18 January 2019

Photography for Fun Update

Photography for Fun Group Update 

A group of around 8 -10 of us meet monthly in each others houses to develop our photographic skills and share our photographs having attempted to put into practise what we have learnt.

Last year we learnt a lot more about how we can use our camera functions more to get better photos. Such skills range from composition of the photograph to how to get sharper images. We took photos of flowers, sunrises and sunsets, children and pets as well as many other topics. We were very lucky to have a talk by a local professional photographer and to visit the very interesting Top Foto in Edenbridge where many images of historic interest are kept.

The aim of the group is to develop our photographic skills through learning new techniques, practising, sharing and discussing our photos. It is an informal group with everyone helping each other.

Enthusiasm is the key requirement and any type of camera/phone is fine so don't think you have to have  complex highly expensive gear to participate.

We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month 2.00-4.00 pm in members' houses or occasionally in a local meeting room if we have a guest speaker.

If you would like to know more please email me (Theresa) on photography@edenbridgeu3a.co.uk

12 January 2019

U3A Longer Walks Update

New Year, New Walk

We had some lovely walks during 2018 exploring  Limpsfield Chart, Dormansland, Charcot, Chevening, Godden Green, Toys Hill, Penshurst and Cowden.

2019 kicked off with a lovely 5 mile walk around Dormansland and  Marsh Green where we were so lucky with the weather and ground conditions - very little mud for this time of year.

We are so lucky in this area to have an extensive footpath network that allows us to see such lovely country side from meadows to woodlands and to view the many splendid houses and country estates we pass on our travels.

Post walk we get to sample the food delights of various pubs and a chance to chat before going our separate ways for the rest of the day. We usually finish lunch by 2pm giving the rest of the day for other activities.

If you would like to join us on our walks they are on the 2nd Wednesday of the month starting at 10am and are usually 5-6 miles followed by lunch for those who want to stay on to eat. We take it in turns to lead the walk but new members would not be expected to lead a walk for a year (unless they want to) so don't let that put you off joining. Come along and give it a try.

Well behaved dogs are welcome on the walk.

Please email me (Theresa Booker) at longerwalks@edenbridgeu3a.co.uk to be put on the mailing list to receive details of forthcoming walks. 

4 January 2019

Short Walk around Emmetts

Short Walk around Emmetts
December 2018 

A group of 10 of us enjoyed a short walk around Emmetts on December 27th. We had a very good, cold but bright day to blow away the Christmas 'cobwebs' and use up a few of those excess calories. The walk was chosen to be as mud-free as is possible for a winter walk in the area.

We started at the Emmetts Car park and initially walked away from the gardens. After a spell on the road back towards Ide Hill we took the Public Footpath along the drive past the Cricket Club. This took us into the gardens and we took the path through the South Garden to join the other path going down into the Bluebell Walk (wonderful in June).

From here we linked up with the Ram Pond Walk, going quite steeply downhill out of National Trust land passing the pond with the Ram Pump. This was used, before mains water, to pump water from the pond uphill, providing water for the gardens.

Of course as we had come downhill we had to go back up again! This was a steady uphill, not too steep but quite long. We re-entered Emmetts Garden past the Children's play area and the tea shop. Some of the group stopped for coffee but those wanting lunch went on to The Cock Inn at Ide Hill.

2 January 2019

New members wanted for Book Club Two

Book Club Two are looking 
for new members

We have space for up to three new members to join our exciting Book Club.
There are are currently seven female members, so for the sake of a balanced view, 
male members would be most welcome. 

Recent books have included 'An Artist of the Floating World' by Kazuo Ishiguro. 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Attwood. 'Light Between Oceans' by M.L. Stedman and 'All Passion Spent' by Vita Sackville West.

We meet on Fridays at 2.00pm every 5 - 6 weeks in group members' homes.

If you'd like to join us, or for more information please contact Anne Sydney at booktwo@edenbridgeu3a.co.uk

15 December 2018

Wine Appreciation on a Grand Scale

Wine Appreciation on a Grand Scale

Last Tuesday, Rickards Hall, in Edenbridge, was buzzing with the sound of popping corks, music and laughter as the 3 wine appreciation groups gathered for a Christmas celebration. The hall had been transformed into a colourful European meeting place bedecked with national flags and artefacts making the room a riot of colour, a fitting backdrop for the bright, imaginative, if somewhat crazy costumes that were worn by the group members. We were treated to an array of red and white wines from Spain, France and Italy accompanied by regional food and music.

Señor Faulty, ably assisted by Manuel, introduced the Spanish wines on behalf of group 1. Group 2s Sommelier, 'Jean', represented the French, wearing the traditional beret and striped top. However, it was noticed that a few ‘Yellow Vests’ had managed to sneak in. Fortunately, they proved to be both well behaved and well informed.

The same cannot be said for the Italian Gondoliers, led by Signor Cornetto, who serenaded us with some dubious but hilarious ditties which were enjoyed by all. 

There followed a surprise visit from Santa who pulled his sleigh around the gathered company, giving out presents. What delights did he bring? Yes, you’ve guessed it…....more wine! The evening ended with music and dancing

We all agreed it had been a fantastic night and a testament to what can be achieved when everyone gets involved. 

Here’s to the next one!

A busy year for Third Age Birders


Hello birdy people, well, we finished off our year in perfect birding weather for our trip to Bough Beech Centre and Reservoir. What a beautiful winter's morning - cold, bright, sunny and calm - and a great opportunity to catch some rays after the recent dank and grey days.  15 of us were happy to abandon the pressures of Christmas preparations to spend time convening with nature at our local beauty spot. A chance to pause and breathe deeply. Our first treat was the "top  of the trees" appearance of two large flocks of fieldfare and redwing - winter visitors from Scandinavia who travel here every autumn because it is warmer!  

We quickly became familiar with the fieldfare "cackle" as the abandoned apple orchards at Bough Beech are a main attraction for them. We cosied up in the hide to view woodland birds attacking the two peanut feeders - chaffinch, goldfinch, great tit and blue tit, and were treated to the now rare appearance of a greenfinch feeding alongside them while a family of wren busied themselves in the reeds in front of us. A walk along the reservoir causeway allowed good views of pochard, great crested grebe, wigeon, cormorant and teal. 

Best spot of the morning was a single black necked grebe in winter plumage. This grebe is a rare breeder in the north and again comes south to warmer climes. The insistent honking of gossiping geese pierced the peaceful air - heard before seen as we reached the end of the causeway. These must be the guys who fly noisily over my house at dusk - demanding attention and never failing to stop me in my tracks. The signboard listed redpoll, goosander, snipe and mandarin but we didn't hang around in the hope of seeing them this morning because of the very low temperature.  In spite of this we were fortunate enough to see 37 different birds without really trying.

starling, blackbird, chaffinch, coot, cormorant, crow, wood pigeon, tufted duck, dunnock, gadwall, pochard, teal, mallard, Canada goose, goldfinch, greylag goose, robin, great crested grebe, black necked grebe, greenfinch, black headed gull, buzzard, heron, jackdaw, kestrel, jay, magpie, moorhen, wigeon, great tit, blue tit, coat tit, redwing, fieldfare, mute swan, pied wagtail, wren. 

During 2018 we have travelled near and far in our aim to see as wide a variety of bird species as possible - 

January - Sevenoaks Wildfowl Trust
February - Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex RSPB 
March - Kelsey Park, Beckenham
April - Tankerton, Whitstable, Oare Marsh, Faversham
May - Bough Beech
June - Broadwater Warren, Tunbridge Wells, RSPB
June - Rye Harbour West Sussex RSPB
July - Dungeness, Kent  RSPB
September - Sevenoaks Wildfowl Trust
October - Isle of Sheppey - Elmley Marshes
November - Cliffe Pools Thames Estuary
December - Bough Beech

I am now making plans for 2019 and hope to find some new locations as well as revisiting old favourites. That's the joy of birding - the same venue can be a very different experience each time we visit.


23rd January - Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex. Full day BOOKING NOW

4th, 5th, 6th or 7th February - Minsmere  RSPB - you are invited to join us for the day - we have a holiday cottage on the reserve

21st February - Gillingham Country Park and Bore Place. Full day BOOKING NOW

26th March  South Norwood Country Park and Kelsey Park. Half day BOOKING NOW

16th April, Dungeness. Full day

24th May, Bough Beech. Half day

13th June, Whitstable, Tankerton, Oare Marshes. Full day

5th July, tbc. Winchelsea, Rye or Minsmere. Full day, 

The Third Age Birders group now has 40 members. Because of this I would ask you to always book your place as soon as you have decided as an ideal number is 12 or less. I operate on a first come, first served basis. If full, I will put you on a short list. If a particular venue proves very popular we will aim to go twice in the month.  

Seasons greetings to all and here's to a happy and productive birding New Year.