Bridport & District


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‘Isn’t That Interesting’ Group

On Monday 25th October the ‘Isn’t that interesting’ group spent the morning walking round the Ancient Technology Centre in Cranbourne. The site was created in 1984 as a building project for children of the adjacent school. There are now 6 replicated buildings reflecting structures from the Neolithic to Saxon times. Various examples from around the world were used to attain the accuracy of each building.
The Neolithic Viking Longhouse built in 2007/8 and serves as a dormitory for residential courses and our lunch venue. It has an uncanny look of an upside-down keel with the ends cut off. The roof shingles were cut longways through to the centre of a log giving a wedge shape and uniform length.
A cosy Earth House of late Stone Age which housed both humans and livestock and nestled, almost at ground level under thick insulating turf. Its sunken floor makes it an ideal entertainments venue where storytelling is enjoyed by many.
There was an Iron Age thatched round house with remarkably sophisticated hinges for the doors. It did not have a hole in the apex to let out the smoke, they concentrated the heat and caused fires.
Most fun was the Roman bucket chain well, a working construction built by the Time Team from remains found near the Museum of London. We pushed the horizontal wheel round, watched the square, wooden buckets joined by a chain rise from the well full of water and deposit it in a high tank. This overflowed down a chute back into the well. But It could be directed to underground pipes for irrigation etc. A small Roman forge allowed students to bash hot metal to their hearts content, hopefully in a ‘controlled and safe environment’! Its walls decorated graffito copied from Pompeii
The most recent period dwelling is the single room thatched Saxon House made with the plentiful wood available and using wattle & daub.
It was an illuminating insight into the sophistication of our ancestors. They had many skills and used what was on their doorstep to benefit their lives. I found it quite difficult to make strong sparks from a flint; quite a technique. Their wall art was funny, pleasant and varied.
Between the buildings were gardens whose produce was eaten or used as building materials. The children could forage for their lunch. They also learned building techniques such as making chalk blocks to build a wall and thatch it to keep the rain from washing it away; and to daub mud, straw etc on to woven hurdles to make draught proof walls. Reeds, not all grown in the small read bed, are used for thatching and trees are coppiced for fencing and walls.
We finished our morning in the longhouse, seated on the sleeping platforms with a fire burning nicely in the long firepit. Tea & toilets were very modern ~ thank goodness.

‘Isn’t That Interesting’ Group

On Friday 20th September 2019 the ‘Isn’t That Interesting’ Group’s visit to Ourganics Evolving Systems in Litton Cheney.
We were met by Pat and her lab/collie Sam on a sunny morning, just right for a pleasant guided tour round her Permaculture holding whose ethics are people care, earth care, fair share. She almost 5 acres which are ostensibly a water meadow, except the water is not so plentiful as new buildings higher up the valley are also extracting it. There is an ancient spring fed water system shared by neighbouring farmers with managed sluices and diversions. This along with the rain and a well give three sources of water and is ‘off the water grid’. Over 20 years she has turned grazing fields into growing spaces for fruit trees, herbs, vegetable and eggs, a poly tunnel and holiday/student accommodation.
It has not always been an easy ride for her and she has spent many hours trying to comply with the Planning Department, once receiving an eviction notice. Fortunately, she had just put in a Business Plan so there was a stay of execution until they came to an agreement.
She gets an income from veg boxes, holiday lets and Permaculture student classes. These along with careful husbandry of power, mostly solar panels is also ‘off the grid’. Her ‘fridge’ is lidded crock-pots in the stream and water is mostly heated by the sun. She manages the land with plenty of home-grown compost, including WC waste; careful watering and mulching.
Her dogs ignore the chickens running freely in the fields and in the evening, Sam rounds them up to the safety of their run. She is extraordinarily happy with her life, saying she has fun and fulfilment doing what she wants on a daily basis. But don’t let this fool you; it is obviously hard work 52 weeks a year, although she smiles and says it’s like being on holiday, she admits to getting quite tired sometimes.
Her family, students wanting practical learning and holidaymakers looking for peace and to learn of a better way of living, all come to stay and do a bit. She has volunteers who give her a hand and more are welcome.

Invitation from Lyme Regis U3A

The Lyme Regis U3A have a music group that meets on alternate Wednesdays in the James Hargreaves Hall in Morcombelake and we wondered if this would be of interest to your members? The cost is £6 per session as we have Hall hire costs and a conductor who arranges lots of different types of music for us.  We have a range of abilities and instruments including, violin, clarinet, drums, saxophone, keyboards, accordion and flute.  We are always looking for new members.

My contact details are:  Sue Calder 01297 561302

Isn't That Interesting!

"Four intrepid ladies met at Highlands End on 23 May 2019 to be shown how to paddleboard by a diminutive instructress called Sarah. At the end of an hour all four of us were able to stand up on the board and paddle from one end of the pool to the other, then turn around and paddle back, much to our amazement ! It was really good fun

Day excursion to Greenway on 24th April 2019

At 8:15 on a cool wet morning 14 of us sheltered in the bus station waiting for the Crossways coach; which was late. To be expected really as we were the last to be picked up for the two hour drive to Dartmouth Quay; from there another half hour ferry up river and a rather steep walk past bluebells and primroses in the woodlands to the house. We headed to the cafe for hot coffee while we studied the NT map and made our plans, deciding on the house first.
It looks quite small and unimposing, but has large rooms all with good views. As usual the house stewards were well informed and the information folders in each room very interesting. Firstly we saw the morning room where Agatha Christy dealt with her daily correspondence. She did not write her books there; it was a holiday retreat, however she did take her manuscripts to read to her guests.
Throughout the house ,on almost every surface are displayed many collections ranging from quilling boxes, postage stamp tins, boxes made by French prisoners of war, lidded vases with birds on top, seaside boxes, figurines, odd bits of archaeology, snuff boxes, watches, treen boxes and so on. Two enormous cupboards in the dining room are full to capacity with assorted china, housewares, vases and so on. On the walls are china and pictures galore, mostly arranged in themes.
The drawing room facing west has the iconic big house scene of three large sofas in front of the fireplace and houses her Steinway Boudoir grand piano. As a concert trained pianist she loved to play, however she was shy and did not allow and audience.
On the library ceiling is a frieze painted by Lt. Marshall Lee of the U.S. Navy when US servicemen were stationed at the house in 1944. Agatha Christy liked it enough not to paint it over. It depicts the locations where his flotilla had been stationed
Upstairs, Agatha Christies bedroom has two double beds, one slightly smaller; I'm not sure why. It is a beautiful roomy space with a dressing room off which holds dresses that she had worn. From the windows are panoramic views of the River Dart some way below. Opposite, in the bathroom the W.C.'s mahogany covering is much travelled as she always took it along on the Egyptian digs; her bit of luxury.
The one pot lunch was very good and the sun came out; we took to the gardens. Quite a long walk downhill to see the ornaments and plantings, especially the renowned camellias and then, of course, back up again; time for tea and a look round the shop and books. Over the boathouse was a large wooden floored room with long windows and a balcony overlooking the river and passing boats. A stewards was feeding robins on the wall outside and half a dozen children were fascinated by their closeness, interested in their diet and remarkably quiet.
On the sunny return trip downriver the top deck was as full and the lower deck as empty as the reverse had been on the outward trip.

First 'Short Walk'

Completed the first walk! Despite the wind and rain the Short Walks group set out on their inaugural walk on 12 March. 'It was a lovely walk despite the weather' said one of the walkers.

After the walk they enjoyed a lunch at The George West Bay


Ding-dong Singers!

Singers in Bucky Doo On Wednesday, 12 December, the Singers’ Group, led by Mark Hewitt, entertained shoppers in Bucky Doo Square with a selection of festive songs.

Anyone interested in joining them will be very welcome. No audition, just come along and give it a try. Alternate Thursdays at 10.15 in St. John’s Ambulance Hall, Rax Lane, Bridport.

Group Leaders' get-together and working lunch

On 23 November over 40 of our U3A's group leaders came together at the WI Hall in Bridport for a chance to discuss a variety of topics relating to running our many interest groups.

After a welcoming cup of tea or coffee, there was some discussion as to whether 'leader' was actually the right word to describe the role, as it might put some members off offering to run a group at all. 'Facilitator', 'convenor' and 'contact' were all possibilities, but no clear conclusion was reached; 'leader/contact' seemed the closest, but a bit clumsy!

There was an offer from John Grantham to run sessions to encourage confidence in giving presentations at group meetings; this might encourage more people to come forward to run or share in running a group, so will be offered to the whole membership via email.

Leaders were reminded of the need to inform the Groups Co-ordinator of any changes in their group, such as the leader's contact details or the time and day of meetings. In addition, it was important to check regularly that group members were also U3A members; this is for insurance purposes. Leaders were asked to send the Membership Secretary a list of group members so that their membership status could be checked. This should be done around July each year, thus allowing for late renewals (which are due from 1st April).
There was a request that leaders be provided with a summary of 'dos and don'ts' in running a group; this has been done in the past and the Chairman undertook to look out these Advice Notes and update them, particularly in the light of the recent data protection legislation.

There was some discussion of public rooms available for group meetings and the need to compile a list of such rooms to put on the website for everyone to see; apparently the Tourist Information Office keeps a such a list and a copy will be obtained. If a group uses a public room for which there is a charge, the U3A will pay half the rent per monthly meeting, but leaders are asked to check with the committee first before making a firm booking.

An Incident Report form can now be downloaded from the Links page of the website in the unfortunate event of an accident or similar event. When completed, the form should be sent to the Business Secretary for filing.

Following these discussions, a buffet lunch was served, which was much enjoyed by everyone and allowed time for more informal exchanges.

Group Leaders lunch 4 Group Leaders lunch 1 Group Leaders lunch 2 Group Leaders lunch 3

BBC launches consultation on TV licences for older people

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