Monthly newsletter - January 2024

Happy New Year to all readers of the Newsletter!

In this monthly newsletter:

  • From the committee
  • Announcements
  • Notes for your diary
  • The December meeting
  • The January meeting
  • Chichester Christmas market visit report
  • More about newsletters
  • Arundel visit
  • Group news
  • A short story
  • u3a online events
  • Scam watch
  • Feedback

From the committee

There was no Committee meeting in December 2023.


Food Banks. There are a significant number of families on Hayling Island in need of the support from local food banks. We will collect tins and dried foodstuffs for both "Hayling Holiday Lunches" and "Community Pantry" food banks. The collection will be at each Hayling u3a monthly meeting (put food donations on the stage). In addition, a collection bucket will be available at the meeting, if you prefer to give a cash donation. Please ensure that any food products you donate are well within the sell-by date.

Volunteers Required. We are always looking for volunteers to help run our various activities. Currently we need additional tea monitors for making the tea/coffee at the monthly meetings. We run a rota so that you would only have to cover once or twice a year.

Notes for your diary

New Members Meeting 23rd January 2024 10.30am – 12 pm. We have organised a coffee morning for new members who have joined since April 2023. It will be held in Hayling Community Centre and you will get a chance to meet members of the committee and discuss what you want to get from your membership.

Group leaders meeting 13th February 2024 10.30am – 12 pm. We have organised a coffee morning for group leaders to bring you up to date with our coming plans, share best practice and to answer any questions. It will be held in Hayling Community Centre.

18th Birthday Celebrations 16th May 2024 2pm. We will be celebrating our coming of age on the afternoon of our May monthly meeting. Sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee will be available after the talk.

The December meeting

There was no montly meeting in December 2023.

The January meeting

The next meeting will be at 2pm on 18th January 2024. Susan Howe is back to tell us about animals in the lives of their famous owners. Click or tap here for details.

Chichester Christmas market visit report

The day started with a minor crisis. The coach company had had a breakdown and our coach would be delayed as a result! In the end we were only 15 minutes late leaving Hayling.

We got out of the coach at the King Alfred statue into light rain. Some of us were immediately distracted by the regular street market. When we eventually crossed the Cathedral green to reach the Christmas market, there were plenty of stalls to tempt the jaded Christmas shopper. Peanut butter flavoured with sea salt and black pepper – who knew?

There was also a variety of temptations for snacks, lunch and liquid refreshment, both at the Christmas market and back in the city centre.

Some of us took the opportunity to swerve the crowds, and find peace inside the Cathedral.

The rain finally stopped in early afternoon, but the weather was still a long way from the bright, but cold conditions which the forecasters had originally promised.

We all managed to get our bags of shopping back to the coach by 4 pm as it was getting dark, and were back in Hayling by 5pm.

(My thanks to Richard North for supplying this account.)

More about newsletters

  • A short monthly newsletter which will be available on the Haylingu3a website. Those people with an email address on our membership database will be emailed a link each month when it is available. Those without email addresses will be sent a paper copy in the post.
  • Two longer newsletters each year (Christmas and Summer) which will be available in electronic form on the Haylingu3a website. If you prefer a printed version then please ensure that you have selected this option in your details on our website. If you need help with this, please notify a committee member. Printed versions will be posted.

Arundel visit

There will be a trip to Arundel on 25th April. The cost of £23 per member pays for the coach and driver's gratuity. Click or tap here for details, to book your place, and see some suggestions for what to do in Arundel.

Group news

Group leaders meeting 13th February 2024 10.30am - 12 pm. We have organised a coffee morning for group leaders to bring you up to date with our coming plans, share best practice and to answer any questions. It will be held in Hayling Community Centre.

The Meditation Group no longer meets. I could no longer keep up the commitment and no one else was willing to take up the baton. I was advised to keep the group online in case it restarts at some point. Please don't hesitate to send requests for news and I will respond accordingly. Ann Pearcey

Mahjong Due to health issues, the formation of the second Mahjong Group has been postponed. Anne Pledge.

A short story

The year was winding down, Christmas was just around the corner and everyone was looking forward to a better future. Jam Tomorrow? This became the catchphrase of the moment. The past year had been a miserable affair, and the weather had not helped one bit. Fierce storms and bitter winds had become the norm for autumn, and now, dark lowering clouds lurked on the horizon, just waiting to creep forward and dump their loads of frozen rain onto the long-suffering ground below.

The population as a whole, was stoical. “You can’t control the weather” They said, and “What goes around comes around”. Conversations were reduced to cliches, including Jam Tomorrow, a reference to the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland, when the Mad Hatter announced “Jam Tomorrow, jam yesterday but never jam today”.

Joe wondered if he would ever see any of this mythical jam as he wrapped his damp blanket round his skinny frame and shrank back into the doorway of the now closed Department Store. He was not good at reading the leaflets that were often thrust into his face, accompanied by demands that he do something to help himself instead of expecting handouts. There was sometimes, a nice young girl with the soup wagon, and Joe nearly told her of his reading difficulty, but he bottled it at the last moment. He just took his cup of hot liquid and chunk of bread back to his corner instead.

He watched as people hurried by, pretending they hadn’t seen him. Some, he knew, were embarrassed and it was forgivable perhaps as they felt that they couldn’t share, but others were so wrapped up in their own life that they probably didn’t even see Joe.

In the past there had been plenty of jam for the taking, and everyone was hoping that the good times would return, but the current year had definitely missed out on the sticky stuff. Goods were in short supply, due to a lack of skilled labour, and so what was available was priced astronomically, putting them out of the reach of many. People however, had become quite resourceful, recycling stuff, creatively producing some interesting items which they wrapped up as presents.

Jam tomorrow was the symbol of hope for a better year ahead and as last year’s decorations were brought out for another airing, a feeling of defiant optimism surfaced. Christmas carols were sung and candles started to glow in the windows.

The nice young girl from the soup kitchen stood before him. “We’ve created a warm space for anyone needing it if you would like to come” she said. “If you follow me, there’s a bed and breakfast for you.” Joe didn’t need a second thought as he followed the girl to an empty warehouse that had been transformed into a welcoming space, filled with camp beds and dry blankets as well as a kitchen area handing out hot rolls filled with cheese and ham. “Who needs jam tomorrow?” thought Joe, “I’ll take this instead any day”.

© Fiona Bartlett (Creative Writing Group)

u3a online events

The u3a Trust conducts a national learning programme month by month. For details of forthcoming events click or tap here.

Scam watch

Video by Sue Kenworthy, Bedhampton.

There will be other scam videos, also videos covering topics such as cooking and gardening.


Any comments would be welcome. Please send me any feedback. Note that I sometimes receive replies to my requests for feedback which come back to me as errors – so I’ve no idea who sent the feedback or what it was. My apologies to those people who made the effort.

Robert Bull