May Meeting – Dickens the Conjuror . Talk by Ian Keable

It was a delight to welcome back Ian Keable to our May meeting.  Ian is a well- known author, broadcaster, researcher and member of the Inner Magic Circle who speaks on magic history, satirical prints, cartoons and 18th century hoaxes. This time we were entertained and informed about Dickens, the Conjuror through a playbill of his most famous show. Dickens was a keen amateur conjuror for around 7 years of his life, calling himself the ‘Unparalleled Necromancer’.  Ian gave us a highly amusing and expertly presented account of this little-known part of the great author’s life and to round off an excellent talk, he performed two Dickensian tricks to the amazement of all.

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Manon – live screening

What a wonderful evening and a thrilling exciting performance helped by the introduction and interpretation of
Darcy Bussell who had danced the leading role many times.  The ballet is in three acts and was screened live
from the Royal Opera House. Sarah Lamb was magnificent as Manon.  The Conductor was Martin Yates.

We hired the little green bus which made the evening even more enjoyable! No transport issues getting to and from the cinema.

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Walking – April 2018

Long Walk 4th  April led by Peter West

Wormsley Valley, 10.5 miles

The forecast was bleak: rain and strong winds. However, the rain did not start until about 11 am but continued for most of the rest of the walk but was never heavy. There had been much rain over the previous days and this had the greatest impact on the walk as footpaths and even fields we crossed were very muddy making walking laborious. Continue reading Walking – April 2018

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Wildlife Photography (and GDPR & ICE)

Trees We started with some good pictures of trees, and Bernard was pleased to see that Tony H has recovered his judgement in picking out good pictures (i.e. Bernard’s).

GDPR and ICE We discussed the impact of the General Data Protection Regulations coming into effect on 25 May and the effect this has on the way the group is run. A consequence is that the way that e-mails from the Group Leader are sent out has changed and until he is sure that teething problems have been overcome he is sending out a follow up e-mail the old way to check that the first e-mail has been received! The next edition of PreView has an article about GDPR by John C.

Because of GDPR our Group Leaders will no longer be holding ICE details (these are contact details for people to be contacted In Case of Emergency). This is unfortunate. However if you have a mobile phone you can include these details on it in a way that can be seen even when the phone is locked. Wendover U3A has a page explaining how this can be done – follow this link

Wildlife photography Most of the rest of the meeting was used for a presentation by Chris Roberts on wildlife photography, explaining how he got into this area and how he goes about it (e.g. hanging off the front of a narrowboat). Clearly his knowledge of nature and wildlife was a great asset in knowing where and how to look for subjects. There is no point in trying to photograph a butterfly in flight. He has also taken photographs at ‘Hide Days’ such as those run by Nature Photography Hides .  These cost around £100 or so and so if you are looking for suggestions of what people can give you for Christmas or a birthday . . .  Chris then showed a number of examples of his work, which raised quite a few comments and questions. Many thanks again to Chris.

Gadget Of the Day Bernard showed off his UV Filter which screws on to the front of his lens. He doesn’t use as a filter (it has virtually no impact as a filter on digital cameras) but to protect his lens. It costs perhaps £10 but if it gets scratched that is £10 lost rather than £100’s for a good lens.

Hoya 58mm UV(C) Digital HMC Screw-in Filter

Next two meetings The subject for prints at the May meeting is Flowers. Hopefully with good weather about to hit us there will actually be some flowers to photograph and nobody has to fall back on the way “flower” is used in cryptic crossword clues, meaning a river (i.e. something that flows). Our June outing will be to Benson Lock.

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Coach trip to Myddleton House and Capel Manor Gardens

The cold, damp and gloomy weather of March and the beginning of April had thankfully disappeared and we enjoyed a dry and fine day for our visit to two wonderful but very different gardens in Enfield.  Myddleton House is the former home of E.H. Bowles, the famous gardener, and is a lovely, natural and informal garden.  Most of us took a short, guided tour and we were delighted by the masses of spring flowers.  The alpine meadow and the rockery carpeted in the dazzling blue of thousands of scilla  were beautiful.  After two hours and a coffee, we boarded the coach again for a very short journey round the corner to Capel Manor Gardens.  Capel Manor is London’s Horticultural College and it was buzzing with students just returned from their Easter break.  The large site was full of the most interesting and stunning show gardens and at this time of the year, fabulous displays of spring flowers including many different varieties of daffodils and narcissi and beautiful tulips in dazzling colours.  There was so much to see, not only the gardens but also lakes, a maze, an amphitheatre and an animal park with meerkats, alpacas, birds and small animals. Luckily there were plenty of seats, a large restaurant and a well-stocked garden shop to help us revive our flagging energy levels. A fantastic day rounded off with a trouble-free journey to return to Princes Risborough by 5.00pm.

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Main Meeting “Beyond the Edelweiss” Talk by Bernard Foot

At our April main meeting, we were treated to a wonderful talk given by one of our members, Bernard Foot.  Bernard’ talk, ”Behind the Edelweiss”, described the dark history behind Austria in the first half of the twentieth century and how it fashioned our modern world.  With an excellent slide presentation, we were taken through the fall of the Austro Hungarian Empire after WWI, the collapse of the Austrian Republic, the rise of the Nazis and the Anschluss and the consequences of Austria’s alignment with Germany in WWII.  A fascinating, illuminating story highlighted with memorable insights into Bernard’s personal links with Austria.

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Learning Together