will keep me going for a long time to come.”

January 2021 enews

The latest enews was sent out by the enews Editor to all members with an email address on Monday 25 January. If you are not receiving your monthly enews, check your Spam folder. If not there, check with the Membership Team that they have your correct details on record

If you have missed an enews deadline (noon on the day of sending), and have some u3a content you would like to publicise on this website, contact the Web Team.

You can use the web forms for the enews Editor, the Membership Team and the Web Team on the Contact Us webpage to get in touch, selecting appropriately from the ‘drop-down list’ on the form as you fill it in.

My Experience as an Oxford Vaccine Trial Volunteer

This very interesting and informative letter was sent in by one of our members:

My Experience as an Oxford Vaccine Trial Volunteer

As with most people it has been a switchback ride for me ever since the first national lockdown last March. Even before then I stumbled across the YouTube channel of health expert John Campbell who calmly anticipated the pandemic as early as January and I felt a mounting anxiety turning to disbelief with the slow response in the UK. Looking back on those times I realise how depleted my current energies are since the days of sourcing face masks and making hand sanitiser out of rubbing alcohol and sending out thermometers to those I thought were vulnerable.

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Change to u3a Membership Year 

An imortant message from Aughton & Ormskirk u3a Treasurer, Derrick Fewings:

In case you missed the article in the December 2020 mini-magazine, please note that the next membership year will now commence on 1st October 2021 and that no membership renewal payment is required in advance of that date. The annual membership subscription will remain at £15. Future membership years will run from 1st October to 30th September.

Note that the mini-magazine referred to above was Newsletter No 2, emailed in mid-December to all members with an email address on their Beacon membership record.  Those without email were sent a printed A5 version by post or via hand delivery.  These occasional Newsletters, currently in place of the long-standing quarterly Magazine, should not be confused with the monthly enews which are emailed to members at the end of every month – too frequently for printed copies to be posted.  So if you know of any member without an email address or not on the Internet, perhaps you could print and deliver a copy for them to read or phone them with any important u3a news.

December 2020 enews

The latest enews was sent out by the enews Editor to all members with an email address on Monday 28 December. If you have not received it, check your Spam folder. If not there, check with the Membership Team that they have your correct details on record

If you missed the enews deadline, and have some U3A content you would like to publicise on this website, contact the Web Team.

You can use the web forms for the enews Editor, Membership Team and the Web Team on the Contact Us webpage to get in touch, selecting appropriately from the ‘drop-down list’ on the form as you fill it in.

u3a emails

If you have set up an email address for the first time (or you have changed your email address), please don’t forget that you can logon to update your u3a Beacon details for yourself.  Or  if you need it to be added, changed or checked for you on your Beacon membership record, contact the Membership Team.

It is important (especially during time of lockdown and tiers) that your correct email address is on the Beacon system.  This ensures that you, as a member of Aughton & Ormskirk u3a, will receive useful emails such as the monthly enews,  the occasional special Newsletters (currently in place of the Magazines) and important notifications from the Chairman, the Management Committee and other u3a Committees and Officers. It is also an easy and secure way for Group Leaders to contact their members.

Folklore/Mythology

The group has begun zoom sessions on the 3rd Monday morning of every month. The next meeting will be on 21st December, when we will be talking about Black Dogs, Boggarts and other supernatural creatures in British folklore. For further details, please contact June Jones by email at r.jones45@btinternet.com

November enews

The most recent enews came out on Monday 30th November (last Monday of the month). If you missed the deadline and want items posted in the December enews, please send them to the enews Editor

In the meantime, if you want u3a information posted on the website, contact the Web Team.

The Third Age Trust also has a National Newsletter containing government information on covid-19 along with very interesting, entertaining and useful advice, stories, titorials and ideas from across the U3A movement on all manner of topics.  Members of u3a can subscribe for this other National Newsletter to be emailed to them monthly.  (Members can also access archived past issues from that same page.)

Christmas Card Gallery Guidelines

At an Autumn Zoom meeting of the Communications Subcommittee, a suggestion came up of publishing a u3a Christmas Card Gallery on the website. If that idea appeals to you, please do get creative and produce a ‘Christmas Card’ using your talents and skills in painting, drawing, cartooning, textiles and other crafts, hand-made cards etc. Then just send a photo of it to the Web Team for publication.  See those we have already received in our Christmas Card Gallery..
For practical and technical reasons, there have to be a few guidelines:
  • it should be your own work, or you’ll need to check that included photos, clipart etc are free of copyright
  • it should be a single page
  • send in your digital ‘card’ as an attachment in an email to webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk if you already have it stored electronically (or take a photo or scan it and send that file)
  • greetings text can be included in the image on the page and / or on the gallery ‘caption’ area which will appear below the card in the gallery.  Include your caption in the email message when you send in your card file attachment
  • the recipient(s) of the greetings should not be personal or individual, though the sender(s), ie the card maker(s), can name or identify themselves as they wish

To further explain this last point …….  we are looking only for u3a-related greetings to recipients at the Group / Committee / u3a friends level.  Therefore suitable greetings (appearing on card or caption or between both might be along the lines of:

  • “Happy Christmas to members of the Such-and-Such Group from Josephine Bloggs”
  • “Joe Bloggs sends Best Wishes to all his u3a Friends”
  • “Christmas Greetings from the Web Team to our Website Visitors”

For further guidance, please ontact: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Covid-19 advice on u3a activities

Following the introduction of government restrictions, the National U3A has published some Covid-19 advice on u3a activities.

You can also read messages from our Chairman Alan Starkie and Trustee Sue Watkinson about what our u3a is doing in the meantime.

Of course, any restarting of activities in the foreseeable future will involve assessment of risk and acceptance of some required changes to behaviour (social distancing) and additional tasks relating to hygiene. Our work to date on this subject is given in this Covid-19 Risk Management presentation.

Our Virtual u3a During Lockdown

During the times of Lockdown and Social Isolation over the past couple of years, a good  number of our Groups (and Organisers of other events and individual members) were very innovative in carrying on remotely! See below for the examples that the Web Team heard about. 

You will note that a good number of meetings and events started to use Zoom to keep going.  And some still do at times. If you need help with this videoconferencing platform, either as a u3a Group Leader, Meeting Organiser  or Participant, check out the Post called Zoom Support.

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Online Talks and Tours

A message from Pamela Ball, the Speaker Meeting Organiser, about Free Online Talks:

UK Tours Online are offering a number of online talks via Zoom which may be of interest to members. Most have to be paid for, but there will be a free one on Monday 7 September entitled Saints, murderers, heroes, crooks: the worst and best of British monarchs. Also on 25 August there will be a talk on Seven treasures of the British Museum – this one is available to us for a donation (you choose the amount) to Prostate Cancer UK. Register for either or both here (you will need to scroll through a bit!).

Shine a Light on Beacon

Still in the dark about the  U3A Beacon Membership System?  Then let the Membership Team enlighten you.

For example, among other things:

  • existing members can renew membership online
  • members can update their own personal details on the Beacon database (useful if you change your email address and still want to receive the enews and Management Committee communications)
  • group leaders can easily communicate with their group members via Beacon email

Chairman’s message about re-opening

Many members are asking questions about re-opening our U3A. The Management Committee has been actively discussing the situation and examining the latest Government rules. You can read the Chairman’s statement (sent to members in a special Beacon email on 3rd July) about the steps we are taking to ensure a safe continuation of our activities.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

There have been many announcements from Government detailing when and under what conditions businesses can open from 4th July. As a result, many members have raised the question of when our U3A will be operational.

Government rules on how organisations such as ours can re-open have been examined and as a consequence, there are several steps we need to take in order for us to make it as safe as possible for us to start Group activities again.

There are obligations on the owners of venues that we use such as Scouts & Guides, Aughton Village Hall etc.
Before we can commit to using any facility, we must be sure that they have been deep cleaned and how they will conform to cleaning regulations.

These and a whole raft of other topics will need to be negotiated and agreed before we continue with our activities.

When we can eventually restart meetings, we should not expect things to continue as before the lockdown.

We shall have to plan and allocate where and when meetings can take place, taking into account the size of the group; how many people a facility can accommodate within distancing rules etc., and if the wearing of masks will be mandatory or not.

For example, face to face Groups such as Bridge under present rules will probably have to wear a mask for the duration of the meeting.

It is also more than likely that Horizons will not be reactivated for some time.

There are many more rules for the committee to consider before we can give the go ahead to continue with meetings and meet our friends again.

Uppermost in our thoughts is that, according to the scientists, our generation is identified as being very vulnerable to Covid-19 and we must take very cautious steps when moving forward.

Even when we can continue, every member must be responsible for their own health and safety and should bear this in mind before attending U3A meetings.

I hope that a successful vaccination against Covid-19 will be found and we will all be vaccinated, rules and regulations will no longer be needed and we will be able to freely meet again.

Until then we must cope with how things are.

The Committee will strive to restart our U3A and we will inform you when it is safe to do so.

Keep Safe; Keep Well

Alan Starkie
Chairman

Gardening Group-Garden Visits & Photos

Lockdown 2020

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.


Hello Everyone. Helen here from the Gardening Group. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. 

Garden visits

For anyone that hasn’t heard, the National Gardens Scheme have started garden openings with an online booking system for visits so that numbers are limited and social distancing can work. 

79 Crabtree Lane – which our group visited last year is opening this weekend – Sunday 5th, Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th.

Hazel wood  – which our group was due to visit this year is also opening this weekend – Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th and Monday 6th.

Just go online to ngs.org.uk and click on ‘book a visit’.

Photo gallery of our groups gardens .

Following on from the earlier success of the West Lancs in Bloom galleries on our U3A Website, the Web Team are wondering if Gardening Group members would be interested in a special gallery to add to our Group Page with recent pictures of your gardens?  West Lancs in Bloom was nearly exclusively Spring Blossom, so we were thinking of a gallery this time with a theme like Our Summer Gardens during Lockdown.

Contributions can be emailed as attachments to webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk.  As the website is public, contributors should avoid the appearance in a photo of recognizable people or obtain permission from those appearing. Please provide suitable short captions for your photos and say whether you would like your name to be included or not.

Looking forward to seeing your lovely gardens. I’m amazed at how resilient many plants have been to the recent extremes of weather, gales, heatwave, drought and torrential rain ! 

Stay safe and healthy,

Pam & Helen

Creative Writing Group During Lockdown

When we heard that we’d no longer be able to meet up for our usual monthly sessions, the Creative Writing Group decided that we’d still like to write something every month and share it via email. We knew it wouldn’t be half as enjoyable as getting together but it was better than nothing. However, with the next ‘meeting’ several weeks away, someone suggested we created a WhatsApp group so we could keep in touch in the meantime. What a great idea! National lockdown was looming but we were prepared.

We’ve got to know each other surprisingly well. Through the WhatsApp chat we’ve heard snippets of lives past and seen present day photos from daily walks. We’ve even had the odd glimpse into each other’s homes via Zoom. Strangely, during this time apart, acquaintances are becoming firm friends.

One day, a bit of banter on WhatsApp sparked a couple of lines of fiction and everyone joined in adding their own couple of lines. Before we knew it we had a page-worth of words that could have been lifted from a spy novel. It was a bit of fun so we decided we’d have a proper go with a new story. We’ve written seven so far, including one round of poetry. The six of us keeping ourselves amused with these exercises are set in a new order every time and then write two or three paragraphs each, usually two rounds per story.

Follow this link to see our most recent creation!

With all of this, plus our short story competition entries, we’ve done more writing in the last three months than most of us ever do under normal circumstances and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of lockdown.

Bridge Group during the Lockdown

John and Joan, Leaders of the Bridge Group, have sent the Web Team some very interesting news about what the Group has been doing to keep going during Lockdown. What an active and adaptable Group!

 

During the lockdown, we have been in touch with all the group members with a regular email contact as well as by phone. We know that all our members are coping pretty well with all the restrictions, although two members of the group have had to be hospitalised due to falls, but are recovering well. Many members are becoming more IT savvy, using online platforms to communicate with each other and to play bridge.

Just before the lockdown, one of the group, Nick Dowrick, was about to start his ‘beginners’ bridge lessons.  Following a trial with some willing volunteers from the group, who had some expertise in the game, using Zoom and Bridge Base online, he started the lessons with 12 keen students, a few weeks ago.  All the feedback is very good and the students have praised Nick’s patience and knowledge.  We hope that they continue to enjoy the lessons and look forward to welcoming them to our bridge sessions when we get back to normal.  However, the two metre social distancing rule will cause some great difficulties for us!

We also have some budding poets in the group, who have been using their extra leisure time to put pen to paper – we have ‘published’ the poems on the group emails for all to enjoy.

Joan and John

Gardening Group – June

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.

Hello Everyone. Helen here from the Gardening Group. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. Thank you to everyone who has emailed with comments or photos, good to hear from you. I hope you all enjoyed the quiz in the last email, here are the answers to that one and a new quiz for this month.

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Science During Lockdown

A new virtual group – Science during Lockdown – has been specially set up for these strange times.  It features a Daily Science Snippet, Science Jokes and Cartoons, Illusions, online Science Quizzes that any member can try out and links to Coronavirus articles.

2020 AGM

Due to ongoing restrictions on our activity, the 2020 AGM of the Aughton & Ormskirk U3A, scheduled for 21 May, was postponed. You will be advised of a revised date in a future update.

As per established practice, you will be invited to propose agenda items for that rescheduled AGM. If appropriate, we will also advise you of vacancies for Trustee and Management Committee positions and invite nominations. The usual timetable for such activities will apply.

In the meantime, members of the Management Committee and the Trustees will continue in their current roles.

Poems for Lockdown

This Post was the response to a request for poems from the Web Team, in early May 2020 (during the coronavirus lockdown),  for members to read on our U3A Website.  The result below is an eclectic mix penned by known poets and by our own talented U3A members. Many, many thanks to all contributors.
Please note – This particular post is now complete.  But members are always welcome to send in contributions for publication on the website  sharing their many and varied literary and artistic talents eg poems, stories, paintings, cartoons etc to:

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Gardening Group – May

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.

I like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself – Alice Sebold.

Hello Everyone –  Helen here from the Gardening  Group.  I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. Garden centres are now opening so we can get on with planting up lovely colourful summer baskets and containers. For anyone isolating many are still offering local delivery and online ordering.

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Our u3a in Times of Social Isolation

Garden trees in Spring

New leaves under a pandemic-blue sky (an Aughton Garden, April 2020)

Check out our website News page and the Coloured Alert Box and Sidebar Links on the Front  Page for ideas on how we can all keep in touch and active during these unusual times. Please send your own ideas and activities that might be of help and interest to other members, and the community at large, for inclusion to: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Latest Website initiative – the not-currently-relevant Events Menu Item has been temporarily exchanged for another called Keeping in Touch.

And don’t miss out on the many, fantastic opportunities open to members on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website. There is something for everyone there – from Maths to Mindfulness, from Keeping Well to Keeping Fit (with Mr Motivator, no less).

 

 

Latin in Lockdown

Leader of the Latin & the Roman World Group, Dennis Morley,  has sent the Web Team the following example of their activities during Lockdown.  The Group is certainly being kept busy.

Lockdown for the Latin Group means just a change of method, as the group have continued their course without interruption.

Although “red ink” assessments are not used, there is a lively exchange of translations and comprehensions. This week we are looking at some “Cicero” to see whether Boris was affected by his rhetoric.

I attach a selection of cuttings from local and national rags all of which contain some “errors”; a big part of Latin in translating from English is to strip the language down to its most literal form.

See how many errors you can spot! Responses published in next edition.

Lapsus Linguae u3a

The Association this year argued that schools could only afford a 2% increase for teachers, meaning the remaining 0.75% would need additional funding.

This legislation will mean that myself and many other families will, hopefully, not have to endure   the torture of not knowing where their loved one’s remains can be recovered from.

I do not know if this follows a decision to purge the party of moderates like us, or if it was a crude attempt to see us fold under pressure.

The Church of England has published official advice that sex is only good for married heterosexuals only.

Pervert jailed for abusing girl now sent down for rape.

Labour MPs can barely look one another in the eye, let alone be bothered to seriously challenge the government.

For more than 25 years, she only told a few people close to her about the encounter.

Re-cycling is well established in kitchen and grocery products, with Tesco announcing last week that it was removing certain shrink-wrapped multipacks.

People doubtless go to church for all sorts of reasons. But I’d advise anyone looking for friends to inspect a church’s advice on relationships.

At a summer camp in Ohio, I complained to colleagues about the state of my hair, due to the wind.

Remember that not all the attendees would be fervent followers of Jeremy.

Still, if there’s one upside to Brexit it’s that hopefully we will be seeing a lot less of Farage.

 

Play Ukulele!

Tony Crimlisk, Leader of the Ukulele Group has sent in the following message and kind offer:

In isolation? Now’s your chance to learn a new skill. Why not beg, borrow or steal a ukulele and have a go? This is just a brief introduction to show how easy it is to start.

To get underway, download these instructions from Tony.

West Lancs in Bloom

The daffodils had faded, but there was no shortage of beautiful blooms appearing in our gardens and local countryside. Member, Audrey Patterson, had sent the Web Team a stunning photo of a lovely tree in her garden. This was the inspiration to set up a new Photo Gallery to brighten up both our spirits and the website, and to show off West Lancs in Bloom. A request to members for photos taken when  pottering in the garden or out on a daily walk was so successful that we have now included some late additions and an extra gallery 7 that you may not have seen earlier.

Many Many Thanks for contributing to and viewing these photo galleries. It has proved very popular with loads of hits on this Webpage.  No more photos are required for the time being for this Webpage.  But if the lockdown persists, we may set up another one on  nature seen in the local gardens and countryside later into the summer.

But in the meantime, if you would like to view some further excellent photos taken by members, take a look at the Competition Winners to be found following on from the Digital Photography Group Page.

Click or tap on any of the photos in the Gallery you wish to view, and then scroll through the slideshow for that Gallery to see the images full-size.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Gallery 3

Even the leaves are ‘blossoming’ (mostly taken by Alan N)

Gallery 4

Gallery 5

From Pete and Val’s Garden

Gallery 6

Gallery 7

Lovely, and mostly pink, Clematis, Cherry Blossom and Camelia

More TAT Advice and Info

Following on from the Post called TAT Advice and Info on this website, here are some other great lockdown ideas and activities from the Third Age Trust (TAT).

Exercise Motivation

Find out about a great opportunity that has been arranged for U3A Members via YouTube.

Mr Motivator has joined forces with U3A for a weeklong series of exercises. Mr Motivator – famous for his brightly coloured outfits and enthusiastic tv workouts- has compiled a workout aimed at specifically at Third Agers. It started on Monday 20 April AM and will run every day through that week working on every muscle in the body.

For for information and trailers and the sessions, check out the official YouTube channel of the University of the Third Age in the UK.

Tech ‘How To’ Guidance

Here you will find links to guides to tools that will help you stay in touch and connected with your friends, family and U3A.

National U3A Support Forum

This is an online message board available to all U3A members.

The Third Age Trust has launched three online discussion forums so that you can share ideas and support each other during this time. This user guide will walk you through the registration process and basic navigation and use of the forums.

TAT Advice and Info

The Third Age Trust (TAT) currently issues regular bulletins to members. Please check the TAT website regularly and, if you have not already done so, sign up to their national U3A Newsletter which disseminates advice and information quickly to all U3A members. On a rainy day, stuck in the house  during this lockdown, you might also like to pass some time browsing past issues – see the newsletter archive.

When looking at the TAT website, you will find the first three top menu links particularly useful for the current circumstances viz Home, Learning and Newsletter.  Another very helpful place to go  on the TAT website is down to the grey footer area on the main pages.  Here you will find an area called Covid Links with 3 very useful entries for these times.  Have a browse.

Zoom Boom!

Although fairly familiar, or at least aware of, a good number of apps, I had never heard of Zoom until the start of social isolation.  When asked about video conferencing, a younger family member immediately said Zoom.  Soon after that, we also heard mention of it from a couple of U3A members.  A Computer Helper, Ann P, had already done a family meetup using it and Willem, Computer Advice Leader was already experimenting with it for U3A and non-U3A use. Since then, our Website Media Manager, Alan N, has joined in with a non-U3A online Pub Quiz run with Zoom which after a few initial hiccups – technology rather than alcohol related – worked amazingly well.  And recently the Burscough, Formby and Aughton Nolans have had a Zoom get-together.  After we learnt how not to talk over each other, it was pretty good. We have also heard from Megan, the U3A Secretary, that there is a non-U3A Zumba class being run with Zoom by a local teacher.

If you already have used Zoom, please do share your experiences.  Contact:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Or if you would just like to know more about Zoom (and other communication tools), then there is very helpful How To guidance on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website.

Important Caveat

There is no charge for the basic version of Zoom, But remember – ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’.

And some reservations are already being mentioned in the media.  Thanks, Ann P, for sending this link:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/mar/27/trolls-zoom-privacy-settings-covid-19-lockdown

And for further information on security issues, check out this other recent Guardian article which includes the Pros and Cons af various Video Chat options.

So if you do want to try video chat, as with all Apps,  ……….. Be Aware and Use with Care!

Joyce Nolan (Web Manager)

 

Culture at Home

Many of our favourite activities and interests have been curtailed due to social isolation.  But here are some ideas how can keep your participation alive.

National Theatre at Home

Watch top-notch online shows for free. Productions are shown every Thursday at 7pm and are then available for 7 days.

‘Local’ Theatre

Spot On is Lancashire’s touring theatre network. They are obviously currently not able to Tour but they area launching and an innovative project to compensate for this.

We will be launching Spot On Stories on Tuesday 21st April at 3pm via our websiteFacebook and YouTubeFind out more about our first show.

Tuesday afternoons will be stories for children and families, and Thursdays will be something a little more grown-up. Once they are live, they’ll be available to watch on the Spot On website for 30 days.

The Royal Opera House

The ROH is offering selected productions on demand free of charge as part of a wider package of online content available for audiences.

Travel

If you are missing  holidays, enjoy seeing the sights  from your armchair courtesy of the BBC.

Virtual Museum Tours

Take a trip round a Museum without leaving your home.

Zoo Outing

Chester Zoo

 

 

All suggestions to add to the above list are very welcome.  Contact us:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Coronavirus Suspension

Following a meeting of the Management Committee and Trustees, all Aughton & Ormskirk U3A face-to-face activities are suspended with effect from 17 March 2020, until further notice.

This government guidance on coronavirus includes ongoing and changing information about how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help, and provides advice about social distancing, staying at home and travel etc.

The Third Age Trust (TAT) has published a special new and ongoing bulletin on their website – Covid-19 News and things to do.

Speaker Meeting News

Piano Recital by Andrew Wilde

We have heard via the North West Region of U3As that international pianist Andrew Wilde will be giving a recital on Tuesday 21st July at 2 pm, via Zoom. The concert is free of charge and is open to U3A Members only.

Andrew will play a selection of much-loved ‘evergreen’ pieces by some of our greatest composers for the piano, to include works by Chopin and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. He will introduce the pieces and their composers adding in some entertaining musical anecdotes. Andrew studied piano at Chetham’s School of Music and graduated with Distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music. He went on to win top prizes at international competitions and to play with great orchestras at major venues throughout Europe and America.

Follow this link to the North West Region website for further information and to book.

Pam Ball