U3A Oliva

Greeting Message using JavaScript
Greeting Message using JavaScript

May 2021

The Newsletter of the U3A in Oliva

Issue 61

From our President

It’s really uplifting and positive to see U3A groups starting up again and well done to those groups which were able to carry on over the past months within the framework of the restrictions!  I’d like to give my thanks to Lynne Pilcher, Kelvin Jarman and Angela Garry for managing to arrange for the availability of rooms in the Pensionistas.
We had our 2021 Annual General Meeting on Thursday May 27th and the draft minutes can be found a few days after the meeting on the website.
This year, we are having to say Goodbye to some Committee Members namely Anja Homburg, John Melville, Diana Jameson, Kelvin Jarman, Francoise Moncomble, Kathleen Mahoney and Anthony Saxon.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all on your behalf for all their work over the years they have been on the U3A Committee.
As always, we gain new members and I would like to welcome to the Committee:  Denise Hart, Angela Garry, Peter Noyce, Julie O’Hagan and Joanne Perez.  I and the remaining members of the Committee are looking forward to working together with them.  Full details of the 2021/22 Committee are here.

We hope to restart our Monthly Meetings as soon as it is safe to do so and I look forward to seeing you there.  In the meantime, may I wish you a relaxing and enjoyable summer.


U3A Oliva President

Committee Changes

The new Committee becomes active on June 10th 

Barry Purvis           President
Steve Hems            Vice President
Nancy Benn           Secretary
Julie O’Hagan        Treasurer
Diana Jameson will remain as Treasurer until September 1st
Denise Hart           Almoner
Peter Noyce           Webmaster
Angela Garry        Group Co-ordinator
Gail Spoore          Deputy Secretary
Julie Haywood
Joanne Perez
*During his years with the U3A Oliva, John has served as President, Vice President, Webmaster and Membership Secretary and his contribution to the U3A Oliva will be greatly missed.  Anja is also a long serving Member of the Committee and, in her role as Travel Co-ordinator, has enabled lots of us to enjoy well organised and affordable tours and visits both near and far here in Spain.  For the last year she has been Vice President and her advice based on her experience has been really appreciated.  Kelvin took on the arduous task of designing the new U3A website thus saving us a fair amount of money each year.  He was also Group Co-ordinator having to deal in the past year with Covid regulations affecting group activities.  The other retiring members of the Committee – Francoise, Kathleen and Anthony have served in support roles and their contributions will also be missed.

Groups without leaders

The U3A only operates due to the support of it’s members. Without the efforts of the Group Leaders we have no groups.


We have at present a number of Groups which do not have a leader so they are not active. If you feel that you would like to talk about taking any of these groups over please contact either Angela Garry or myself.

Most importantly we need a Travel and Events Coordinator.

These other groups are:

Dance Latin American
Dressmaking / Sewing
Metal Detecting
Stand-up paddle boarding
Social cycling

If any of you have any special interests which you feel might be of interest to other members, please get in touch with myself or the Group Coordinator and we’ll discuss whether there might be the possibility of forming a new U3A Oliva group

2021-22 Subs

Subs for the year 2021 – 22 have been agreed at a reduced levet of 5€. 
The subscription is payable during the first two weeks of September. On the 1st of September there will be a link to pay via our PayPal account posted on the members page  and for those that prefer to pay by bank transfer our bank details will also appear there.
So make a note in your diary for early September to visit the members page and pay your subs

Night Shining Clouds and a Solar Eclipse

The Astronomy Group

The Sun will undergo a Partial Eclipse on Thursday June 10th beginning at 11:14 with maximum eclipse visible at 11:46 am, however do not get too excited. The Sun will only have a very small portion eclipsed from Valencia Region, approximately 1.1% and this will not cause any noticeable reduction in light output. To be able to observe the event a telescope equipped with a special Solar filter will be required to ensure the intense light of the Sun is safely reduced. Never attempt to view the Sun through any optical aid as it is extremely dangerous and will cause blindness or very serios eye damage.

During the first day of June, look for the Last Quarter Moon close to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky. In the evening, as dusk begins on 11th and 12th look to the NW, the Crescent Moon will be close to the brilliant planet Venus, with the added bonus of the bright stars Castor and Pollux, also Mars being close by. Although Mars is now receding away from us it is still easily seen and noticeable by its distinct orange hue. On the evening of 19th the Moon will be close to the bright star Spica, the leading star of Virgo. Here in the UK daylight lingers later and during mid-June there are no truly dark night time skies as we reach the Summer Solstice. From the UK it is possible to notice Noctilucent (Night Shining) Clouds appearing in the Northern part of the sky after midnight, just as the brighter stars become visible, however at the lower latitude of Spain are rarely noticed. Noctilucent clouds appear wispy, like cirrus clouds however, they are silvery blue-white in colour and contrast well with our normal atmospheric clouds which appear dark. Noctilucent clouds reflect the Sun’s light as they are at very high altitudes, typically 80km. The clouds form from water vapour which attaches to tiny dust particles within the extremely low temperature region of our upper atmosphere, the Mesosphere. The tiny dust particles are possibly from volcanic activity or from incoming micro meteors. Noctilucent clouds are only normally visible within latitudes 45° to 80° N and equivalent in the Southern hemisphere and surprisingly have only been reliably recorded since 1885. It is not surprising that observations of these clouds began after the catastrophic eruptions of Krakatoa and Augustine volcanoes of that year. The Krakatoa eruption was devastating, it ejected massive amounts of volcanic ash into the upper atmosphere and killed 36,000 people. The eruptions of Krakatoa and Augustine were however preceded by other volcanic activity including Mount St. Helen’s in 1800, Tambora in 1815 and Shiveluch in 1854, all of which released large volumes of volcanic ash particles into the upper atmosphere.

Studies of the Noctilucent clouds undertaken by Russian astronomers V K Tseraskii and A A Belopolskii in 1885 found that Noctilucent Clouds are formed at 73 – 83 km above the Earth’s surface. Particles which form the clouds are in the order of 30 – 100 nm radius. Most researchers conclude that prior to the 1883 Krakatoa eruption there is no evidence of observations of Noctilucent clouds. The British artist Robert Leslie noted strange sightings of clouds late on the Summer evenings of 1884 however his handwritten descriptions are not conclusive as he may have witnessed clouds of ejected volcanic material as his descriptions give the clouds a violet and purple hint.

If you do manage to spot these elusive clouds, they are very easily photographed using a smartphone and they really do contrast well against the darker sky. Take care enjoy the night sky. 


Line Dancing

The Line Dancing group restarted on the 3rd May and proved to be so popular that we have now had to close registrations as the class is full. It’s fantastic to see that we have had 11 new dancers joining us. 

As we have had such a long break, and as we have so many new people, all of the dances we are doing at the moment are classed as “beginner” level. However, everyone is picking things up so quickly, thanks to our teacher, so there’s no doubt we’ll be moving on to the next level in the not too distant future.



The Photography Group are planning a photo shoot in June so that the current members can dust off their cameras and get out and about again. 

This is a small group and new members will be welcome. Details are on the group page and if you think this is something you might be interested in now or when the new season starts in September get in touch with the Group Leader.


Calling all arty crafty members

The craft and knitting group has been merged.

This may only be a temporary move, if a group leader for the craft group can be found. In the meantime you can find the group meeting on a Monday 11am at the Pensionista centre on the N332, Oliva.

As there are only a few more weeks left of this year, these meetings are more chatting and discussing our crafts, and the best day, time, and place for future meetings next year, and whether or not to keep the group as one. There is a thin line between some arts and crafts, so arty people are also welcome to join in. Beginners and experts welcome; especially if you can help others and share your knowledge, or offer to do a one of workshop. I have taken up art and drawing over the lockdown and am very keen to pick artists brains and discuss ideas.

If you wish to find out more or if you would to know if your hobby or interest can be included, please do come along and chat, or email me directly.

I can try and find the correct room size and amenities for the whole group come September, but I need to know what you, the member, would like to do, learn or participate in. I could try and organise specific workshops, or speakers for particular topics. It is up to the members.

I look forward to catching up with you. Roll on September!


Muklat Maasai School - Tanzania

We have received an email from the Muklat Maasai School in Tanzania which was our charity in 2019. If there are sufficient members we will arrange a zoom meeting with Rosa Mansell. Please contact Steve Hems vice-president@u3aoliva.org if you are interested.

“Hi Everybody
This year has been difficult for all of us with the Pandemic, and I am sure you will have noticed my silence on news of  Muklat Maasai School.  In accordance with the Tanzanian Government decree because of the Pandemic we had to close the school last July.
Obviously I could not afford to pay our Teacher, Dinna, while the school was closed, so she resigned in order to find other employment.  During this time I have kept the money in the school account and had a balance of 1381 euros.
I am happy to report that we are now getting ready to re-open the school and  Dinna has been hired again as our teacher.  After being closed for nine months, the school building needs some repairs.  The ceiling battens have become rotten due to bats being able to enter the roof space and peeing on them! (see photo) and the ceiling boards have fallen down.  I now have estimates for building another layer of bricks up to the roof level to stop the bats entering, replace the battens and put up new ceiling boards.  We have also painted the interior and all will be cleaned ready for the students again. I estimate the repairs should cost €350. (In fact they cost €354, good guess)
We have put the word out to all our students and look forward to them coming again as soon as the repairs are finished (hopefully rain permitting in the next week).
I am due to give a talk on the school to Val de Pop U3A by Zoom at the end of this month and find some more supporters for the school, as we really need an income of 2000 euros p.a. to pay our teacher Dinna, buy books, pens, chalk and keep the school in good order.
So it is full steam ahead and I hope we will soon have a school full of children again.
With very best wishes to you all and Thanks for your Support
Rosa and Dinna”


Jackie Clarke, founder vice president of Oliva U3A in 2007, passed away peacefully after a long illness. RIP