Here is some news from Groups who are being 'active' during lockdown!
Some of this group have been writing stories monthly and then sending them to each other by e-mail . It would be great if some of their stories could reach other members?
SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY
Many members have been enjoying monthly sessions on Zoom with slide shows given by members. These have been great learning sessions in a variety of scientific fields.
CURRENT AFFAIRS 3
Some of this group have been discussing topics online. Guy Barnes hopes that more members will contact him to join as soon as we are ‘allowed out’!
At present members are emailing opinions of the book they are reading but this will come to an end after July for the summer. Guy Barnes is retiring as co-ordinator of this group in July after nearly 10 years of leadership, during which the group has read 65 books. We thank Guy for his commitment over all this time. Frances Barter has agreed to take it over in the Autumn and we thank her and wish her well. Frances says “One of our members has offered the use of her garden for our next meeting on July2nd. We are going to discuss Jude the Obscure, one of Hardy's famous
novels. We will be observing the 2 metre distance and taking our own drinks. So far there are only 5 of us going, but I am hoping there will be 1 or 2 more. Barring thunder, lightning and rain we will be there! I also intend to use the session to discuss the venue for Sept and the choice of reading material. Depending on the weather, it will also be a good opportunity to chat more widely on what we've all been doing with our time during lockdown and the books that have kept us sane.“
This new group was established just as we went into lock down and it has 11 members so far, They have started to communicate on online video links on the First Friday of the month at present at 3pm. Members are mainly interested in the prehistoric and Roman periods in Britain and the near continent. The group also plan to visit local sites and participate in fieldwork when the lockdown restrictions allow. The Group Leader is Maggie Davidson, If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Maggie, through the Archeology page link. She will give you the link for the next online meeting on 3rd July.
French Conversation goes ahead each Tuesday via Zoom. There are 12 of us and no one has yet dropped out despite the difficulties of online conversations (in French!).
FRENCH FOR FUN
We are continuing to 'meet' fortnightly on Zoom (running two sessions with a coffee break in between, to keep to the 40 minute limit on Zoom) and we're all enjoying the chance to see each other - and do some French, of course! Articles and discussions range from Winter holidays in the French Alps, 'what we will do first when the lockdown is over' to an article about a year as an international 'Erasmus' student in a French university. Particularly popular was a touching story about an English and a Belgian family who recently celebrated 100 years of friendship since a young British soldier was billeted with them at the end of the First World War !
Merry Bolton is hoping to restart work on the garden after the 4th July. She will contact members of the group once she has the go ahead from the Council.
CURRENT AFFAIRS 1 AND 2
Several members from both current affairs groups are collaborating to hold a meeting using Zoom. This takes place on 2nd July. If you are interested in joining this, please contact Iain Paterson though the Current Affairs page.
This group has been in communication by email throughout the Lock down and are meeting currently – not on the Tennis court but in each others gardens socially distanced and in careful groups of six, ably arranged by Joyce Beadle, their leader. Below is one photo showing that all are behaving as they should!
During this epidemic The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society has developed There have been lots of initiatives including music, history, technology and new dances often for a small number of people in confined spaces.However the standout events have been weekly zoom classes at 7 pm BST. Normally over a thousand dancers join the class with a teacher in their kitchen or sitting room from anywhere in the world. People on the western Pacific rim get up very early to join. This week the class came from British Columbia in Canada.It has been great to spend some time on unusual steps or sequences and many of us have had a go at Highland dancing and Highland Step dancing for the first time.
Highland dancing, includes sword dances, demonstrates stamina and is generally considered to be for men. Highland Step dancing is a delicate and nimble form of display, until recently for women. Of late men and women do both and we have had elements of both Step Dancing and Highland dancing in this summer’s Online weekly classes.
All the classes have been recorded and are available to watch on YouTube. Look up ‘Way tae Fife – a Scottish lady’s step dance.Just clear a little space and have a go. All classes are quite progressive and start slowly. Of course we are all desperately looking forward to be able to dance together again. Lucky New Zealand are already back on the floor.
The Tuesday Badminton group did a zoom together a couple of weeks ago. It was good to see everybody again and was enjoyed so much we’re planning another soon!
Archaeology: This is a new group which will be forming soon. So far I have 8 names. If you would like to be added to the list, please contact me, Penny Rose, at email@example.com or phone on 01297 561076.
Creative Writing: There is a vacancy in this group which is continuing to function at this time via emails. They will be continuing with “virtual” meetings in the meantime – i.e. sending our stories and comments round the group by email. If another member would like to join us with this please contact the new leader, John McCallum 01297 561696 or e-mail him on the Creative Writing Groups page of the website.
Poetry Reading: Half the Poetry Reading Group is continuing to submit poems as usual and then reading them in their own time in their own homes. Any U3A member with an interest in poetry is welcome to join us temporarily.
The only groups now functioning are a few who are or will be trying out virtual contact such as Creative Writing, Poetry Reading, some of the French groups and the Science and Technology Group - see below:
Online version of the SciTec meeting – forwarded by John Marriage
We can't have our usual meetings for now, and I'm sure you are, like me, pining for some mental stimulation. So at about our usual time we shall be having a live meeting over the Internet.
This message is coming out earlier than usual so we can prepare. For the audience all you need is a computer or tablet and an internet browser, and if you want to comment and participate a bit more, your kit should have a microphone and forward-facing camera - which most do these days. If you don't have any of those extras, so long as you have a computer, a tablet, or even a smartphone connected to the Internet, you can still sit in and watch.
You would all participate from the safety of your own homes.
We use software called Cisco Webex, which if you are interested you can check out here: https://www.webex.com/video-conferencing
The Webex promotional material all looks rather flash, it is aimed at companies mainly - but the free version will take up to 100 people in a conference and we have a "room" reserved for us.
Any U3A member is welcome. You don't need to download any software or pay any money, not even our usual 50p, but you do need to register for the meeting. So if you think you might like to try it, e-mail please to firstname.lastname@example.org, just a few words so I can add your e-mail address to the list when the invitations go out. Those who have come to one of our previous online meetings don't need to register again.
This is not a commitment to attend, but it will reserve you a place if you are able to come, on the day. Also, if it isn't working for you once it starts, you can drop out without upsetting anyone. A few days before the meeting those who have registered will get an e-mail from Webex with a "Join Meeting" button. Keep this e-mail, and shortly before starting time (up to 15 minutes before) you go to the e-mail and click the button. A window should pop up where you can check the video you are sending (if you have a camera) and check your audio settings, then confirm and you will be with us.
I hope plenty of you will be willing to give this a try. It seems to be right that the SciTec Group should try to use some SciTec to keep our lovely U3A going!
Thank you so much, John, for experimenting with this and setting it up for up to 100 of us to enjoy!
Garden Lovers in the time of Covid-19
The joint meeting of the Garden Lovers, Plant Sharing and Seafront Gardens groups, planned for the 24th April, has had to be cancelled. We hope to pick up on our programme of garden visits sometime in the summer, and meanwhile we’ll do our best to keep things ticking over. To this end we’ve established a “Gardeners’ Questions” help desk manned by Gill Steinberg, Sue Back and Jenny Short. I’ll act as question-master. Send your questions to me (e.g. what is this plant?) by email (email@example.com), and I’ll send them on to our panel. They will reply directly to you, copying each other.
We’ve already answered our first question! We’ll keep it straightforward i.e. by email, for the time being.
We’ll restart work on the Seafront Gardens as soon as we are allowed; currently there is no gardening at all taking place on the seafront. We shall also try to find a way we can make surplus plants available to each other. Let me know if you have other ideas as to how we can keep in touch.
We have many new members who are recently "retired". If you are one of those and feel slightly let down after a busy life, why not start a new Group using your expertise to enlighten others? Please contact me with your ideas. 01297 561076 or email at the foot of the Groups tab.
We had an interesting “Activities” morning on 14th February – renamed because some members became confused with the title “Coffee Morning” Thank you to all group leaders who came, many with examples to illustrate their group activities.
As a result of the meeting, the following new groups were suggested by members interested in learning particular skills. If you could teach or co-ordinate any of the following please contact me on 01297 561076 or email below.
Ideas for new Groups
If you have a different specialism and are willing to lead, please suggest it for a new group.
Thank you very much to those who agreed to co-ordinate new groups. These have been entered into the alphabetical list on the Groups drop down menu, where they can be contacted by email.
Current groups needing more members: