On Friday 17th may eight members of the Aviation Group went to Petwood Hotel, the Officers Mess, for the 'Dam Busters' to see an open air viewing of the film with Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave. Although a wee bit chilly towards the end it was a most enjoyable evening.
PS The dams still were breached after all this time!
Members of the Garden Group were met by the very friendly staff of Elsoms Seeds for our visit and they made us most welcome. The visit was arranged by Gill Allen, one we have wanted to do for more than 2 years.
After signing in and donning orange Hi Vis jackets, we were led upstairs to the conference room where it was explained that it was Elsoms 175th anniversary. A Family business which started as rope manufactures, when Spalding was a port. Over time and the port diminishing Elsoms moved into agriculture, then seed treatment for agriculture. Now they are Europe's leading seed treatment specialists.
They treat seeds such as parsnip, onion, carrot, many other crop and herb seeds in the billions every year. The treatments ensure, early and even germination, to produce the same height growth and pest resistance.
After the talk we were split into two groups and taken through the treatment processes, which included sorting out unwanted seeds, washing and drying, Pelleting - coating the seed with treatments, Film Coating, Cold Storage and Packing.
At every stage samples are taken to the seed test lab where two ladies, with their fantastic knowledge can identify weeds by their seeds, their check ensures quality is maintained. The samples, including any rubbish seeds, are kept for three years for reference in a cold store.
A break for coffee, a welcome sit down and a chat.
Next off to the R&D area to see how they breed the seeds. From identifying a seed it can take 7 to 14 years before a product can be released. We were shown the various stages of seed breeding including pollinating using bees and blow flies. They have recently released Burgundy, a purple sprouting broccoli. It suits the whole supply chain with all year-round high yield, 70 days planting to harvest and excellent tolerance to pests and diseases.
An eye-opening visit on what goes into the seed for the vegetables we eat.
Happy Wanderers walk at Frampton RSPB Reserve – April 2019
Thirteen members of the Happy Wanderers were blessed with a wonderfully warm day for their walk this month at Frampton RSPB Reserve. We followed maps provided by the centre to complete a four and a half mile walk through a wooded area before following a farm track to join the sea bank.
Normally the sea bank is windswept but don’t be fooled by Joan in her warm jacket (she feels the cold) – there wasn’t even the slightest breeze. We saw swans and geese plus a pair of coots behaving amorously. We enjoyed a coffee break back at the visitor centre before heading to The Black Bull in Kirton for lunch.
The walks are typically 4-5 miles long, taken at a leisurely pace. Newcomers are very welcome to join us.
Members of the Aviation group assembled at the Newark Air Museum on 23rd April and enjoyed a very knowledgeable and informative tour led by Howard. we were then shown inside a Hastings which was used during the Berlin with another enthusiastic talk by Chris. The whole trip was extremely pleasant, including a line up of the infamous Red Barrows and well organised by Eric and Sue, many thanks from all to them.
The 2nd of April saw thirteen crazy members meet up in the Vista Car Park for our monthly walk! In spite of several April Showers, some very heavy, we completed a very pleasant stroll along the Welland as far as the twin bridge then back down the other side. A much needed cup of beverage was then consumed ending an enjoyable if wet morning, many thanks to Joan and Mel for organizing.
Tolethorpe Hall Visit
What a wonderful afternoon! The sun was shining on 50 members visiting Tolethorpe Hall. Some of this building dated back to 800AD and is now the home of Stamford Shakespeare Company.
We started off the afternoon hearing of the history of Tolethorpe Hall and the people that lived there over the years. It was in 1977 that Stamford Shakespeare Company bought the neglected, near derelict building for £26,000. It has then been renovated and adapted to become the lively venue for many plays over the years. The gardens were beautiful all ready and waiting for the theatre goers to enjoy their picnics.
The Stamford Shakespeare Company started performing at George Hotel in Stamford but when the hotel decided to make some alterations to car parks the company was homeless until they found Tolethorpe Hall. As well as the building it had 7 acres of land including a sloping hollow which lent itself to becoming the stage and auditorium. Much time by volunteers and money has brought the building to the magnificent building we saw this week.
Following the talk, we went on a tour around the building to see the medieval mural and doorway
and the upstairs rooms which hold all the many costumes. We also went backstage and saw how everything worked. The huge sets filling all the space and the dark and dingy entrance to the tunnels which fed the trapdoors.
Our afternoon full of history and theatre have inspired some of our members to visit this summer whilst other members have been attending the summer season for many years.
The March walk saw us change location at short notice. This was because we couldn’t be sure that we would have a sufficient number of people for the original pub to open especially for us.
We went to The Red Lion at West Deeping, from there after a short distance we had a look round St Andrews Church and saw a very attractive converted water mill. Continuing through the village and soon turning into a field, where we followed the River Welland until we reached Market Deeping only pausing at Maxey Mill for the attached picture.
Whilst following the river we could view some large properties with lovely gardens on the opposite bank. After crossing back over the river in the centre of Market Deeping a mix of pavements and footpaths took us back to our starting point. It was an overcast and dull day which may account for the shortage of wildlife. The walk turned out to be a little further than I thought for which was (hopefully jokingly) pointed out to me repeatedly towards the end of the walk.
We then enjoyed a meal that we had ordered before setting off. I would like to thank The Red Lion staff for their help and service, making this a successful outing at very short notice and I would definitely return on another occasion.
This lunchtime 40 members made their way to The Kinema in the Woods,
Woodhall Spa to enjoy the private viewing of Easter Parade. After coffee and biscuits we stocked up on popcorn and settled down to watch the film. During the interval we were entertained with music played on the Compton Kinestra Organ. Afterwards some members made their way into town for lunch and then a walk through the woods enjoying the warm sunshine.
RAF SCAMPTON VISIT MARCH 2019
On a sunny Wednesday morning in March, members of the Aviation Group assembled in the car park of RAF Scampton being met by Guides for a tour of the Heritage Centre. After a briefing on the rules and regulations for being on an RAF Station, we were escorted, in our cars, to the Centre and, after a safety briefing, split into groups to start the tour. They informed us that the Red Arrows would not be flying as it was the anniversary of the death of a crewman.
We were shown the grave of Guy Gibson's dog Nigger, who was killed by a car and as it was considered a bad omen, he was buried at midnight 16th May 1943, whilst Guy was on the Dambusters raid, Guy used the codeword Nigger to confirm the breaching of the Mohne dam. On to an example of the mine, code named Up Keep, used on Operation Chastise, by 617 Squadron, to destroy the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams. Barnes Wallace's involvement and design were also explained. We were then shown the massive bombs, Tall Boy and Grand Slam that were used on various targets, including the attack on the Tirpitz.
Into the Heritage Centre visiting various ground floor rooms where we learnt about the history of the base, the Lancaster Bomber, the Red Arrows, Cold War operation including information about the Vulcan's with instant readiness during the Cuba crisis and up to the present day.
Time to sit down, have a cup of tea and a chat, with the shop open to purchase memorabilia.
Upstairs and passing through the awards room, where those received by the airmen, including three V C's, were shown. On to Guy Gibson's office, restored in the style of the time, with Nigger sitting under his desk, we were told of his life and career in the RAF and his leadership of the Dambusters Raid. Next the Dambusters Room for details on how the mine worked and how they had to precisely launch it from the specially designed Lancaster Bomber.
The tour ended in the hanger where a Red Arrow Hawk was stationed. The above group photo was taken and a vote of thanks to the guides for a very interesting and informative visit.
Escorted out of the station we made our way to the Dambusters Inn, full of Dambusters history, for a well deserved drink and a meal before making our way home.
GARDEN GROUP SPALDING AUCTION VISIT MARCH 2019
On a chilly morning in March, members of the Garden Group met in the car park of Spalding Auctions, just up the road from Morrison's. We were met by Linda, in Reception, who explained the way the auctions worked and told us that anyone could bid as long as we registered with her first. She then showed us around the various auction halls and the lots therein, explaining the some lots were for an individual item and some were for a group of items, by the way they were numbered.
We then had time to look round the florists and horticultural shops, as well as getting a hot drink from the Burger Van parked in the car park, before meeting up for the vegetable auction at 11.30. The Auctioneer was on a mobile podium that moved from hall to hall. There were a number of bidders present, including those from the Community Larder, and the carrots, onions, potatoes etc went under the hammer in quick succession, including some out of date bread!
Another hot drink, a look round the lots still to come and we were ready for the flower auction at 12.30. We were welcomed, as The U3A Garden Group, by the Auctioneer to a round of applause from the assembled bidders. Then the auction started, soon cut flowers, bushes, shrubs and sundries were flying out the door at surprising prices.
A very enjoyable, interesting and unusual gardening experience.
Early March saw an intrepid bunch of members embark on a tramp around outer Gosberton. led by Hilary. We found parts not often seen in extremely good weather for the time of year especially as conversation turned to memories of this time last year and 'The Beast from the East!'
We finished off with a coffee, or two, in the Bell Inn, a good day was had by all.