Activity Groups

Updated May 2022

General Meetings

The General Meeting is a great chance to find out more about the U3A if you are not already a member. We meet once a month in a hall in central Slough with a guest speaker, who will talk about a topic of general interest for about 45 minutes. After that, there’s refreshments and a chance to socialise.

Active Groups

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Activity Club [February 2022] We meet, on Monday mornings once a fortnight, in the hall of Slough Mencap. We have two Table Tennis tables, as well as Bridge and Scrabble tables. It’s a very friendly session with the emphasis on fun and fitness rather than being competitive. Beginners are always welcome.

Art Appreciation  [February 2022] Our Art Appreciation group arrange group visits to exhibitions and galleries within easy reach of Slough – you’d be surprised how many there are! During the next few months we’ll visit exhibitions on Amy Winehouse, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro and Beatrix Potter among others.

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Badminton   [May 2022] Badminton is a good form of regular exercise, and is actually enjoyable!  We have about 10 or 12 regular players. Half had never played before the group was formed last year. It’s easy to learn, and we don’t take our games too seriously. We meet on a Thursday, 12pm-2pm, at the Slough Leisure Centre, Farnham Road. The Group really enjoy it; it’s as much social as physical. If you are interested in joining, come along and see for yourself. You will be more than welcome.

Book Club   [October 2021] – Although some members access books via their Kindles or audio, the majority of us still like a physical book, so we choose our monthly book titles from what Buckinghamshire or Berkshire libraries can provide multiple copies of.   A recent book was “Big Brother” by Lionel Schriver which provoked quite a discussion about obesity and relationships and made us all think about what and how we were eating!  Currently we are reading “Everything and Nothing” by Araminta Hall. 

Bridge for Fun  [January 2022] Bridge is a challenging game which is surprisingly easy to learn, although it can take a lifetime to master! U3A “Bridge for fun” sessions are generally hosted in a member’s living room, with two or three sessions each week in a variety of locations. We don’t play competitively – we aim for a friendly session, with plenty of opportunity for socialising during the game.

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Create & Craft  [October 2021] – Create and craft are meeting again Tuesdays from 11am – 3pm at St Andrews Church, but people don’t have to do the full session, they can come for as long as they wish. Those making cards have started on Christmas now, we provide all that’s needed for card making, some people like to bring their own crafts, so we have knitting and cross stitch going on as well. Three members of the Arts society have joined us, and they do their sketching and drawing, so we are a very mixed and very friendly group, and always pleased to welcome new members.

Current Affairs – [February 2022] Are you interested in what is going on daily in the country or even the world? If so, you would be an asset to the current affairs group. We meet once every month, usually in the home of a group member, from 10:30 until 12:30. The subject is selected from the most interesting and serious current affair. We are always topical, relevant and interesting. If you need further information call Eleanor Cryer 0797 9696 856. Don’t delay call today!

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Drawing Group 1 (December 2021)Post Covid we have moved back to meeting face to face in an exciting new venue. We have undertaken a re-visit of perspective drawing followed by portrait drawing and painting in various mediums. We are now moving on to the human form focusing particularly on movement. Due to a demand by recently joined U3A members interested in drawing/painting we are currently looking for a co-ordinator to start another group.  In the interim, a couple of members have since joined in the Create and Craft Group at St Andrews Church on a Tuesday morning.

Drawing Group 2 (December 2021): The group usually pick a theme for the following week session. So far, we have been exploring chalk pastels flowers, roses, lily and ballerinas or individual choice of subject. 

Watercolours flowers, sunflowers, orange lantern paintings is a popular request

Sometimes one of the members may just want to come and paint a butterfly in colour pencils.

Recently we all started experimenting and playing with Brushos. It was a very messy business and we decided it will be best done in the summer. The next few weeks we will be painting Christmas cards.

In general, we are quite relaxed and share ideas and tips, also lots of therapeutic chatting goes on.

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French [May 2022] The French Group meets on the first Friday of most months. Everyone in the group already knew some French from their school days or from a love of holidays in France and have been enthusiastic in their pursuit of new vocabulary and greater conversational confidence. Recently, we began to read the beautiful story of ‘Jean de Florette’ by Marcel Pagnol. As the story unfolds, we are also enjoying the video, starring Gerard Depardieu and Yves Montand. It may have subtitles but, of course, we don’t look at those!

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Gardening [March 2022] We began the year at the end of January by looking at ‘Jobs to do in February’ but was fascinating to learn the tricks and tips that others have up their sleeves. The group enjoyed a recent visit to the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens to see their 2022 Orchid Collection celebrating the biodiversity of Costa Rica.  It was truly fabulous.  We are now planning our next outing – this time to nearby Cliveden to enjoy their wonderful daffodil display.

German  [May 2022]We meet fortnightly on a Friday afternoon and enjoy the mental exercise that comes with learning a language. We use various easy German courses to help to maintain our interest as we advance, slowly. Revision is something we do quite often!! We may never get round to reading Goethe in the original, but that doesn’t worry us too much! So, if you learned some German in the past and would like to have another go at it, come and join us.

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Local History – [December 2021] The Local History group have gained a few new members and during the autumn have been back meeting at St. Laurence’s Church on the third Monday of the month at 2pm. In September we enjoyed an inter-active meeting finding out about remedies for various ailments as written in the Pharmacopolium (an ancient book kept in St. Mary’s Church, Langley). In October, Julie James gave us an interesting presentation about the Ward family who have memorials in St. Laurence’s Church and in November, Pauline Hodges told us all about James Elliman and the Elliman family.

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Lunch Club – (October 2021)

We meet on the last Thursday every month.  Each venue is chosen to be most convenient for as many of our members as possible. We consider, Disabled Access, price, whether it’s on a bus route, does it cater for various dietary needs, parking, and try and organise lifts where possible. We each pay for ourselves to avoid confusion (in theory!)

So far, we have had some lovely lunches. Red Lion, Stoke Place, Punjab. Last one was the Palmers Arms in Dorney, where we had a smashing time, chatting and catching up with many of the members we hadn’t seen during Covid. It’s really a good time to get together and perhaps get to know people you may not normally bump into.

Outings Team  [January 2022] Our coach trips in the past few years have taken us to places such as Bletchley Park, Hampton Court, Brighton, and Winchester Christmas Market. For 2022, we’re arranging trips to The Imperial War Museum, the seaside at Lymington, and the city of Bath.

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Play Reading  (March 2022) The Play Reading group is looking for more members to better match participants with cast numbers.  A typical play will have a cast of about 10 players, but we have managed with 4-6 people, each taking on 2 or even 3 parts. Play reading is most enjoyable and allows us to enter into the spirit of each drama.

Despite the interruptions occasioned by lockdowns etc, we have read quite a variety of plays during the last two years: Arsenic and Old Lace, Family Circles (Ayckbourn), Getting On (Alan Bennett), Calendar Girls, Witness for the Prosecution, A Busy Day (Fanny Burney), Daisy Pulls it Off, and two of J B Priestley’s Time Plays, An Inspector Calls and Time and the Conways.

We currently meet in members’ houses on the second Monday of each month at 2 p.m. but this is subject to review.

Poetry in Action (April 2022) We are seven members in all and are a very happy group. All lovers of poetry and manage to create very varied and interesting poetry. Every month we have a new topic to write about and also have a different theme as a kind of talking point and read some poems relating to the theme. All the members come up with extremely interesting and relevant poems each month. We also have thoughts for the day and all the members manage to dig up the most inspiring thoughts.

Practical Philosophy [April 2022] –… meeting monthly and exchanging views on a chosen topic

Exchanging views in our meetings often has me thinking about things I may not have considered before. Sometimes it can help me to think in a different way, often to find new perspectives and to focus on working out what is important. It is great to do this with a convivial bunch of people who also enjoy thinking and sharing their viewpoint. Sue, convenor

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Social Scrabble [ July 2021] – If you like words, have a sense of fun, want to enjoy a good game and good company, and keep your brains active – come along and join us! Meeting as part of the Activity Club (see above) but also in members’ homes. If you fancy a cuppa and a chat, and if you can spell the words “relaxed” and “friendly” then come and join us!T

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Social Scrabble [ February 2022]Scrabble is a popular game – 3 or 4 members meet in a member’s home for a gently paced and sociable game, usually accompanied by tea and biscuits. We have 5 sessions of Scrabble during February in a variety of locations, and we’d love to have a few new people joining in.

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Table Tennis – Currently meeting as part of the Activity Club (see above)

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Ukulele [October 2021] The Ukulele group have just had their first gig! We were entertaining the local branch of Berkshire Vision at their first proper meeting post lockdown. Berkshire Vision is a charity which supports people with impaired vision. A range of activities includes coffee mornings, quizzes, and sports as well as support for newly diagnosed. The group rehearse regularly, during lockdown in members gardens and in the Bentley Centre. 

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Walking [January 2022] The Walking Group has a monthly program of walks which are shared with Windsor & District Ramblers. We have 3 guided walks every month – a short one of between 3 and 4 miles, and two slightly longer walks of about 5 miles. Our walks start from a variety of rural locations close to Slough, and they are conducted at an easy pace. Most walks provide an opportunity for a coffee break, either halfway or at the end of the walk.

Wine Appreciation (December 2021)The wine appreciation group has restarted its meetings which are held at members’ houses. Before the lockdown we were working through a wine course, the first part of which, we have now completed. Now we are going to work through the extended modules.

All of the wines that we are examining are assessed for appearance, nose, flavour in the mouth and value. This system has generated some really interesting results and has engendered much discussion. The costs of the meetings are shared by the participants and any remaining wine is distributed by ballot. 

The group is not closed, meets on the first Tuesday of the Month in the afternoon and would welcome new members. We look forward to many more interesting wine experiences