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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'
After the walk they enjoyed a lunch at The George West Bay
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.
BBC launches consultation on TV licences for older people
That’s probably you, or it will be soon . . .
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