All posts by Andy Henderson

Photo ids for elections

Starting with the local government elections on Thursday 4th May, you will be required to present a photo id in order to vote.

Most people will have a passport or driving licence but older people, especially, might not.

There are fortunately some alternatives, including:

  • a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • a Blue Badge
  • an older person’s bus pass
  • a disabled person’s bus pass

The government's web site, which explains the new requirement, says "The photo on your ID must look like you. You can still use your ID even if it has expired." However, you might not want to trust to an expired document.

If you're still stuck for a photo id, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. But you shouldn't leave it to the last minute.

Why you can't reply directly to some of our emails

You might receive an email that warns you not to reply without changing the reply address.

That's because we use Amazon Web Services to send our emails. That's lower cost and more reliable than other methods, but AWS requires us to specify in advance which 'from' addresses it should accept. If, for example, a group leader sends you an email through the web site we normally have to change the 'from' address so it comes from instead of their personal address. We then tell you that you can't reply directly.

AWS accepts any address ending in so there's no problem replying to messages coming from any of those addresses, and you don't see the warning.

When composing a reply, you can select the highlighted address in the warning message and paste it into the reply address. You can also right click the highlighted address, select 'Copy link' (or similar) and paste that into the reply address.

If you want to start a completely new conversation with the sender, you can normally click/tap the sender's name in the warning message.

By the way, we're aware there's a standard mechanism that allows us to specify replies should go to an address other than the 'from' address. However, some email software obeys that mechanism while others ignore it (presumably because spammers can use it to mislead you). Given we can't predict whether that mechanism will work for you, or not, we decided not to use it.

Visits group report

There were only two visits in 2021 because of the Covid 19 lockdown measures. However, once these were relaxed, members signed up enthusiastically to take part.

3rd September 2021 visit to the Bournemouth Air Show.

Everyone seems to have enjoyed this very much. Bournemouth sea front looked beautiful under warm and sunny weather, with blue sky and sea, and golden sands stretching in a great curve, a wonderful setting for the air display which took place in the sky between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers.

Among the various aircraft in the flying display, we were fortunate to see historic aircraft with Spitfires, a Hurricane, a Lancaster Bomber, the Red Arrows, helicopter displays, wing walking, and a tremendous finale when a Typhoon roared round the display area with an unbelievable volume of sound, and presence.

At 5.30 the coach picked us up and took us to the Laguna Hotel, where we enjoyed drinks, and a good dinner. We finally arrived back on Hayling Island at about ten o clock, late because the M27 eastwards was closed.

The following day, we heard the news that one of the aircraft with a wing walker had crashed into the sea right by the Sandbanks chain ferry. Fortunately, the pilot and the wing walker were rescued unharmed, but the rest of the air display was cancelled. We felt lucky that our visit had been the day before.

1st December 2021 visit to Winchester Cathedral and Christmas market

We had a full coach of 49 people for this trip, and were lucky with good weather. Winchester is one of the finest medieval Cathedrals in Europe, with a captivating history and magnificent architecture. Our visit coincided with the exhibition ‘Kings and Scribes’ which explores 1000 year of history and reveals some of the cathedral’s greatest treasures, including the 900-year-old Winchester Bible.

Many people visited the Christmas Market, held in the Cathedral’s precincts, where we kept warm with mulled wine; others enjoyed Winchester shops and places to eat. It was a good day.

27th April 2022 visit to Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is a botanic garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world". Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden at Kew Park, its living collections includes some of the 27,000 taxa curated by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, while the herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over 8.5 million preserved plant and fungal specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. It is one of London's top tourist attractions and is a World Heritage Site.

50 members attended this successful visit, and enjoyed it despite of unexpectedly cool and overcast weather. Many people took the opportunity to visit the various glass houses and conservatories which were warm and sheltered. These included the famous Palm House with its exotic rain forest plants, the Princess of Wales Conservatory which covers 10 of the world’s climatic zones, included an astonishing cactus collection, and the Waterlily House with its amazing giant lily pads.

Frustratingly, the sun came out only in time for our journey home, and we arrived back on Hayling at 6.15pm.

22nd June 2022 visit to Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard

This enjoyable trip was taken on a hot day, but there were plenty of opportunities to keep cool. Among the amenities and attractions available were the famous Motor Museum, Palace House, once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey, and the home of the Montagu family since 1538, and the Secret Army Exhibition. We enjoyed a journey on the high-level, mile long monorail which took us on a circuit of the attractions, and on the Veteran bus, a replica 1912 open-topped London bus.

After lunch, the coach took us to the village of Buckler’s Hard, a mile away. It was an important shipbuilding village with a perfect location to build the large timber vessels in use by the navy. The museum shows how the villagers lived and worked in the 18th century.

We finished with a tranquil 30-minute cruise along the Beaulieu River, accompanied by a commentary which revealed the history and wildlife along its picturesque banks.

Still to come in 2022

On 23rd November we will be visiting Wisley Glow, the Christmas light show held at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley in Surrey. We will have an hour to enjoy the garden in daylight, followed by a cream tea, subsidised by the Hayling Island u3a, and then when dark, follow the route round the garden to see it brilliantly illuminated for Christmas.

To follow

After the disappointments of the Covid pandemic and lock down, this has been a successful year for visits, and with every one full, were taken up enthusiastically by the members. Visits for 2023 are in the planning, and I expect them to be as much enjoyed as this year’s.

Catherine Britton
Visits Organiser

Walking routes

The following pages contain maps of some of the walks done by the Walking group since September 2015. You'll see a button to show the route towards the bottom of each linked page. You will also see a button to download a 'GPX' and/or 'KMZ' file that you can use with:

  • a GPS device
  • a smart phone with a suitable app (such as Osmand)
  • a PC with suitable software (such as Google Earth)
  • a web site that can work with route files (such as GPS Visualizer)

You can use the maps to plan another walk for the Walking group, or to walk the route yourself.

Available maps:

Meeting reports - April - July 2022

Bobbie Darbyshire - April

Bobbie won the 2008 fiction prize at the National Academy of Writing and the New Delta review Creative Nonfiction Prize 2010. She has worked as a barmaid, mushroom picker, film extra, maths coach, cabinet minister's private secretary, care assistant and volunteer adult literacy teacher as well as in social research and government policy. Her talk was lively, interesting and full of inspiring quotes from other authors, such as 'We should be continually jumping off cliffs and developing wings on the way down' - Kurt Vonnegut.

Jane Glennie - May

Jane is an actress and historian with 30 years of experience bringing history to life in museums, theatres, heritage sites and u3a meeting venues! Her talks are stand alone theatrical performances using original and replica objects and costumes to illustrate the talks.

At our meeting she appeared dressed as Catherine Dickens and described her happy married life to the great writer and the terrible way it ended. Jane conveyed the injustice of his treatment of his wife and the genuine sadness of Catherine. It was an outstanding performance and very moving.

Martin Lloyd - June

Passports, Assassins, Traitors and Spies was the title of the talk at June's monthly meeting The speaker, Martin Lloyd, had worked for the HM Immigration Service for 24 years. He now appears on television and gives talks on the radio and to groups. He told stories of how three passports have played their influential role in the course of history: an attempted assassination which altered the regulations for issuing passports; the capture of a spy which caused a worldwide modification to the design of the document and for one person the passport itself which turned into a killer.

Andrew Negus - July

By popular demand, Andrew Negus came back to us for a 4th time to tell us about his travels in the Far East. The talk was as full of anecdotes and humour as ever and included some adventures such as meeting some Komodo dragons but avoiding being eaten by them! In addition he saw the largest Buddhist temple in the world - the Lotus on the Lake, built in 800 AD. He visited the live volcano Mount Bromo and was offered boiled eggs from a volcanic pool. While he was in Java he was warned not to put any valuables in his trouser pockets because thieves would come and slash the trouser leg just below the pocket, remove your wallet and you wouldn't feel anything until you noticed blood trickling down your leg! Andrew Negus found a way round this by putting a row of safety pins below the pocket. He was not robbed!
He returned to the UK via Australia where he camped in the bush and saw the Gloucestershire Lookout Tree, used for spotting forest fires and with strong pieces of wood driven into the trunk so that people could ascend.

He crossed the desert from Perth to Adelaide on the Nullabar train which is the longest straight railway in the world and his wine box was confiscated, much to his annoyance. What a memorable trip!

Maggi Bridgman

Group report

Lawn Bowls continues on Thursday mornings at the Hayling Bowls Club. Members bowl in pairs and the equipment is supplied by the Bowls club. The cost is now £4 for 2 hours with refreshments.
The group is open to new members and tuition can be given to those that require it.

Contact me if you are interested in joining.

Julie Taylor

Group report

We meet twice monthly in The Royal British Legion hall and have continued to enjoy practising different forms of meditation. We mix the different techniques in each session so that group members have a chance to investigate what works best for them. Meditations may include guided imagery, mindfulness, and silent meditation – with the use of a mantra, or ‘mala’ beads, if necessary - or, simply listening to a piece of music.

Group members also really enjoy Yoga Nidras. Yoga Nidra means ‘yogic sleep’, and it uses a systematic method to move from external awareness to internal awareness. The beta brain waves which are dominant in the normal active waking state become less dominant, and are replaced by alpha waves, which allow thought to become more gentle or meditative. When Yoga Nidra is achieved the alpha/theta boundary is experienced; this helps us to connect both to our unconscious, and conscious mind, and it is the state in which the mind is most flexible. This is the space in which we can connect to our creativity and break unwanted habits.

Apart from the actual practice of meditation, we have looked at the energetic aspect of the body, and learnt a bit about how the chakras function. We have also gained an understanding of the auric layers in the human energy field in both health and ‘disease’, and how these layers relate to the chakras.

Please do come and join us if you feel this type of thing would interest you. We have a cup of tea/coffee at the end, we always maintain a sense of humour, and we certainly don’t all eat lentils and sit in a half lotus position.

Ann Pearcey

Group report

The Pickleball group started on the 4th July at the badminton courts in HICCA. To begin with members started to learn the rules and, more importantly, how to score a game. Getting the ball over the net was quite a challenge to start with, so for the first half of the session we focused on serving and returning the balls. We then progressed to taking it in turns to play doubles games.

Pickleball is still open for new members if you wish to join us. The game is great fun and everyone comes away energised at the end of the sessions.

Julie Taylor

Group report - diverse reading

The library’s sets of books for reading groups commendably include many that have been long- or short-listed for prizes, or won them. Many of our choices have been from this pool. Recently there has been criticism of the listing process for its lack of diversity and tendency to select established writers. Amends are now being made and shortlists have begun to feature exciting new talents. We have played our part in reading over the past year an autobiography of a Chinese writer, whose first novel we had already read, and three very different books by black or mixed-race authors – a London primary school teacher, an Afro-American and a Nigerian, all women publishing debut novels.

Our reading, as always, has been diverse in other ways, featuring fiction and non-fiction, lighter and more serious books, and a variety of locations and eras. We read contrasting autobiographies – featuring a severely impoverished and unloving upbringing in rural China (“Once Upon a Time in the East” by Xiaolo Guo) and a conventional background for the son of a violin-playing Yorkshire butcher (“A Life Like Other People’s“ by Alan Bennett). An Edwardian-set mystery novel involving a rising star politician forced to resign after his fiancé suddenly broke off their relationship without explanation (“Past Caring “ by Robert Goddard) contrasted with a modern day small-town American tale of a girl’s killing and its consequences (“Parting Shot” by Linwood Barclay): both books involved murder, blackmail and well-plotted story twists. Modern-day America featured also in “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid, contrasting with a tale set in Nigeria 40 years go: (“Stay With Me” by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀): both concerned children, the former in a wealthy white family employing and attempting close friendship with their black childminder, the latter featuring the heartbreak of childlessness and the desperate remedies employed to overcome it. Again, both books contained surprising twists, forcing the reader to re-evaluate the preceding storyline. Very different was “The Butchering Art” by Lindsey Fitzharris, the account of how 19th century surgeon Joseph Lister transformed gruesome and dangerous surgical and hospital conditions by introducing antiseptic methods: although not for the squeamish, it proved largely popular.

Jen Cayley

Visit to State Funeral Gun Carriage, Whale Island

Our group was very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Whale Island and see the State Funeral Gun Carriage.

After security checks, we were given photo identity tags to wear and escorted around HMS Excellent, this being the oldest shore training establishment within the Royal Navy, and the location of the Naval Command Headquarters.

We had an excellent guide, Paul Barker who had a wealth of knowledge and presented an interesting and illuminating talk.

The Gun Carriage was very impressive and kept in pristine condition by Paul and his team. We learned about the history of the carriage which was first used for the State Funeral of Queen Victoria. This was pulled by a team of horses but there were delays because of inclement weather and the horses became tired and restless which resulted in some safety issues. The horses were unharnessed and Royal Naval ratings who were lining the route were seconded to take up ropes and pull the gun carriage. From this time, it has been the custom at all state funerals that Naval Ratings perform this duty. HMS Excellent seamen have had this honour at four State funerals.
At Ceremonial funerals the Gun Carriage is pulled by horses.

In the same building alongside the Gun Carriage there is a museum where there are photos of several state funerals showing the ratings pulling the carriage, it takes 150 seamen, quite a spectacular sight.

Also, here was a replica of the old warship HMS Charlotte, the original Naval Gunnery School, whose name was later changed to HMS Excellent. Built at Whale Island to perpetuate the memory of the original Naval Gunnery School. This is an incredible model, every detail exact to the original, the gun ports with canon, rigging, and figurehead. Originally outside the entrance to HMS Excellent in 1936, over the years deterioration set in and it is now housed inside and being renovated.

We were then taken on an extended tour and learned more of Whale Island history.

Originally a small island in Portsmouth Harbour, a narrow strip close by Portsea Island; it is now predominantly reclaimed land using deposits dredged from the harbour during the 19th century, increasing the land area by 125%. It was constructed with the help of the many prisoners taken in the Napoleonic Wars.

The island is linked to Portsea Island and thence to the mainland by road bridges.

We were amazed to hear there had been a zoo from 1913 - 1940. Part of the Island was known as the 'Captain's Garden' and it was here that animals, which had come back on Naval ships mainly ended up at the 'Zoo'.

Overseas countries often gifted animals to visiting ships and animals were often adopted as ship's 'mascots' by naval personnel.

These eventually ended up at Whale Island. hence the zoo.

There was an aviary with rare waterfowl, pheasants, peacocks, and cranes. By 1924, beavers had been presented and Naval ships brought a leopard and bear to the zoo. Eventually there were porcupines, a wallaby enclosure, a monkey house, lions, polar bears, and various other animals. There is a pet cemetery which shows the various types of animals which were kept there.

Unfortunately, in 1939 at the start of the war amid fears that more dangerous animals, including several big cats would escape during the intense bombing of Portsmouth, most animals were relocated throughout the country to more rural locations but others regretfully, shot.

We concluded our tour by seeing the Queen Charlotte figurehead in the grounds, and the Parade ground where the Platinum Jubilee rehearsals were held. As well as its reputation as a gunnery school it is renowned as the Royal Navy's experts in drill and ceremonial.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit and to learn so much about this historical Naval establishment, right on our doorstep!

Karen Walker

Group report

We are now attempting to get up to speed after the Covid hiatus.

Our first Group Meeting in January had a look at the 1921 Census which had just been released. Quite a few good tips came out of the meeting.

In the February meeting, I shared some family documents and letters which I had been given in October last year. They dated from around the end of WW1 into the 1920's. Many letters were from family, friends and Army colleagues to my Uncle Arthur who enlisted in early 1918. He was sent to Ireland at first, presumably to help deal with riots and general unrest caused by the many Irish men objecting to being called up to fight against the Germans and also by those seeking self rule. In November 1918, shortly after the end of war was declared, he was sent to France to deal with the demobilisation of troops and their return home. He was not demobilised until early 1920 and he returned back to England in March 1920.

The letters revealed aspects of the day to day lives of the various writers. Arthur's mother bemoaned the fact that the rationing in 1918 meant that she had to choose between making either a Christmas cake or a pudding. Several of the letters referred to people being ill with 'Flu, including my father. Clearly they were dealing with the so-called Spanish 'flu pandemic which resulted in the deaths of more people than the number killed due to the World War itself. Thankfully my father survived! Schools were closed. People isolated. They must have been frightened as there were no antibiotics or ant-viral drugs that could be used to treat the ‘flu.

Soldiers were encouraged to write letters to friends and family in Britain. Arthur received quite a lot of letters from former lady acquaintances. Many shared his interest in music - he was frequently involved in concerts of various sorts while in the Army. Many of the letters showed that they certainly knew how to enjoy themselves despite the circumstances.

One interesting letter to Arthur from his grandmother mentioned that she was going to vote in the General Election called immediately after the Armistice with Germany in November 1918. It was the first election in which women over the age of 30 could vote.

In April, we looked at a member’s Ancestry DNA results and we were able to come up with some promising leads from her DNA matches who appeared to share common ancestors.

Unfortunately, we have found it difficult to meet since, but hope to arrange a meeting before the summer recess.

We are now open to new members. We have been meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of each month but it is possible that might change in the future.

Ken Osborne