Monday, 27 May 2019

National Association of Flower Arrangers Fellowship

National Association of Flower Arrangers Fellowship

On Monday 20th May I gave a talk to a wonderful group of around 90 ladies and a handful of gentlemen about the fantastic gardens at Gresgarth Hall in Caton near Lancaster. It was very well received indeed.
The facilities at Barton Grange Hotel are simply fantastic, with my photographs being displayed on THREE large screen in the dining room. I think it must be a similar experience at a political rally!

Running through the trailers for my other talks before lunch.
Just waiting for the last of the coffee to be consumed before the talk started.

Thursday, 24 January 2019


Thursday morning 24th January 2019

I took a gathering of around 60 folk on a virtual trip to the distant islands that comprise St. Kilda in the North Atlantic. Often, only the odd one or two members of my audience have been to St. Kilda, but this morning we drew a complete blank!
One lady's husband had been a number of years ago, and a gentleman in the audience had a friend whose brother had been!
However, it's to be hoped that I've whetted the appetite of a few of them to take up the challenge. It's one of those places that seems to have the power to draw you back again, so if I can get them there once, you never know.
The village hall where the U3a meet, is right next door to Hesketh Bank FC football ground.
It was a grey, misty morning, but at least the heavy frost had cleared from the day before.
The Community Centre is a thoroughly good place for their monthly meetings / lectures, with a good supply of equipment to make things a success.
The audience of around 60 people has begun to assemble in order to disseminate all the latest gossip, and before the curtains are drawn for the morning talk.
The talk went well, and I think the audience departed for their lunch intent on making the hazardous crossing to the islands...……….maybe?!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Ambleside U3a: Monday 14th January 2019

Monday 14th January 2019

"Small Hebridean Islands - In a Small Boat"
Apparently, a record audience of around 108, assembled in the wonderful Marchesi Centre, Holly Road, Windermere, for the above talk. Hopefully it was enjoyed by all.
A portion of the record audience listen to announcements from the Chairman, prior to the talk
I'd spent an hour and a half in the walled garden at Holehird Gardens, the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society, and the heady aroma provided by the Daphne, the Mahonia, the Hamamelis, and the hundreds of early Snowdrops, was phenomenal, even at this early time of the year.
I'd gone deliberately to see if I could get some material to add to my talk "Yes, We have no Galanthus", a story of the humble Snowdrop. I'll be returning next month when they reach their peak.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Wyre U3a - A Journey to St. Kilda, The Lonely Isles

12th April 2018
Wyre U3a
St. Kilda: The Lonely Isles
Well over 100 members of the Wyre U3a assembled to hear me talk about the Lonely Isles of St. Kilda. It's a place that hold a fascination for people, for it's one of those places in the UK that is rarely visited, probably because of the difficulty of getting there.

It is, after all, 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, and 100 miles west of the Scottish west coast, so perhaps that's the reason.

However, St. Kilda does have dual World Heritage Status in respect of its Social history and its wildlife, including that below the waves, making it one of just 32 such places world-wide.

There are, therefore, many reasons for making an effort, and I hope that the talk may encourage one or two people to do so.
Perhaps the reason not many people were sitting near the front was that they didn't
want to be caught by the sea-spray!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Bolton Family History Society

 A talk about Preston resident and Freeman, Moses Holden 1777-1864, in his birth-place of Bolton, was an appealing prospect for me, and an 80-odd strong audience was a real encouragement.
There are a few factual errors  in the Society's report, see below, but if you think the talk would be of interest to your group, get in touch and talk to me about it.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Stick and Wheel Club, Staveley

The Stick and Wheel Club

Staveley Village Institute and the River Kent       Photo:  Steve Halliwell

There can be few places to speak that are lovelier than the Village Institute in Staveley, and such was the case on Monday 19th March 2018, when I gave my talk, "From Victoria to Ventnor" to the gathered ladies and gentlemen.
We explored the differences between two gardens on the Isle of Wight, Queen Victoria's Osborne House at the north of the island, and the tropical Ventnor Gardens at the most southerly point on the island.
Although the name of the club is intended to indicate how their members may arrive there - either with a walking stick or a form of wheeled walking aid, but I saw little evidence of wheels, and most seemed to make light of their need for a stick! Just a bit of insurance, eh?
The hour's talk seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed, and the tea and home-made cake afterwards certainly was.
Posted by: Steve Halliwell 24.3.2018