Information from your Group Leaders


This is an additional feature whereby Group Leaders can notify members of their Group of any changes taking place and anything else you feel that other members should know.

You may wish to advertise forthcoming events related to your Group or mention a significant Birthday or Anniversary (with the permission of that person of course!)

Items for this page should be forwarded to the Web master - Steve Barnes - They will then be added to the Website which can be accessed via the Group Leaders button. Please note that the webmaster has editorial prerogative.


TIME CHANGE Please note that as agreed, the Archaeology Group sessions will commence from 11.00hrs until 12.30hrs in the Members Room until further notice. These sessions will be continuous with no break midway!

Welcome to the Alton U3A Poetry Appreciation website information.

Our January meeting will be in the Members' Room (but do double-check the noticeboard) at 2.00 at the Community Centre on Friday the 11th.

We will be looking at Wendy Cope and John Milton's work.

Please feel free to bring along an A5 page with relevant work; we will try to fit them all in.

Steve Millar (Group Leader)


MUSIC DISCOVERY some brief notes for you on this NEW Course.

Are you stuck in a rut? Does music help you to make each day a great adventure; or is it a solace for grief; or does it remind you of rich experiences you had forgotten? If you do enjoy listening to good music – and possibly even discovering some new pieces, then this class might be just for you.

When listening to music are you a “I know what I like”, or “I like what I know” kind of person? If so, perhaps Music Discovery is not the class for you, but if you do enjoy listening to good music – and possibly even discovering some new pieces, then this class is just for you.

So many times we hear and read of people saying that music is not for them, or they don’t understand it. In Music Discovery we just cover good music, it can sometimes be called pop music, or jazz, but it’s mostly from the vast range of classical music, but, most importantly - it is all good music. Classes are monthly and start on Monday 14th January at 2 p.m.

Hope to see YOU there
Michael Gardener


U3A Creative Writing Group

To coincide with the acts of Remembrance of the ending of the First World War, members of the U3A Creative Writing Group were encouraged to write short accounts of 100 words or less on the general title of “Reflections”.

The following are some of them:

"The Spoils of War"....Lesley Wright

Cheerfully they came when duty called, and bugles played.
Handshakes, waving flags, and farewells to them all
When fathers, sons and lovers marched to war,
For it will all be over by Christmas.

While old men struggled on the land at home,
Death stalked the trenches, and boys choked on gas,
Cried for their mothers with blind eyes,
And yet another Christmas passed them by.

War over, grey-faced weary men returned in shock,
No bands to greet them now.
They stumble home, forever haunted by the dead,
For whom it was all over by Christmas.

"Incomplete"...Doreen Benham

Hello Family
I will be home soon. I have been in hospital so long now but I know I won't have to go back to those muddy trenches, watch my friends die or be wounded. I still hear the explosions and gun fire in my head but here I am safe as I can be. I am not the man I was, I am not complete, one leg less. I am a nervous wreck and can't sleep. Don't give up on me. I need you all so much. There is love somewhere in my heart, I sure hope it is returned.

"Observation Balloon"....Steve Barnes

Suspended beneath a large dirigible balloon high overlooking the enemy lines, carefully studying the fascinating jigsaw puzzle of trenches below; the observer’s role was to report fresh enemy movements to the ground. Messages were sent by a rudimentary telephone system via the single cable to direct heavy artillery fire towards the area he had identified.
On the alert for marauding German fighter aircraft, he spotted one fast approaching and firing its single Spandau machine gun.
As the balloon caught fire the observer climbed out of the basket and jumping clear, floated earthwards hanging beneath his fundamental parachute.

"Love"...Pauline Hughes

My Darling Emily
I think of you every hour of every day, wherever I am - waiting in the trenches or resting in the camp. Your sweet face and your shining eyes are with me each day. I see you in my dreams. It was so good to have your letter. It rides in my pocket always, a talisman protecting my heart. I hope that I may be home on leave before too long. I cannot wait for us to be together again.
Please give my best regards to your parents and your sisters. Look after yourself until I come.
Your Harry

"Running the Blockade"....Steve Millar

Intense, monotonous black stretching into, who knows, into distance? Pitch black, overcast, light mist, calm, moonless. Sea millpond-calm, perfect night.
Creeping north-west every sound muffled. Lapping bow wavelets audible over engine’s regular beat, one, two, three, one, two, three, even right forrard. Slow, steady, one, two, three, keeping under eight knots, praying against even slightest spark from funnel, dampers on, no telegraph bells, steam pressure perfect, no loss, no venting.
Keep her steady, keep her silent. Silence matters more than speed, but speed counts too.
Usual dark strangeness, intense stress, boredom, sleep-desperate, cannot relax. Eyes rested momentarily could be death.

"Telegram"...Sarah O’Donoghue

The telegram lay on the table. Daisy looked at it, paralysed with fear. A telegram, she knew, almost certainly contained bad news. The two young men she loved most were fighting in France. She had watched her brother, Henry, proudly leave with his regiment. She had begged her husband, Arthur, not to enlist but he said it was his duty. They had been married for just a year. Arthur had promised to return but Daisy knew his fate was not in his hands. She opened the telegram. Henry wounded. Coming home. Relief, but anxiety, uncertainty. What state would her brother be in?

"From the Trenches"....Lynne Threadgill

George, a lad from my village, cried in his sleep last night but doesn't remember. He joins me where I sit picking lice from my hair, my nose full of my own stench.
The guns fall silent and I start to shake. It's the anticipation that does it.
George takes his slingshot out and we bet on which rat he'll kill first. He scuttles along the trench, straightening slightly, to take aim. There's the sudden whine of a sniper's bullet. It thuds into a wooden support by George's head. He falls to his knees in the mud picking a splinter from his hair.

"Silence"...Pauline Hughes

Silence. Nothing but mess, mud and skeletons, abandoned tanks, helmets, rifles, boots, broken barbed wire, bodies. Barebones of buildings, blackened trees etching the sky. A moonscape so quiet now that we were lost. We had lived by the boom of guns and fear for so long we had forgotten how to be in peace. Wearied, with cleaned weapons and cleaned boots we took train and ship to England. So strange, so changed, so unreal.
Forty years gone and the earth is healed. The fields are green, the soil tilled, the trees in full leaf. Listen! No sound. No birdsong.

"NEWS FLASH 10 November 1918"....Robert Toogood

It is confirmed that after a republic was proclaimed under Friedrich Ebert following the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm yesterday and the resignation of his son Prince Maximilian as Chancellor, the two men have been observed today (10 November 1918) boarding a train bound for Holland taking them into exile, although their final destination is as yet unknown. It is expected that the Armistice will probably be signed tomorrow, which will formally bring the war to an end. French negotiators are said to be demanding punishing reparations that will put an enormous strain on the German economy for years to come.

"An ‘undred words?"....Steve Millar

An ‘undred words, blimey I din’t know I’d have to write that much when Tony said to do this stuff ‘e never told me that. What do I write Daisy, that’s my partner, she reckons I’m never lost for words but, like, it’s different when you ’ave to put ‘em on payper. So, what am I s’posed to say. Daisy, she says, tell ‘em about the cat but I don’t reckon you’d be int’rested anyways you might tell the landlord and we’re not s’posed to ‘ave pets, we aren’t?. Or Afghanistan stuff I saw?
An ‘undred words? Who you kiddin’?