U3A in London Update – 27 April 2020

This information was published on: April 27, 2020

Firstly, apologies for the strange format that appeared last week.  I’m sure you managed to read Joanna’s letter in spite of it being all over the place and that you worked out that Wally is Wally – and not WallyBridge!  Computers do sometimes have minds of their own!  Let’s hope that this week’s update will have no “glitches”.

Remember, if you would like to write to your friends at U3A via this update you can send an email to Naomi or Amalia at the office at  office@u3alondon.org.uk  as we can pick up the emails from home.

We have had another letter from Joanna Rapkin:

Dear Amalia,

I hope you and yours are well.

I’ve just seen my account – and there has been another transfer from U3A.  Thank you so much!  Everyone has been so so amazing. I have no words to express my gratitude other than ‘thank you all so much’ – I’ll be forever grateful.

I am now writing to you to ask for this to end though – without sounding ungrateful, as your generosity has provided more than enough – I’ll be alright. I AM alright. Maybe, if there is any more coming (but I’m not assuming there is), with yours and your members permission, could you please pass it on to a charity? Perhaps Captain Tom’s ‘little’ campaign, as I think what he did is amazing. He is amazing!

Also, if I may, I would like to contribute to your forthcoming celebrations mentioned in your latest update. When the time comes, and I know it will, and soon, please let me cook (and bake) for you – it’s the least I can do to say thank you for all you’ve done for me.

In the meantime, do stay safe and healthy.

With best wishes and love,



Susan Cohen is the one who had the original idea, got it moving and has done all the work involved.  I forwarded Joanna’s email to her and this is her response:

“She is a treasure! and so honourable. I don’t think we could give any of ‘her’ money to a charity without asking the donors, do you? I had another £100 or so in cheques this morning. The best thing I suppose is to say that the collection is now closed…..

The tribute goes to all the people who have so generously donated.. I’ve just been the facilitator. Thank goodness for the post office and being able to pay cheques in there, or we would have been stuffed. I have a vague idea in my head to make a collage picture of the letters (without names of course) but don’t have a clue yet how to go about it….May be beyond my limited technical expertise”.  Susan.

(I’m going to introduce her to Maxine Jason – see below).

Using Zoom to have a chat

Are you missing friendly conversations in the Atrium Café with your friends?  If so, would you be willing to host a “Coffee Morning” or an “Afternoon Tea” on your computer (without providing any refreshments of course).  If you are interested but are not quite sure, please email the office.

Gilli or Naomi will help you set up Zoom on your computer if you are not using it yet – it only takes a few minutes. It’s free, the chats last up to 40 minutes and those too are free.  All you have to do is let Naomi know the days and times when you would like to be a “host” and she will let you have the email addresses of up to eight other members who would like to join a conversation.

When you log in and start the meeting you will all be able to talk to each other, go down memory lane or tell a few funny stories.  A good laugh would certainly brighten the day. Alternatively, If you would like to be a “guest” we’ll tell you how in next week’s update. We’d like as many of you as possible to be involved but it may need a little time to set it up   Please be enthusiastic but patient.

A message from Gerta

Herewith the link for quiz 4 – click here – and for the answers, click here. Don’t cheat!   It is up to you how hard you try before looking at the latter.

I would also like to say “thank you” to those who have enquired about my well-being. Unfortunately I am still in pain and only able to move around the flat with my Zimmer.   It is almost three weeks since the accident but I fear recovery at my tender age will take a good deal longer.

From Gilli

Remember, Gilli is happy to accept and advise any new prospective “hosts” who would like to run an on-line class.

Wally’s Vimeo  The link to his Vimeo this week can be found by clicking here

From our members

From Tom Harris

Dear Amalia and Naomi,

Flicking through the latest edition of Third Age Matters, I came across suggestions of ways in which U3A groups could keep active and connected during the current crisis.  One was that members should keep a diary about their experiences and feelings of living through the crisis for a new living history project.

This struck a chord. Since March 22, I have been sending my grandchildren in New York a daily report on how the crisis is panning out on this side of the Atlantic.  Some messages are family-related but most are broader accounts of the different ways the pandemic is having an impact on so many different aspects of British life.  In effect, it is an extended diary of life over here and now runs to 25 different reports which, taken together, is a growing diary of my experiences and what I have found of interest in the events of each day.

It occurred to me that there might be other members of our U3A doing very much the same thing.  What if those who were keeping a diary were willing to share these, pool their material and be prepared to work together to produce a Living History account of the impact of coronavirus on our lives during the crisis? A group could collate the material and then edit it into a single paper covering different aspects of our, and the community’s, lives and events. This report could then eventually be circulated to all the other members of our U3A branch as a joint memory once the lock-down/epidemic is over. This is after all the most extraordinary time any of us have lived though in our lifetimes and it deserves to be remembered for future generations.

I fancy the idea of producing, to paraphrase Daniel Defoe’s title, a ‘Journal of a Plague Year in Hampstead’.  Of course all this only makes sense if there are enough members of our branch willing to share their past and future diaries of these extraordinary times and a smaller group prepared to collate the material and edit it into an eventual composite history.

I would be very happy to take the lead and act as initial contact point and coordinator for people to share their diary material and/or join a small editorial team. To kick it off I would need to hear from members who are (1) prepared to share their diaries and/or  (2) prepared to join a small editorial group.  These need not be the same people.

Best wishes, Tom.

From Other Members

From Maxine Jason

This is my latest collage ‘Growing Old Disgracefully’. (Click here to see it).  Just shows you what can be done with magazines and glue.  Best wishes, Maxine

From Susan Woodford

Dear Amalia and Gilli,

Thank you for having made it possible to continue to coordinate Writing Creatively virtually, but as only one member of the group is interested in doing so and as the course depends heavily on group participation, I’m afraid I have to withdraw my offer to coordinate it on Zoom. I appreciate all the efforts you have made and hope that when we are back in the building we will be able to again assemble all the warm bodies that made Writing Creatively so enjoyable.

Best wishes,  Susan Woodford

Talking of Creative Writing, Amalia had a call from Daphne Gotlop who now lives in the North of Scotland – some of you will remember her very fondly.  She ran a Creative Writing and a Mah Jong class for many years and was married to our artist Tony Gotlop and therefore is also the sister-in-law of Peter Gotlop.  Daphne sends her love and best wishes to all her friends in U3Ain London and would love to hear from you.

From Lorna Kerr

Here is the link to a TaiJi video of Chen Xiaowang doing laojia yi lu together with a short explanation.  It is most like what we do at U3A.  In class we have gone as far as the first 5 minutes 18 secs of the video.  https://youtu.be/SuZgYRS2Xok

From Barbara Alden

Members may be in need of some calming exercises.  You can find my Qi Gong video by clicking on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18Apn56F0pc

Also, in case standards are slipping in the hand-washing routine – or people are fed up with Happy Birthday, they might like to change tune and add a bit of military precision.

20 second hand wash with Military Precision (to the Tune of The Grand Old Duke of York).

Oh! Wash your hands with rigour, and lather well with soap

Then work round every finger.  Just smile and you can cope.

Don’t forget the thumbs as well or gaps that are between

Then work again all over to be sure that they are clean!

Take care, keep clapping!

All the best, Barbara

From Steve Stephens

An “official” document makes the new Government guidelines very clear now. As we enter the next 3 weeks of lockdown here is a summary of the advice:

  1. You MUST NOT leave the house for any reason, but if you have a good reason, you can leave the house.
  2. Masks are useless at protecting you against the virus, but you may have to wear one because it can save lives, but they may not work, however they may become mandatory, but maybe not.
  3. Shops are to remain closed, except those shops that are allowed to open

(And so on.  It’s a hoot, but very long – so I’ve chosen a few choice items.  The full list is available for anyone who would find the information “useful” – or not!

From Ruth Brook

One possibility for a celebration springs to mind at once: Wally Howard showed a wonderful film some weeks ago called something like Three Tenors.  I felt then that it was a celebration of life.  Perhaps he would be prepared to show it in a larger room instead of room 1.22?  I have another idea but for this I need to have a talk with two friends, musicians.  I will explore and let you know what happens.

Keep well and all best wishes, Ruth

From Ken Baldry    Hello, European History Group: I’m sure you remember every detail of this exciting story so far but just in case something may have slipped your mind, the first talk when we reassemble will be a Catch-Up, like the one I start the academic year with, so your memory of the violent and rather unwashed-looking (except in Constantinople) 12th Century will be refreshed before we get onto what was happening in Iberia from 1109.

Currently, I’m busy improving the English and adding Family Trees where they will help.   Avis is well and I love cooking for her.

Stay well,  Ken

From Hazelanne Lewis T

This is quite lovely, Click on  https://youtu.be/pwZrUxCDLzk

Best wishes,


From Leila Leighton

Thank you for this Update.    It makes me feel part of a very friendly group.  I wasn’t attending classes so often recently, but look forward to seeing everyone again ASAP.  Keep safe and well everyone.

Take care.  LLxx

From Ai Li

Dear Gilli,

I hope you are managing to make the lockdown work for you and your loved ones, and that you are continuing to keep safe and well.  I started a Lockdown Cherita feature on my Cherita website on Friday 10 April with a daily cherita poem from my published poets in The Cherita and wondered if this could be mentioned in an update to U3A members. I enclose the blurb below.

Thanks for all your help,

Ai Li


LOCKDOWN CHERITA  (by Debbie Strange)

from open hands
the petals and leaves
on which I wrote your name
fall, one by one
behind me . . .
this is the way home

From Shafeeq Siddiqui

Hi Gilli,

The U3A Class on “Stories Behind the Headlines” continues on the theme of the Post Pandemic World and covers Electric Cars such as Tesla.  It has been uploaded onto YouTube for those who attended and others in U3A who are interested.  https://youtu.be/baeMdm4T16s

Best wishes


From Christine Bye

A really uplifting and informative bulletin.  Side effects of lockdown – erratic sleep pattern and talking to oneself!   Up early for tea, gasping, so thought I would suggest for when this is over a good party with food, drink, music and dare I say a “knees up and Hokey Cokey” and feeling of camaraderie with people going round talking to each other even if they have never met (no introductions necessary).    Venue not sure, maybe atrium.   I realise that this may not be to everyone’s taste but an idea?

Best wishes from Christine

From Brenda Turner

Hello Amalia, It was my birthday yesterday – same day as the Queen, and we were both staying in.  As all normal birthday activities were off limits I thought some of your members may be interested in what I did instead. I descaled the kettle and dishwasher and thought I’d live dangerously by thoroughly cleaning my oven with that stuff that seriously damages skin and health generally – but then so is going outside without a mask and gloves, so nothing new there. I’ve moved my wardrobe clothes about a bit, but as I am normally a thrower away, not much has changed, they’re just in a new place and I probably won’t be able to find anything.  I’ve bought on line some summer clothes.  If we’re ever allowed out this year it’s going to be pleated skirts – well it has to be – I’ve bought so many!!  I made meatballs for my special celebration dinner, washed down with a glass or two of wine, which made the meal seem a lot more attractive.
Finally I pondered on the younger people whose lives have been overturned, socially and economically. Which led me to wonder about the burglars and pickpockets. With everyone at home and the shops closed, do you think they will qualify for a Government grant as their income has been severely depleted?

I wonder how the Queen used her day.

Best wishes, Brenda

From Alisa Jaffa

Thank you for all the information. Is anyone interested in forming an isolated  Scrabble group?  (If you know what this means – we’re not sure – contact Alisa


And in case there’s not enough to keep you occupied from our own U3A, try clicking here to see what Redbridge U3A has found to enjoy on the internet.