Special interest groups: latest report

Here is current information about our Special Interest Groups: what went on last time, what is coming up, etc.

This is a list of all our Groups.

November 2019

Art Appreciation/History

The next meeting of the group will be on Thursday December 5th at The Fielden Centre at 2 pm.   This year instead of the annual quiz members will be showing an image of and talking for 5 minutes about their ideal, money no object, fantasy Xmas present from the world of art (in the widest sense).   Members will also be bringing along ‘festive nibbles’ to enjoy during the session.

Art Club

Our next meeting takes place from 11 am until 1 pm on Tuesday, 3rd December, 2019, at the Fielden Centre. Members will be artistically responding to Jean’s Christmas Challenge! On the 17th December we will be enjoying our traditional Jacob’s Join and will return on the 14th January, 2020, to enjoy more artistic activities in the New Year! There are places available for new members.

Beginners Modern Greek Group

We have reconvened the modern Greek class in the Saltonstal room in Hebden town hall. We have room for some new members but they will have to catch up with the group. Please contact me if interested.

Coffee Club

We are enjoying our new venue – Honest John’s, Todmorden – where our next meeting will take place at about 11 am on Monday, 2nd December, 2019. All members are welcome.

Concert Party

If anyone has a friend or relative In a care home or similar and would like us to entertain, if it is in reasonable range, please contact Rita We are looking forward to another 10 years of fun.        No new information.

Craft Group

The next meeting of the group will be on Friday November 22nd at The Fielden Centre at 10.30.  Jane will showing members how to make ‘no-sew’ Christmas baubles. The following session on December 6th will be spent revisiting ‘wet’ felting.  The group’s final session before Christmas will be on December 20th when along side the annual Christmas party we shall be learning how to make some traditional German Christmas Decorations.

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing Group has been very busy with both preparations for the Christmas meeting and also their own writing. The topics for November have been : –

“The Date”                                and/or                    “I Think I Understand Why”

The group decided that members could chose their own topic to write to for December.

On Behalf of the Creative Writing Group I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Crown Green Bowling

Only available in the summer. Restarts April 2020.


Currently we are only just getting enough members attending sessions to break even. I will probably have to increase the subs, and even then, the group may not be viable in the long term.

French Conversation

 French conversation is now alternate Mondays at the Fire Station –  

French: ‘An Improvers Group’

We have been recapping the rules for talking in the past tense, this time following the guidelines in our ‘indispensable toolkit’. Although we might not agree with the author who says it is easy to practise talking about the past in French, the group is definitely giving it a good go! New members always welcome!

German Group

We’ve spent the last few weeks on matters political, starting with the present German electoral system, then having a look at various texts provided by participants about postwar Germany, especially on East Germany and refugees; and then everyone was invited to write a poem, either about refugees or anything else they wanted. They were all really good, so I’ve attached some to this report. My favourite is Marion’s piece on the 39 Vietnamese who died in the lorry last month, or rather on our response to them if they had been found alive. Please find under News on the Web site.


Golf’s over for another year. 

The gang continue to play at Todmorden throughout the year so anybody wanting to join us is most welcome. They join Tod Golf Club as social members (£35.00) and get 4 x 9 holes included then pay £5.00 for 9 holes on dates that are decided among themselves.

Let’s Go

The next Let’s Go trip is on Thursday 5th December when we will visit Chester. 

Lunch Club

The November lunch took place at  the High Brink and was well attended, 24 members had an enjoyable lunch, I was of course unable to attend not driving yet.

Mah Jong

We had a very good pe-festive season lunch at Hare & Hounds, then retired to the snug for our usual game where there were 5 tables of players.

Now that our venue has changed its hours to winter afternoon closing, we are meeting at the earlier time of  12.30 – 2.30pm;  for some this is a good thing, easier to get home before it’s dark, whilst for others it’s not so good.

We now have 23 members, and new members, including beginners, are still welcome. 

Novel Appreciation

This month we discussed ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’. This book, written by John Berendt, is described as a non-fiction novel, like Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’. It deals with the trial of Jim Williams of Savannah, Georgia, for the murder of Danny Hansford., but in the course of the book it is clear Berendt is also presenting Savannah for trial-by-reader.

Some of us set the book firmly aside because the first half seemed to be nothing more than a series of vignettes about pretty tasteless and despicable more-or-less well-to-do American citizens whose lives could not be attached to any central narrative. Some of us, as English readers, found these character sketches appallingly funny. But by the time we reached the courtroom drama of the second half of the novel, we were well immersed in the society in which such a drama could take place.

Moreover, simultaneously with the trial, life in Savannah continued as bizarrely as before while Jim Williams’ Football obsessed lawyer gathered new evidence to exculpate his client and his former friends and enemies enjoyed gossiping about him.

A curious, but neatly styled ‘novel’, and next month on 2nd December at 2.00 in Todmorden Library we will be discussing ‘Stay With Me’ by Ayobami Adebayo.

Old English

The group started in 2017, and we are now a group of 11 meeting twice a month trying to get to grips with the language of the Anglo-Saxons. We use a variety of methods including textbooks, internet resources, and our own research. It’s been interesting to see the connections between Old English, modern English, and also other northern European languages. We’re all finding it a challenge but a good workout for the brain – and are just all glad that we won’t have to go out and order dinner in Old English!
We will be starting on a new textbook in January 2020 so this would be a good time for any new members to join us.

Opera Appreciation

“At the last meeting the group viewed Verdi`s “Otello” featuring Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa. The next meeting is on Tuesday December 10th when the opera will be Britten`s “Midsummer Nights Dream” which will be the fourth and final opera in the current programme of operas based on Shakespeare plays. A new programme will begin in January with Bizet`s “Carmen” with members of the group being consulted about preferences for future operas.”


This group continues to be popular with attendance between 15 and 20. The last topic discussed was : How do we know things?””Why does time matter?” is the theme to be discussed. The group meets alternate Mondays. 

Our next meeting on November 25th is on “Life id what you make it.” 


In October the Photo Group looked at the differences between Lightroom and Photoshop for editing pictures and visited Townley Hall in Burnley. This month we’ll review the Townley Hall pictures and look at High Dynamic Range Photography.

Photography Group Two

Our meeting are usually on the 2nd Tuesday/monthly. We will be at Todmorden Fire Station Community Room. 

Poetry Appreciation

This month our meeting took the form of poetry readings by Tom Clancy, Charlotte Whetten and Peter Riley as an event in Todmorden’s Book Festival.Very well attended and very enjoyable.
Next month the meeting will be on 13th December with poems on the theme of

‘anticipation’. It will be followed by Christmas Lunch in the Hare and Hounds.

Poetry Enjoyment

Last month we had a very enjoyable meeting reading poems on the theme of ‘delight’. All was delightful. Thanks, all.

This month the meeting is on the 28th November with poems on the theme of ‘occasion’.

Practical Art

We were so pleased with the quality of  totem pictures last week! The poles are going to look stunning. We started assembling them in the session.
 Autumn leaves and berries theme was for those not involved with the TOTEM POLES, two still life’s were set up. We could  paint in any medium. As an attempt to persuade people to work loosely and bigger we started by doing some exercises on large paper with charcoal and ink and twigs. 


The Psychology group met in November to discuss the PSHE curriculum followed in schools. It arose from a question about how do children learn about psychology.

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics from health education, which includes healthy eating, hygiene and sex education. There is also a lot of contect about relationships and citizenship.

In December we are discussing a C$ TV programme entitled ‘What makes a Murderer’.

Quiz Group

Next meeting on Thursday 28th.   No new members at the moment we are full. 

Readers Group (3 Valley Readers)

The Three Valley Readers met to consider  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

This is a non-fiction book about how cancer cells were kept from a Black American woman, Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s. In a time before patients were asked for permission for their body parts to be retained and used scientists grew and sold on these cells across the world.

When her family found out that the cells still ‘alive ‘ there was great distress and anger. 

Most of the group read the book through and again mixed responses, some felt that the writer intruded into the grief of the family, others thought this was important to show how lightly medical researchers took their responsibility in the US in the ’50s.

Almost all of us had been involved in the recent Book Festival and greatly enjoyed the events we had attended. In December we are having a month off from reading and having our Xmas meal to build up our strength for 2020.

Science Group

We have now seen the first sixteen lectures from the plant science course, and have reached lecture 5 in the mathematics course. In the next two meetings we should learn why there are so many plant species in the tropics and go on to study grasses and grasslands. In the mathematics course we will watch the last of three lectures on Euclid’s Elements, and then move on to the life and works of Archimedes.

These meetings will take up the remainder of 2019. The first meeting in 2020 will be on the 8th of January.

Scrabble 1

 The group is full at the moment so no new members can be accommodated. 

Scrabble 2

Between 12 and 15 of us meet to play Scrabble on the first and third Mondays of each month. We have a very welcoming venue at the Golden Lion, Rochdale Road, Todmorden. We have room for new members. anyone wanting to come along can contact me or just turn up on the day.

Social History

The Social History Group read the description of Peterloo by Sam Bamford at its last meeting and will now read the autobiography of Ben Turner , the leader of the woollen workers in Yorkshire. He grew up in Holmefirth and the early chapters discuss his life in the town.

There will be no meeting in December .

Table Tennis & Badminton

Table tennis/ badminton is full at the moment and we have a waiting list.

Tablet Club

The iPad group met on the 5th. We had a general discussion about members problems. We also discussed a “Which” article about scams and fraud.

Walking Group


The group meets on the last Tuesday in each month and group members take it in turn to organise a suitable route.  Walks are usually around 4 to 5 miles in length and details of the walk, including starting point, starting time, approximate length and degree of difficulty, are sent out to the group by email a week or so beforehand.

“If anyone feels they are able to arrange a future walk please will you contact Peter or Bill ”

The December walk is on Tuesday 10th December is a walking treasure Hunt similar to those that we ran for the last two December meets. Starts 10.30 to 11.00 from downstairs in the White Hart Todmorden. Distance is just short of 2 miles, mainly flat. Teams of 2 or 3 are ideal and a clip board and pen will be useful.

Wine Appreciation

We held our usual monthly meeting on Friday 8 October when we tasted 4 wines, 2 white, and 2 red.

Our December meeting is 2 weeks tonight on Friday 13th. Would you all please let me know if you intend to come along so I can supply adequate wine and nibbles. That is assuming that you won’t be taking measures to avoid risk on Friday 13th such as staying in bed all day.

Our theme will be on fizz and Christmas with an emphasis on wines available from local shops at reasonable prices. Sheila and Michael have kindly offered to bring along a champagne.

World Affairs

At our last meeting we had a talk from representatives of Shared Interest concerning that group’s efforts to assist the producers of Fair Trade products. The next meeting on December 4th at the community room at the Fire station is on human trafficking.