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The University
of the Third Age,

Monthly Gatherings

Our Monthly Gatherings are open to all members.
Presentations and Demonstrations by invited guests or members of our groups make for a really enjoyable afternoon.
These sessions are always complemented by refreshments.

Venue: Parlwr Mawr, The Dragon Theatre, Barmouth.
Time: 1.30pm on the 2nd Wednesday of each month

June - Wednesday 14th. No speaker this month, but come along and enjoy a social get-together. Coffee/tea from 1.45 pm

May - Wednesday 10th. It is the AGM, please come and support as the committee is desperate for new members. Coffee/tea from 1.45 pm

April - Wednesday 12th. Please note change of venue: Due to numbers attending and costs we have relocated to Parlwr Mawr. Tea and biscuit as usual from 1.45, then U3a business and a quiz compiled by our Monthly Meeting Co-ordinator (Jacqui Puddle). This is an opportunity for a hot drink and a natter this month.

March - Wednesday 8th. Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.45. U3a Business at 2 pm, followed by our speaker. There will be a raffle. The speaker is Buddig Jones from Guide Dogs for the Blind with her dog Freya.

February - Wednesday 8th. Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.45. U3a Business at 2pm, followed by our speaker. There will be a raffle. The speaker will be Eleri Lloyd from Mantell Gwynedd.

January - Wednesday 11th. Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.45. U3a Business at 2 pm, followed by our speaker. There will be a raffle. The speaker is Adrian Edwards who will be talking about Medieval Armoury and Arms. He will also be bringing a static display of birds of prey.

*** 2016 ***

December - Christmas Party Time: 14th December
A 2pm start in The Arts Room, Dragon Theatre. Homemade soups, Bread, Butter Mince Pies. Wine or soft drink/tea or coffee. Sedentary games, Singing and Chairman's Film Clips. A Raffle - with 3 outstanding prizes.
All for £5.00
Last year was a great success, let's do it again

November - Wednesday 9th.
We have reverted to doors opening at 1.30. We will serve tea/coffee and biscuits, then - business of the month, announcements.
This will be followed by the speaker, Professor Emeritus Rhiannon Evans talking about her book 'Joyce's War', based on the journal of her mother (Joyce Ffoulkes Parry) as a QAIMNS(R) Nursing Sister, during World War II.
The book group read this in April.

October - Wednesday 12th.
This month we have 'Local' Danny Jones who will be talking about music and he has already said there will be some fun audience participation.

September - Wednesday 14th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm with a the raffle.
The speaker is Paul Booth from the Wildlife Trust.

July - Wednesday 13th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm with a the raffle.
The presentation will be by Age Cymru, speaker Aled Evans. I am sure there will be many tips and suggestions for available facilities and grants.

June - Wednesday 8th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm with a the raffle.
Speakers are Paul and Pauline Aslin, 'Trees and Bees'. An interesting insight into the life of bee-keeping, its products and maybe a small swarm of bees will make an appearance.

May - Wednesday 11th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm with a the raffle.
The main business of the meeting is our AGM. Following this there will be a light hearted game or two.

April - Wednesday 9th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm with a the raffle.
Then a presentation by Mick Alexander talking about the Glaslyn Ospreys.

March - Wednesday 9th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm.
There will be the raffle and then a demonstration/presentation by local craftsman Daryl Edwards on Wood Turning.

February - Wednesday 10th.
The meeting will start as normal with tea and biscuits from 1.30 pm.
There will be the raffle and then a demonstration/presentation by Sally Friswell with her obedience dog/s.

January - Wednesday 13th. The Art of Massage with Sandra Padbury is our 'experience' for this month.
Tea and biscuits as usual, from 1.30. Raffle.

*** 2015 ***

December - Wednesday 9th. Our meeting this month is the Christmas Party. Starting at 1.45 pm in the Arts Room of the Dragon.

November - Wednesday 11th. Coffee, tea and a biscuit from 1.30 pm. There will be a raffle and sales table.
The speaker is Alan Vincent, subject, The Rhine: Past and Present.

October - Wednesday 14th. Coffee, tea and a biscuit from 1.30 pm. There will be a raffle.
The speaker is Mayur Raj Verma - Raj from Indiana Cuisine in Fairbourne to many of us - His theme 'My Amazing Journey'.

September - Wednesday 9th. Tea and a biscuit from 1.30pm. Raffle.
The speaker will be Bill Warrell from Bodnant Gardens.

August - No meeting in August.

July - Wednesday 8th. Tea and a biscuit from 1.30pm. Raffle.
The speaker this month is PCSO Darren Walters who will talk about Community Policing and Safety in this area.

June - Wednesday 10th. Tea and a biscuit from 1.30pm. Raffle.
The speaker will be Glenda Molloy talking about the Welsh Air Ambulance Service.

May - Wednesday 13th.
This month is the AGM. A welcome glass of wine or tea and coffee, free entry.
After the business of the AGM we will be entertained by Sally Kirkham who no doubt will have us all playing games.

April - Wednesday 8th.
Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.30.
As our originally booked speaker did not make it, Geraldine Vincent presented photos of her cruise around Norway and Iceland.

March - Wednesday 11th.
Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.30.
This month's speaker is Merfyn Rowe who will be talking about China.

February - Wednesday 11th.
Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.30.
The speaker is Jean Napier who will be talking about photography and books she has had published.

January - Wednesday 14th.
Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.30.
Our speaker this month is Liz Green who will be talking about Egryn near Talybont.

*** 2014 ***

December - Wednesday 10th.
Please let either Evelyn or a member of committee know by phone, email that you will be attending to help us with catering numbers. Also if you could help on the day with catering or entertaining us with a turn please again let Evelyn or committee know. There will be the traditional singalong led by the singing group (with an enhanced repertoire), and the odd quiz to tax your brains.
So if you can or want to sing, dance, recite, juggle, stand on your head, do magic tricks then this is your moment.
Again let Evelyn know so that she can form some kind of programme. Last year was great fun make this even better.
If you wish to bring a friend they will be most welcome.
Price per person: £5 to include cold buffet and a glass of wine.
Also raffle prizes would be welcome. Transport a problem? let us know and we will try to help.

November - Wednesday 12th.
Tea/coffee and biscuit from 1.30.
Our speaker this month is Bronwen Dorling, another member of our U3A.
She will be talking about her efforts that have gone into "Researching Arthog School".

October - Wednesday 8th. Betty Annett, a member of our U3A gave an interesting talked themed "Dancing Through Life". A potted history of the speaker and her progress through life from being on points for ballet at 3years of age but later not allowed to join the famous Tiller Girls. A brilliant dance teacher who loves music and movement.

September - Wednesday 10th.
Our speaker was a representative of Macmillan Cancer Care Support who talked about a joint venture with Barmouth Library of a drop-in event and group reading session, open to all comers.
There was also a short discussion about the feasibility of a group to promote the Friends of Dolgellau Hospital. This has now been taken further and an announcement will be made after Christmas with regards to an inaugural meeting.

August - No meeting in August.

July - Wednesday 9th.
The presentation was by one of our own members David Bath, on the history of Mawddach Crescent where he lives. It was an interesting subject and David came with many books,(some first editions), and objects of interest.
The area has been fully researched by David and after the presentation there were many questions and additional information given by members which David can also add to his immense knowledge.

June - Wednesday 11th.
Would members bring either a photo photo of a family member from the past. e.g. grandparents, parents, great aunts etc. or some family memento and tell us a story suggested by the item/photo. If they would contact me so I have some idea of how many "stories" there will I would be grateful.

May - Wednesday 14th.
This is the AGM. Tea and a biscuit/cake will be served from 1.30 in the Arts Room.
After the formal business we will be entertained with readings and recitations from Guys and Dolls by the Dolgellau Amateur Dramatic Society.

April - Wednesday 9th.
The speaker was Dr. D. Stephenson telling us about the Dolgellau Patten and Chalice.

March - Wednesday 12th.
The March meeting went ahead as usual and we had an excellent presentation from Paul Kay of the Marine Conservation Society. Paul gave a beautifully illustrated talk on the Welsh coastline, and the multiplicity of wild life to be found in and around our shores.
It was a thought provoking talk and may prompt us to organise a beach clean in Barmouth later in the year.

February - Wednesday 12th.- Cancelled due to weather forecast.
There was a new occurrence in February; for the first time in Barmouth U3A's history we had to cancel a session due to extreme weather conditions.
Alan valiantly turned up just in case we weren't able to contact everyone. A lot of emails and phone calls were made and I was left with a batch of homemade biscuits which Jack and I had to consume!
We hope to hear Bronwen's talk early in the Autumn.

January - Wednesday 8th.
Inter Society Quiz:
After the fun and games of the biggest Christmas party yet, January saw us hosting the Inter-Society Quiz with representatives from several groups that function within Barmouth, and very pleasant it was as well.
The quiz questions were pitched at the right level and the general running of the meeting was left in the very able hands of Jacqui and John Puddle so a big THANKYOU to them.

*** 2013 ***

December - Wednesday 9th.
Christmas party time again and what a party! 48 of you attended and I think a good time was had by all. A HUGE THANKS to all who contributed in any way. Many worked hard to make it run smoothly. The spirit of co-operation is alive and well in Barmouth U3A which makes it such a joy to belong to. Long may it continue into 2014 and beyond.
A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all our members.

November - Wednesday 11th.
As the booked speaker was ill and couldn't attend, we had an "All Our Yesterdays" session where we split into groups for discussion, then presented to the whole group aspects of our early childhood. It turned out to be a lively and informative afternoon with many excellent reminiscences of our childhoods and gave us an insight into the way things have changed in a relatively short time.
I am hoping to collect these together and add to them over 2014 and, with a bit of time and application, write them up - Watch this space!

October - Wednesday 9th.
A presentation by Annie Proctor who is the Clinical Director of the All Wales Medical Genetics Service.
We had an interesting and fact-filled presentation on genetics and the effects they have on the health of the individual.
The talk was well illustrated with a variety of slides showing how the different chromosomes are identified and arranged in sequence throughout the whole of the body. We touched on gene therapy and developments in the treating and prevention of different conditions which cause ill health. This was a challenging afternoon with an insight into this important and rapidly-developing area of medicine

September - Wednesday 11th.
From a Northern Lad to a B.A. Pilot: - John Puddle.

July - Wednesday 10th.
Tales of the Riverbank: A presentation of Poetry and Prose by members of the Dolgellau Amateur Dramatic Society.

June - Wednesday 12th.
Polio and its Eradication: A talk by a Rotary representative.

May - Wednesday 8th.
A.G.M. Followed by cake and wine. Prose, poetry and song from the audience with the theme 'growing old with attitude'

April - Wednesday 10th.
As requested by many members another afternoon Quiz Session. Put together by Jacqui Puddle.

March - Wednesday 13th.
The Pilgrimage in Northern Spain, Santiago de Compostela.
Speaker Mary Howell

February - Wednesday 13th.
Welsh Love Spoons.
Speaker Richard Withers, a well known artist who specializes in Calligraphy, Pyrography and other media. He has many of his works displayed in Sweden where he worked for several years and his work is well known in this area.
A suitable talk for the day before Valentine's day.

January - Wednesday 9th.
The speaker will be from the Deaf Association discussing hearing impairment.
As usual tea will be served at 1.30pm before the talk at 2.00pm.There will also be the regular sales table.

*** 2012 ***

December - Wednesday 12th. Christmas Party
It was great to see so many at the party, the largest number we have had. The main reason we moved the event to the daytime was because it clashed with a school concert being held that evening.
Another aspect was that many of our members find getting out at night more difficult with the poor public transport available. It all went with a swing and many brave souls responded to my request for turns so we had a varied and lively programme. It takes a bit of nerve to stand up and "perform" it also takes much hard work to devise quizzes. Getting the questions stimulating enough to get the grey matter functioning, but not so hard that people feel they know nothing, and most of all making sure that the answers are correct or a riot might ensue.
A lot of effort goes into the practical side. Sorting and laying out the food, serving drinks, most of which ran reasonably smoothly. My thanks to all those who helped in any way, with particular thanks to the 'cleaners-up' at the end. There must have been about 100 plates to wash and dry and all the cups and glasses.
Many thanks also to those who donated raffle prizes and to Sue who managed it, making £91 which goes towards supporting the Singing for Fun group. Most of the food was given and prepared by the committee members so again, a big thank you to you all.
I was very impressed with the singing. Some of you men should join us on a Wednesday afternoon - you were magnificent!! All the effort was worthwhile and it was a most enjoyable afternoon.

November - Wednesday 14th.
The quiz held in November was hastily put together by me as the scheduled speaker was unable to attend. It showed what a wide general knowledge our members have and also stimulated an offer from one of those present to organize another quiz at a later date.

October - Wednesday 10th. Barmouth's Heritage
In September we had a fascinating 'stroll' through the buildings in Barmouth and the surrounding area in the company of Peter Thompson. Peter lives locally and has studied historic buildings in Wales; he is hoping to set up a Barmouth heritage group.

September - Wednesday 12th. Sally Kirkham's Drama Workshop
At our September Monthly Gathering, Sally Kirkham led us in a drama workshop. And what a wonderful surprise this was!
Starting gently with relaxation exercises, Sally led us on to work in pairs, trying to coordinate counting with actions - harder than you might think.
We learned the value of co-operation when one of each pair took a negative view of life and the other had to talk him or her into a more upbeat frame of mind. And we ended up with a hilarious exercise - the detective had to spot the murderer, who killed his victims by winking at them. This obliged them to die on the spot, and very realistic they were in their death throes. With six corpses in the room, the detective had (almost) tracked down the murderer.
I don't think a Monthly Gathering has ever laughed as much as we did that afternoon.
Well done, Sally, it was a magnificent workshop, and we hope to see you again sometime. Perhaps running a regular drama workshop for Barmouth U3A?

July - 11th July.
Dr David Stephenson. "Living on the edge: Ardudwy in the 12th and 13th centuries".
A quote from Evelyn who has heard one of Dr. Stephenson's talks - "This will be informative and entertaining; an exhilarating and exciting journey into the past".
A great recommendation, so be sure not to the miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Stephenson speak.

June - 13th June.
In June we had a Monthly Gathering with a difference - 'Desert Island Discs', kindly compered by Danny Jones in his brilliant palm-tree-decked shirt.
Evelyn started the ball rolling by introducing us to two pieces of plain-song, church music sung in Latin and Greek, and she gave us a glimpse of her childhood as one of a family of six children, brushed and dressed in their best for the walk to church on Sunday mornings.
Val Vine described her early adult life as a children's nanny, in uniform, pushing her two charges out in the park in their high pram every afternoon dressed in their Harrods' clothes (M&S in the mornings). She played us 'They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace' - as witnessed, of course, by Christopher Robin and his nanny, Alice.
Bronwen Dorling recalled early memories of her father singing the song 'Myfanwy' around the house - learnt in his college days from Welsh-speaking fellow students during Saturday night sing-songs. 'Myfanwy' is a moving account of love and rejection, and it was sung by Côr Meibion Dolgellau.
Rachel Cleaver focussed on bears; she played us 'The Teddy Bears' Picnic', then read the A.A. Milne poem 'A bear however hard he tries'. Rachel described her embarrassment when she presented these pieces a few years ago at a meeting following several 'high-brow' presentations - then found herself thanked for the pleasure her more down-to-earth choices gave.
Sue Leyden played us Pachebel's 'Canon', which was played in church on her wedding day. On the way to church her father kept asking, 'Are you sure?', and after Peter left the ring at home then sneaked off to watch football when he should have been leading Sue out for the first dance she must have had her doubts. 'A funny day' Sue called it - but obviously she has no regrets!
Jack Richardson recalled his National Service days, and remembered hearing through the wall of the billet next door the same piece of music being played over and over; this piece caught his imagination and was the start of his love for saxophone music. Jack chose 'Loverman', played by Charlie 'Bird' Parker.
Norma Stockford's husband used to spend his winters in Massachusetts (and his summers in Barmouth) and one year he brought back an LP called 'An Evening Wasted'. This was the work of Tom Lehrer, a Harvard maths professor some of whose songs were banned in America. Norma chose 'The Masochism Tango'.
Peter Leyden looked back forty-four years to the first anti-war demonstration he attended, held in Melbourne against the war in Vietnam. Peter reminded us that in the years since 1945 Britain has been at war in every year but one, and he himself has been involved in many a demonstration. He chose 'Green Fields of France', which was composed during the First World War as a lament for the writer's dead friend.
Alan Vincent remembered how as a young man he overcame his timidity at a big dance in Chester and asked a girl to take the floor with him. The group was playing Alan's favourite song 'I Saw Her Standing There' by the Beatles, no less, but sadly the girl vanished after the dance.
Grace Guthrie-Jones played Alan Sherman's hilarious song, 'Camp Granada', which concerns a young American boy complaining bitterly to his parents about Summer Camp - until the sun comes out! Grace traced the development of the tune from a nineteenth century ballet via Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' to its present form.

May - 9th May.
The Annual General Meeting of Barmouth U3A was held on Wednesday 9th May. Our Chairlady, Evelyn Richardson, spoke of the aims of the U3A, and the way in which the organisation had worked together to fulfil them. 2011-2012 had been an interesting and eventful year, not least because of the successful Study Day in October 2011 supported by so many.
After three years in office Evelyn, with the Vice-Chair Rachel Cleaver and the Secretary Sue McCulloch, had come to the end of their terms of office. They were warmly thanked for their hard work. In their place were elected Alan Vincent as Chairman, Peter Leyden as Vice-Chairman, and Bronwen Dorling as Secretary. A full list of committee members can be found here.
After the AGM, wine and cakes were served. Then Paul Aslin, supported by his wife Pauline, gave a fascinating talk on the life cycle of the honey bee, bringing our attention to many intriguing aspects of bee-keeping. Paul was accompanied by a lively squad of bees, who needed a few drops of water from time to time. After Paul's excellent talk, members were able to buy honey and tempting beeswax products from his sales table.

April - 11th April.
The guest speaker on was Mr. Caerwyn Roberts, chairman of Snowdonia National Park Authority.
Mr Roberts described all aspects of the valuable work done by the Authority since its founding 60 years ago, and accompanied his talk with a wealth of slides highlighting the repair and restoration to land and buildings which has been regularly undertaken.
Mr. Roberts stressed two of the Authority's recent important achievements; the completion of Hafod Eryri, the visitor centre on the summit of Snowdon, and the purchase of Yr Ysgwrn, home of the poet Hedd Wyn.
We were most grateful to Mr. Roberts for making us aware how much hard work goes into protecting our heritage.

March - 14th March.
Our scheduled speaker had to cancel so the meeting used the time to discuss the format and possible subjects for future meetings.

February - 8th February.
Did you know that it was a "polite" campaign against ladies of fashion wearing birds' feathers in their best hats in the late nineteenth century which led to the founding of the RSPB? Well, that was one of the many interesting things we learnt at the February Monthly Gathering from Beverly Dimmock, an RSPB worker, who gave us a fascinating presentation on the work of the RSPB at their reserve at Ynys Hir, just south of Machynlleth on the Dyfi estuary.
The amount of work which has been, and is being, done at the reserve to make it more bird-friendly and at the same time public-friendly was most impressive, and it was interesting to learn what a large number of volunteer workers the reserve - and RSPB in general - is attracting.
Beverly's slides of the reserve in its setting, surrounded by magnificent scenery, and of the birds in it, were a great pleasure to watch, and, coupled with Beverly's lively presentation, they made for an afternoon of great enjoyment. And what a place for a visit in the months to come!

January - 11th January.
At our first Monthly Gathering of 2012, we were delighted to welcome Islwyn Humphreys, an ex-Barmouth resident and former NatWest Bank Manager, who now lives on Anglesey.
For the last ten years Islwyn has been a member of the Samaritans, and in his talk he gave us a wonderful insight into that organisation. He described the history and evolution of the movement, supplied some impressive statistics, and then moved on to describe the excellent training and support network provided to members.
Islwyn's obvious dedication to his work as a Samaritan came over most clearly, and listening to his talk was a moving experience.

*** 2011 ***

December - Photos now on line!!!
The U3A Christmas party will be held on Wednesday 14th December in the Arts Room, starting at 6.30 p.m.
If you want to let that latent exhibitionist streak reveal itself - please let (01341 250428) know if you have an (appropriate!) party piece you would like to perform for us.

November - 9th November - Aromatherapy. Talk and Workshop led by Alison Smedley.

October - Our usual Monthly Meeting is replaced this month by The North Wales associations of U3As Study Day which we are running in Barmouth on the 12th October.
Full details here.

September - Members of the Machynlleth U3A Drama Group will be reading a short play written by their Writing Group whose members will also be coming. The play, called "Broken Threads", concerns a Welsh family whose members are assembled for their mother's funeral. Family matters hitherto kept secret emerge as the play progresses.
Please note, this month's gathering will be at 2.00pm for 2.30pm, later than usual, to fit in with the train from Machynlleth.

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