We currently have over 100 active groups but there is always room for more and unfortunately we have recently had to make four groups inactive for various reasons. If you have an interest that you’d like to pursue or knowledge you’d be keen to share with others please consider forming a group. The Q&A sheet should help but you’d also get plenty of support from the group coordinators, we can assure you of that.
Scrabble 3 - note from the group leader
"We are a small group who play some friendly games of Scrabble - we do follow he official rules except that we allow ourselves to look up words in the dictionary. This allows us to learn new words. We can help each other to find words and the games are not too serious with a certain amount of banter. We would welcome some new faces so do come and give us a try, if you think it is not for you, you don't have to come back again.
Forest Fitness Activities
We have a member who is very keen to start a new group which involves fitness and well-being activities, centred in and around the Priory Park Forest. As a member of our u3a a few years ago, he led a successful outdoor fitness group. He is a fully qualified Fitness Professional and for years has worked with older groups, exploring the fitness activity opportunities available to all of us.
There will be two different types of activity:
Hunter Gatherer Fitness - Moving through the forest, scrambling under trees as well as stepping and climbing over fallen trunks and balancing on them, using everyday movements for continuing mobility, flexibility and strength.
Forest Bathing - This is more reflective and is about finding a quiet spot to just stop, clear your mind and relax, immersing yourself in the moment.
The activities are designed to be simple, fun, effective, safe and flexible.
If you are interested in finding out more about this group click here. The proposed group leader is very keen to have a meeting with those interested as soon as possible where he will explain a lot more about the nature of the activities and how the sessions will work.
French Circle 1
French Circle 1 currently has space for 1 or 2 new members. "We are a friendly group who meet on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at a group members house.
Using our French we take turns to give our news usually resulting in general chat, and then go on to looking at prepared translations both from English to French and vice versa. We also enjoy quizzes and crosswords.
We do not teach the language but try to support each other in maintaining our standard of French which for most of the group is approximately around A level."
Book Group 6 - Recommendations
Austerlitz by W G Sebald
Earlier this year the group discussed Austerlitz in English translation. Sebald was a German national who worked for many years at the University of East Anglia who died early age 57 in a car accident before possibly being given the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Sebald has a unique style which reads as flat and melancholic and has the form often of a meditative interior monologue and yet can be most moving. Austerlitz was the closest to a work of fiction of his works. He is concerned with memory and its connection to truth often using characters who cross Europe and address in particular Germany’s place in European history with frank accounts of the impact of the Nazi period.
Reactions from the group varied from some who were very moved by the work to others who could not place what kind of literature it was or what it was trying to achieve. As a result we had a stimulating discussion.
Our Book Group has recently read Small Things Like These, and Foster by Claire Keegan and I think I can safely say that all the group have been thrilled to discover an author, who is new to us, and who writes so movingly, and dare I say, simply about life in Ireland in the mid twentieth century.
Small Things Like These
This book takes place in a small town in Ireland in the run up to Christmas. It focuses on Bill, a coal merchant, and contrasts the family life of his good catholic family with the abusive treatment inflicted on young unmarried girls at the local Convent. I do not want to spoil the ending for anyone who is tempted to read this exquisite, hard to put down book, so I will not say more, but Hilary Mantel feels that no word is wasted and I couldn’t agree more.
Again contrasting good with bad experiences. Claire Keegan writes about a young Irish girl who is sent away from her neglectful family to live with foster parents where she receives warmth and love. There is so much more in this special book, but sadly, she is returned to her family of origin at the end of the summer. Heart breaking, but with a hint of hope that she may return to her foster parents.
I cannot recommend this writer enough. She has a straight forward style that brings the life and culture of rural Ireland to life. Small Things Like These in particular explores the power of the Catholic Church on a small community in a really beautiful way
Exploring with a Bus Pass
The suggestion of an “Exploring with a Bus Pass” group definitely generated a lot of interest and those who expressed an interest, and could make it, held an initial meeting to discuss how it should run. It was agreed that the group will "explore" on a monthly basis and the inaugural outing was on 28 November.
Would you like to be ready for you next holiday? The Spanish Improvers group currently has vacancies for new members. The group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month and uses a variety of methods to keep things interesting. See the group description here.
These are just some examples of the wonderful quilts that the Machine Patchwork group have recently produced. Absolutely gorgeous!
If you would like further information about any of our groups, would like to start a group or would like to join a group, please contact us by completing the form which can be found on the Groups’ page or emailing us: