The speaker for October was Janet Gibbs, a member of the Canasta Group, who talked to the membership about her time living on the Island of Guernsey.
Janet lived on the Island for six years, working for a private bank at the time when off shore accounts received tax benefits. Her husband,was a policeman. Guernsey to some conjures up Guernsey cows and the German occupation, but Janet told us so much more. The second largest of the Channel Islands and once the home of Victor Hugo, whose home can be seen today and is, as you would expect, very much decorated ornately in the French style. With a speed limit of just 35 miles per hour it is strange the racing driver Jensen Button should be a resident!
In addition to its’ dairy industry, Guernsey was a grower of tomatoes but sadly in the 1987 gales many of the greenhouses were destroyed and remain today mounds of debris because of the difficulty and cost of removal and disposal. Janet brought with her some very stylish jewellery designed by Catherine Best who has a workshop on the Island of much interest to the ladies!
The talk was both informative and interesting it is always great to hear from a member.
Local filmmaker Bob Phillips presented his debut film ‘Gathering the Graves’.
The story is based on the work of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission and follows the lives of several characters affected by the loss of Evan, a soldier who went missing on the Western Front during World War I.
An introduction was given by Bob. He started with a short talk introducing us to a map with numbers written, 21, 13, 870 etc these represented the number of bodies found after the Great War some 10,000 in an area of not much more than an acre, shocking. The hall descended into silence as Bob explained the reason behind the making of this truly remarkable film, a grandfather, great uncle members of his own family lost, the more he investigated the greater the desire to record events. We followed the young lives of two friends who had seen the Buffalo Bill Cowboy Show when it visited Pembroke Dock, we saw photos of two boys playing cowboys and Indians. These boys, as did so many, saw the War as an adventure and signed up to do their duty, my own tears started as we saw them leave, boarding a train which would take one to his death the other to be a prisoner of war.
The film centred on the commissioning of War Graves, those who had wealth were able to arrange for their loved ones to be brought home for burial others lay where they had fallen for some there were no remains. War Grave Commission headed by Mr Fabian Ware set about finding the bodies buried beneath the killing fields each was given a burial and the grave marked with a simple cross to eventually be replaced by a simple headstone that we now recognise.
The Rovers Walk on Saturday October 6th, led by John Baylis, has now been designated as the Catharine MemorialWalk, in memory of his wife who died suddenly earlier this year. Anyone who would like to join us on this walk will be very welcome. Details are in the current U3A Newsletter. The distance is 7.5 miles; wear walking boots, and suitable clothing, and bring lunch and water. Ring John the previous evening to inform him, and receive any last minute information. Chris Taylor 01646-600225.
UPDATE: If U3A members would like to join us, but are unable to manage the full 7.5 mile walk, the first three miles of the walk is a loop, and come back almost to the starting point, (at Haverfordwest Football Club, behind/beside Morrisons). So you could drop off after three miles rather than complete the longer walk.
The group is visiting Picton Castle on Thursday 13th September. Entrance cost will be £7.00 which includes a tour of the Castle. If you wish to join us please contact me on 01437 766775 or email@example.com. Some of the group may wish to have lunch at Maria’s Café and I shall have a menu available to enable meals to be pre-booked and for this reason we will meet in the car park at 12 noon.
Our July meeting took us to the garden of Stan and Pam Steer. In the knowledge that Pam has won the cup for the most points gained at the U3A Horticultural Show for the past three years, we knew we were in for something special. When our hosts purchased the plot they were advised to forget the garden because nothing would grow in the heavy clay soil. How amazed the neighbour must be to see this verdant corner of the cul-de-sac. Much hard work, compost and chicken manure has produced a beautiful garden.
Shed and Pond
The clematis was in full flower and the flower bed, full of alstroemeria, was charming, with the delicate colouration of the flowers, such a pity it is to go to be replaced by a Dahlia bed! I cannot describe this garden without making reference to Stan’s Dahlias. Exquisite, the care and devotion taken has certainly been worthwhile. One has a Japanese name which one of our group was able to translate to Messenger from the Moon – it certainly was out of this world.
The fish in the pond have certainly grown since the group’s last visit and certainly drew everyone’s attention. Along the wall of the bungalow stood pots of Chrysanthemums too early as yet for blooms but the autumn I am sure will see some stunning flowers. The weather this year has been challenging for gardeners but that was not apparent from this garden except perhaps for the lawn! A lovely afternoon spent in a beautiful garden.
1. Entrants must be U3A members.
2. Exhibits must be staged from 8.30 to 10.20.
3. Entrants may submit only 2 entries per class.
4. Entrants must provide their own containers (vases etc.)
5. No exhibits may be removed before 4 pm.
6. The Judge’s decision is final.
7. The committee accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss or accident.
Penny Thomas 01437 766775 firstname.lastname@example.org
Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who came to Cardiff, smiled their way through 8+ hours of an extremely hot and stuffy Jubilee Hall and played magnificently.
This year the competition was open to teams from England, was very much bigger and we met with a lot of serious and dedicated league players. There were 34 teams and everyone played an average of 9 matches. Overall we took 7th place (Gaynor Evans & Tony Tiffen) and 9th place (Chris Harries and myself), and the trophy for Group 4 went to Pauline Tiffen & Geraint Williams. John Healey partnered Pat Mason who kept going even though still recovering from an injured wrist, and Ray Lockyer was partnered by Margaret Carter, our newest member. All of them did us proud.
Receiving their trophy from Ron Davies board director of Table Tennis Wales,
Pauline Tiffen and Geraint Williams
The Sophia Gardens cafeteria provided very good breakfasts and lunches. Thanks go to Chris who organised a Portuguese meal on Monday night, and to Gaynor who took us back to last year’s Italian restaurant on Tuesday – both excellent meals. Thanks also to Muriel who was unable to play but stayed with us all day and gave help and encouragement. Last but not least we owe thanks to Phil Avery who gave the time and effort to organise the competition.
This month, Simon Hancock, social historian and curator of Haverfordwest Town Museum, shares his fascinating research into witchcraft in seventeenth-century Pembrokeshire.
When we think of witches and witchcraft there is an almost instinctive mind picture of an isolated, warty old woman, invariably accompanied by a pet cat. This stereotype is culled from popular literature, folk and fairy tales. Our knowledge of witchcraft prosecutions is dominated by the person of Matthew Hopkins, ‘Witchfinder General’ in East Anglia during the English Civil Wars and even more so by the Salem witch trials at Salem in Massachusetts in 1692. Witchcraft accusations tell us a lot about the role of women in society, male attitudes and forms of control, relationships within communities and how local conflicts were resolved.
Simon’s is interest was awakened by reading Richard Suggett’s excellent book A History of Magic and Witchcraft in Wales, published in 2008, in which he mentions a number of local cases. This prompted Simon to consult the actual court papers of the Great Sessions which heard such cases.
Across England and Wales between 300 to 1,000 people were executed for witchcraft, the great majority of whom were women, although in Wales prosecutions were rare. Most accusations, when they were made, were thrown out by grand juries. There were five executions for witchcraft in Wales, the last being at Anglesey in 1655. There were no executions in Pembrokeshire but around half a dozen cases are mentioned. Perhaps the most interesting appear during the final flourish of witchcraft accusations in the 1690s.
The earliest known case dates from 1607 when Katherine Lewis, the wife of Thomas Bowen of Tenby, labourer, was suspected of bewitching some pigs at Gumfreston. Two sows ran about ‘in a most strange manner’ and lost their litters. Witchcraft was part of the mental furniture and viewed the supernatural, cursing, charms, cunning folk and belief in diabolical forces as part of everyday life. Quakers were initially suspected of associations with witchcraft. In 1668 at Haverfordwest, Hugh Lloyd had become ‘distracted’, saying the Quakers had enchanted him and that Quaker women were ‘inchanted Devills’.
Perhaps the most interesting local case of witchcraft accusation occurs in that of Olly (Olivia Powell) of Loveston in 1693. A whole list of calamities supposedly followed in her wake, including the destruction of a rick of hay, sows sickening and poultry suddenly expiring. When one man refused to give her ‘coals’ (an interesting reference to local mining) he soon developed unexplainable pain in his legs. Other Pembrokeshire cases include a cattle thief who met a man with horns who induced him to steal at Narberth fair in 1612, and a cunning man or conjurer at Llanychaer in 1693.
The last indictment for witchcraft in Wales occurred at Haverfordwest in 1699. Dorcas Heddin, a native of Cambridgeshire, was accused of bewitching sailors on a ship which was bound for Virginia. The Devil appeared to her in the image of a black man and demanded three drops of her blood. He offered to founder the vessel but Dorcas only wanted the two men who had short rationed her to be struck down with sickness. The examinations of Dorcas and Olly Powell were heard at Haverfordwest Castle, so the medieval structure was still being used officially on the cusp of the eighteenth century.
Based on Simon Hancock’s talk and an article in the Western Telegraph 13th August 2014