Our next online Speaker is coming up on this Thursday 11th March at 10.30am:

‘Life of a Lighterman’ describes how bulk loads of cargo were transported from cargo ships in the Docks in Hull, along the River Ouse and into the seed-crushing mills in Selby. The presentation is enlivened by audio testimony from 96-year-old Laurie Dews who worked in the trade from the 1930s to the 1980s.

If you have not already registered for the talk, please do so now using the link below: .

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The National u3a run talks and courses all year for members to access. Below is the link to view what is coming up that you can register for:  


Current topics include subjects on Japan, Geology, beginners Genealogy, Maths, Cooking, History of the Fire Brigade, Egypt, and Nature.



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February Newsletter

The February newsletter is here…

You can access the newsletter from this post or from the email the majority of our members will receive on 17th February 2021.

If you haven’t told us your email address or if it has changed… to avoid missing out send your updated email details to

If you would like to make comment on this newsletter or submit an article for the next issue then please send details to by Friday 5th March 2021.

We would really like to hear from you during this lockdown period.

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Mad as a hatter by Sandy Leong

The English language is full of idioms; these are phrases, sayings or a group of words with a metaphorical, not a literal meaning and which have become accepted in common usage. These figures of speech will be used by every one of us every so often in our every day conversations and yet, we completely take it for granted that the person we are talking to will understand what we mean when we use them. However, imagine what someone learning our language  might think if we were to say ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’  or why don’t you ‘bite the bullet’ …. deeply confusing or what?? What we’re saying is actually nonsensical if the receiver is without knowledge of the implied and widely accepted meaning behind it.

Obviously, we know better than to take the phrase literally however, even as a native speaker, I was unaware of some of the origins of these sayings, so it was a most interesting eye opener to hear Sandy Leong unfold their derivations which more often than not, were truly amusing, surprising and fascinating.

I don’t remember ever being taught to use idioms so I guess I must have ‘picked them up’ over the years from hearing other people use them or from reading stories and articles. As Sandy explained, many of our sayings stem from past historical and military events, sport, religion, legends and even social class, so understanding their roots allows us to step back in time to when people’s lives were very different from our own today. Not only do these ‘wise sayings’ offer advice about how to live, but they also pass on a selection of underlying ideas, principles and values of our culture.  

Many of the stories behind these idioms were highly entertaining so it was a pleasure to hear Sandy’s elucidations from the comfort of my armchair. I personally enjoy using idioms in my writing and conversation as I believe they can sometimes help express an abstract idea in a more succinct and understandable way. They also have the ability to add mystery and a sense of fun to our language by transforming flat descriptions so, long may they continue to be used.

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Invitation from Scunthorpe & District u3a

Our friends at Scunthorpe u3a have invited us to join their February speaker by Zoom:

Stephen Wells – The history of Butlins Holiday camps

Stephen Wells went from being a Butlin Redcoat to being Entertainment Executive responsible for putting on the biggest names in Show Business. A great talk fully illustrated and with lots of great stories about the stars, including Cliff Richard, Des O’Connor, Jimmy Tarbuck, Ringo Starr, Dave Allen, Tommy Trinder and many more.

This talk lasts for 55-60 minutes and will be presented on Friday 26th February at 2pm.

If you would like to watch, please let Sharon know on 07803 694889 or


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Free Talks – A Snapshot of Lincolnshire’s Churches

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Mad as a Hatter – 11th February at 10.30am

If  you would like to watch this talk, please register using the link below

Once registered you will receive a confirmation email with a unique link in it to access the talk. A reminder email will be sent 24 hours before and again 15 minutes before the talk is due to start. If you do not receive the confirmation email please check the junk or spam folders, or email me direct on

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U3a National Office have appointed a PR Advisor (Chris Hartney-Mills) for the East Midlands Region to develop channels of communication and increase awareness.

West Wolds u3a therefore need a volunteer to be our nominated contact so that he can forward initiatives and ideas for presentation to our committee.

This would not be a demanding role and we would like someone from our membership to please volunteer.

The ethos of the u3a is ‘by the members, for the members’ and we work together to keep our u3a going and offering all the events, activities, meetings etc that we do. The u3a is key in our local area at combating loneliness and isolation for older people but we need our members to take part to help run our u3a. Without volunteers, we will not exist so please think about what you could do to help, in any role no matter how small.

Please visit our Volunteer Vacancies  section of our website under the ‘Committee’ tab for current vacancies or contact

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Up and Coming Lectures

Free Lectures

In 2019, the University of Lincoln declared a climate emergency. As a result of this, we committed to work with our local community to utilise education and research in order to reduce our environmental footprint.

As a key focus of this commitment we have devised a series of virtual seminars, open to the public, to share insight into the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and illustrate potential solutions and invite you to join us.

We would be delighted if you could join us for our upcoming talks below, or visit our website for more information about the Climate Change Lecture Series.

The Climate Crisis and Critical Engagement – Professor Edward Hanna
10th February, 4:00pm-5:00pm
Watch Online

Carbon Conscious: Calculating and Being Aware of Your Own Environmental Impact – Rebecca Forster
17th February, 11:00am-12:00pm
Watch Online

MyRiver: Re-thinking Floodplains and Intergenerational Strategies for Living with Floods – Professor Mark Macklin
24th February, 11:00am-12:00pm
Watch Online

Castles in the Sky: Implications of Climate Change for Our Cultural Heritage – Dr Cathy Daly
3rd March, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Watch Online

Climate Change: An Opportunity to Change Practice for the Lincolnshire Agriculture and Food Industries – Professor Simon Pearson and Isobel Wright
10th March, 3:00pm-4:00pm
Watch Online

How Climate Change Impacts Your Plants and Garden – Professor Libby John and Professor Harriet Gross
17th March, 9:00am-10:00am
Watch Online

The Challenges of Climate Change Law – Professor Elizabeth Kirk
24th March, 4:00pm-5:00pm
Watch Online

Climate Change and the Shared Futures of Business and Society – Professor Ted Fuller and Dr Claire May
31st March, 11:00am-12:00pm
Watch Online

If you have any questions, please email

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Memoir Writing Project

Rosanna McGlone has been awarded Arts Council Funding to run a Memoir Writing project: Lincolnshire Lives. It’s about the lives of 12 ordinary people, people just like you. Perhaps you were a trawlerman’s wife, a shop worker, a carer, worked on a farm, the pier, the arcades, a school or a hospital? Whatever you have done, she  would love to hear about it. You must be 55 or over and is free.

The project will run twice, once in Feb and once from September. The first session will start at 10.30am on 22nd February and consists of six 2-hour online workshops using Zoom, once a month.

In between Rosanna will work with you individually to craft a series of stories telling a slice of your life, focusing on what you can remember, not on what you can’t. You don’t need any experience of writing workshops and you don’t need to be a great writer.

At the end of the course each participant will receive a published anthology which will contain the stories of everyone in the group.

For more information or to sign up please contact: Rosanna McGlone 07570 480802 or

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Creative Writing Competition

King Lear Prizes is a national creative arts competition for older people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest round of the competition is running from January to 19th March .

The competition is specifically for amateurs and beginners who are over the age of 65 and accepts entries in poetry, real stories (short stories from people’s lives), art and musical performance, and there are over £2,000 of prizes on offer. The winners will be picked by a panel of expert judges including Gyles Brandreth, Kate Malone, Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Jean Chan.

This website gives more information about the competition and the organisation which runs it

It’s a great creative project for people to get stuck into particularly during this lockdown, and it’s an opportunity for our members to improve their creative skills.


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Thanks Message from Louth Riverhead Theatre Management

Following on From Cathy Whelan’s message about the cancelled performances at Louth Riverhead Theatre, here is a letter from the management there saying a big thank you for the donations which may help to keep them going in these horrible times for theatres.

Click on the link below

fran thank you

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The faces behind the clock

Yesterday I watched a very interesting presentation by Tim Redmond courtesy of Murthy video talks entitled ‘The faces behind the clock’. It was a really unique opportunity to hear the history of and see inside one of the world’s most iconic buildings which most people refer to as Big Ben, but which is actually the Elizabeth Tower at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament. I have never taken the opportunity to tour the inside of the Houses of Parliament or the Elizabeth Tower so this talk was a welcome opportunity to learn about the latter from the comfort of my armchair.
Before taking us inside the tower, Tim explained that in 1834, the Palace of Westminster was almost completely destroyed by fire so a replacement was required. A public competition was held inviting architects to submit designs for a new Palace and the winning drawing was by Charles Barry. Although Barry was the chief architect, he collaborated closely with Augustus Pugin who not only advised him on the decorative details for the new Palace of Westminster but also suggested he include an impressive neo-gothic clock tower. In 2012, that Clock Tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee but it is still better known as Big Ben.
Using a selection of Tim’s photographs, we entered the building and looked up to see a stunning spiral staircase consisting of 334 steps. As we hypothetically climbed the stairs, every so often we would come across a door which we were allowed to open; as we entered the first one, we found ourselves standing behind the famous clock faces, each one of which is 23ft in diameter and composed of 312 pieces of opal glass set in a cast iron frame. The hour hand is a mere 9.2ft long compared to each minute hand which is 14ft long. The clock faces have recently had a colour swap from black to blue in keeping with their original design and are illuminated by 28 energy-efficient bulbs.
We continued our climb and the next door we entered led us into the room which houses the clock mechanism itself and, which is undeniably a magnificent example of Victorian engineering. Weighing around five tons and housed directly beneath the belfry, the clock’s  mechanism consists of three trains, or sections: the going train advances the four sets of hands; the chiming train pulls the cables that make the four quarter bells ring; and the striking chain powers the giant hammer. Edmund Beckett Denison’s clever design of the ‘Double Three-legged Gravity Escapement’ compensates for all external influences on the mechanism and is crucial in helping the clock keep accurate time. It’s adjusted using pre-decimal pennies, which regulate the clock mechanism; adding one penny causes the clock to gain two-fifths of a second in 24 hours. The clock is renowned for its precision and accuracy and is regarded as both the largest and most accurate four-faced chiming clock in the world. It still uses its original Victorian mechanism today to ring the bells however,  a modern electric motor is used as a back-up in case the old mechanism ever fails.
As we climbed the last few steps and opened the final door we entered the belfry and here before us was Big Ben, the most famous bell in the world. There is some dispute over who the bell was named after but we do know that it was cast by Warners of Stockton on Tees in 1856 however, in 1857, the bell cracked so a replacement was made which was 2.5 tons lighter and cast by George Mears at his Whitechapel Foundry. This bell was taken through the streets of London with much pomp and ceremony and hauled into position in the tower which was eventually completed in 1859. Two months after its first chime though, this bell also cracked so was taken out of commission; a smaller quarter bell chimed on the hour for four years until in 1863, it was decided that if the great bell was rotated a quarter of the way clockwise, an undamaged portion could then be struck with a smaller and lighter hammer which remains in place today. When struck, Big Ben makes the musical note of E however, he is not alone in the belfry as there are in fact four other bells beneath him that ring on the ‘quarter’ hours and strike the notes G sharp, F sharp, E and B; together their notes all combine to form the famous tune and, like Big Ben, these bells are also fixed and struck by hammers from outside.
The amalgamation of Tim’s stunning photographic images and his natural storytelling ability gave us a fascinating insight into some of the inner secrets of the Elizabeth Tower and its contents as well as some intriguing background history on its designers and constructors. 
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Volunteer Car Service

For your information, there is volunteer run driver service available to assist people needing transport, predominantly for medical appointments, in and around the Lincolnshire and Hull areas.
The driver will pick you up from home, drive you to your appointment and wait for up to two hours for you, and then take you back home.
The driver is a volunteer, so doesn’t get paid for his/her time, but you will be asked for a fee of 45p per mile to cover fuel and vehicle running expenses. The office is based in Louth but drivers are based around the county, including three in Market Rasen. Clients can sometimes be collected at short notice but it is generally better to phone and book your journey as soon as you receive details of your appointment.
Journeys can be arranged for any day and time but the office is only open from 9.00 am until 4.00 pm Monday to Friday. Telephone 01507 609535

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Technology – Are You Being Left Behind?

The benefits of technology for third agers includes beating loneliness, taking control, participation and independence.

We are instigating a program of improving members skills (including starting from scratch) with 1:1 sessions in the coming year and will tackle basic smartphone functions, how to Zoom (other video calling platforms are available) and so on.


If you would like help with any of these or other tech-related functions, please let us know and we will arrange help once current restrictions are over.


If you are a member that already have these skills, will you be a Zoom buddy or assist with growing another’s tech skills?

Please contact  by clicking on the link if you want help or can offer it, or phone 07803 694889

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