This was the 10th time U3A walkers met at Thelma's beach hut for mulled wine and mince pies. This year 30 members imbibed, then most of them were led, by Sue Humphries, on a short beach walk. Just after midday, we met again for a delicious fish and chip feast at the Coastguard Café. They had opened especially for us and was festively decorated. We hope to repeat this next year... Perhaps you will join us?
Ukulele Thursday and Ukulele Friday are two groups that meet fortnightly to enjoy playing Ukuleles informally in small groups for fun. Our standards are variable but nobody worries about that, only about gradually getting that little bit better as time goes by. Some are new starters or have started only recently, perhaps after a few lessons, while others have been playing longer and just like to play in a small relaxed environment where we can try out new or different songs or playing styles without worrying about going wrong – we do that quite often! Sometimes though we amaze ourselves by sounding quite good. Songs range from those we enjoyed as teenagers to the more contemporary.
Most of us sing as well as play and gradually build enough confidence to play with other groups in the area. Some but not all of us do this.
If you have a Ukulele lying about or it was an unused gift why not give it an airing – it is a very therapeutic activity. At the time of writing we are welcoming new members on Ukulele Friday although Ukulele Thursday is almost full.
Our meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Thursday mornings of the month or the 1st and 3rd Friday afternoons and we break for tea and coffee – see the last biscuit in the photo that everybody was too polite to take!
Contact details are on the Hayling Island U3A website and in the Newsletter.
The following information has been received from Ron Kerridge giving further information about the Tea Gardens at the bottom of Sinah Lane in the 1930s and 1940s. It is mentioned in the ‘Changing Years Book’, and may be of interest to members who purchased the book.
The article the Sinah Road Lodges caught my eye, it was about Allen’s Popular Tea Garden as it was run after William Allan died by my Great Aunt Rosina Trigg who had been employed as his housekeeper. Rosina took over the lease and her Sister Amelia Lyne came and worked with her. They did not dress in black dresses but blouses and skirts and were still living in the cottage/lodge when the gun site was bombed in April 1941. At the time of the raid they were in the Anderson shelter in the front garden; the cottage was badly damaged and was not rebuilt. Rosina moved to Purbrook and lived with her nephew, her sister Amelia Lyne moved in with her daughter who lived on Hayling Island and died in 1948. She is buried in St. Mary’s Priory Churchyard.
It is interesting that people outside the U3A circle read the book and are willing to send us further information.
In September, we had a very interesting visit to Hilsea Lido and we invited the Local History Group 1 to join us.
The Lido was built on the site of the fortifications known as Hilsea Bastion which was demolished in 1919. Early on this was known as Hilsea Bastion Gardens and as a forerunner of the Lido was an amenity with a tea stall and open-air music. In this area there were terraces, pergolas plus lovely gardens known as Hilsea Lagoon. The whole site was eventually known as Hilsea Lido, an Art Deco building with deco terraces and two large fountains, an adult pool large enough for swimming competitions and high diving, children's pool, cascades, flower beds and plenty of space for sunbathing and physical recreation. Previously considered 'a dirty corner of Hisea' the Lido became the seafront in the north of the city.
The opening ceremony in 1935 was a grand affair attended by dignitaries, the workers who constructed the pool, hundreds of spectators to whom the lido was a source of great pride and a 'fine city achievement.' It was a great success, immensely popular, used by hundreds of people and was visited by the 1936 Olympic British Diving Team who gave a demonstration in August 1936.
During WW2 the main pool was closed to the public and was given over to various military units in the area for their recreational use. After the war it came back to life, boating on the lake and the roller skate rink were very popular. A miniature railway ran along the Lido site from 1946 -1951.
In 1949 Sean Connery was in the Royal Navy, training at HMS Excellent when he was snapped rising from the pool, much to the delight of the girls!
Other notable visitors were the GB Diving Team who trained there for the 1952 Olympics. The Lido continued to provide a wonderful amenity for local people for several decades.
In 1974 the Lido was used as the set for Bernie's Holiday Camp when Oliver Reed and Ann Margaret visited to film a scene for the film 'Tommy'.
However, in the late 70's the diving platforms were removed, the advent of cheap package holidays abroad saw the attendance drop off. This triggered a downward spiral of under investment and it fell into disrepair over the next 30 years with limited use. The Council spent years trying to close it but there was an outcry from people of, 'no you can't possibly do that!'
It was close to being flattened in 2008 when Portsmouth City Council (PCC) abandoned plans to refurbish the Lido but with great support from the community, a group stepped in and has helped return the historic site from the brink of extinction.
In 2010 'Hilsea Lido Pool for the People' (HLPP) acquired the Lido and adjoining Blue Lagoon Building on a 99 year lease from PCC. The rejuvenation of the Lido began!
In 2011 the splash pool was damaged by freezing conditions and PCC replaced the pool with a new design featuring two pools named Hilsea Jubilee Splash Pool.
In 2012 Sport England gave HLPP £50,000 grant towards restoring the pool and the money was used to refurbish the pool's pumps and fit new lockers and showers.
The Lido reopened in July 2015 and in 2015 a new 2 metre diving platform was added to the pool. The Blue Lagoon Tea Room and Venue is open and providing great food and music events every Sunday and some Wednesdays.
This was an extremely interesting visit; we had a very good lunch, an excellent tour and talk. We learnt how the HLPP Trust volunteers have brought life back to the Lido, students from Highbury College have become involved using skills they are studying to help with renovation issues. The pool is open and swimmers come to train there as well as the recreational swimming available. There is obviously a long way to go but the Trust works hard to take steps to secure funding to help reinstate Hilsea Lido as a premier venue at the heart of the community.
This group has been in existence for only 8 months, we have had some wonderful sessions led by Deanne Cushion who has been instrumental in teaching us the core elements of walking netball. I would like to give Deanne a huge THANK YOU! because although I came up with the idea of starting this group I hadn’t played since my school years and couldn’t remember the rules at all!!
We have increased our knowledge and become a little fitter but most of all we have had great fun and laughed a lot. We meet weekly and currently have 18 lady members but we are an open group and if any lady reading this report would like to find out if walking netball is a game they would like to try then please contact me and I will give you the details.
Cast your mind back to the early seventies, when we left behind the lager & lime and Babycham and ventured into the world of wines with Mateus Rose and Blue Nun Liebfraumilch. Yes it was a modest start but a start never the less.
We spent decades living in Australia where we visited a number of wineries in areas such as the Hunter Valley (NSW), Barossa Valley (SA) and Margaret River (WA) in order to sample the excellent wines that Australia has to offer. We were able to gain a little knowledge about the wine production and the type of wines we preferred.
One of the first things we did upon arriving back in the UK two years ago was to join the U3A. It was one of the best things we did. We quickly joined a number of group activities and made some lovely new friends. Hayling Island made us very welcome and we settled in quite quickly.
It wasn’t long before a couple of friends suggested we start a U3A wine appreciation group. We didn’t need a lot of encouragement to do so, and it wasn’t long before we had a full group of 12 members and then assisted a second group to form.
None of us are experts but we all enjoy researching, tasting and learning about the different wines that the world has to offer. We meet once every 2 months at each other’s homes and the host chooses the theme for the evening – this could be for instance, white wines from different areas of France, red wines from different countries or a certain grape variety from different countries.
We arrange ourselves into pairs – each pair does research on the wine/region they have been given by the host, purchase one bottle of wine between them with a maximum price of £10. The research is then presented at the meeting. This means we have 6 different wines to taste at our gathering, and it is interesting what background facts and stories we can discover during this process.
Just for fun and not to be taken too seriously, we comment on our opinion of the wines and give them a score out of 10.
If anyone is interested in joining a wine appreciation group then we encourage you to contact us. It really is a very enjoyable social evening with good friends, good wine and a few nibbles.
In January Elissa gave a thorough and entertaining talk after our monthly read of 'A Study in Scarlet' by Sherlock Holmes. She also gave a resume of his life as well. This was an unusual and enjoyable novel, rather dated obviously, unusually constructed, most of the group were pleased to have read it.
In February, Gill reported on Sweet Caress by William Boyd. Again, it was an unusual novel, a kind of autobiographical love story. Enjoyed by all and we hope to find another novel by this prolific Irish author.
In March, we read a book of short stories compiled by Tracy Chevalier. Titled 'Reader I married him', each story had a link with Jane Eyre. What changes a woman's life depends on if or who she marries. Exceptionally interesting and entertaining.
As a group leader I can recommend this to other groups. A wide range of writers contributed and each member of our group spoke about the author as well as the story. Personally I think this would last longer than a single meeting...
Usually at our get togethers we choose a poem to read aloud with a given theme. Such as children, the sea, humour, holidays, travel... most of the group enjoy this but I do have to twist one or two arms!!! I consider myself very lucky to be in charge of such a varied and delightful group of friends where everyone contributes to running it.
Well, the Blues Appreciation Group got off to a good start and I’m fully subscribed for meetings at my house. So far we have looked at Robert Johnson and other artists that died at 27, Willie Dixon and the Chicago Blues, John Lee Hooker and B B King plus we did a Tracks of My Years for the Xmas meet.
This proved very interesting; I was introduced to the music of Elaine Delmar and by coincidence was lucky enough to receive tickets to see her at the Spring Havant. More Jazz than Blues perhaps, her set comprised of a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, but what a performer at 80+ ….. Wow.
Unfortunately we’ve now got the Corona Blues and meetings would go against good advice, so I’m trying use a bit of tech by sending out a daily blues track and weekly magazine by email. Whilst this isn’t the same as meeting with people it might help a little with isolation and keep the interest going. I would be more than happy to include others on this email list. Any Hayling U3A members who would like to be included can email me.
Stay safe and well and I hope to see everyone in the not too distant future.
Social Bridge is a fairly quiet group. Actually it's quieter than that. We don't move around much either, except for a couple of times a year, when we de-camp to the Golf Club to rent the Sinah Room overlooking the lake, play and have lunch. The word "Frenetic" is not a good adjective for us, but we don't mind.
We regularly have enough members to fill 4 or 5 tables, and have space and kit for 6 tables as a maximum. So we have room for a few more members. If you would like to play Bridge, but don't know how, then we can direct you to classes that will get you started or improved (this is how many of us got started) - so don't give up hope!
We still miss Mrs. Vera Smith who led our group for many years, and trust she is enjoying her new home and U3A in Odiham.
It was a year of great sadness for Bell Canto as we lost five of our members who had been with the team almost from its beginnings. The loss of Audrey and Derek Knight, Avril Keyes and Paul Chapman, plus Joan Palmer who went into care, was grievous not only because they were all good musicians who contributed sensitively to the music but also because they contributed significantly to the friendship and concern for each other that has evolved in the group. Happily we have made four new recruits and we look forward to their becoming integrated into the group and its music making.
Our main events were crammed into the latter part of the year. Just before the summer break we shared a concert in the URC Church with the Hampshire Guitar Group, organised by Hannah Hone. After a gap of a year we returned to the URC Church for the Late Night Shopping Concert. We had a goodly crowd in to listen, and appreciated the many kind comments at the end of the concert.
At the end of the year we had two contrasting concerts. We shared an event with the Solent Fellowship Band in a packed St Mary’s Church. We played two sessions, one of light classics and the other Christmas music. This was our best playing ever with the bells resounding through the superb acoustic in the Nave.
Later 15 of us went to play to the severely disabled people who live in the Bryony House Care Home. There are just eight residents. Although individual communication was very difficult, their evident pleasure and enjoyment came across very clearly: and whilst, with one exception, no-one could sing the words of the carols, they all joined in humming and singing as best they could until the whole room filled with music, their sounds blending with the bells.
Big events, broadcasts and CDs over the years have seen the team play to many people. Perhaps our most worthwhile event was playing to those eight people whose lives, to us, seem impossible to bear.
One of the objectives of the U3A is to learn things. In History Group 2 we have found that a sure fire way of ensuring that you learn something is to be told that you are going to have to give a talk about it to your peers on your chosen historic subject. That is what we do.
Over the last year we have had talks on a wide variety of topics which included:
The Huguenots and their impact on British society;
Constantine the Great from 324 BC;
The Neolithic period of Prehistoric Britain;
Royal Navy Press Gangs from 1664 onwards;
The motion of the Earth round the Sun and its influence on how we measure time;
Conflicts between the USA and Mexico, Cuba, Spain and the Philippines;
What it means to be 'Celtic' in Britain from 1707 AD onwards;
The contrasts between reality and the Hollywood versions of the lives of Wyatt Earp and other western 'gunslingers';
Admiral Fieldhouse 1st Sea Lord during the Falklands War; and
The connection between the Meteorological Office and Pitcairn Island.
A very original and thought provoking talk was given by Richard North on what we mean by 'History', how it was taught when we were all pupils, and how it is taught now.
At present we are at maximum capacity but if we have any vacancies in the future it will appear on the U3A website.
All through the year, in the background, was Brexit! We kept stating that it wasn’t philosophy, but somehow it kept intruding itself on our discussions. We talked about the rise of ‘populism’ and what it was, and ‘sovereignty’ and such like.
However the group has evolved over the year. We have lost one or two members. We are all getting older, and ill health has taken its toll on some, the most recent and sadly missed being Paul Chapman, on the upside, we have new members who bring a fresh perspective to our discussions.
We have ventured into more scientific topics, such as ‘consciousness’ and ‘reality’, how far can we trust our senses? We still follow the same format: we agree a topic, somebody agrees to start off the discussion, and then pandemonium ensues! (No, we really are very polite and disciplined!) We always break for coffee and cake and a chat, (which I think is half the reason people come) but that is one of the benefits of belonging to this U3A.
I am often surprised by the interest shown by people in the group. When we started, more than ten years ago, I was sure we wouldn’t get many takers and it wouldn’t last. But here we still are, with people still wanting to join. We are even preparing for the return of Derek Dunn after his stints as past Chairman and past President. The problem always seems to be the timing of the group (Wednesday morning, third in the month) but I’m sure any other time would clash with other groups as well.
If anyone is at a loose end on a Wednesday morning and wants to try us out, do get in touch, there may be a short wait, but we can fit in one or two more.