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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Situation

Please note that our monthly Members’ Meetings, normally held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Central Methodists in Todmorden, will be restarting on Thursday 18th June 2020 but will be held “online” until further notice using Zoom Video Conferencing facilities.

Next meeting is on July  16th. The information required to log on to these meetings will be emailed to all fully paid-up members a day or two before each meeting.

Special Interest Group Meetings where members meet in person still remain cancelled as required by the Third Age Trust National Office. However, we are hopeful that we will soon be able to make an exception whereby groups of six members or fewer will be able to meet outdoors providing they maintain a separation of at least 2 metres.
Some of our groups are remaining in contact by means of email and others are holding on-line meetings using either Zoom or Skype Video Conferencing facilities. If you are in doubt about the situation relating to a particular group, please contact the Group Convenor for up-to-date information. Click on “Our Groups” (above), then click “Details of Our Groups” and then click on the relevant group for contact details.
Let’s Go trips have also been suspended until further notice. 
This announcement overrides all other information on this web site about future meetings. 


June 2020

Art Appreciation/History

Sessions online and email

Since the lockdown began group members have been receiving regular e-mail updates giving information about art-related topics.  These have included notices about forthcoming TV programmes, films/documentaries showing on the web, interesting articles from newspapers about art matters, virtual gallery tours, online art quizzes etc etc.  The information has been supplied by various members of the group. Some of these suggestions have opened up new areas of art for group members to investigate and introduced some of us to the work of artists we didn’t know of.

These updates will continue as long as we are in isolation.

Work is in progress to deliver the contents some of the talks planned for our June meeting using the internet.

The text and images for some of the presentations that would have been part of the June meeting have been sent out as well. 

Art Club    

Session UPDATE

Our last session was on 10th March, 2020! We have worked at home on topics such as ‘Happiness’ and ‘View from my home’ and we shared our pieces using the Beacon system and sharing feedback. We have also shared information about tv and online artistic programmes including live Life Drawing and Grayson Perry’s Art Club six week series.
Recently we all seem to be happily (?) involved in things other than drawing and painting and I think this might because Art Club is much greater than the sum of its parts!
Our fortnightly sessions gave us a safe and secure environment in which to share ideas and techniques but also the opportunity to chat about other aspects of our lives over a cuppa and biscuits – cake sometimes!
I am missing our meetings at the Fielden Centre and looking forward to our next session!!!
Time for me to set another artistic challenge for our wonderful Art Club gang.

Beginners Modern Greek Group

Sessions suspended

Classic Literature Group

Sessions suspended

Coffee Club

Sessions suspended

Concert Party

Sessions suspended

Craft Group

Sessions online and email

Members are keeping in touch via their closed Google group.  They are showing other members of the craftwork that they have been doing.  Some fantastic pieces have been produced and we are all looking forward to actually being able to see and handle them when we can finally get back to The Fielden Centre.   Using the Goggle group has allowed us also to offer support, help and advice to each other on all sort of things as well as craft matters as the period of isolation has gone on.

We have two group projects going at the moment.  One uses knitting skills and the other crochet skills.  As yet the final products haven’t been decided upon and will to some extent be down to the non-knitters/crocheters who have offered to sew up.     A group member is looking into another possible new group project making blankets for premature babies in Oldham Hospital.  One major problem will be getting the finished items to Oldham.

The initial scrubs making project for NHS hospitals has been completed and a second one undertaken by a group member has led to a further 8 sets of scrubs being sent to Calderdale GPs Needing Scrubs. 

In most cases, we have finished our first challenge- to produce something related to ‘Rainbows, Covid Virus or NHS.   This proved to be more difficult than expected as some colours such as indigo and violet were in short supply in our individual stocks of yarn and material.  The new challenge,  Butterflies, is underway.  This can be interpreted in any way using any medium or technique.

Advice is being taken from other Craft groups about the possibility of using Zoom for group meetings.

Creative Writing

Sessions suspended

Crown Green Bowling

Sessions  UPDATE

Crown Green Bowling update June 2020

Currently, the greens are closed to all. However, things are happening….

  • Todmorden Bowls Association (TBA) has received permission from Calderdale to open the greens in accordance with government Phase1/2 advice.
  • TBA is actively considering how and whether to open the greens and how to comply with the requirements and costs.
  • Whatever the timetable for re-opening, only those CGB group members who took out membership of the TBA last year will be allowed to play in the first instance.
  • Non-joining group members will be offered a way to pay their subs to become members of TBA for 2020.
  • New members are welcome as ever to join the TodU3A CGB group and TBA. You will be coached on the green as you need. Absolute beginners welcome. You will be offered a way to pay your subs to become members of TBA for 2020.
  • No one shall bowl unless they have a booked time slot. Details later.

More updates will be sent to U3A CGB members in June as the situation unfolds.

Contact Peter Carrigan, Convenor:   carrigan90@gmail.com


Sessions suspended

The dance group remains unable to meet at present.

European Film Group

Sessions suspended

French Conversation

Session UPDATE

French conversation continues to have occasional zoom meetings.

French: ‘An Improvers Group’

Session UPDATE

French Improvers are zooming fantastique!

12 loyal members of the group have been attending the weekly 40 minute session. We have shared our gastronomically delightful stories- can you believe in the whole of France 2 have visited the same restaurant in Rocamadour?! We have told about our imaginary post lockdown party guests and generally had a giggle!

So good to say ‘ bonjour’ every Monday.

German Group

Session  UPDATE

Our German group has been busy – not so much with numbers (they remain at around seven) as with activities. For instance, every chapter of the textbook ends with an extract from a radio play. The actors speak quickly, in different dialects and sometimes with background noise. Understanding exactly what’s going on is quite a challenge. But we’re getting there.

The other main activity at the moment is reading modern literature, including short stories by an erstwhile student of mine. We read, translate, analyse and make suggestions for possible improvements, some of which are taken on board by the author.

All of this is of course via Zoom.


Sessions suspended

Golf is not expected to start until the convenor has recovered from surgery. 

Let’s Go

All trips cancelled until further notice.

Lunch Club

All lunches cancelled until further notice.
Session UPDATE

The outside world seems to be opening up and yet for us, some of our activities seem to involve less going out and about. This week we’ve enjoyed another click and collect grocery order plus weekend treats from the Supper Club and the Moorcock.
However, we did venture out to buy fish and chips and paid our first visit to Gordon Rigg’s. Whilst I would have liked to go into the Farm Shop our boot was crammed full with items for the garden. Early Friday morning was very quiet so I’m hoping we’ll repeat the outing and next time pay a visit to the shop including the excellent cheese counter.
I noticed today posts on Facebook from Top Brink and the Calder Cheesehouse showing certificates they’d received from the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire thanking them for their service to the community at the current time. Hopefully, other businesses we’ve mentioned that have made efforts to keep going and meet people’s needs in appropriate ways will get the same recognition.
In spite of the gradual opening up, we’re still a long way from being able to meet for lunch so would like to keep these bulletins going. Any thoughts and suggestions continue to be welcome especially as the next bulletin will be our half-century!

Mah Jong

Sessions UPDATE

We continue to have weekly quiz questions that test our knowledge of the 50+ combinations of what are called Special Hands. It is likely to be some considerable time before we can meet to play the game.  However, there is a glimmer of hope in the form of Remote Mah Jong; it is far from ideal and relies on each player, or household, having a set of tiles, and be connected to 2 or 3 other households via Zoom or Skype.  This has recently become available and we have 1 group of 4 separate members testing it out, so we’ll see how it goes.


Sessions suspended

Novel Appreciation

Sessions suspended BUT

We have been enjoying a period of private reading, interspersed with occasional recommendations issued through Beacon. Here is the latest set.

Short Books for Lockdown

Cannery Row John Steinbeck

A narrative about ‘Cannery Row’ in Monterey, California, interspersed with vignettes / cameos of some of the characters who live there. Often paired with ‘Of Mice and Men’. Worth trying ‘Tortilla Flat as well.

A Month in the Country J.L. Carr

Suffering from what we would now recognize as PTSD after WW1, Tom Birkin spends a month restoring a wall painting of the apocalypse in a church in the Dales. It is not only the painting that is restored by the end of the novel.

The Bookshop Penelope Fitzgerald

A young woman opens a bookshop in the small coastal town of Hardborough where she runs up against the conniving queen bee, Mrs Gamart. Recently filmed.

Mothering Sunday  Graham Swift

“By presenting a jocose female writer to write about writing, Swift has crafted a magnificent and sensual hymn to books, libraries and the art of storytelling, and a bounteous ode to life.”

A Time to Keep Silence  Patrick Leigh Fermor

“In 1953, Fermor sought a place to write free of distraction and settled upon the French abbey of St Wandrille, living among the silent order and sharing their daily routines. At first fidgety and frustrated, he found the new pace of life-transforming. In 98… pages he relates his experience there, at two more monasteries and finally the rock monasteries of Cappadocia.”

A Whole Life Robert Seethaler, trans Charlotte Collins

“Seethaler’s calmly told epic in miniature is the story of Andreas, a man born at the start of the 20th century who spends his entire life in a remote Austrian village. A gentle soul afflicted by tragedy, Andreas’ story… [offers moments for] contemplation in a work of just 160 pages.”  Would pair well with ‘Peter Camenzind’.

Peter Camenzind Herman Hesse

Hesse’s first novel is a bildungsroman in which the protagonist illustrates T.S. Eliot’s line ‘In my beginning is my end’. As a clever young man, Peter cannot wait to shake the dust of the small village of his birth off his shoes, and he leaves to seek knowledge and fame as a man of culture. Eventually, however, he finds nothing he does or achieves suits him; he begins to understand suffering and returns to be the landlord of the inn that he was brought up in. Hesse offers his reader a chance for gentle self-reflection.

Old English

Sessions Update

Old English has been using an email group to communicate with each other, but we’ve now decided to take the plunge and try our first Zoom meeting next week. We’ll let you know how we get on.

Opera Appreciation

Sessions suspended

Not much to report. Unfortunately, there is no satisfactory way of maintaining the group’s activities during lockdown. It is possible for members to see/hear operas as various opera companies are putting productions on Youtube and other platforms. I will be circulating a list of all that I am aware of in the next few days. Hopefully, we will be able to meet again in autumn if social distancing rules are reduced from two metres to one metre which would probably make it feasible.


Sessions updated

We have organised weekly zoom meetings of the Philosophy group, with reduced members of the group so as not to overload the system.


Sessions on Zoom

The two Photography groups continue to meet online on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. The photo topic for this month was “Food”. Some of it was food waste, while other examples were very much alive! At our next meeting, the challenge is “Beginning with T (but not tea)”. I’m looking forward to some creative entries.

Photography Group 2 have again been invited to join us for our next meeting when the topic is ‘reflections’

No excuses for poor quality pictures – we all have spare time on our hands at the moment 🙂

 There are some useful resources on the Zoom website https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/covid19.html.

Photography Group Two

Sessions update (see above)

Photography Group 2 is carrying on; taking images and sharing via Beacon. Three of us join in with Nigel’s group.

Poetry Appreciation

Sessions suspended

Poetry Enjoyment

Session Update

The Poetry Enjoyment Group is still meeting every month via Zoom and we’re all really enjoying it! The wonders of technology. But I’m afraid Beacon is beyond me…
I can empathise with the need for anything uplifting. These are trying times. Roll on the next time we can all meet in the flesh!
Do hope you’re ok. All things must pass.

Practical Art

Sessions update

Here is a brief report on the activities of the Practical Art group.

The Practical Art group are about to embark on the 5th online project the subject of which is ‘A Favourite Place’. So far we have covered topics close to home such as ‘A View From My Window’ and a still life entitled ‘Shopping List’. A large number of the group are now taking part and are regularly emailing pictures of their drawings and paintings to Wendy and Corinne as joint convenors.


Sessions suspended

The psychology group have not been meeting, even virtually. We message occasionally.

Quiz Group

Sessions update

I am still sending quizzes out using Beacon each month. 
They are set by various individuals. 

I hope to be on Zoom for Michael’s talk. 

Readers Group (3 Valley Readers)

Sessions suspended

Science Group

Sessions update

The Science group continues to watch one half hour lecture from each of two courses at each meeting and we pause for discussion after each lecture. The first course is on neuroscience. We are now about a third of the way through this course which will last until the end of the year.

The second course is on great mathematicians. This course is almost completed, and we will begin a new course on “Everyday Engineering” on July 1st.

Attendance is stable at around 15 members each week. This is 50% up on the live meetings despite two of our regular members having no suitable access.

Scrabble 1

Sessions suspended

Scrabble 2

Sessions suspended

Social History

Sessions suspended

The Social History Group has not met since February. I’m still waiting for an improvement in the general situation as our strategy for discussion has not lent itself to the adaptation to the age of Zoom. I may look at using local sources such as extracts from the local newspaper. I am working on reports from 1918 about the end of the ‘ Great War’ and ‘ Spanish Flu’ and the General Election which is particularly interesting in the Calder Valley! Lloyd George visited Manchester in September 1918 and spent a week in Town Hall with ‘Spanish Flu ‘ though he still managed to intervene in a strike in the cotton industry.

Table Tennis & Badminton

Sessions suspended

Tablet Club

Sessions update

Walking Group

Sessions suspended

The Walking Group is still not operational, but hopefully, it won’t be too long now before we’re able to go out on the hills as a group, even if we have to keep 2 metres apart!  Attempts to encourage individual group members to tell us all about their personal walks during lockdown didn’t meet with much enthusiasm, so the idea has been consigned to the Recycling Bin! Any suggestions as to what else the group could do to avoid completely forgetting each other would be very welcome! 

Wine Appreciation

Sessions update

Our next meeting will be Saturday 27th June 7 pm. Sue will send you a link nearer the time.

 We now pick a topic for each meeting, the last one being a story including reference to wine. The previous one was the Titanic! I

The topic of this one “A Quiz”. We are asking each member to submit 3 questions, somehow including wine in their substance.

I think we may be being a little optimistic about this venture, but we shall see. Everyone now seems to be using zoom ok now

Thanks to everyone for contributing to a very enjoyable meeting last Saturday Evening.

World Affairs

Sessions suspended

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