Recent Events and Trips

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In mid March 2017 Garden Group 1 visited Tillington Manor near Petworth.
The Spring flowers were in abundance and I think that we all enjoyed the daffodil walk. Pauline is looking puzzled - not sure why I was t aking a photo. The visit was made more interesting when the owner talked about the history of the manor and provided refreshments - slices light sponge cakes.


Trip to Sandhurst, August 2015

A Day out on the SQUARE!

35 of us took up Sheila Kirkpatrick's offer of a trip to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst! The main attraction was the rehearsal for the passing out parade which was to take place two days later. None of us could have been prepared for the spectacle that we were to enjoy. 660 cadets marching with ultimate precision - ordinary march - slow march - quick march, with swords raised, rifles sloped, intricate manoeuvrings, all to the brilliant and varied music of the Parachute Regiment.
We learnt that there were three intakes each year, and that the cadets who were passing out, had the swords, and the other two intakes had rifles. Their full dress uniforms were spectacular!
Of course the finale was the icing on the cake, when we saw the adjutant ride his black mount up the steps and through the door of the Grand Entrance.
We had a buffet lunch and then toured the buildings and had various talks from out four guides who were very knowledgeable, especially the one referred to as "Guide Emeritus" who gave us a fascinating history of how and why Sandhurst was founded in 1812. (from that date any Tom, Dick or Harry country gent or loafer could no longer "buy" his commission, and the quality of our army soon improved!)
Tony Merrifield, the chief guide subsequently wrote to Shelia saying: "Thank you for being such an excellent organiser of your lively, inquisitive and entertaining group. It makes such a difference to the success of the visit!" I say: It is up to the individual to decide which category he or she slots into!!!
Our grateful thanks to Sheila, it may be her swansong, but we shall all remember it! - Alan Borrow

Theatre Visits Group visit CFT backstage.

Friday October 23rd forty nine of us went on a tour of the Chichester Festival Theatre. We met in the Foyer and were divided into four groups - one being for members that are not quite as agile on their 'pins' as they used to be !
While in the Foyer we were told how the Theatre started. It was the vision of Leslie Evershed-Martin,a former Mayor of Chichester,who saw a program about the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Stratford ,Ontario. He worked closely with that Theatre to produce a Theatre for Chichester.CFT opened in 1962 having cost £100,000 (£2m in today's money). The Renew project has cost £44m! It was an incredibly modern building for its time. Hexagonal in shape with the Auditorium being supported by six pillars. The Theatre, both then and now, is built using Honest materials thus combining the inside with the out and the Park with the Theatre.
Lesley Evershed-Martin desired the Theatre to be democratic hence the Foyer has no VIP space and there are no Star dressing rooms.
We were taken to the Green room. It felt very special thinking of the actors that had waited there - Sir Laurence Olivier and currently Imelda Staunton! The floor in the Green Room is made of Canadian Maple - a gift from the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre.
Next a fleeting visit to the wardrobe section. A very busy area as all the costumes are washed and ironed between each Performance. I think we would have liked to linger longer here but that was not to be.
The Dressing rooms are bright and airy with views over the Park again combining both outside with in.
Back stage it was explained how the scenery was moved. We had been asked to wear soft soled shoes so as to be able to walk on the stage but, although the Tour had been arranged not to clash with the working theatre there was a rehearsal for the Understudies for Gypsy - fascinating to watch.
The Thrust stage - the original was the first built in Britain for 450 years and is similar to The Globe in London. The Auditorium now has 1400 seats with no pillars and a suspended ceiling so no seat has restricted view - perhaps we should go for cheaper seats?!
Then down the stairs from the twinkling lights of the Auditorium to the blue glass in the windows on the stairs to the daylight all designed to make for an atmospheric experience.
I think we would all agree that it was a very interesting tour and we will all look at the actual building more when we visit the CFT in the future.
All photos are "borrowed" from the internet

Group Leaders Get Together

Friday 17th October 2014, the Ems Valley U3A leaders annual get together took place at the Emsworth Community Centre. A glass of wine and some eats were laid on by the committee and group leaders and co-ordinators enjoyed exchanging news and views in the informal get together.
This year, chair Richard Swaine divided everyone into groups and asked them to discuss and report on two questions: (1) What did they particularly like about Ems Valley U3A? and (2) How could it be improved?
There was a general feeling that the learning opportunities and friendliness of the groups were one of the main good points. Improvements were more varied, some urged more mixing and greeting of strangers at the monthly meeting. Leaders name badges might help. Improvements to the web site were welcomed and could be better if leaders could be more active in posting news, pictures and events from their group.
Many thanks to the committee for laying on the event, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to mix with other leaders and went away with something to think about.
Jeff Thatcher

Behind the Scenes at Wimbledon Tuesday September 30th, 2014

Another "Coup" for Sheila

The trip to the "All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club" at Wimbledon on Tuesday 30th September was a long awaited treat for many of us. The journey up was remarkably easy, and we were there at 10.15am. Time for a coffee in the Wingfield cafe. We were told that Major Walter Clopton Wingfield was the Father of Lawn Tennis in the latter half of the nineteeth century. I have checked and found that he developed the game out of Real Tennis and Pelota!

The Guide, Ingrid, was good! She kept the rowdy elements under control, gave us more facts than we could take in and interjected with loads of humorous asides. We started at 11.15 and finished at 1.45pm. You could say we got our money's worth! We went everywhere, and because it was a beautiful warm day, and there did not seem to be any other groups there, we saw the hallowed venue at its very best.

When we walked around the perimeter, we could just start to get an idea of how large this site was! We stopped at Henman Hill (also variously called Murray's Mount, Murray's Mound and Rusedski Ridge). It is generally accepted that it will remain "Henman's Hill", not least because in a recent interview, "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" (or is it Woss?), Henman remarked "That Murray can have all those Grand Slam titles but I'm keeping my hill!"

We spent time in Number One court - the grass seemed to be like an emerald green velvety mat - and Ingrid explained that the electric fence was to keep away urban foxes. Also, she said we would not see pigeons because of Rufus,the Harrier Hawk that regularly came to exercise. The reason that the grass looked so good was the fact that every court is reseeded immediately after the Championships have finished. We were told that a retractable roof was planned for this court, but would probably not be in place until 2020.


When she sat us down in the Press seats on Centre Court, we had a fantastic and atmospheric reminder of those days in late June/early July when we are glued to the television. Two little happenings here - I saw two pigeons fly across and settle on the beams of the retractable roof! And all of us saw what appeared to be the Queen walk out onto the Royal Box (right opposite where we were sitting) but the illusion was over when she started to take photos with her little camera. The sun was beating down on the U3A press corps and it was ridiculously HOT there! The end of September - funny old subject - weather in England....

Lunch in the Wingfield Cafe followed, and then the troops descended on the famous museum, and there was more than enough there to keep us occupied until the 4.00pm departure time.

We thank Sheila for all her hard work in arranging this trip and look forward to her next offering!
Alan Borrow

Spring Outing - Legal London
Monday 31st March 2014

An early start, but we were off, anticipating an exciting day and we were not disappointed. With no stops en route, we had morning coffee at The Devereux, an iconic London Pub, from where our guide, Owen proceeded to enthral and inform us about the legal profession from start to finish and everything and everywhere in between. We visited the Inner and Middle Temple and were surprised to see how near to the River Thames we were.
The Knights Templar once owned this land, hence the name. The 12th century church is still there and is worth a visit. Students have been coming here to study for 600 years and the Inns are laid out as a series of quadrangles with lodgings and workspaces, known as chambers, a library, chapel and a hall for communing dining. It is good to see a few more women's names on the plaques.


We heard about colourful characters such as Dr Johnson and Rumpole and apparently the clerks, who were and still are the wheelers and dealers getting the work, used to not read the briefs - but weigh them to determine the fee!
Back to The Devereux for lunch then some free time to visit the Royal Courts of Justice, where we saw protesters outside and then once through security (which I am sure we saw again on 'Silk' later that evening!) we were allowed to enter any courtroom as long as we quietly took up seats in the back 2 rows. Justice being seen to be done, although we didn't quite understand the case!
Back to the coach and a short ride to Lincolns's Inn where the chapel bell, captured by the Earl of Essex at the siege of Cadiz in 1596 still tolls after the death of a bencher, a custom that inspired Donne's work which I am sure you all remember!
Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining and together with Sheila's impeccable organisation we all felt it was a very, very good trip.