Happy New Year
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January is the time for looking back to appreciate and learn and looking forward to new experiences and adventures. It is time to renew your u3a subscription. The cost remains the same – £14 per person for the year and is great value. Windsor and District u3a offers a wide range of subject based Interest Groups, as well as Monthly Speaker Meetings, outings to the theatre and places of interest, plus holidays at home and abroad. Your suggestions, ideas and help with running new groups and outings are welcome.
Your subscription also entitles you to enjoy activities organised by the Thames Valley Network of u3as Welcome – u3a Thames Valley Network (u3atvnetwork.org.uk) and the u3a South East Region, u3a: South East Region: Welcome (u3asites.org.uk) in addition to all the Interest Groups Online (the IGOs) that have been established since the pandemic. It is advisable for your partner/husband/wife to join as well as you, for most of these activities are open only to u3a members. Please see the end of this newsletter for detailed notes from Kate Fagence (Membership Secretary) and Dave Humphries (Secretary) concerning how and when renew your membership subscription.
Monthly Speaker Meetings 2023
Wednesday, 11th January
2-00 pm at Gardeners Hall
213 St Leonard’s Road, Windsor, SL4 3DR
Plants and Their Benefits with Timothy Walker
Timothy is a lecturer, botanist, gardener and author. He initially studied Botany at University College Oxford and has worked at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, at the Savill Garden Windsor and at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. In 1995, Timothy was awarded a Master of Horticulture by the Royal Horticultural Society of London and under his directorship the University of Oxford Botanic Garden & Harcourt Arboretum (OBGHA) won 4 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show London. Timothy has had a distinguished career and is an acclaimed public speaker.
Please try to support our Monthly Meetings. Much of your subscription goes towards paying for speakers. If you have suggestions for speakers, please let Jo Wattis know email@example.com. Good speakers have busy diaries and so our bookings are made well ahead of time.
We have a varied programme of speakers lined up for 2023 and hope you will enjoy listening to their talks.
- Wednesday, 8th February: The Questionable History of the TV Quiz Show by Jeff Evans
- Wednesday, 8th March: Discovering the Surrey Hills by Tony Howe
- Wednesday, 12th April: AGM
Outings and Events
Learn to make the most of your Smartphone
The first of these is scheduled for 17th January 2023. It is not too late to register, as there is the possibility of further sessions. If you would like to join in and have not yet given your name, please let Peter know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Jazz Concert organised by Tea and Jazz
- Tuesday, 24th January 2023 at 2-00pm
£7.00 pp on the door. No need to book, just turn up at Datchet Village Hall at 2-00pm. All u3a members are welcome. There is plenty of free parking available close to the hall, which is only a short walk from Datchet Railway Station. Details next month.
‘The King and I’ at the Swan Theatre, High Wycombe
- Thursday, 16th March 2023, Matinee Performance 2-30pm
- £52 per ticket (including coach)
Contact Adele McNally for details, Bookings now Closed.
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Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever” at the Mill, Sonning
- Saturday, 22nd April 2023, Matinee Performance including 2-course lunch
- £67.50 per ticket
- Bookings now Closed
Contact details visible to logged-in members only.
Interest Group News
Flu and COVID-19 are still with us, so please be considerate – stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
The group will meet for their annual lunch on 19th January.
Time, place and contact details are visible if you log-in.
This group meets in Windsor Methodist Church Hall in Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HH. Talks begin at 2-30pm. Admission is £3.00 on the door. No need to book. New members are warmly welcome.
- Monday, 30th January, Richard Poad from Maidenhead Heritage Centre starts us off with God Save the King – Maidenhead’s Royal Connections.
- Monday, 27th February, Kate McQuillan, Assistant Archivist, will explore with us some of the fascinating resources in St George’s Chapel archive.
- Monday, 27th March, Brigitte Mitchell will regale us with information about Royal Weddings in Windsor and some right royal scandals.
We will meet next on 23rd January to share our photographs, experiences and tips of the theme of ‘Lights and Fireworks’.
Tea and Jazz
On Tuesday, 24th January at 2-00pm in Datchet Village Hall will once again feature live jazz. The Woodhouse Jazz Band including at least 4 saxophones and their singer Catherine will perform. There will be a charge of £7.00 to cover the costs of hiring the hall, providing refreshments and to contribute towards the cost of the band. We look forward to seeing you on 24th and at the live jazz bands we are planning to offer during 2023.
Contact convenor Pat Oldcorn for details.
The group will next meet on 2nd January 2023 for a walk in the environs of Windsor town centre. An amble in the Maidenhead area is planned for February.
Convenor contact details are visible if you log-in.
Windsor Area Walking Group
In January, a circular walk of about 5 miles, taking in Rangers Gate, The Village in the Park, the Copper Horse and Long Walk. We will follow largely flat terrain and paved footpaths for the entire walk. Our coffee stop will be in the Village Post Office, assuming this is open.
Logged in members can see the date, time and meeting/starting point.
Local Coffee Mornings
All coffee mornings run from 10-30am to 12-00 noon. If you wish to stay longer, please do.
Old Windsor Local Coffee Morning at The Bells of Ouzeley, Straight Road, Old Windsor, SL4 2SH
These are held on the 1st Wednesday of each month. Next on 4th January 2023
West Windsor Local Coffee Morning at the Running Man Café, All Saints’ Dedworth, SL4 4JW
These are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Next on 18th January 2023
Datchet Local Coffee Morning at The Bridge Café, The Village Green, Datchet, SL3 9JH
These are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Next on 25th January 2023
A Weekend in Lincoln
Between the 2nd and 4th December, a group of 30 Windsor u3a members enjoyed a pre- Christmas coach tour visiting Anglesey Abbey, Lincoln and Stamford. Below, some members share their experiences.
We set off on time for our trip to Lincoln calling at Anglesey Hall, a National Trust property housing the largest collection of pictures of Windsor Castle. Unfortunately, the upper floor where they are housed was closed. Disappointed, but not deterred, we found ourselves talking to a knowledgeable volunteer who was most impressed that we were from Windsor. We learnt from him that this collection of pictures was sent to Windsor Castle after the fire, so that the rooms could be reconstructed and refurbished accurately.
The following day we took the scenic route into Lincoln, where the first point of call for some was the Cathedral. We stopped to listen to the choir, an unexpected pleasure, before continuing to see the largest stained-glass window in the world. Mesmerising!
We found the Christmas Market very busy; we were not always able to see the crafts on display, but things have a way of sorting themselves out. The cheeky Lincoln Imp used his mischief by sending rain. A good time to retire to the pub!
We journeyed home via Stamford, a town full of well-preserved buildings ranging from Medieval to Georgian, with no less than five churches. Stamford is an interesting town, but as the weather did not look promising, it was decided that we leave a little earlier than planned.
The whole weekend was very interesting and enjoyable. The highlight for me was the cathedral. I never tire of exploring new places and learning new things. But that is the ethos of u3a, isn’t it?
En route to Lincoln, we visited a 98-acre National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey in Lode near Cambridge. It started life as a priory, early in 12th century, but was mostly demolished in 1536 during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry V111. Various owners rebuilt, renovated and altered it until 1926 when it was bought by the Broughton brothers. The house was given to the NT by Lord Fairhaven in 1966, along with £300,000 for it to be preserved as an English home and the interior was full of surprises. Each room was decorated for Christmas, including a dressed Christmas tree in every room. Just beautiful!
Lord Fairhaven was stationed for a time with his regiment at Windsor Castle, hence many paintings of the Windsor area are on display in the Gallery, together with paintings by Constable and Gainsborough. Unfortunately, our party was unable to view these, as the upper floor of the house was closed due to lack of volunteer guides.
The day of our visit was wet and cold, but I did have a quick walk around the paths and came across some beautiful Himalayan silver birch trees, interesting statues and many other features which it would have been fun to enjoy illuminated.
I enjoyed Anglesey Abbey and learning about the search made by the American who inherited the property. The guides were very knowledgeable (if a little long-winded in some rooms!!) and the restaurant was clean and offered lots of choices to please all. Often a difficult task.
From afar the newcomer to Lincoln would be forgiven for thinking there are several cathedrals in the city as three mighty towers dominate the skyline from some distance.
However, Lincoln cathedral has three towers – two on the west front, which is the main entrance and the central tower, which dwarfs all around, rising above the central crossing suspended in mid-air; a spectacular feat of medieval engineering.
330 spiral stone steps take the visitor up to the roof forever winding in an ever-decreasing cone eventually disappearing within a supporting column. We had two guides both called Roy; one at the front and one at the rear of our column lest we had a faller!
We arrived at the roof, stopping at the clock chamber and the bell chamber where we donned ear defenders as the 6-ton bell rang for us on the hour vibrating the entire structure.
Once on the roof we were told that the current tower is a shadow of its former self for it originally stood double its current height being surmounted by a spire sheathed in lead. This tower ranked Lincoln Cathedral the tallest building in the world for two hundred years between the 1300’s to 1500’s.
Philip and Mary Ross
(Congratulations to you both, Philip and Mary. This climb was a challenging achievement. Most of the group struggled with Steep Hill, even those of who tackled the ramparts)
It was an unusual (and occasionally puzzling) Christmas weekend for us. There were many hilarious moments, new people and places, the most notable being the Lincoln Market thronging with crowds of people searching for the extra special gift. Our first visit was to Anglesey Abbey (NT), a Jacobean style house with some impressive gardens. A skeleton band of volunteers provided the services of guides and restricted us to the ground floor, due to the Christmas celebrations.
Our guide related a highly dramatic chronology of a unique clock. It seems this time- piece had stopped working and sent off to be repaired where its spring ‘blew up’ with such force that would have damaged both tourists and surrounding priceless exhibits had it not been moved somewhere else. The time piece was returned some four years later apparently fitted with an electronic mechanism. (There were no signs of movement whilst we were there??)
The next day was our full day excursion to the Lincoln Christmas Market. We had not expected to be so impressed with Lincoln. At the centre of town, we discovered the 11th century gothic cathedral. An amazing building where we spent time exploring its naves and chapels. We found three of the ‘must see’ features; the famous Lincoln Imp, well-hidden at the top of one of the pillars; the Teaching Window commemorating the early 19th century scientist George Boole whose Boolean logic provides the basis for modern digital developments; the Bishops Eye, the great round window from the early 14th Century. We left the cathedral and met up with the crowds.
The Christmas market covered the whole of the town centre, taking in the Norman Castle, spilling over into the Fun Fare and the famous Steep Hill. It was virtually impossible to get up close to the stalls, the surge of the crowds would move you on. When we attempted the Steep Hill, we managed halfway and decided to turn round and head back up the hill; easier said than done to counter the crowds. We did manage to stop off at Bunty’s, a small house tea shop, 3 tables downstairs and 3 up; a cosy atmosphere with friendly young staff dressed in Christmas red. There was no pressure to move on even though there were queues outside, so we enjoyed our tea with china teapots, miss matched cups and saucers. After several pots topped up and having regained our strength, we continued our adventures successfully managing to turn left back up the hill to our coach.
Brian and Pamela Huggett
I thought the cathedral was stunning and found the list of objects you gave us to look out for very helpful. I managed to find them all.
We went through an archway into the Christmas Market which was extremely busy. I could just about see the cheese but couldn’t get near enough to taste it. We had a hot chocolate with a cube of marshmallow which was deliciously different. In the main street there was an ‘Olde Shoppe’ selling the same cheeses, so I bought a selection for Christmas presents. I hope they taste as good as they look.
We had a fabulous three days. There were many special moments, and it is hard to pick out one. I think I must be our visit to Lincoln cathedral. Not just for the beauty of the place or the amazing singing of the choristers, but for the friendliness of the residents. This friendliness was duplicated during our visit to Stamford. When my friend and I saw two teenage boys hurrying into St George’s church so as not to be late. We knew there must be something special in there. We went in and were overwhelmed by the huge congregation all laughing and chattering before the service started. Explaining that we were not able to stay, people nonetheless welcomed us in for a look. The atmosphere was incredible and very uplifting.
What a lovely experience you had, Diana! It is great to be made welcome and to take away warm memories. I felt Lincoln Cathedral was more welcoming than most cathedrals. They put on a lovely programme of Carol concerts and services especially for the Market crowds and I have never been served hot chocolate in a cathedral before. Although majestic and architecturally beautiful, cathedrals are often more like museums rather than full of lively worship.
More photos are visible in a gallery in this month’s Newsletter Extra
The Christmas Social
Thanks for this very happy afternoon go to the many people who volunteered to entertain us, feed us and organise the afternoon. Special thanks go to the Uke3As, the Singing with Ukes group and Adele McNally for leading and co-ordinating our musical entertainment. Special thanks go to John Wiggins for compiling and running our quiz session.
Special thanks must go to the talented members of Craft groups 1 and 2 for making our table decorations and offering them for raffle. (Sue White has handed over £80.50 to Thames Hospice.) There were some glorious and inventive creations!
See page header picture, plus more photos in Newsletter Extra
More special thanks go to the ladies of the Tea Party who were busy in the kitchen brewing the mulled wine, tea and coffee and plating, serving our afternoon tea and clearing up afterwards. It was rewarding for the committee members organising this celebration to see so many of you, approximately 80, as numbers have dwindled at Monthly Meetings since the Covid pandemic.
Many of you arrived in time to help set tables and many of you stayed to help clear the hall at the end of the afternoon. Thanks to all who volunteered help in so many ways. It made for a super celebration.
Annual membership for Windsor and District u3a is due for renewal on 1st January 2023. The amount is £14 per person. Subscriptions may be paid by any of the following methods:
Online – the preferred method. Although payment is processed by PayPal, you do not need an account with them and can simply pay with your credit or debit card. You will receive an e-mail receipt and your membership will automatically be renewed in our database and be confirmed by email. This is by far the most efficient method and saves the committee much time and effort. On the 1st January, please refer to your renewal invitation e-mail for details and link to use.
Bank transfer – see your e-mail for bank payee details. Reference: Please ensure that you include your membership number(s) in the reference field on your bank payment.
Credit or Debit card – Windsor u3a have a card reader, so payments can be made by credit or debit card at the subscription renewal desk at the January or February monthly meetings.
Cheque – made payable to Windsor & District u3a can be handed in at the monthly meeting, or sent to the Membership Secretary, Windsor & District u3a, Box 165, 24 – 28 St Leonard’s Road, Windsor, SL4 3BB. Please use a pen with black ink, and write your membership number on the back.
Joint members: please pay with a single cheque, writing both membership numbers on the back of the cheque.
Please double check you have completed your cheque correctly and that it is written clearly. If you make a mistake, or have ‘pen-trouble’, please tear it up and start again. Amended cheques are rarely accepted by the bank.
Last year, it took us many hours of extra effort to chase up several cheques that were either: without a date, written in faint/illegible handwriting, with incorrect or no payee, or no signature. If your cheque fails ‘muster’, the bank will decline it, we then have to ask you to provide a new one, which we have to re-submit.
We regret that Cash cannot be accepted, due to branch closures complicating paying in.
Kate Fagence and Dave Humphries
Credits and Contributions
Thank you to all who have contributed to this month’s newsletter.
The copy date for the February 2023 Newsletter is 13th January.
This Newsletter was compiled by Jackie Wiggins, then adapted for web publication by Dave Humphries. This web version allows us to make minor updates after release, typically to correct errors and omissions notified shortly after release (at the beginning of the titled month).
We welcome contributions from any member, not just convenors, so if you have enjoyed a u3a organised event, why not share that (and show appreciation to the organisers) by writing a short report, ideally with some photos, please send to email@example.com
Readers may notify an error or omission via e-mail or logged in members can use the Comments area below to convey their thoughts on this particular edition.
Committee Contact Details
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|Committee Members’ Contact Details