Category Archives: GROUPS

Visit to Blacksheeps Wools

Wednesday 21st June

On a very bright and sunny Wednesday morning the members of the Knitting and Crochet group,  along with one or two invited guests set out to visit the BLACKSHEEP WOOL yarn store in Culcheth.


We spent a couple of very happy hours browsing and squishing the inspiring range of beautiful yarns and pattern books, only pausing to take over the small cafe to eat sandwiches and cake whilst we compared the contents of our baskets.

We were delighted to see such a wide range of materials to choose from, with colourful acrylics, fun tinsel and fluffy yarns, traditional pure wool and merino blends and more upmarket and exotic choices such as yak and beautifully soft alpaca. The Blacksheep staff were in the process of installing a new Rowan Wool department and the coordination of the yarn types and colours was just stunningly beautiful.


We stowed our bulging bags of booty in the bus, which was very ably driven by David Hambley, and made a quick detour to the nearby BENTS GARDEN CENTRE for a whistle stop tour to admire the plants and visit the food hall before returning happy and tired to Leyland.

We enjoyed our day out, and are now starting to plan our next foray- this time to visit the acclaimed YARNDALE EVENT in the Skipton Auction Mart, in September. More details on this to follow, but please get in touch with the group co-ordinations if you are interested in either joining the Craft, Knitting and Crochet groups, or would like to find out more about the Yarndale visit.

Kim Whittle

Herb Group Visit to Eccleston

We had an interesting and informative meeting at Jacqui – the herbalist’s – house on June 6th. In spite of the wet weather, we managed a stroll around the garden, where Jacqui pointed out various herbs and discussed their properties. We then were invited into Jacqui’s treatment room where we learned about tinctures and smelled various herbal mixtures. This was followed by coffee and some courgette cake, made by Lindsey.

Jacqui also talked about herbal treatment which sometimes includes suggestions to patients to take up yoga and to practice mindfulness.

It’s for a free course in MINDFULLNESS follow this link

Gill Whittaker

Theatre Review by Christine Hoey


Anita and Me – Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Sitting in a chilly auditorium in Blackpool, we were treated to a warm-hearted and humorous performance of this play based on Meera Syal’s semi-autobiographical novel about growing up in the 1970s as part of the only Punjabi family in a close-knit all white mining community in the West Midlands. The set design realistically evokes the red brick terraced housing and is spot-on with 1970s interiors.

Aasiya Shah plays Meena, the gawky, bright Punjabi girl who forges an unlikely friendship with the seemingly cool and rebellious Anita (Laura Aramayo). Behind the facade though, Anita is the neglected daughter of an impoverished, troubled family and abandoned by her mother.

The first half of the play shows Meena’s family well integrated in the community. If anything, it is Anita’s family who are ostracised by their neighbours. This makes the violent racist attack on a visiting Punjabi council worker in the second half of the play all the more shocking. However, the play does not delve into the racial politics of the time, but instead focuses on the coming of age story and Meena’s eventual break with Anita.

Meena is surrounded by a loving extended family: her parents (Robert Mountford and ex-Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati), her aunt (Sejal Keshwala) and her formidable grandma, Nanimi, played with great humour and charisma by Rina Fatania.

Education is taken seriously in the play and the academically bright Meena has a glowing future in prospect, whereas Anita is isolated and destined, we are led to believe, for a bleaker future of early pregnancies and troubled relationships, repeating the pattern established by her parents.

Christine Hoey

Theatre Reviews by Christine Hoey & Alastair Thomas


Cyrano – Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster

Saturday 1st April 2017

At just short of three hours’ duration, Northern Broadsides’ touring production of Cyrano engaged all the emotions, with its mix of comedy, romance, music and pathos.

Cyrano is a swashbuckling soldier-poet, in love with his beautiful cousin, Roxane, but convinced that she will never requite his love, owing to his phenomenally prominent hooter.

Christian Edwards (still recognisable under the prosthetic nose as Cosmo from our visit to Singin’ in the Rain) plays Cyrano with the requisite humour, panache and pathos. When Roxane (Sharon Singh) falls in love with the handsome but tongue-tied Christian (Adam Barlow), Cyrano undertakes to provide eloquent and poetic words of courtship on his behalf. A comic highlight is his briefing of his inarticulate love rival on how to woo Roxane.  Left to his own devices, the best Christian can come up with is “I want to nibble your neck. Well, it’s alliteration, isn’t it?”

The ruse is successful and Christian marries Roxane, but within hours he and Cyrano are despatched to the siege of Arras. The dangers, hunger, boredom and privations of the siege are beautifully conveyed via a haunting melody “The Song of the Seasons”.

The final scene, 14 years after the siege, where the widowed Roxane finally realises that the dying Cyrano has loved her all along, is hugely affecting.

With high production values in both costume and set design, the play is very well-acted by all involved. Special mention goes to Francesca Mills who is an eye-catching bundle of energy, lighting up the stage in a series of cameo parts: a nifty pickpocket, apprentice baker and gossip-hungry nun. However, there was not a single weak link in the cast, with many playing several parts – and musical instruments. One of the highlights of the play is the original period-style music excellently performed by the very talented cast.

We hope that Northern Broadsides will visit Lancaster on their next tour.

Christine Hoey

Members of the Theatre Group went to Lancaster to the Duke’s Theatre on 1 April to see a matinée performance of Cyrano.   This was an outstandingly good performance by the theatre company Northern Broadsides in association with the New Vic Theatre of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.  We mentioned that we had come from far Leyland, but our table-companion told us she had travelled from London to see the performance: clearly, Northern Broadsides have a loyal and extensive following.  Having seen them for the first time, I shall watch for their future performances.  They are a touring company and take Cyrano to Scarborough, York, the Lowry, Cheltenham, Bury St Edmunds, Halifax, Derby, and Oxford over the next few months.

The dialogue and repartee were witty, and delivered with impeccable timing.  Act I is set in Paris in 1640, when France was at war against Spain.  Most of the male characters are cadets (junior officers) in the Gascony Guards, so there is plenty of sword-play, very well coached by the appropriately-named Philip D’Orleans.  The rustic origins of the Gascons are well suggested by the use of regional northern English accents, while Roxanne, ‘a brilliant and beautiful young woman’ played by Sharon Singh, spoke with a very ‘refined’ Scottish accent.  Cyrano, of the unmentionably long nose, was played by Christian Edwards, and dominated the action as ‘wing-man’ and speech-maker for Christian de Neuvillette, ‘the new boy in town’, in inarticulate love with Roxanne.  Francesca Mills used her short stature to great advantage, playing an impish pickpocket, apprentice to Ragueneau the Parisian pâtissier poet, and a solemn nun – she held the audience’s attention whenever she appeared.  All the other members of the cast gave polished professional performances.  When music was required, it was provided by the cast on violin, trumpet, flute or drums.  Ligniere, the troubadour guitarist, (played by Michael Hugo) was another comedic continuity character.

The romantic comedy was originally written in rhyming couplets by Edmond Rostand, as a fictionalised account of the real life of Cyrano de Bergerac.  Its first performance in Paris in 1897 drew an hour’s applause at the end.  There have since been many translations and adaptations in English and USAnian (otherwise called American!), and even one in Azerbaijani, for stage and film performance.  This version is a new adaptation in English by Deborah McAndrew.  She retains much of the rhyme and gives the play its French flavour by using many of the expressions in Franglais familiar to us all.  The result is a fresh portrayal of an everlasting theme.  Northern Broadsides performed it with appropriate panache (flamboyant confidence or style or manner).  Comments as we left the theatre were that many of us had not known what to expect, but all of us had enjoyed it immensely.

Alastair Thomas

Visit to Bury Market

Great trip to Bury Market on Friday 21 April. All went smoothly, in the capable hands of  Dave (driving) & Jenny & Keith (organising). Jenny even got free shopping bags for everyone- kudos!  Not just Black puddings, but an  amazing variety of goods for sale.  Loads of bargains in meat, fish, fruit & veg, material & sewing items and all kinds of everything. Reminded me of the shop content in Sids poem. Bought as much as I could carry (with a little help)  Let us know how you cook the kerala (strange spiky vegetable) & whether it is delicious Maureen.  Will definitely revisit.




Visit to Dewlay Cheese & Garstang

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A  large group of Leyland U3A members went on an outing today, first to Dewlay cheese at Garstang for a talk. tour & tasting and then to the town & markets.

The day began with brews & biscuits and we were told about Dewlay by the  enthusiastic, knowledgeable and cheese-loving Jane.  The founder George Kenyon, from Wigan, wanted a name that indicated quality food. Dewlay was how he thought  Du Lait , the French for “from milk “was written and the name stuck. Dewlay now produces top quality products from locally sourced milk. They make 5 basic cheeses, Lancs crumbly, creamy, tasty, white & Garstang  blue, all of which  are  totally vegetarian,  unlike eg Parmesan.  We saw the cheese being made. Turning the curds involved. very heavy manual work. Also Prince Charles personal Earl Grey teapot, which he left behind on Tuesday. We were given 2 generous boards of cheese to sample – we should have taken bread to make sandwiches.

We then went in Garstang had lunch and bought lots of shoes

Thanks to Ann France for her hard work in organising this successful trip.