Today’s was an informal meeting introduced by our Chair Penny Thomas, and followed by an enjoyable and entertaining quiz devised by Peter Brown and presented by Derek Church.
Winning team (below) called ‘Odd Man Out’ since either the team was all ladies plus one gentleman, or
because they considered their ‘gentleman’ to be odd. The team members consisted of: Janine Crooks, Helen Kift, Anne Hyslop, Enid Lawrence, Shiela Evans and David Pinch
David is a Welsh landscape photographer, well known for his black and white atmospheric images. David, is also a fan of the Welsh detective series Hinterland, was offered a chance to produce a book promoting the series and not surprisingly to be entitled Hinterland. Many of the visitors to Wales seem to zone in on areas such as the Gower, Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia bypassing the dramatic landscape of Ceredigion the County in which the programme is set. In the main, there were photographs taken during filming grey skies, rolling mists and as David stated plenty of rain a perfect setting for brooding detective DCI Tom Mathias! It is possible to purchase framed copies of David’s work the most popular, with the ladies we were told, being the head of a bull. An interesting talk by someone who clearly loves his subject watch out for his next book, Pembrokeshire through the Year, produced with the well known television presenter Jamie Owen we saw a sample of the photographs to be included, a rather young looking Judge in his smart bowler hat clutching what could only be a glass of the hard stuff!
The annual quiz on the afternoon of Friday 12th May, now in its fourth year, attracted our highest ever attendance for the event which also produced the closest ever finish.
19 teams (including 3 from Narberth U3A & 2 from Preseli U3A) battled through 9 rounds of general knowledge questions across a range of subjects, with at the end only 2 points separating the top 5. The winners were the “Spring Chickens” from Pembrokeshire U3A, Viv Scale, Janine Crooks, and Jackie & Rob Davidson, who achieved 96.5 points out of a possible 128, beating the “Penny Pinchers”, David & Chris Pinch, Penny Reed, & Anne Hyslop by just 1/2 point, with a team from Preseli 3rd & one from Narberth sharing 4th.
Due to technical problems the Rolling Screen presentation prepared was not shown during our May General Meeting. Although a number of items may now be out of date, the presentation can be followed by clicking on the image below.
Thirteen Pembrokeshire U3A members departed on Easter Sunday 16th April 2017 to catch the Super-Ferry Stenna Brittanica from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, for a five day holiday discovering “The Gardens of Holland” with CJB Garden Tours www.cjbgardentours.co.uk.
We made our way to Harwich and boarded a ferry to the Hook of Holland, a perfect overnight crossing, following breakfast on board. We then made our way by coach to the Keukenhof Gardens the first of our garden visits – although hardly a garden! Keukenhof Flower Gardens, said to be the greatest spring flower show in the world. Thousands of visitors from all over the world visit this spectacular attraction each year between March and May. There must have been a million or more tulips, hyacinths and other spring bulbs to delight the eye, in fact, it was all quite breathtaking.
The following day we travelled to the Het Loo Palace and Gardens. This Royal Palace is known as the “Versailles of the North”, where we found immaculate formal gardens. Returning from Het Loo we spent an afternoon wandering around the older parts of the beautiful Dutch town of Amersfoort. We rounded off our short visit to Holland with a fantastic excursion featuring a one-way cruise from Enkhuizen to Medemblik on the museum ship Friesland, and a steam train journey through the Dutch bulb fields.
The weather was bright and sunny but you will note from the photograph we were well wrapped up against the wind!
Today’s speaker was Richard Neale, Station Manager for the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) at their Woolpack Point Station, in the Deer Park close to Martin’s Haven. The National Coastwatch is an entirely voluntary organisation keeping a visual watch along UK shores. Each station assists in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around the UK coastline. Currently 50 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2000 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles.
Richard talked at length about the history of wrecks & rescues on the short stretch of dangerous coastline north of the Haven covered by their Watch and the changes that have occurred over the years to establish safety for mariners, boaters and those using the waters around Skomer Island. Whilst high technology and sophisticated systems are aids to improved safety, a computer cannot spot a distress flare, an overturned boat or a yachtsman or fisherman in trouble. Other vulnerable activities like diving, wind surfing and canoeing are made safer with visual surveillanceof volunteers.
NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are volunteers trained to deal with emergencies and to support the other rescue services, offering a variety of skills and experience.
PCSO Leanne Nicholls talks about crime in the community
I am sure many of you will have read, on page two of the current Newsletter, of the incident that took place on the road near the Oil refinery in January. It was for this reason we invited PCSO Leanne Nicholls to speak to us on Thursday.
Leanne is a Police Community Support Officer stationed at Milford Haven, and as her job title infers she works within the community. Following the incident, in question, the police carried out a thorough investigation of the situation but were unable to obtain any information as to the perpetrators. However, further incidents have occurred and the message to us was “be vigilant and drive with locked doors”.
One aspect of Leanne’s talk brought home to us just how the cutbacks have affected services that we once took for granted, being able to walk into a Police Station at most times of the day and the visibility of the local “bobby”. It would seem we, as citizens, need to attend to the policing of our own localities watching out for any unusual occurrences in our neighbourhood and reporting such events to the Police. Some areas, of course, have a “Neighbourhood Watch” schemes and there is also, as one of our members pointed out, a “Village Watch”. The message is be aware of what is going on around you.
The speaker at the first monthly meeting of the year, Julian Cremona, took us to Canada with the aid of photographs and dialogue Churchill, to be more precise, which he and his wife visited some ten years ago. His photographs are amazing, close up pictures of polar bears, a silver fox, arctic hares, red and arctic foxes, elk and deer. You almost felt they were only feet away rather than just looking at them on the screen apparently over 3000 photographs were taken in all.
The talk followed the journey Julian and his wife took. Commencing in Vancouver, where they hired a vehicle to take them northwards to Churchill, having been assured it would not be necessary to have a four wheel drive vehicle since there was no snow. Not so, it was necessary for them to retrace their steps because of snow. In fact, part of the journey had to be undertaken by air as there was only a narrow window of time during which Polar bears may be seen before they depart for the ice cap in order to feed.
Julian has such an enthusiasm for his subject, explaining and giving great insight to the nature of the area he was exploring. However, as soft and lovely as polar bears look they are the largest land living mammal on earth and not one to be trifled with. The Tundra which covers some one million square miles is home to these magnificent animals. They wait patiently for the ice to form to enable them to seek their food, in the main seals. Having not eaten for upwards of six months, it is not surprising the human residents of Churchill are ever watchful for these creatures, placing bars at their windows just in case a passing bear decides they might make a tasty meal!
The talk was much enjoyed by the members who can look forward to hearing of Julian’s adventures in Costa Rica, his next destination.
Penny Thomas 5th January 2017
A YouTube clip of a Polar Bear sliding as Julian described!