Dart Valley

Monthly Meetings

2nd THURSDAY of the month, except August, 10 for 10.30 am. Currently Zoom only.
For the full programme of talks for 2021 please download the leaflet '2021 Programme' on the right.

Next Talk
Our next talk via Zoom will be on Thursday 13th May at 10.30am. It will be entitled Restoring the Balance by David Ramsden, Head of Conservation at the Barn Owl Trust. All u3a members will be sent a link nearer the time.

Report of our last meeting

On Thursday 8th April, 78 members of the Dart Valley u3a were treated to a talk via Zoom on the subject of Agatha Christie – Her Life and Deadly Poisons.
The illustrated talk, comprised of photographs, including the set of 2016 Royal Mail stamps with hidden clues, book covers, old local Devon photographs and many interesting facts relating to Agatha Christie. It was given by Janet Sellick, a Blue Badge tour guide with a special interest in the writer and her connections to the South Hams.
Agatha was born in 1890 in sunny Torquay and died in 1976. She was a crime novelist, short-story writer and playwright. Her reputation rests on 66 detective novels, 14 collections of short stories and 16 plays that have sold over 2 billion copies translated into 130 languages, an amount surpassed only by the Bible and Shakespeare.
She married Archibald Christie who she met at a society ball at Ugbrooke House, Chudleigh, in 1914. After he was sent to the Western Front in the First World War, Agatha worked in the dispensary with the Voluntary Aid Department where she became familiar with medicines and poisons. She wrote her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, during the war.
Agatha and Archie divorced in 1928 after his affair with Nancy Neele. In 1930, she married the archaeologist Max Mallowan. They travelled frequently on archaeological expeditions in Egypt, Syria and other places and she used her experiences as a basis for some of her books, including Murder on the Orient Express in 1934 and Death on the Nile in 1937.
Agatha Christie used poison to kill her characters more often than any other crime writer. Her knowledge of poisons was exceptional and few other novelists have been read by pathologists as reference material in real poisoning cases. Her poisons of choice were arsenic, strychnine, cyanide and ricin as well as other toxins found in plants like foxgloves, yellow jasmine and hemlock.
Her most famous detective, Hercule Poirot, was inspired by the Belgian refugees wandering around her home town of Torquay in 1920. He appears in 33 of her novels, 2 plays and more than 50 short stories. Over the last 85 years, his character has been played by many famous actors including David Suchet, Peter Ustinov, Albert Finney and Kenneth Branagh. Her favourite female detective, Miss Marple, was the subject of the first ever obituary of a fictional character published in the New York Times in 1975.
Her play The Mousetrap, first staged in London in 1952, was the longest running play ever in the West End and was discontinued in March 2020 when Covid-19 stopped play.
Agatha Christie was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1971 and she died at the age of 85 in 1976. Her family home, Greenway, overlooks the River Dart near Galmpton and although she never wrote any books there, it became a holiday home and a retreat for her until her death.

Wendy Rayment Cullen
Dart Valley u3a Committee member

Dates for your Diary
Thu May 13th Restoring the Balance – David Ramsden
David Ramsden, Head of Conservation at the Barn Owl Trust, will show how the changing farming practices impact on the lives of barn owls. David will illustrate the close links between barn owls and people and show the environmental consequences of everyday human activities.
Thu Jun 10th The Human Face of Dartmoor Prison
Glossing over the origins of the oldest working prison in the UK, its initial purpose and its first occupants we take a closer look at some of the events, staff and “characters of the last 150 years. Although there is a darker side to Prison Life, I will be including some anecdotes and stories which will present a lighter side to the subject
Thu Jul 8th Cybercrime snapshot
Providing an insight into cybercrime in Devon and Cornwall, with the latest local and national threats and advice and guidance on how to protect yourselves whilst online
Thu Sep 9th A Photographic Tour of 50 gems of South Devon.
Gary Holpin is a professional photographer who has explored Devon extensively. He presents a whistle stop photographic tour of his pick of the gems of our beautiful county. Some are well known such as beautiful Regency Sidmouth but many are hidden gems like Scorhill stone circle or Brentnor church.
Thu Oct 14th New Orleans to New York.” A Musical Journey from Jazz to Musical Theatre.
Pianist Roger Browne, will be creating live jazz interpretations of the music, written for the stage, by greats such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and Jimmy Van Heusen, whilst relating hilarious stories of the people, places and events that have coloured this remarkable life making music in Europe and the USA.
Thu Nov 11th Being a Yeoman Warder
Our Speaker John Keohane was Chief Yeoman Warder, the most senior member of the Sovereign’s Bodyguard based at the Tower of London, and often referred to by visitors as “Beefeaters”. One ceremonial role of the Chief Yeoman Warder involves the nightly closing down ceremony of the Tower known as the Ceremony of the Keys.
Thu Dec 9th The Clown Prince of Denmark
Jim Redman will give a brief biography of the famous Danish musician/comedian Victor Borge with video excerpts from his performances on Television and on stage.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.