Monthly newsletter - March 2024

In this monthly newsletter:

  • From the committee
  • Announcements
  • Notes for your diaries
  • The February meeting
  • The next meeting
  • Congratulations
  • Erratum
  • Future events
  • News from the groups
  • A short story
  • u3a online events
  • Scam watch
  • Golden oldies
  • Feedback

From the Committee

  • Peter Haskell (Membership Secretary) reported that membership is now at 615, the highest ever figure. Membership renewals will be due from 31st March. (See below for details.)
  • Bridget Docwra (Group Coordinator) reported that we have a number of registered interests including: four for Local history (1 and 3), one for Ukulele and Ukes for you, three for Pickleball, one for Island shanty and two for Creative writing. Current affairs is a possible new group which may be formed depending on the level of interest. (If you are interested in any of these groups, please express an interest via the website.)
  • Robert Bull (Newsletter Editor). Almost all feedback continues to be positive. Feedback comes to me through ‘ordinary’ emails, conversely feedback emails ask me ‘ordinary’ questions about Hayling u3a. That’s fine, I’m always happy to help if I can.


  • Membership renewals 2024/5
    Subscription renewals are due for payment by March 31st. We’ve kept it to £15 for full members and £10 for associate members. Click/tap here for details of how to pay or here to go direct to the renewal pageRenewals for 24/25 are going well and thank you to all who have renewed online so far.
    Peter Haskell
  • Review of group’s events
    We’re asking group leaders to review their event programme for 2024/5. Click/tap here to see a copy of the email that: requests the review and provides details for making changes.
  • Helping others
    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 within the sell-by date.
    Could members please give their empty pill blister packs and milk bottle tops to Michelle in Home Nursing Supplies in Mengham to be upcycled. She gives the bottle tops to the RSPCA and the empty blister packs to either a Boots or a Superdrug with a pharmacy.
    Each month the Beach Babes Women’s Institute collect at least a large black bag full which someone drops into Michelle. If u3a members do this too it would save them going into landfill.
  • 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 Diaries

18th Birthday Celebrations Thursday 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 February Meeting

The meeting, held in the HICCA main hall on February 15th was: Roman road building in Britain. The talk was focused on why the building of Roman roads was a necessity for the Roman Invasion and occupation of Britain.

The main points of the talk were:

  • Pre-Roman Britain was made up of small communities that only used dirt tracks and lanes. These communities had no reason to travel far so the track network was sparse.
  • The Romans had to make their way through Spain, France and Belgium before they could cross the English Channel to Kent.
  • There is still evidence of Roman roads across the whole of Europe.
  • When the Romans arrived in Britain they brought with them a formidable army, architects, surveyors, engineers and thousands of skilled road builders.
  • Roads were designed to be used in all weathers. Drainage ditches were dug either side of the roads so that water could run off the roadway and reduce flooding.
  • The speaker showed us an Ordnance Survey map of Roman Britain which detailed the various Roman ‘Street’s that went from Kent to beyond the Antoine Wall in Scotland and London to Caerleon (near Cardiff). The Romans spread their ‘street’ building across England, Scotland and Wales, building fortresses, settlements, and retirement colonies for their workers.
  • The Romans did not invade Ireland.

Julie Taylor

The Next Meeting

The next meeting will be at 2:00 pm on Thursday 21st March 2024. Penny Ibbott will tell us how she set out to travel 2,200 miles around England using her bus pass, starting with our local 700 bus. Click or tap here for details.


Hayling u3a member Jenny Bardwell had a short story published in Woman’s Weekly and in addition has been runner up in a short story competition organised by WriteTime.


Due to a misunderstanding, the report from a reading group was attributed to Reading Group 2 in error. Whereas in fact the report related to Reading Group B and was written by Pat Bailey. The photo however was from Reading Group 2.

Apologies to all concerned.

Julie Taylor

Future Events

There will be a trip to Arundel on Thursday 25th April. Tap or click here for details and to book your place. If you wish to visit the Annual Tulip Festival, then you will need to book this separately.

News from the Groups

  • The Walking Group will be offering three walks a month instead of the usual two. Most of the additional walks will not involve car travel. For instance, in mid-April, we intend to take the Coastliner to Hilsea to walk Hilsea Lines. In mid-May, we will take the bus to Emsworth and walk back to Langstone along the shore. If the walks catch on, we will do some on Hayling.
    Richard North
  • Mahjong 2 has been closed due to lack of support.
    Russell McKerracher
  • Backgammon Anyone interested in playing Backgammon should contact the Group Leader as we are looking to start a new group.
    Bobby Clayton
  • Card making There are spaces available. Tuesday 9.15 to 11.15 one space, Tuesday 12 to 2 two spaces, Wednesday 2 to 4 three spaces.
    Anne Hollis
  • A Current affairs group will be formed if at least four members are interested. The inaugural meeting has been delayed to the morning of Wednesday 10th April. Those who have registered an interest will have the date and venue confirmed to them by the end of March. If we can secure at least 6 regular members, we will confirm the formation of the group and start meeting monthly.
    Richard North

A Short Story

Making a splash! by Jenny Bardwell

Steve, her ex, had jet-black hair, dark brown eye lashes and a pleasing baritone voice. He was also a couch potato, who loved to watch football on television and yell insults at the players as if he could do better. Ella had become frustrated because Steve was content to stay in every evening. He loved her cooking but never wanted to try anything new or go anywhere different.

So, here she was, three months after their break-up, fantasising about a new man who was blonde and athletic. She didn’t know what he sounded like because she hadn’t dared approach him. But she had certainly noticed him when he went out with his fellow rowers. She watched as they dragged their gig to the water’s edge, before setting out in long, impressive strokes.

“But don’t you remember?” laughed her friend Jane “we just went round and round in circles?” Well, you couldn’t really count the boating pond in Regent’s Park 20 years ago, could you?

Ella the eternal optimist, went along the following day to borrow a kayak to try to discover her sea legs in a gentler activity. “I’m sorry” the man at the hire desk said, “but we’ve just let the last one out. Be back in an hour”. Ella stood with her hands on her hips by the edge of the quay feeling frustrated. Then, to her complete astonishment, she saw that the man in her kayak was Steve, yes, the couch potato, paddling away with a grimly determined expression on his face, wobbling but upright. She certainly didn’t fancy hanging around for an extremely awkward handover, so slunk back home.

Ella decided to go ahead with her rowing try out, even though Jane said in her concerned voice “well, I hope you’ll be OK. Sounds like you’re in competition with Steve now”.

Not the most seductive look she thought, as she pulled on the recommended wellingtons and bulky waterproofs and she was also beginning to feel a little nervous. The gig rocked from side to side when she sat down on the hard wooden seat.

She was instructed to put her feet into leather straps and to grasp the single, thick cumbersome oar with both hands. The cox started to shout his instructions. “And - heave”. Ella tried her best to concentrate but she was aware that her beautiful new man (who was called John) was sitting directly behind her.

Ten minutes into the session and Ella felt she was really getting the general idea and could match the rhythm of her fellow rowers. It was a glorious way to admire the coastline and as she felt the wind and occasional salt spray on her cheeks, she could understand the attraction. There was a sense of shared purpose and a feeling of escape and adventure that landlubbers would never know.

She almost wished Jane - or better still Steve - could see her. But when the cox yelled out “you’re not stirring a cup of tea you know, you’re pulling those oars through the water” one of the worst things that can happen to a beginner, happened to Ella.

She dropped her oar into the sea - and ‘caught a crab’ as they say. The oar pushed her backwards with tremendous force and the next thing she knew she was sprawling across John in a most undignified fashion. Her legs were up in the air and her face was pressed into his armpit. She didn’t know which was worse – the humiliation and embarrassment, or the sharp twinge of disappointment she felt as she caught the glint of his wedding ring on the way down. He shrieked out in a surprisingly squeaky voice (which was some comfort) “madam, I’m a married man”. With that, Ella’s hopes of a gorgeous new boyfriend (and impressively strong upper arms) disappeared under the waves.

“I thought it was rowing, not fishing” said Jane later. “Oh, you wouldn’t understand Jane” replied Ella “catching a crab is a nautical term for when you put the oar in a little too deep and the other end pushes you over”.

“Well, that was one way to get to know him better”.

“Yes, but he’s been netted already”.

On the next fine morning, Ella went along to the kayak hire shop - only to be told they were all out - “But we do have a double seater left”.

Before she had a chance to reply, she heard a familiar baritone voice behind her say “we’ll take it”.

© Jenny Bardwell

(Having Jenny on board is a real scoop for the Monthly Newsletter! Jenny recently had a story published in Woman’s Weekly and was runner up recently in a competition organised by WriteTime - an organisation that runs competitions for writers over 60 years of age.)

u3a Online Events

The u3a Trust conducts a national learning programme month by month. For details of the February 2024 events tap or click here for details.

Scam watch

Not u3a-specific, but an issue which affects all of us. A friend has written an excellent series of videos about scammers and the different ways in which they can try and deceive you. Not a scam video this time, this one has a gardening theme.

Golden Oldies

Not u3a, but many u3a members will remember the days when they wore bell-bottom trousers and danced the night away in discos.

I remember this one from my first year in University in 1971. (Melanie Safka died recently, January 23, 2024.)

Suggestions for this section are welcome.


Any comments would be welcome. Please send any feedback to

Robert Bull