Let’s Go! Visit to Thirsk

The penultimate trip of 2019 was to Thirsk and the award winning James Herriot museum. This “tardis” like surgery sits in the main street in Thirsk. Furnished appropriately for the period, the house has many rooms, including the parlour, where sit Tricki Woo and Mrs Pumphrey : don’t touch the dog it barks! The surgery area has many of James Herriot’s veterinary instruments on display. There is also a film room showing a short documentary, hosted by Christopher Timothy, describing the vet’s history and the TV and film series.

Known for his “All Creatures Great and Small” TV series, which followed the success of his books, Alf White – Herriot’s real name – did not start to write until his 50th birthday. Encouraged by his wife Joan, who had listened to his tales of daily happenings, Alf eventually bought a portable typewriter and in the evening would tap away. It took a long time before any publisher would take up his stories, and he dreaded the thump on the mat as another document was returned with a rejection letter.

Also in the house is a mock- up of a TV studio, some barns and a top floor devoted to children, who can learn that food does not just come from supermarkets, and can help deliver a calf.

The museum and the town of Thirsk are well worth a visit. The museum has a warm, friendly feel and the staff most helpful and proud of its history.

U3A Todmorden Let’s Go trip 16 July

For our last outing before the summer break a visit to Erddig Hall, near Wrexham, was chosen. However, for various reasons, there were an unusually low number of members who travelled.

The day was fine and the greeting from the staff, warm.

Erddig, now a National Trust property has benefitted from not having a complete makeover. Most of the property has been refurbished but much of the fixtures and fittings are still as the last owner left them. In fact many of the room Guides knew the Yorkes.

The Yorke family are well known for having portraits, and latterly, photographs of their retainers. The most famous, having been featured on TV, is that of Jane Ebbrell (1793): Housemaid and Spider Brusher (an old term for Domestic Servant); with a face that would frighten.

The gardens themselves are worth a visit and the gardeners showed remarkable patience answering numerous questions.

Let’s Go Trip to Lytham

Forty-nine members enjoyed the June sunshine on the Fylde coast recently. They spent leisure time in the leafy town of Lytham, mentioned in the Domesday Book, before visiting the Grade 1 listed Lytham Hall, a Georgian mansion situated in 78 acres of parkland and former home of the Clifton family, where they had a tour of the property. In 1752, Thomas Clifton commissioned architect John Carr of York to build a new house which took 12 years to complete. The house has changed little over the years and Carr’s magnificent plasterwork and Gillow furniture can still be seen.

Linda Cook

But What if We Tried – Art Appreciation Group

But what if we tried.
That is the title of the current exhibition at the Touchstones Gallery in Rochdale and is the gallery’s response to the challenge posed by artist Harry Meadley as to why so much of publicly owned art is stuffed away in stacks out of sight.
The U3A Art Appreciation group normally meets monthly at the Fielden Centre but every three months we venture afield to a gallery or an artist’s studio and in May we luckily decided to visit this exhibition. We were fortunate enough to have an introductory talk by a member of the curatorial team at Touchstones who explained how the collection came about and how it developed over 150 years. All local authorities are under financial pressure and some have controversially sold off publicly owned works of art to raise funds.

Rochdale however has not only held onto their collection but with the assistance of bodies such as the Art Fund has continued to make acquisitions, including of contemporary Northern art.
Rochdale now has a very substantial collection and has displayed in the largest gallery many wonderful examples from an early self-portrait by Tim Bobbin to recently created paintings and prints selected and hung in order of acquisition. It leads to a display full of surprises and delights. In one of the smaller galleries is a display recreating the stacks showing how work is stored, conserved and restored and how vitals funds are raised by loaning out work to other galleries and museums.
Fascinating to think that all of this wonderful art displayed still only represents 13% of the art owned by the people of Rochdale.

The exhibition continues to the 1st June and is strongly recommended.

Text: Campbell Malone Pictures: Ann Foster, Campbell Malone and Doug Simpson

THIRD CONVENORS’ LUNCH

Central Methodists Todmorden was the venue for the third Tod U3A Convenors’ Lunch. The purpose of these is two fold: as an expression of thanks from the Committee for all the hard work the convenors do to keep Tod U3A going. Secondly, it is an opportunity to keep convenors up-to-date with anything they need to know.

So before the convenors helped themselves to the buffet lunch provided by Catrina and Andrew at Drop Farm, Oxenhope, Gill Radford welcomed everybody and thanked them for all they are doing. She then recited three questions we would be asked to answer in small groups. More of which later.

Nigel Plant kicked off business matters with a few details regarding Beacon, the new IT system designed to make internet use simpler when using for anything to do with Tod U3A. Convenors had had training from Nigel but little bits and bobs came up as the training went on and he wanted to ensure that those in the earlier sessions had the opportunity to be apprised of anything they may have missed.

Membership Secretary Brenda Botten then introduced herself and asked convenors to remind their group members that membership renewal time is approaching, She then introduced yours truly so that I might explain my role and the existence of this page. I invited them to send me any news item they may wish to have posted here. It need only be bullet points – I will be happy to expand. Send to news@u3atod.org.uk

Our treasurer, Emily Watnik was next up, now able to keep track of our finances in a more sophisticated way using Beacon, and asked convenors to get an invoice when paying venues directly.

Fiona Ryland broached the subject of accessibility to our classes and invited convenors to contact her if they had any queries or problems. I’m assuming her email address is accessibility@u3atod.org.uk I will update if necessary.

Ernie Rogan advised that he has reorganised the rota for refreshments served at general meetings. Each group will take it in turns, starting alphabetically, to have two of its members staff the refreshment point. As there are so many groups, Ernie said, each with a number of members, it would mean that each individual member is likely to do it only once in ten years. That’ll be a lifetime for most of us, so grab your chance when it comes.

After everyone had eaten the lovely buffet lunch and had filled their doggy bags – Catrina and Andrew give good value – those of us remaining set about answering the following:

What in your experience makes a group successful?

What niggles do you have about convening a group?

What help would you appreciate, if anything?

Which ideas will you try to put into practise with your group?

Our table had an interesting discussion and each table fed back at the end leaving the committee with some useful points to mull over.

PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP EXHIBITION

The photography group have some of their work displayed at Tod Information Centre throughout April. You will enjoy a variety of subjects: the expected, but not to say ordinary. Landscapes, wildlife – the birds and the bees, well, wasps actually, as well as the unexpected, unusual and imaginative. Do go along. Your correspondent has and gives his recommendation.

THIRD CONVENORS’ LUNCH

Central Methodists Todmorden was the venue for the third Tod U3A Convenors’ Lunch. The purpose of these is two fold: as an expression of thanks from the Committee for all the hard work the convenors do to keep Tod U3A going. Secondly, it is an opportunity to keep convenors up-to-date with anything they need to know.

So before the convenors helped themselves to the buffet lunch provided by Catrina and Andrew at Drop Farm, Oxenhope, Gill Radford welcomed everybody and thanked them for all they are doing. She then recited three questions we would be asked to answer in small groups. More of which later.

Nigel Plant kicked off business matters with a few details regarding Beacon, the new IT system designed to make internet use simpler when using for anything to do with Tod U3A. Convenors had had training from Nigel but little bits and bobs came up as the training went on and he wanted to ensure that those in the earlier sessions had the opportunity to be apprised of anything they may have missed.

Membership Secretary Brenda Botten then introduced herself and asked convenors to remind their group members that membership renewal time is approaching, She then introduced yours truly so that I might explain my role and the existence of this page. I invited them to send me any news item they may wish to have posted here. It need only be bullet points – I will be happy to expand. Send to news@u3atod.org.uk

Our treasurer, Emily Watnik was next up, now able to keep track of our finances in a more sophisticated way using Beacon, and asked convenors to get an invoice when paying venues directly.

Fiona Ryland broached the subject of accessibility to our classes and invited convenors to contact her if they had any queries or problems. I’m assuming her email address is accessibility@u3atod.org.uk I will update if necessary.

Ernie Rogan advised that he has reorganised the rota for refreshments served at general meetings. Each group will take it in turns, starting alphabetically, to have two of its members staff the refreshment point. As there are so many groups, Ernie said, each with a number of members, it would mean that each individual member is likely to do it only once in ten years. That’ll be a lifetime for most of us, so grab your chance when it comes.

After everyone had eaten the lovely buffet lunch and had filled their doggy bags – Catrina and Andrew give good value – those of us remaining set about answering the following:

What in your experience makes a group successful?

What niggles do you have about convening a group?

What help would you appreciate, if anything?

Which ideas will you try to put into practise with your group?

Our table had an interesting discussion and each table fed back at the end leaving the committee with some useful points to mull over.

THIRD CONVENORS’ LUNCH

Central Methodists Todmorden was the venue for the third Tod U3A Convenors’ Lunch. The purpose of these is two fold: as an expression of thanks from the Committee for all the hard work the convenors do to keep Tod U3A going. Secondly, it is an opportunity to keep convenors up-to-date with anything they need to know.

So before the convenors helped themselves to the buffet lunch provided by Catrina and Andrew at Drop Farm, Oxenhope, Gill Radford welcomed everybody and thanked them for all they are doing. She then recited three questions we would be asked to answer in small groups. More of which later.

Nigel Plant kicked off business matters with a few details regarding Beacon, the new IT system designed to make internet use simpler when using for anything to do with Tod U3A. Convenors had had training from Nigel but little bits and bobs came up as the training went on and he wanted to ensure that those in the earlier sessions had the opportunity to be apprised of anything they may have missed.

Membership Secretary Brenda Botten then introduced herself and asked convenors to remind their group members that membership renewal time is approaching, She then introduced yours truly so that I might explain my role and the existence of this page. I invited them to send me any news item they may wish to have posted here. It need only be bullet points – I will be happy to expand. Send to news@u3atod.org.uk

Our treasurer, Emily Watnik was next up, now able to keep track of our finances in a more sophisticated way using Beacon, and asked convenors to get an invoice when paying venues directly.

Fiona Ryland broached the subject of accessibility to our classes and invited convenors to contact her if they had any queries or problems. I’m assuming her email address is accessibility@u3atod.org.uk I will update if necessary.

Ernie Rogan advised that he has reorganised the rota for refreshments served at general meetings. Each group will take it in turns, starting alphabetically, to have two of its members staff the refreshment point. As there are so many groups, Ernie said, each with a number of members, it would mean that each individual member is likely to do it only once in ten years. That’ll be a lifetime for most of us, so grab your chance when it comes.

After everyone had eaten the lovely buffet lunch and had filled their doggy bags – Catrina and Andrew give good value – those of us remaining set about answering the following:

What in your experience makes a group successful?

What niggles do you have about convening a group?

What help would you appreciate, if anything?

Which ideas will you try to put into practise with your group?

Our table had an interesting discussion and each table fed back at the end leaving the committee with some useful points to mull over.

ART CLUB

The Art Club have been busy, as Jean Pearson explains below.

We have been inspired by poetry for our current project and some beautiful artwork has been produced.   We have been inspired by poems such as ‘Daffodils’, ‘Matchstick Men’, ‘Wild Geese’, ‘Ode to Autumn’, ‘Ducks’,  ‘Robins Round’, ‘The Curious Hare’, ‘The Birch Tree’, ‘The Scarecrow’, ‘The Englishwoman’, ‘On a fly drinking out of his cup’, ‘9 Circles of Hell’, ‘Billy Goat Gruff’, ‘Anne Hathaway’ and ‘A Shropshire Lad’.

At our next meeting at the Fielden Centre, Todmorden from 11 am -1 pm on Tuesday, 26th February, 2019, we will be discussing our individual choices and sharing our techniques and ideas.

There are just a few places available if you would like to have a taste of what we do – every fortnight.

Every session at Art Club is very special to all of us!!!   I haven’t taken any photographs of our work but I have scanned my painting – watercolours – entitled ‘The Englishwoman’ by Stevie Smith.   ‘This Englishwoman is very refined; She has a flat chest and a flat behind.’   I’ve written a second verse!   ‘These Englishwomen are not refined;   Each has a buxom bosom and a big behind!’.   So I’ve drawn a matchstick woman and some Beryl Cook women.   Hope it gives you a chuckle.

Philosophy Walks

Some say they do their best thinking when walking. Philosophy Group members and friends are putting this notion to the test for the third time on Friday 21 December when they walk from Hebden Bridge along the canal to Tod to finish in The Pub. (Your reporter can feel a Monty Python song coming on.)

These walks are the brainchild of group member Alan McDonald, who is studying for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Manchester and is also a member of Tod Walkers, who don’t usually lead or organise walks directly, but made an exception for philosophical walks as part of the Festival of Ideas.

For each of the first two, Alan successfully inveigled a proper philosopher from the Uni to join us and put us through our paces with a set topic to discuss on the way.

The first took place on the 21 June, the evening of the solstice, a deliberate choice on the part of Alan. The conversations centred on the philosophy of walking and what it means to do things together. We started at the Unitarian Church, went uphill to Longfield Equestrian Centre and Long Hey Lane, then left along the Calderdale Way, returning down through the woods and on to Oldroyd Road to the canal towpath, finishing in The Pub in Brook Street in Tod town centre to continue discussions there.

For our second one, which took place on Saturday 22 September, to coincide with the equinox, the subject was: ‘Nature and the Good Life’.We were joined by practising philosopher Dr Paul Knights, who lives in the Upper Calder Valley, and does postdoctoral research as a British Academy Fellow at the University of Manchester.  Here’s his outline of some things we talked about as we walked, reflected and drank:
What is the good life for a human? What role does nature have in our well-being? How can natural landscapes best be managed to contribute to us living good lives?
During this walk we were invited to reflect on the good life and the role of nature in our well-being. Our walk through the landscape prompted reflection; landscapes such as the South Pennines are increasingly the focus of policy demands to deliver public goods – contributions to societal well-being – in return for the public subsidies received by land managers. In addition to food from livestock farming, natural landscapes will be expected to deliver improved flood mitigation, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and opportunities for recreation. Underpinning this policy shift is the assumption that changes to the way natural landscapes are managed can benefit people – improve their lives – in a range of ways. This will change both the way the landscape looks, and how we relate to it. As we walked through the landscape, we were invited to think about the variety of ways our environment contributes to our well-being, and in doing so engage with that most ancient of philosophical questions: what is it to live a good life?

The linear walk began at the entrance to the Top Brink car park on Lumbutts Road at 10:30 a.m.  We strolled along the ridge and descended eventually to the canal towpath and ended with more philosophical chat in the pub called The Pub (3 Brook St, Tod, OL14 5AJ).

The next walk will be on the equinox, Friday 21 December, this time a walk along the canal from Hebden Bridge, again finishing in The Pub.