Our General Meeting speaker for July had to cancel due to a family illness so our super efficient Speaker Secretary Sally, was immediately on the case and managed to secure a replacement. So far, so good!
So, there we were. About 130 of us looking forward to our monthly talk. I delayed the usual 2.15 start to 2.20 hoping that he was just delayed, coming by public transport, and had not had a mishap. Unfortunately we had no mobile number for him. The meeting was opened with the usual business, which I stretched out a bit. No speaker. I described the visit another member, Sharon, and myself had to The Houses of Parliament for the presentation of the Trust's research document 'Learning not Lonely'. Still no speaker! I filled in a bit more and Cariss, Interest Group Co-ordinator, gave the Group News. No speaker. We did the raffle. By now things were getting a bit desperate.
So I introduced the idea of a Room 101 discussion starting off with STRIMMERS - those horrible noise making machines that some of my neighbours delight in using whenever I venture outside. Another member immediately nominated neighbours addicted to POWER WASHING their patios. On the theme of neighbours we had SMELLY BBQs and SMOKERS outside ground floor flats, especially in the hot weather when windows are open.
Other members nominated MOBILE PHONES in general, but particularly when people texted their family members in another room. Well, it saves your legs and shouting!! The loud phone conversations on public transport was added with much nodding of approval.
We had two suggestions connected with younger people - UNRULY children in restaurants and young women who apply their MAKEUP in public, often on the bus/tube/train. They fascinate me. No smudged mascara. It's a real skill if you ask me.
Some Room 101 offers were from 'out and about' - male drivers pulling up and offering to be 'TOY BOYS'; people not protecting their PIN and other details and the inevitable, all year round SALE, with 70% off until you get to the till and the small print is brought to your attention - up to 70% off.
But top of the list was LITTER - the prevalence of it; the blot on our borough and country; the fact that some other countries (Norway was evidenced) are so litter free; the mess left after bin collection and the new, large, ugly black bins which line up like menacing sentries.
Member Janet Ambrose, talented poet, wound up by reciting three of her poems from her book 'The Ghost of Birkbeck Station and other Terse Verse', to the great enjoyment of all present.
The missing replacement speaker had noted the wrong day, but in doing so provided us with a great opportunity to share ideas and have a very different type of General Meeting.
Many thanks to all who offered their suggestions.
Now I just need to think of another idea to have up my sleeve, should this ever happen again.
If you are thinking of joining Croydon U3A, we are a very friendly bunch, and you will be very welcome to come to a General Meeting as a visitor, to check us out.
New members always bring much experience and expertise to the organisation to enhance and develop it. If an Interest Group you are looking for isn't there, it's time to talk to us. We will help you find some like-minded members to form a new group. We can help with start up costs, venue hire, advice and support and the National Office has a number of subject advisers. U3As are run by the members for the members. There is no set list of groups - it's whatever the members want for themselves. Come along, be radical in retirement.
We hope to see you soon.
Best Wishes to all
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