Bookham and District U3A
Bookham and District University of the Third Age

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April 2018 Announcements
Wednesday 04 April 2018

Bookham & District U3A

April 2018 Newsletter

Announcements Made at the April Meeting

New members

Lynn welcomed three members who were attending their first monthly meeting,  Gordon Knight,  June Gordon-Giles and  Patricia Pentecost.
Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)

Lynn announced a number of apologies for absence from the EGM and then explained the background to the need for a minor change to the Object clause in our constitution. Details of this had already been circulated to all members. The resolution to accept the change was passed with just four members abstaining and only one voting against.

Membership Fees

A proposal passed at the AGM in October allowed the committee to revise the membership fee to a maximum of £15. The current fee of £12 has been at that level for a number of years. After a detailed review of projected income and expenditure for the coming year, it has been decided that the figure for 2018/19 will be  £14 per member.

Notice Boards

Lynn reminded members of the large amount of information on the noticeboards, including study days, summer schools and sign up sheets. 

Sign up sheets

I believe that the sign up sheets were broadly the same as last month:

  • Tai Chi (2), the beginners group is looking for additional members. This group has now been established and details are available on the website
  • The gardening group would like a few new members
  • Science & Technology 4
  • Living alone
  • Poetry
  • Wine appreciation 6
  • Armchair Critics
  • The croquet group is organising a taster session on Saturday April 7th.  The beginners group will meet on Tuesday mornings.

If you are interested and want more information about any of these planned groups please speak to Mike Farrell. Details of committee members email addresses and telephone numbers are available through the U3A website. If you are challenged for a password when opening a document on the website (and you will be for the committee telephone numbers), the password is printed on your membership card.

There was also a sign up sheet to offer assistance with teas at the monthly meetings.

Murder Mystery evening

Tickets were on sale and are still available. The date is May 10th and the ticket price is £25 per person. Please contact Jan Dicker on 01372 452251 to book your tickets.

Fire Alarms
Lynn reported that a member recently arranged a visit from the Fire Brigade for a fire check and as part of this check was fitted with a smoke alarm, her house that is! The check and alarm were free. The following is taken from the Surrey County Council website:

'Safe and Well Visits are carried out by Surrey Fire and Rescue officers and in some instances, our volunteers. They combine home safety checks, reducing the risk of fire in your home and  where appropriate, you will also be offered information to help you improve your wellbeing, allowing you to live safer and more independent lives. Surrey residents can arrange a free Safe and Well Visit by completing the online request form or calling the request line on freephone 0800 085 0767.'

More details of how to keep safe from fire can be found by clicking here. This link will also, with a couple of more clicks, take you to an online request form for a Safe and Well  visit, or if you are impatient click here.

Whilst I was checking these details with the Council,  a more wide-ranging set of monitoring services was mentioned, including fire but also extended to remotely monitored personal alarms. These can be provided, at a cost, through Surrey County Council. Click here for details. Note that this is for information and not a recommendation.

Website and Membership System
The current Website and Membership systems have been in place for a number of years and the committee have been assessing the potential for replacement by a single integrated system. A system, Simple Membership, has been found to meet almost all of our requirements and we are working towards an implementation later this year. Lynn make a request for anyone with skills in these areas and would be willing to assist in the implementation activities to contact her.

Abseiling the Emirates Spinnaker Tower
Lynn congratulated JIm Simpson, who lived to tell the tale of his abseil at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. This generated some interest so for anyone else thinking of giving it a go click here

Beginners Bridge
Peter Clarke reported a good response to the offer of setting up a new group or groups for beginners bridge. However, it is proving difficult matching up dates when tutors and learners are free, and he has produced new sign up sheets for both learners and helpers. Peter can be contacted at or on 01372 450908.


The visit to Chichester is fully booked, with a waiting list, as is the visit to Christ's Hospital School.

David Middleton is arranging a visit on behalf of the Science & Technology 2 group to the Mini production line at Cowley. This will take place on May 2nd, leaving Lower Shott at 9.00.
There will be a comfort break at about 11.00 before arriving at 12.00. There will be two groups of 15 and the tour will take about 2.5 hours. Arrival back in Bookham will be 5.00-5.15 pm and the cost £40. This visit is open to all members - please contact Anne Glyn (  or 01372 802576) for a booking form or David if you require more details (01372 458407).

Surrey Network Learning Days
Details of these can be found later in this email but Lynn drew particular attention to the meeting on April 20th where the subject is UK Energy Futures.


The April Speaker was Rosemary Horton. Rosemary is an expert on English Cheeses and she gave a comprehensive and entertaining talk, without notes or the help of PowerPoint!
Rosemary started by explaining the accidental discovery of cheese and how it originated through the transportation of milk in bladders made of ruminants' stomachs due to their inherent supply of rennet. She explained the early separation of the milk into curds and whey which then followed their own paths into cheese on the one hand and food additives on the other (the syrup at the centre of chocolates, baby food, cup-o-soup being three examples). I can only presume that Little Miss Muffet collected her bowlful before this took place! She then concentrated on the origins of English cheese and how the knowledge of cheesemaking in Roman times was subsequently passed, through successive generations, from farmers wives to their daughters. The lack of communications in England at that time resulted in very many varieties of cheeses, although this has consolidated to 9-10 major varieties today.

Rosemary, who trained as cheesemaker using traditional techniques, talked us through the stirring and separation processes, the solidification of the curds into cheeses, the passing of 'substandard' cheese to the processed cheese makers (now a thing of the past due to the elimination of poor quality cheese), the introduction of colour to some cheese varieties and the production of 'Blue' cheeses that have had cultures of the mould Penicillium added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue.

The production of cheese at a farm level has given way to the rise of factory production, although many small farms and other makers still survive, including one in Surrey producing Norbury Blue (
She used the example of DavidStow  ( as a farm based production growing into an industry leading factory, now owned by Dairy Crest.

The high level of interest in her talk was demonstrated by the large number of questions she answered. 

Well done Frank, another excellent speaker! 

Next month's meeting is on May 1st when the speaker will be Richard Orwell, who  will talk on the life of his father, George Orwell.




Surrey Network Study Days

The information below is taken from the Surrey U3A Network website which can be accessed by clicking here.  Reproduced below is information on the various study days for which booking is open. The website has more details on conferences and summer schools as well as an outline of events and study days running through 2018.
Friday, 20th April 2018        UK ENERGY FUTURES  

Speakers: Graham Hill, Richard Rumble, Robin Allen, John Gallop & Ian Funnell

The UK’s energy development plans are at a crucial stage. An expensive nuclear power station at Hinckley Point is under way, but the design has yet to be successfully completed elsewhere. A date has been set to replace petrol/diesel cars by electric vehicles. The usage of ‘green energy’, primarily wind and solar PV, is increasing rapidly but we need to develop adequate storage facilities to make full use of its potential. The national grid will require extensive restructuring as we move away from a few large power stations to widely distributed solar and wind power generation. Our oil and gas reserves are almost depleted. An alternative source, onshore hydraulic fracturing, ‘fracking’, that revolutionised the US energy market is under development in the UK. Public protest such as at Leith Hill shows that it is contentious. Nuclear fusion, shown to be feasible by JET, is a truly ‘green’ energy source. In France ITER, twice the size of JET, is years behind schedule and well over budget. Today we have experts on hydraulic fracturing. fusion power, energy storage, and the national grid to outline the main areas of development and set the scene for discussion on the future of energy generation in the UK.
More details and a booking form can be found by clicking here.

Friday 18th May 2018         HOAXES, MAGIC, CARTOONS & SATIRE  

Speaker  Ian Keable

The golden age of political satirical art was from 1780 to 1820 and the two leading proponents were James Gillray (1756-1815) and George Cruikshank (1792-1878). The lives and works of these two masters are covered in this study day. An event that was incorporated into one of their works by both of these men was the Bottle Conjurer Hoax that took place in 1749. It is an amusing episode that throws light on the gullibility of 18th century theatrical audiences; as well as demonstrating the versatility of Gillray and Cruikshank in using such incidents to enhance the comedy in their prints. From 1820 onwards, satirical art began to disappear and Cruikshank had to reinvent himself as an illustrator of books - most notably with Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. For the final talk, a lesser known skill of Dickens is considered: for a period in the 1840s he was an amateur conjurer. The day will finish with a suitable flourish with a couple of Dickensian magic tricks. 

More details and a booking form can be found here.


Speaker Mike Parker Pearson

Recent breakthroughs in archaeology have come not just from excavations but also from lab-based specialists.  Our understanding of Britain’s prehistoric past has advanced dramatically in just a few years, thanks to techniques ranging from the analysis of DNA to the study of food residues in ancient pots.  We now have new evidence about where ancient Britons came from, and why they built extraordinary monuments such as Stonehenge.  The topics covered today do not require any scientific knowledge – this is about how the results are revealing the lives of people in the past.

More details and a booking form can be found here.

South East U3A Forum

Details of the conference in May and Summer School in June can be found on the South East Forum website by clicking here.