Purbeck U3A Writing Competition Winners 2020
The Winners in each of the Categories are:
Winner: The Point of it All by Frances Usher
Second Place: Hidden Depths by Veronica Ryder
Winner: The Boxing Match by Andrew Wright
Second Place: Unpicking the Past by Edward Squires
(a pen name of one of our verified members)
Winner: My Best Friend by Judy Robson
Second Place: Venice by Richard Jacobs
PURBECK PRIZE CATEGORY
Winner: Some Enchanted Evening by Jenny Wilson
Click on the title to read the individual entry.
The Committee congratulates the winners, and would like to thank the panel of judges, Janette Nourse, Nick Allen and Pamela Fudge for their work, together with all those who supported the competition again this year.
Sandra Crook firstname.lastname@example.org
Book Group 4 A recommended "Good Read"
The Book Group was unable to meet to discuss our book as we would normally do. Instead members of the group sent their individual reviews by email. We all thought Bel Canto was a “good read”. Some members found it funny, another member found it depressing. As always we have different perceptions. What follows is an amalgam of our reviews. We recommend the book – an interesting’ and easy read in these trying times. We hope you enjoy it.
“Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett
This was Ann Patchett’s fourth novel. Printed by Perrenial in 2001
It was the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
A lavish birthday party is being held at the home of the Vice President of a fictional South American country. The party is in honour of a Japanese businessman (Mr Hosokawa) who has a particular love of opera. Roxanne Coss, (an American opera singer) has been booked to sing for the party. It is a perfect evening, until a gang of terrorists takes the party hostage.
The book is based on an actual event which occurred in 1996 known as the siege of the Japanese embassy in Lima even though it wasn’t at the embassy but at a private house, just as in the book. The incident also gave rise to a syndrome known as Lima Syndrome in which captors come to sympathise with their captives (as opposed to Stockholm Syndrome). The real siege did last nearly 5 months which is certainly enough time for personal relationships to form.
I thought all the characters really interesting, well drawn and convincing. Perhaps Roxane Coss (the opera singer) herself was a little less vivid than most of the others but then she was ‘The Voice’ and I loved the concept of how the music affected the whole scenario and so many characters in so many different ways.
From early on you knew that the ‘Terrorists’ were not going to survive. It didn’t make it any less sad that most were young, poor and uneducated. The story shows the possible potential of many who, given different backgrounds, could reach great heights.
I love the way Ann Patchett gets right into her characters so that you can believe and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of this unlikely assortment of hostages and ‘terrorists’.
I particularly liked (page 106) “The day no longer progressed in its normal, linear fashion but instead every hour circled back to its beginning, every moment was lived over and over again. Time, in the manner in which they had all understood it, was over.” Perhaps appropriate to read this book during our own lockdown restrictions!
It was interesting how each character’s personality was portrayed and how the relationships between them developed.
Retaining Roxanne, opera singer whilst freeing all the other women and casting Gen, the translator , as a central character held the book together. Psychologically it was really interesting. The last chapter gave us an inkling of how the experience had impacted on the kidnapped. They would never be the same again.
Arts & Culture Useful Sites
During lockdown many artists, groups and theatres are screening live performances. The National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Royal Ballet and other singers and groups. The main useful places to find these are on the following:
www.whatsonstage.com this site has many listings for various online screenings.
www.bandsintown.com this site has details of online performances from solo artists and bands such as Snow Patrol. You can search by genre so there is something for all musical tastes.
www.theartssociety.org Click on connected, lectures at home and you will see a series of interesting lectures usually not more than 20 minutes. There is also a list of upcoming lecturers.
In honour of William Shakespeare's birthday, BBC iplayer are showing six plays that were originally livestreamed, some from the Globe.
Cirque de Soleil 60 minute specials are well worth watching and can be found on You Tube.
Finally just go to You Tube,search for any of your favourites and I am sure you will find them somewhere. STAY SAFE AND HAPPY VIEWING
Purbeck U3A French Group
Bonjour Tout le Monde! Greetings from the French Conversation Group
The French Conversation group, led by Anne Attridge, held its first virtual meeting last Friday. Eight people participated and we had a very lively discussion, mostly in French! We managed to steer away from the C word most of the time and talked of happier things. We used Zoom which I think we all found reasonably straightforward. Theras a bit of learning curve on the IT and I, for one, learnt a few French IT words I didn't know before.
I think I speak for the Group when I say it was wonderful to be able to see each other again and we have agreed to carry on "meeting" on Fridays even though normally it would have been the Easter break.
Musings of a Solitary Nordic Walker
I had always walked alone, but with a variety of much loved dogs. My last dog, Pip, was a feisty, three legged Jack Russell. We walked miles together. I worried that another dog, might outlive me – Pip had lived to 18. Time maybe to walk alone. Then, I caught the Nordic walking bug. A fabulous form of exercise that I can actually do without injuring myself. I joined the U3A Nordic walking group, and learned to love walking with buddies.
We have had to stop because of the dreaded virus. Now, I’m walking alone again. A long walk that used to be full of chat and laughter, and ended far too soon, has become a thing of the past. My first long walks after the group ceased, felt very, very long. My only motivation was getting to the end of the circuit I had set myself. I powered along, thrusting my poles behind me, pushing forward, going as fast as I could, getting hot and bothered, every mile felt like two.
Three days into my new regime, I stopped. What is that intoxicating fragrance? The sun is shining, the sea sparkling, and in front of me there is a bank of ordinary gorse. With the sun on it, the gorse shines bright yellow, and yes that coconutty, citrus fragrance is the gorse. Why have I never noticed the fragrance before? Standing still, glad of a breather, looking around me, hearing nothing but birdsong. There is no-one else on this cliff path. I feel as though I could just walk on and on and on, drinking in the fragrance of the gorse, looking at the changing aspects of the landscape, the clouds scudding, the breeze rustling the grasses. Suddenly this is no longer onerous, no longer an endurance.
I realise that I’m learning to “be” again. My life, which is usually busy, busy, busy has slowed down.
We are using electronic means to maintain our Purbeck U3A Committee work. I’m adapting to being solitary, but felt quite emotional seeing our gallery of faces on Zoom. I miss U3A comradeship. When we have got over this epidemic, we must re-start with a flourish and much celebration.
In the meantime I shall maintain my solitary Nordic walking, remembering what W H Davies wrote “What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”. Why had I forgotten that?
Further Musings of a Solitary Nordic Walker
Purbeck U3A Ukulele Group ("PUUG")
Our happy band of ukulele players are meeting up weekly for a virtual session using Zoom. It has been a learning curve for all of us, as playing as a group is a bit tricky with this software, but we are now very practiced and it is lovely to see everyone. The only thing missing are the lovely cakes brought my members for the tea break. Still, better for the waistline!!
A Contribution from The U3A Nature Walkers
Members might be interested in these pictures of adders basking in the sunshine in my garden last week. They show a male and a female, and the differences in colouration and markings between the sexes are clear. The male has a continuous black zig-zag marking along the length of its body, while the female has a more broken brown line. Mating could occur during April.
End of Year Bulletin from your Purbeck U3A Committee
A message from your Chairman
Purbeck U3A is a lively, dynamic organisation and I’m proud to Chair our equally lively Committee. I think it is true to say, we get on well together and we endeavour to make the best decisions we can for the organisation. There will be some changes to the Committee at our next AGM in May 2020, so if any member would like to come and observe our work or offer their expertise and time, we would love to hear from you. We are all unpaid volunteers who do it for the love of the organisation.
At present we have 581 members. Some members have left over the last year and others have joined. We value all our members and hope that you have found groups that interest you and that you are enjoying your membership. There are so many different activities to cater for all tastes (and I wish I could join more if only I had the time!) but as Chris, our Groups Co-ordinator writes below, if there are any activities or groups that you would like to develop, we would be more than happy to facilitate.
Celebrate our great Groups
The second half of this year has seen wonderful group activity.
Three newly established groups have done very well and are going from strength to strength – Gerry’s Advanced Driving Group, and Jim and Lyn’s Games Group (incorporating Ben and Margaret’s Canasta, and Clive’s Mahjong). Jim has also recently set up the Classic Writers’ Group.
Two groups have also had a very welcome re-vamp – the Computer Group has been re-established thanks to the wonderful efforts of Maggie and Joy, and the Play Reading Group has been re-vitalised by Veronica.
One of our newest members, Ann Figg, is just setting up a new Beading Group, so we wish her lots of luck.
There are also groups which are so popular that they now have a waiting list, including the Ukulele Group and the Table Tennis Group. In addition, all three of our cycling groups are very well attended.
All of this is wonderful news, but it all comes down to the people who give their valuable time and enthusiasm to make it happen. All of our Group Leaders do a fantastic job in making sure we all have a good time, but it can be a lonely job. If you feel that you could lend a hand in becoming a co-leader or co-facilitator, in support of your Group Leader, or whether you feel you may be able to take on the leadership of a group yourself, let us know. There is lots of support available to you as a Group Leader, to make sure that everything goes smoothly, so if you have an idea which you’d like to explore, please contact our Groups Coordinator.
Chris Millar, Groups Coordinator - email@example.com
One of the new activities started by Sandra Crook – our wonderfully efficient Committee Secretary – was to start a writing competition. Sandra has some experience of running competitions and our first one this year was very successful as you can read below.
A Purbeck U3A Writing Competition 2019
Last year I organised the first Purbeck U3A Writing Competition. The response was encouraging with 38 entries across three categories, Short Fiction, Memoir and Poetry, with a special prize for the best Purbeck-related entry in any of these categories. All entries were judged anonymously by a panel comprised of two U3A members with experience in creative writing/memoir groups and two experienced writers from outside the Purbeck area.
The winning entries, together with the second placed submissions in each category can be found by clicking on the news section of the Purbeck U3A website and following the links to the submissions contained therein.
We’re hoping for a good response when we re-open the competition again in January 2020, so sharpen those quills, fettle those keyboards and get your thinking caps on!
Details will be announced shortly after Christmas, and in the meantime any queries may be addressed to
Sandra Crook, firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope that you find our website useful and easy to navigate. We always try to listen and to implement new ideas. It is very important, as with a large membership we could not function without it. We no longer send out information unless it is specifically asked for but guide people to the website. So our IT group is hugely important to the organisation.
We are a small group who work at keeping the IT administration of the Purbeck U3A together and maintaining the PU3A website. I am responsible for keeping information on the system we use as up to date as possible whilst Denise Fuller publishes the Broadcasts and News Items on the website. I handle the Group details and other odds and ends. Meeting Points is covered by John Hale and Sue Sides with their own Web Page which is incorporated into the main website. Recently we have added a 'Who's Who' section to the Contacts Page with photos so you can spot everyone in the Committee.
Ray Reed, IT Administration
We had a useful Group Leaders Meeting this Autumn where Group Leaders were able to exchange ideas and we were able to tell them about any new procedures that we are trying to implement. Cathy Kerridge, our Treasurer and Membership Secretary and Ray Reed, our IT Administrator will be working on a new hall booking system in the new year, which we hope will help Group Leaders. Work will also be done on a new Group Leaders Handbook and we will be asking for some help in the new year to get this done.
We held a New Members meeting in the Autumn. Unfortunately there was a slight mix up with the hall booking and we found ourselves waiting outside whilst another group finished their activity. Despite this it gave new members an opportunity to meet one another and exchange ideas.
Meeting points goes from strength to strength. I know it is something that members find particularly useful and a great way to meet old friends in an informal setting. The Meeting Points Team organise the events each month in such a seamless way that maybe we don’t appreciate them enough. So, a very big thank you from the Committee!
We can look forward to a Spring Celebration as we had to cancel the Christmas Party. We will be planning that in the new year, so if anyone has some good ideas let us know.
To end, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and successful new year. I know we have been living in turbulent times, but Purbeck U3A goes on from strength to strength. We are in our 26th year, and I am quite sure we will have many more successful years in the future
Singing for Pleasure Group
On 14th October 2019, a group of singers from the U3A ‘Singing for Pleasure’ Choir went to the Pine Martin Grange Care Home in Sandford to entertain the residents. Under the leadership of Rod Brassington, we presented a carefully tailored programme, starting with ‘Getting to Know You’ from ‘The King and I’ and including ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘Consider Yourself’ (from ‘Oliver’), also introducing some lesser known songs from our repertoire.
At the end, there was a good ‘sing-along’ with a medley of numbers going back to the 1950s and Music Hall, and it was a treat to see many of the residents joining in. We finished up with ‘Thank You For the Music’, after which we were given a very warm reception. We stayed on for tea and cakes, and interesting conversations with the residents.
A further visit is planned for 2020.
Purbeck U3A Nordic Walkers
There are now 25 Nordic Walkers in the Purbeck U3A group. Walks take place on alternate Fridays, usually around the lovely Purbeck area but sometimes we do stray a little further afield around Dorset.
We are a very friendly bunch of people who take turns to lead the walk. The walks are usually around five miles, give or take, and we walk at a brisk pace.
After the walk and If we are able, we take refreshments at a café or each other's houses. If you would like to join us, we do ask that you obtain Nordic Walking creditation, which involves a short course on technique. You can also take a taster session to see if it is something you would enjoy. Once accredited you would be most welcome to join our happy bunch. You can find all the details in the Groups section.
Maxine Bacon, Group Facilitator
Update from Angela Cox:
At the meeting I mentioned a newly published book that gives a great insight into the experience of living with dementia. It is written by Wendy Mitchell, who was diagnosed when she was 58 years old. When I read it I learnt so much more about how life changes and strategies to help cope. When my husband, who has Alzheimer’s, read it he said it exactly described how it felt for him.
The book is titled ‘Somebody I used to know ‘. Author, Wendy Mitchell. Published by Bloomsbury. £16.99 hardback.
My husband and I have found great support and friendship at the local Memory Cafes, run by Alice from Alzheimer’s UK.
The Wareham meetings are held at Carey Hall on the first and third Mondays (except Bank Holidays) 10.30 am to 12noon.
In Swanage we meet on the first and third Thursdays at Emmanuel Church at Herston 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm.
Anyone with dementia and their carers are always welcomed. There’s always tea/coffee and cake as well as interesting activities.
Message from the Chair
We are all extremely fortunate to live in one of England's most beautiful areas.
If you are anxious to keep it that way and would like to give a bit of time to litter picking why not contact email@example.com
There are Litter Picking Groups in most of the Purbeck Villages. They organise rotas and provide Hi Vis jackets etc. You don't have to make a massive time commitment .
So go on give it ago and keep our country side and beaches looking beautiful. Jim
Science and Technology
Presentations, given by guest speakers or group members, are given monthly on the third Wednesday of each month.
They start at 10am and last for two hours, including a 20 minute refreshment break.
The illustrated talks comprise a wide range of technological subjects presented in a friendly and informative manner.
From time to time, generally in the summer, the group visits local places of scientific or technological interest.
For information about our next meeting go to the Science and Technology page
Bridge for Fun has moved !
The Bridge for Fun group has moved to Stoborough Village Hall and meets most Friday mornings throughout the year. This new venue means we have more spaces for more players.
Even though you might be rusty at the game why not join us and have fun on a Friday.
For more details contact Carol Worledge, Group leader: firstname.lastname@example.org