U3A Art Exhibition 2017

This time last year my husband Colin and I visited the combined Art Group’s Exhibition for the first time and found myself amazed at the artistic talent within our U3A. Needless to say, this has now become a permanent fixture in my diary!  Yesterday off to Carew we went, much easier to locate this year, with banners and signs indicating the location of the U3A Exhibition. Again, I was taken aback by the paintings, almost every subject you could think of was reproduced in watercolour, pastels or pencil.

I enquired of Jan Hope, who sat at the welcoming desk, whether I might take some photographs. She hesitantly explained that in the past this has been done in order to enlarge the result and not to make a purchase. Quickly I explained it was for the Newsletter, although, my offerings do not reflect adequately the amount of work and attention to detail undertaken to produce such paintings.

There is a wealth of talent within these groups which should be seen. If you miss the exhibition this year, do try and make a visit in 2018. In addition to viewing the exhibits, tea/coffee is served in bone china cups with a choice of scrumptious looking cakes. Whilst making our visit we enjoyed a chat with other members. It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning. Well done to all those involved.

Penny Thomas
22 August 2017

U3A Horticultural Show

For what seemed to be weeks, members of the Gardening Group have been complaining about the weather conditions: wind and rain and heat. The latter two great for growing but the wind can lead to disaster!
As I walked through the door leading into the hall at the NAC I was faced with many empty tables. What could I expect, in the way of entries? Not very much if I was to believe the cry of “I won’t have anything for the show”. I think they were misleading me; the hall was full to capacity. Three or four times I needed to plead for extra tables, two even came from the red room!

The Flower Section

There was such an array of beautiful flowers, scrumptious looking vegetables and very appetising fruit scones and preserves. Fantastic, why did I doubt? It was delightful to receive entries from ‘first timers’. I hope they catch the bug. Returning to the hall after judging had taken place to find you have a certificate against your entry is just the best feeling, especially when it was unexpected. There were fifty entries more this year than last, so my powers of persuasion worked.Our overall winner with the most number of points was, for the third year in succession, Pam Steer, with Ifor Swales a close second. Best exhibit in the flower section with her amazing vase of flowers was Ruth Poole. In the preserve section Viv Scale was awarded Best Exhibit for her delicious mango chutney and with some modesty I have to reveal I had the best exhibit in the vegetable and fruit section for my runner beans!

When the show opened at 2.00pm there was a goodly flow of visitors (thank you for your support) who enjoyed a good look at the exhibits, a cup of tea and in some cases a piece of cake or a biscuit, with much chatter. With a sigh of relief we shall now start planning for next year!

It’s been a long day!

Garden Group North’s Visit to Hilton Court

In July, The Garden Group North met at Hilton Court Gardens, Roch where, before setting off to the gardens, we enjoyed lunch in the Gardeners Rest eatery.

As with all gardens the extensive grounds had changed considerably since my last visit.  The lake, which is the focal point, looked beautiful with the many water lilies in bloom; obviously there are fish because we spotted a heron sitting patiently on the bank waiting for his lunch.

A stroll round the lake

Essentially the garden is one of tree and shrubs but there has been an introduction of some herbaceous plants adding some colour to an otherwise very green look.  As we strolled around the lake we came upon Badger’s Hall a great addition for the children or even for some adults although some were not up to the challenge but they gave it their best shot! 

Colin tries his best!

Before returning to the café for afternoon tea (the Garden Group really doesn’t spend all its time eating and drinking) we came across another feature which one or two of us could not resist as you will see from the photographs.  The weather was kind to us with sunshine and a gentle breeze – indeed, a lovely meeting.

Penny on the swing

Please remember that our horticultural show which takes place the Neyland Athletic Centre, entries are on the day and an entry from and Schedule may be found on the website or alternatively contract me on 01437 766775 or pen.thomas46@googlemail.com.  There are spaces available on the trip to Dyffryn Gardens, near Cowbridge why not join us it is a National Trust property with beautiful gardens and an arboretum and well worth a visit.

Penny Thomas

Monthly Meeting July 2017 – An American Adventure

It is always a pleasure when the speaker is one of our membership.  In July, Philip and Marcia Whitehead related the story of their American trip – undertaken to visit those friends who were unable to attend their wedding earlier in the year. 

Marcia was concerned that we might think we would just be seeing their holiday photographs, but no – with the aid of bullet points she had prepared, and Philip operating the technology, we travelled from one side of America to the other taking in the Grand Canyon. Here we did have some splendid photographs!

With a temperature range from 4 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit this presented a challenge from the clothing point of view and a large quantity of luggage, but our intrepid travellers coped, well Marcia maybe! 

Upon entering the hall Marcia handed each member a slip of paper in order that they might guess the number of miles travelled – the competition was won by Ann Hyslop. A very interesting and informative talk.

Penny Thomas

Pembrokeshire U3A Annual Quiz 12th May 2017

score

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.
 
score

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.

Peter Brown

Photographs Colin Hankinson & Geoff Winterman

May Monthly Meeting – The Railways of Pembrokeshire

It has been mentioned that a large proportion of our speakers represent an organisation but on Thursday 4th May Mr David Watts spoke about the railway system, particularly in Pembrokeshire.

David delivered his talk with an element of humour and, as a bit of an enthusiastic rail traveller myself, I found the information he gave fascinating.  He described how coaches were pulled on wooden tracks by horses but within a relatively short time these were replaced by iron rails.  With the aid of maps and diagrams held up by his assistant for the day, Bob Matthews, we were able to appreciate just how many railway tracks there were in Pembrokeshire, although in the main these were branch lines linking villages rather than the larger towns whose stations were on the main line.  Railways were initially a means of freight carriers; from Pembrokeshire many hundreds of rabbits found their way to the metropolis by this means, not to mention milk from the many dairy farms in the County, when milk was transported in churns as opposed to the collections today by milk tankers. 

When finishing his talk David reminded us just how safe it is to travel by rail and, if you book your seat in good time, relatively inexpensive when compared with the cost of petrol. 

Gardens of Holland April 2017

Wonders of Keukenhof

Thirteen U3A Members visit Keukenhof Gardens

 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!

Penny Thomas  22nd April 2017