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                                                                                              Issue 149


Registered charity no. 1108125                                                                                               September/October 2018


Newsletter Editor: Elizabeth Stevens      01865 739252           newsletter@westoxfordu3a.org.uk           





This Newsletter is published on the Internet simultaneously with the printing.  If any material relating to any individual should not be so published, please contact the Editor.

Welcome to West Oxford U3A


We meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays except for July, August  and December.  Our ‘year’ begins in September and ends with the AGM, either on the last Monday meeting in May or the first Monday meeting in June  Once the membership fee is paid there is no further charge, although visitors make a donation.  Membership of West Oxford U3A does not cover membership of Oxford U3A or Headington U3A


The meetings take place at Dean Court Community Centre, Pinnocks Way,  Botley OX2 9DG.   The proceedings start at 2.30pm and (fairly short) notices are given before or after a talk as set out on your programme  Tea and biscuits are always served after the talk with cake at the end of each term.  Please stay and use this time to get to know new people and meet friends


A list of the Interest Groups is on your programme and are open to anyone who would like to join.  Just contact the person referred to as arranging the meetings.  If there is a group you would like to start then, if you think the committee can give you some help, please ask


The membership fee entitles you to the West Oxford U3A Newsletter which is sent out every other month, by email or (for those without a connection) by post.  The Newsletter is full of information about forthcoming events, both those arranged by this branch and also those organised by Thames Valley Network.  Please be certain to look at the notice board at the back of the room for additional details of outings and study days and also on u3atvnetwork.org.uk and our own website westoxfordu3a.org.uk


A membership subscription is paid annually to the National U3A Office and there is a newsletter which you can subscribe to receive or which can be viewed on-line.  If you would like to receive the National U3A newsletter then please contact the Secretary who will tell you the cost. You are entitled to attend the National U3A Summer Schools and other events, details and costs are on the National U3A website.


During the year there is a New Members’ coffee morning for which an appropriate invitation is sent


Do raise any queries when attending the meetings or write to secretary@westoxfordu3a.     


Lis Froggatt,


SUBSCRIPTION   The annual subscription is due on 1 September.  In order to make the work more efficient for our Membership Secretary, we are asking you to send a cheque for £15.00 per member, made payable to West Oxford U3A, direct to Mrs Liz Jones, 34 Binsey Lane, OX2 OEX, with a stamped envelope (6” x 4½”) for receipt of your membership card.  Alternatively, you may make a BACS transfer of the same sum to us at Sort Code: 30-19-83, Account No. 00101463 quoting your initials and surname in the Reference.   An application form can be printed off by clicking on the following link which will open in a separate window Application Form


CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON: MONDAY, 10 DECEMBER 2018 – 12 noon for 12.30pm

We have decided to return to the Oxford Spires Hotel, Abingdon Road, Oxford OX1 4PS for our Christmas Luncheon.  The cost is £19.00 per head for a three course lunch and coffee, including gratuities.  Menu choices (see below) must be ordered at the time of payment.  Any drinks should be paid for on an individual basis.  Tickets will be available from September, either at the Monday afternoon meetings or from Elizabeth Stevens, 104 Kennington Road, Kennington, Oxford  OX1 5PE (01865 739252).  Closing date is 28 November 2018.

Cancellation Policy:  Early booking may be cancelled at any time before the closing date and receive a full refund.  Cancellations after the closing date will receive no refund.



Carrot and coriander soup, garlic croutons (v) (gf available)

Chicken & ham hock terrine, toasted honey & sunflower bread, sweet piccalilli,

 wholegrain mustard dressing (gf available)

Mozzarella Bocconcini, cherry tomato, balsamic & pesto dressing (v) (gf)


Roast turkey with all the trimmings & seasonal vegetables (gf available)

Slow cooked beef, roast potatoes & seasonal vegetables with a red wine jus (gf)

Poached haddock fillet, lemon crushed new potatoes, hollandaise sauce (gf available)

Pesto & goats cheese risotto (v) (gf)


Dark chocolate mousse, orange syrup (gf)

Vanilla cheesecake, Chantilly cream

Christmas pudding, brandy sauce (gf available)


Coffee and mints


(v)Denotes dishes suitable for vegetarian

(gf)Denotes dishes that are suitable for gluten free diets




The Third Age Trust produces two magazines for U3A members in the UK: Third Age Matters, a newsletter, is published five times a year and Sources, an educational journal which focuses on a different subject each issue, is published three times a year.  Sample copies are available for inspection on our table at Monday meetings.  The magazines are mailed directly to subscribing members.  The production costs are covered by the Third Age Trust.  A charge per address is made towards the cost of postage.  You can start a subscription at any time during the year and the cost will be adjusted accordingly.     

If you would like to receive the magazines from October 2018 to February 2019, you should contact Ian Battersby, at a Monday meeting or by post (Kambah, Harcourt Hill, Oxford, OX2 9AS) by the end of September and include your subscription of £1.50. 



Please note that there is a link to the TVN website from the Links Button on this website.

The red TVN Book is to be found on the table at the back of the hall.

Please keep checking this for any Events (formerly called study days) and also check the TVN website.


Still to come this year:


The Polar Exploration day on 4 September.   Those of us that are going are looking forward to this day very much.


Website Building Day on 17 October, aimed at non-technical people.

This is fully booked but details are in TVN folder should anyone like to put their name down in case of a cancellation. 

The Interactions of Medicine, Science and Art on 1 November.

This is also fully booked but again details are in the folder should anyone like to put their names down for a cancellation.


How to be a Happy and Successful Convenor on 27 November at Benson.  10.30am-3.30pm.   There is no charge for this day.  Tea/coffee will be served and also lunch is included.


Traditional Christmas Concert to be held on 12 December, 2.00-4.00pm at The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, London.  The concert is especially for U3A members only and may sell out quickly.  Cost is £19.50.  More details can be seen on pi.booker@yahoo.co.uk of http://brandenberg.org.uk


Events or 2019 are still being formalised and if anyone would like to suggest a topic that is of particular interest to them please mention it. This does not mean that you have to organise this yourself.

It is hoped that the Dunkirk Small Ships day will be repeated on 19 March 2019.  This was a very interesting and enlightening day and strongly recommended.  You also get free admission to the River and Rowing Museum and time to have lunch by the river or in Henley.


Any other Events will be notified as they become available and do of course keep checking the TVN Book and the TVN website.






YOUR  NEWSLETTER  from Elizabeth Stevens


Please send all contributions, notices, etc. for the next issue covering November/December 2018 to: Elizabeth Stevens, 104 Kennington Road, Kennington, Oxford OX1 5PE (01865 739252) not later than Friday, 19 October 2018.


A reminder that the current issue can always be found on http://www.westoxfordu3a.org.uk/



Meetings are normally held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 2.30 pm onwards. There is always an opportunity for tea and biscuits and a chat from approx 3.45pm.  All are welcome, and we extend an open invitation to any visitors who might like to come along and meet us.  



10 September:           Christina Hardyment – ‘Writing the Themes’

Christina Hardyment is a British author and journalist who has written on a wide range of subjects including gardening, food, parenting and history.  Her talk takes the subject from her book ‘Writing the Thames’.  It is a story told through prose, poetry and illustration, celebrating the vast number of writers who have drawn inspiration from the River Thames over the centuries, including Samuel Pepys, Jerome K Jerome, Kenneth Grahame and Thomas Hardy.

The talk promises to be informative and entertaining to start the West Oxford U3A programme for the year 2018/2019.


24 September:           Dr Béatrice Crawford – ‘Voices on the Great Wall’

Beatrice Crawford will take you with her to walk on the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China.  You will share her joy at throwing off the shackles of her past and walk under the bright sky of the future.  Her book, ‘Voices on the Great Wall’, reads as a celebration of the Great Wall, an absorbing tale of courage and an uplifting message.


08 October:                 Ian Brearley – ‘The Sounds of Music.  Cylinder to CD and beyond’

Ian Brearley has spent many years training people to use and teach software such as Microsoft Word and Excel. He has also, in the past, spent some time DJing at parties and dances. All this stems from a childhood in which his father had a substantial record collection and encouraged Ian to do the same. Whilst Ian was doing this, he gradually became more fascinated in the equipment and its everchanging development as opposed to the actual music. Although this talk will be tracing the development of how music is produced, Ian promises that it will be non technical as he appreciates that we are not a group of nerds!


22 October:                 Robert Bishop – ‘The History of Chair Making in High Wycombe

Robert and Christina Bishop have lived in High Wycombe for some years. They manage a site in the centre of the town which houses a Chairmaking museum, artists’ studios, art gallery and shop. They also run workshops. Robert is a registered professional wood turner who specialises in turning large bowls and other hollow vessels from Burr wood, particularly Monkey Puzzle. High Wycombe has a long and successful history of furniture making especially chair making which dates back at least to the 16th century. The source of the wood was, of course, the wonderful beechwoods which cover the Chilterns. Robert’s talk will take us through this history with descriptions of the chair making process and the people involved.




ART HISTORY/APPRECIATION           (10 members)             Contact:  Terence Carter (01865 863379)


Visits to the Ashmolean Museum normally take place on the second Tuesday or the second Thursday of each month, meeting just inside the main entrance to the Museum. For other locations, directions will be given. Please let Terence know if you would like to attend. There are spaces available in this group.


Thursday 13 September - Exhibition at the Bodleian Library.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth. This free exhibition covers Tolkien’s famous works, and includes draft manuscripts, illustrations, maps, early abstract paintings, tales he wrote for his children, rare objects, fan mail and private letters. Meet at the St Lee Gallery, Weston Library, Broad Street at 2.30 pm for this unguided exhibition.


Wednesday 10 October at the Ashmolean Museum.

Spellbound: Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft. This exhibition examines how magical thinking has been practised over the centuries, and shows that the need to use magic is driven by our strongest emotions. It also examines both the idea of the witch and the reality of how women were accused of witchcraft. Meet at the Museum at 3 pm for a guided tour. The standard charge (concessions) is £11.25 (usually less with a National Art Pass).



BRIDGE                                                                                    Contact:  Pauline Martin 01865 250870


We are a friendly group of around 20 players who usually play some 16 games every Wednesday afternoon, starting at 2pm and finishing around 5pm, with a break for tea. We meet in each others’ houses and all can play Bridge to an enjoyable level. We play a Chicago system of scoring and table moves with time to discuss bidding and card play, informally, as required.

This is not a group for total beginners but please enquire if you have a reasonable knowledge of Bridge, enjoy playing socially and would like to know more.



CHURCHES AND PUBS           (25 members)                         Co-ordinator:  Brian Cox (01865 872720)


We meet at a church at 11.30am on the last Friday of each month and lunch together afterwards, usually at nearby country pub. Any member of the WEST OXFORD U3A may join our group at no extra charge. The only responsibilities of members are to pay for their lunch and arrange and lead a visit from time to time. Further information together with a copy of the programme of visits can be obtained from:-



CINEMA GROUP – 1   (new members welcome)                 Contact:  Lis Froggatt  (01865 249828)


Cinema Group 1 is the renamed Cinema Group 3, but that is the only difference.  We meet monthly on the second Tuesday at The Punter pub on Osney Island at 12.30 pm to discuss over lunch films we have seen and plan to see.  New members most welcome   lis.froggatt@entitledto.co.uk


CINEMA GROUP - 2   (10 members)             Contacts:  Pam and David Eyton  (pameyton@gmail.com)


We meet on the second Thursday of the month to discuss a variety of films (mainly from the Phoenix) over a shared meal in a member’s house.   The membership is restricted to 10 because of the dining arrangements. 

If you are interested in going on a waiting list or being invited when space is available, please e-mail Pam.  


COMPUTER  USERS’ GROUP  (7 members – new members welcome)   Contact: Richard Sills (01865 721644)


All meetings will be held at The Map House, Vernon Avenue, OX2 9AU at 10.30 am.  

The next meetings are on 3 and 17 September  and  1 and 15 October.


CRAFT GROUP                                                                        Contact:  Sally Strang (01865 240310) 


Our next meeting is on Friday, 21 September at Sally’s house.



DISCOVERING MUSIC   (7 members – new members welcome) Contact: John Grimshaw (01865 861949)


These convivial meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of each month, at 2.15 pm.  We meet in members’ homes and the host introduces and plays recordings, usually on CD or DVD, of broadly classical music which can be secular or sacred and can include extracts and arias from opera.  Members freely express their reactions.  We may finish with something in lighter mood.


FRENCH CONVERSATION                                                      Contact: Lyliane Doumeche (01865 429281)


Meetings take place at 10.00 am on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month for advanced French speakers and at 10.00 am  on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month for intermediate French speakers, with some exceptions for holidays, bank holidays etc.  If you are new, please contact me beforehand either by phone or by e-mail at doumechehall@hotmail.co.uk    Soyez les bienvenu(e)s!


GARDEN CLUB                                                                                    Contact:  Mary Gregory (01865 865887)


As the season continues to give interest the Garden Club is maintaining its programme of visiting and enjoying gardens. Contact Mary Gregory for information.

LANGUAGES                                                                           Contact:  David Taylor (01235 525455)


We have completed our study of German for the time being, and we shall now turn to Spanish.  Due to the limitations of space, we cannot unfortunately accommodate any more in the group. 


SCRABBLE                                                                               Contact:  Margery Dent (01865 862534)


The group meets mostly on the 3rd Monday of the month or on an agreed alternative, from 2 – 4.30 pm.  We meet in the homes of different members.  Please ring if you are interested in coming.


WALKING GROUP      (15 members)             Contacts: Sally Roberts (721596) and Norman Robinson (862845)


Walks normally commence at 10 am on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month and are arranged a few weeks in advance.   It is important to note that if bad weather threatens, you should ring the named leader of the walk, on the day, to check whether it is going ahead; otherwise you may have a wasted journey. (If it is actually raining, the walk will almost certainly be cancelled).

Walks are planned for the second and fourth Fridays in 2018.  Info will be shared on our e-mail link.  Walking boots are always recommended.