U3A in London Update – 17 May 2021

This information was published on: May 17, 2021

The Timetable

The timetable and description of classes is available for you to view, to see it click here.

Monday Morning Talk

We have a last-minute programme change this week. The Monday morning talk is entitled ‘Design History: Modernism and Kitsch’ by Valerie Wilson-Trower. This Illustrates once again how lucky we are to have such a talented membership. Valerie, a design historian and journalist stepped into the breach when our advertised speakers told us they could not appear. She gained her doctorate from the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and has offered to give her lecture from the U3As Design History module.

Next week: Paul Lautman from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is coming to tell us about the work of the Trust. Paulis Head of Outreach and joined HMDT in December 2020. Prior to this he carried out a variety of senior roles in housing associations and local government.

Fraud and scams websites and links – a follow-up from last week’s talk

Click on these links for websites discussed at last week’s Monday morning talk on Frauds and Scams:

NatWest Security centre – available for our customers and non-customers: natwest.com/security

Friends Against Scams website – headed by the National Trading Standards Scams Team: friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Report the scam to Action fraud: 0300 123 2040 or online at  www.actionfraud.police.uk

Look for the ‘Little Book of Big You Scams (version 5) ’ online – written by the Police Service in conjunction with other expert organisations.

Get Safe On Line – an excellent source of free, unbiased security advice, categorised for easy use: www.getsafeonline.org

Check to see if your data has been lost due to a data breach: haveibeenpwned.com

A tool to help you develop strong passwords:howsecureismypassword.net

A true story about a victim of postal scams: thinkjessica.com

National Consumer HelplineOperated by Citizens Advice0808 2231133 / 03454 04 05 06,

Route to Trading Standards – Consumer Disputes and Scams

Government channels for reporting of Scam texts and emails:Texts  –  forward to 7726Emails – report@phishing.gov.uk

National Cyber Security Centre is the UK’s independent authority on cyber securitywww.ncsc.gov.uk

I’ve also attached a smaller, similar document focusing on telephone scams.


From Naomi

Regretfully, we are still not sure when we will be able to offer payment of membership fees for 2021-2022 online.  Our website developer has admitted defeat and we are finding a replacement.  We hope to achieve this reasonably soon – at the latest by the beginning of August – when you will have the option of paying your subscription online

If this still proves to be difficult, we will revert to the system we used last year and send out registration forms to all members by email to those who have this facility.  Therefore, we are asking you to delay payment of your membership renewal until we inform you that you now have the choice of paying online, (if this occurs before August) or you receive your registration form from us.

We sincerely hope that we will be meeting in Belsize Park in September, provided that the restrictions imposed by the government are removed.  We are working on a new hybrid timetable, so that whilst the emphasis will be placed on face-to-face classes, virtual (Zoom) talks and classes will take place as well.

This is a final reminder for those of you who are thinking of standing for election to the Executive Committee at our A.G.M. on 28 June, that your completed nomination form must be returned to me by Thursday, 20 May.  They must be posted to me at:Naomi Stuart, 41Preston Road, Wembley, Middx., HA9 8JZ.

Best wishes from Naomi.

Timetable News

History of Astronomy with me, Amalia on Mondays at 12.00 is now finished and from 17 May I’ll be offering a course entitled Alchemy – to Chemistry – to DNA.  So, if you want to know how to turn base metals into gold…sorry, I make no promises!

History of Europe with Christopher Dean on Tuesdays at 10.30 finishes next week and on the following week, 25 May Robin Weiss will begin his series of talks on Medicine – a germ’s eye view.  The talks will address how infectious diseases have affected society and how society has influenced the emergence of epidemics. No scientific knowledge of germs is required! 

From Stanley Volk

On 20th May at 12.00 we have “Singing Workshop for all levels”. This will include 10 minutes fun warm-up exercises, singing in harmony etc, to be followed by a Sing-Along with the music of  Sammy Davis, Nat King Cole, Lena Horne, and Antony Newly.  Come along to sing or just listen. We are now interactive”

From Martin Green

With regard to the Monday talk last week, the speakers may have already dealt specifically with the following mentioned scams. While on Royal Mail’s website I found a very large range of scams to which the membership might be alerted.


Also emails from the following should also be treated with the utmost caution and suspicion : Amazon, PayPal, DHL, DPD, Hermes and FedEx.

Best regards, Martin.

From Howard Shelter

Hello Group of 40.  I have now added “Novelty Music Medley” – 6 varied short pieces from my early compositions. These and the four below are available to anyone who goes to Youtube and types in Howard Shelter or clicks on this URL link


From Irene Fine

Please tell people in the Update that I’m happy to answer bridge problems.   They can send me hands they are unsure how to bid or other issues.

All the best, Irene

To lift your spirits

At the top – the swallows have returned! And, below, from Helen Graham, bluebells on the Ashridge Estate, swans and cygnets in Brent Park at the bottom of Bell Lane. – and even more swans and babies from Jelena via Steve Stephens

From Anna Orlowska

How kind of you to accept my photos last week, sorry for not adding any comments, The sunset was at Broomfield Park in Southgate The bluebells were taken in King’s Wood, Chesham & Farleigh and the pathway was Alexandra Park, Muswell Hill.,

From Muriel Hirsch

Pour Petit Point Culture pour la semaine 13.

Masterpieces from members of Maureen Betts’s Thursday Art Class

From Manny, Rosa and Thea.

To make you smile

The photographer photographed! And – from Steve Stephens – the non-vaccinated vs. the vaccinated.

The Washington Post’s ‘Mensa Invitational’ invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supplying a new definition. Here are the winners:

  1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
  2. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
  3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
  4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
  5. Bozone( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
  6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
  7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
  8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
  9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit).
  11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
  12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
  13. Dopyler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
  14. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider’s web.
  15. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
  16. Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

I work at Maggie’s Royal Free, a cancer centre in the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. We provide free cancer support to anyone who needs it through our programme of support. www.maggies.org   We are looking for some volunteers to help us in the centre with meet and greet for the visitors that come in and to help with some administrative tasks

Many thanks, Helen.  (Centre Fundraising Manager

Photography Project at The Postal Museum 

The Postal Museum at Mount Pleasant, near Kings Cross, are looking for help with the photography element of their project, Addressing Health, which focusses on understanding the health of postal workers between 1858 and 1908. The museum will re-open on 17th May and from the start of June they are looking for help from U3A members in the London area.
We need to photograph the pension records of approximately 28,000 post office workers between 1858 and 1908. There are usually four pages for each person. The documents are bound into large volumes and will be marked out for the person taking the photograph. These records provide us with information about a person’s sickness records as well as their reason for retirement from the Post Office and their personal details. We are using this information to find out about health and sickness in the workforce, as described in the recent U3A magazine.

We also need help with cropping the images and ensuring that they are of sufficient quality and the correct size to upload to the Zooniverse platform, where we have a project webpage to help us transcribe the data for each person. This will involve us sending people some images and for them to check their quality and crop using freely available software. We’ll provide instructions on how to do that and cover the cost of any licenses if needed. This can be done from someone’s home whereas the photography has to be undertaken at The Postal Museum itself near Mount Pleasant in Clerkenwell.

We need to have these photographs (i) to create a permanent digital resource for The Postal Museum and (ii) so that we can upload them to a platform called Zooniverse where we can have them transcribed. When we ran our project the first time a couple of months ago we had over 1500 volunteers transcribe some of the years for which we had images. We ran out images very quickly and so we’re now building them up again ready for another series of transcription events.

We have a high quality digital camera linked to a laptop where the images will initially be stored.  The camera is already set up and training will be provided by the archivists on how to handle the archives, and by the Museum’s own photographer. The work will take place in a Covid-safe place with all precautions to ensure safety. We plan to have a rota of volunteers which will be managed by The Postal Museum’s volunteer manager. Only one volunteer will be allowed in the room at any one time, together with a member of the Addressing Health team. All will be done at a safe social distance. We can provide a reimbursement for travel of up to £10 a day and also cover subsistence on the day.

If anyone is interested, they can contact me in the first instance at addressinghealth@hmail.com  or by phone on 020 7848 2721 and I’d be pleased to register their interest or answer any further questions.  Thank you in advance and if you need any further information please let me know.

Professor David Green

From London Region of U3As

University of Westminster: Invitation to participate – Chelsea Physic Garden project

We would like to invite you to take part in our online research project, about an inclusive online tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden. Below you will find full details about the study, and we hope it will be of interest to you. 

Nestled in the heart of London, next to the River Thames, the Chelsea Physic Garden has been an important site for plant collections since 1673. Today, it is a place to relax and unwind in nature as well as to explore the history of London’s oldest botanic garden.

With Covid-19 impacting on our ability to visit historic gardens in person, we wanted to explore ways to bring the Chelsea Physic Garden to people at home. We have created an inclusive video tour which introduces you to the delights that this unique heritage site has to offer. By taking part in the study, you will provide invaluable feedback to help us, and the Chelsea Physic Garden, understand how to develop engaging and inclusive online tours. Our objective is to develop ways for us all to access and enjoy our cultural heritage at home.

Taking part in the study involves the following:

Step 1: complete a short online questionnaire (5 minutes) which collects a few details about you and your email address, ready for when we need to contact you for Step 4

Step 2: watch the video tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden on YouTube (15 minutes)

Step 3: straight after watching it, complete an online questionnaire which asks for your opinions about it (15 minutes)

Step 4: two weeks later, we will send you a final short follow up questionnaire (10 minutes)

We anticipate the study taking a total of approximately 45 minutes of your time in total.  If you would like to, you can choose to be entered into a prize draw to win a £200 Amazon voucher, upon completion of the study.To take part, please click on the link below to start. This link will take you to the first questionnaire (Step 1). Once you complete this, you will be redirected to the video on YouTube. The link to the second questionnaire, which you will complete after watching the video (Step 3), is listed in the comments section under the video. In case you have difficulties accessing it there, you can also find it at the end of this email. Please note that you can make the video full screen if you want to by clicking on the icon at the bottom right of the screen (it is the icon at the far right of the row of 6 icons)

Click on this link to start the study: https://westminsterpsych.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_doRHwfOOfVsKJlX

Best Wishes from the Team