Ramsey and District u3a


Our Deputy Chairman, David Gilbert-Hill, welcomed members old and new and visitors to our meeting. The usual housekeeping notices were read out, with a reminder that tables and chairs in the foyer were reserved for those who were less able. A copy of the latest Aspire magazine was available from the sign-in desk.

The Christmas meeting will be a ticket only session.Tickets will be on sale at the November meeting at £7 per person, there are a limit number of tickets available.

Our R&D website is up and running, please consult it, have a look at the calendar to see when your favourite group is next meeting!

Our holiday for 2021 was to Harrogate and the North Yorkshire Moors, we all had a great time and enjoyed our visit to Yorkshire. In 2022 our holiday will be ‘Irish House Party’, 27th June to 1st July, reconvened from 2020. We hope to resume our day trips in 2022.

The Groups Co-ordinator then read out the Group news for this month. Most groups are now available. Currently, the walking group are unable to continue, as Maureen has been unable to find a group leader.  More players are required toget the Mah-Jong up and running, sign- up sheets are in the foyer. The table tennis group also need more members, they just play for fun and enjoyment!

Enid is producing a ditty to perform at the Christmas meeting and has requested performers to assist. She needs a further two men and women to play various roles. I have been advised that the required number of thespians have been volunteered.

It has been suggested that a support group be set up to give help and assistance to those suffering from long term illnesses. Sheila Gilbert-Hill has agreed to run this totally confidential group once a month – if you feel that it would be something that would be helpful, please get in touch with her in the first instance.

 David then introduced the speaker for this afternoon’s talk, Linda Scoles, her subject “The Yanks Are Coming.”

Linda is an American who came to England in 1971 with her husband Jim and their three children, Jim was an American Air Force Officer who had served in Vietnam and was posted to the UK for a three-year tour. Linda and Jim elected to stay in Suffolk on Jim’s retirement and settled in Great Barton, some three miles from Bury St. Edmunds. Jim died in 2001, but Linda still lives and loves the village way of life.

Linda told us about how they left the USA, with problems about the aircraft they were due to fly on, so they were off loaded, on and off for a further two times. Eventually, the made it to England 18 hours later, to a rainy welcome. The next day, Jim was up early and ready to go looking for a home to rent and found one in Great Barton. The landlord ran the local post office and encouraged them to join in with all that was happening in the village.

Linda and her family worshipped at the local church and became good friends with the vicar, it was then that they were introduced to Sunday lunch and the Sunday joint! The ladies of the house prepared Sunday lunch and the menfolk went to the pub, the Bunberry Arms. Jim was introduced to Green King ales and the licencing hours of their local pub. Linda was invited to decorate a window in the church for Harvest festival, which was several months away, this gave Linda time to plan a masterpiece based on bread. She visited every bakery in Bury St. Edmunds to find the largest loaf, while Jim manufactured the Staffs of Life to accompany the bread. The window was beautiful and simple and Linda was over the moon. She went to visit the church and found the loaf was missing and the rest of her display was strewn over the floor. Linda ran to the vicarage and told the vicar that her bread had been stolen. The vicar laughed and explained that all produce was removed from church and donated to the poor and needy.

Linda and Jim were invited to an adult weekend in London (No children) so a babysitter was needed, a Mrs Fisk was recommended and came to look after the children. On return, Linda and Jim were told how good the children had been. However, the girls had been very bad and Barton had cut a window in the garage with Dads’ new power saw. Remember, the garage was rented too! Mrs Fisk became a very special grandmother to the family.

Linda and Jim were invited to the Licenced Victuallers Ball, so Linda needed a new outfit. Jim had purchased some Thai silk, but there was not quite enough material, so by patching in some similar material all was well.  They made a grand entrance and as their names were called out moved elegantly down the staircase, all eyes were on Jim. He was wearing full regimental military uniform and looked amazing. Nobody was looking at Linda, however, later in the evening an official guest mistook Jim for a wine waiter and he paid for the drinks!

One morning, there was a knock on the door, Jim answered it and there stood Bert, he was looking for a good Samaritan, so in he came and sat at our table. Bert looked like Andy Capp; his body odour was overpowering. He had a bath on Friday, wore a clean shirt on Saturday, and made it last through the rest of the week. He told a sad tale of how the Post Office had kept his pension book, so he had no money and begged Jim to give him £5. The next morning Jim went to the Post Office to give them hell, but it was explained to him that all newcomers were subject to Bert’s game and Jim came home totally deflated.

Linda needed a car, but there were two criteria that had to be met. The car had to be British and had to fit the size of Jim’s wallet. A mini appeared on the market and Jim contacted the seller, who said do not view it in the dark as it was in the middle of a field. Jim was not easily put off, so we decided to go there and then and view the mini. The field was ploughed and had deep furrows, so we were well covered in mud. Jim bought the mini instantly and drove it home. The mini was blue and was christened ‘Gainsborough’, it had one serious problem, it would take you out, but refuse to bring you home!

Linda and Jim were members of the local amateur theatre group and enjoyed taking part. Jim was a great jester with his red tights and bells on every extremity. A performance for three nights in Great Barton was a runaway success, so they were invited to Walsham-le-Willows to raise funds, however, the night before, it snowed and snowed, there were ten cars in convoy, with great difficulty, the scenery was erected and the performances began. The first audience was 250 of the nastiest children, scenery fell over, it was awful. After the performance, the blue mini refused to start, Jim told everyone to go home as he could get the car to start, but he could not start it. He tried to get a lift home, dressed in a jesters costume but nobody would stop. He ended up walking home arriving at an unearthly hour freezing cold.

In 1984 Jim retired and worked as head of history, teaching at the Armed Forces college, it took servicemen and women six to eight years to get a degree. Jim’s own children took up his courses. Jim died in 2001 aged 61 years. He enjoyed daily injections of Green King!

The chairman thanked Linda for a most enjoyable afternoon and we broke for tea, coffee and biscuits.

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Next Meeting

 The next general meeting will take place on Tuesday 16th November at the Community Centre, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, starting at 2.00pm. The subject will be “Bridges, Brewers and Barges” and the speaker is Peter Scott from the Norris Museum.

Useful information

Age UK have a new Community Warden for Ramsey and surrounding villages, her name is Sara Matthews. The Ramsey scheme can support people aged 60 and over and currently has capacity to support more people. Sara can offer support to older people to continue living at home, safely and independently. She can collect/drop off prescriptions, small bits of shopping, make phone calls on your behalf, help with paperwork or just have a chat to reduce loneliness.

For all new referrals to the scheme, there is a 2-week FREE trial and afterward there is a small weekly charge of £9 per week for a single person or £11 for a couple. If you would like more information, please call Sara on 07900 340265 or email: wardens@ageukcap.org.uk

. Dementia Carers Support Service are asking for volunteers to help support someone caring for a loved one who has dementia or can help in any other way, then please contact us. If you would like to get involved, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Louise Woolacott-Crow on 01480 420331 or email: dcss@cpft.nhs.uk.

And Finally

Car Parking – Please remember to park your car considerately and use car sharing if you are able.


 What do dentists call their x-rays? Tooth pics!

 Did you hear about the first restaurant to open on the moon? It had great food, but no atmosphere.

 What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing, it just waved.