Current News

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Upcoming Events

The Playreading Group meets on Monday, January 21 to read Mayhem at Mudlark Manor. Providing we can cope with that amount of alliteration, it promises to be an entertaining afternoon.

Thursday, January 24 10am - the Poetry Group meet to discuss 'Yorkshire Poets' covering a variety of poets from Andrew Marvell to Ted Hughes and (by adoption) Philip Larkin.

Please return your annual membership renewal notices for 2019 and continue to take part in the growing range of activities on offer.

A member is setting up a Bridge Group and has arranged two experienced players to guide relative beginners. Contact Denise Keir for more information.

That Was the Week that Was ...

Friday, January 18 saw the inaugural meeting of the Italian Group of six members under the tutelage of Anna Rossi, an experienced teacher from the Puglia region of Italy. An enthusiastic meeting decided to meet fortnightly starting next Friday. This promises to be an interesting new venture for Henley U3A.

Wednesday, January 16 50 members enjoyed the Seasonal Lunch at Badgemore Park Golf Club. Our thanks to Sylvia and Mike for arranging a splendid meal.
Meanwhile ... that morning the more energetic Short Walks group enjoyed a short 3 mile walk around Nettlebed at a leisurely pace and the Long Walks Group have returned from a long weekend in Torquay.

Monday, January 7 the Photography Group met at Christ Church in Reading Road at 2pm to share their efforts and thoughts on the topic of Winter under the knowledgeable guidance of Keith Appleby.

Tuesday, January 8 Keith Appleby gave a fascinating talk the Art History group on David Hockney - his talents and styles to over 50 members and guests.

Wednesday, January 9 Jonathan Woodhouse gave Music in the Army the Monthly Talk about life as a musician in the British Army and the difficulties of playing the clarinet on horseback, an instrument that requires two free hands to play. He also gave a rendition of classical and popular tunes on three different types of saxophone as well as the clarinet. Informative and entertaining.

Thursday, January 3 the Creative Writing Group began a journey into the realms of life writing, with emphasis on memoirs (a popular topic among those of a certain age). We were pleased to welcome two new members to our ranks among the nine attendees.

The Discussion Group welcomed the New Year in on January 2 with a lively and wide-ranging examination on ‘Whether there has been a deterioration of the English Language’ led by Jill Vallis. The discussion covered aspects from basic grammar and ‘traditional’ views of teaching to the impact and significance of regional and post-colonial usage and accents.
In a new venue adjoining Rotherfield Greys church, members also enjoyed the opportunity to see the ornate tomb of Sir Francis Knollys and his second wife, Mary, the sister of Anne Boleyn. They lived at nearby Greys Court, now a National Trust property. Sir Francis was a leading parliamentarian under Elizabeth I and at one time Guardian of Mary Queen of Scots.

December 3 The Photography Group looked at a range of perspectives on the topic of Street Life including feedback on members photos at home and abroad.

December 2 Keith Appleby gave yet another fascinating talk on the subject of

Wednesday Nov 28 A busy day for U3A members. In the morning, over 30 attended the pre-Christmas Coffee Morning at Toad Hall Garden Centre Café. There was lively discussion with an opportunity to catch up with old friends from other groups. In addition to the display of Christmas decorations, members were keen to snap up copies of the newly published anthology of writing, poetry and art Memories and Imaginings (reported in last week's Henley Standard). There are now only a handful left of the 50 printed.

The same evening 15 members of the Wine Appreciation Group met to enjoy each other’s company, an excellent four-course meal prepared by the attendees, and, of course, an interesting selection of no less than five (or was it six?) different wines chosen by our knowledgeable expert and group leader, Dianne Sharp. The food on offer was of a very high standard by experienced and imaginative chefs, with the exception of one male member who cooked gratin dauphinoise for the first time in his 76 years on the planet, albeit under heavy supervision!

Monday Nov 26 A large number of members attended the monthly Gardening Group lunch. This being the last meeting before Christmas, the meal had festive options as an early celebration and practice session for the festive season.

General News

Sing Your Heart Out
Members of U3A are invited to an event at Albert Court, the new McCarthy & Stone sheltered housing development on Reading Road. It will be held in the residents’ lounge between 2 and 4pm on December 7 and is part of a national charity initiative on behalf of the Royal Voluntary Service, called Sing Your Heart Out. While this is clearly a marketing promotion for the developer, it also represents opportunities for Henley U3A to increase awareness among the new residents there and establish an ongoing presence. We already have several members who have moved in or will shortly do so. It is also a chance to see inside, for those of a curious disposition! If you are interested, please go to the entrance on Mill Lane, where there will be staff on hand to welcome you.

We are pleased to report a continuing influx of new members. In addition to the 20 welcomed in the September newsletter, another fifteen have joined in the last two months, enabling us to reach the milestone of 200 members. Some of this is in response to marketing initiatives and to the new groups set up over the last two years, but much is the result of existing members telling friends about the activities on offer. Thank you to everyone who is contributing to this growth.

Science group A new Science Group has been proposed. The group will be a discussion forum on purely scientific subjects. Science and technology affects all of our lives and advances in all fields are happening quickly and bring huge opportunities to every part of society. It is proposed that there be five meetings per year with members leading the discussions according to their interests and expertise. Should you be interested in such a group, please contact Gill Le Du on gill.ledu@btinternet.com.

Allotment We have a plot, 25B, at Waterman's Allotments on Reading Road, just beyond the Tesco Roundabout. The cost is minimal and is being operated by a small group of members. It is already producing fruit and flowers and has become a focus to restart the Gardening Group that had been lying fallow (pun intended) for a year or so. If you might be interested please contact Catherine Notaras, our Publicity Co-ordinator, on 01491 411407.

We have set up an email address for marketing purposes henleyu3a@gmail.com. You may receive messages from this as well as general information from the henleyu3a@yahoo.com address.
For those on Facebook, there is also a new page 'Henley U3A'. We are still looking at how best to use it. Watch this space!

Recent Activities

The Poetry Group met on Thursday 22nd to read and discuss the poetry and poets of World War I. They discussed not only those poets well known for their participation in that war (Owen, Sassoon, Graves, etc), but also poems written by those not directly involved in the conflict, including the women who stayed behind, many of whom lost husbands there. There was discussion too about the horror of that war, indeed of all wars, and of the range of responses to it. These ranged from the patriotic writings of the early days to those that reflected the growing realisation of its impact on those in the trenches and those left behind. It was an interesting and moving way to remember those who gave their lives and to recall the suffering that war brings.

Monday, 13, November we published the very first anthology of work by members of the Writing, Poetry and Art Groups, 'Memories and Imaginings'. It includes memoirs, fiction, poems and artwork covering a period back to the 1930s and geography stretching from the United States to India. There are a few copies left (though we may do a reprint if there is sufficient demand) available from Charles Whittaker at xanadu212@gmail.com, cost £5.

Wednesday, 13th saw a fascinating talk by Mark Owen the County Archivist of Berkshire on The History of Broadmoor in Victorian Times. Mark has written books on this subject based on extensive research within and beyond the records for which he is responsible. He showed us not only the buildings of the institution, but also the stories of some of those confined within its walls - at times both gruesome and heart-rending. A large audience gave him an enthusiastic welcome and continued with an animated discussion over tea and biscuits.

Wednesday Nov 8 The Discussion Group met to consider The Establishment. We eagerly await the outcome of the discussion, though it is understood that the constitutional monarchy is still in place. Watch this space for updates.

Mariana Tuesday Nov 7 The Art History Group was joined by members of the Henley Arts and Crafts Guild for an enjoyable and erudite presentation on the paintings of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (Holman Hunt, Millais, Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown) by Keith Appleby. He also explained the principles of the group, the social context and the heavy use of symbolism and moral references in the paintings. An audience of 40 enjoyed and animated discussion over tea and biscuits to follow ... and all this for £1. The Tate have a similar talk on Nov. 19. One is tempted to wonder how much they are charging

Gardening lunch Monday Oct 22 the Gardening Group held its first Gardeners' Question Time followed by lunch at Christ Church, Henley. The experts were Marisa Francini from Henley in Bloom and U3A member Jean Hedges, who lead a lively and informative session. The two-course lunch (excellent value at £6.50!) was an excuse for more discussion, though on a wider range of topics.

Thursday Oct 18 the Art Group held a tutorial on painting landscapes with 'big' skies by Robbie Horsepool using their media of choice. Some beautiful paintings were produced in around an hour and a half.

Monday Oct 15 at 2pm the Play Reading Group entertained each other with No Crime Like the Present, an hilarious comedy by John Waterhouse. The hilarity was enhanced by members attempts at regional accents, at times using different ones for the same character!

A busy week saw the Photography Group on Monday Oct 8 learning the techniques of capturing landscapes, while on Tuesday, Keith Appleby led around 30 members through the mysteries of abstract art. The same evening 14 members attended the live showing of The Importance of Being Earnest from the Vaudeville theatre.

The monthly talk on Wednesday featured two members of Wokingham U3A, Margaret and David Edwards, telling entertaining stories about their retirement activity as extras in films and TV. Their appearances ranged from adverts for B & Q to Eastenders alongside Barbara Windsor and even a Bond film. The on-set breakfasts sounded pretty attractive too!

Friday Oct 6 the Long Walks Group chose a lovely day to travel along the river from Reading and then north to Sonning Common, following a leisurely lunch outdoors at the Flowing Spring pub in Playhatch.

Thursday Oct 5 8 members of the Creative Writing Group (the largest number ever) had a lively meeting giving each other feedback on their attempts at 'openings' using the techniques learned the previous month.

On Thursday Sept 27th the Poetry Group met to look at the Romantic Poets (Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, Blake etc.) and the Book Group later discussed Last Orders by Graham Swift.

Wine tasting Friday Sept 14 Fourteen members of the Wine Appreciation Group held a wine tasting of South African wines, ably and kindly lead by Frances Walker the wine expert from Waitrose in Twyford. She taught us about the various wine growing districts in the Cape Town region and selected an interesting variety of white and red wines from her shelves.The evening was enhanced by a selection of cheese, cold meats, bread biscuits and a delicious apple cake (to go with the dessert wine). Many thanks to Dianne Sharp for organising things and to Tony and Pat Cobb for hosting the evening ... and washing up all those glasses afterwards!

Harold Wilson Wednesday, Sept 12, we restarted the Monthly Talks following the summer break with Elizabeth Atkinson, a member of Guildford U3A, on Why Harold Wilson resigned as Prime Minister in 1976 - described by The Daily Telegraph as 'one of the most compelling conundrums of modern political history'. A very well researched talk was accompanied by photos of the 1960s and 70s, including amusing cartoons and sensationalist journalism. She took us through a range of reasons for his resignation, from the turbulent international and domestic political environment of the time and serious divisions within the cabinet to Mary Wilson's dislike of Downing Street. A hint that political life has changed little in the last 50 years perhaps?

Henley Show Saturday, Sept 8 our Publicity Co-ordinator, Catherine Notaras, and committee member Denise Keir put on a fantastic stand at the Henley Show, which attracted admiring glances from many passers by, even those with no interest in our activities. It would be fair to say that we cut the adjacent Bonsai Show down to size (pun intended). More importantly, we succeeded in signing up ten new members, which was the main purpose for our being there.

Thursday Sept 6, the Creative Writing Group discuss the techniques of writing openings for their stories/novels/memoirs, drawing, for guidance and inspiration, on examples ranging from Dick Francis to Salman Rushdie.

Wednesday Sept 5 the Discussion Group dealt with the topic 'Newspapers: Do they have a future? Do they accurately reflect the past'. Lead by an ex-journalist, it brought out, as you might expect, a variety of views, some, apparently, unprintable!

Tuesday Sept 4 Our resident expert, Keith Appleby, gave a fascinating talk on Women Artists – society’s view and their contribution to art, opening a window on many largely, and undeservedly, little known painters, photographers and sculptors. The 20th century ones included (for those wishing to research them) Julia Margaret Cameron, Mary Cassatt, Suzanne Valedon, Berthe Morisot, Laura Knight, Dod Proctor, Alethea Garstin, Gwen John, Vanessa Bell, Tamara De Lempicka, Georgia O'Keefe, Elizabeth Frink, Louise Borgeois, Dorethea Lange, Barbara Hepworth, Bridgit Riley, Diane Arbus, Paula Rego,Tracey Emin & Rachael Whitread .

The new Photography Group met for the first time in late June. Keith Appleby gave an introductory talk and set the members a task which will be the basis for feedback and discussion at the July meeting.

The Gardening Group has been particularly active in recent weeks, having visited gardens in Gloucestershire and joining the Caversham Horticultural Society trip to the Botanical Gardens in Oxford. There is also a regular monthlylunch at the Christ Church Centre.

Hearns House Garden June 18. A group of 10 members were given a private tour of Hearns House, part of the National Gardens Scheme, hosted by the owners, John and Joan Pumphrey. In addition to the beautiful trees, plants and sculptures, we enjoyed tea and cake in the sunshine. The visit was organised by the newly formed Gardening Group, but other members were happy to join them.

Spain Tuesday, June 12 saw the first meeting of the new Spanish group as members practised their, at times rusty, knowledge under the lively leadership of Patricia Poll, a native Spanish speaker from Peru. Meetings will be held fortnightly. The next one will be on
June 25. Later dates will be agreed when further members who have expressed interest are able to attend. Please contact a committee member if you would like to join the group.

Jeanne Hebuterne Monday, June 4 Sacred Heart Church Hall, 2pm.
Charles Whittaker - Modigliani and the Tate Modern Exhibition 2018. 25 members and guests enjoyed a talk on the history and developing style of this prolific but underrated artist whose range and original style made him a central figure in the Paris art scene of the early 20th century. The talk was followed by lively conversation over tea and coffee.

The May talk was entitled Tax Care and Toy Boys, and attracted an expectant audience. David Murfitt described ways of using trusts to minimise inheritance tax and other tax saving methods, as well as offering a free fiscal health check. Sadly, those looking for a 'toy boy' were disappointed!

The Gardening Group have started work on their new allotment. Under the guidance of expert Graham Harris they have planted broad beans, chard, raspberries and ‘knobbly’ potatoes. This activity has also given them an excuse for regular lunches, presumably in anticipation of the home-grown produce to come. Visits to gardens are also being planned. Contact Catherine Notaras (see above) to join the group, or to get more details on future plans.

Rothko Monday, April 16 Sacred Heart Church Hall, 2pm
Keith Appleby Gave his third talk on 20th century art covering a range of topics including abstract expressionism; the St Ives group; Op and Pop art, as well as environmental art and the landscape. He examined the key figures and their influence on art today. Sadly, less people than expected attended the talk. It is hoped that future talks will attract the higher numbers who attended earlier talks. Keith has offered to repeat the talk in the Autumn for those unable to make this last one.

Wednesday, April 11, - The Annual General Meeting of Henley U3A was held, with over 40 members attending. The chairman reported increased membership for the first time in several years and an increase in the number of groups from 10 to 15 plus two more about to start. Coffee and biscuits. art exhibits and conversation ended a positive meeting.

Sunday, April 8 Allotment Eight members attended a practical gardening demonstration at our Allotment 25B on Waterman's Allotments on Reading Road. Coffee and cakes proved an extra incentive!

Monday, March 5
Keith Appleby gave us a surprise with a change in topic, giving a fascinating overview of the works of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud. He was able to link sculpture and painting, form and space in an erudite and entertaining tour through these major names in mid-20th century British art. Sadly, only a small number of members were able to attend.
We shall not be denied his previously announced topics including Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism. He has agreed to build these into a presentation, provisionally planned for mid-April. Watch this space and your e-mails for further details.

Thursday, Jan 25
The Poetry Group discussed the work of the Liverpool Poets, Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and l to r: Henri, McGough and Patten Brian Patten, together with that of Carol Ann Duffy, the current Poet Laureate. The session was ably led by our very own Carol, Carol Goldstein, who shared her first hand experiences of a vibrant Liverpool in the 1960s, as well as her love and knowledge of all four writers. The topic proved to be stimulating and provoked an interesting discussion on both the poets and their depiction of their worlds. Like much modern poetry, there was a wide range of subject matter, from memories of early childhood through love and relationships to political and social issues. It all proved to be a door to areas that members had not been exposed to before and thus an opportunity for future exploration, which is, I guess, what education is all about at the end of the day.

Wednesday, Jan 17
Seasonal Lunch An excellent turnout of almost 40 members gathered for the annual Seasonal Lunch, this year at Badgemore Park Golf Club. The usual high level of conversation and laughter testified to an enjoyable occasion where members of different groups had a chance to meet and discuss their interests and views. Thanks go, once again, to Sylvia and Mike Pugsley for organising not only the lunch, but also the lovely weather as we looked out over the 16th green. In thanking them, the chairman updated us with news of new members and new groups for the new year, whilst adding a warning to the embryo Canasta Group not to play cards in Africa. There are too many cheetahs there! Groans all round ...

Thursday, Jan 11, 2018
Despite some absences due to colds and flu, tThe Music Group watched and discussed a series of YouTube clips of the Norwegian boy soprano, Aksel Rykkvin singing a range of material from Gregorian through Mozart, Handel and Purcell to Flying Through the Air. He was new to many of us, but it was agreed that the purity of his voice and the precision and maturity of delivery were both moving and astonishing in a boy of 13 or 14 years of age.

Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018
Reading Gaol Richard Stainthorp, Labour councillor and former mayor of Reading, gave a fascinating and well-researched talk on the history of Reading Gaol. It included details of previous prisons in the town, the design of the extant building, public and private executions held there and, of course, stories of Oscar Wilde, the prison's most famous inmate. A large audience was very appreciative of the knowledge Richard shared.

Wednesday, Nov 29
Coffee Morning Dec 2017 30 members, including a good number of new ones, attended the Coffee (and cakes!) Morning at Toad Hall Café to meet friends old and new. The conversation was lively and there was a real buzz at the event. Many members took the opportunity to visit the exhibition of Christmas decorations and gifts in the adjacent area. Thanks are due to our membership Secretary, Jennifer Peacock, for making all the arrangements and attracting so many of us. We also thank Toad Hall for looking after us so well.

Monday Nov 20
Spencer Gore Keith Appleby gave a talk on artists and movements in early 20th century art. He introduced us to well-known artists, such as Stanley Spencer, as well as lesser-known ones, placing them in their social and artistic environments. Keith's knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject made for an informative and entertaining presentation, not to mention the humour which was sprinkled throughout. We look forward to his next talk early in the New Year.

Wednesday Nov 8
James Mitchell gave a fascinating talk called Opera Unmasked. A professional singer himself, he shared with us his knowledge of singing techniques and the range of operatic voices with illustrative recordings, before a live rendition of Some Enchanted Evening in his sonorous baritone. He also gave us insights into his early training in Bristol, including an eccentric teacher who turned out to be a relative of Ivor Novello.

Monday, Oct 23The Mad Hatter
A group of members attended the screening of Alice in Wonderland by the Royal Ballet from Covent Garden. This proved to be a brilliant performance that left the audience spellbound throughout with its choreography, music and dancing. Watch out for announcements of future visits to the Regal Cinema for ballet and opera showings.

Wednesday, Oct 11
Angela Buckley Today's talk was about the exploits of Manchester's real life Sherlock Holmes, Detective Jerome Caminada. Angela Buckley the author of The History of Jerome Caminada and other books delving into the world of crime in Victorian England spoke eloquently on a topic that proved both gruesome and humorous. In describing the life of Italian immigrants in the poorest and most unruly parts of the city, she not only related stories about her own family, but also discovered that two of our own members had ancestors with similar immigrant backgrounds. It seems likely that both families might have come into direct contact with Caminada! Spooky or what?

Wednesday, Sept 27
Short Walks Renaissance The Short Walks Group is back in business!. Twelve members and a dog did a gentle walk along the Thames from Henley to Shiplake and back, followed by refreshments in the River & Rowing Museum. By all accounts it proved a very enjoyable morning, to be repeated in October. Watch this space for details of the date and destination. Many thanks to Jackie Holcombe for organising everything.

Monday, Sept 25
As part of our talks programme on art history, Charles Whittaker gave Pugin a presentation on the architect and designer A W N Pugin, giving insights into the man, his work and his influence on Victorian culture and society. He showed examples of his work including churches, public buildings, stained glass, brassware, the Houses of Parliament and his stand at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Thursday, Sept 21
Portrait Groups are back under way after Summer breaks. The Art Group, seen here, had a taught session on portraits. Twelve very creditable drawings were created in two hours, less time for tuition, tea and biscuits. See the newsletter for details of all groups and upcoming talks.

Wednesday, June 7
Marguerite and Armand Another ballet visit yesterday at the Regal Cinema in Henley. Twelve members enjoyed a breathtaking evening of the Royal Ballet performing three of Frederick Ashton's works, The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand. We were taken on a wonderful journey of beauty, grace and emotion, added to by the farewell to principal ballerina Zenaida Yanowsky after 23 years at Covent Garden. Next up Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in October. See you there.

Wednesday, May 10
Mark Wilkins and audience U3A members were informed and entertained by Mark Wilkins, a former pilot from the Air Ambulance Trust. He began with some of his experiences in the armed forces and offshore oil industry, including how to recognise Russian spy ships disguised as fishing trawlers**. He also gave sound advice to young men thinking about losing their virginity in the vicinity of bored pilots with a 5 million candle-power searchlight to play with.

Moving onto the Air Ambulance service, he told us how it operated its life-saving operations in a wide range of emergencies. He added more humorous anecdotes. One involved over 30 unfortunate chickens being trampled to death by their fellow residents when an Air Ambulance (piloted by Mark) landed in a field adjacent to the barn where they were roosting. Not humorous for the chickens, of course, nor to the farmer who complained at the unintended consequences. Equally unamused was the owner of a house whose 'For Sale' sign was blown through his living room window by the down-draft from the rotors of a landing helicopter.
Air Ambulance helicopters
Many in the audience were surprised to learn that the work of the Trust was totally funded by charitable donations and learned of the various ways in which we could help. Mark requested support especially for the HELP project to establish helicopter landing pads at every NHS hospital in the country. No doubt a number added the Trust to their list of charitable donations.

Talks take a break for the Summer to allow members to spend sunny Wednesday afternoons in their gardens. They start again on September 13 when Bob McFarlane will tell us about his work in the car industry and particularly the story of the ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle.

** They are the only trawlers with no sea-gulls flying behind them!

Monday May 1
Catherine A small team, brilliantly organised by our Marketing Secretary, Catherine Notaras, ran an highly decorated information desk at the annual May Fayre in the town square. Despite the competing attractions of Morris Dancing and a ukelele band outside, a good number of people came in to enquire about the U3A. Those who did not come into the shop did not escape. Catherine went out and pushed U3A brochures and bookmarks into their hands to raise further interest and awareness.

Wednesday April 12
The 33rd AGM of the Henley Branch of the U3A was held on April 12. It was a lively meeting thanks to the enthusiasm and enjoyment expressed by group leaders, speaking about their activities over the past year. The highlights included a walking trip to Bournemouth, concert visits and a guest author at the Book Group. Individual members made constructive suggestions and engaged in lively debate. Paintings and poetry by members of the Art, Poetry and Writing groups were on display and two authors recited their own poems.

The Chairman, Charles Whittaker, thanked committee members, group leaders and members generally for their continued support for the wide range of activities over the last year. In particular, he presented bouquets of flowers to Sylvia Pugsley and Lesley Holmes on stepping down from the committee, where they have occupied important roles for many years as well as leading a variety of groups. He did express some concern over the fall in numbers over the past year that had contributed to a small deficit for the year. He encouraged members to invite their friends to meetings to support the ongoing publicity that began following the last AGM.

Sunday March 5
Yet another trip by Handybus, this time to Reading Hexagon to hear the Henley Symphony Orchestra. The centrepiece was Stephen Hough playing Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto. A virtuoso performance well supported by the local orchestra, not to mention the 14 U3A members in the audience!

Saturday February 28
The Music Appreciation group travelled to High Wycombe to hear the Royal Philharmonic play Mozart's Clarinet Concerto with soloist Katherine Lacey.

Wednesday February 8
Today's talk by Inner Magic Circle member Ian Keable provided an fascinating and entertaining account of Charles Dicken's interest in the art of magic.Ian Keable An unexpected bonus was Ian's recreation of some of the tricks performed by Dickens in the 1840s involving magic boxes, ropes and knots. Ian has written a book on the subject Charles Dickens Magician: Conjuring in Life, Letters and Literature available on Amazon.

Saturday/Sunday January 28/29
Breezy Bournemouth By the Day Walkers (organised by Jill Kendall)
Well actually it wasn’t breezy. Once again we had a fine weekend to enjoy the delights of walking round Bournemouth.
For the ninth year in a row an intrepid group ignored the sceptics and enjoyed a lovely weekend by the sea. The hotel was the Savoy, one of Shearing’s Coast and Country standard and very comfortable it was; situated just inland from the West Cliff. Its only drawback was that it was steeply down to the sea. Mind you we found everywhere in Bournemouth was steeply down – and up. We did two lovely walks led by Mike Starkey, One led off from Studland and went across National Trust open heathland crossing rather muddy paths, first to climb up to the Agglestone Agglestone, an ancient site and then on across on to Ballard Down with its wonderful springy chalk downland leading to Old Harry rocks and the chalk cliffs. The day started misty but by the end we had all round views of this stunning coastline.
The next day we went out of the town due east to see Hengistbury Head a bronze age site which has provided ironstone and mineral rock for many hundreds of years and was a thriving port in mediaeval times. The area is still thriving today but with many tourists. Lunch on a Log Being a fine mild day many people were enjoying climbing up the Head and many more were enjoying the beach from their beach huts.
Beach huts were perhaps the motif of the week end. Everywhere we walked by the sea along Bournemouth’s wonderful three miles of sandy beach, huts stretched along the shore. We finally saw hut number 2315 but there were other very private huts not in that number. They were all in very good repair, well painted making a colourful strip along the beach. An amazing sight.
Next year we hope to visit Stratford upon Avon for a tenth anniversary celebration.

Wednesday January 18, 2017
30 members filled the long dining room at the Three Tuns ----- in Henley for the annual Seasonal (post-Christmas) Lunch. The excellent and large portions ensured that no-one went away hungry - quite the reverse. As you might expect from a U3A gathering, the conversation was sustained and varied as everyone enjoyed meeting people beyond their normal group activities. Chairman Charles Whittaker thanked Mike and Sylvia Pugsley for their work in arranging the event and told a couple of excruciating 'seasonal' jokes.

Wednesday January 11, 2017
The monthly talk was a fascinating account of Chinese navigation in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and how the likes of Columbus, Magellan (Magalhães in Portuguese) and Vasco da Gama used Chinese maps in their voyages of 'discovery', suggesting that the Chinese had travelled to the Americas and Africa long before.
Next month's talk is on February 8 and takes us into Victorian times to look at the entertainment world of that era and it's influence on Charles Dickens.

Thursday December 8

Nutcracker Some 20 members and friends attended the Regal Cinema to watch the screening of the Royal Ballet's live performance of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Everyone agreed that it was a quite breathtaking rendering of this popular ballet and a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit. The evening was organised by Catherine Notaras who was quick off the mark to secure tickets for what proved to be a sell-out showing. Our thanks go to her for bringing so much pleasure to the group. It is hoped that we can make these screenings of ballet and opera from the Royal Opera House, a regular part of the U3A's social programme.

Wednesday December 7
30 members of the
Long Walks Group# enjoyed a Christmas lunch at the Packhorse Inn, Mapledurham. Following an excellent lunch and some lively conversation, a well-deserved vote of thanks was given to Jill Kendall, as group leader, for organising the group's activities over the past year. U3A Henley chairman, Charles Whittaker, also attended, by kind invitation, and was pleased to get to know members.
The group is now looking forward to its annual trip, this year to Bournemouth, early in the New Year.