U3A in London Update – 21 March 2022

This information was published on: March 21, 2022

Monday Morning Talk:

We look forward to hearing from Walter Merricks CBE, founding Chief Ombudsman who will be talking about his life in the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The revised programme of Monday Morning Talks is on the website.

From Amalia re: Extraordinary General Meeting:

For those of you that do not know me, I have been a member of our U3A for 31 years. As far as I know, ours is the oldest U3A, and this year we look forward to celebrating our 40th anniversary.  I, as do all of you, share the privilege of being part of a wonderful family. 

My main occupation has been fitting about 180 classes into our 9 classrooms – but it is so much more than that.  As Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee for over 20 years, I work with a group of talented, dedicated colleagues, many of whom have become close personal friends. We spend many happy hours working together as a team, often making mistakes but always doing our best.  We have survived many crises, one of the greatest, I think, is the present Covid pandemic. Running our U3A has become a challenging, complex, but always rewarding task.  

Now, I fear, some people feel that they are no longer part of a team. Meetings are taking place in which accusations are being made and some members have become confused. 

I have, over the years, worked with four superb Chairmen, Sofie Landau, Barry Rae, Naomi Stuart and, at present, Gilli Vafidis.  I am truly saddened that in the present circumstances, Naomi felt that she had to resign prematurely. 

On 24 March at 17.00, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) has been called which should bring matters to a head and I urge you to attend it, whatever your views, either on Zoom or in Room 2.21. We have informed you of the resolutions that will be discussed at the EGM. 

If you can’t attend, we should have received your proxy vote by Monday, 21 March but if at all possible, please come to the EGM, make your views known – and VOTE!

From Hazelanne Lewis

If you share a Zoom account with someone in your household, only one vote from that account will be valid unless the other person has completed a Proxy Form so that their vote can also be counted. 

Please note: in order to make sure that your vote is valid, your Zoom link should show your name and membership number.  If, for example, it just says ”iPad”, it is easy to change it.  Just click on the three dots at the top right of your Zoom picture.  A menu will drop down – select “Rename” and type in your details.

From Wally Howard

Film classes for week commencing Monday 21 March

Three films again this week: a docudrama, a rewarding film of immense charm and a ‘coming of age’ film to be enjoyed by arthouse fans of all ages.

Monday 21st March’s docudrama is Just Mercy a “death row drama with quiet power” (Mark Kermode).  Adapted from Bryan Stevenson’s 2014 memoir subtitled A Story of Justice and Redemption this legal drama offers a matter-of-fact account of one man’s struggle to lend voice to the silenced, dispossessed inmates of death row against the wider story of poverty, prejudice and institutional racism.  The film opens in 1987 Alabama with an African American forestry worker Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) being arrested for the murder of a white teenager.  By the time Bryan Stevenson (Michael B Jordan) starts defending death row prisoners, McMillian is awaiting execution with little hope of a reprieve.  Stevenson, a co-founder  of the Equal Justice Initiative is, however, determined to make a difference and so starts the unravelling of this miscarriage of justice. 

Wednesday 23rd March’s film Paterson finds us in Paterson, New Jersey where a bus driver also called Paterson (Adam Driver) quietly goes about his life.  Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, Paterson was described by Geoffrey Macnab in his review in the Independent as being a quiet and rewarding film of unlikely charm in which “Jarmusch proves that it is possible to make a film in which the everyday can be turned into something mysterious and even transcendent”.

Thursday 24th March. Mellow Mud was described by Alissa Simon in her review for Variety as being an “evocatively shot realist tale [which] benefits from a spare yet credible script and a knockout performance from Elina Vaska”. Written and sensitively directed by Renars Vimba it follows Raya (Elina Vaska,) a resourceful and determined 17 year old, who following the death of her grandmother must not only keep this fact hidden from the authorities but must also take care of her young brother whilst making ends meet as best she can on very limited funds. This bittersweet and compelling coming of age film follows Raya from Latvia to London as she goes in search of the mother who abandoned her children so many years before.   Mellow Mud was a worthy winner of a Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival 2016 and I hope that you will enjoy it too.

Do join me in Room 1.22 at 2.00pm next week to see some or all of these films and in the meantime stay safe and well.

Regards, Wally

From Jo Rapkin

As a pilot scheme, I have filled up the common room’s fridge with some cakes, sandwiches and quiche portions. They are individually packed, labeled, dated and priced. There is an honesty box available should you want to purchase those items – N.B. we cannot supply change. This is a once weekly trial run and if it proves popular, I will be more than happy to increase its frequency to twice-weekly delivery.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Alternatively, you will be able to leave any comments in the box as well. Best wishes. Jo

Note from the Office: It is your responsibility and extremely important to leave the room clean and tidy. 

From Alan Morton

On Tuesday, 22 March at 11.40.  I will be in Room 1.33 attempting to run a hybrid session of my Energy and Climate Change class on Zoom as well as in person.  I can give you the Zoom log-in details if you contact me.

European History on Wednesday at 11.40 in Room 2.21 will this week be about England & France: the 100 Years War after the Black Death 1350 – 1380.

From Stephen Barry

My London Miscellany talk on Thursday, March 24 is: The history of Tottenham Court Road, including the Great London Beer Flood.

From Robert Clifton

I have cut short this term’s Bridge classes after the 14 March and advised the class members accordingly.

I intend, next term, to return to Room 1.24 to resume my in-person classes.  Details will follow nearer the time.

From Valerie Wilson-Trower

The Design History group will be visiting The Salter’s Hall (a wonderful example of Brutalist architecture) on 29 March.  Members will be sent instructions with a map for everyone. 

Do let me know if you have any queries.

Zooming In

You can, if you wish, “Zoom in” on your smartphone, iPad or laptop to a coordinator who is giving a Zoom class from home, wherever you may be. However, if you want to join in from a screen in one of our rooms in the Town Hall this can easily be set up.  It’s not difficult – you only need to switch on, click on the Zoom icon and know the meeting ID and the passcode which you can find in the full Timetable. All we need is to have a “Zoom Buddy” in each class to set it up.

Zooming Out

(enabling in-person classes in the Town Hall to be available to Zoom viewers at home}.   So far, rooms 1.33 and 2.21 are set up to enable this.  Managing it, however, does need some training.  Let us know if you are interested.

From David Castle

The Chess Club is now meeting every two weeks on Friday at 10.30 in Room 1.33.  The next meetings will be on 25 March, 8 April and so on.  Expertise is not required – do come and join us!

To make you smile

More from Ron Tucker:
What did Snow White say when she came out of the photo booth? Someday my prints will come.
A girl said she recognized me from her vegetarian club but I’d never met herbivore.
I’ve always had an irrational fear of speed bumps, but I’m slowly getting over it.
What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? Short.
I’ve finally told my suitcases there will be no holiday this year. Now I’m dealing with the emotional baggage.
If you’re not supposed to eat at night, why is there a light bulb in the refrigerator?
My dad died when we couldn’t remember his blood type. As he died, he kept insisting “be positive,” but it’s hard without him.
Don’t let your worries get the better of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
Someone sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.


Best Wishes from Gilli and Amalia