Janet ErskineThe world being as it is at the moment, we cannot only think of our Chinnor U3A and how we can improve our lot. We are obliged to accommodate this invisible and hard to fathom virus which is changing our way of living.
A very small number of our members remember the hardships of World War II, when family and neighbours were united against a common enemy. Now we are fighting an unseen enemy, fumbling in the dark as there are no fixed parameters. Most days we are given new dictates from above so now we have to avoid one another as we would an oncoming vehicle. To begin with we were streaks ahead of the game
– copious hand washing was all that was needed to stay out of danger, and we are good at that – but now staying calm and cheerful seems to be the best way to carry on and Chinnor U3A is good at that too.
The possible illness and shopping for necessities aside, it’s the enforced isolation which goes against our instincts and the very ethos of the U3A. Whilst we cannot socialise as we used to do in our interest groups, at coffee mornings and monthly meetings we need to be creative and think of new ways of keeping in touch and communicating. Even the committee misses being able to meet up once a month! We will have to embrace the technology we have at home.
 Most of us have access to the internet and can contact one another. Perhaps some can talk using WhatsApp or FaceTime; it might even be possible to set up a group meeting using Zoom. Please help your group co-ordinator with your ideas to keep things rolling. If there are members that you know of who cannot normally get out and have no internet, try and telephone them, shout over their garden fence or even write them a letter and slip it through their door.
I am not normally an advocate of
Facebook, so these are indeed strange times with me telling you about it, but for those of you who are already members, there is a new Facebook group called U3A Chinnor. The National Office also has a Facebook group: U3A Keeping In Touch. So log into your Facebook account and search for these new ‘groups’.
We all hope that it’s not too long before our lives are back to normal and we will be able to join in with outings, holidays and meetings.
Keep smiling and take care,
A little about me...
Before moving to Chinnor in December 2015 I was a member of Melbourn U3A in Cambridgeshire, where I started a French Conversation Group in January 2010. I joined the Chinnor Committee last spring and was then asked to stand as Vice-Chairperson, to take over from the experienced Bryan in January this year. Before retiring I worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language to adults as well as children and also worked as a Public Services Interpreter on an ad hoc basis. I’m a keen member of several interest groups: Creative Writing, Art History and a Reading Group, whilst co-ordinating the French Beginners’ and French Conversation Groups. When I can find the time, I like painting and at times help with our daughter’s children.

With very best wishes
Janet Erskine


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