Talk: Coming to Britain

Jean Pearson with Richard & Chandra Law
Jean Pearson with Richard & Chandra Law

The membership of U3A Todmorden continues to grow to amazing levels. On the day of September’s meeting the earlier coffee morning attracted over 100 current members – and potential new recruits – to find out what all the special interest groups do, and share a friendly tale or two. As soon as a new idea like Social History becomes reality, it’s full of members. From art and badminton to philosophy and world affairs, small groups are meeting all over Todmorden with members coming from as far afield as – well, as Hebden Bridge.

Of course it’s partly the quality of the regular monthly speakers that keeps drawing people. September’s meeting at the Central Methodists on the 19th attracted a record 132 people to hear Chandra Law, helped by her husband Richard, talk about ‘Coming to Britain’.

Chandra is from Malaysia. She met Englishman Richard while they were working together in her native country. The detailed record she kept for her family when she first came to England with him provided a witty insight into how our country looks to a new visitor. In Malaysia they have no seasons, only occasional monsoons to interrupt the tropical heat. According to Chandra, ‘Richard says Malaysia is like living in an oven; I say England is like living in a freezer.’

On arriving in Britain and leaving the airport, Chandra told us, the cold literally hurt. She couldn’t walk properly and thought she was turning into a prawn: why did these English people have air-conditioning in the outside world? Why did rows and rows of trees have no leaves on them, was the whole place dying? Or did the English grow their trees upside down, was it their bare roots she was seeing through steamed-up windows?

In the Post Office that February to send her postcards about weird old England home to her family, Chandra tried to give up her place in the queue to an elderly gentleman – as you would in her native country – and was politely refused. It was the gentleman’s wife who explained that the white bullets falling outside weren’t free sago, collectible to make something nicely Malaysian for tea, but hailstones.

 

Among these reminiscences Chandra wove a well-designed account of how to create Malaysian batik (which Richard created beside her while she spoke). Batik-making is compulsory in Malaysian schools from the age of 14, when pupils are thought old enough to handle hot wax, which is what the word ‘batik’ means. An attentive audience of Todmordians transformed ourselves into Malaysian schoolgirls and schoolboys – the girls forever fearing the teacher’s cane on their hands or legs if they made a mistake – as we were taught the process.

Spread white cotton or silk on the floor. Heat wax (paraffin wax mixed with 50% resin in Malaysia) in a pot. Take a tjanting, pronounced ‘chanting’, a tool with a wooden handle that can apply wax. Learn how to carry the tjanting from pot to cloth, fast enough to avoid the wax solidifying, slow enough to avoid dripping, nimbly enough to avoid the ever-feared cane. On cotton the tjanting is a ready-designed block, easy to correct with water; on silk it’s a delicate equivalent to a paint-brush, and one error and the ruthless teacher will tear your silk in half because your work is spoiled.

Boys, it seems, get to work on bamboo, metal and wood. But girls are the batik specialists. Traditionally they create using themed colours. Bold reds and pinks apparently mean mountains; blue, fishing villages; green, paddy fields, black/brown/gold mean rubber plantations; purple means turtle islands; and silver stands for Kuala Lumpur. Get over the border to Ramsbottom Station to see Chandra’s and Richard’s work, from lipstick cases to sarongs (steady, men, it seems we can wear them too).

It was hard to hear new Chairman Jean Pearson’s effusive thanks afterwards amid the throng of people eager to see batik at first hand.

photograph by philip willis | report by alan mcdonald | this also appeared in Todmorden News

JEAN’S TERM OF OFFICE STARTS WITH A GREAT SUCCESS

Jean Pearson, newly elected chairman of u3a Todmorden started her term of office by opening a busy exhibition day at Central Methodist Church.

Coffee Morning 19 Sept 2013Jean Pearson, newly elected chairman of u3a Todmorden, following the untimely death of David Cross, started her term of office by opening a busy exhibition day at Central Methodist Church. Jean said she was delighted by the attendance, not only of members but also the public .

Over 100 people saw displays by 21 of the 23 specialist groups : art appreciation, practical art, crafts, philosophy, social history, let’s go, coffee club, ramblers, world affairs, science, natural history, photography, lunch club, spanish conversation, poetry appreciation, art club, creative writing, quiz and scrabble groups, table tennis and badminton and the concert party. Jean said it was difficult for her to visit all the stands because of the throng of people: but she was not complaining !

16 new members joined, on the day and many groups confirmed that they had also experienced great interest. membership now totals 325, perhaps making u3a Todmorden one of the largest organisations in the Upper Calder Valley. The monthly members meeting followed the event and was attended by 132 members and visitors.

photograph by philip willis | report by ernie rogan

U3A TOD STEAMS AHEAD

In September 2013 the Let’s Go group enjoyed a day with East Lancs Railway. 54 members boarded a steam hauled train from Rawtenstall to Bury.

Let's Go Bury 0913In September 2013 the Let’s Go group enjoyed a day with East Lancs Railway. 54 members boarded a steam hauled train from Rawtenstall to Bury. They were served refreshments by volunteer members of the East Lancs Railway. a guided tour of the Transport Museum followed, with u3a members then dispersing for lunches and a visit to the very busy Bury market, where many kilos of the world famous black puddings were purchased.

On the steam hauled return journey members were treated to an impromptu talk about the running of a volunteer railway and learned about how a steam train produces electricity, the differences between air and vacuum brakes, and how some carriages can only be married up to steam or diesel locomotives.

photograph by philip willis | report by ernie rogan

Poetry Appreciation

Lynne Taylor; 01282 411902; lynne.tlr@btinternet.com
Second Friday of the Month, 11.00am – 12.30pm, Todmorden Library

Lynne Taylor; 01282 411902; lynne.tlr@btinternet.com
Second Friday of the Month, 11.00am – 12.30pm, Todmorden Library


Over the last twelve months the group has continued to enjoy discussing poems on such themes as Reflection, Persuasion, Colour and Memory. We try to choose themes which are open to wide interpretation. Searching is part of the pleasure. The poets brought along to the last meeting for example were Maya Angelou, Lauris Edmund, an Anglo-Saxon poem, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Charlotte Mew, John Milton, Sarah Howe and Zaffar Kunial. As always, an eclectic mix.

Each month we have a theme, chosen at the previous meeting, from which we each choose a published poem, (not our own), and bring about half a dozen copies. Then we read, to some degree analyse, discuss and enjoy. (Or occasionally not, but we do respect one another’s choices and feelings!)

Coffee Club

Jean A Pearson; 01706 813933; pearson382@btinternet.com
1st Monday of Month, 11.00 onwards, The Polished Knob

Jean A Pearson; 01706 813933; pearson382@btinternet.com
1st Monday of Month, 11.00 onwards, The Polished Knob


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Coffee Club meets on the first Monday of every month at about 11 am at the Polished Knob. At present it is only a small, intimate group and we discuss a very wide range of topics. All U3A Todmorden members are welcome to join and we usually sit to the left of the main entrance. The coffee is always absolutely delicious in extremely convivial surroundings.

World Affairs

Peter Baron; 01706 813044; baronps@hotmail.com
Alternate Wednesdays, 2.30pm to 4.00pm, Fire Station community room

Peter Baron; 01706 813044; baronps@hotmail.com
Alternate Wednesdays, 2.30pm to 4.00pm, Fire Station community room


This group meets fortnightly to discuss topics of local, national and international importance. Sometimes a member presents a topic after doing some background research and sometimes a guest speaker comes along to present a topic. Discussion is lively and wide-ranging, but at all times party politics are avoided. The aim of the group is to become better-informed about issues that are currently in the news.

World Affairs Group have lively and interesting sessions, with a good variety of topics, ranging from the world economy and the Euro, through child poverty to the recent non-aligned conference in Iran and the latest on Syria.

Walking

Peter Gibson (ToddyPG@gmail.com) and Bill Griffiths (bill@gryffon.co.uk).
Last Tuesday in the Month.  Available to all members

Peter Gibson (ToddyPG@gmail.com) and Bill Griffiths (bill@gryffon.co.uk).
Last Tuesday in the Month.  Available to all members


If anyone feels they are able to arrange a walk in 2018 please will you contact Peter or Bill.

All welcome, although some experience will be necessary, and there will be provisos about appropriate footwear and clothing (and that dogs will not be allowed). Obtain full details from convenor. Meets last Tuesday of each month Leaders: various. Group members are notified by email before each walk.

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Walking Group P1060638

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Table Tennis and Badminton

Ann Priestley; pann900@talktalk.net (CONTACT ONLY)
Mondays (term time), 3.00 – 5.00pm, Todmorden Leisure Centre

Ann Priestley; pann900@talktalk.net (CONTACT ONLY)
Mondays (term time), 3.00 – 5.00pm, Todmorden Leisure Centre


A game of badminton

Badminton players in autumn 2014
Badminton players in autumn 2014

We have 3 table tennis and 2 badminton courts available for our enthusiastic group. We are a friendly, mixed ability group who enjoy being active and meeting new people.

Table tennis players in autumn 2014
Table tennis players in autumn 2014

Scrabble 2

Marion Kershaw; 07979624111  todwords@yahoo.co.uk
1st and 3rd Mondays of the month, 1.00 – 2.30, the new venue for Scrabble 2 is the Golden Lion, Fielden Square.

Marion Kershaw; 07979624111  todwords@yahoo.co.uk
1st and 3rd Mondays of the month, 1.00 – 2.30, the new venue for Scrabble 2 is the Golden Lion, Fielden Square.


New members welcome.

The Monday Scrabble group has a new home at the Golden Lion, Rochdale Road, Todmorden.We meet there from 1pm to 3pm on the first, third and fifth Mondays of each month, except for Bank Holiday Mondays. We have room for new members. anyone wanting to come along can contact me or just turn up on the day.

Scrabble 1

Pam Booth; 01706 818729
Alternate Fridays, 2.30 – 4.30 pm, (next 24th August)  Central Methodist

Pam Booth; 01706 818729
Alternate Fridays, 2.30 – 4.30 pm, (next 24th August)  Central Methodist


Our group meets fortnightly to play Scrabble in a friendly and not over-competitive atmosphere. New members welcome.

Science

Tom Williamson; 01706 810016; tom.w16@tiscali.co.uk
2nd and 4th Wednesdays, Fielden Centre, 10.15am

Tom Williamson; 01706 810016; tom.w16@tiscali.co.uk
2nd and 4th Wednesdays, Fielden Centre, 10.15am


“Following a planning meeting we have decided to let the format of future meetings evolve, starting with a member introducing a topic, speaking for about 20 minutes, followed by questions and discussion.”

The Science group first met in Richard White’s living room in Walsden where John Allison showed us the dual nature of light, as it behaves as either a particle or a wave.

In the early days of the group it was the members themselves who made presentations but after the first year we had contributed much of the members experiences.

 It is a general principle of the U3A that the members decide what they want to do.

We had a look at the pros and cons of fracking, as there is still some resistance to the technology and yet the price of petrol has dropped dramatically, due to fracking in America.

 One of our first visits was to the Weir Group in Todmorden where we saw metal being cast and massive pumps manufactured. This was followed by a visit to the Holroyd Works in Milnrow where we saw how spiral gears are made. One highlight was a trip to CERN where we saw the injector for the large hadron collider. This was followed by a visit to Jodrell Bank where a retired member of staff was able to give us some inside information

The U3A has a Resource Centre where groups can borrow materials on their subject.

We have seen and discussed many of their DVDs on science and even clubbed together to buy up to date DVDs to stimulate discussion.

After a period looking at recent developments in nanotechnology the science group is moving back to its roots where members contribute much more.

 Science and technology are still moving very quickly. In our lifetime we have seen the start of television, the development of jet engines, journeys to the moon and beyond. In the last 30 years we have seen the first mobile phone, the home computer and the internet. If you want to know how to work a computer ask your grandchildren! The Science group meets on the second and forth Wednesdays at 10:15 am in the Todmorden Community Resource Centre in “Union Street South”

This photograph shows the group at CERN in front of a museum piece of a Cockcroft Walton voltage doubler, designed by John Cockcroft of Todmorden when he first split the atom with E N Walton. This was one of several visits to places of scientific interest.

Quiz

Myrna Beet; 01706 815458; myrna-cb@tiscali.co.uk
Every fourth Thursday of the month, 10am, Central Methodist Church

Myrna Beet; 01706 815458; myrna-cb@tiscali.co.uk
Every fourth Thursday of the month, 10am, Central Methodist Church


The Quiz Group meet on the 4th Thursday of each month, at The Central Methodist Church, at 10.00 for about 2 hours.

The Quizzes vary each month as they are set by individual members, there is no obligation to set a quiz.

Each quiz compiler provides their own unique quiz, there is no set format. About 60 questions is the average quiz, 2 parts of 30 questions. We have a break for tea, coffee and biscuits in the middle.

Enjoying a session at Central Methodist.

Various types of questions are posed –straight forward questions on any subject, picture questions, dingbats, audio questions about music, recognising peoples voices, recognising poems, local history, cryptic clues and any category the compiler chooses. We like variation.

It is difficult but we try our best to make the quizzes not too hard or specialist.

We do not have set teams. We place the names of members attending, on cards face down and pick random teams of 3\4\5 according to how many people have come.

This allows everyone a chance to be on a winning team sometime throughout the year and lets people meet new members and make new friends.

During the year we have a quiz where everyone brings 4 questions and we have a Combination Quiz which make for a Jacobs Join Quiz with questions not food!! Each person asks their own questions which can be linked on a theme or just random. We also have a quiz base on Trivial Pursuit Question cards. Members are encouraged to make suggestions for new and varied quizzes.

We take it in turns to bring milk and 2 packs of biscuits each session. The charge for the Session is £2 to cover the rent of the room. This is reduced when we get a build up of funds if lots of members attend and occasionally there is a free week.

We want members to enjoy the sessions and have fun as well as exercising their brains. We aim to know some answers, learn new information, swear blind we knew the answer once and that it is somewhere lurking in our failing memory.

The fact that many of our members are long standing suggests that he Quiz Group is a fun and interesting pace to be on the 4th Thursday of each month.

All U3A members are welcome give us a try you may enjoy our quizzes its not University Challenge

The Quiz Group meet on the 4th Thursday of each month, at The Central Methodist Church, at 10.00 for about 2 hours.

The Quizzes vary each month as they are set by individual members, there is no obligation to set a quiz.

Each quiz compiler provides their own unique quiz, there is no set format. About 60 questions is the average quiz, 2 parts of 30 questions. We have a break for tea, coffee and biscuits in the middle.

Various types of questions are posed –straight forward questions on any subject, picture questions, dingbats, audio questions about music, recognising peoples voices, recognising poems, local history, cryptic clues and any category the compiler chooses. We like variation.

It is difficult but we try our best to make the quizzes not too hard or specialist.

We do not have set teams. We place the names of members attending, on cards face down and pick random teams of 3\4\5 according to how many people have come.

This allows everyone a chance to be on a winning team sometime throughout the year and lets people meet new members and make new friends.

During the year we have a quiz where everyone brings 4 questions and we have a Combination Quiz which make for a Jacobs Join Quiz with questions not food!! Each person asks their own questions which can be linked on a theme or just random. We also have a quiz base on Trivial Pursuit Question cards. Members are encouraged to make suggestions for new and varied quizzes.

We take it in turns to bring milk and 2 packs of biscuits each session. The charge for the Session is £2 to cover the rent of the room. This is reduced when we get a build up of funds if lots of members attend and occasionally there is a free week.

We want members to enjoy the sessions and have fun as well as exercising their brains. We aim to know some answers, learn new information, swear blind we knew the answer once and that it is somewhere lurking in our failing memory.

The fact that many of our members are long standing suggests that he Quiz Group is a fun and interesting pace to be on the 4th Thursday of each month.

All U3A members are welcome give us a try you may enjoy our quizzes its not University Challenge

Enjoying a session at Central Methodist.
Not always a serious occasion.

Philosophy

Peter Baron; 01706 813044; baronps@hotmail.com
Alternate Mondays, 10.15am, Central Methodist 

Peter Baron; 01706 813044; baronps@hotmail.com
Alternate Mondays, 10.15am, Central Methodist 


We have a dozen or so active members and the meetings have had a consistent attendance of 8-15. Few of us have any formal education in philosophy but all have a strong interest and want to learn. So far it has not been about promoting one view above any other but wanting to learn what thinkers have thought down the ages and engage in debate  about it.

We have several “special topics” for future meetings – Eastern Philosophies, Multiculturalism, Consciousness, Free Will, etc. We mix “special topics” with a programme of education based on BBC videos. Occasionally we have guest presenters. This is more than enough to keep us going for a few years!!

 

 

Music Appreciation

Richard Pomfret; 01706 839115; richpomf@googlemail.com
Alternate Tuesdays, 10.00am – midday, at Bridgeholme Cricket Club pavilion, Eastwood

Richard Pomfret; 01706 839115; richpomf@googlemail.com
Alternate Tuesdays, 10.00am – midday, at Bridgeholme Cricket Club pavilion, Eastwood


Usually the convenor chooses a theme, and provides CDs for the group to listen to and discuss. Typical themes have been ‘Mixing of old and new’, ‘The saxophone in orchestral music’ ‘Canons and chaconnes’ and ‘Romantic serenades’. It is hoped soon to have a few sessions on ‘Words and music’.

On occasions we have also had ‘Desert Island Discs’ where members have brought along favourite pieces of their own, which they introduce and, if they wish, explain why the music means something special to them.

If you choose to bring music with you to share, that’s good, but there is no obligation to do so.  Although sometimes we might discuss a particular aspect of music, we keep it as non-academic as possible, so previous musical skill or knowledge is not necessary.  We try to learn how to listen, and what to listen for.

New members welcome to join the sessions.

Lunch Club

Gisela Lea-McCann; 01422 843329; gleamccann@aol.com
Please contact Gisela for information and you will then be sent details of the following month’s venue.

Gisela Lea-McCann; 01422 843329; gleamccann@aol.com
Please contact Gisela for information and you will then be sent details of the following month’s venue.


Notice for Lunch Club members:

The numbers of people attending have risen, so that we have between 12 and 20 people attending.  I shall certainly let you know of the next meeting in March as soon as I have details.

Meets monthly at different venues. Our aim is to enjoy good food, make new friends, exchange ideas and have a ‘good natter’ on a wide variety of subjects.

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Social history

Alan Fowler; 01422 842828; alanfowler1944@btinternet.com
3rd Friday in the month, 10.15, TCRC room

Alan Fowler; 01422 842828; alanfowler1944@btinternet.com
3rd Friday in the month, 10.15, TCRC room


Social History Group will be discussing Walter Greenwood ‘s autobiography with reference to the ‘ Great War’ when he began working in a pawnbrokers . The group will continue its reading of autobiography ‘s by reading the life of Neville Cardus who grew up in Manchester .

If anyone wanted to join the Group this might be a good moment. New members are welcome .

Let’s go

Linda Cook; 01706 817254; landcook@talktalk.net (Available to All Members). Various locations, phone Convenor for details.

Linda Cook; 01706 817254; landcook@talktalk.net (Available to All Members). Various locations, phone Convenor for details.


We organise outings every 4 to 6 weeks, with a break over holiday periods. Our group is open to the whole membership and we try to select diverse places of interest so as to appeal to as many people as possible. We usually travel by coach, leaving Todmorden around 9.00/9.30a.m, arriving back approx. 6.00/7.00pm, depending on traffic, but occasionally travel by train. Our trips are announced at the monthly meetings where booking forms are available, and also sent by email around the members group. Bookings are taken on a first come basis.

48 members recently enjoyed the first Let’s Go trip of 2019 to The World of Glass at St. Helens.  Following refreshments we were shown the Pilkington Crystal Collection and the St Helens Heritage Collection containing rare pieces from the Ancient Egyptians Romans and Chinese.  We watched a   special effect film explaining the story of glass making, and ventured beneath the furnace of the Victorian cone building and explored the underground tunnels to experience what life was like in a Victorian glass factory.  Probably the highlight of the day was watching the age old craft of glass blowing by one of their team of talented glassblowers.    There is an art collection on display along with contemporary pieces, and a magnificent chandelier which once hung in Manchester Airport.

Wednesday July 18th 2018

HOLKER HALL & GRANGE OVER SANDS VISIT

On a slightly cooler day of late 53 members thoroughly enjoyed a visit to Holker Hall in the Lake District, the private home of Lucy Cavendish and her husband Tor McLaren. The estate is only a short distance from Morecambe Bay with the Lakeland hills in the background.

The house dates from the early 1600 and has passed by inheritance to the present owners. Following a disastrous fire in 1871 the new wing was rebuilt in the neo-Elizabethan Gothic style. There are no ropes or barriers in the house and visitors can wander at leisure. The craftsmanship in the house is superb and the cantilever grand staircase was hand carved by the estate workers with much of the furniture brought from the Chatsworth estate after the fire. Many royal visitors have been entertained here. The views from nearly all of the windows are outstanding. The award winning formal gardens are stunning; the Great Holker Lime was voted one of Britain’s grandest trees with a girth of 7-9 metres.

We departed in the afternoon for a short visit to Grange over Sands where we could have a stroll up the prom and round the duck pond and refreshments before returning home.

tower          G O Sands

PHOTOGRAPHS to follow

 

Thursday 22 March 2018: Cheshire Falconry

P1020578 (2)Another reasonable day greeted members as we set off to visit the Cheshire Falconry at the Blakemere Village Outlet.

Robert, the expert, who “flew” the birds of prey for us, explained about each in detail; their origins, hunting techniques, and the care needed to keep them in condition. These birds fly for the public for only 6 months in the year, needing to rest and replenish the oils on their feathers. The cutest, and noisiest, was the Barn or Screech Owl: and it did !

After lunch members moved on to the Lion Salt Museum , just a few miles away. This efficiently run establishment had our guides waiting for us, as we arrived. The guides explained in detail about Romans finding salt, the geology of the area and how the industry grew. At its height, there were some 17 salt manufacturers in the area. The industry became so important railway branch lines were laid to carry the finished product away. This Museum has won various awards. The enthusiasm and expertise of the staff was evident.

 

French Conversation

Anne Foster; 01706 814623; thefostershq@yahoo.co.uk
2.00 to 4.00pm, alternating between the Fire Station Community Room and the upstairs room in the Fielden Centre. Pease contact Anne.

Anne Foster; 01706 814623; thefostershq@yahoo.co.uk
2.00 to 4.00pm, alternating between the Fire Station Community Room and the upstairs room in the Fielden Centre. Pease contact Anne.


A smallish group of people with some spoken French who wish to improve their conversational skills by participating in an informal group,covering topics which are of practical use or of interest to the participants.

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Creative Writing Group

Barbara Griffiths; 01706 876984; barbiegriff@gmail.com
2nd and 4th Thursdays, every month. 2.00 – 4.00pm, TCRC room.

Barbara Griffiths; 01706 876984; barbiegriff@gmail.com
2nd and 4th Thursdays, every month. 2.00 – 4.00pm, TCRC room.


2017 was very much a good year for the Creative Writing Group as we gained some new members who not only fitted into our close knit group really well but also brought with them some new ideas and some different styles of writing. Our topics for the year have been wide and varied and, although we are usually all writing to the same topic each month, we are often offered prose, poetry, reporting, play script or monologue.

A selection of the topics covered last year included: –

Throw Out The Old/Sweet Seventeen   The Rocket Ship/Interview  Celebrations/Showers, Flowers And Fools   A Fairytale/ May Or May Not    Fear/Swinging And Sliding    Just Passing The Time Of Day/Misunderstanding  Missing/Absentmindedness     The October Revolution       The Plot/Why Didn’t I Say Something?

 

“On  The Spot” activities included writing poems, descriptions of characters, places or objects, writing from a story start or to a given ending and developing lateral thinking. Many of these activities caused some of us to step out of our comfort zone but we all agree, at the end of each session, that it has been both satisfying and good fun even if it has stretched us somewhat!

Barbara Griffiths (Convenor)

This is a collaborative/co-operative group, comprising people who write in poetry or prose for any reason/at any level. There are about fifteen of us, with a core of seven or eight. The first anthology has recently been published.

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Topics explored so far include: The Dance, Rights, Cream, Pen, Local Current Affairs, Red Herrings, The Warmest Season, The Argos Catalogue, Christmas. More to come!

We are pleased to announce the release of our new book On TheWriteLines, which is available  from www.lulu.com at the price of £7.99p plus post and packing.

Concert party

Rita Olley; 01706 819926; ritaandreg@todonline.co.uk
Friday, 2.00 – 4.00pm, Various locations

Rita Olley; 01706 819926; ritaandreg@todonline.co.uk
Friday, 2.00 – 4.00pm, Various locations


Do you like to “sing along” but never thought of joining a choir?

Do you like to trip the light fantastic but thought you weren’t “strictly” material?

Do you like a good laugh even if the joke isn’t that funny?

Do you like to make people smile?  

Have you ever thought of joining the Senior Moments Concert Party? No talent needed, just a wish to bring joy and fun to the residents of care homes.

Concert Christmas

We meet most Fridays 2pm to 4pm for rehearsals.

Practical Art

Wendy Coates; 01706 344821; coateswendy1@gmail.com
and Mike Peace; michael_peace2@hotmail.com
Alternate Fridays, 11.00am – 1.30pm, Fielden Centre

Wendy Coates; 01706 344821; coateswendy1@gmail.com
and Mike Peace; michael_peace2@hotmail.com
Alternate Fridays, 11.00am – 1.30pm, Fielden Centre


We have had a busy year, with rising numbers in the group. We now have thirty two members and if everyone came one Friday, we would be sitting on the windowsills at the Fielden! We also have another new associate convenor, Corinne Roberts, who brings her long experience in Art teaching so generously to the group. She joins Mike Peace as the second Professional artist to teach the class.

We have had a varied programme, as usual, from how to use our own photos in paintings, adjusting the composition by using framing, to technical lessons on aerial perspective and strategies with watercolour. We looked at painting perfect watercolour skies with Sue Hayter and drawing techniques with Mike. Corinne introduced us to the delights of Oil pastels, one session devoted to using them as resists. Two new media, Inktense and Scraperboard have been experimented with and we have used Acrylics as well as watercolours. As a fun last session before Christmas, we painted silk scarves in the dipping method and had a Jacob’s Join party.

In this New Year we hope to introduce everyone to the delights of block and mono printing( when we can assemble the equipment needed!  ) and also to mixed media as used in a more abstract approach.

At the general meeting in March, we have the five minute slot to explain what the Practical Art class is all about and hope to show the large mural we produced on Todmorden and the surrounding area, as well as some of the other wonderful pictures painted by our talented members We may also have our own exhibition, if we can find a suitable venue in town and organise a couple of visits to art galleries, as requested in our survey of what people wanted from their group and how they saw the Practical Art going forward in the next year or so. We are also setting up a library system so members can borrow books and videos from our increasing store. Roy Harfield, who with Liz, has  just downsized and so has been ‘ considering’ what to keep, has generously donated many beautiful picture frames from his days as a professional photographer, to sell as a boost to Practical Art funds. We may use the money raised to buy equipment for group use or put it towards a Life Study model or an outside demonstration.

The practical Art Group have been trying our hand at drawing and painting reflective surfaces. We are also holding a sketchbook competition to inspire members to use one throughout the summer and this will be judged later in the year.Our group is now full and people wishing to join us will go on a waiting list.

In the words of Clive Dunn “Don’t panic!”, we have Mike to lead us gently into topics and I think you’ll find it interesting and fun to look at other ways of seeing and painting.

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our combinedIMG_1331

effort making 

this splendid 

wall hanging

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In July, weather permitting, we hope to have a painting session outside as we did last year.

Concentration !
Concentration !

artists 1artists 2

Art Appreciation / History

Mary Findon; 01706 814022; w.m.findon@btinternet.com
1st Thursday of the month, 2.00 – 3.30 pm, Fielden Centre

Mary Findon; 01706 814022; w.m.findon@btinternet.com
1st Thursday of the month, 2.00 – 3.30 pm, Fielden Centre


Colony Art Gallery in Rochdale.

The group was treated to some fantastic art and  the chance to talk to Anthony and Richard about the work on display as well as hot drinks and much better biscuits than we usually get at our meetings.

Art Appreciation at Colony Art colony art visit

We were able to get much closer to the work than is usually possible in the galleries we visit.

colony art work

In addition we could go into Richard’s (Fitton) studio as well even if we had be careful to avoid getting covered in paint!

richard fittons studio

Summery of Activities 2017

The group meets once a month.  There were four visits out in 2017.  We went to The Haworth Gallery in Accrington to see their Tiffany glass collection in February and followed this up with a visit to John Ditchfield’s Studio on The Fylde in May.  August saw the group at The Hepworth in Wakefield to see several exhibitions including the Howard Hodgkin exhibition ’Painting India’.  Then in November it was the newly reopened Leeds City Art Gallery with exhibitions ranging from the 20th century radical sculptor Joseph Beuys to the sketches of the 19th century water-colourist Joseph Cotman.

The remaining meetings were held in Todmorden and included visiting speakers:  local ceramist/artist Gary Thomas speaking about his work on paper and Angela Jarman speaking about her Aunt Peggy the famous botanical artist Margaret Mee.    Group members gave presentations on a range of topics including The Mosaics of Ravenna, The Radical Eye exhibition of Elton John’s photographic collection, Photographers different approaches to photographing people, Chagall’s stained glass, the glass worker Sam Herman, Art That Works.  Many of the group turned up for a talk on ‘Yarns – Is Knitting an Art Form?’  wearing red hats or scarves and some knitted during the talk.  We were also introduced to an image of a knitted full size red Ferrari in another talk on The Art of Knitting.  One of the highlights of the year was delivery of a piece of ‘performance art’ during a short talk on Dadaism.

We started the year by viewing and discussing a DVD on Auerbach and finished the year with our annual quiz which ended with several tie break questions to decide which team would receive the ‘wooden spoon’ prize.IMG_4203 prize giving at art appreciation talk

This group enjoys a variety of activities including:

  • Visits to exhibitions and galleries
  • Attending lectures
  • Viewing and discussing videos / DVD’s on art-related topics
  • Discussing individual artists or artistic movements
  • Others that develop along with the group.

The group will not restrict itself to paintings but may also cover photography, sculpture, architecture etc. dependent on member’s interests.