Friday, 31 October 2014

A Wealdon Woman's War

A Wealden Woman's War
October 2014 Monthly Meeting

Colin Fairman, our Vice Chairman, introduced the proceedings with a resume of the new groups being offered, the suggested short courses, and the groups we are sharing with Westerham U3A. To find out more about these, click HERE

He introduced Penny Harris, our speaker for October, who gave us a fascinating talk entitled "A Wealdon's Woman's War" based on a true story of two people who met around the second world war and became publicans and small-holders in the local area, All this was based on the book by Edwina Hall - Potholes, Pigs and Paradise.

She brought to life the real life stories of these two people and took us back nostalgically to the trials and tribulations of their lives.

We thank you, Penny, for such an entertaining insight into the lives of these people.s during the war, including the joys, the love and the funny side of the tale.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

London Studies Visit to Freemasons Hall and Foundlings Museum October 2014

London Studies Visit to

Freemasons Hall and Foundlings Museum

October 2014
The October trip of London Studies organised by Tony Pearson showed the extremes of London past and present - from great wealth to the extremes of poverty with a little classical music thrown in on the side.

We started our visit at the Freemasons Hall near Holborn. The bland exterior belied a superb and very large Art Deco masterpiece with its gold decorations, mosaics and stained glass windows. After a quick look round of the museum our guide gave us a short history of the organisation before taking us through the room where the dignatories don their elaborate gowns in advance of entering the grand Temple for the ceremonies and meetings. The Temple itself was on a grand scale and has been used in both films and TV. In between we had the opportunity to see the elaborate memorial hall to the masons killed during the Great War. It was a fascinating introduction to a hidden gem of London and we learnt about the organisations generous charitable donations. However many of the mysteries of this sometimes secretive organisation remained! No photos allowed!

We then moved on to the Foundling Museum where we heard about the origins of the Foundling Hospital set up in the 18th Century by Thomas Coram to take in and subsequently educate unwanted babies at a time when many were simply abandoned and left to die. Cabinets displayed poignant trinkets left by the unfortunate destitute mothers - most of whom never saw their children again. However the building itself was a tribute to the founder and we were able to see parts of an earlier building dating from his time including the room where it was decided whether or not to accept the babies and the court room as well as a superb art collection - most of it donated. We concluded the visit in a room dedicated to the composer Handel who was a benefactor to the hospital and it was to the strains of his music that we ended a thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable day.     

Friday, 3 October 2014

A Walk in the Clouds

Edenbridge U3A
Monthly Meeting 30th September 2014

Speaker: Kev Reynolds 

“A Walk in the Clouds”

Anyone who has ever walked in the Alps or Pyrenees, or indeed anywhere where there are mountains in the world, is likely to have heard of Kev Reynolds, one of the most prolific writers on walking and climbing of the past many years. Now resident in Edenbridge, his latest book, “A Walk in the Clouds”, tells of memorable moments culled from a lifelong experience of exploring high places.
Illustrated with an enviable selection of photographs taken over the years, the real theme of the talk, like that of the book, was the benefits of ‘living in the moment’. “We all have these moments”, he writes, “moments as big as years, when we experience something so powerful or profound that, although it may last for only a very short time, it can be recalled decades later in all its vivid intensity… All I know is that life is an adventure and we must cherish every moment to live it to the full.”
And it was some of those moments that he relived with us as we sat spellbound listening. His first trip to the High Atlas Mountains, where he and a companion scrambled from valley to valley, sleeping rough and only coming down to Berber villages when food ran short; his many experiences in the Alps; his times in the Pyrenees, which he knows probably better than anyone alive today, and the joy of spending chilly nights on mountain tops so as to catch the sun rising from the valleys below; his later trips to Nepal and the Himalayas, getting lost in the valleys of Dolpo in the far west (way beyond any normal tourist trail or proper maps) and trekking to Kanchenjunga in the far east, with many visits since.
What came through most strongly from his talk was his love of adventure, his acute awareness of everything around him, the people he met and the friendships he made along the way, the dazzling beauty of the mountains themselves - together with what would seem to most of us pretty extreme discomforts accepted as a matter of course – all told with great humour and humility.
He stressed that however permanent the mountains may seem to be, they are never still, are always subject to erosion and rock-fall, while, with global warming, glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, so that even the best most carefully researched guide books become outdated over time.
Do get a copy of the book. It’s a great read.
Stephen Mills 1.10.14

London Studies Feature Greenwich

Edenbridge U3A 
London Studies Visit to Greenwich
19th September 2014

The best way to arrive at Greenwich is by water. So on a calm, dry Autumn day we took the water bus from London Bridge pier for the 20 minute journey.

After a much needed coffee stop we met our knowledgeable guide who took us on a brief tour of the major parts of historic Greenwich  - the site of Greenwich Palace, the exterior of the Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum.

We were next guided through the delights of the former naval hospital for retired sailors, designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren. We started off in the chapel which was beautifully restored in the nineteenth century after a disastrous fire caused by a drunken sailor!

The guide then took us to the Painted Hall which is full of the most beautiful murals and painted ceilings celebrating the reign of William and Mary, an awe inspiring place to end a fascinating morning.

After lunch some of us visited the Queen's House, built by Charles 1 for his wife. This gem of early 17th Century architecture is full of paintings of many of the personalities who visited Greenwich over the centuries. 

It was a visit enjoyed by everyone who went on it with the good weather being an added bonus.

Colin Fairman October 2014