iU3A News

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Our Newsletter
Islington U3A produces a newsletter three to four times a year. We let every member know when there is a new one, sending them a link so that they can easily see it online. To see our latest (Spring 2017) newsletter click here

For previous newsletters click here

Our Bulletins
For our latest Bulletin click here.

LATEST NEWS

Last Monthly Meeting
Quentin PeelNovemberQuentin Peel associate fellow with the Europe Programme at Chatham House 'May, Macron and Merkel — where are they leading us?'

We were packed to capacity for the AGM followed by a very topical presentation by Quentin Peel, former European correspondent with the Financial Times, who gave a fascinating insight into the world of Merkel, Macron, and May, and where they might be leading us. We are living in a time of extraordinary confusion and uncertainty and this applies as much in continental Europe as it does in the UK and it’s interesting to look at what’s happening from a European perspective. This means not just France and Germany but all the other 25 countries that make up the EU.

Merkel remains a stabilising force in the EU, even though currently she is struggling to put a coalition government together. She remains an extraordinary political operator: she is primarily a scientist and is pragmatic, cautious, and exactly what the Germans want. She has problems within her own party and is in many ways too left-wing for them, but she has saved the Euro and survived the difficulties in Greece, Italy and the refugee crisis; and she has held together the political situation in the Ukraine by pushing through sanctions against Russia. While the refugee crisis may still come back to trouble her, together with her refusal to accelerate nuclear power, she remains dominant in the centre ground of politics and is steadfast in her belief that membership of the EU is in Germany’s national interest.

The majority of Germans have really welcomed Macron as president of France. as he too has a passionate belief in the EU. He, too, is an outsider although his background is elitist. He has big ideas on reforming the EU, such as reinforcing border protection, particularly in places like Greece and Italy, he has talked about setting up a European intervention force, and reforming the common agricultural policy. He is positive about the benefits of the multilingual nature of the EU. Although his popularity, too, is currently slipping, he has reached into the centre right and centre left and has presented a very clear reform platform. The trade unions are divided in their opinions on his reforms but, to date, there has been no major opposition from them. French business confidence is increasing. He is working towards coalition politics, but it will take time.
Both Brexit and Trump have undermined stability throughout the EU. There have been concerns about the rise of the far right in both France and Holland and a rise in nationalism in Poland and Hungary. The situation in the Middle East and the continuing refugee crisis could all erode the stability of the EU.
Both Merkel and Macron are determined to hold the EU together and this is more important that Brexit issues. Although disappointed by the departure of the UK, they want to ensure that Brexit negotiations will not get in the way of all the other critical issues facing the other EU countries. Although May has stated that she wants the EU to succeed, the Europeans remain sceptical about this. The Europeans continue to be concerned about the Brexit timescale proposals, the exit process and a fundamental lack of agreement within the British government on what they want. There is a blame culture developing and still a lack of technical detail from the UK, for example no real solution as to how the Irish border controls will work. They are concerned that the British government views the EU in terms of trade deals rather than a major peace project. They would, however, still like to see May and her government change their minds!

As usual there were many questions raised by the audience and not enough time to debate the answers.

For notes of previous recent monthly meetings, see here.

Future iU3A Outings
Our member survey earlier in the year reflected that many wanted the opportunity of going on 'Outings' organised by iU3A. We are trying to move this forward but like all iU3A activities it will depend on whether we get people willing to organise outings. So we've launched a survey: click here to complete a simple questionnaire and please provide your responses by 15th January 2018. You can also contact our Outings Coordinator here.

Boat Outing
Boat Outing1On Saturday 18th November 2017 eleven iU3A members enjoyed a narrowboat trip out of the Islington boat club. We were well looked after by our skipper, Amber, who steered us off in a Westerly direction. We very quickly negotiated our first lock and then headed directly to the Islington tunnel (more info here). 

Various members of the group took turns at steering the boat in a good straight line through the 960 yards of the tunnel. This was very much a highlight of the trip.
Boat Group 2
On reaching the Kings Cross side we performed a “u-turn” (a non-trivial exercise) and then went back through the tunnel to Islington. We then headed East for a while before returning to dry land at the boat club. Most of the group then enjoyed a drink at the Plaquemine Lock pub (more info here) where there was a live jazz band.

There was a lot of enthusiasm for an all-day trip, to include a picnic lunch, in the Spring. Watch the "What's On Page" for further info......

Bird Quiz
Bird Quiz1Bird Quiz2In November we held a pub quiz with a 'bird' theme. There were rounds on bird visual recognition, bird audio (calls and songs) and well known phrases or sayings with a bird conotation. Four teams battled it out. The visual proved easier than the audio.....
The intent of the evening was to share knowledge on birds and have a bit of fun and all felt the evening achieved its objectives!

Theatre Visit
We had another successful annual outing to the Park Theatre at Finsbury Park. We saw a revival of Joe Orton's wonderful black comedy Loot, which opened one week after the 50th anniversary of the playwright's tragic death. Over 106 iU3A members (& friends) attended this enjoyable evening. The talk before the play from the director to iU3A give us some special insights into the changing values and views from its original production. Again, many thanks are due to Sue Welsford for organising this event.

Clues Trail
Due to the popularity of these events a second was organised this year. In August on the day 22 members turned up to form 5 teams then follow the trail and seek out the clues. Additional points were awarded for spotting the location of some photographic images during the trail and a special round at the end back at the pub tested team's knowledge of the London Guilds. Again everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event. Thanks to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising this one — and we all look forward to the next one.

Islington Giving Events 2017
Clues TrailYour generous support for the iU3A activities during June to raise money for Islington Giving has resulted in our exceeding our target and collecting a total £2,250 for this worthwhile charity. Thank you so much for all your efforts and a special thank you to Derek Harwood for all his hard work which has enabled us to achieve this excellent outcome.
The Cripplegate Foundation covers Islington Giving's administration costs, so all the money we raise goes to support organisations and projects that are working with people in Islington who are suffering from the effects of poverty or isolation. 

Clues Trail - Another successful Clues Trail was held this year as part of our efforts to raise moneny for our local charity — Islington Giving. 37 bought tickets for this event, which was held in the City. After being briefed about the rules of the game — no use of GPS for example — the 6 teams plotted their strategy. This year the teams set off radially for a circular circuit of 35 clues. There were also points for photo images identified around the circuit, the number of Halls seen also on the circuit and some cryptic clues for pub names. This sundial caught most teams out — being high on a building wall in Cheapside.

The route ran through back streets and cut through many hidden alleys and we were amazed by the areas we didn't know in the City. Also holding it on a Sunday this year meant seeing the City at its best without worrying about the traffic. This year all teams made it back early to the centre, to Ye Olde Watling — avoiding any time penalties. After the answer sheets were scored the results were announced with "Longer Walks — 2" being the winners and collecting their prizes. But all agreed it was the taking part that mattered most and it was a great way to spend an afternoon, getting to know each other better, learning more about the City and supporting Islington Giving at the same time.

Walk to the Borough — This year, for a change, we didn't walk around the borough but instead started at Barnet then walked in to the borough boundary of Islington. We started at Totteridge & Whetstone, followed the Dollis Brook, through Hampstead Garden Suburb, to Highgate then Queen's Wood and eventually down Parkland Walk to Finsbury Park. 32 members took part by walking at least a part of the full 11.5 miles and we raised over £410 for Islington Giving. Some photos along the route can be seen here.

Computer Sessions
Computer imageWe have now held three of these popular drop-in help sessions. These allow iU3A members with any query they have regarding their computers or tablets to drop in and receive guidance from other iU3A members who could share their enhanced knowledge in these areas. Again we had a wide range of queries and problems. Some simple ones (to some) were easy to give guidance on, others were harder to solve with much cross-learning and use of Google search. Again all the "clients" went away very contented and with increased confidence to try things for themselves.
Thanks again to all the volunteers who came along to share their knowledge with other iU3A members. A general tutorial on some points raised previously is available here.
See the 'What's On' page for details of the next of these sessions (if there is one scheduled).

Open Day 2017

Open DayIn October our Open Day was also our 4th birthday celebration. Again this proved very popular and enabled non-members to meet us and find out about all the things iU3A does. As in previous years there was an excellent turnout with 155 members and 75 non members attending. Out of the 75, 34 joined iU3A on the day and many others took away forms so we hope to hear from them again soon. The existing members who turned up used the chance to see if there were any other groups they might like to join. Everybody also enjoyed our delicious birthday cake and had a good natter. This year the 'star' to cut our 4th birthday cake was our latest volunteer, Liz Connell, who has volunteered to set up and run a 'Green Issues' group.

Open Day 2017With over 50 interest groups on display there were many great displays. Visible and audible displays charmed the audience as they strolled around. All the existing Group Coordinators did an excellent job of explaining what their group did and hence encouraged many to sign up. Hopefully this exercise also encouraged more members to be brave enough to volunteer to be Coordinators.

A special thanks must go to the sub-committe that organised another successful day, particularly to Di Austin and Sue Welsford for coordinating the whole event. The Open Day is our major showcase for members and to the public who might be interested in joining.


To see more photos of the day click here.

To see more of our previous events and outings look here (link not live yet).

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