Issue 35

February 2010

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Group Updates Cont’d

Naturalists

The last meeting of 2009 was a walk followed by lunch at the George Hotel. We started our walk from Studley Royal through Mackershaw Park, returning via the Valley of the Seven Bridges. The weather was good though not brilliant and we generated a healthy appetite. The cold weather and cloudy conditions did not bring out much wildlife but there was enough in terms of geology and conservation issues to keep us busy both physically and intellectually.

In January we managed to hold our meeting despite the disruptions produced by the copious snowfalls. This meeting was a member’s day when members gave slide presentations of their experiences during the year. There was a very good turnout considering the conditions and we were entertained by talks on wildlife in the antipodes, Australia and New Zealand then off to Canada with a minor look at some UK wildlife.

 

Ian Wallace

Painting

Our autumn session in 2009 covered a varied range of topics including “A city scene” and “Sketching in a museum” We also enjoyed an interesting experiment of projecting a landscape image onto a screen so that everyone could work on the same subject at the same time. It must be admitted that this was not entirely successful as we found that the image was not bright enough unless the curtains were drawn and the lights off but then it was too dark to draw! However we will probably try this again after our technical brains come up with an answer to the problem.

Our outside visit this session was to the Leeds City Museum – good museum, good cafeteria but a bit on the busy side for peace-seeking sketchers. Before this visit Peter demonstrated the materials and technique which he uses to produce exquisite on-the-spot quick sketches when we venture out. So now we know what to use and how to use it. Lack of ability seems to be the only excuse we have left!

A party of 14 of our members enjoyed a memorable 4-day visit to Barcelona - a city full of interest and atmosphere and bathed in apparently perpetual sunshine, making for exciting painting opportunities.

The highlight of our stay was being able to study the amazingly bizarre architectural forms and mosaics that decorate the buildings of Antoni Gaudi--particularly the cathedral of the 'Sagrada Familia'; the 'La Pedrera' apartments and the 'Parc Guell'. Some also visited the 'Fundacio Joan Miro' and 'Museu Picasso' while others went as far as the beautiful limestone mountains of Montserrat with its monastery cut precariously into the rock. So, there was plenty of inspirational subject matter for our paintings when we returned to the cold of Harrogate! The only downside of our visit was the amazing amount of petty theft we experienced—future visitors should be warned!

The year ended with our now time-honoured day of fun, games and buffet. Never mind if you don’t win, there’s always loads of food!

Now for the exciting news – Painting Group is on the move. After much discussion of the pros and cons it was decided to return to our former home at the Convent in Oatlands Drive, now called Apley Grange after its closure for building work.

We were looking forward to starting the New Year there on January 5th but the weather and the “big freeze” decided otherwise so we had to cancel that and make a faltering start to 2010 on January 12th instead.

The group meets each Tuesday throughout the year. For further information contact Peter Kearney through the U3A email address u3a.harrogate@googlemail.com

 

Bill Mallinson and

Peter Kearney

Philosophy

The Friday Group started the new year with a general overview of the history of the philosophy of language, from Plato to the era of Bertrand Russell and the ‘Vienna Circle’ and the idea of logical positive-ness, which dominated philosophy at the Oxbridge and London universities in the 20’s through to the 50’s. With Bertrand Russell and then Wittgenstein at Cambridge and A J Ayres at London then Oxford. We also discussed the ideas of  Noam Chomsky, on the possibility of humans having an innate faculty for language and grammar, instead of just the potential (as advocated by Aristotle). At our next meeting Mary King will continue the theme and lead the group into the ideas of Jacques Derrida, the French deconstructionist.

The Tuesday Group continued to look at the ideas of Aristotle, this time on ethics. We discussed his doctrine of the ‘Mean, which advocates that most of the virtues have an ideal place, somewhere between two extremes (which he considered to be vices) such as bravery which lies between foolhardiness and cowardice.  We shall almost certainly end our consideration of Aristotle at the February meeting and move on to the Epicureans.  Followed in April by John Willby leading us on to the Stoics with, in between, an ethical discussion in March led by Avril Bullus.

Both groups are very friendly and there is still some room for new members in the Tuesday Group. We meet at 2.00 pm, on the third Tuesday in the month. If you are interested email,

 

David Broadley