REPORT FROM THE CHAIR Yet again we have had a good year in Cupar U3A with some very good speakers. During the course of the year we have had a talk from John Kerr about Shelter Box, the charity that send tents and equipment to disaster areas, we’ve had a stroll around St Andrews Botanic Gardens from one of its Directors James Hearsum, we had a tragic tale from Robert Oliver about the 1881 Eyemouth Fishing disaster and learned about the devastating effect of this on the village. These are just a few of the excellent speakers we have had. More locally Andy Collins and Joan Brown told us about Sustainable Cupar and just recently, bringing the great outdoors to the indoors, Stewart Millar gave a talk on Imperial Eagles complete with a live bird in the room. The number of groups we currently have on our books is still increasing with the addition of a Ukulele and a proposed “On the Buses” groups. Contact details for all our groups can be found at our website. Also, last year we had a first for Cupar, a day trip to Sir Walter Scott’s house, Abbotsford which was really enjoyed by the members that went along. The second of these trips out is to Pitlochry Theatre which Victor Bunting is currently organising. I hope you will join us for this visit and for those visits he is planning. You will all know from our constitution that the term of office for the Chair is three years and the 2016/17 period is my third term. I look forward to working with you all for the coming year. My thanks go to our committee members for their dedication and all their hard work and to you the members, for supporting what is, your U3A. Finally, the membership continues to grow and we now have over 200 members. Therefore, it’s true to say that Cupar U3A is strong, is vibrant, is expanding and offers an interesting and enjoyable experience to all its members. Long may that continue Alan Hulatt .
Publicity, Halls & Speaker
General Enquiries & Web Master
Groups co-ordinators & Welcoming Co-ordinators
Patricia Burnett Joyce Henry-Davies
U3A National Delegate(Scotland)
DUTIES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS Following a query about the roles of members of the committee, we decided to pass on information about our roles in the newsletter. This Spring edition contains detail on two roles. Further roles will be explored in subsequent issues. DUTIES OF MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY • • • • • •
Maintain and update Master Spreadsheet with members details. Send out Welcome packs to new members. Update the Direct Mailing list for Third Age Matters publications Update the Committee with current members and prepare membership statistics for AGM Email any information necessary to the whole membership. Prepare name badges & membership cards & Open meeting Attendance sheets.
DUTIES OF NEWSLETTER EDITOR Produce two newsletters per year: • Request articles from U3A members and group leaders via email in advance • Collate articles and photographs etc into newsletter • Prepare electronic and hard copy versions of the newsletter • Distribute hard copies of the newsletter • Provide electronic version of the newsletter for inclusion on the website • Store electronic versions of the newsletter securely
UPDATE FOLLOWING THE GROUP LEADERS MEETING •
Calling All Gardening Enthusiasts
A contact name and number is needed for the Gardening 3 group (see U3A website). If you are interested contact - Committee Group co-ordinator Joy Davies Balancing the Books – one for group leaders If you'd like some tips and a chat on managing your group's finances and balancing the books contact - Committee Treasurer Maureen Brickley •
U3A equipment on loan:
We currently have a Notebook computer and projector available for group use. If you would like to borrow these IT items for your group and perhaps get a tutorial first, contact - Committee Vice Chair Trevor James
If you would like to know more about these 'In Case of Emergency' cards go to www.geticecard.com or ask a U3A group leader or committee member Cupar U3A has purchased ICE cards for group use. The group leaders for the walking groups and the indoor sports group have all been given a supply of ICE cards for their members. If you wish some for your group, please contact a committee member to enquire. •
Contact U3A Chairperson Alan Hulatt if there is a bereavement you would like formally acknowledged by the U3A
U3A SCOTLAND EVENT Two of the committee took a day trip to Haddington for the Scottish spring assembly hosted by East Lothian U3A. After the welcome, the delicious home baking and committee reports, the ensemble split into groups for the workshops. Our morning session was on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Ian Hunt of Perth U3A explained that many of these courses are free, don’t require previous qualifications and are interactive. Many are run by Universities (eg Harvard, Edinburgh) and are of a similar standard as the university sessions although don’t count towards an overall qualification. U3A Groups or individuals interested in finding out more should try one of the three links below:
www.coursera.org www.open2study.com www.futurelearn.com
The afternoon session was on an introduction to IT systems for management of finance, by Neil Stevens of Ilkley U3A. This session discussed various possible web based systems for managing U3A membership and finance. Demo versions are available so we continue to investigate. All in all a very interesting day.
LAMBING One of our U3A members, Lorraine Russell, keeps three Zwartble sheep. Zwartble sheep are predominately black with a white stripe down the front of their faces, white “socks” and a white tip to the tail. They are also known for being docile and friendly. The three ewes are currently lambing and Lorraine has her work cut out! I was delighted to visit when one of the ewes had given birth and saw the lambs at close quarters – even down to giving one a bottle as Lorraine was bottle feeding the poor wean because mum had rejected him. Fingers crossed that the other births go well!
NEW ACTIVITY GROUPS There are a couple of groups which have started since the last newsletter. Both are at the very early stages of set up, so not listed yet on the main activity page.(see back page of the newsletter) “On the buses” is a group which aims to provide for outings to a variety of venues stately homes, places of interest, old town centres etc – the choice is endless and will be chosen by the group. Date and time of the trip also to be chosen by the group and may change for each trip. Clearly, all must be accessible by public transport! If you are interested in finding out more, then contact Mary Cove The Wine Appreciation group is exactly what it says on the tin. A group of enthusiasts are going to meet every two months and focus on an aspect of wine – perhaps an area or perhaps a particular grape type. There are spittoons, charts to complete and everything! The group is now full, but if you wish to start another group, then please contact Veronica Kirk for advice and suggestions on the way forward.
FRENCH 1 It is difficult to explain why our Conversational French group is quite so enjoyable. We range all over the world in our chats. In the last year we have talked about: • • • • • • • • •
Milk bottle tops (do you remember the cardboard ones?) The Address to the Haggis (bad enough in Scots, far less in French) How to meet single men (and is this for money or sex?) Nude bathing in Iceland (I wish I’d been there, Ed) Teashops in St Andrews (and whether they are better than French ones) Wolves in the attic (no, really) Farting musically (http://www.mrmethane.com/ ) Wild pigs in Scotland Dog biscuits in Central Park (are Scots safe there?)
All this makes our Monday morning meetings something we really look forward to. However it is the empathy in the group that is so special. There has been a range of ups and downs in the last year, and the mutual support has been tremendous. Our meetings are not just a chance to chat in French, more an opportunity to share interesting events in our lives, stories of our younger years and fears of old age. We roam over the trials and joys of bringing up children and caring for grandchildren, the embarrassments of school and work, our love of art, poetry, film, outdoors, politics, travel. In fact almost anything you could think of is shared, argued over and generally put to rights. It is a fantastic group and we have grown to care a lot about each other. I'm not sure the French is improving, but it is great fun trying!
FILM/THEATRE GROUP Although we have just started this Group, we've already had a few outings to various events. Our meetings are held in the YMCA/YWCA Cupar every month. The next meeting is on 29th April between 11am - 12 noon. To encourage more members here are a few details on how we operate: Any individual member of the group wanting to view a Film/Drama/Opera/Musical/Orchestral Concert/Theatre/Ballet etc.... can email or 'phone other members of the group, who might also be interested in seeing the suggested event. Members can email or 'phone by return to make arrangements to meet up. After viewing there could be a discussion on the event over a cup of coffee ? For further info. contact 01337 858 634 Sheila Carter
The two music groups have been meeting regularly every second Tuesday in Letham as usual. In mid-January we had our ‘Christmas’ lunch in Café Montmartre (we’ve settled on January as Christmas is such a busy time for everyone, and it seems to work very well). We’ve had two programmes recently about violin music and the development of the instrument in the past three hundred years or so with CD and DVD examples, one about piano music, one called ‘Oddities’, one called Christmas Music (which did what it said on the tin, so to speak), one called Forces of Nature and one called The Art of Singing, when we were privileged to hear recordings of fine singers including one of our own group. Planned for the near future are programmes on Chopin, Faure and Gilbert and Sullivan, and there will be others. Currently we have 14 members in the afternoon group, which is really as many as our room will comfortably hold, and 12 in the morning group, so if anyone does want to join us, there is certainly room for two in the morning, and anyone who wishes to do so will be very welcome.
FRENCH 2 It was somewhat disheartening to note that the French game we were playing the other week advertised itself as suitable for children aged 6 months onwards. Of course we coped magnificently with this advanced activity! We now have several games which we play on some of our get togethers. The most difficult is the French Scrabble game which is not like our British Scrabble at all! Goodness there is not even a board. Roll on the summer when we can bring out the Boules.
THE DANCE GROUP The Dance Group has completed a very successful first year with an informal get together. The New Year has started very well with numbers increasing weekly, although there is still plenty of room for new members to come along and give it a try. We meet at the Old Parish Church hall, Cupar every Monday 1.45-2.45. The routines are all varied from repetitive dance/exercise to working with chairs, hats, canes and our latest, sarongs for a catchy Indian number. It's "fun, friendly and simply a great way to keep fit"
MACMILLAN COFFEE EVENT On Saturday 12 March 2016 Cupar Committee for Macmillan Cancer Support held an afternoon tea and fashion show. Volunteers modelled clothes by Fife Country and clearly one of the stars of the afternoon was our Chairman, Alan Hulatt – here shown wearing his first outfit. Many other U3A members were volunteers – both behind the scenes and also on the catwalk. The event raised the wonderful sum of £3,350 for Macmillan. Thanks to everyone who made the afternoon so successful.
Our walking group have made excursions to several places already this year – Ladybank Woods in January and Fife Coastal Path from Pittenweem to Elie in February.. Here we are at the top of Norman’s Law for our March walk – a repeat walk for some of our long-standing members, but a new route for others. We were very intrigued with the little hideaway at the edge of a field on the way – just the place to hunker down and spot wildlife? Or maybe just take a rest from inclement weather! Note the “new member” in the photo? We adopted a stranger who happened to be at the top the same time as us. A nice gentleman. Doreen and Seymour did us proud with a slap up lunch at their home after leading the walk - thank you both so much. We will miss Doreen and Seymour hugely on our future walks and wish them both every enjoyment in France. Until we meet again, keep in touch. The internet is a wonderful thing! We are currently considering our next trip to more distant pastures, following the very successful trip to Arran last Autumn. We have three choices, in three different parts of Scotland, each with a different level of accommodation. Will comfort win out?
SCOTTISH SUMMER SCHOOL 2016 Scotland’s first U3A Summer School is being held in Dundee from 30 August to 1 September 2016. The event is being organised by the U3A Scotland Committee and the subjects on offer are Scottish History, Folk Music, Forensic Science, Health & Wellbeing and International Politics. More information, including information on booking and charges, can be found at www.u3asites.org.uk/scotland. From there select events.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE IN PARIS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 by Doreen Hosking Some of you will know that I have recently been to Paris with Friends of the Earth Scotland to take part in protests at the Climate Change Conference. I had a great weekend, met some wonderful people and enjoyed the amazingly positive atmosphere in the streets of Paris. However, in spite of the joyful press comments afterwards, the decisions reached at the conference were insufficient to prevent dangerous changes in our climate in the decades to come. The conference has, I believe, signalled the death knell of fossil fuels (although not in a mandatory timescale). This is a big step forward; however the agreements are not legally binding so countries have no obligations to meet their carbon emissions reduction targets. Manmade climate change is already affecting our lives adversely (as the recent flooding has demonstrated). It will have a major effect on the lives of our children and grandchildren in the future. As always, the worst of the detrimental effects will fall on the world’s poor and world leaders in Paris did not commit to adequate support for developing countries to adapt to climate change. I believe that the only way we will get the changes we need is for each of us to make clear to our politicians what sort of world we want to live in. We need to make deep changes in our lifestyles for there to be a chance we can keep climate change to a manageable level. To become active, as I believe we must, we need to understand what human beings are doing to the planet and the urgency of the changes required. After Paris I have committed myself to talk to as many people as possible about how individuals can make a difference as I know that only if enough of us shout loudly enough will the politicians act. It would be great if you could tell me:• •
Would you be interested in learning more about climate change and possibly the other major environmental issues affecting our world? How do you think I could interest the members of the U3A? A talk? A climate change group? An environmental issues group? A film? Any other ideas?
If you have any ideas or would like to talk to me about all this please e-mail me at [email protected]
FINALLY A huge thank you to Ann Cottrell, who has served Cupar U3A staunchly for many years. Latterly Ann has produced the newsletter amongst other things and I do hope that I can keep up her high standard. We wish Ann all the best for the future.
CUPAR U3A ACTIVITIES GROUPS Group
Mike Sawyer Acting Grp Leader
Monthly on 1st Thursday
Pamela Hulatt Acting Grp Leader
Monthly on Thursdays
2nd + 4th Tuesdays
Monthly on Mondays
Monthly 3rd Wednesday
Contact Group Leader
Weekly Mondays am
Alternate Tues am
1.30pm Last Monday Monthly
Monthly on Mondays
Gardening 3 Indoor Sport
Monthly on Mondays Malcolm Aldcroft
Weekly Tuesdays pm
**Alternate Thurs pm *Alternate Thurs pm
Monthly on Thursdays
Monthly on Friday
2nd Monday Monthly
Monthly Thursdays pm
Fortnightly Friday pm
Monthly on Sundays
Jean & Mike Sawyer
Monthly 1st Wednesday
Swallows 2 Walking
Bruce & Bethan Murray
Monthly 3rd Wednesday
Nadia Willard & Laura Laing
Monthly 3rd Wednesday
Italian ** Beginners *Intermediates Jazz Appreciation
FORTHCOMING OPEN MEETINGS 2016 Meetings are held in the Baptist Church Hall, Bonnygate, Cupar (unless stated otherwise) on the second Wednesday of the month. The usual programme format will be:
Chairman’s welcome and General Administration
Main Speaker, followed by questions
tea and coffee, biscuits
My Life on the Stage
The Great Tapestry of Scotland
All About Jute
MEMBERSHIP FEES Please note that membership fees are now due. These can be paid at the Open Meeting or sent to Hilary Fraser at 19 Crawford Place, Ladybank, KY15 7NX. Subscription is £15 and cheques should be made payable to Cupar U3A.