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UPDATE - December 2022/January 2023

Wishing all members a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy


From the Committee …

We can now all celebrate that, with no Covid restrictions in place, 2022 was our very first year of being able to meet every month. Membership has risen from 112 at the beginning of the year to 181 this December, after a busy year recruiting new members with "bring a friend", stall at The Walronds Spring Festival and the Mid Devon Show.

We are also excited that we now have our very own Culm Valley u3a website, which we will be able to build on and develop over time to suit our needs.

Please remember there is no members monthly meeting in January, so the first speaker booked for February next year is Sharon Collins from Hospiscare.

Finally a big Thank You to Sue for writing and presenting the Murder Mystery for the December meeting, and the Tea Team for their delivery of tea, mince pies and sausage rolls

in difficult circumstances, with no access to the main kitchen.

Margaret, Janet, Lorna, Alison, Sue and Barbie, your Committee, would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year at our monthly meetings or in your Interest Groups.

Margaret Chumbley and the Committee

Our first Monthly Meeting for 2023 ...

On the 2 February 2023 we look forward to welcoming Sharon Collins from Hospiscare, to tell us about the history of our local hospice. Over 40 years, from its beginnings in Exeter in 1982, to the 2,500 people in Devon, it now supports annually.

News from the Interest Groups


We have had another successful year, with many visits and supporting Culm Valley u3a stalls at The Walronds Spring Festival and Mid Devon Show, by donating plants.

Our first meeting in February was a joint outing with the Walking Group for a walk along the Burn Valley to see the snowdrops followed by a pub lunch in the Butterleigh Inn.

We have visited two members' gardens, Mo's in July and Linda's in September, and a total of nine other gardens.

The first two visits had to be cancelled due to bad weather, but then in March we visited Castle Hill Filleigh for springtime daffodils, followed by South Wood Farm for the tulips, Blundell’s School to see what the pupils were doing in their garden, Coldharbour Mill and Cafe where one of our members volunteers, and The Pig at Gittisham for a second time to see the hotel's kitchen garden in the summer. Quince Honey Farm was inspirational and informative with lots of facts on bees and honey production. Burrow Farm in August followed by a return visit to Silver Street Farm in September, and a joint outing on a beautiful sunny afternoon in October with Broadhembury Gardening Club to Thornhayes Arboretum concluded our 2022 garden visits.

One more gathering on Friday 8th December at The Globe, Sampford Peverell concluded our Gardening Group Year.

A large group of people eating Christmas dinner in a pub.
Gardening Group Christmas Lunch


We had a tricky challenge this month. It was to produce photos for the subjects - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Pudding. One of the main issues was that we tended to really enjoy our food and only afterwards realised we should have photographed it before tucking in. The quality of photographs this month was exceptional and in Tricias case, very funny.

For the subject “Pudding” she submitted a beautiful cold, creamy pint of Guinness!

The overall winner this month was Linda Probert for her evocative picture of waffle wonderfulness on Exmouth beach. You could almost taste the calories!

Our instant challenge was to take a photo of one of my pets. I have recently got a puppy who never sits still and I also have an elderly Great Dane who mainly sleeps on his sofa. the Great Dane is a black dog sleeping on a black sofa - tricky!

We also have a fluffy rescue which you cannot work out which end is which. There are two cats, the deaf one you cannot entice to look at the lens and the other is hormonal and may relent to being photographed or may remove your arm.

Our instant challenge last month of photographing each others eyes showed why photography is so enlightening. For each of the photos we could look into the eyes of the subjects and make our own stories about them. Perhaps you might like to try taking some photos of peoples eyes - see what stories you find there.

Plate containing waffles covered in fruit and cream, on a beach
Overall winner was Linda Probert's evocative picture of waffle wonderfulness on Exmouth beach

Computer / ITC

We held our last meeting of 2022 on Wednesday 7 December at Cullompton Library and our next meeting will be on Wednesday 18 January 2023 in Room 3 at the Library at 3pm as usual.

Many thanks to all ITCG members who have helped us develop and maintain a lively, interesting (and fun?) exploration of the world of mobile phones, tablets, laptops and PCs. I hope that we can continue in this vein in the new year so if you have any issues, queries or questions - keep them coming! I enjoy the challenge.

I wish a very Merry Xmas, a Happy New Year and a healthy, happy and warm 2023 to all Culm Valley u3a members.


Ten of us met at the Willand Village Hall on Monday 5 December. A lovely relaxing morning was

had by all and there was fun and laughter, whilst playing a variety of games, including

Backgammon, Scrabble and Whist. Thanks to Paula who shared her Backgammon skills and

taught others how to play it.

Theatre Cinema and Music

Four of us braved a chilly evening to see The Royal Ballet live streaming of The Nutcracker at the

Tivoli Cinema in Tiverton. The production was transmitted direct from The Royal Opera House in

Covent Garden, with their own orchestra. The dancing was superb and told the delightful story of the ugly Nutcracker doll, at Christmas time. The lightness and the agility of the dancers left us all with so much admiration for the whole cast. We all agreed a brilliant way to start our own Christmas Celebrations. On the 8th of January there is a live stream of Andre Rieu in Dublin, on at the Wellesley and in Tiverton at 14.30. During 2023 there are more ballets and operas to enjoy. Please send us any suggestions for next year. Merry Christmas and all good wishes for 2023.


Sarah writes: After torrential rain the day before, the 17th November dawned bright, as 11 of us met in Silverton for the start of our monthly walk. Following footpaths, fields and a lane we climbed steeply uphill to the beacon at Christ Cross, 850 feet above sea level. We were rewarded with the most stunning views of the Exe Estuary, Sidmouth Gap, Woodbury Common and Dartmoor, as well as flooding in the Exe Valley. Lots of discussion ensued as to which landmarks we could spot! Views of the Blackdown Hills and Quantocks opened up as we followed a road along the hill top before descending down a muddy and stony track. We stopped at a cottage and engaged a man in conversation about the new air source heating system he was installing before crossing a few fields back to Silverton. We made it back before the rain and were given a most warm welcome and delicious lunch at The Lamb Inn.

A group of people walking in the countryside.
Walkers at Christ Cross, 850 feet above sea level

Behind The Scenes

It's been a fantastic year of visits for Behind the Scenes and what a great time we've had at them all! From local visits to Siddy Langley's glass studio in Plymtree and the Yarak Bird of Prey Centre near Cullompton we ventured further south to Dartmouth and the historic Britannia Royal Naval College during the sweltering month of July. In August we tasted Devon's local wines and picnicked under the trees at Heron Vineyard near Honiton. September saw us all aboard the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh for a nostalgic round trip on a steam train to the happily quirky town of Totnes. And finally in November, our visit to the Dartington Crystal Factory at Torrington provided the perfect pre-Christmas shopping excuse.

The BTS team of Barbie, Moira and I are delighted to be joined by Paula Longden for the challenge of putting together an equally varied programme of visits for 2023. Till then we wish you all a festive Christmas and New Year. Gill

Art in Action

Jazz Appreciation

After, at long last, having achieved a visit to the London Inn, Ottery St Mary, on the 1st Sunday in December, to spend a most enjoyable evening in the presence of the City Steam Jazz Band, I now have to report that after 8 years playing there, the evening was announced as being the end of an era! Starting on 8th January 2023, the City Steam Jazz Band will henceforth play at The Royal British Legion Hall, Westhill, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1TX on the 2nd Sunday of the month, 7.30 to 10.00pm.

Learn to Draw

On 29th November 11 of us met at The Orangery at Bridwell Park to discuss a new Interest Group. Different from all other Interest Groups, this one offers a learning programme to run over a specific period of time. Working in small groups of 4 or 5, on a hosts dinning or kitchen table, the group will learn the basics of drawing, with a view to developing their confidence and skills. On completion of the set programme they can then do their own thing and/or join the Art in Action group and continue to develop their style, and experiment with different types of media and subject matter. Three groups will run from January 2023 to the end of July 2023, when plans will be made to start a new group of those wanting to learn to draw.

And finally ...

Ever struggled to explain what the “Third Age” is?

Gill Sole happened upon the following definition of recently - attributed to MacMillan Dictionary - which is very straightforward and simple.

Third Age - the period of time after middle age and before old age, when people are still active.

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