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                                                                                                                                                  Issue 171     April 2024


Registered charity no. 1108125                                                                                                              

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

Photography: Inga Martin 


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.

    Dean Court

                             We meet at Dean Court Community Centre, which has excellent facilities.


                               MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN – Beverley Birmingham 



Where does the time go?  Here we are almost at Easter and I hope some better weather to come as gardens are desperate for attention; good exercise for working off all those Easter eggs!


Our annual lunch for new members/sig leaders was held as usual in February and was well attended, giving everyone a chance to relax/chat and get to know one another.


The speakers have again been varied and interesting.  Attendance at our meetings seems to be growing by the week so we must be doing something right!


A big thankyou to all who have volunteered to help with the teas.  This is mainly for the serving and clearing after and many ‘new’ helpers have even said they had fun so please continue to sign up.


The a/v team continue to do a great job and are constantly trying to make it easier for everyone to hear our speakers clearly.  If there is anyone who would like to help the team, please do go and have a chat with them.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter break.  I shall look forward to seeing you all again in April.




                                                YOUR NEWSLETTER from Elizabeth Stevens


Please send all contributions, notices, etc. for the next issue covering September/December 2004 to Elizabeth Stevens, 104 Kennington Road, Kennington, Oxford OX1 5PE (01865 739252) not later than Friday, 16 August 2024.





Meetings are normally held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from 2.15 pm onwards.  There is always an opportunity for tea, biscuits and a chat from approx. 3.15pm.  All are welcome, and we extend an open invitation to any visitors who might like to come along and meet us. Visitors are asked to make a small contribution of £2.


We now have a full diary of talks for this season, September 2023 - June 2024. These are detailed in the 'Talks' section of this website and the talks for April, May and June are covered in more detail here.


08 April:  Jan Cox – “Paul Nash and Oxford”.


Most of us know Paul Nash as a 20th century British surrealist painter and war artist. Fewer of us probably know that he had significant Oxford connections, including with Wittenham Clumps.

In this talk ‘Paul Nash and Oxford’ these connections will be explored for us by Jan Cox. Jan is an award-winning art historian, lecturer and exhibition cataloguer, specialising in British art of the earlier 20th century, Impressionism and painting in the Nordic countries. He too has Oxford connections, tutoring at Brookes and the Department of Continuing Education.





Wittenham Clumps Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery


22 April: John Tyler – “Woodland Wildlife: the Ever-changing Life of an English Wood”.


Local naturalist John Tyler is one of our regular and most popular speakers. He is particularly appreciated for his talks that give us insights into the wonders of the natural world here on our doorsteps, without travel to exotic locations – although he does that as well.
In this talk his focus is a typical English wood and the wildlife it supports. He follows the lives of the inhabitants of the woodland through the cycles that take place in the course of a day, a year and a lifetime. He frankly admits to having a passion for insects. As trees and the insect population increasingly take centre stage in our understanding of ecosystems and their functioning, this talk promises fascinating insights.

                                                             Frosted Ash
© John Clarke Tyler

13 May: Mike Shapton – “The Englishman of the Peseta”.

Mike Shapton will tell the remarkable story of a wealthy young man from Victorian Manchester who ended his life penniless but adored by the people around him.  ‘The Englishman of the Peseta’ is the intriguing subject of the talk.  A man whose memory is cherished to this day in a corner of Spain known to millions of Britons as the Costa del Sol.


20 May: - Lizzie Rowe – “The Art and Architecture of Friedrich Hundertwasser”.

We shall welcome back as our speaker Lizzy Rowe, teacher of Art History and Appreciation, Magic Lantern Workshop Leader and Oxford Tour Guide.  On this occasion she will be exploring ‘The Art and Architecture of Friedrich Hundertwasser’ the 20th century Austrian artist.


10 June: David Bailey – “Wildlife Photography”.

Based in Dorset, David Bailey travels the UK photographing and working with wildlife projects.  He is the author of several books and the recipient of a number of prestigious awards.  David gave an extremely  well-received talk to our branch in 2022, and is making a return visit by popular demand.


24 June: - Timothy Walker – “Why Gardening can rank as a Fine Art”.

Timothy Walker has a solid background in horticulture and was for many years Director of Oxford Botanic Garden & Harcourt Arboretum. He has given lectures to clubs and societies across Britain, Europe, North America and Australia. In this talk, Timothy will develop an idea of Miss Gertrude Jekyll who urged her readers to ‘remember that in a garden we are painting a picture’.



Your u3a team needs you! More hands make lighter work! New volunteers welcomed!

Members will know that preparation is needed to set up for our meetings.  Before the meeting, the chairs and tables need to be brought out from the store room and set up in the hall, the heating and/or ventilation needs to be checked/adjusted, and the blinds need to be closed. Meanwhile, the screen, projector stand and lectern need to be put in place, and the laptop, projector and sound system need to be set up.  During the meeting itself, the sound system is monitored and adjusted for volume and elimination of interference as far as possible. And after the meeting, everything needs to be disconnected, stacked and returned to its pre-meeting storage.

At the moment, pre-meeting tasks are carried out by the same few people at more or less every meeting. This means that there is a risk of inadequate cover due to illness or absence for the technical team in particular. No special knowledge or experience is required, as the incumbents are eager to ‘train’ and oversee new volunteers, and the processes are documented.
Anyone who would like to learn more and/or talk through what is involved can speak to any member of the team: Gilliane, John, Martin, Russell and Ruth.


                                                            The Technical Support team needs YOU




TVN                                                                                    Contact: Beverley Birmingham (07799413110)


A quiet time for TVN as far as events go, the last one being the quiz on 15 March.

As soon as new ones are advertised they will be notified.  Please keep checking the website yourself as this is often quicker.





More information about the SIGs, including recent activities and photographs, is available in the 'Groups' section on this website.

BRIDGE                                                                                     Contact:  Membership Secretary

U3A Bridge Group looks after itself. It has 8-9 regular players of Intermediate level, meeting on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at the invitation of whoever will be hosting in their home. Players respond directly and make up tables at each session. We are a social, learning group - exploring elements of bidding and play each time we meet and having tea together.

Bridge players interested in meeting us for an introductory session or two should please enquire, initially, of Liz Jones, Membership Secretary, membership@westoxfordu3a.org.uk, 01865 202227, who will put you in touch with the next host for an invitation to join us for a trial visit or two. We would be very pleased to meet you.

CHURCHES AND PUBS                                                           Contact Lis Froggatt (01865 249828)

The first Friday of the month takes us around the county for our 11 am meeting and guided tour of a church before lunch at a local pub.  (At the lunch we have a collection for the church, usually £5 per person).  Warborough and Ducklington have been recent visits with Sutton Courtenay and Freeland lined up.  Our members take turns to arrange the visits.

CINEMA GROUP                                                                       Contact:  Mary Chait (07342964870)

We meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at Tumbling Bay at 12.00 pm.  At the moment we decide what topic we would like to watch e.g. favourite male actor or favourite female actress.  Our next topic is European foreign movies.  We chat about the movies we have seen over a lovely lunch.  If you would like to join us please contact me, Mary on 07342964870.


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

This friendly and sociable group meets in members’ homes during the third week of each month at 2.15pm.   The host introduces and plays recordings of their own choice, of broadly classical music, usually on CD or DVD.  Thus, we have made many delightful musical discoveries, have learnt much, and we freely express our reactions.  We often finish with something of lighter mood.


GARDENING GROUP       New Members always welcome              Contact:  Mary Gregory (01865 865887)

The Garden Group meets sporadically to visit local gardens and nurseries, and exchange experiences and plants as available. New members welcome. Contact Mary Gregory. 


LUNCH CLUB                                                                           Contact:  Beverley Birmingham 07799413110 

22 of us enjoyed a very nice Christmas meal at The Turnpike.  The food and the service were excellent.  A venue for this year will be hard to beat.

This year we have enjoyed a meal at The Maybush in Newbridge.  The setting by the river was lovely and we were lucky to have a sunny day as I believe with all the rain the car park was flooded the next day.  One to return to in the summer.

Millets café saw 12 of us happily fed and watered and provided an opportunity for some retail therapy.

Due to Easter and bank holidays our next outing will be to The Merry Miller on 19 April.

Please contact me if you feel that you would like to join us on one of our outings.

READING GROUP                                                                    Contact:  Lis Froggatt (01865 249828)

We are enjoying discussing books we often would not otherwise have chosen, both fiction and non-fiction.  The friendly group meets at 2 pm on the third Monday of the month in the Botley Library.  Do  come along.

SCRABBLE                                                                               Contact:  Margery Dent (01865 862534)

 We continue to meet on the 3rd Monday of the month from 2.00-5.00 pm.
Contact Margery Dent (01865 862534).

WALKING GROUP                                                                   Contact: Mary Chait (07342964870)

Due to the flooding we have been finding it difficult to find dry paths. However, we have managed to do some nice walks. We have invited the Oxford Walking Group to join us on our walks and they were very happy to accept our invitation.
Our last walk was led by Sally Roberts up the canal to Iffley Lock, through Meadow Lane towards Chester Arms where we had a delicious lunch. We walk every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month and welcome anyone who would like to join us.
Please contact me if you would like to become a member of the walking group.






A reminder that the Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, 20 May, 2024 at 2.15pm, before the talk by Lizzie Rowe entitled “The Art and Architecture of Friedrich Hundertwasser”.




Some U3As around the UK run summer schools, offering the opportunity to members from anywhere in the country to visit different surroundings, learn something new or explore a topic in greater detail and perhaps go on a field trip, while engaging and having fun with other members. Some examples of the courses on offer this year are play writing, cosmology, jazz appreciation, drug discovery, cribbage, genealogy, archaeological sites in Cumbria, multi-media art.

Here’s a list of 2024 summer schools taken from the February issue of Third Age Matters (it may not be comprehensive). For details of the courses and costs, please use the website or contact details provided under each listing below.


Yorkshire & Humber Region at Easingwold, 22 - 25 July



North West at University of Cumbria, Carlisle, 13 - 16 August



u3aScotland at Stirling University, 20 - 24 August



South East at University of Chichester, 2 - 5 September



London Region: no Summer School as such but a number of one-day events



u3a National Festival 24 will be taking place in York in July

https://u3asites.org.uk/events/festival-2024 or email festival@u3a.org.uk





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