Today I have been reminded why I thought it would be such a good idea in getting involved in setting up a local U3A a number of years ago, after I’d retired. We are celebrating seven years later this month, which I am looking forward to.
I had read about the organisation beforehand, and realised it would be a very good way of getting to know local people of similar age, as I had been working in a different Fenland town for fifteen years, prior to retirement. I knew people from Church, from meeting parents at schools, colleges, the library and my time as a college governor, but decided it would be good to have some activities to go to, and occupy myself. I had no intention of being a committee member with responsibilities, just someone to encourage and get it going. The advisor from Huntingdon had other ideas and having completed forms giving information about myself and my experience, found she had ear marked me as ‘Groups Co Ordinator,’ due to my teaching experience and setting up interest groups in my role at Mind. It wasn’t enough to avoid eye contact at the initial meeting for those interested in making it happen, I’d committed myself on paper.
Of course, I’d spent the last few years of my working life, being rather unfit for the job, but had a brilliant team covering and supporting me. A friend from Church questioned whether the new role would be too much for me, because of my ME, but I suppose vanity won, and the urge to see the U3A set up, and I agreed to give it my best shot, with the caveat that my health issues might mean I’d have to hand it to someone else.
Which is what happened after 9 months.
BUT, where I started this Blog, was today! I attended a meeting advertised at our library, (forgotten the group name already and passed on the leaflet about the next meeting to someone else) for the over 50s, about music from the 60s…Obviously everyone jokes about age after a certain point…I know the librarian very well too, and she joked I just fitted into the category. I joined the group seeing immediately two ladies I have known since the start of the U3A, having enjoyed their company at many activities over the years, both running groups still.
I loved the reminiscing and linking the music to historical events, which gave me the opportunity to appreciate them and understand more, working out how old I had been at the time. Kevin covered from 1965-70. (Evidently, he does many other eras too, which would be interesting to attend) Initially, the first song started a few tears and I wondered if the emotions would be too much! But once I gathered myself together (takes a lot more these days, as I have put a lot of weight on in the last year!) I thoroughly enjoyed the session. I had a coffee and biscuit at the end, and discovered this group has been in existence a long time, not part of the U3A, and I hope to attend regularly, health allowing. I also plan on getting books from the library again, I haven’t been since covid started, and as I buy 4-5 books (99p ones!) for my Kindle weekly, this will save me some money! I obviously used to go regularly to the library pre covid, and it’s another place for activities.
I did 6 weeks learning to play the ukulele there (after a visit from Upwood Ukuleles to one of the U3A parties) and joined with the local group that was set up after the sessions ended. I had to give up when I injured my wrist in a fall, but had a great time until then. And met more local people.
After the meeting at the library this morning, I joined others at the Falcon Hotel, where some of our U3A groups had tables with information regarding activities, to share with interested members of the public, as part of the Whittlesey Big Bash week, where the town council have organised events, so that residents are aware of what is available to join in with, in Whittlesey.
Yesterday, family members and I sat and enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon of live music in the town square, which kicked events off.
Sitting today, with members of a group I belong to, Whittlesey Wordsmiths, not only did I get the chance to chat with people I’ve met over the seven years, but thanks to Jane, I came home and booked myself a place at the Manor Leisure Centre, for the disabled swimming session on Friday afternoon! In the past, although not actually being a very good swimmer, I discovered that gentle slow swimming helped my hips. And like many things I start, I get very enthusiastic and try and do too much. Too much for my ME. I used to go early morning before work, discovering which session was likely to be a little quieter and less splashy!! Of course, when I do the sums, I had my hips replaced TWELVE years ago! Swimming certainly helped the recovery, but my swimming petered out, like my energy. Covid stopped everything, and today reminded me of so much I have missed and want to try again. Going to the library, and swimming especially, as they are so good for me and my mood too.
Over the years our U3A has existed, I have tried quite a number of groups, enjoying them for different periods of time. It helped me meet many different people, certainly gave me a social life, having meals out on day excursions, theatre trips which I found very emotional each time we went to London. I loved the Art Appreciation group too for a number of years and learned a lot each session, and then promptly forgot. I am still able to go with the film group sometimes to the cinema, and the writing group continued more or less all through covid on line, and keeping in contact through e-mails. I actually appreciated the monthly homework…goodness me. I also find it helpful that people understand my condition and I don’t have to explain myself all the time, and it is accepted I may not be able to attend regularly. But when I do, I enjoy the company at the groups I am in, and at the Open meetings, enjoy the speakers and subjects.
So, hopefully, will be a member for many more years to come and will continue to encourage new members.

PS…my daughter has started cold water swimming and I’ve told her I’d like to give it a try with her, only in a river. I won’t be joining her in the local lake as I don’t like deep water! I don’t like getting my head wet either!

Published by purplesandyh

A reader, writer, Artist, Mum, Grandma, Preacher, friend. Love my life and appreciate amazing skies and countryside. Love animals.Have my own style, purple often included.

4 thoughts on “U3A

  1. Don’t forget you will need a pound coin or shopping token for the locker to put your clothes in when you go swimming. Lovely to see you today.


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