Wantage & Grove


See Notice Board on WELCOME page for late changes to this programme.
All Meetings start at 2pm in Grove Parish Church Hall unless stated otherwise.

For more information on activities etc within individual GROUPS, click on the relevant GROUP heading below

Dates for your Diary
Tue Jan 21st AGM
Tue Feb 4th Speaker: Jennifer Cowling - From the Page to the Stage
Drawing from her experience of a lifelong hobby in amateur theatre, on and off the stage, the talk gives insight into what is involved in putting on a musical show.
She answers the question often asked: "Why does it cost so much to see an AMATEUR show?" It explains that “amateur” only means “not paid” and in every other respect the aim is to be as professional as possible. Included is a short quiz for you to guess which songs are from which musical – time for toe-tapping.
Tue Feb 18th Speaker: Keith Hooper - Jane Austen
Keith’s area of expertise is Victorian literature. Awarded a doctorate from Exeter University for his work on Charles Dickens, his commissioned biography of the author came out in the Autumn. Available internationally and well reviewed, it seems to be selling well.
Speaking on Dickens, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte, he has appeared at literary festivals, county library sponsored events, U3A groups and historical societies. In addition to talking about the above, he is more than happy to talk about 'my experiences as a writer' - they have been the subject of three recent local BBC Radio interviews.
Tue Mar 3rd Speaker: Colin Oakes - Gutsy Women: A History of Women’s Achievements in London
Colin Oakes has been an Archaeologist since 1968. A Londoner by birth and inclination. Since 1982 he has taken walking tours, coach tours and given lectures of London. He has visited us several times and given interesting talks.
Tue Mar 17th Speaker: Brian Freeland - The View from the Wings
Brian Freeland is a speaker, playwright and author. His theatre career started in 1959, direct from National Service and has taken him to 43 different countries including 3 residences in the Middle East; 8 tours of the Indian sub-continent and 2 circumnavigations of the globe. He has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Sadler’s Well and London Festival Ballet Companies, Scottish Opera, Nottingham Playhouse, Manchester Library Theatre and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop Company. Approaching retirement he started to ‘branch out’ – directing; writing scripts, and giving talks.
Tue Apr 7th Speaker: Gordon Rogers - Winston Churchill’s Toyshop
Only 10 years ago did I learn that the premises from which, as a schoolboy, I nicked a couple of Blacker bombard anti-tank missiles and a box of L-delay fuses was "Winston Churchill's Toyshop", the UK's premier weapons experimental station in WW2. I wrote to the BBC suggesting they make a documentary: their response was: The BBC “does not accept ideas for programmes of a documentary or factual nature” so I decided to put together my own Powerpoint presentation. The title is arrived at in that when becoming PM Churchill knew of the massive War Office red tape; to by-pass this he appointed himself Minister of Defence and created just one Department –MD1 located at Whitchurch just north of Aylesbury. The department was to be under Churchill's direct control via Lord Cherwell and over 50 weapons were invented which went into service. I have carried out extensive research at the Nuffield library in Oxford reading the papers passing between Churchill and Cherwell –fascinating stuff and the source of much information for my talk. James Tuck was a very important member of the team: he was a nuclear scientist who made a fundamental input into the allied war effort and yet the military seek to efface him from history.
Tue Apr 21st Speaker: Christopher Baines - Paul Nash and the Wittenham Clumps
Christopher runs the website ‘Paul Nash and the Wittenham Clumps’ and speaks regularly about Nash, including lectures at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He has been interviewed about Nash for the BBC TV programmes ‘Countryfile’ and ‘Paul Nash: The Ghosts of War’.
Tue May 5th Speaker: Ian Keable - One Hundred Years of Deception: Hoaxes and Swindlers
Ian graduated from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, qualified as a Chartered Accountant and then became a professional magician. He is a member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star. He has written and presented a Radio 4 documentary on mind readers. He is currently performing a show about Charles Dickens, who was an amateur conjurer, called The Secret World of Charles Dickens. In 2014 he wrote Charles Dickens Magician: Conjuring in Life, Letters & Literature. Ian is an expert on 18th century hoaxes and the images and contemporary reports associated with them.
Tue May 19th Speaker: James Mather - Treasures Beneath our Feet and Discovering the Watlington Hoard
Responsible metal detectorist for 25 years (hobby). Married, retired, lives in Reading, previously marketing executive. Discovered nationally important Watlington Viking Hoard in 2015, now permanently on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
Tue Jun 2nd Speaker: Dan Allen - The Victoria Cross: Facts and Fancies
Dan Allen is a retired pensions consultant who has been interested in Victorian military history since he was a teenager. His first piece of military research came about when he wondered who was “Lord Napier” after whom his local pub was named? Clearly, he was a soldier since his picture on the sign showed him in a red coat. Some weeks later he had a working knowledge of the life of Field Marshal Lord Napier, the Abyssinian War of 1868 and a fascination for Victorian military history that has never left him.
He is Treasurer of the Victorian Military Society, has contributed a number of articles to the Society’s journal on various topics and also gives talks on behalf of the Society. He recently edited the Boer War diary of a private in the Northamptonshire Regiment for publication.
Tue Jun 16th Speaker: Muriel Pilkington - The Mitfords in the Cotswolds
Muriel read History at Oxford and taught History in a number of schools. She was Headteacher at Wycombe High School and worked part-time as an Education Consultant. History research is her hobby. Proceeds from talks are given to Witney Lions Club.
Tue Jul 7th Speaker: Anthony Poulton-Smith - Most Obscure Pub Names
After a career in light engineering Anthony turned to writing. He has written more than 70 books, 1500 articles and over 200 books as a ghost writer. He is on 5 local committees, founder of his local literary festival and has recently returned to the Open University to study Creative Writing, Ancient Greek and Latin.
Tue Jul 21st Speaker: Leah Lewis (WheelPower) - Transforming Lives Through Sport 71 Years On
WheelPower is the charity for wheelchair sport, based at the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury. WheelPower provide opportunities for disabled children and newly paralysed patients to get involved in sport and physical activity enabling them to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives both physically and mentally. Founded by Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the Father of the Paralympic Movement, WheelPower continue the legacy of encouraging participation in sport.
Tue Aug 18th No meeting
Study Days
Wed Mar 18th The history of The Thames and its boats at The River & Rowing Museum, Henley
Thu Apr 23rd Architecture Day at Benson
Tue May 5th Kennet U3A is organizing a Study Day, to which all interested U3A members can apply. “Climate Change and Sustainable Futures” will take place on Tuesday 5 May 2020 at Marlborough College Memorial Hall, from 9.30-16.00. The cost will be approximately £20 per person. For further details and an application form email: sid2020@u3ainkennet.org.uk
Fri May 29th Geology of the Thames Valley and why we don’t have volcanoes, at Benson
Wed Jun 24th Visit to RHS Wisley
Fri Jul 3rd The Environment and Biodiversity at Benson
Social Events
Tue Aug 4th Summer Tea
Mon Jun 8th
→Fri Jun 12th
U3A Holiday 2020 We are pleased to see that Vera is making a good recovery from her accident and has arrangements for the 2021 holiday are well under way. It will be at the Lindam Hotel, Lytham St Annes, from 8-12 June. Double and twin rooms are also available. The cost for bed, breakfast and evening meal, with excursions to Lancaster, Bowness, Hawkshead and Liverpool is £369 per person, and more single rooms can be secured but now with a supplement, bringing the price to £429. If you would like to join in, please contact Vera Kastner via the Contacts Page. To secure your place, a deposit of £40 per person, in an envelope, cheques payable to “Wantage and Grove U3A” is required, preferably at the next main meeting.
Mon Oct 5th 5 - 11 October 2020. TVN Holiday to Istanbul See Thames Valley Network on the Links page for further information.
Art Appreciation
Tue Jan 28th Visit to Ashmolean to see Pre Raphaelite paintings.
Film studies group
Tue Feb 11th Red Joan (2018) starring Judy Dench and Sophie Cookson. The story of Joan Stanley, who was exposed as the KGB's longest-serving British spy.
Tue Mar 10th Yesterday (2019) starring Himesh Patel and Lily James. A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
Tue Apr 14th Green Book (2018) A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through 1960's American South.
Tue May 12th Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) starring Rami Malek and Lucy Boynton. The story of the legendary British rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid in 1985.
Tue Jun 9th Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) starring Dennis Price, Alec Guinness and Valerie Hobson. A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the 8 other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.
Tue Jul 14th Fisherman's Friends (2019) starring James Purefoy. 10 fishermen from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top 10 hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.
Tue Aug 11th The 100 Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013). After living a long and colourful life, Allan Karlsson finds himself stuck in a nursing home. On his 100th birthday, he leaps out a window and begins an unexpected journey.
Tue Sep 8th Judy (2019) starring Renée Zellweger. Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.
Tue Oct 13th Mrs. Lowry and Son (2019) starring Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall. A portrait of the artist L.S. Lowry and the relationship with his mother, who tries to dissuade him from pursuing his passion.
Tue Nov 10th Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (2017) starring Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson. A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.
Tue Dec 8th Downton Abbey (2019) starring Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith. The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.
Thu Feb 6th Welford Park Meet at Manor Road carpark at 1.30
Tue Jan 28th The topic will be: introduce an interesting or admired ancestor from your family.
Historic Towns
Mon Jan 27th A walk round Wallingford (weather permitting) Details TBC before the day.
Wed Feb 5th Military fiction
Wed Mar 4th A travel autobiography
Music Makers
Wed Jan 22nd at Grove Village Hall.
Musical appreciation
Thu Jan 23rd A New Year concert.
Mon Jan 27th “Crime and Punishment”, at Penny W’s house.
Play Reading
Mon Jan 20th at Maude House.
Pub Quiz
Tue Jan 21st at Abingdon Arms
Fri Jan 24th at Linda's house
Tue Jan 28th at Linda's house
Fri Mar 27th at Linda's house
Fri Apr 24th at Linda's house
Writing for fun
Fri Feb 21st "A letter to my 16-year old self" or "A weird and/or wonderful holiday" or a topic of your choice
Fri Mar 20th "A story for a child" or "My favourite garden" or a topic of your choice