Members' Home Page
It has been truly encouraging to see how you, our members, are finding so many positive ways to survive this difficult time.
When you spend time enjoying the items on the website and in the last newsletter, it is amazing what a lot of “good stuff” is going on amongst you all. The enormous strides in mastering technology are very apparent with the great variety of fun and learning being experienced online - who’d have thought it!
On the website (www.winchesteru3a.co.uk) you will find some interesting projects in which it might tickle your fancy to participate. The simply splendid book reviews from the reading groups have provided us with a long list of titles to read as the evenings begin to draw in. If you don’t look often at our enviable website I urge you to do so - Barrie, our webmaster, works hard to make it interesting and in my opinion he succeeds very well indeed.
Your committee aim to keep you up to date with any relevant information from the national office - sometimes it feels as if we are bombarded with too much. There is nothing in their advice which enhances the advice from the government so we put what seems most useful on the website for you to read for yourselves. Ultimately however we rely on you as intelligent and experienced people to decide what will work for you while maintaining the requirements of the current situation.
The committee have taken the decision to abandon all large meetings in the Littleton Hall until at least January, by which time the way forward may become clearer. Until then please continue to encourage and support each other as you have been doing so well so far. Keep your items for the newsletter coming as we soon will feel Christmas just around the corner and will hope to find some cheering stuff coming in ready for the festival period. How this wretched virus will change our celebrations it is hard to foresee but as I said at the end of my last letter ‘We will survive!”
Freda Bates Chairman
By: Arnaldo Liechtenstein, physician.
Whenever I teach clinical medicine to students in the fourth year of medicine, I ask the following question: What are the causes of mental confusion in the elderly?
Some offer: "Tumors in the head". I answer: No! Others suggest: "Early symptoms of Alzheimer's". I answer again: No! With each rejection of their answers, their responses dry up. And they are even more open mouthed when I list the three most common causes: - uncontrolled diabetes; - urinary infection; - dehydration It may sound like a joke, but it isn't. People over 60 constantly stop feeling thirsty and consequently stop drinking fluids. When no one is around to remind them to drink fluids, they quickly dehydrate. Dehydration is severe and affects the entire body. It may cause abrupt mental confusion, a drop in blood pressure, increased heart palpitations, angina (chest pain), coma and even death. *This habit of forgetting to drink fluids begins at age 60, when we have just over 50% of the water we should have in our bodies. People over 60 have a lower water reserve. This is part of the natural aging process.* But there are more complications. Although they are dehydrated, they don't feel like drinking water, because their internal balance mechanisms don't work very well. *Conclusion:* People over 60 years old dehydrate easily, not only because they have a smaller water supply, but also because they do not feel the lack of water in the body. Although people over 60 may look healthy, the performance of reactions and chemical functions can damage their entire body.
SO HERE ARE TWO ALERTS
1) If you are over 60 get into the habit of drinking liquids*. Liquids include water, juices, teas, coconut water, milk, soups and water-rich fruits, such as watermelon, melon, peaches and pineapple; Orange and tangerine also work. The important thing is that, every two hours, you must drink some liquid. Remember this!
2) Alert for family members: constantly offer fluids to people over 60. At the same time, observe them. If you realize that they are rejecting liquids and, from one day to the next, they are irritable, breathless or display a lack of attention, these are almost certainly recurrent symptoms of dehydration.
Arnaldo Liechtenstein, physician, is a general practitioner at Hospita das Clínicas and a collaborating professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo.
Latest Covid-19 Advice and Guidance
Following updated government and NHS guidance (14 September 2020)
please find below the guidance as it relates to u3a..
The National U3A Virtual Annual General Meeting will take place on 29th September 2020. If you wish to have more information, please go to the U3A website, where you will find the AGM features on the front page, with a link telling you how to join the meeting.
U3A Headquarters have generated a video to explain how insurance is affected by COVID-19 and resuming Group activities. This will be particulary useful for Group Leaders.
The link to the video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL5MPEB3gYI&feature=youtu.be
When the virus caused us all to stop doing almost everything, the monthly meetings were suspended. However, from September the Littleton Hall is reopening under stringent conditions so I thought you might like an update as to where we are now.
Our Treasurer, Vernon Tottle, has done some very good modelling of the effect of spacing the seating. If we had some seats in pairs for members coming together, and some alone, and if we comply with current government orders, the normal capacity of around 100 would be reduced to about 30, a very small audience for a speaker and with little chance to socialise. Everyone attending would also have to bring something to sanitise their own seat on arrival and again on departure. So I think you can understand why we continue to suspend meetings until things improve a lot, and nobody knows when that might be.
There is one alternative we can ask you, our members, about. There are a number of speakers offering on-line presentations using the Zoom system, which I find works well. Would you like us to start a new, temporary programme of Zoom on-line talks? We would schedule them for the usual dates on the second Tuesday of each month, probably from 2.30 with a question time at the end as we used to have in the hall. This is experimental as we have no idea how many members might be interested.
If you think this is a good idea and would like us to start on-line talks in the autumn, please send me an email to
Just tell me if you’d like to join in this programme; then I’ll send you details of how to attend meetings etc.
If we go ahead I will set up a programme of speakers and then send it to you so you can choose whether to attend on-line month by month.
I look forward to hearing from interested members. (Of course we intend to restart a full programme of talks in the hall at some future date). If you’d like to ask anything about this idea you can phone me on 07714 768398.
Before Lockdown I had arranged for our Quester Group to have a ‘front-of-house’ and ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of John Lewis. Obviously this didn’t go ahead but now John Lewis have written to me with news of a new service allowing people to shop and get advice on products from the comfort of their own home. This may be helpful to any of our U3A Members who are still shielding or may feel nervous about going into the Southampton store.
Apparently there is no extra cost and no minimum spend and appointments are bookable on their Experiences website via https://nvite.com/JLP/e182e. When booking select Partner 1 at checkout in order to book with Southampton – the appointment being taken by Brian or Beccy. Another useful contact point is email; and telephone 02380 216326.
Hope this is helpful for any of you who may be missing a regular big store visit. With luck our Quester Group may be able to witness this service in store sometime during 2021.
As Secretary of Winchester U3A I am coordinating our response to a request from National U3A about their 'High Street Project'. Essentially they are hoping that 5-10 volunteers from several U3As will spend perhaps a couple of hours surveying one or more shopping streets during September.
The document from Roger Cox is available. If you are interested, please read that, as it explains what volunteers would be expected to do. (You will see in that document my role is described as 'Project Leader' which sounds a bit grand, but never mind - that is me.)
To anticipate some questions you may have:
- which streets in Winchester we survey will depend on how many pairs of members volunteer, and their preferences - for example part of the High Street, all of Parchment Street, or something else;
- if one member of each pair could please contact me by Friday 21st August with both of their names and email addresses, I will then send them a link to an online volunteer registration form which they should return to Peter Cox (who co-ordinates the national project) by the end of August;
- please indicate your pair's preferred street (or part of), to try and avoid duplication;
- the document refers to this as capturing the 'pre-pandemic' state of a street. Clearly that is a bit late now, but in practical terms there has been very little change to shopfronts etc since March, so it does not materially affect the story. If you were to come across an example where you know something has changed, then you would record that as best you can.
Please also ask me any questions that I have not anticipated.
We regret to inform you that there will be no August newsletter. In view of the continuing difficult situation and their own considerable commitments the editors are struggling to find relevant material. The committee have agreed to a trial period during which the newsletter will be sent out quarterly. The next edition is scheduled for September with copy deadline the 20th August, followed by December with copy deadline November 20th and so on. Please don’t stop submitting items of interest to the editors as usual.
From now on our website will therefore continue as the prime source of information about any matters concerning Winchester U3A.
However there are still a considerable number of members with no internet access so we rely on those of you who have, in the true spirit of the U3A, to update such members that you know about with any relevant information to be found on our website.
It’s one of the many frustrations of the present crisis which has taken over our world, that we cannot meet together: but that’s how it is. As everyone realises, we cannot run any of the monthly meetings from our programme until the government says they are permitted, and we are working on the assumption this may be a while yet.
We did have a programme which should have been interesting for lots of us:
In April we were due to welcome Michael Etherington to give a talk about the origins and the future of Electricity; we hope this may be possible later in the year.
May should have looked at the evolution and development of the iconic Spitfire aircraft which was so crucial in saving our country back then.
Epitomising the spirit we need today!
June held the promise of learning what we can do as individuals to help our planet by working towards a low carbon household.
July was going to be a social event with entertainment and in August we had hired the Guildhall presentation room to hear from Adrian Sindall (who gave us the brilliant talk on Syria not long ago) talking about the Arab Spring and what happened.
We still have a programme lined up, we haven’t postponed the plans for September onwards just yet in the hope of better times to come, so we will see how life develops.
Meanwhile it’s far more important that we stay safe and well, and one day as the saying goes, “we’ll meet again” but we think we do know where even if we don’t know when.
Would you like to be part of a big, responsible research group, reporting about the spread of the virus?
You will need a smartphone or a tablet (for example an iPhone or an iPad or Samsung or other equivalent product). A laptop probably is not suitable.
COVID symptom tracker is an app for Android and iOS systems.
A research programme led by Dr Tim Spector of Kings College London together with Guys and St Thomas’s Hospitals in partnership with Zoe Global, a health systems company, invites us to tell the app every day how we are feeling and thus have a picture of millions of people all across our country. So far between 2.5 and 3 million of us log on every day for a few seconds to report. They especially want people over 70 to be in this programme.
When I registered it asked me about my age, sex, ethnicity, health questions etc so they can use the data sensibly but each day they just ask how we are feeling so it’s really quick.
In addition you get access to the results, so each day they show the daily trends of infections over the past month with a map of where the cases are, with % figures estimated of the local population by region.
The app is available on the Apple App Store and Android equivalent at no cost. It’s called COVID symptom tracker.
If you’d like to contribute to a big and responsible data base, perhaps it might inspire government to make timely and sensible decisions on how to get us out of this horrible mess.
ISOLATION PLAN - Literally written on the back of an envelope, but it was a big one!
There’s a cupboard on the landing – floor to ceiling, chock-a-block
With boxes, bags and packages, all bulging with a stock
Of ‘that might come in handy’, ‘that’s quite nice’ and souvenirs
Of inefficient storing over more than forty years.
It needs a clear out and I am quite ready now that I’m
At home in isolation, and at last I have the time.
But first perhaps the larder and that aging flour that begs
To become a cake with Stork and those two also aging eggs.
The icing sugar’s not too hard, and even I might find
That half a tub of cherries that last Christmas left behind.
I’ll make it, then for clearing I’ll be absolutely free,
But maybe I’ll just taste it with a lovely cup of tea.
Then I’ll have to pass the wardrobe, so much sorting needed there,
All those much loved dresses from my past, I’m now too big to wear.
Did I really buy a sweater of that ghastly shade of puce
For which not even charities could find financial use?
But I’ll bag and sort my choices from disasters to the best
Then start upon that cupboard after just a little rest.
But bags suggest the bookshelves and the chance for getting rid
Of the ‘must reads’ that I didn’t, and some lowbrow stuff I did.
Oh, and there’s dear Georgette Heyer, read until she fell apart,
For while masterpieces stretched my mind, her humour warmed my heart.
I’ll just take another look at her, it isn’t much to ask.
Then, inspired I’ll face that cupboard and be ready for the task.
But now the sun’s come out, and so I really shouldn’t miss
Some time out in the garden, and not stay indoors like this,
When dead heading and some planting are the things the garden needs,
And keeping down the moss, the slugs and strong assorted weeds,
For, whatever lurks behind that cupboard door, this truth I know
Though rubbish seems to gather, unlike weeds it doesn’t grow.
So, writing now I wonder what will happen through the year.
. Will I be well and free or still be isolated here?
And, if I am, will I be wise, not fritter life away,
But work and learn and stay in touch with people every day?
Whatever I achieve though, I’m afraid there still will be
A landing cupboard chock-a-block just waiting there for me.
Heather Riley sometime member of the Worthies WI March 2020
Those of you good at downloading apps may find taking part in this research a worthwhile use of some of our unexpected free time.
Go to https://covid.joinzoe.com/ .
Freda Bates Chairman
The following message was sent to all Group Leaders on 17th March:-
Dear Group Leader,
With the best interests of all our members at heart the committee have decided to cancel the April and May monthly meetings and re-schedule the speakers. This message will be put on the website. We will make every effort to keep you informed about developments for subsequent months.
We are relying on group leaders to pass on this information as not all our members use the internet. Given the diversity of our groups, their members and their venues we ask group leaders to consult with their members and make a decision to meet or not on this basis. A possible outcome of this projected lockdown is depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Please keep up everyone’s morale with phone calls and emails etc as much as you can. Already the brighter light and welcome spring flowers are helping to lift our spirits until, in the words of Vera Lynn, “We’ll meet again!” and not before too long I hope,
Freda, your chairman.