‘New year’ begins at Stone & District U3A

The new U3A term sees a range of computer courses on offer.

September sees the beginning of the new membership year for Stone U3A and with the arrival of autumn, nearly all the 60+ activities are now in full swing.

The revamped funding model is well established and has simplified the payment system so that a £40 annual fee offers potential access to as many groups as desired plus subscription to the quarterly national magazine, ‘Third Age Matters’. Re-enrolment is going very well.

Autumn computer courses

There is no doubt that we live in a digital age but maybe you are wondering how to show those holiday photos on your computer or TV, or have you recently acquired a tablet and would like to find out more about what it can do? Computer courses start again on September 18 at Hilderstone Village Hall from 10am to 12 noon. The first four-week segment starts with Laptop Basics followed by four weeks dealing with tablets, culminating with a four-week workshop combining both, which will take us up to Christmas.

These courses have been running since 2010 and have helped more than 500 U3A members to understand computer technology as it has evolved in recent years. For full details, contact Roy Clark on 01889 505676 or email clark.roy2­­@yahoo.co.uk

Shakespeare trip

Many of the more academic U3A groups go out and about from time to time to see their activity in real life as it were. For example, earlier in the summer members of the popular Reading Shakespeare group, which is led by Patrick Imrie, very much enjoyed the recent open-air performance of ‘Macbeth’ at Stafford Castle; they had just finished reading and discussing the play.  This was a vibrantly Scottish production of’ ‘the Scottish play’, with authentic Scots accents and music from pipes, dulcimer and drums, and a real falcon. The set – an 11th century castle, blending so well with the ruins of Stafford Castle in the background – reminded the audience that Shakespeare had imagined this action taking place many centuries earlier.  The sense of menace was strong and the excellent cast wove the domestic stories and the graphic brutality together skilfully;  the weapons of the time – axes, sticks and broadswords – and costumes in earthy colours brought the narrative to convincing life. The witches were wonderful! And the open-air setting of heath and woodland felt just right for this play; the dark figure of the solitary piper silhouetted against the real castle as the audience left was a striking finish to another excellent Stafford Festival event. To find out more about all the groups on offer at present, contact Gareth Jones on 01782 ­372349 or visit the website,  www.stoneu3a.btck.co.uk