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Half a dozen members of the U3A Natural History Group were blessed with a sunny day sandwiched between two very wet ones when they met at Abercastle on Wednesday 29th September to seek out grey seal pups along our coastline. A Natural History highlight of our county famous nationally.
Members Pete and Carol Hall shared their wealth of fascinating knowledge about seals gathered working at a local seal rescue centre as they led us along the coast path to look down on the secluded beaches shielded by high cliffs where our mother seals come in late summer and early autumn to have their pups. We were rewarded by the sight of about a dozen pups, and in some cases their mothers guarding and in one case feeding them. We also got the “once over” as we set off from a bull seal, cruising in Abercastle Harbour near the nursery beaches in the hope of fathering next year’s pups. Female seals mate soon after giving birth.
After being enthralled by the seal spectacle, on the way back our group visited the 5,000-year-old Neolithic Carreg Samson Dolmen, in a scenic spot overlooking the coast. Some then sat down on the grass by the sea in the sunshine to enjoy a picnic, nicely rounding off what was generally seen as a most worthwhile morning.
The Natural History Group will be going out for at least one more outdoor activity at the end of October. All U3Aers welcome!
Interested: contact the Group Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural History Group Leader.
Pic 1 Pete enthrals us with his knowledge of seals.
Pic 2 A bull seal keeps an eye on us
Pic 3 Off we go!
Pic 4: Seal Beach
Pic 5: Mother and Baby
Pic 6: Carreg Samson dolmen
(Thanks to Myles Huthwaite for pics 4 and 5)
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Indoor Bowls has re started but at a new start time of 9.15am to start bowling at 9.30am, this is to allow cleaning to take place before the next session ( Covid 19 precautions).
The session started with a minutes silence to allow bowlers to pay their last respects to
Margaret Lloyd who sadly passed away during lock-down.
The days remain the same Monday, Wednesday & Friday but time is now 9.15am
We are only allowed a maximum of 16 players per session so if you wish to attend a session you will need to ring me THE DAY BEFORE ON :- 01646 663623 to book in. It will be on a first come first served basis.
Everyone agreed it was great to be back playing again as we had all missed the social and exercise elements of the game.
Below a few photos of the resumption of play.
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Group leader U3A Indoor Bowls Group.
Just a few links to articles and information sources that might be helpful and to help counteract some of the misinformation:
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK A resource for finding local support groups and resources.
WHO Myth Busters Facts to counteract some of the myths around Covid-19.
UK Covid Tracker A wealth of information and graphs to show how Covid is progressing.
Worldometer See how the rest of the world compares.
Video Clip Illustrates the value of social distancing.
How Covid-19 can spread I won’t be rushing to a buffet any time soon.
Which? on Facemasks Where to buy and how to make them.
Warning The next few items are for the more scientifically trained and curious minds but are not recommended for casual reading.
UpToDate Links and information about the science and research on Covid-19.
Simulating an Epidemic One for the mathematicians.
I’ll add more as I find them.
MJW – Updated 30 May 2020
Today we were all impressed by the address by Mrs Katie Macro, who is the Community Co-ordinator for our Air Ambulance Service Charity and works from the head office in Llanelli.
Our Air Ambulance Service covers the whole of Wales from 8am-8pm every day. Last year they covered 3,600 missions. Since 2001 they have operated 34,211 missions and 20% were in S & W Wales. (Sounds like the missions that Spitfires & Mosquitoes completed in WW2). They work closely with the other emergency services and it costs about £6.5 million a year to keep one fully equipped and operational. The aim is to have a 24 hour service, and this would be possible but would need an additional injection of about £6m.
There are 5 Helicopters in all – the H145 Airbus which can travel at 150 mph and which is fully equipped for emergency transfer to the nearest appropriate hospital and which can include a NHS doctor and also H135 which is especially equipped for children and young people, pregnant mums with problems etc. There have been occasions where the patient has been in Theatre before the family could arrive.
What is most impressive is that the helicopters can reach everyone in Wales, after take off time, in 20 minutes. All they need is a site about the size of a tennis court to land – which we know all about at Withybush Hospital.
Katie illustrated the help they were able to give for a 4yr old boy who had two hours to be taken to London for an emergency liver transplant, and who received the surgery far quicker from any one here could get to London, and also for someone who had driven off a cliff at St Davids. (I am still puzzling about this one!)
Katie is charged with Community Fund Raising and welcomes volunteers and fund raising events to help with the running of the Wales Air Ambulance Service. She can be contacted on e-mail: email@example.com or 07817 961 207.
The Chairman thanked Katie for joining us and presented her with a voluntary collection of £120.15p from our members towards her fundraising
Carol Matthews (helped by Bob) talks about Growing up in Merlin’s Bridge
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In 2010 when Bob & I were planning our move back to Pembrokeshire our friends in Owlsmoor were intrigued by our address i.e. Merlin’s Bridge. Although growing up here I’d never given it a thought but after arriving here we began looking into the meaning which we discovered had nothing whatsoever to do with a wizard but was just a derivation of ‘Maudlin.’ We also started looking at the old postcards which my parents had inherited from my great aunts – they were my maternal grandmother’s sisters who had been ‘in service’ all their lives & as I said if my Great Aunt Polly had been alive today she would have been constantly on social media because she was a prolific sender of postcards & therefore also received many postcards! Many of these were views throughout Pembrokeshire which inspired us to go out & try & take the exact modern day views – not always easy as trees had grown up or access was barred due to buildings etc. However, it seems that we all enjoy nostalgia & we still have more postcards to match up with today’s views so when we have time we could possibly do another ‘Memories of Pembrokeshire’!
The Amazing History of the Coracle
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A most enjoyable, amusing and illuminating talk was given by Mr Mark Fowler at our meeting on 5th February on the history of the coracle. Martin is the owner/manager of the Cenarth Coracle Museum by the Mill. (I remember buying flour from that mill many, many years ago). With a collection of old historic photographs displayed on the screen, Mark took us though the ages of the craft of coracle making. It is hard for us now to realise that this industry was first recorded about 1800 BC when it was necessary to move people and animals across rivers.There is evidence that Noah’s Ark (which would have been about half the size of a football pitch by today’s standards) was built in this traditional way, and especially the ‘Moses’ basket which features in our Bible.Martin illustrated (with his caricature friend Dai) how the coracle was developed and built to cope with the different waterways and needs; but always with the flat bottom for stability but evolved with a square front for steering safely. Basically, they are of wood and bitumen, however in some countries they were lined with animal skins and in Dakota they were traditionally covered with the pelts of bison. When you think that a man rowed a coracle many years ago from Vietnam to Hong Kong, and also a man rowed a Coracle across the English Channel it proves the design and strength they are famous for.
Back to the UK – coracles were used on the Rivers Severn, Towy and many others, but we have our own on the Teifi. Martin’s cartoon pictures of Dai were wonderful with great captions, I think the one we liked best was the Dai-li-Lama and Dai from Wales!
Thank you, Martin, for a superb talk.
Photos: Myles H & Geoff W
For several years we have enjoyed entertainment as part of the Annual General Meeting this year this was provided by The Ukulele Pirates. Ten enthusiastic musicians who played Ukuleles of varying sizes, guitars, and piano accordion it was an absolute treat. There were songs of past eras, to which many of our members were able join in and our Chairman took to the floor with a gentleman who had been brave enough to dance alone (caught on camera!) , well done to both of them. The Venue had been changed so we were warm and the buffet lunch was outstanding a truly memorable morning
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The speaker was Frank Harries BEM whose talk was entitled “Through the years, a full life” and what a full life he led. His father began his working life as a wheelwright in Pembroke Dock. He subsequently joining the army and taking his family to Gibraltar. Whilst on holiday in the Spanish City of Seville the Spanish Civil War broke out and Frank watched as bombs fell from the sky finding the experience exciting, but not realising how many people were being maimed and killed. Frank showed photographs of his family, Ration Books and Identity Cards issued at the beginning of the Second World War. Living in Pembroke Dock at this time he became an Altar boy and remembered the American Soldiers billeted in the area. Joining the army at the age of 18 Frank found himself in the Malayan Jungle searching out communists. It appears our hero was something of a footballer and played as goal keeper for Llanelli but in the days when footballers had a “day job” this proved too much for him. In his later days Frank became a referee and in retirement he joined the Rotary and became something of a fundraiser in fact he raised the staggering sum of £200,000.00. Indeed a very full life and still going at the ripe age of 90 it could make one’s own life seem somewhat dull!
Penny Thomas 3rd October 2019