U3A in London Update – 16 November 2020

This information was published on: November 16, 2020

From Gilli The Online Timetable

As usual, we have sent you the timetable as a separate document so that you may access it more easily. You may also see it if you click here. Also click here for an up-to-date description of all the current classes.

The Monday Talks

On Monday 16 November, it is with great pleasure that we welcome back Dr David Marsh, a regular contributor to The Monday Morning Talks and a garden historian, lecturer and writer. He is co-convener of the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes seminar at Institute of Historical Research, London University, 2011 to date and is currently involved in setting up a national programme for garden history education. His talk is called ‘Puzzle Pictures: Deconstructing Paintings of Gardens since the 1540s’.

Next Week Glynn Christian discusses the bigger picture behind the 1789 Mutiny on the Bounty involving social reformer Christian Fletcher and Mauatua his Tahitian consort. Glynn, the 4x great grandson of Christian Fletcher can also lay claim to being the first BBC-TV Breakfast celebrity chef! In addition to awards for his writing he has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Guild of Fine Food.


Many will have enjoyed Ralph Blumenau’s talk on Voltaire at the end of October – and we are delighted to announce that he is offering a second guest lecture on ‘William Morris’. This is planned for November 26 at 5.30 pm.

More from Gilli about using the Zoom platform.

  1. Coordinators: Please ensure that you close the meeting for everybody when your session is over (one of the benefits of ‘claiming host’).  If for any reason you haven’t been able to “Claim Host” (either because you’ve forgotten how or lost the password) please make sure that you stay till the last person has gone off the platform. Unfortunately, some of our members do not realise that they need to ‘leave’ the meeting and have been hanging around in limbo for hours. This potentially blocks the next class.
  2. All members: There is no need at all to join a Zoom meeting more than, say, 5 minutes before it us due to start.  Anyone who does this may unintentionally block the speaker from getting in to his/her own meeting!  And, when the session is ended, if the host hasn’t already closed the meeting, make sure you press the red “Leave” button and then the “Leave Meeting” button (see above).  By joining early or hanging around, you not only ruin access for others, but you inadvertently extend the recording time which is irritating for all.

Recordings of the Monday Morning Talks are available for a week or two afterwards.  If you would like to have the link to a recording of any outside contributor – please email the Office Recordings of other talks may also be available. Please check with the coordinator to request a link.

From Naomi

A vaccine appears to be on the horizon, which gives us hope for the future.  However, weeks, if not months will pass before that becomes a reality.  Meantime we must play by whichever rules we are living under.  This could mean that this lockdown might soon be over, and we will be returning to the tier system. 

Normally, most of us would be looking forward to the end of term and the winter break, but there is no such thing as “normally” now.  According to the U3A diary, which Amalia and I produced over a year ago, U3A would have been closed for 4 weeks from 11 December to 11 January.  Under the present circumstances, we believe this is wrong.  What we are proposing to do is to extend this term by a week to finish on 18 December and to start the spring term one week early on 4 January.  In the intervening two weeks we hope to put together a “Winter Programme” providing our members with two Zoom meetings a day.  Already the Drama Group have plenty to entertain us with and we hope to line up a variety of talks to both stimulate and lift your spirits.

This is still in its embryonic stage but I’m sure the committee and coordinators will support us.  If you have any suggestions or would like to take part in this programme, please let Amalia or me know.

We have not given up on renewing membership online, this method is closer, but not ready yet. 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.)  Stay well and take care.

Stay well and take care.

Let’s say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021 by sharing our talents on Zoom.  Are you willing to “have a go”at lifting our spirits?We all need cheering up!A contribution can be made to the Drama Group’s entertainment by contacting the Office. If you would like to give a light-hearted one-off talk for our Winter Programme, contact Gilli, Amalia or Naomi.

More about our Digital U3A

Please remember that our digital timetable is for our own members, so please don’t share it with friends and relations although it may be tempting to do so. Instead, encourage them to follow the example of Catherine from Lewes. She looked at our website and decided she liked the look of our Zoom classes so much (particularly Stephen McGhee’s wonderful “These You have Loved” series) that she has written to Naomi and decided to become an out-of-London member of our U3A. Welcome, Catherine!

From Wally Howard

I have pleasure in attaching the links to Part Seven of the Morata Affair and Part 13 of Wally’s Reflections at 95.

Watch “Morata Affair- Part Seven” on Vimeo:

Watch “Reflections at 95 – Part 13” on Vimeo:

Exciting News

Advanced Spanish is back!  Lucia Bird invites members of her class and anyone else whose Spanish is of a good standard to join her,starting this Wednesday at 11.30.  See the timetable for contact details. And Maureen Guirdham will be returning next term with more of her “Travellers’ Tales.  Welcome back, Lucia and Maureen!

And… Watch this space

On 3rd December Malcolm Stern and Stanley Volk(M & S) are getting their play-reading groups together to present “Zoom Theatre”.  More details next week.

From Pieta Ruck Keene

Here is a copy of this week’s breath class 


The handout is attached.  See you next week

Move better and feel great. Helping people to ❤️ their bodies from the inside out. 

For ideas on how to exercise during Lockdown 2.0 read here: https://www.circusbodies.com/single-post/twelve-daily-lock-down-exercises

Richard Cohen writes

The U3A History Walk Virtual Tour last Tuesday had 75 participants looking at places of worship built by 9 different religious communities in London: Jews, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Muslims, Thai Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains – all were represented.

From Shireen Gunasekera

(who wrote to this letter recently published in the Ham and High)

Dear Editor

Having seen the advertisement for U3A in London, and Maggie Crawford’s letter to the Editor, I am tempted to write of my own experience as a U3A London member.

There is indeed a gem hidden away in the Hampstead Old Town Hall – and that is the U3A in London.  For those of a certain age, it is THE place to go, to learn something new, meet people, make friends.  The U3A offers a wide array of classes, covering a variety of interests, and numerous social activities.  Since my retirement, I have learnt Tai Chi, Tap Dancing, Pilates, Yoga, Belly Dancing.  A particular highlight was the Belly Dance troupe being invited to perform at the Retirement Show at London Olympia for three consecutive years.  I also continue to pursue my passion for Bridge, playing there regularly.  As one gets older, it is said that it becomes that much harder to make friends.  I have made many lasting friendships while participating in U3A activities.  I do enjoy my U3A London membership.

To those fellow Seniors who have not yet sampled the U3A London experience, I say give it a try, you will not regret it.  “Life begins at 60”.

From Jennifer and Oscar Hill

Dear Naomi,

Oscar and I want you to know how very much we enjoy and appreciate the zoom lectures from U3A.Of course we used to enjoy coming in to the town hall in person very much, but because of the travelling time involved and not wishing to wait around between the end of one talk and the start of another we limited ourselves to the number of lectures/talks we attended. Now at home we watch many more, and have discovered excellent talks and lecturers unknown to us previously.

We are personally especially appreciative of watching Shirley Levy on zoom. I (Jennifer) had had most regretfully to give up attending her excellent Monday art appreciation classes in person, as after lunch with the lights in the room dimmed because of the slides I sailed off to sleep every week. Now at home Oscar and I turn the lights right up and so much enjoy these lectures. Ditto her Chaucer classes on Thursday afternoons, where we attendees had various versions of the text. Now the text Shirley is herself using is up on the screen, and we can concentrate on listening to her reading it so beautifully with no confusion possible. We are so very grateful for the incredible amount of hard work put in by all of you at U3A to bring those of us at home such a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure.With very best wishes and thanks to you all.

From Maureen Guirdham

Dear Amalia,

I must take this opportunity to congratulate all concerned at the U3A for the great success of your online provision. I am a member of several societies, and the U3A has outperformed all the others in this. I’m rather hoping you will be able to continue to offer some online talks when you resume at the Town Hall. While I agree with those who say the social interaction is better with in-person meeting, the benefits of not having an hour’s travel each way mean I am getting more out of my membership than ever before!

Warm regards, Maureen.

To Make you smile

(I hope no-one will object to some lack of political correctness)