Spire University of the Third Age

Newsletter No 84
New Year Issue

                                                                                                                                                                                Rollestone Winter 2012                               Chris Edwards [Sarum U3A]

From The Publicity Office (zjbp@btinternet.com)
First may I apologise for the delay in publishing this Newsletter. I hope the year has started well for you.
The Annual General Meeting is fast approaching and we would be grateful if you would collect your AGM letter from the Reception desk, if you don’t already have it. Please will you check, if you pay by Direct Debit, that your payment is for £10. If you pay in cash, it would be appreciated if you would bring it to the AGM or pay it as soon as possible.e to increased costs during this year, we are asking all members of groups meeting in the either of the Halls to pay £1 per head per meeting toward the cost of hiring the halls with immediate effect.
The Group Leaders meeting and lunch will be held on March 11th.
We are desperately looking for a new Treasurer, as Shirley Reeves will be giving up this post at the end of the AGM. Shirley has fulfilled this roll very creditably over the last few years.
We have a new series starting this month for those of us who have problems knowing all the tricks for using your computer thanks to Mr Phil Whitemore. If you have any particular problems that you would like to have addressed please let me or Phil know.
This issue we are also starting to have reports from the groups as a regular feature. If you do not belong to a group, but would like to for whatever subject, please let the committee know. If you have a particular interest and would like to run a group, please also make this known to the Committee.
They are great fun and it also gives you an opportunity to make new friends with a similar interest to your own.
Similarly, if you would like to see particular items featured in you Newsletter, please let me know. We have one new member to welcome this month, Mr Bill Norton. This means that we are now officially full and Jacky has already got a waiting list.
THE Chairman and secretary and others have attended several meetings on behalf of Spire U3A. It has been agreed that there should be closer links with the other two local U3A’s and in fact we have shared several. joint events already, such as the visit to Oxford, which was a great success                                                            Zelah Bysouth - Editor
A letter from your Regional Trustee
Hello to all members in the South West, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year in which to enjoy your U3A.This will be the first of a series of occasional letters to help you keep informed of events and news which may be of importance to you.  I may also include some events which may not be in your particular area, but which might get you thinking of something you might like to happen where you are. In November we had a very interesting series of conferences and I am already looking forward to planning for 2013.  The Support Group met in December and preliminary planning has started; we have decided that this year they will be in October as we hope the weather might be better for travelling then.  Venues will be as before with the exception of the Cornwall conference where we will be trying a venue in Launceston.
 I wonder if you are all aware that the bulk mailing of Third Age Matters is now to be discontinued.  For those U3As who already have individual delivery, that is fine, no change, but for those of you who usually collect your magazine when you attend meetings, this will no longer happen.  You can still get your copy, and on a much more regular basis by ensuring that your U3A sends a list to Third Age Trust and that your name is on it. Of course the reason is cost; it is far cheaper to send individual copies than the bulk mail; sounds surprising I know, but that’s how it is.  For including your name on the list, you will receive five copies of Third Age Matters and three of Sources each year all for the cost of £1.60 which seems to me a very good bargain.  Full details are being mailed to your secretaries. Congratulations to all U3As who were mentioned in Third Age Matters this time – a very varied set of achievements but all fun and noteworthy; well done.
Best Wishes to you all, Marion


On Friday, l6 November, Aslaug Abbott, Shirley Reeves and I went to Sturminster Newton for the U3A South West Regional Conference.   It was opened by Colin Tincknell who talked about the evolution of the U3A since its inception by Eric Midwinter, Peter Laslett and Michael Young.   It was a social adventure in collaboration, as retirement should be a constructive time and not one of stagnation.   The U3A was about the mutual aid principle of shared learning.   Each U3A was autonomous and its groups were its life blood.  
Each U3A needed to look at its size, what it was doing and how it could be improved.
On the whole the social character of U3As was white, middleclass and with more women than men.
He asked the questions:
          Is U3A different from its original format?
          Are its aims and objects relevant?
          Does the U3A meet the needs of members today as first envisaged?
          Will the U3A be different in 15 years’ time and what changes would we wish?
Barbara Lewis, the new Chairman of the U3A National Executive Committee, a buoyant American lady, described how to make the best of your U3A.   This involved participation and curiosity.   She related how prior to the Olympics she had started a course on the subject, for which 15 people signed up.   She gave them each a sport to research and she indicated the results were interesting, entertaining and informative.
In the centre two pages of the Winter 2012 “Third Age Matters” she has listed the four priorities of the U3A, and introduced each member of the National Executive Committee.
The magazine has a wide distribution and is an invaluable means of communication.
She stressed the importance of Shared Learning Projects and the research they entailed, the Summer Schools, the National Conference from 13 to 16 September, 2013, the Website Team, Diversity, Governance and On Line Resources.
Elizabeth Gibson described the resources available from the Resource Centre (tel no and email in “Third Age Matters”).   There are seminars and handbooks for Group Leaders.   Books, DVDs, etc may be borrowed for a three week period, but extensions may be negotiated, so that Leaders can view the material in advance.   There are On-Line Courses; these are hugely used in Australia.   The Shared Learning Project contact is Jennifer Gane (sp) and she mentioned the Founder’s Lecture by Eric Midwinter on 9 April 2013, again listed in “Third Age Matters”.   She stressed that teaching comes from within groups, an occasional visitor is allowed, with the agreement of the Committee, but that paid tutors are definitely not.
Maggie Teuten’s topic was Making the Most of Subject Groups, the sharing and extending of knowledge amongst equals.   She went through the protocols of group interaction, recommending methods, for instance, the Onion Game, to encourage members to recognize the contributions they could make.   She emphasized the importance of managing conflict so that people disagreed with ideas and did not fall out with individuals!   I am sure we do not do that in Spire.
She also felt it was important for Group Leaders to be aware of Succession Planning and to know when it was time to retire and let someone else take over.   There was a danger of leading for a long time, but not keeping up to date. 
We were finally introduced to Marion Clements who is succeeding Colin Tincknell as South West Regional Trustee.   It was a good day and again we had an excellent lunch!
Ayesha Nickol

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Sarum kindly invited Spire U3A to join them on a very enjoyable trip to Oxford, principally to visit the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums.   There were seventeen of us and on arrival we went our separate ways. 
Jenny Mawer, Chairman of Sarum, and I began our day at the Ashmolean.   Jenny was interested in antiquities, particularly as it tied in with a project Sarum is taking part in at Salisbury Museum.    I went to see the Edward Lear Exhibition, which I found fascinating.
We then met my daughter for lunch, which was an added bonus.   We had a delicious meal at the Department of Physiology where one of her colleagues is researching the effects of ‘Iron on Exercise Capacity in Men and Women of 50 and over’.   Well, well, we found ourselves volunteering to be guinea pigs in the New Year!
Then we went to The Pitt Rivers Museum.   Again, we followed our own interests and there was so much to see.   It was really amazing.   The building was swarming with school children, who were noisy and chattersome, but at the same time focused and knew what they had to look for.  They were also extremely courteous, which was a pleasure.
It was a very rewarding day and we were grateful to Sarum for including us and making it so successful.
Ayesha Nickol
February Sudoku-Hard   


Computer Hints & Tips
(First in a series of helpful advice to computer users).

Computer_security : Concept of internet security with padlock and keyboard


Aren’t passwords annoying?
Why do I have to keep so many of them?
Well – get it wrong and someone else could be reading your email, accessing your computer, or even worse your bank accounts. Examples of passwords NOT to use would be: “password”; 123456; abc123; your date of birth; your name; your address; personal information that others may know.

A strong password will consist of - 8 characters or longer1; a mixture of UPPER CASE and lower case letters; a mixture of letters and numbers (replacing vowels in a word is quite good, such as “n7mb5rs); include symbols too (such as ! or &). You will probably have several different passwords for different activities, so please make sure that they ARE all different! ...and where to keep them? Not on a Postit note stuck to the side of the computer! Or in a notebook by the side of the keyboard! Keep the list of passwords in a drawer or desk elsewhere, where you can find it when you use the computer.

Never tell a password to anyone, including people who claim to be from customer service or security. Never communicate a password by telephone, e-mail or instant messaging. Change a password whenever there is suspicion it may have been compromised. Change a password every 6 months at least.

For the mathematicians among you, there are only 268 possible permutations for an 8-character password that uses just lowercase letters, while there are 948 possible permutations for an 8-character password that uses a combination of mixed-case letters, numbers, and symbols. That's over 6 quadrillion more possible variations for a mixed password, which makes it that much harder for anyone to guess or crack.
Phil Whitemore

Do you think you are related to William the Conquer?
Do you have Royal Connections?

Family History for beginners will run for 8 sessions, every 2 weeks, starting with an induction session on 3rd Sept 2012 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
The course is designed to help you find those elusive ancestors.
This is a short course designed to help those who are new to family history and would like some guidelines about research from scratch.
We start at the beginning i.e. yourself, and work back through the living, parents and grandparents, (how many U3A members can do that?).
As we move from living to deceased relatives we can look at BMD registers, census etc.
During the course we visit the local resource centre (the library) where lots of local records are available; also newcomers can experience hands on the wonders of ancestry.com on a computer.
Later we look at less familiar sources such as Parish Records, Electoral registers, newspapers and wills.
Finally, although a computer is not a necessity we can see how much more easily all the facts that we discover can be recorded and reproduced very easily.
Finally, FH is addictive and it will not be long before somebody gives you a t-shirt with ‘Genealogists do it in Trees’ on it.

 2 Members of the group

Lots of information is freely available as well as researching on the internet.
Beginners sessions are run by Mike Kirby at 27,Downsway, Salisbury.
See also Spire U3A courses on the Website for details of follow up help/support.
For further information:-
Contact  Michael  Kirby  on  01722 330123
e-mail- michael@downsway.plus.com

Opera for Beginners

We started with the most popular operas which are the easiest to follow and usually those with the more familiar arias.  We have a very small sitting room so can only cater for 6 group members plus myself as group leader and my husband Bernard as the technical expert.   He copies operas from the TV and sorts out the sub-titles on the bought versions.  He also finds a suitable synopsis on the internet and makes a copy for each of us.  I try to keep the playing time per session to about 2 hours.
That means we sometimes have to do part in one month and the rest the next month.

At a convenient stage in the opera we break for tea and biscuits, when I try to get everyone out of their seats for a few minutes.
Some operas can be quite soporific and it is not unusual for a bit of afternoon snoozing to occur.  Last month one member saw about 30% of the opera.  Generally, however, the easy operas are the easiest to keep awake to.

Over the years we have seen high class performances on DVDs or recordings from La Scala, the Royal Opera House & the Met.  We are now definitely no longer beginners.  The group however wants to continue watching old favourites and some new challenges each year.  Left to their own choice they picked William Tell last year although warned it was a heavy option.  This year, against advice, they have picked La Cenerentola. 
Watch this space and I’ll report in due course how that went down. 

I find watching opera a truly delightful hobby and if anyone wants to start up a group I’ll get one more squeezed in to one of our meetings to see how it works out.  
At the moment, though, no vacancies.                            Pat Crossland

     Good for shovelling snow- but cold feet!

Spire Play Reading Group meet  on the third Tuesday of each month September to May  at 60 St Ann St between 2-4pm. New Members would be most welcome and should contact Maureen Davidson on 01722 337836 or email maureen.davidson3@btinternet.com. New members very welcome. We have recently read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Toad of Toad Hall, Who killed Santa Claus and An Inspector Calls.


German Group. Desperately need new members. Contact Mary Poynton 01722 334341

Sudoku February Solution         

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