Spalding & District


Happy Wanderers August 2020 Walk

Burghley 1 Burghley 2 At last our first meeting since February was able to go ahead, when seventeen of us walked four miles followed by a socially distanced picnic, in the grounds of Burghley House. Fortunately, the high winds that caused the grounds to be closed the previous day, and the heavy showers that we encountered on the way there, stayed away, enabling us to have an enjoyable walk and the chance to catch up with friends. This proved to be a false dawn because the September walk then had to be cancelled.
We were pleased to welcome three new members to our group.
Steve Field


Happy Wanderers October 2020 Walk

Ferry Meadows Train The Happy wanderers walk in October meant another visit to Ferry Meadows. This was chosen because it is a large open area with public facilities, room to socially distance and space to avoid other members of the public.
After some time and frantic phone calls we all arrived at the same car park, where twelve of us gathered and in cloudy weather set off. The walk consisted of woodland paths, river banks, a nice boardwalk and a section beside the Nene Valley Railway. After the 4.5 mile walk our U3A activity ended and most of the group said their farewells and headed home. A small group had refreshments at the Lakeside cafe where you can enjoy views across the large lake.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to complete our normal schedule this year but hope that with a vaccine on the horizon, the restrictions will be eased and not only will we be able to walk but also enjoy the social aspect again.
May I take this opportunity to wish all of our members a Happy Christmas and a more fulfilling 2021.

Steve Field.


screenshot2 {The Dining Group}
In spite of the present adverse conditions the Dining Group held their monthly get together with the aid of modern technology, i.e. Zoom. After members new to the mechanics of the programme finally connected with both video and sound we had a very pleasant discussion for over an hour and found it good to know that our friends were coping and staying happy. Come on other groups and give it a go!


The Cribbage Group also managed to get together via the ether and had a friendly chat, catching up on circumstances and gossip. A great way to stay in touch.


Gardening Groups visit to Springfields March 2020

Daffs Springfields After having to cancel February’s Snowdrop visit to Walsingham Abbey, due to storm Ciara, The Garden Group’s first visit of 2020 was to Springfield’s Garden’s for a tour with Head Gardener Andy.

Meeting at the Springfield’s Horticultural Office, Andy said that he was involved with the setting up of the original gardens in 1966. He then explained their history and how they had evolved.

They now have the national collection of Daffodils, Springfields daffs numbering nearly 800 varieties at peak season. The national Hyacinth collection will soon be housed in the gardens, which will reach 500 varieties, some very rare.

We were shown the four Designer Gardens, all built on different themes. The Japanese Garden which illustrates the Japanese MOMOTARO, The Peach Boy Fable and the Founders Garden.

Coming up to date, the internet has come to the gardens, plant label’s with chips in them, which can be viewed on your mobile for plant information. A new Bird Hide with monitor screens linked to Frampton, Gibraltar Point and Willow Tree Fen. Also, to view a new bird garden and the Kingfishers are coming back to the Water Gardens.

Due to the expansion of the Outlet Centre, part of the current garden area will disappear, but there are a number of plans for future projects in the pipeline.

We thanked Andy for a very interesting and enjoyable tour of the gardens, finishing up in the restaurant for a welcome hot drink and a slice of cake.

Peter Crossgrill


Singing for Fun take to the stage

Our Singing for Fun Group didn’t “dilly dally on the way” as they took to the stage at the South Holland Centre earlier this week.
The Rotary Club had organised an evening concert, and the full house were entertained by musicians, singers, dancers, comedians and magicians.

Singing for Fun had the audience singing along and tapping their feet to well-known favourites from the old-time musicals and west end shows.

A really enjoyable evening – congratulations and well done to everyone who took part.


Wandering in the Deepings

Happy Wanderers Feb Walk A record number of walkers, well 22 is a record for us, joined the Happy Wanderers for the February walk. It’s always a bit tricky choosing where to walk when the weather has been so wet but whilst the ‘going was soft’ there wasn’t much mud that couldn’t be avoided. We set out from Market Deeping towards Deeping St James and crossed the river at the sluice gates. Continuing along the path beside the River Welland we admired the variety of gardens on the other bank – we’re a bit of a nosy lot. The stile was spotted and we headed along the field edge to the road and hence back to the river. The weather was kind and we finished with drinks in the bar and an excellent lunch at The Stage.

Rosemary McClements


The Gardening Group Christmas meal

Gardening Group Meal The 13th January saw several members of the Garden Group gather at The Thatched Cottage in Sutterton for our annual Christmas Meal.

We had very enjoyable meals from an excellent and varied menu. A drink or two and the conversation soon got around to some of our 2019 outings and this year’s forthcoming visits.

Once again, we look forward to 2020 with a varied content of outings and visits to members gardens furthering our shared interest.

Peter Crossgrill


The Aviation Group Christmas meal

Aviation Group meal Monday 20th January saw members of the Aviation Group meet at The Thatched Cottage in Sutterton for our annual Christmas Meal.

We had very enjoyable meals from an excellent and varied menu. A drink or two with plenty of chat and discussion on this year's visits.

Once again, we look forward to 2020 with varied and interesting outings covering the field of aviation.

Peter Crossgrill


Happy Wanderers Walk January 2020

January Walk Eleven members of the Happy Wanderers took part in the first outing of the new decade. We began at The Windmill, Orton Waterville a very nice pub that most if not all of us had not been to before.
After a short downhill we took a path which went alongside a golf course, across the Nene Valley heritage railway and along the perimeter of Ferry Meadows. Along this stretch we passed two bird hides, saw lot of boats moored on the river Nene and walked alongside the high fast flowing river.

After crossing the river we walked along a higher path as far as Milton Bridge. It was during this part of our walk that we saw a bluebell walk signposted and although too wet at present it should make for an enjoyable visit in the springtime.

Re-crossing the river we made our way through Ferry Meadows and then beside the railway until we returned to our starting point. We were looked after very well at The Windmill and expect that we will re-visit in the future.

We are a friendly group and are always give a warm welcome new members joining us.

Steve Field


Happy Wanderers & Strollers joint December 2019 Walk

This month the Happy Wanderers and Strollers got together for a joint walk starting from the Riverside Hotel in Surfleet. We don’t know how it happened but the sun came out as we set off along Seas End Road and stayed with us for the entire walk.

Joint Walk December We followed Reservoir Road up to the sluice gates where we huddled together for a groups photograph then a few of us strolled up to see the confluence of the Glen, the Welland and the Vernatt Drain, there are not many places where you can see three waterways con-joining.

Then a leisurely stroll down the side of the Glen through the golf course and back to the Hotel for a very enjoyable lunch.
Many thanks to Steve and Neal for organising the Happy Wanderers meets and Gill and Hilary for arranging the Stroller get togethers. Let us hope that they, the groups, will continue for the foreseeable future.

Ian McCallum


Aviation Group

RAF Digby Visit 29th November 2019

Raf Digby Sign It was a chilly morning when the group met our guide in the car park of the Sports Stadium opposite RAF Digby. We entered the base and proceeded to the Lima Sector Operations Room.
This has been restored to it's former war time role, with lots of the original equipment and is housed in a semi sunk building, built in WW2 and can withstand a gas attack. Once inside we saw the large plotting table from which our fighter aircraft were being directed during the war.

Our guide explained the history of RAF Digby, opened on 28th March 1918 as the very first RAF Base. Raf Digby Group Then in WW2, WAAF's would sit around the plotting table receiving incoming aircraft information from the Chain Home Radar system. This Radar was only facing out to sea so it lost tracking of the aircraft once they had crossed the coast. The plotters would then receive information from the Royal Observer Corps on the aircraft inland. They could scramble aircraft to intercept the enemy and they would issue air raid warnings to the public.

We then explored the many rooms each one devote to different aspects of the station. Many famous people have served at RAF Digby including Guy Gibson and Bomber Harris. In 1941 the Royal Canadian Air Force flew from RAF Digby and the station stood Down in 1945. It is now home to the Joint Service Signals Organisation.

After the visit we drove to The Red Lion pub in Digby village for an excellent lunch and a chat to conclude a very interesting visit.
Visitors are welcome to RAF Digby, every Sunday during the summer, for a free guided tour of the museum, see their website for details.

Peter Crossgrill


Happy Wanderers November walk – Alwalton

Fifteen group members assembled at the Cuckoo Inn Alwalton for the November walk, which considering that the morning began very wet and miserable was a good attendance with nobody having second thoughts and deciding to stay in bed. By the time we set off the rain had stopped and it turned into a reasonable morning

Ferry Meadows The route was going to follow a footpath along the bank very close to the river Nene but there had been a lot of rain in the previous two weeks turning the path into a hard and potentially dangerous walk. We followed an alternative path that took us into Ferry Meadows where we circled the large lake before retracing our footsteps back to Alwalton. We had a very nice lunch at the Cuckoo and during conversations shared our individual plans for Christmas.

Steve Field


Istanbul 2 Istanbul On Tuesday 26th November twelve members of the Dining group met at The Istanbul Restaurant in Spalding. In spite of a limited menu everybody enjoyed an authentic Turkish cuisine cooked within full view of our table. From hummus, tzatziki, halloumi and olives starter through chicken and lamb kebab mains with full vegetable accompaniment to a delicious baklava dessert we all left satisfied and replete. I recommend it to everyone.


The Alternate Garden Group

For our last meeting of 2019 in November members layered a potted bulb display ready for spring.
Under the direction of Springfields’ Head Gardener, Andy Boynton, we started with white hyacinths, followed by a newish daffodil
variety, Chromacolour which has a pinky centre. We then added a double pinktulip, Aveyron and more compost. A generous layer of
Tete a Tete followed plus a layer of a lavender blue crocus, Grande Maitre. A generous handful ofsmelly pink Allium Oreophilun
was added to keep the mice away! For after care we were advised to add a bit of liquid feed once the bulbs start to show.

Alternative Gardening Members were very surprised that so many bulbs could be packed into the shallow pots. We learnt that Tete a Tete is the most popular narcissus sold in this country, in part because they are so useful for potted displays. Staff at
Springfields plant upwards of 100,000 different bulbs each year. Springfieldsalso holds one of the National Collections of narcissus and will be taking over the National Collection of hyacinths in the next couple of years.

Our thanks go to Andy and Inga, his trusty assistant. Together they hauled in the bags of compost, terracotta pots plus the bulbs themselves. We look forward to the Lincolnshire Daffodil Show on 17 April next year. Entry classes include paintings and photos of daffodils – Andy and Inga would love to see entries from U3A members.

Rosemary McClements

Garden Group visit to Fenleigh, Inkerson Fen 11th November 2019

garden With an email saying "Don't forget your wellies" 13 members visited Barbara's NGS garden, in Inkerson Fen, on a chilly but bright afternoon. Organised by Phillip, we came to see its Autumn splendour.

Welcomed on arrival, in the conservatory, with a hot drink, Barbara gave a talk on the history of the garden, how it had evolved and the National Garden Scheme.

We donned our wellies and toured the garden, admiring the multitude of plants with their Autumn foliage. On to the pond, full of carp and a crocodile head, floating on the surface, to deter marauding Heron's.

The garden comprised of many 'rooms' accessed by grass paths, each with a different feature. A secluded working area, a vegetable patch with poly tunnel and fruit cage and a large field where sheep are often grazed. There is even a dyke at the end of the field which has to be maintained as it is Fenland.

Returning to the conservatory we enjoyed more drinks, arrangement cake and biscuits, with all our donations going to help the NGS.

We also admired a display of Gourds, all home grown and the amazing display of foliage, picked and arranged by Barbara that morning, showing that foliage can be as beautiful as flowers.

Eventually it was time to go, we thanked Barbara for a very enjoyable visit, taking with us cake and more ideas to enhance our own gardens.

Peter Crossgrill


Quiz night

quiz Night Approximately forty members took part in a quiz night on Friday 1st of November.
This was held in the bar at the Castle Sports Centre where after buying drinks and finalising teams the questions began. After a few rounds of questions and assurances that they would get easier we took a break during which we had a fish and chip supper provided by the centre.

We soon got back to the questions and while I personally was still waiting for the promised easier ones we came to the end and the worthy winners were announced.
This event was the perfect opportunity to meet new members and catch up with others that we don’t see so often.
I am sure we would all like to thank Gill for organising the evening and Ken the excellent quiz master.



Happy Wanderers October 2019 Aswarby

Aswarby Walk For most of the group our October walk was the first visit to the Tally Ho Inn at Aswarby. From the inn we took a circular route of a little over 4 miles beginning with a section of very quiet country lane, this was followed by field edges and then along the side of a wood.

After walking through the village of Aunsby we turned onto a footpath which ran next to a small paddock containing a small herd (10) of alpaca. They were so inquisitive, had long fluffy coats and were very cute. Surprisingly from here we had a gradual upward slope followed by a long downward path across agricultural fields and a short stretch of roadway taking us into Osbournby. The village has what was one of the largest village market squares in the UK and some of the properties facing onto it are named after the earlier shops.

Continuing out of the village onto grass footpaths we had a short but steep hill to climb and while recovering at the top were treated to extensive views across a large area of South Lincolnshire. At least once we were on the downward slope the destination was in sight and soon we were back at the inn enjoying a well earned drink and a very nice lunch. I would like to thank the staff at the Tally Ho for playing their part in making it a very enjoyable walk.

Steve Field


Aviation Group visit to RAF Waddington 23rd October 2019

Vulcan On a sunny, but chilly, Wednesday afternoon 13 members were met by three guides Chris, Jim and Clive in RAF Waddington's car park. After a security briefing we boarded a bus which took us to the Heritage Centre.

Seated in the meeting room, Chris explained the history of the base. From its opening in 1916, training pilots, which carried on through WW1, becoming a bomber base and its operations during WW2. After expansion and with new runways installed, it became the base for the Vulcan Bomber in 1957 and throughout the Cold War. Now part of the NATO force with, among others, AWAC's, Drones and an RAF Regiment. They have been heavily involved in operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and against ISIS.

Following the talk we explored the museum, which charted the history of the base through various wars, the cold war and to the present day. One highlight was the wreckage of a Lancaster Bomber showing just how thin the metal of the fuselage was.

Back on the bus we were taken across the runway AWAC. for a surprise visit to the Vulcan Bomber, as can be seen in the group photo. This was the Vulcan that dropped the bomb on Port Stanley's runway during the Falklands War. Whilst there we had an excellent view of an AWAC performing several circuit and bumps and a flypast by two hawks which was an added bonus to our visit.

Bussed back to our cars, we thanked our guides and drove to the nearby Wheatsheaf Pub, where tea/coffee and biscuits awaited us. A relaxing end to a very enjoyable visit before driving home.
Peter Crossgrill