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North Wales

MU3A OCTOBER   2019 BULLETIN(1)jpg_Page2_Image1.jpg

MU3A HOLIDAY IN NORTH WALES:  From the 1st to the 6th of September, 14 U3A members from Meopham and Gravesend enjoyed a “Rail Discoveries” holiday in North Wales. We were part of a group of 41 on the holiday. The Tour Manager was David Denman, a Meopham U3A member. The holiday was based at the Kensington Hotel, located on the sea front at Llandudno. On 3 of the days we were transported by mini-coach to the bases for journeys on steam trains. Our coach driver, Arwyn, provided a continuous commentary on the villages and communities we passed through, tried to teach us a few words in Welsh and, on the first day only (!), also shared with us a few of his personal jokes!

DAY ONE:  entailed a coach ride to Ffestiniog to join the Ffestiniog Mountain Railway for a journey of 13.5 miles to Porthmadog. This line was originally built to transport slate from local quarries and evidence of this is still visible. It runs through the amazing scenery of the Snowdonia National Park and has magnificent views of valleys, cascading waterfalls, ancient woodlands and mountain peaks. From Porthmadog we made the short journey by coach to Portmeirion. All of the interesting buildings in the village are registered Grade 1 or 2 and are now either self-catering cottages or hotel rooms and suites.

DAY TWO (Tuesday): We made a return journey from Llangollen to Carrog. A good part of this trip was through the beautiful River Dee valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and of Special Scientific Interest. On our return to Llangollen we enjoyed a 45 minute ride on a horse drawn barge along a stretch of the famous Llangollen canal. On our FREE DAY, Wednesday, there were local attractions, notably the Great Orme. Unfortunately it was extremely windy and as a direct result the cable car to the summit was not operating. The tramway to the summit was extremely busy and some of our group did not make it to the top.Those who did were almost blown away! I think I was the only one who went down the Bronze Age mine, an extraordinary and memorable experience. Some members went to Conwy on that day and found it a very interesting city with many attractions.

DAY 4 (our final day): From our hotel we initially travelled by coach through stunning mountain scenery to Caernarfon. On arrival we were split into two groups and given a fascinating guided tour of the castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon we rode on the Welsh Highland Railway, a narrow gauge line running along the foothills of the Snowdonia Mountain range to Beddgelert. In this attractive small village, many of us enjoyed light refreshments alongside the nearby stream. Llandudno itself proved to be a very popular base. In the evenings there were walks along the promenade and a small number extended their walks to the pier and on one occasion were lured into the amusements area! Other evening activities included card schools and enjoyment, on two evenings, of concerts given by Welsh male voice choirs. All of the holiday arrangements ran very smoothly, largely due to the professional and efficient efforts of our Tour Manager, David Denman. Everyone enjoyed the holiday and learned a great deal about the outstanding railway heritage of North Wales.

Hello, I said Hello....

Yes we are still open, Its about time for a change of attitude.... Things will be a long time getting back to the old normal so let's get busy being positive and planning for our continuing Meopham U3A future.
Group contacts have been emailed by Heather and me, (Gus) asking for information about your groups and your website page and if not much has happened PLEASE be courteous and at least reply  as it all helps us to understand how our U3A is coping.
Face to face meetings of any type are going to be difficult as we all have our own "Bubbles" to feel safe in but online group quizes, coffee mornings or just a phone call can be helpful for many who miss personal contact. 
Help is available and dont be scared to ask / email someone on committee who will point you in the right direction and for many try asking grandchildren for help, I do!!
As you can see from this list many of the groups are keeping the members informed of what is going on.

Amblers:   have done one distanced outdoor walk
Art Appreciation:   meeting fortnightly via Zoom - temporary members welcome
Bee Watch:   email bee sightings
Book Club 1/2/3:   all meeting via Zoom
Bridge:   hoping to organise meetings in gardens in groups of 4
Canasta:   weekly newsletter to keep in touch
Current Affairs1:   meeting fortnightly via Zoom
Cycling/For Softies:   have held one outdoor ride
French Advanced:   meet on Tuesday via Zoom
Improvers 1:   meeting via Zoom
Improvers 2:   meet via Zoom / WhatsApp
Intermediate:   Zoom on Tuesday evening
Genealogy:   Zoom meeting planned for July - new members welcome
German:   meeting twice monthly via Zoom
Guitar:   fortnightly Zoom / WhatsApp contact
History1:   fortnightly Zoom meetings
Italian Beginners:   have met in gardens.
Italian Intermediate:
  Reviewing the situation ready for re-start in September
Meditation:   using WhatsApp for guided meditations
Music for Pleasure:   monthly Zoom - have honorary members
Needlecraft:   all active on WhatsApp
Painting/Drawing:   using WhatsApp to share and discuss work
Patchwork:   garden meetings planned
Petanque:  Awaiting goverment advice as to when restart is possible

Photography:   meet on Cluster to post photos
Quilting:   using WhatsApp to share work
Singing- ladies:   meet weekly on Tuesday morning via Zoom
Singing - men:   fortnightly Zoom meetings
Spanish:   fortnightly Zoom meetings
Wine Appreciation 1:   Zoom meeting on usual Thursday
2:   Zoom meet on Wednesday / WhatsApp group
3:   weekly Zoom meeting

Gus.