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 (Winter 2017/18) newsletter click here

For previous newsletters click here

Our Bulletins
For our latest Bulletin click here.


Last Monthly Meeting
Patrick MylonFebruary — ‘The myth of the Titanic’ by Patrick Mylon
Patrick Mylon has been interested in ships since childhood after seeing the 1957 film ‘A Night to Remember’ about the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic was a White Star Line ship, built in Belfast for size rather than speed, as part of the national rivalry between the US and Britain for the best transatlantic liners. On its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, which began on 12th April 1912, it carried 2,200 passengers. Patrick told us about all the different issues that contributed to the disaster of its sinking with great loss of life.

Like all large passenger ships at that time, it carried too few lifeboats (enough for only 1200 passengers) as the law required only 16 lifeboats. The weather was bitterly cold, but despite receiving six ice warnings the Captain did not slow down or double the lookouts. Although a message about a large iceberg was sent to the Titanic from another ship, the message did not have the crucial ‘MSG’ indicator that would have required the wireless operators to send the message to the Captain, so they took no action. The huge black shape of the iceberg was finally seen by lookouts at 11.38pm; the ship was turned hard to the left to try to avoid it, exposing the starboard side of the ship to the impact, which was catastrophic, causing it to break in two. It sank within two hours. Another ship, the California, saw the eight distress rockets fired by the Titanic but took no action. Finally the Carpathia reached the Titanic after 3½ hours and picked up the 700 survivors.

The disaster brought about changes in the law and in shipping practice. Lifeboat drills for passengers and crew became mandatory, as did carrying sufficient lifeboats and operating 24 hour lookouts. And 13 nations operating across the north Atlantic formed the Ice Patrol, a notification system about icebergs.

Jonathan ButterworthayJanuary
Professor Jonathan Butterworth, Head Physics and Astronomy Department, University College London, Atlas CERN — Smashing Physics: Journeys to the Energy Frontier.

Jon’s talk made a very complex topic accessible and interesting to the layperson. He introduced us to this world of particle physics by presenting a 'Map of the Invisible'. In the west lies the 'old world' of the 'Standard Model' i.e. the world of electrons, waves, energy, quarks, leptons and forces etc. Physicists are journeying further east into unexplored lands, made possible by the Large Hadron Collider and its detectors such as Atlas, the project which Jon has been involved with. The discovery of the “missing” particle, the Higgs Boson in 2012, represents the discovery of the last unverified part of the Standard Model, or does it? Is the Higgs the last fundamental particle? Are there hidden worlds beyond 'Bosonia'? Jon suggested that there are still areas ripe for exploration out there such as gravity, the rotational speed of galaxies, dark matter, neutrinos, super symmetry and further questions to be answered such as why there are three copies of everything or where’s the anti-matter?

Projects involving the Large Hadron Collider, whose tunnel at 27km is the same length as the Circle line, are making many discoveries and answering some fundamental questions but the installation of an even bigger collider whose length would be 100km would possibly enable this “smashing physics” to penetrate these hidden speculative worlds.

For notes of previous recent monthly meetings, see here.

Pub Quiz
                                              Quiz 2017-1Pub
                                              Quiz 2017-3We held our annual pub quiz in January in the Angelic pub at the Angel. Although it was a blustery wet evening 50 members came for this enjoyable event. Our numbers seemed to overwhelm the staff at the beginning and service was frustratingly slow but no one was in a great hurry. Jez Worsnip with his professional standards was our Quizmaster for the evening. Jez designs the questions especially for iU3A and of course the judges' word is final! As always it's a great opportunity to test the grey matter and get to know other members.

Pub Quiz 4Nine teams battled it out with mixed fortunes. Some of the early leaders from the first half slipped away in the second half and no tie break (or obscure football questions!) was necessary this year to provide a clear winner. The winning team to collect the 'delicious surprise' prize were the 'Inkspots'
. So another successful event enjoyed by all — thanks to Julie and Isabel.

Boat Outing
Boat Outing1In 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 2On 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 2017 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
In December 2017 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 four of these popular drop-in help sessions. The last one was held in January 2018 in Islington Town Hall with members requesting help with 16 query areas. These sessions 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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