GROUP NEWS It is very good to see that some of our groups are active, enthusiastic and making use of Zoom and Webex etc, or else meeting in gardens and elsewhere. Thank you to group leaders for making this possible! We have made a list of active groups for the Groups tab, so please contact us if your ‘active’ group is not reported on here and we will add it to the list. Thank you.
If you wish to contact any of the Group leaders below, please go to their page under the Groups tab.
Archaeology Group: Maggie Davidson, Group Leader writes that very soon, six members from the Archaeology Group are heading out to Maiden Castle near Dorchester for a trip to the largest Iron Age Hillfort in Britain. Yes – trips out are still possible if you adhere to the ‘rule of six’ and complete a risk assessment; although on this one we are more likely to succumb to exposure or wet rot than CV19! [Seriously though, if you are planning a trip to an outdoor venue, then the Ramblers Association CV19 generic risk assessment is a good starting point.- or see the one from the U3A.] Built in several phases from around 500-100BC the hillfort of Maiden Castle comprises an impressive collection of ditches and ramparts and was an important power base, defensive structure and settlement for the inhabitants (usually referred to as the Durotriges). It overlooks several (earlier) Bronze Age barrows and, less scenically, Poundbury. The area abounds with ancient monuments. The next time you drive east along the A35 towards Winterbourne Abbas, note the mounds and humps in the fields on both sides of the road – around 40 Bronze Age barrows (2500-500BC). Just before you enter the village on the right is the Nine Stones Neolithic stone circle (c. 3000BC). So many ancient places to discover and explore together. We are meeting via Zoom for the foreseeable future; if you are interested in joining us please contact the group co-ordinator, Maggie Davidson
Science & Technology Group: John Marriage reports that this group is in full swing, using Webex meetings. So far we have kept going well, with typically 30-50 people at each meeting. Any Lyme U3A member is welcome. Our list of talks is kept up to date on the website. Our next talk is at 10am on October 16th. Hilary Naylor will be introducing us to the astronomer Norman Lockyer and the Norman Lockyer Observatory at Sidmouth.
Creative Writing Group: John McCallum, Group Leader writes that this group has resumed meetings outdoors in each other's gardens while the weather has been kind to us, respectful of Social Distancing guidelines. We are a total of 6 writers and meet once a month, writing a short (+/- 1000 - 1800 words) story on a different topic each month and reading our stories to the group, with a break for tea and cake. When we are not able to meet physically due to any new covid restrictions, we send our stories to each other via email and follow up with our comments a few days later. Short story writing is a great way to get the brain cells working and we also value the social intercourse as we enjoy the readings.
Literature Group: Frances Barter, group leader, reports that this group group have been emailing one another to discuss selected books. Recently, however, we are having a go at Google Duo in order to provide a more discussion forum. This will launch in the next week or so with a discussion on Orwell's 1984! Most of us will have read this years ago, so it will be interesting to see if our responses have changed. The Big Brother factor should elicit some strong responses!
Play Reading Group: Frances, who also manages the Play Reading group writes “I have had to temporarily cancel the play reading group as it isn't viable with the present restrictions. We tend to keep in touch and look forward to starting up again when possible. The last meeting we had was in a member's garden with a cream tea. We almost had a full house and it was really enjoyable.
Book Group 1: Jocelyn Marsh states that as we had hoped, the Dorset Library Service has restarted its service to Reading Groups and on behalf of Book Group 1 I have collected our book for October, ‘Blue Dress Girl’ by E.V. Thompson. As we are unable to meet together as yet, we will not be able to have a verbal discussion about it as would normally be the case but our individual thoughts on it will be collated and circulated to the Group - not quite as much fun as our usual discussions (which range to other topics after we’ve discussed the book!!) and sadly without the tea and homemade cake, but the best we can do in the current circumstances.
Digital Photography Group: Mark Gillams states that due to the current restrictions the Digital Photography Group is still not able to meet for its regular chats on photography, and much else besides, over cups of tea. The group might just start meeting remotely, but for now that is some distance away. This does however mean that there is a great opportunity right now for anyone who may be feeling hesitant about joining the group. Now is the time to get ahead of the game and help yourselves to some individual advice on digital cameras and what they can do. Just drop a line to the Group Leader and we will see what we can do. In this way you may feel like giving the group a go by the time meetings eventually restart.
Meditation Group: Jo Oliver Smith writes that “the meditation group has now resumed, in my garden. Six of us meet around a fire twice a month on a Tuesday morning and we practice a mixture of physical and spiritual exercises interposed with some fantastic rich conversation. If anyone out there is happy to brave the winter season, I would love to hear from you!”
German Conversation Group: Audrey Standhaft, the group leader, says that German conversation is active- “we are writing pieces to each other and sending extracts to read. Occasionally we phone each other.”
French for Fun: Kay Luckraft reports as follows: “We have continued 'meeting' once a fortnight on Zoom since the lockdown started; some people were already used to zoom/facetime, etc., but for others we did a few one-to-ones initially (backed up with the telephone) to familiarise them with the system and most of the group (9 or 10) are now enjoying the sessions. A couple of members are still following the materials that we send out each time on their own, as they prefer that, but are in touch to let us know that they are enjoying them. We have been reading and translating articles (and listening to the accompanying CDs) on a variety of subjects, ranging from a look at interesting places in France, such as the 'Petit Canada' region in Burgundy, to a fascinating story of two families, one English and one Belgian, who have been celebrating over 100 years of friendship since a young Tommy stayed with the Belgian family at the end of the First World War. We've also watched short French video clips including how French schools are coping with Covid, the origins of Cassoulet (during the 100 Years' War, when the French town of Castelnaudary was under siege from the English !) and watched a delightful young lady enthusing about her cows and giving us a guided tour of the Camembert production line! We usually split the session into two halves (due to the time limit on Zoom) with a 10-15 minute break in the middle, so that people can get themselves a coffee, etc. In normal times we used to have a 'bring and share' lunch in July, before our August break, but obviously this wasn't possible this year, so we had a 'virtual' cheese-and-wine party which was good fun (and interesting to find out about other people's favourites.)
Of course, it will be lovely when we are able to meet again properly, but everyone looks forward to seeing their friends each time, catching up with their news and having a good laugh together.”
French Conversation: French Conversation continues to meet via Zoom which works well. Whereas we met fortnightly in each other's houses, we now have a Zoom meeting weekly for about forty minutes because all members are very enthusiastic!
Maggie Allison ( Joint Group Leader)
Plea for a new Group Leader!
Current Affairs 3: Guy Barnes has decided to retire as leader of this group, which he has managed for a good few years. We thank him very much for all his involvement. He has asked for members to replace him but has had no response so far. So if you are willing to organise current topics and would like to give it a go – remotely at present, or in groups of up to 6 indoors or out, please contact us.
Penny Rose, Groups Co-Ordinator