U3A Oliva

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The Newsletter of the U3A in Oliva

Issue 57

From our President.

I hope you have all had as good a Festive Season as the Covid restrictions allowed and are looking forward, hopefully, to seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Our morale and general outlook has certainly been tested over the past months but, with the news of a vaccine on the near horizon, we can begin to look forward to 2021.

There have been various initiatives by members to try to keep the spirit of the U3A Oliva alive and these are to be encouraged. There are also websites and YouTube videos which can be used in an effort to keep ourselves both mentally and physically engaged. One of these I have found particularly useful and interesting is the Virtual Village Hall which is run by the Royal Voluntary Service, web address http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/virtual-village-hall

The news that Oliva is now in lockdown did not come as a complete surprise after the recent celebrations and it is to be hoped that this will have the desired effect of helping to control the spread of this virus.

Please take care of yourselves and may I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year from myself and the members of your Committee



SOS Crag Martins: Guide to saving a Crag Martin during a cold snap

Storm Filomena brought with it some of the coldest weather Spain has seen for a while. The effects have been fatal for many insect-eating bird species which could not feed during this period. 

One of these is the Crag Martin. This bird is very similar to a Swallow or a House Martin in size, shape and behaviour, but its colours are more ash grey. Unlike the Swallow it over-winters in Spain. In the summer the bird lives all over the peninsular, but during the winter it congregates in Mediterranean Spain in towns, wetlands and rural areas, forming large roosts in buildings. The recent cold weather has brought mass mortality, and up to 70 birds have been found dead together in one place. 

Analysis has shown that these deaths are caused by a combination of low temperatures and rain or snow falls. The birds can not feed during the day when there was snow or rain, whilst the cold increases the energy they need to regulate their body temperature to keep vital internal organs working. Whilst some survive, many use up their energy reserves and can not. 

As the cold weather continues Faunatura, a nature charity, published a guide with advice on what to do to save a dying bird.  This note is a shortened English version of that guide. 


  1. Pick it up, take it home and warm it up very gently (hot water bottle- bottle warm water)
  • Very important: don’t try to give it food or water at the start
  • If you find a wet bird, dry it with a hairdryer on minimum setting
  1. Take it to a vet that deals with wild species to be rehydrated with a subcutaneous saline injection.
  2. Contact your nearest rescue centre (Centro de Recuperación de Fauna)

CRF LA GRANJA DEL SALER (Valencia) 963 86 80 25

CRF SANTA FAC (ALICANTE) 965 93 80 85/ 630 96 69 89

No luck? Seek advice from Faunatura (asociacionfaunatura@gmail.com). Remember if a Martin or a Swift is on the ground it can’t fly. They feed on the wing and rarely touch the ground, so ‘helping’ it to fly by throwing will only cause more injury.

With special thanks to Faunatura.

Ambulancias LaPena

The current Covid situation unfortunately delayed to start up of the new service in Oliva from Ambulancias LaPena. Their new launch date is now Jan 4th. They have sent out an appeal to try and get customers signed up ready for the start. This is a great service for Oliva.
Ambulancias LaPena will be at the Polivalent on the 18th December between 10.00 & 12.00 to answer your questions.
Earlier in the year we organised a discount for U3A members and they are not only going to keep that discount going ( €94 not €99 per Household), but they have also offered to hold off on charging the full amount (for our members)until January, rather than on sign up.

They offer a great ‘peace of mind’ service and we think they are worthwhile talking to if you are hesitant about what they offer. Most of the information is below including the new SOS button.
The policy consists of: an annual payment of €94 (U3A) in this policy emergencies are included (all kinds of emergencies: falls, dizziness, blows, etc.) inside the house and outside the house as long as it is inside the same population, the transfer in ambulance will be made to the nearby health center and if needed, the patient is transferred to the public or private hospital.
This service would be effective for all members of a household for a single payment per year. (the policy must specify how many people live in the house)
We also have in our services the rapid tests against the covid. (35 €)
We have added to our services some courses on first aid, defibrillator management, aquatic lifeguard and others.
Life call or SOS button
This device is a small emergency button.
It is used in elderly people and those who have little mobility.
This device has a built-in SIM card to make calls, when the person presses the emergency button, the device makes a call to the preloaded numbers that it has (there are 2) when the first call does not answer, it goes for the second number.
In addition to making the call, send an SMS to the number indicating that this person needs help with information on where they are and what has happened to them.
It also has a sensor to detect falls without pressing the button and thus detect a fall and give the alarm if the patient cannot.
contact details: Their office at Carretera de Denia, 4
And are open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 to 13:00 and Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can contact them by email:
by phone at this number: 680760536 or by visiting our office.

Our Group Leader and Astronomer Extraordinaire would like to offer anyone interested the opportunity to join him in Zoom meetings!

If you are interessted, please click here and drop us an email.

The Night Sky

The Dazzling Moon

The year has started with little good news, the impact of Corona Virus foremost in our minds. There is however the welcome news of a vaccine to protect us once it is rolled out to large numbers of the population possibly during this month. One pastime which many can engage in without too much restriction is to view the night sky from your garden when the sky is clear of clouds. The brightest planets have left the evening sky for now returning in mid-summer, but still the bright stars of Orion, Canis Major and Taurus are still visible in the evening. The ever-changing Moon is an interesting target visible with some features visible without optical aid. Steadily held binoculars are able to show an enormous array of detail, the “Seas”, large craters and some mountains. If you have a telescope take the opportunity to take a look at its incredible features.

There is a vast amount of surface detail on view and the problem is knowing where to start. The names of many features are quite baffling as they are Latin in origin, reflecting fanciful ideas of a fantasy world of seas and mountains. There are Mare, (Latin for sea), that are the darker areas which astronomers in earlier times thought were actually seas of water, Lacus, (Latin for lakes) smaller darker areas and Montes, (Latin for mountains), which are easily visible. The Moon has a host of craters, some which have large bright Rays extending from them, which are easy to see when the Moon is close to Full. These Ray craters such as Copernicus and Kepler were formed many millions of years ago by impacts on the Lunar surface. To find your way around the Moon a relatively modest priced Moon Map is essential, Philip’s produce one, it is relatively cheap and quite easy to use but remember some Moon maps are printed North Up and telescopes often provide views South Up, so this can make finding your way a little confusing, but turning the Map upside down rectifies this. If you want to make a start on viewing the Moon and identifying more easily seen features, I can supply a simple colour keyed version to print with handy tick boxes to note your progress. Although many things in the night sky are quite dim, when viewing the Moon using a telescope, you may be dazzled by its brilliance and require sunglasses or a Moon filter to reduce its glare, particularly when it is Gibbous or Full. A Moon filter is often deep green in colour, but some may be grey or brown. The Moon is not the only cause of dazzle at night, there is much glare seen from poorly directed night-time lights. Many people do not realise how much energy is wasted and the amount of unnecessary carbon which is being produced. It is incredible how many people do not understand or do not wish to understand the impact of their behaviour, its impact on the natural world and on other people’s well-being. Poorly directed and over-bright lights are not helping security as they dazzle and cause deep shadows where intruders may lurk. Aiming too high also causes an impact on the night sky, please aim the light so it does not impact on other people’s homes and property, be respectful to others in these difficult times.

The Bassetlaw Astronomical Society still conducts virtual meetings using ZOOM and please contact james.ince1@tiscali.co.uk for more details. We are aiming to support others during these difficult times and encourage Schools, Scouts, Guides or others to contact us if we can aid them with education or resources. I am certain that if everyone just helps others just a little more, we can progress more cheerfully through this pandemic. Take care and take a look at the night sky, it has much to wonder about.

Dear Members all,

The weather may be cold but the generosity of U3A members and friends is most certainly warm!

Despite the restrictions, we all managed to produce over 60 ‘shoeboxes’ for the children of El Bastidor in Oliva Old Town.

The shoeboxes are full of presents, goodies and…love! and are prepared on an allocation basis for boys and girls aged 6 to 12 years old, keeping within a budget so that all children receive similar value gifts.

The boxes are usually distributed at the U3A Oliva Children’s Christmas Party, but sadly not allowed, this year.
We were not allowed to attend the opening of the boxes, but Sister Mari Carmen assured us that they were delighted with their gifts. Thank you all.

Shown handing over the gifts to Sister Mari Carmen (second from the right) are U3A members Kathleen Moloney, Elaine and Stephen Hems.
Sister Mari Carmen was invited to join the U3A Committee but declined, saying she already had her hands full with one lot of unruly youngsters!
Photo courtesy of U3A member Peter Noyce.
Now, while we are in charitable mode, here’s an idea (from Angela Town) to raise a bit of cash for the Franciscan Refuge. We’re calling it, ‘Pennies for the Guys’.
If you have any loose small change you can spare, please drop it into a container and we will collect it later in the year. Remember….. Every Little Helps.
Thanks again, stay safe, Steve Hems.

Sister Carmen, of El Bastidor has written expressing her thanks at the generosity, once again, of our members.

There is no doubt that the children really do appreciate the gifts and we on the committee also wish to express our thanks and appreciation to all those who took part.

Oliva 26 de diciembre 2020



La Asociación U3A se ha implicado de un modo excepcional, desde hace bastante tiempo, dando apoyo escolar a los niñ@s y jóvenes que asisten a la Asociación El Bastidor, los cuales están en una situación vulnerable.

Todos los días los niños pueden hacer los deberes de inglés, mejorando el idioma con personas que además de conocerlo perfectamente, les transmiten valores positivos para que mejoren como personas.

Pero hoy queremos hacerles llegar la gratitud de hacer felices a los niños con los regalos de Navidad, este año que debido a la pandemia, muchos padres están pasando situaciones todavía más difíciles.

No ha sido posible la merienda de Papá Noel, pero el espíritu de la fiesta estará con sus presentes.

Un niño feliz aprende con más ilusión. Con su solidaridad damos respuesta a muchas ilusiones.

Estamos muy agradecidos de que formen parte de nuestro proyecto educativo y social.


La Asociación “El Bastidor”

The U3A Association has been involved for an exceptionally long time, providing school support to children and young people attending the El Bastidor Association, who are in a vulnerable situation.

Every day, children can do English homework, improving the language with people who, in addition to knowing it perfectly, pass on positive values to them to improve as people.

But today we want to convey the gratitude of making children happy with Christmas gifts, this year that because of the pandemic, many parents are experiencing even more difficult situations.

Santa's Christmas party has not been possible, but the spirit of the party is present with your gifts.

A happy child learns with more enthusiasm and hope. With your support, we can meet these expectations.

We are very thankful that you are part of our educational and social endeavour.

A great new service for expats who can’t see their doctor and have translation problems when seen.

New English speaking medical clinics have recently been launched by Dr Margo Livingston, Doctor of Immunology and Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Masters degree) with her business partner Helena Davidson. This pair recognised the urgent need that many expats currently have during the pandemic with COVID-19, that they can’t easily get doctor’s appointments and also have difficulty understanding the conversation with a doctor during a telephone interview, if they don’t speak Spanish. Many people need basic medical care and follow up for illnesses unrelated to corona virus but these needs are sadly not being met due to the clamp down in services and focus on COVID-19.