Spire University of the Third Age


ISSUE No. 53                 www.salisburyu3a.org.uk                       July 2007

From the Chairman

DVDs on Loan

You may find it interesting to know that there is a Third Age Trust Resource Centre, of which I was quite unaware, that can loan out DVDs covering a wide range of subjects.  The list ranges from artists to scientific subjects, travel, wildlife, gardening, famous houses, opera, jazz and family history amongst many.

If you are a Group Leader, or considering setting up a Group, there could be a really useful aid available; just for the price of the return postage!

Contact me for information on 01722 328994.

Liaison with Salisbury and Sarum U3As

There is regular contact between our three local groups by the Chairmen being invited to attend the Committee meetings of all three.  Certain established groups, such as the Health Care Research Group and the Archaeology Group, draw participants from all three and we try to ensure that we all benefit from shared experience.  If you cannot find sufficient Spire members to form a Group there may be those in the other U3As who would like to join.

Monthly Talks

We have enjoyed some extremely interesting and knowledgeable speakers at our meetings, yet only half our members attend.  The notice boards and announcements at the meetings are the main way of keeping you up to date with what is happening.  Make sure you do not miss out on events that you would enjoy.

As a newcomer to your Committee [although I first joined U3A in Farnborough in ‘91] I would like to express thanks to all those, past and present, whose hard work makes Spire run so well.

Please support your Committee by letting us know your views.

                                                                                                       John Wort


*Archaeology Group      June 26th Meeting at Harnham Memorial Hall

Anne Boutell introduced our speaker, Dr Denise Allen who gave us a talk on "Roman Glass".  She also brought along a large collection of Roman glass reproductions that we later learnt were made locally at Quarley by Mark Taylor and David Hill.  They have a web site on http://www.romanglassmakers.co.uk/ for further information.

Denise told us about the nature of glass and went on to describe the technology behind the amazing glass remnants we see today.  Then she went on to show us the styles of glass vessels and window glass that the Romans made.  When the Romans went it was over 1000 years before Europe managed to make comparable glass objects.

Glass we were told is made from 70% sand, 15% soda, 10% lime and 5 to 10% impurities (these add colour to the glass). 

The soda came from either Natron (is a naturally occurring mixture of hydrated sodium carbonate (soda ash, Na2CO3·10 H2O) and about 17% sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, NaHCO3) along with small quantities of household salt (sodium chloride) and sodium sulphate. Natron is white to colourless when pure, varying to grey or yellow with impurities. Natron deposits occur naturally as a part of saline lakebeds in arid environments. Historically natron had many practical applications, which still resonate in the wide modern use of its constituent mineral components.) or from Glasswort (Glasswort is edible, either cooked or raw. In England it is one of several plants known as samphire, which is believed to be a corruption of "St. Peter's Herb").

A hot furnace to make glass is needed (1100 deg C) and she speculated how man first discovered the miracle of a transparent substance that is hard, waterproof and that can be made into any shape.  She quoted from Bill Bryson’s book Notes from a Small Island where he said that he would never have thought whilst standing on a beach that he could invent glass.

Suffice it to say that glass was first used in beads and inlay around 2500BC and that by 1500BC the first glass vessels were made.  Later Mille Fiori was made.  At about 50BC glassblowing began and the process is very similar today.                                                              Peter Read

   Continuation of Archaeology Group details:

A visit to the Quarley glass works could be a possibility in the future.

Tony Wilmott will give his talk on the 31st of July on the ‘Roman Amphitheatre at Chester’ that he cancelled earlier this year due to a family bereavement.

 The August meeting is being planned possibly as a Field-walking day in Fovant.

 *Spire organises these meetings and members from the other Salisbury U3As are invited. There is no need to have your name down to attend. Just turn up on the day, usually in the Memorial Hall, Harnham unless otherwise stated*

Peter Read (01722 501218) holds our projector available for use by any group.                                         

The English Language

Have you ever wondered why foreigners have trouble with the English Language? 

English was invented by people and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which of course is not a race at all)

There is no egg in the eggplant.

No ham in the hamburger.

Neither pine nor apple is in the pineapple.

English muffins were not invented in England.

French fries were not invented in France.

Quicksand takes you down slowly.

   Boxing rings are square.

A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

  If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what the heck does a humanitarian eat?


Welcome to New Members

Vicky Wort            Sarah Nicholls             Karen Stephenson


Perks of Getting Older!

1.   Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

2.   In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.

3.   No one expects you to run - anywhere.

4.   People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"

5.   There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

7.   Things you buy now won't wear out.

8.   You can eat dinner at 4 p.m.

9.   You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.

10.  You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11.  You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

12. You quit holding your stomach in no matter who walks in the room.

13.  Your eyes won't get much worse.

14.  Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.                         

15.  Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Centre.

16.  Your secrets are safe with friends because they can't remember them either.

17. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.


Please help to keep this newsletter lively by sending in articles.  

What is happening in a group you are in?

You do not have to be on the committee or a group leader. 

Comments or ideas you would like to make, however short, may start an ongoing dialogue between members.

Articles for Issue 54 please, by September 1st 2007

 Sheila Read, 12 Chiselbury Grove, Salisbury. SP2 8EP

Email:  s.read.frps@ntlworld.com

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