Visits Group at the Southport Flower Show

After an inauspicious start, with vast quantities of rain, we had a fantastic day out at Southport.

There was plenty of shelter, displays, food & flower arranging demonstrations  & lots of  freebies.

In the afternoon, the sun was shining, dogs were competing, birds of prey were in action and there  was even a Ukulele band playing Matchstalk Men

CLICK on images to view LARGER

Admittedly my raffle prize got banged about a bit on the way home & was clumsily repaired. (I bet a Leyland U3A) flower arranging class could do better

Many thanks to Hilary for driving

If you enjoyed today, look out for our trip in April when we will be making Hanging Baskets.


UkeLeylanders visit Buckshaw Village

A while ago, the Ukeleylanders were invited to play at Buckshaw Retirement Village  and we jumped at the chance.

On Wednesday morning, 12 members of the group duly arrived and played a set of 12 songs for 45 minutes led by our MC Steve “The Strummer” Ellison to a group of appreciative residents.

As a “thank you” the players were presented with a refreshing elevensies of tea or coffee and a selection of home made cake.

We must have done something right, as we have been invited to do another show.



Eccleston Circular Walk

This month’s “SCRAMBLERS” walk took  the group on a 7.5 mile walk continuing our exploration of Eccleston


For a change, we had a dry day for the walk. Four members of the Scramblers group met up at the community car park on Drapers Avenue, following local roads until we reached Red Lane. Following this single track lane for a mile we dropped onto a wooded Bridleway through the fields to Heskin Green.

Following the main road back towards Eccleston, we headed to Heskin Hall Craft Centre for a coffee and comfort break. Whilst there looking what was on offer in the shops one of the group found a new Ukulele shop had opened. ( take note Ukeleylanders !)

A short walk down the old estate lane towards Howe Brooke Hall brought us to our halfway point and lunch stop.


The return leg took us down Bannister Green then down Wrennels Lane to a steep slippery section to a footbridge across Howe Brook then onto Tannersmith Lane in Mawdesley.

We soon arrived at the Robin Hood Pub, turning right we followed Tinklers Lane back into Eccleston and headed for the church. A short break and a discussion about architecture and historical landscape feature we headed up the Church Walk, the ancient trackway which lead from the church to The Farmers Arms Pub. Back onto Red Lane, we retraced our steps back to the car park.

During the walk, we talk about many and varied topics. This time we touched on Tennon Topped Gate posts . Please check the link to an articles  I wrote a while ago.

We are planning to do a monthly walk of between seven and ten mile. If you are interested check out the “SCRAMBLERS” page or speak to me at the next monthly meeting


Health and Wellbeing Conference Lancaster 26/10/17

Lancaster and Morecambe U3A, under the auspices of North West Region U3A, are offering their third conference. We all want to live not just longer but healthier lives and the aim of the day is to inform and enthuse participants to achieve this. The day will start with consideration of what health actually is leading to presentations considering how to live well in later life and the role of pathological testing in maintaining health.

Presentations will lead to consideration of and debate on the truth behind the headlines in Alzheimer’s Research, the role of eye-tracking in early detection of Alzheimer’s, non- pharmacological approaches to disease and the role of exercise in active, healthy ageing. The security challenges associated with ageing will also be considered. The day will conclude with an open forum.

The detailed Conference Agenda and Booking Form are available on the Lancaster & Morecambe U3A >>HERE and the North West Region websites >>HERE

Further details if required can be obtained from Professor Gill Baynes Email Here

Theatre Review by Christine Hoey


Backstage tour – Bolton Octagon

Friday 7 July 2017,

The theatre group enjoyed a fascinating behind the scenes tour of Bolton Octagon. Our guide, Alex, the Octagon’s artistic assistant, was very charming and knowledgeable. Our tour started in the Studio where Alex gave us a brief overview of the Octagon’s 50 year history, including details of the Octagon’s resident ghost, a former wardrobe mistress who died in the theatre, and who is reputed to attend every dress rehearsal. We also had a glimpse into the future with major reconstruction due to begin in June 2018.

From there we visited the green room where we sampled some stage beer, wine and coffee. Further stops were the main stage, box office, bar, actors’ dressing rooms and the top floor rehearsal space. Along the way we were able to ask lots of questions which elicited an array of interesting details about all the behind the scenes thought and practicalities which go into the final production. For example, negotiating with authors and for musical rights is often a long and fraught process which means that the Octagon is already planning for productions they want to put on in 2019. It certainly made us all the more appreciative of the hard work and attention to detail that goes into the process of getting a play from page to stage.

The only pity is that so few members were able to attend what proved to be a very stimulating event. I really hope that if the Octagon offers backstage tours again in the 2017-2018 season that we will have more participants.

Many thanks to Alex for a thoroughly engaging tour.

Christine Hoey

Theatre Review by Ann France


Photo credit: Ian Tilton

Talking Heads – Bolton Octagon
Saturday, 24 June 2017

The theatre group visited Bolton Octagon to see three monologues from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, fondly remembered by many who first saw them on television in the late 1980s.

The first, A Chip in the Sugar, featured middle-aged Graham, whose life becomes complicated when his mother, with whom he still lives, reunites with an old flame. This monologue was my favourite of the three. Graham’s mannerisms, his hurt and jealousy, his relationship with his mother and an undercurrent of mental health issues, were all superbly portrayed by actor David Birrell.

The second monologue was A Lady of Letters. Irene is a one woman neighbourhood watch, until her habit of writing letters gets out of hand and eventually lands her in prison. Ironically, Irene is happier in prison and the before and after Irene were both captured excellently by actress Cathy Tyson.

The final monologue was A Cream Cracker under the Settee. Widow Doris, obsessive about tidiness and maintaining her independence, has a fall and discovers the offending cream cracker – in actress Sue Wallace’s case a gluten-free cracker, a snippet of information we gathered on the excellent Octagon backstage tour we went on a couple of weeks later. This monologue, made famous by Thora Hird, was in equally capable hands with actress Sue Wallace, whose quiet performance was very powerful.

This was Bennett at his best. Poignant, observant, witty. Bittersweet tales of ordinary lives.

Ann France

Theatre Review by Christine Hoey

Little Shop of Horrors – Runshaw College Foxholes Restaurant and Amanda Roocroft Theatre

Meal and theatre show.

Wednesday 17 May 2017


The theatre group had a hugely enjoyable evening, courtesy of catering and hospitality and performing arts students at Runshaw College.

The evening started with a choice of beautifully presented and delicious starters, main courses and desserts in Foxholes, before we adjourned to the packed theatre for the evening’s entertainment.

Based on a Roger Corman B movie from 1960, Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of how a strange and unusual plant, discovered by lowly shop assistant Seymour Krelborn, suddenly turns a struggling flower shop on Skid Row into a huge success, but at a price. Known only to Seymour, the plant (whom he names Audrey II) feeds only on human blood, and as it gets larger, it gets hungrier.

Against this spoof sci-fi/horror backdrop, we witness a blossoming (no pun intended) but ultimately doomed romance as Seymour falls for his colleague Audrey whose sadistic dentist boyfriend is always beating her up. There is also some great ’60s girl group-style commentary from a very talented ensemble of Skid Row street urchins, particularly in one of the opening numbers, Skid Row (Downtown).

Christian Broad is a suitably weedy Seymour who grows in confidence as the plant grows in power. Charlie Millar as Audrey I very effectively captures both her sheer niceness and the poignancy of her circumstances, particularly in the song Somewhere That’s Green and Suddenly, Seymour.

Ben Foster doubles up as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello  and the impressive voice of Audrey II.

On what must have been a very limited budget, the set and costumes were admirable. The plant too, manipulated by unseen puppeteers, was an impressive creation in all its ever growing incarnations.

Performed to very high standards by a talented cast and complemented by a top notch three course meal and coffee, this was a fabulous evening’s entertainment – and all for the princely sum of £15. We are already looking forward to our next visit!

Christine Hoey