Purbeck U3A

Purbeck U3A Writing Competition

The following articles are the winning entries of Purbeck U3A's Writing Competition.

Click on the title to read the entry.

Winner:  Year of the Tiger by Roger Chambers
Second Place:  The Cloud Catcher by Veronica Ryder
Winner:  Locked in the Loo by Nola Latham-Boal
Second Place:  A Lesson Learnt by Steve Griffin
Winner:  Winter Trees by Brenda Enticknap
Second Place:  Rachel’s Bungalow by Richard Jacobs
Winner:  Pantechnicon Pandemonium by Jenny Wilson


 U3A Nordic Walkers 14 June 2019

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Our walk had been scheduled for the Friday before, just as the fine weather came to an end and low pressure brought a deluge.  So today, with the walk reorganised to avoid too much mud, we set off to do a four mile walk around Durlston. Here you can see the group looking wind-blown but happy.  We peered out to sea hoping to see the dolphin but no luck today. Climbing up from the lighthouse to the top of the cliff was exhilarating. The wind was gusting, the sun came out, we were on top of the world, looking out over a white horse, blue sea.

We take it in turns to lead walks.  This feels like a good discipline to me, as you have to plan the walk, walk the walk beforehand and ensure that you have risk assessed it.  Part of the walk leader role is to ensure the walkers are safe and comfortable with the planned route. Today there was varied terrain. Slopes with fallen leaves – warning, be careful it can be slippery!  Walking down steep steps and rocky paths – unclip from your poles, walk slowly and watch your step! The leader has to check to make sure everyone is OK and that we are all together, no-one too far behind. We do walk at different paces.  Some are faster, some slower, it doesn’t matter. blue sea.

When we walk, we talk and sometimes we stop to look at the wild flowers, or a beautiful tree, or we just simply stop and have a breather and a drink, before setting off again.  Nordic walking, exercises your upper body as well as your legs. Gets your heart pumping as you toil up hills using the Nordic walking poles to help propel you onwards. It’s great exercise, it can be hard work, but it is so nice when you stop.  Today we walked from the cliff and into the meadows. Here we were out of the wind. Such wonderful meadows full of wild flowers.

There are so many tracks up at Durlston.  Luckily you can’t really get lost. You know where the sea is.  Just keep going. We started our walk at 10am, having done a warm up to help prepare the body.  The goal is to get to the Castle for some refreshment by 11.30. I checked my watch as we walked down.  Well how did we do that – bang on time! On the way down the path we stopped and looked at the quote by Carol Ann Duffy.  If ever there was a message for us U3A members this is it.

"What will you do now with the gift of your left life?"

Today for something a bit different,  I had offered lunch to the group. Just a bowl of soup and some fruit.  But first we had to cool down before getting into our cars and going for lunch.  Cooling down is really important. Stretching our muscles and releasing any tension in our shoulders.  Passers-by view us with admiration – or is that puzzlement….

We had butternut squash soup.  I did something right because they all asked for the recipe.  So here it is for all my friends and U3A members. You can make it as spicy as you want.

Gill’s butternut squash soup

What you need is about 700g (1lb 9oz) of diced butternut squash.  About a litre of stock. I used chicken stock but you can use vegetable stock as well.  Two diced onions, 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped and piece of ginger finely chopped – I used a piece about the length of my little finger.  About a teaspoonful full of turmeric and a teaspoon of curry powder. You also need a tin of coconut milk, which you add at the end.

I sauteed the diced onion in coconut oil, and when tender added the ginger and garlic, let it cook for a minute until it smelled fragrant, then added the spice and again let it cook for a minute.  Then added the diced butternut squash and the stock. It only takes about 10 minutes before the squash gets tender. I then whizzed it with a hand whizzer (whatever they are called!) until it was smooth and then added the coconut milk.  All you do then is season to taste.

A loaf of crusty bread and what more could you want?

So that is our Nordic walk for today.  If anyone wants to join the group, look on the website for details.  You will need to have the Nordic walking training and buy proper Nordic walking poles, and good walking shoes/boots, but it is worth it believe me – you won’t regret it.

Gill Calvin Thomas

Chair, Purbeck U3A – but walk leader as well today




Purbeck U3A Ukulele Group ("PUUG")

It’s been almost a year now since the inception of a Purbeck U3A Ukulele Group and I want to sing its praises and let everyone know what we have done in that time. 

It started by the issue of a Broadcast to all members enquiring whether there was anyone interested in learning to play the ukulele and at the same time asking if there is any member able to teach and guide us along the way.  There was quite a good response, and an inaugural meeting of interested members was held locally where it was decided we would form PUUG. (Purbeck U3A Ukulele Group)

We struck gold when Richard, a music teacher and husband of a PU3A member, volunteered his time to teach us.

Our first meeting was at Stoborough Village Hall on a snowy blizzard afternoon on 1 March 2018 and despite the cold we had a fun and very worthwhile afternoon playing inappropriately ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ among other simple songs.  We had about 12 members at this point. 

Our repertoire grew and some more people joined us over the coming weeks. Our first performance with an audience was at our AGM in May 2018 which gave us a sense of accomplishment and we have continued to grow since then.  We currently have 33 members on the register with around 25 players attending each week at Stoborough Village Hall.

The group's ethos is to help one another and have fun along the way. We are indebted to Richard for leading us and also to members who help in whatever way they can.  More members continue to join us and we are all at different levels but continue to play together to our own individual level, with most players singing heartily to the songs.

A lot of background work goes on which enhances the smooth running of PUUG. A significant amount of time is spent researching and preparing the music sheets as well as providing for optimum legibility for mature eyes, preparing the refreshments and setting up each week  - with most members contributing in some way.  
I also like to think that after a group session of playing and singing, we go home feeling uplifted and inspired, having had an enormous amount of fun and banter throughout the afternoon.

As I mentioned earlier, we played at the AGM last May, but also played at the U3A Prom Night held in December.  We have performed at Pine Martin Grange Care Home , Holme Gardens twice - for their Summer open day, Christmas Carols in their Orchard Conservatory, and The Kings Arms in Stoborough.  In doing these, we have raised money for our chosen charity for the year, CLIC Sargent. – There are more gigs in the pipeline! So watch this space.

A very proud
Maxine Bacon
Leader, Purbeck U3A Ukulele Group.



New Groups ?

Several members have asked about starting some new groups:-
Calligraphy, Dancing,  Dining and Genealogy.


If you would like to start a Memoir Writing Group (perhaps based in Swanage) the leader of our Wareham Memoir Writing Group will be pleased to support you to get this started.  Use the link to the Wareham group to contact Lyn, the leader.

These will undoubtedly attract quite a few enquiries. Response from enough people will enable us to move onto the next step – an informal meeting for each subject to discuss the way forward for the group and to get it launched.
You can read more about these exciting new groups on our New Ideas page.

What do you do in your spare time?

Member Sandra Crook writes: 

Just over two years ago I joined the Cat Socialisation team, or the ‘Cat Cuddlers’ at Margaret Green Animal Rescue Centre in Church Knowle. At the time my husband and I were spending lengthy periods overseas, and I wanted to volunteer somewhere that offered some flexibility for my spare time. This fitted the bill perfectly, as I could spend whatever hours I had available between 10.00am and 3.00pm, seven days a week, whenever we were back home.

After a brief induction session, I was introduced to the cats, each of whom has a unit of their own, together with a small outside area. Each cat has its own ‘traffic light’ warning marker outside its unit, together with further information on its background circumstances, health and guidance on contact.

Whatever trauma brought these cats to the Centre, (and some of their stories are heart-breaking), most of them will benefit from brief spells of close human contact, which will in turn increase their chances of being re-homed when prospective cat-owners visit the Centre to find the right cat for their circumstances. Some cats just don’t help themselves when it comes to impressing visitors, hiding in their beds, shying away from outstretched hands or even hissing when the arrival of strangers seems threatening. The more they become accustomed to the presence of different people, the more likely they are to respond positively to visitors and be rehomed.

It’s been such a rewarding experience, watching the way cats change with a little one-to-one attention. I’ve seen cats that have refused all food, suddenly devouring an entire meal after ten to fifteen minutes of gentle stroking, and cats that have cowered at the back of their furry igloos for days, slowly emerging for a stroke or a cuddle.

If you think you might have a few hours to spend helping cats in this way, contact Kelly.griffen@MGAR.org.uk.

This has been a difficult year for Margaret Green Animal Rescue with the loss of two major revenue streams; the Companion Dog Show was cancelled due to the excessive heat at the time, and the Country Fayre cancelled due to heavy rain and high winds. If any U3A member has time to spare, there are various ways you can help besides cat cuddling – collecting donation tins near to you, painting, sorting food donations, supplying shoe boxes filled with Christmas treats for the animals, baking cakes for fund-raising events. Some volunteers have even propagated cuttings from their gardens for the Plants Sale table, which is located near the office during the summer months.

Visit the website at https://www.margaretgreenanimalrescue.org.uk/Volunteer.html or call Jazmin on 01929 477074. Maybe there is some way that you can help them through this difficult time.

Follow on From Meeting Points talk on Dementia

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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 litterfreepurbeck@gmail.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

The IT Group explores all forms of Information Technology using computers, tablets, smartphones, cameras, video cameras, audio, television, etc. both hardware and software. With such a large remit, many and varied topics will be discussed mostly in group clusters: it will not be a ‘course’ as such, more a forum where those that know about various IT topics can share with those who want to know about them!
Meetings are held on the Second Friday in the month from 14:00 to 16:00 in Harman’s Cross Village Hall.

Interested? Contact the Group Leaders at IT@purbecku3a.org.uk to join us.

For further information go to the Information Technology Website.

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

Moto Group (Members on their own)

We meet in Corfe Castle Village Hall from 2.00 to 4.00 and also have outings to various places as suggested and often organised by group members. We also have talks and activities organised & run by members.

We are a very democratic group and try to use public transport/car sharing as much as possible.

We will plan, with group members, activities at one of the  meetings.

We are a very flexible, welcoming group

Contact the Group Leaders at moto@purbecku3a.org.uk

Bridge for Fun has moved !

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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: bridge@purbecku3a.org.uk

Boules Group



We are very pleased to say there was a very good response and much interest in a boules group at Corfe Castle Social Club.
After an introductory meeting three groups have been formed each to play on a different morning. The players are a mix of novices and previous players. The novices have picked up the game very quickly and of the few games played so far everyone appears to be enjoying the sport and the social side. Nothing too serious just some fun.
Because there are only two pitches available group numbers have to be limited to 12 so that everyone who turns up will get to play.  If there are still U3A members who want to take part in the future we are happy to making a waiting list.
Please email for meeting  dates in 2019.


See a complete list of events here:

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