U3A in London Update – 12 October 2020

This information was published on: October 13, 2020

From Gilli The Monday Talks

This week’s Monday talk is titled ‘Witches in History’ and is given by Susanne Kord, a professor in the School of European Languages, Culture and Society at University College London and author of 20 books. She has long held an interest in witches, and she will discuss witch hunting, its history and methods, why we started to believe in witches and whether some of us have ever really stopped. 

Next week – in a complete change of focus – Daniel Sonabend tells us about ‘The 43 group, Post-war fascism and anti-fascism’. The 43 group was an antifascist movement composed predominantly of Jewish ex-servicemen who came together after World War II to confront a growing fascist threat in post-war Britain. Daniel is a London based writer and historian, with a Masters in Intellectual History from Cambridge. 

The residents of Sunridge Court Care Home were able to watch the talk last week and Gilli has had an appreciative email from the team there:
“Dear Gilli,
Thank you for the talk on Monday – what a character !  He really could tell a story well. We will be back on Monday for the Witches Talk and really appreciate being able to join you .
Best wishes and thanks, Chris.”   

And Gilli replied:
Thanks Marguerite and Christina. Yes, he was great wasn’t he – a real one-off. I hope the rest of the timetable will be as stimulating. I saw you there – it was good to see you.
One of these days, let’s try and field questions from you. I suppose you could use the chat link as a first option, do you think sound will be a problem? But in any event, a very big welcome to everyone from all of us here.
Best wishes, Gilli 

Click here to see the latest timetable.


Recordings of each Monday Morning Talks are available for a week or two afterwards. If you would like to have the link to a recording – or of that of an outside speaker such as Cindy Zurias, please email the Office Recordings of some other talks may also be available. Please check with the coordinator to request a link.

From Naomi

Thank you so much for your good wishes. It seems it’s been my turn to feel life isn’t fair. Not only have I had a nasty chest cough and cold which I hope is about to fade away, but I’ve had no internet connection or landline for a week and my boiler has been giving problems. However, when I think of all the real hardship others are going through at the moment, I realise that I’ve got so much to be grateful for. Temporary faults can be rectified but fundamental problems may need radical action, if that is possible.

If you are feeling burdened at present, remember you are part of our family. Email me any time or phone me on 020 8904 2436 during the week between 9.00 and 4.00, if you just want to talk about your problem, whatever it is. Amalia and other members of the committee are there for you also. A sounding board is often a great comfort.

Herbie, Anthony and I have been overwhelmed by your enthusiasm to renew your membership fees. We truly appreciate how willingly you’ve taken the opportunity to pay. If we appear a little slow in responding, it’s because we’re trying desperately to keep up with your requests, so please be a little patient in waiting for your form to arrive. I think we’re almost up to date.

The only way for you to renew your membership at present is to email the Office and ask for your pre-printed form to be emailed to you (if you have printer problems, ask for it to be posted to you.) I will then liaise with Herbie and organise this. It would definitely help if you included your name and membership number, as I don’t have the means to decode email addresses. When you have made sure everything is correct on the form, you need to sign it and post it back to a member of the committee. If you want to pay by this method, I will send you all the necessary information when you apply for your form.

If you pay by cheque, you need to include that with the form; if you pay directly into our bank (details are supplied), you still must post back the signed form to that member of the committee.

One of the interesting things I’ve discovered whilst receiving your requests is how far some of you have strayed from home. Members are locking down in various retreats. We have at least one couple living in rural France, another in northern Italy and a member residing in Israel now. It’s amazing that there are no geographical boundaries as far as Zoom is concerned, and these particular members have all expressed their appreciation of the classes that they are able to attend. As has a new member, who is in Devon for now, and another in Manchester. Moreover, we have a member who is in hospital at present and, when reception permits, she too enjoys Zooming in. Please, if you are joining us from an interesting location, let us know.

Take care everyone

The membership fees this year have not changed and the basic contribution is still £75.

More Zoom Problems: Disruption to start of classes

We are learning more every day! If you are taking part in a Zoom session, remember we have asked you not to switch on too early and to check that you have the correct day and time. It is also important that you switch off at the end of the session by pressing the ‘Leave Meeting’ button.

If you are a coordinator of a shared platform you know it is important to ‘End meeting for all’ at the close of a session. However there have been a couple of times when the recording shows that the session continued to run even when the coordinator had left. The session stayed ‘on’ and overran into the next person’s session, preventing them from starting. It sometimes even continues into the next day! To try and minimise this issue:

  1. If you are not ‘claiming host’, please make sure that you are the last person to leave the meeting and press ‘leave’ at the end.
  2. Even if you did ‘end meeting for all’ as host, please subsequently close all zoom windows related to that meeting, e.g. ‘post attendee – zoom’ and get yourself back to the home screen.
  3. If it was your own zoom platform check that the red video icon is not showing for any of your upcoming (or previous) meetings and ‘end’ the meeting if so.

Overall, things are running much more smoothly than at first, and I hope disruptions will continue to reduce.  Thank you for your patience and good humour – you have helped to create a wonderful programme!

Anne Maslin’s funeral

I wrote to Chris Maslin to explain that unfortunately I could not go to Anne’s funeral, but Ann Watkins did attend, and she writes:

“Dear Amalia, I went to Anne’s cremation yesterday. I have a copy of the Service of Committal which I could post to you or Naomi. Only the family were at the Crematorium as there had been a service at the church in Hendon that Anne had attended. At the service I sat with two U3A gentlemen who knew Anne and Chris through Margaret Mitchell’s Discovery Walks which they obviously enjoyed. They were missing U3A but appreciated the weekly Update keeping them in touch..

I am sure members must be appreciative of all the hard work that has resulted in so many classes being available. It shows what a marvellous and welcoming U3A we are. Keep well, Ann.”

From Wally Howard

The next topic in my talk on miscarriages of justice is Part 2 of The Morata Affair. Watch “The Morata Affair – Part 2” and “Memories at 95 – part 8” on Vimeo.

From Sue Kwok

Another contribution from the Thursday Creative Writing class is available.

Zoom etiquette

From one of our coordinators:

What is and what is not acceptable on Zoom? On many occasions a person will be visibly eating – and even worse!. It can look quite disgusting because the camera seems to distort the effect. Should people eat while they are on Zoom? Probably not! No-one minds if they drink tea/coffee/water [or even wine!] but eating and chewing should be really be invisible. Remember, you can – and should – switch off your video!

From Maureen Betts

More contributions from the Thursday Art class.

From Pieta Ruck Keene


The handout for my class and the recording of this week’s exercises for the sacroiliac ligaments are available from the Office. 

Best wishes, Pieta

From Tom Harris

For the fans who are following Tom’s talks: “Summits: Diplomacy at the Highest Levels”, these are the titles of those for the reminder of the term.

13 October: Treaty of Aix La Chapelle

20 October: The Congress of Vienna

27 October: The Treaty of Paris

3 November The Munich Crisis

10 November Bretton Woods

17 November Yalta

24 November The Geneva Accords

1 December Nixon meets Mao

8 December Reykjavik: The Summit Which Failed

Our loyal members in France (Wally and Ellen) are busy!

I had written to them as follows:

“Daphne Gotlop told me that you are doing wonderful things from France by linking the Friday writing class with the States – and more! Please let me have something about it for the next Update – and thank you, Amalia

They replied: “Thank you for your note – and encouragement…….It’s turning out to be a little less simple than I expected when I put my hand up! – But I expect you know all about that! However, I’ll persevere (with Ellen’s help) and give you the low-down when we’re there! Warmest wishes from the Pyrenees,”

So watch this space!

To Make you smile

From Steve Stephens

Six great confusions still unresolved.    
1. At a theatre, which arm rest is yours? 
2. If people evolve from monkeys, why are monkeys still around? 
3. Why is there a ‘D’ in fridge, but not in refrigerator? 
4.  Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made? 
Vagaries of English Language! 
Ever wonder why the word funeral starts with FUN?   
Why isn’t a Fireman called a Water-man? 
How come Lipstick doesn’t do what it says? 
If money doesn’t grow on trees, how come Banks have Branches? 
If a Vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat? 
Why are goods sent by ship called CARGO and those sent by truck SHIPMENT? 
Why do we put cups in the dishwasher and the dishes in the Cupboard? 
Why do doctors ‘practise’ medicine? Are they practising at the cost of the patients? 
Why is it called ‘Rush Hour’ when traffic moves at its slowest then? 
How come Noses run and Feet smell?   
Why do they call it a TV ‘set’ when there is only one? 

Did you know that if you replace “W” with “T” in “Where and When”, you get the answer to each of them?

From Alison May
Learning Manager

U3A Radio Podcast is here! On our YouTube channel: https://www.u3a.org.uk/learning

The first ever u3a radio officially launched at 2pm on 29th September directly after the national AGM. The national office learning team have been working with member volunteers who are skilled in broadcasting and you can keep listening to u3a radio wherever you are as it is delivered as a recorded podcast. This pilot will feature a series of interviews and features from across the movement – for the launch – all themed around looking forward. We are very excited about this project which we aim to grow and develop over the coming year. There will be another pilot before Christmas. We hope you enjoy our first broadcast.

U3A Radio – Episode 1
Please tell your friends and colleagues to tune in! https://youtu.be/9zGNxpUSUAc
If you have an interesting story to tell – get in touch – you can email us at communications@u3a.org.uk

From Catherine Ware, Chair – London Region of U3As
On Monday 5 October 2020 beginning at 11 am, via zoom, we will have the opportunity to hear Patricia Gentry speaking on The History & Highlights of Kew Gardens
*Surprising stories from the greatest botanic gardens in the world.

Meet me on Zoom to hear fascinating stories of suffragette arson, giant waterlilies, and the world’s smallest Royal Palace. Meet “the loneliest bachelor in the world,” plants that save people from illness, and get useful advice on what not to miss on your next visit to the Gardens. You will learn that it is not only a place of natural beauty but also a scientific institution at the forefront of saving our planet from extinction.

Patricia Gentry’s Profile:
She has a MA in Japanese and Japanese history and has been working as Blue Badge Guide in the UK for more than 20 years now. She is living in Kew and works as a guide and lecturer ( in 5 languages including Japanese ). She also runs a company organising educational tours to Britain. Her interests are broad and she offers a range of in depth tours on historic subjects in London and around Britain. Her personal favourite is the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and she guides there regularly.  

The Royal Botanic Gardens is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003, but an internationally renowned garden which contains the largest living plant collection in the world.

You will be able to ask all your questions at the end. This virtual tour will be given via zoom with high quality photos and films and will give you lots of tips for your next real life visit to Kew Gardens.

The charge for this reading will be just £6 per person.  The lecture will be approx. 50 min-1 hour + 15 min time for Questions and Answers. If you are interested in taking part in what promises to be a fascinating look behind the scenes at Kew, please contact Peter Lewinson, lewinson.peter12@gmail.com, who will answer any questions you may have, and ensure you are sent a zoom link. Alternatively please ‘phone Diana Goforth pgsu3a-secretary@wffot.co.uk

With thanks to Peter Lewison of Palmers Green & Southgate U3A.

Also From Catherine Ware

The next talk that Ealing U3A have by Zoom that is open to other London Region u3a members is entitled “Shakespeare on Stage and Page,” and starts at 10.30 a.m. Thursday, 8 October.

Professor Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford. She will illustrate her talk with examples from Shakespeare’s own theatre and more recent performances. (Her latest book, “This is Shakespeare,” is published in 2020.) This talk will not be recorded.
If u3a members would like to join us, please could they get in touch with Ealing U3A’s Chairman, Derek Atkinson, email address: Chairman@u3aEaling.org.uk, so that he can send them the Zoom link the day before.

With many thanks to Ealing U3A, Catherine Ware
Chair – London Region of U3As