University of the Third Age
- Gail Allaby, U3A's Queen of the Underworld
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
The Victorians would have given any number of reasons why one might rejoice in the good fortune to be born British. Gail Allaby, Todmorden U3A's Queen of the Underworld, must certainly certainly have one: that one can never be further from the sea than 70 miles. Gail, you see, is a member of Pennine Sub-Acqua Club and encouraged those present at the December general meeting of Todmorden U3A, by revealing in her talk to those present that she took up diving at the age of sixty.
Gail illustrated her talk in two ways. First, she entered the meeting in full diving gear, complete with tank, all of which, well almost all, she proceeded to take off to show what it takes to engage in this form of diving. The weight of all this alone is not enough to combat natural bouyancy and Gail has to add another14 kilos in order to be able to dive to the depths she wants. She was accompanied by her friend Sue, also a U3A member and in snorkelling gear, which is her preferred activity.
Gail then showed some photos taken in Cuban waters and those of Sharm-el-Sheikh. She explained that the ones which were clear and colourful were taken near to the surface and explained that photos taken in deeper waters yield duller colours due to the reduced available light. The photos included some of Gail and Sue in those exotic locations on board some pretty swish-looking boats. beautiful fish and one of a turtle in waters off Cuba. Not content with stills, Gail treated her audience to some fine underwater video footage as well.
Gail trained at Caponwray, near Lancaster, which has all sorts of objects tossed into a flooded gravel pit which enables divers to get used to finding their way around underwater.
Apart from the usual refreshments, members could also enjoy a hot fruit punch and there was also a quiz with a difference. In the words of the Chair, Gwen Goddard, "the quiz tested memories of key events from 1953 to 2011. I thought I had made it very difficult but had underestimated our members' abilities. There were 59 questions, the winning group scored 55 and several others achieved over 50." Teams were given three sheets of questions. Each question was prefaced with a year and then an answer needed to be found to a question comprising of initials. Thus, 1972 - RN visits C; Richard Nixon visits China.
The U3A Chair is surely left reassured at the efficacy of Todmorden U3A in keeping older minds active and ticking over nicely.
If you'd like to find out if Todmorden U3A could keep your mind ticking over, call 01706 839176 or find them on the web by searching for u3atod. All meetings are accessible to people with disabilities - and your first visit is free.
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HebWeb News - April meeting report - Belt and Braces - An Everyday Guide to Risk and Chance
HebWeb News - March meeting report - Growing Old in the Twenty-First Century