University of the Third Age

Our local U3A held its annual Exhibition yesterday, celebrating itself but also hoping to attract new members to a movement that provides a positive and creative approach to retirement. We meet once every month to hear a variety of speakers; the November meeting will hear a talk entitled ‘My Life as a Freelance Comedy Writer’! With a national identity, there are sixteen hundred of us in Bath with a plethora of groups who meet regularly. Many of them were on show yesterday, thirty eight of them out of a total of a hundred.

Some of the groups justify our rather pretentious name. There are several modern language studies: French of which there are ten groups, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish, but classical Greek and Latin as well. Another group calls itself ‘Discovering Words’. There are creative writing groups and others that are devoted to modern novels, poetry, and modern literature, philosophy, archaeology, and the history of art. The subject of the group I belong to is European Studies and Current Affairs and sixteen of us, meeting twice a month, give critical but positive attention to the changing face of the continent as well as to the imposed social revolution the U.

K. is now undergoing. We have different views, often informed by our work experience and lively argument. At our next meeting we shall doubtless exchange opinions on the Noble Peace Prize to the European Union, announced today.

There are groups which do all sorts of interesting things, There are three collections of Mahjong enthusiasts, another trio of Table tennis players, a scrabble group and several outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, petanque (boules), countryside walking, theatre and concert outings – a Christmas Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in December (‘fully booked with a very long waiting list’) – and holiday trips as well, including six days in Belgium in the Spring of next year.

There were a lot of happy people around yesterday, introducing themselves and promoting their activities. And at various times during the morning we were entertained by the recorder group, the rock band and the swing band! U3A has nothing to do with the burden of age, but more with it’s celebration.