Life in Music - Fairford and District U3A

Please send items for the
June issue to
[email protected]
by 17 May
Fairford & District
(Sarah Bottomley)
Issue 217
May 2015
Bank Holiday
Main Meeting, Computers, Keep Fit, Spanish
Table Tennis, Quilting, Needlework, Pétanque
Latin, Models
Poetry Circle 1 and 2, Recorders
Bridge, French, Short Tennis, Yoga, Solos, Italian
12 Book Circle 1 & 2, Computers, Keep Fit,
Wednesday 13 Table Tennis, W & P Lunch, Pétanque
14 Models, Rummikub
15 Ballroom, Mus Listening
18 Bridge, French, Short Tennis, Yoga, Italian
19 Birdwatching, Computers, Keep Fit, Spanish, Postcards
5 Rhythms, Fam History 1 & 2, Table Tennis, N’work,
Wednesday 20 Pétanque, Philosophy
Thursday 21 Models, Industrial Heritage
22 Strollers, Recorders
Bank Holiday
Computers, Keep Fit, Striders
Table Tennis, Pétanque, Garden
Models, Photography, Cycling & PL
Bridge, French, Short Tennis, Yoga, Solos, Italian
Main Meeting, Computers, Keep Fit, Spanish
Table Tennis, Quilting, Pétanque, Needlework
Latin, Models, Trad Jazz
Poetry Circle 1 and 2
Bank Holiday Mondays: Contact group leader if in doubt
Life in Music
Andy Smith
Registered Charity No 1072658
Chairman’s Report
Today, Tuesday 5 May
Life in Music:
Andy Smith
General Meetings
Palmer Hall, 2.30pm
Forthcoming Events
2 June:
The History of Pinewood Studios:
Mike Payne
7 July:
“One Egg or Two?”:
Rosemary Prosser; Tales of a Bed and
Breakfast business
4 Aug:
Outdoor Meeting at Oxford
Thank you!
Firstly, on behalf of the members, Committee and myself, I would
like to thank Reg Thoburn for everything he has given to Fairford
and District U3A these past 3 years. He has run effective committee
meetings, organised the monthly meetings, including putting out
the chairs, organised trips and raised thousands of pounds to
enhance our equipment via grant applications. He will be an
impossible act to follow. Thanks, Reg.
20th Anniversary
As this approaches, we hope to have commemorative flags in both
Fairford and Lechlade. We have also organised a BBQ at the
Bowmoor sailing club on Thursday 2 July. We hope as many
members as possible will join us to hear the Ukey D’Ukes play, see
the model boats sail, have a go at Aunt Sally and enjoy a BBQ in
the sunshine (or indoors if the sun does not shine). Bring your own
food to BBQ and we will provide drink and cake. Keep this date for
your diary!
Committee invites
Photo Album
If you have any interesting
photographs of U3A activities,
please pass them to Ann
Wightman (01285 712723) for
inclusion in the album.
Tea Rota
2 June: Book Circle 2
7 July: Bridge
August : Oxford walk
1 September: Chess
I would like more members to experience the workings of the
Committee. Therefore we shall randomly invite members who have
not previously served to join us each month to see what we are
about. This will be done via a letter with an RSVP. So await your
If you have any other suggestions or points you would like to raise,
please contact me on 01285 850384.
Jan Mills
This month’s editor:
Marilyn Gibbon
Following the AGM, meet your new Committee:
Chairman: Jan Mills
Vice Chairman: Keith Evans
Secretary: Michael Yorke
Treasurer: Jackie Ephgrave
Editor in Chief: Don Cobbett
Programme Secretary: Marilyn Gibbon
Group Co-ordinator: Lilian Pooley
Membership Secretary: Jilly Salvat
Webmaster and Hall Manager: Nick Humphris
Welcome to our new members:
Drew Cinnamond
Margaret Warbrick
New Group—BOCCIA
If you are interested in playing BOCCIA in May please contact me;
details below. Following our initial get together last month, depending
on interest, we may change this to a winter only activity. I am
investigating if we can use the sports hall next to Farmor’s school as I
believe the floor there will be a better playing surface.
Reg Thoburn
01285 712397
Condolences to the families of
Ray Newell and
Dr Hugh Coleridge
A Possible Trip to North Wales?
We have received a communication from the Royal Sportsman
Hotel in Porthmadog, Snowdonia offering attractive rates to U3A
groups for weekends and short breaks.
This is a beautiful part of Wales, so if any member would like to
have more details of the offer, please contact me.
Michael Yorke
01367 253286
Oxford Walking Tour: Tuesday 4 August
From the show of hands at last month’s AGM, it was clear that there is a
lot of interest in the proposed walking tour of Oxford. Our guide will
provide us with background information of the city of Oxford through the
ages and show us where various scholars, for example T E Lawrence
(Lawrence of Arabia), had their rooms and where the poor unfortunate
Oxford Martyrs were burned at the stake amongst other fascinating
historical and more recent facts!
The walking tour will commence in Oxford at about 11am; time of coach
pick-up at Fairford to be advised nearer the date. Ladies – there will be
plenty of time for shopping and finding somewhere nice to eat! We will
leave Oxford at 3.30pm.
If you would like to go on this trip please let me know by email or
telephone so that I can form a more accurate costing – it is not expected
to exceed £15 per person and will probably be cheaper depending on
numbers. I will be giving out a form at the June meeting and collecting
a £5 deposit at that time.
Marilyn Gibbon
01285 713928
[email protected]
(on holiday until 8 May)
Fairford U3A April Report
Proposed New Group: History of Art
The Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Some members have expressed an interest in having a group which
discusses Art and Artists over the ages.
Stuart Thomson followed a very well-organised AGM with a talk he
called ‘Royal Greenwich’. He had been a naval officer, then on the
staff, a civil servant and an academic and so spoke about
Greenwich not just as a college but as a site which had a long
history from the building of an original palace, Bella Court, for
Henry VI (1433) - renamed Palace of Placentia by Margaret of
Anjou. In various incarnations it was home and birthplace of the
Tudors and Stuarts.
In 1660, Charles II decided to rebuild the Palace but the only
section completed was the east range of the present King Charles
Court. Most of the rest of the palace was demolished and the site
remained empty until construction of the Greenwich Hospital began
in 1694. It provided a home for disabled sailors until 1869.
The Royal Naval College, Greenwich, was founded on the site in
1873 to operate as "the University of the Navy", with the motto
Tam Minerva Quam Marte (By Wisdom as much as by War). It
operated in the most sumptuous surroundings. Of particular note is
the ceiling in the Painted Hall which took 19 years to complete,
after which the artist, James Thornhill, had to bargain for his
money and was paid £3 per square yard for the ceiling and £1 for
the walls.
The Department of Nuclear Science and Technology opened in
1959 but when all the training facilities moved to Shrivenham
JASON, the research and training reactor, could not be moved and
had to be disposed of. Fortunately the glorious earlier buildings
remain at Greenwich for all to see.
Sylvia Jones
If you would be interested in leading such a group, please contact me.
Marilyn Gibbon
01285 713928
[email protected]
(on holiday until 8 May)
Please contact the group leaders if you are interested in joining
any of the groups or visit for further
Tuesday 19 May
This month we shall visit the RSPB reserve at Otmoor, near Oxford.
This is a wetland area and there should be plenty of birds. The
hides are not covered and there is no other shelter on this reserve
so let us hope for good weather.
There are no facilities on the reserve. We shall have lunch at a
local pub before returning home. Meet at the Fairford car park at
9.00am as usual. A contribution of £3.50 from passengers would
be appreciated.
Richard Morgan
01285 712085
Ballroom Dancing
Fridays, 15 and 29 May
We meet fortnightly (when hall is available) in the
Palmer Hall, Fairford on Friday from 7.00pm to
8.00pm. New members are very welcome.
Future dates: Friday 12 June; (26 June is cancelled)
Lilian Pooley
Group Co-ordinator: 01367 250346; [email protected]
Book Circle 1
Bridge Improvers
The group will continue to meet on Monday afternoons from 2pm
to 4pm in the Heritage Room, Fairford Community Centre, for a
lesson and friendly practice play. Partners and refreshments
provided. The group is not for beginners but if you are familiar
with the basic principles of Bridge and would like to improve, you
would be very welcome. Please contact me for further information.
Margaret Bishop
01285 713747 or [email protected]
Tuesday 12 May
We meet at Pauline’s to discuss Orphan Train by
Christina Baker Kline. Please let us know if you are unable to
Sheila Morgan: 01285 810471; Barbara Cobbett: 01285 712692
Book Circle 2—Notice
12 May: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—M O'Farrell: at
9 June: Return of the Native—Thomas Hardy: at Rosemary's
21 July: Please note the change of date
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves—KJ Fowler:
at Barbara's
11 Aug: H is for Hawk—H MacDonald: at Anthea's
Do you know how to play chess? If not, have you ever
thought about learning? Why not join us and give it a
We play for fun and don’t take it too seriously whether
we win or lose and it is a good way to keep the grey
matter ticking over.
We meet once a month, usually on a Wednesday afternoon, start
with a chat over tea and biscuits, and play for a maximum of about
an hour-and-a-half.
Please contact me if you are interested or would like more
Mike Bennett
01367 252379 or [email protected]
Ian and Rosemary Westlake: 01285 712329
or [email protected]
Computer Group
We meet every week on Tuesday mornings at my home where I
aim to help members in the use of computers, the internet and
more. If you are interested in joining, please contact me and you
will be welcome.
For those just starting, I have a desktop computer that is available
for members to use, although it is helpful if you have a laptop to
bring along. If you want to start using email, I can allocate you a
personal email address for your sole use.
Nick Humphris
01285 711740
Family History 1 & 2
Wednesday 20 May
We shall meet at St Mary's Church Porch at 2.30pm. If the weather is
fine we shall start recording the monumental inscriptions in the New
Burial Ground, a project being undertaken for the Gloucestershire Family
History Society. Please bring one or two writing implements and a
camera if you would like to take photos. Sometimes photos can be
enlarged to make reading the inscriptions easier. Paper and clipboards
will be provided. If the weather is inclement we shall go to the FHS
Archive Room where Alison will show you some of the latest acquisitions.
Please let Miriam know if you are unable to attend.
Miriam Scott: 01285 713441
Cycling with a Pub Lunch
French Conversation
Thursday 28 May
When one leaves The Bakers Arms in Somerford Keynes after a nice
lunch and suitable refreshment, a left turn brings us into the aptly named
Quiet Lane; we then tootle home via Down Ampney and back to Fairford.
On a lovely sunny day the outward trip sees us cruising into Cerney Wick
and South Cerney, although as it is such a nice day we might have a little
detour. Meet at Fairford at 10.30am, complete with sunscreen and
We meet on Mondays at 11am at my home,
deciding dates from meeting to meeting.
Paul O'Shaughnessy: 01367 850262 or [email protected]
Dance to Five Rhythms
Wednesday 20 May
We dance regularly at the Palmer Hall on the third Wednesday of the
month, at 10.00am. New members welcome. Come and move to the
Gillian Bilbrough: 01285 712579; Joyce Deane: 01285 851408
Our sessions are great fun and new members are very welcome.
Please call me for more information.
Rosemary Westlake
01285 712329
Advanced: Every Monday
We start by reading a couple of pages from a magazine published
for groups like ours, and then discuss matters arising from that,
and anything else that takes our fancy! This is done in two small
groups of generally not more than six people. New members are
always welcome!
Barbara Cartwright
07989 353726
Wednesday 27 May
Italian for Beginners
Garden Group
We are going to Rodmarton Manor and gardens. Meet at Fairford
car park at 1.30pm.
Beth and Geoff Dennis
01285 712195
We meet on Monday afternoons at my home. Much of our chat is
focused on food and drink!
For details contact:
Bea Bostock: 01285 750456
Keep Fit
For details of this month’s meeting please contact:
We meet in the Palmer Hall on Tuesday each week at
9.15am. New members are welcome.
Clive Watson
01285 713003
Chris Pooley
01367 250346
Industrial Heritage
Thursday 7 May
Thursday 21 May
The group meets on the first Thursday of the month at 2.30pm at
my house. Please contact me if you are unable to come.
This month we are visiting the site of two locks on a disused
section of the Thames and Severn canal at Siddington on the
outskirts of Cirencester. The visit is being led by Eddy Cuss and
will commence at 2.00pm.
Susan Greig
01285 810274
We will meet at the car park in Fairford at 1.30pm.
Friday 15 May
For further details please contact:
Pete Evans 01285 713069
[email protected]
Music Listening
We will meet at 2.30pm at Rosemary and Ian Westlake’s home
and we will play music by French composers.
John and Joyce Dear
01285 238537
Poetry Circle 2
Model Group
The Model group meets weekly on Thursday mornings.
Our condolences go to the family of Ray Newell who passed away
in February after a long struggle with cancer. His humour and
enthusiasm at the Horcott and Bowmoor lakes will be greatly
Fridays 1 May, 5 June
In May we meet at Helen’s house (01285 713431) to read some of
the poems of Fleur Adcock. Then in June we shall meet at my
house to look at poetry related to the environment—the day on
which we meet is World Environment Day.
Please let us know if you are unable to come.
Ian Westlake
01285 712329
Barbara Cobbett
01285 712692
Poetry Circle 1
Wednesdays, 6 and 20 May
We meet at the Fairford Community Centre. This group brings
together many different skills under the heading of Needlework;
we are a friendly group and enjoy our sessions.
If you would like to know more, please contact
Thelma Hardie
01285 713971
Fridays 1 May, 5 June
The group usually meets on the first Friday of the month at
3.00pm when we read and enjoy poetry and verse of all kinds.
Anyone interested in joining us would be most welcome.
Barbara Cottam
01285 711054
Wednesdays 6 , 13, 20 and 27 May
Wednesday 20 May
Thursday 28 May
We will meet every Wednesday until the Autumn. We meet at
9.45am for a 10.00am start at our piste at Farmor’s School,
Leafield Road entrance. We regret that membership for the 2015
season is now closed.
Our next meeting will be at
Manus Moran's house on 20
May. The subject will be a
quotation from Lucian Freud,
"One thing more important
than the person in the picture
is the picture".
We shall meet at 2pm in the
Community Centre. Anyone
interested in joining please
Heather and David Baber
01285 711343
Dan Deane: 01285 851408
Gordon Hart
01285 238641
Mobile 07774 416787
Email:[email protected]
Who is missing from the original group?
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Brian Jones
How much was the Vieuxtemps Guarneri violin sold for at
auction in 2012? Was it:
£2 million, £5 million or £10.5 million?
What popular piece of music has been sung at every coronation
since George ll’s in 1727?
Which monarch allegedly wrote ‘Greensleeves’?
How many strings does a harp have?
Who was the first British winner of the Eurovision Song
How many black notes does a piano have?
What song is attributed to Patty Hill and Mildred J Hill?
Which three great composers were born in 1685?
What is the name of the best selling single of all time?
In which year did the Beatles split up?
Who was known as Lady Day?
Miles Davis played which instrument?
What was Mussorgsky’s first name?
Who wrote the opera ‘Manon Lescaut’?
In which musical do Timon and Pumbaa
Which Gilbert and Sullivan operetta has a ‘”very modern Major
In which popular modern animated film is “Let it Go” sung?
What is so unusual about the songs ‘Gaudete’ and ‘Pie Jesu?’
Who is going to be the headline group at the Riverside
Festival at Lechlade this year?
1: Charlie Watts, 2: £10.5m, 3: Zadok the Priest by Handel, 4: Henry
5: 46 or 47, 6: Sandy Shaw, Puppet on a String (1967), 7: 36, 8:
‘Happy Birthday to You’ (written in 1893), 9: J S Bach, Handel and
10: Bing Crosby, White Christmas, 50 million copies sold world wide
11: 1970, 12: Billie Holiday, 13: Trumpet, 14: Modest, 15: Giacomo
Puccini, 16: The Lion King, 17: Pirates of Penzance, 18: Frozen
19: They were the only songs in the hit parade to be completely sung
in Latin, 20: Status Quo
Music Quiz
Tuesday 19 May
Fridays, 8 and 22 May
The May meeting will be held at the usual venue at 2.30pm. The
anagram challenge will be ‘Trees and Shrubs’.
John Higgs
01285 712488
We start with anyone who would like to play the
treble (from 2.00 -2.30pm) followed by the main
group at 2.30 to finish at 4.30pm, with a break for
We will be in the Heritage Room on the ground floor of the Fairford
Community Centre and will let you know if we have to use another
room. As usual, we will be playing a varied selection of music
arranged for Descant, Treble, Tenor and Bass with the addition of
Great and Contra basses in the occasional piece.
This group meets on the first Wednesday of the month from 12.30
to 2.00pm in the Barker Room of the Community Centre.
If there are any more recorder players (no matter how rusty) who
would like to join a friendly, non-judgemental group you would be
very welcome - please contact:
Wednesday 6 May
New members welcome. Please phone Jan Mills, group leader, for
more information.
Jan Mills
01285 850384
Hilary Bradshaw
01367 860030:
[email protected]
Jay Mathews
01367 860869
[email protected]
We have some spare instruments and stands; please ask if you
would like to borrow one.
Thursday 14 May
The group meets on the second Thursday of each month at our
house in Lechlade from 2 – 4.30pm for some friendly games of
Rummikub. For further information or explanation please refer to
the Fairford U3A website or telephone me.
Mary Bennett
01367 253287
Short Tennis
This group meets in the Palmer Hall every Monday, between
3.00pm and 5.00pm. As we have only one court, we often cannot
accommodate any new players, so if interested, please speak to
me first.
Margaret Trickett
01285 712421
Table Tennis
The group meets every Wednesday afternoon at 2.30pm in the
Keble Room, first floor of Fairford Community Centre.
New members of any ability always welcome—just come along.
Nick Stroude
01608 238715
Traditional Jazz
Please note that there will be no further Scrabble meetings until
Kathleen Price
01285 712417
Thursday 4 June
No meeting in May
The group will not meet in May as this would clash with the date of
the Keswick Jazz Festival. Our next meeting will be on 4 June.
Ian Bennett
01367 253287
[email protected]
Tuesdays, 5 and 19 May
We are a continuation group now, reading selected articles and
commenting on what we have read. Meetings are at my home
from 11.00am to 12 noon.
Frank Hall
01285 712583; [email protected]
The Yoga group meets weekly on Mondays at the Community
Centre at 10.00am.
Next meeting Monday 11 May at Valerie’s.
Valerie Wood: 01285 711888
There is a waiting list.
Sylvia Jones
01285 712657
There is no walk arranged for May.
Beth Dennis
Tuesday 26 May
The walk will be Seven Springs and the Churn Valley. Starting from
the Seven Springs pub the route takes you through the Churn
Valley, passing through the small villages of Coberley and Cowley.
After crossing the river, it follows tracks along the eastern side of
the valley with a couple of climbs to return to the start. There are
medieval churches in both villages and fine views over a tranquil
landscape. Meet at Fairford car park at 9.15am or Seven Springs
pub at 9.45am.The suggested passenger donation is £2.00.
Details of the Seven Springs, a free house with a good choice of
food, at:
Beth and Geoff Dennis
01285 712195
Friday 22 May
Walking and Pub Lunch
Wednesday 13 May
This month`s walk starts at The Old Prison, Northleach (GL54
3JH). The walk is about 4 miles with no stiles and a couple of
inclines, albeit of short duration near the beginning.
Our first stage heads north-eastwards towards Hampnett church,
(which is well worth a visit) before resuming our south track along
Monarchs way where we continue across the A429 along a farm
path and a bridleway leading us north downhill to the market place
in the centre of Northleach town. To avoid the Wednesday Market
car parking restrictions it is worth taking advantage of the Old
Prison facilities which offer easy parking, homemade light lunches
in the recently opened Cotswold Lion Café, free entry to the prison
museum and a wonderful display of historic agriculture and
farming machinery in the prison grounds.
Meet at the Fairford car park at 9.30am or 10.00am at the prison.
Suggested car passenger fee is £1.50.
Bert Sampson: 01285 712789 or
[email protected]
The walk begins at Seven Springs just off the A345 on to the
A346, using the lay-by on the right hand side for parking, opposite
the Seven Springs Inn: (GL53 9NG) which provides a varied menu
for those who wish to have lunch. The walk is just over 4 miles
following part of the Cotswold Way, taking in vast views from
Charlton Kings Common and Devil’s Chimney. Inclines are long
rather than steep with 3 stiles to negotiate, otherwise easy
walking. Meet at Fairford car park at 9.30am or at the lay-by at
10.15am. Suggested passenger fee £1.50.
Judith Butler 01285 712600 or Jenny Kinch 01367 252328
As you were
Where we is is where we are
And where we ain't we wuz.
We never aren't where we were
Though sometimes there because
We may have been where we were,
Or where we was but then That isn't now and never was
And if it was then, when?
When were we where we
When were we there and
We only are where we is
And only there right now.
(U3A member)
Family History 1 & 2
Book Circle 1
In March we were pleased to welcome Martin Lee-Browne, a
retired Fairford solicitor. Martin gave the group a fascinating talk
on the origins and development of land ownership in England
through the centuries starting with that most invaluable source of
reference: the Domesday Book of 1086. Following the Norman
Conquest much of the land was taken into Royal ownership and
some of it was then granted to loyal followers. Proof of ownership
was required and land was subsequently passed on to family
members, or sold off (often to pay for debts). The administrative
work required for proof of ownership led to the art of
conveyancing and the birth of the all-important deed.
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
To appreciate this book, the reader should have read the author’s
previous novels, The Three Pines and The Brutal Killing, because
from these she has included three narrative threads into Bury Your
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is on leave recovering from
physical and psychological wounds received during a gun fight with
a mysterious terrorist gang. He is staying in Old City Quebec at
the home of his previous senior colleague and mentor. Gamache is
interested in the history of Quebec Province and spends time in the
library of the Literary and Historical Society, known to the
dwindling English-speaking population as the “Lit and His”.
An obsessive amateur archaeologist is found brutally murdered in
the cellars of the “Lit and His”. He had spent many years looking
for the missing body of Samuel de Champlain, the Father of New
The storyline contains many interesting details of the conquest of
Quebec, including a brief description of the small boats bringing
the troops to General Wolfe. This was the work of Captain Cook
who later moved on to New Zealand and Australia.
Louise Penny gives an excellent description of the bitter piercing
cold winter with the heavy snowfalls and freezing ice cracking the
ancient stone walls. She describes the behaviour of the residents
who manage to survive every day and evening and enjoy the
results of the battle against the penetrating cold. Nothing seems
to keep them indoors; young and old are outside but they do
know when to go indoors.
Eileen Ryan
The management of the recording and transfer of land and
property ownership eventually became part of the remit of the
solicitor. Nowadays all information on land ownership is recorded
at the Land Registry. Martin showed us several examples of local
deeds and maps and passed on some interesting snippets of
information of about former local solicitors. Thank you to Martin
for a very interesting session.
Alison Hobson
A last minute change of plan saw us visiting Coate Water in Swindon as,
much to our surprise, our recce showed our planned destination to be
virtually birdless! Our change of plan proved to be well justified as we
found a good variety of woodland and water birds. We had obtained
keys to the two hides which are not open for general access and were
able to overlook parts of the lakes not visible from the public footpaths.
We didn’t find any real rarities but chiff-chaffs were around in good
numbers and tree-creeper, song thrush, jay, kingfisher, goldcrest and
red kite are always good to see. On our return through the woods we
were lucky enough to watch a pair of nuthatches making their nest in a
hole in a tree beside the path.
Richard Morgan
Book Circle 2
Industrial Heritage Review
Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970 ) was a German novelist. Like
most of his generation he was deeply affected by World War One
which is the subject of his most successful novel 'All Quiet on the
Western Front', our book for April.
With many modern aircraft weighing over 300 tons and landing at
150 mph, it is essential that landing gear is of the highest quality.
Fourteen members of the group on a visit to the Messier-BugattiDowty Company factory discovered how these undercarriages are
manufactured. We were given a presentation outlining the
company’s history, and learning how Dowty supply landing gear to
major aircraft manufacturers.
First published in 1928 it tells of a generation of men,
many straight from school who were destroyed by the First World
War. The book does not dwell on heroism in battle but rather on
the day-to-day lives and many escapades, often hilarious, in their
struggle to cope. It tells of the horrors they endured and their care
and compassion for one another.
Told from the point of view of the ordinary German soldier it gives
a new perspective on a time which we are remembering a
hundred years later. We were all glad to have read it.
Barbara Cottam
Garden Group
The meeting in March was held at Joyce Deane's
house to view her spring garden, and included a
plant swap and question time. Joyce then
supplied drinks and a variety of homemade
April's meeting was a visit to Bampton Garden Plants for a
demonstration of the use of containers by an experienced member
of staff.
We were then taken to the heat treatment shop in time to witness
the 10.47am “quench” – a spectacular immersion of large red hot
components into a bath of oil – which produced huge flames and
loud hissing.
We next visited the machine shop with its up-to-date
computerised machines working to very accurate limits and fine
finishing. Every component is given a unique identity and records
will be kept on file for 25 years. In the assembly shop the
undercarriages are assembled in a similar manner to a car
production line but on a slower scale, every nut and hose joint
being tightened to specified limits and locked. The training area
included traditional machines and a small display of past classic
landing gear.
We were all impressed with the dedication of the staff to ensuring
the high quality of the company’s products. This type of highly
sophisticated modern engineering was in complete contrast to the
traditional heavy engineering world of traction engines and rollers
which we saw on our visit to Wanborough, though highly skilled in
its own right.
John Higgs
Geoff and Beth Dennis
Sunshine, and a large turn out of our members heralded the start
of the 2015 season. Playing on the newly-maintained piste and
with our garden looking very tidy and spring like (thanks so much
Mike!) it was a good morning. We welcomed 3 new players and
now have to close our membership list.
Over the next few weeks we shall be installing a new wooden
bench, and a new 'pop up' gazebo will be added to our
equipment. Both items have been bought from the grant which
Reg has obtained for us and for which everyone is very grateful.
Dave and Heather Baber
Poetry Group 1—April
The theme was 'Anticipation' - so lots of poems about looking
forward to Spring and Summer then? No, not a bit of it! We had
'To a poet a thousand years hence' by Flecker; Agrippa and
Maecenas looking forward to meeting Cleopatra - Shakespeare;
'And Still I Rise' - Maya Angeleu; 'Nerves' (2 September 1939) by
Olga Katzin. Others in the group found quite unlikely poems
involving the subject. The nearest we got to the time of year was
'Hatching' by Elizabeth Jennings. On the mantelpiece was a bottle
of fizzy wine and glasses and one could feel the anticipation of the
group rising. We raised our glasses to the founder members of the
Poetry Group 20 years ago. The Poetry Group was one of the first
groups to be started when the F&D U3A formed. Cheers, lets look
forward to the next 20 years!
Ian Westlake
The subject for discussion was ‘Existentialism’. J P Sartre was the
originator of this school of thought so we spent time talking about
him. Sartre believed that as every individual is unique one cannot
generalize about "human nature".
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This means that moral philosophy cannot be derived from a
definition of ‘human nature’ whether this is having a purpose
(Aristotle) or being rational (Kant), or existing as a pain/
pleasure organism (Bentham). According to Sartre we are
perfectly free to make whatever we want of ourselves. He
ignored the fact that human beings have mental and physical
limitations.We wondered if the advent of existentialism was
some form of response to the aftermath of the Second World
War. There was at the time some interest in Britain in nihilist
philosophy though I think professional philosophers would
consider this link rather tenuous. Our discussion moved on to
consider the educational and social pressures of that time.
Dan Deane
In March we took a nostalgic look
back to the days when horse-drawn
trams were a major form of public
transport in towns and cities around
the country before the advent of the steam-driven variety.
John’s pictorial collection awakened some childhood memories
for us. With the coming of the electrically driven tram, you
could pay sixpence for a ticket on a London Transport tram and
spend the day riding on it. That was north of the river; if you
wanted to go south of the river you had to buy another sixpenny
ticket! We also travelled abroad in our tram quest to France,
New Zealand, Australia and New York. We went on, of course, to
view our own cards, with anagram-based clues on the subject of
Here they are for you to solve – the first two
‘ingredients’ would make a delicious dessert at this time of the
Barbara Cobbett
Straddlers—19 March
Fairford & District U3A – Table Tennis Group
As soon as we saw the barn filled with bales, we knew we had
gone wrong. It was not supposed to be there! Happily we had gone
down the edge of a wood rather than through it, so we soon
corrected our route. Even though it was a figure of eight walk, noone dropped out at the half way stage, and we all strolled back into
Adelstrop together. We take it for granted, on occasion, but we do
live in a lovely part of the world. The colours around Chasleton and
Daylesford were an absolute delight. The latter's Farm Shop was
very busy with 4 by 4s everywhere. Lunch was taken on benches at
Daylesford church, a quiet out-of-the-way spot.
Coffee was
enjoyed at The Long Barrow, a place steeped in history and
intrigue. It was a warm day, and many thanks to the nine walkers
that joined us for a delightful stroll.
Much has been happening as we start our new U3A year. We still play on
Wednesday afternoons throughout the year at 2.30pm in the Keble Room at
the Community Centre. If the main door is locked, use the side entrance, or
ring the bell (repeatedly – as play can be noisy) and someone will let you in.
Paul and Gill O'Shaughnessy
On 20 March, 8 Solo members went to Swindon; the men to the
Steam Railway, the ladies bent on spending money in the Outlet
Centre! Two cars were used and we all met for coffee in the
National Trust (situated between our two venues). They serve
very nice coffee and it is very inexpensive. A table was then
booked for lunch at 1pm. Off we ladies went. What a pleasant
change it is to go round the Outlet Centre; so much better than it
was a few years ago. At 1pm we all met for lunch; ladies
displaying all their purchases, handbags, suitcases, scarves,
nightdresses and much more. The men seemed to enjoy the
museum; they didn't say much - I think the ladies were too
enthusiastic about their shopping and the men couldn’t get a word
in edgeways! Lovely lunch; salads, casserole and jacket potatoes to
name but a few of the choices on offer. Thanks go to Mike and
John our intrepid drivers, rather them than me! Next meeting 11
May at Valerie's.
Valerie Wood
Please note: DVD afternoons are finished now until further notice.
So - what’s new?
When the Group started in 2013 we used the Community Centre table, which
was in poor condition; this has now gone to another club. Michael Yorke soon
found us two further tables: one kindly donated by the Needham family and
one on loan from Rev. Andrew Kirk. We have really enjoyed playing on these
tables. They have both been well used and have seen the Group flourish and
have helped to build membership. In both cases Mike Johnson very kindly
helped to transport, with Michael, these tables to the Community Centre. The
tables needed to be assembled each week, requiring some lifting and
We have now purchased two brand new club standard tables with covers and
some new balls. We are deeply indebted to Fairford Town Council and
Gloucester County Council (Active Together Scheme) for the funds to allow us
to make these purchases through their grant schemes. The playing surfaces
of the new tables are far superior to anything we have yet played upon and
we now just roll out the new tables and lower the playing surfaces to get
going each week. The new tables came in packs each weighing some 94kg.
The erection team included Reg Thoburn, Alan Topham and Bert Sampson
and the first table took over 2 hours to assemble; the second was far simpler
and quicker. Reg has also made arrangements to secure the tables to avoid
their unauthorised use.
Our thanks go to those mentioned above and to all those who have helped in
any way to establish and develop our Group; we do have great fun playing.
Special thanks must go to Reg Thoburn for his commitment and persistence in
chasing through our grant applications to achieve this superb conclusion.
Finally, due to a surplus in our funds, the normal £1 a week playing fee to
cover hall hire and equipment costs, will not be
charged for the next month or so. So why not come
and give it a go!
Nick Stroude: 01608 238715