Weekly Update 21 December 2020

Lockdown Quiz
The latest quiz from Julie Clarke (number 39) has been loaded to the website as well as the answers to number 38. Go to the quiz page where you’ll also find this week’s music quiz (number 38) and the answers to music quiz number 37. Our quiz page lists all the quizzes that have been set previously.

The ‘Christmas Star’ in 2020
If it’s a clear night tonight make sure you have a good look in the sky as it gets dark. No, you won’t see reindeer pulling a sleigh. That’s in a few days’ time! What you should see is the ‘Christmas Star’, a sight that we don’t get to see very often. Actually the ‘Christmas Star’ isn’t a star at all – it’s two planets very close together. Tonight and tomorrow, Jupiter and Saturn are so close together in the sky that they appear to be a single bright star.
You need to look in the southwest sky, which is roughly where the Sun sets tonight. Try to find a spot where you can see the horizon without trees or buildings in the way if possible. From sunset until about an hour afterwards, Jupiter and Saturn are lined up in the sky in what is called a great conjunction. If you miss it tonight, or if it’s too cloudy to see anything, have a look tomorrow or Wednesday. If you miss it this time you will have quite a long wait until it happens again.  You won’t have another opportunity to see it until 2080!

News from our Groups

The U3A Zoom Choir has joined with Crewe Male Voice Choir to produce a Christmas CD to be distributed to Care Homes to provide festive entertainment in place of our usual visits. This has been quite a challenge for our members. Each singer has to record his or her own voice individually (not usually to be recommended!), usually on a smart phone. The separate recordings are then ‘mixed’ into one track. All this without a conductor! If you can suggest a Care Home which might like a copy of the Christmas CD, please contact the Choir group leader asap.

Our quiz composer Julie Clarke thought we might find this relevant:

Don’t Quit – Poem by Edgar A. Guest

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he
Might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems
To a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up when he
Might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And when you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst,
You must not quit.

Local News
Several Interest Groups in our SE & Mid Cheshire u3a cluster are able to welcome members from other local U3As, whilst operating on-line:
Knutsford u3ahttps://knutsfordu3a.co.uk/ are offering Geology and Random History and  Holmes Chapel https://www.holmeschapelu3a.org.uk/ are offering Beginner Bridge Online Tournament, Guitar for Beginners, Local History, Patchwork and Quilting and Knitting for Charity (not meeting on line but in regular communication and happy to include others in our regular projects)
Holmes Chapel u3a also have a series of anniversary podcasts available on their website.
Information from several Sandbach u3a groups has been made available to the Cluster.
Gill Russell from Hoylake u3a and until recent a NW Trustee is offering a free short course in basic Japanese – a language taster. No expertise or previous experience necessary. For Gill’s contact details mail – mailing@sandbachu3a.org.uk

 National News
The national u3a podcast team have created a special festive episode which will be available to listen to from 25 December. This is in addition to the regular December episode which you can hear on this  YouTube Channel.  (Did you know that you can turn on subtitles on YouTube by clicking the furthest left icon on the bottom right hand side of the video – the icon is a little box with lines in it.)
Learning Events
u3a’s relationship with leading organisations, built up over many years, has meant we are in a position to offer selected national events online ensuring that learning is still available to our U3As and their members. This includes events with the National Gallery, Royal Institution, Guildhall Art Gallery, and the British Library (for which there may be a charge).
We are also offering a number of workshops, webinars and interactive sessions delivered by members for members, which are free to join.  https://www.u3a.org.uk/events/educational-events
Unexpectedly alone on Christmas day?
The WEA are providing free online activities on Christmas day, Including carols, crafts and a Christmas quiz. https://www.wea.org.uk/christmasdayactivities

And finally … Some Christmas Crackers

How many letters are in the Christmas alphabet?
25 of course as it has Noel

What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
Claustrophobia!

Why does Santa have three gardens?
So he can ‘ho ho ho’!

What kind of motorbike does Santa ride?
A Holly Davidson!

What do you call a cat in the desert?
Sandy Claws!

What do you call a dog who works for Santa?
Santa Paws!

What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?
A Christmas Quacker!

What is Santa’s Favourite model railroad scale?
HO, HO, HO!

What do you call Santa’s little helpers?
Subordinate clauses!

What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school?
The elf-abet!

How long do a reindeer’s legs have to be?
Long enough so they can touch the ground!

What do you call Rudolph with lots of snow in his ears?
Anything you want, he can’t hear you!

Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing?
They always drop their needles!

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?
Tinsilitis!

Why don’t penguins fly?
Because they’re not tall enough to be pilots!

What do you call a bunch of chess players bragging about their games in a hotel lobby?
Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer!

And if you want some topical cracker jokes visit https://corporate.uktv.co.uk/news/article/golds-top-christmas-cracker-jokes-2020-revealed/