Friday, 17 May 2019

Our May 2019 Wine Appreciation Meeting

Wine Group Travels the World

Well, it's not quite as the title suggests but that was the theme for the evening. Hosted by Stephen and Mary, members of Wine Group One had the opportunity to taste seven excellent wines from all over the world. It was organised in the form of a fun quiz with participants pairing up, tasting the wines and guessing where they came from. Sounds simple but who can be knowledgeable about the whole world's wines?

Argentinian Clues
So we had to be helped along the way in the form of a musical clue followed by a choice of up to three other clues. A correct answer gave each pair fifty points but each clue reduced that total by ten points. If all three clues were used, the maximum points would be twenty. A simple concept  but challenging for some in the group despite audio visual prompts. Well, it wasn't an intellectual challenge or even a wine knowledge challenge but simply that we know each other so well after twenty five or so monthly meetings that the laughter and the hilarity got in the way. And that is even before we had tasted a drop of wine!

Keeping the score
Eventually, the group got the hang of it with some recognising some of the musical clues or at least with it being "on the tip of their tongue" and others getting a little frustrated by the clues. All neatly folded by Mary, the clues were all true but some would not be helpful at all, others would point the pair in the right direction and a few would be so obvious that a decision could be made easily. One pair seemed to get only useless clues and another failed to recognise Big Ben as an obvious clue for English wines. All of this caused even greater merriment. I need to say at this point that it wasn't the wine causing the fun, (but maybe it helped) but the randomness of the luck of the draw with the three optional clues. The answers were given in the form of another more obvious musical piece.

Musical Clues
The food was also loosely linked to the country with Gougeres for France and Croquetas de Jamon for Argentina and Felafel and Houmous for Lebanon. The musical clues stretched the imagination in some cases with one example being The Wombles of Wimbledon Common being the clue for Bulgaria. I'll leave you to work that one out. The winning pair, Paddy and Peter E, were well deserved victors, having listened more carefully to the music and perhaps also having a few more useful clues than others. However, their skill in recognising a Lebanese Red (the most expensive wine of the evening) made them worthy champions.

And now for the wines.........

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Our U3A evening on French Wines

Wine Appreciation Goes French

Twelve of the Wine Appreciation Group One met at Stephen and Mary's on one of the best days of the year weather-wise. We had decided on this occasion to break with tradition and meet on a Sunday lunchtime (but not for Sunday lunch). The weather was good enough to hold the whole meeting in the garden.

We have arranged to go to St Emilion in Bordeaux in June, so it seemed appropriate to have the theme of French wines. Complete with French music, the Marseillaise, French flags galore and a speech in French to get us in the mood, we tasted two Sparking Cremant wines, three whites and three reds - all with accompanying food.

Members grouped in pairs to blind-taste each of the three groups of wines and match them to the labels they had been given after a brief introduction about each of them. Not surprisingly, after more than twenty meetings, every pair managed to identify correctly all of the reds and the whites. An astonishing success which shows how we have developed in three years. It was all down to the Sparking Wines. However, we identified winners in Paddy and Peter who managed to identify correctly all eight wines.

Is it a record? We arrived at 1pm and broke up at 8-20pm which proved what a good time we all had. We have to ask the question, is this a record for the longest meeting any group has held in members' homes? (not counting days out and field trips, of course). Let us know if you disagree!

We'll let the Before and After pictures speak for themselves!

Just an example of the wines we tasted

Family History Advice

"Bringing Family History to Life"

You will find below a link to the PowerPoint Presentation given by Stephen at this meeting.

Click HERE to VIEW

At one of our meetings there was a discussion about Birth Marriage and Death Certificates and whether the whole certificate can be seen online. The answer is generally no, you have to pay for them, from the GRO Certificate Ordering- Registration Services  

General Register Office (GRO) - Official information on births, marriages and deaths /   You must have the year, the place of registration, the page number and the volume.

All certs B M D began in 1837. Before that, births were registered at the Parish Church if a child was Baptised and only about 1 third of births were registered up to 1875.

Edenbridge U3A Family History Group

Here are some links which may be helpful:-

1.      Society of Genealogists Start Family History with the Society of Genealogists. Membership £57 pa
2.      Kent Family History Society  Almost every county has one.
3.      Who do you think you are magazine free downloads.  e.g. How to start, essential websites, tips etc
First World War
4.      Lives of the First World War Imperial War Museum. Build up a picture of the 8 million who served their country.
5.      Britain Remembers WDYTYA Project Projects on First World War
6.      My History  Resources for Family History
7.      Advice from a real researcher – Family Tree Resources
Local History
9.      Kent History Centre Maidstone, Kent. Try Google to find a county centre for relatives you are interested in.
I use this county as an example of what can be found online.
Researching Events and Places
11.   Use Google to look up significant events. E.g. Creswell Colliery Pit Disaster Find your relatives.
12.   Find out more about how your ancestors lived and what they did Bring your family history to life
14.   University College London Research on names in Great Britain Find out about how your family names are geographically spread in GB over time.
15.   Britain from Above Aerial Photographs of GB from 1919 to 1953. You can help them to identify buildings in areas you know.

My U3A Quiz

AGM Quiz
by Stephen Harding

Chocolate for a correct answer
I'm sure that most of you reading this will be well aware who does this website. So for that reason, modesty does not allow me to write in my usual way about the monthly meeting so I will leave it to the words of others. After the formal meeting which every U3A must hold each year, we decided we would have a bit of fun to liven things up.

Before I tell you what happened, here are some reviews. The first two from members who were there on the day...

Whistle, Kazoo and Bell Orchestra Fanfare
"Have to say, I have been to many an AGM but never had so much fun, and never recall laughing in any of them.  Well done and thank you. Can't wait till next year!!!!"

"That was the best AGM I've ever been to"

And from our outgoing Chairman, Molly Ward....

"A big thankyou for making the AGM such a resounding success. I know the members enjoyed your experimental method to prove that 'Death by PowerPoint' was not always true.....problem is what are we going to do next year?"

Well, thankyou for those comments. There were many more and they were much appreciated!

Hi Viz Quizmaster's Jacket
Our previous speaker, Chris Lloyd and his amazing coat of many pockets made it clear that he wasn't too keen on PowerPoint. As that was what the Committee had asked to prepare to let the members know about the groups available, I decided it had to be "With a Twist". I substituted his amazing coat for a Hi Viz Jacket, his tableau for a mini orchestra and his exciting talk with an interactive quiz. Volunteers had to perform and members had to join in. There was no escape and the laughter filled the hall. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

The prize for the quiz was to be an Edenbridge U3A Gold Member with a certificate to prove it. In the end, despite the difficult tie breakers, six of our female members shared the prize and they are photographed here with Molly, our outgoing Chairman. I don't know what happened to the men!

It was all a bit of fun and a great time was had by all!
Chris tells us about her four groups
Briar and the Birds
Brian also runs four groups
Audience Participation
One of the Questions

Our VSO U3A talk

VSO Adventures in Guyana and Rwanda
Rickards Hall Edenbridge
Stephen and Mary Harding

Hear Stephen and Mary talk about their volunteering adventures with Voluntary Service Overseas 
in Guyana and Rwanda.

VSO Adventures in Guyana and Rwanda

After retiring from their careers in primary and secondary schools, they embarked on two placements for Voluntary Service Overseas - two years in Guyana, South America and one year in Rwanda, East Aftrica. We were told about the two different placements, their work in schools training teachers and Headteachers and the differences between the two. We heard of the high points and the challenges as well as some of the personal travelling that they were able to do. They referred to some of the geographical and cultural differences, the customs in the two countries, how they got around and and what life was like for the people. Alongside their talk were two small displays of artifacts and some of the materials they had produced for teachers.

They explained that VSO is now an international organisation with its Headquarters in the UK and partly funded by the government. It is not an aid agency and does not send people out in emergencies but rather trains professionals in a variety of skill areas to share their skills with local people with the aim of eradicating poverty.

The afternoon finished with the usual chat with friends and hot drinks and home made cakes - a welcome part of the proceedings especially considering the weather.

To find out more and read their personal blog about the two placements, click below:-

Mr George

Whilst we were in Rwanda, we heard that Mary’s Father, Jerzy (George) Rozek had passed away quietly with his son John with him after many months, if not years of health problems.

But I don’t want to dwell on those or the hard times he faced as he got older because it’s better to remember a man as he was for most of his life rather than dwelling on the things that brought that first-class life to an end.

George, Mary and Stephen in Krakow, Poland 2006
George, or “Mr George” as I always called him (he was my boss when I worked in his West End Restaurant almost 40 years ago), was the model father-in-law anyone could ever have. He never failed to show respect and enthusiasm for anything we did, he encouraged and admired our work and blessed our marriage by never criticising or showing disapproval of the choices we made in our life. We knew he was proud of us and he always showed it.

But we too were proud of him. As a Polish soldier in the British army in the war in the forties, he helped save our nation from almost certain drudgery and discrimination by his bravery and commitment to what was just. He rarely spoke of it as he started his new life in a new country and brought up his family to fit in and respect that culture. He had a commitment to family life and, although his long working hours often mitigated against it, he treasured the moments he could bring us all together to “be a family”. What greater pleasure could he have than to have all of us around him!

In his work life, he was a professional par excellence. Everything had to be just as it should be in the restaurants he used to run, Everything for the customer but, at the same time, nobody could feel alone in his presence with the charming and welcoming spirit he would show with everyone he met. Lost for words he was not! He was a quality conversationalist, all in his second language. That flowed over into the street on his regular walks when I’m sure he was seen as a character in the local community who always had a word for everyone.

His professional preciseness and ability to care and put people at their ease are traits that I have always held in high regard and admired and ones I have always tried to emulate throughout my working life.

We know your time had come, Mr George, but you will live on in our lives with fondness, love and, most of all, respect!

George as a young man
May you have more than your “Sto Lat” and have perpetual peace knowing that you will be always with us.

Sto lat, sto lat, niech zyje zyje nam.
Sto lat, sto lat, niech zyje zyje nam.
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, niech zyje, zyje nam.
Niech zyje nam!