On-line Newsletter 179 – February 2023

By | June 6, 2023

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Thank you to all members (about 2/3 of you) who have promptly renewed their membership. Sadly, there have been hiccups with some cheques being rejected by the bank. Bank transfer is one way forward…. If you are nervous about electronic banking, it is worth making an appointment with your bank. Assistants there will explain what is involved and demonstrate how to use their system on your computer, your tablet or your mobile phone.

If you have not yet renewed your u3a membership, please do so before the end of this month.
More details below

Monthly Speaker Meetings

In January, our speaker, Andy Thomas, a botanist and horticulturist educated us in the history of the development of grasses as one of our main sources of food, explaining how this had enabled civilised societies to develop He gently guided our thoughts to conservation, leaving us with ideas, not of a doomed future, but of an appreciation of the value of the wonderful environment in which we live. Andy was highly entertaining and shared many jovial asides with his audience, which were much appreciated. We have already booked his return visit!

The Questionable History of the TV Quiz Show by Jeff Evans

Wednesday, 8th February
2-00 pm at Gardeners Hall
213 St Leonard’s Road, Windsor, SL4 3DR

We look forward to hearing from Jeff Evans, a freelance journalist and author of several books on television history, including The Penguin TV Companion.

We have a varied programme of speakers for 2023 and hope you will enjoy listening to their talks.

  • Wednesday, 8th March: Discovering the Surrey Hills by Tony Howe
  • Wednesday, 12th April: AGM
  • Wednesday, 10th May:


Outings and Events

Learn to make the most of your Smartphone

by Jackie Wiggins

The first of these sessions took place on the 17th January and was remarkably successful. u3a members came to the session with a variety of smartphone queries and received help from The Police Cadets. We learnt that ‘Volunteer Police Cadets’ (VPCs) is a youth group for 13 -18 year olds, run by volunteer leaders with backup from The Thames Valley Police. It is scheme growing nationally. Find out more about them here Be a Cadet Volunteer Police Cadets (vpc.police.uk) The intention of the scheme is not to recruit future police officers, but “to give all young people a chance to be heard, support their community and develop skills to become fantastic citizens, in a fun, friendly and exciting way.” The youth we met were a credit to their generation and we are privileged to have met them.

If you would like to take advantage of their help in the future, please let Peter know. chairman@windsoru3a.org.uk

‘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.

Contact details are only visible if you log in (details at top of page)

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.

Gambit Jazzmen, organised by Tea and Jazz

  • Tuesday, 25th April 2023 at 2-00pm

No need to book, just turn up at Datchet Village Hall at 2-00pm. All u3a members are welcome. £7.00 pp on the door. There is plenty of free parking available close to the hall, which is only a short walk from Datchet Railway Station. Put the date in your diary.

The Tea and Jazz Live Jazz Concert in January
This was extremely well attended. The ‘back-row ladies’ were hand jiving and many feet were tapping to The Woodhouse Jazz Band. Their singer, Catherine delighted with ‘jazz’ renditions of songs by Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, Carole Carpenter and Leonard Cohen amongst others. The audience also enjoyed some original compositions by band leader, Simon. We look forward to the band visiting again.

by Jo Wattis

Windsor and District u3a Coach Holidays

February is the third and last month of meteorological winter. We can begin to look forward to longer days and lighter nights and many members begin to think about holidays, rather than hibernating. In this month’s issue are advertised two u3a holiday opportunities, one in England and one in France. For members on their own, these give opportunities to have fun with friends in a more secure setting than offered by individual bookings with commercial companies. Couples enjoy them, too. The company is convivial and inclusive. Do give these holidays your consideration. Both are dependent on attracting a minimum number of bookings. It is cost effective to find a friend with whom to share a twin room, but understandably many of you prefer not to share.

In June, Pat Oldcorn is hoping to lead a u3a holiday to the Loire Valley in France. Details of this are not yet firm. They will be circulated as soon as possible.

In July, Jackie and John Wiggins will lead a u3a holiday to Yorkshire, leaving Thursday,13th July and returning on Monday, 17th July 2023. £646.00 (+ single room supplement of £116.00). This offers 4 nights dinner, bed and breakfast and porterage at The Cairn Hotel *** Harrogate and includes visits to The Great Yorkshire Show, Harewood House, The Skipton and Worth Valley Railway, The Bronte Museum, free time in York and an en route stop at the Northampton County Museum and 78, Derogate, a Charles Rennie Macintosh House. Please see flier at the end of this newsletter for full details.


Interest Group News

Flu and COVID-19 are still with us, so please be considerate – stay at home if you are feeling unwell.

Explore London 1

The Explore London 1 group discovered a relatively unknown gem in January. A small group, depleted by ill health, visited Westminster Cathedral. It was disappointing that the tower and café were closed, but the guide welcomed the group warmly and enthusiastically showed the exquisite mosaics with which much of the cathedral is decorated. Her explanation of the symbolism in the pictures and patterns created in mosaic heightened our appreciation of these unusual and glorious ecclesiastical works of art. A visit is fully recommended.

by Alan Wheeler

The group also meandered in the streets round the cathedral to explore some of the public works of art and memorials which it is easy to walk past without knowing anything about them.

by Alan Wheeler
by Alan Wheeler

Fortunately, Alan Wheeler was with the group and with his photographs, we can share some of these beautiful mosaics with you, more are visible in this month’s Newsletter Extra.

Gardening 2

The group will meet on Thursday, 16th February for their annual quiz – with tea and cakes, of course.

Time, place and contact details are visible if you log-in.

Local History

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, 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.


Each month we pick a theme and each member of the group chooses a poem to bring and read. We always LISTEN first before receiving a copy of the poem’s text. We then talk through our responses and thoughts. January’s theme was ‘Beginnings’ – not original but we usually have a broad title that is meant to prompt a bit of research to find something we fancy. This time we heard from the wonderful Prologue to the Canterbury Tales: ‘Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote…’ and yes, we did read it in the Middle English. We then read the great Keats poem about the delights of reading classic poetry: ‘On first Looking into Chapman’s Homer’. Keats we know had a tough home life and was an indifferent student until he discovered reading. And this short poem is the ultimate hymn to the liberation of the imagination in books . Next to Christina Rosetti, best known for ‘In the Deep Midwinter’ and that funeral gem ‘Remember Me’. We read the poem ‘A Birthday’ about new love. Sylvia Plath often features in our selections and ‘Morning Song ’is about the amazing birth of one of her children – very poignant in the light of what happened to her just months later. Wendy Cope cast her sardonic eye in ‘The New Regime’ on the annual resolution to be more sensible in eating and drinking. One of Wendy Cope’s favourite poets is George Herbert and he featured next in the poem ‘The Flower’ that reads like the recovery from a bout of depression. And moving on from life’s disasters was the theme of our final poem: ‘The Land of Beginning again.’ Next time it’s ‘Relationships’ and members will be mulling possibilities. Michael? Lucie? The Dark Lady? The White Goddess? Prufrock? Felix Randall? Maud? The Coy Mistress? Isabel and the Pot of Basil? Eva Gore-Booth? Or none of these? The possibilities are endless. – Terry Jones

The poems mentioned above are all available to be read on the internet.

‘Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote: From the Canterbury Tales  by Geoffrey Chaucer: “Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The dro…” (goodreads.com)

‘On first Looking into Chapman’s Homer’: Keats‘ On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer by John… | Poetry Foundation

A Birthday’: Rosetti A Birthday by Christina Rossetti – Poems | Academy of American Poets

Morning Song: Sylvia Plath Morning Song by Sylvia Plath | Poetry Foundation

The New Regime: ‘Wendy Cope The New Regime by Wendy Cope | Poemist

The Flower’ George Herbert‘ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/50700/the-flower-56d22df9112c4The Land of Beginning again: Louisa Fletcher The Land of Beginning Again by Louisa Fletcher | The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor (publicradio.org)


We will meet next on Monday, 27th February for a small home-studio demonstration.

Tea and Jazz

Meet at 2-00 pm, Tuesday, 28th February in Datchet Village Hall. This month will feature a new film we have made, ” 100 Years of Jazz Singers “. This will include artists from Louis Armstrong to Jamie Callum and from Bessie Smith to Lady Gaga. The hall provides an excellent cinema screen and sound system. There is no need to book – just turn up at 2-00pm. We are an open group. All u3a members are welcome, so do tell any friends who may be interested. There will be a charge of £5.00 to cover the cost of refreshments and hire of the hall. Due to popular demand, we are delighted to have booked ‘Gambit Jazzmen’ to play for us again on April 25th – so make a note in your diary!

Walking Groups

Shorter Walks

The walk will be approximately 2 miles along the Jubilee river with coffee stop afterwards at the Dorney Garden Centre cafe. Please let Diana know if you are coming.

Convenor contact details are visible if you log-in, as are the date, time and meeting/starting point.

u3a Amblers

Thank you for a lovely walk – most enjoyable with such good company” said Eileen Harris after her first walk with this group in January. The group will next meet on 6th February 2023 for a circular walk around Eton, please contact Dave to book a place.

Convenor contact details are visible if you log-in.

Windsor Area Walking Group

In February, we will walk approximately 4.5miles around the Boveney Brook and the Jubilee River area, with a possible coffee stop at the Palmers Arms in Dorney. The walk will be led by Roy Battison.

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.

by Jackie Wiggins

Old Windsor Local Coffee Morning at The Bells of Ouzeley, Straight Road, Old Windsor, SL4 2SH
A vivacious group, hosted by Jo Wattis met last month and some stayed for lunch!
These are held on the 1st Wednesday of each month. Next on 1st February 2023


West Windsor Local Coffee Morning at the Running Man Café, All Saints’ Dedworth, SL4 4JW
Homemade cakes are becoming the speciality. Thank you, Angela West.
These are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Next on 15th February 2023

Datchet Local Coffee Morning at The Bridge Café, The Village Green, Datchet, SL3 9JH
Delicious homemade cakes and light lunches are also available here. The No 2 bus now links Dedworth, Windsor and Datchet. (Hurrah!). The service runs hourly and stops a few yards/metres from the Bridge.
These are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Next on 22nd February 2023

All our u3a Coffee Mornings run between 10-30am and 12-00 noon. Please join them for a chat, good company and to catch up on what is happening in your u3a and to swap ideas for the future. The locations have been chosen for the convenience of our members who live in these localities, but all members are welcome to them all. If anyone living in the Ascot, Sunninghill, Sunningdale area would like to set up a Local u3a Coffee Morning, please let Jackie Wiggins know.


Windsor and District u3a Coach Holiday

Harrogate, Harewood and The Great Yorkshire Show

Thursday, 13th July – Monday, 17th July 2023

  • £646.00 (+£116.00 single room supplement) based on 25 participants
  • £626.00 (+£116.00 single room supplement) based on 35 participants


  • 4 nights dinner, bed and breakfast in The Cairn Hotel *** Harrogate
  • Visit and entry to the Great Yorkshire Show
  • Visit and entry to Harewood House
  • Journey on the Keighley & Worth Valley Heritage Railway
    (Optional visit to The Bronte Parsonage Museum) and
    Scenic Drive via Skipton, Haworth and Keighley
  • A Gary Barlow Tribute Night at the hotel on Sat. 15th July
  • Visit and entry to 78 Derngate, Northampton, a Rennie Mackintosh House and
    Northampton County Museum and Art Gallery
  • Free time in York
  • Porterage

We will break our outward journey in Northampton (lunch by own arrangement)
On our return journey, we will spend the morning in York (lunch by own arrangement) before heading for Windsor. There will be additional en route comfort stops on both journeys.

Harrogate’s elegance and style draws from its 18th century history when it became the spa town of choice for wealthy visitors. Modern day Harrogate is the go-to destination for relaxation and indulgence, synonymous with quality shopping and afternoon tea. The Cairn Hotel is a short walk from the town centre.

The Great Yorkshire Show celebrates the very best of food, farming and rural life. See some of the finest farm animals in England in show competitions, as well as demonstrations of cookery and crafts. This is a celebration of food, countryside, and agriculture with something for everyone of every age, while keeping farming at its heart.

Harewood House sits in the heart of Yorkshire and is one of the Treasure Houses of England. The House was built in the 18th century and has art collections to rival the finest in Britain, as well as 1,000 acres of landscape designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

The Skipton, Keighley & Haworth Train Ride and Scenic Drive will show you the very best of Yorkshire towns and villages. Skipton is known as the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. With its famous 900-year-old castle, romantic ruined priory and historic cobbled High Street, it is rich both in history and outstanding natural beauty. Keighley is a pretty town, nestled between the charming countryside of Airedale and the Haworth Moorland. It is also where you will board the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway service to Haworth which features much Victorian architecture and is the location of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, home to Anne, Charlotte and Emily Brontë.

This holiday is subject to a minimum number of 25 participants.

Expressions of interest please, to Jackie Wiggins, newsletters@windsoru3a.org.uk


Subscription Renewal

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. Please refer to your renewal invitation e-mail, sent on the 1st January, for log-in details and link to use. Either joint member can renew online for the pair of you in a single £28 payment.

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.

It takes us many hours of extra effort to chase up cheques that are 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. This all takes extra volunteer’s time.

We regret that Cash cannot be accepted, due to bank 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 our March 2022 Newsletter is 15th February.

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 newsletters@windoru3a.org.uk

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

Simply rotate your screen horizontal to see full width of table.

Committee Members’ Contact Details
Chairman:Peter Toddchairman@windsoru3a.org.uk
Secretary:Dave Humphriessecretary@windsoru3a.org.uk
Treasurer:David Tredertreasurer@windsoru3a.org.uk
Data Administrator:Derek Gadddataadmin@windsoru3a.org.uk
Groups’ Coordinator:Sue Whiteu3agroups@windsoru3a.org.uk
Website Administrator:Dave Humphrieswebeditor@windsoru3a.org.uk
Membership Secretary:Kate Fagencemembership@windsoru3a.org.uk
Newsletter Editor:Jackie Wigginsnewsletters@windsoru3a.org.uk
Speaker Organiser:Joanna Wattisspeakers@windsoru3a.org.uk