Groups

 

East Lothian U3A has more than 40 learning and leisure groups catering for a wide range of interests. Members are free to join as many groups as they wish. Groups are usually held in the daytime. Meetings take place weekly, fortnightly or monthly at venues agreed by the members (download summary of group meeting times). Excursions may be organised by some groups. Click on the titles below to see more details. (The individual group pages with extra information including contact details for the Leaders are only accessible to logged-in members. )

Arts & Crafts
Art out of Doors
This pleasant summer activity is for members interested in sketching or painting. A break for a picnic lunch allows would-be artists to discuss points with more experienced members. Meets weekly, Thursdays 10.30 till early afternoon (weather permitting) May to September at various locations usually in East Lothian.
Looking at Paintings
This group learns about artists and their work through looking at paintings in permanent collections, exhibitions, slides and videos. Meetstwice monthly 1st and 3rd Thursdays am and/or pm October – April at various exhibitions in Edinburgh and East Lothian.
Needlework and Craftwork
Members share their interest in needle and craft work and are hopeful of attracting members with new skills to share with us. Before Christmas we tend to concentrate on making cards, small gifts and some decorations. We would also encourage anyone who has a skill to come and demonstrate this to us. Meets Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 October – March in Longniddry Community Centre.
Computing
Apple Mac Users
Members learn how to use their Apple Macs for many and varied purposes such as digital photography, word processing and surfing the internet. Mutual self-help is also available for solving any problems members may have. Meets monthly, 2nd Friday of the month, 2.00 – 4.00 at the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Pool Hall).
IPad Users Forum
A forum for the discussion of ideas about the various ways an iPad can be used and to exchange information about favourite apps. Meets 1st Monday of the month, 10.00 – 12.00 September to April in the North Berwick Library.
PC Pals
Members have either been in a Beginner’s Group or feel they are now reasonably confident and competent on the PC. They meet once a month to talk over any PC issues that have arisen for them. This may be a difficulty, a discovery, a useful tip, a query, a piece of advice etc. – almost anything to do with computing. The host/hostess usually demonstrates something on their computer. Special sessions on a particular topic may be arranged at a member’s request. Meets 1st Tuesday of the month, 10.30 – 12.30 in members’ homes.
Games
Basic Bridge
A relaxed and friendly approach to bridge – a game that anyone can learn at any age. ‘Bridge is the most stimulating, most intriguing, most fascinating, most challenging of all card games. It will give you more lasting pleasure than any other recreation because of its unending variety.’ (Acol Bridge Made Easy.) Meets weekly, Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 at Lammerview House, Main St, Gullane.
Bridge for Improvers
If you have played Bridge for years or have been attending lessons for beginners and are ready to move on, this may be the group for you. We attempt to improve our bidding and play in a relaxed atmosphere by using a variety of hand evaluation methods and improving our knowledge of playing techniques. This is a fun group for folk who want to play better Bridge. New members welcome. Meets weekly, Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 in Nungate and Haddington Community Centre, Haddington.
Mah Jong 1
Come and enjoy this ancient game. Meets twice monthly, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in Members’ homes.
Mah Jong 2
Come and enjoy this ancient game. Meets first Friday of the month 10.30 – 12.30 in Members’ homes.
Scrabble
Meets first Monday of every month 2.00 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
Get Physical
Ballroom Dancing
Meets weekly, Thursdays 11.00 – 1.00 in the Haddington Corn Exchange. More information here shortly.
Ceilidh Dancing and More
This group will begin in the autumn and continue during the winter months. All you will need to bring are comfortable/soft shoes for dancing in. No previous experience is necessary. Come along to benefit from the exercise, have some fun in good company and enjoy the music. Meets weekly, Tuesdays 11.00 – 12.30 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Alistair Grant Hall).
Intermediate Walking
Members are encouraged to socialise over a cup of coffee/tea at the end of each walk where and when possible. Meets fortnightly, Friday mornings (Alternate weeks from ‘Simply Strolling’) for four to six mile walks in and around the East Lothian area.
Simply Strolling
A walking group which offers less demanding routes than the Wednesday Walkers. Walks are around 3 miles on easy terrain, usually followed by coffee or lunch at one of the excellent cafés in the area. Dogs welcome. Meets fortnightly, Fridays, 10.15 for 10.30 start (Alternate weeks from ‘Intermediate Walking’).
Wednesday Walkers
The group was founded in 1999, since when it has expanded to over 60 members, with an average turnout of about 18. We completed our 500th walk in July 2013. Walks are led by group members and are always very sociable occasions. They take place throughout the year, with a two-week break over Christmas. We encourage all members to devise and lead a walk (or walks) during the year. This is not mandatory, but the more volunteers we have the easier it is for all. A small, elected committee looks after the common interests of the group, and collates programmes of walks in the Lothians and Borders three times a year. Walks are usually between 7 and 10 miles, moderately demanding, sometimes including steep gradients, and with stops for coffee and lunch. Walkers normally assemble in time to leave Haddington at 9 am, and share transport to the starting point. Meets weekly, Wednesdays.
History
Archaeology, History and Genealogy Projects
We run an all-inclusive programme of talks, visits to places of interest and “hands on” projects to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to develop their interests in discovering more about their past and to share their learning experiences with others. We cover archaeological methods and studies, research in family and social history and give direct support to other projects such as gravestone/graveyard recording, the John Gray Archives and Museum. Our major project this year is based on St Mary’s Church, Haddington with many more in the pipeline. Meets monthly, usually the third Monday at 11.00.
Languages
French Conversation
Members of this group have some experience of speaking French and have decided on various enjoyable means to encourage fearlessness in communication! Maximum practice and a little preparation are encouraged. The aim is to have more vocabulary and more confidence when speaking to French people. Meets fortnightly September to June in members’ homes, either Wednesdays 10.30-12.00 or Mondays 2.00 – 4.00.
French Beginners
The group is using a course guide ‘Facon de Parler’ and is led by a tutor who is fluent and has teaching experience. No one in the group is a complete beginner but we all lack conversational skills. We are enjoying very good progress and the atmosphere in the group although earnest is relaxed and can be quite light-hearted on occasions. Meets Tuesdays – Weekly – 10.00 am – 12.00 in East Linton.
Latin
For complete beginners and the very rusty. Meets Mondays 2nd and 4th of each month – 2.00 – 3.30 in Liberty Hall, Haddington.
Parliamo Italiano
The aim is to provide members with the basic communication skills for simple conversations in e.g. holiday situations. Good pronunciation and fluency take precedence over grammatical accuracy. New members are welcome, but some previous knowledge of Italian is necessary. We have no teacher, but use CDs and varied passages for translation, with members contributing accounts of their experiences. Meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month 2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Spanish Conversation
This group provides members, who should already have a basic grasp of spoken Spanish , the opportunity to practice their conversational skills and extend their vocabulary. New members are welcome. Meets fortnightly, Tuesdays  2.00 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
German Language and Culture
Concentrating on listening and speaking skills, the group’s aim is to build up confidence in communication. Varied methods are used to increase members’ knowledge of vocabulary and structures. Meets fortnightly, Mondays 10.00 – 11.30 in Haddington.
Russian
Using a Book and CD course, we are progressing quite slowly with this difficult language. Therefore it would be possible for a dedicated beginner to join us. Meets fortnightly, Wednesdays 10.30 – 12 (alternating with French Conversation) in members’ homes.
Literature
Bookworms
Each year Bookworms select a reading programme drawn from Fiction – novels & short stories from all periods, and Non-fiction – history, biography, travel, etc. We read and discuss one book a month, members taking it in turn to introduce a book. Meets monthly, except August & December, Tuesdays 10.30 – 12 in members’ homes.
Book Tuesday
Two books read and discussed each month. Books are provided by East Lothian Library and members take it in turn to lead discussions on the books read. We meet in members’ homes on a rota basis. Meets monthly, third Tuesdays 2.30 – 4.00 in members’ homes.
Contemporary Fiction
Members read and discuss a wide range of literary novels published mainly, though not exclusively, in the last twenty years. Books are chosen with the aim of stimulating thought and debate as well as entertainment. The group reads and discusses one book a month. Meets monthly, last Tuesdays 2.30 – 4.00, September – May in Pencaitland.
Play Reading
This new group started by romping its way through ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, recognising the genius of Oscar Wilde. Our second play is’ The Glass Menagerie’ by Tennessee Williams. Among further reading, we look forward to the plays of Arthur Miller, Noel Coward, Anton Chekhov, Tom Stoppard and Edward Albee, to name but a few. Meets fortnightly, Thursdays, 2.00 – 4.00, alternating with Shakespeare group in various members’ homes but usually in Haddington.
Reading Shakespeare
Why is Shakespeare considered the greatest writer ever of English drama? Through our readings we are beginning to understand and marvel at his dramatic skills and wonderful poetry. We also try whenever possible to see his plays in Edinburgh and East Lothian. Meets fortnightly, Thursdays 2.00 – 4.00 in various, members’ homes, usually in Haddington.
Mind and Body
Mindfulness
Classes in Mindfulness techniques are being offered, with a view to setting up an 8 week course, following the outline of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction plans. These were introduced in the USA 40 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, to deal with pain relief and since then there have been many other courses. The varied techniques are based on Buddhist meditations but are in no way religious; the neuroscience coming out recently shows the benefits and ‘certainly I can personally vouch for its practicality.’ Meets Wednesday afternoons, 4th and 18th of March from 2-4 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington
Tai Chi
A 24 movement form devised for those of us who are not 21 anymore! Chi Kung exercises, gentle repeated movements to stimulate circulation and respiration are part of the session too. This is an intermediate class and anyone who has previous experience of any style of Tai Chi is welcome to come along. Meets weekly, Thursdays 10 – 12 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington.
Music
Folk Music
This group plays and sings folk music from Scotland and around the world. If you would like to have some relaxing fun creating music with others on your flute, fiddle, whistle, guitar, concertina, clarsach, bodhran, chanter, etc. or with your voice, (or just come and listen), then phone Robert. Meets second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of each month, September – May, 2.00 – 4.00 (with tea-break) in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper hall).
Jazz Appreciation
The Jazz group is studying the history of this important music, from its roots in the fields and towns of the Southern states of North America, with its early prominence based in New Orleans, up to the present day. It is hoped to cover all aspects from ragtime, the swing era, bebop, the Avant Garde and the improvised music of today. It will pose the question ‘What is Jazz?’ which has been asked ever since the music left New Orleans and will explore the highways and byways en route with interesting diversions and amusements, all with good music and discussion and with enough variety to hopefully satisfy all (musical) tastes. Meets every four weeks, Tuesday afternoons October – April in Spott.
Opera
The opera group meets to view DVDs of forthcoming operas in the SO season and to hear talks from professionals involved in opera production. Members get together to attend live performances and to arrange transport. Meets monthly, Fridays 2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Recorder Playing 1
For moderately competent players of descant, treble, tenor and bass recorders. Ability to read music essential. We play prepared music chosen the previous time, as well as some sight-playing. On occasions we join Group 2, or the Edinburgh U3A groups. Meets fortnightly, Fridays 3.00 – 5.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Recorder Playing 2
We are a small group of post-beginners, playing descant, treble, tenor and bass recorders. We play a variety of pieces from Early Music to Gershwin. On occasions we join forces with Group One and with U3A Recorder groups from Edinburgh. Meets fortnightly, Fridays  1.00 – 3.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Sciences and Philosophy
Biology as though Life Matters
There is much confusion in public and political discussions due to a misunderstanding of the biological basis of life. By looking at the underlying biology this group endeavours to distinguish certainty from the unknown and uncertain and thereby gain some new perspectives on matters related to health, the environment and farming, and distinguish where it is good to tread and where it is unwise to meddle. It will question what biological science is about, and marvel yet more at life around us. Meets monthly, 2nd Mondays 2.00 – 4.00 October to June in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Exploring Philosophy
A wide range of methods are used within this group to facilitate discussion, including DVDs, podcasts, books and members introducing topics of interest. Group members have the opportunity to participate in the advance planning of the programme. Meets monthly, last Tuesday 2.00 – 3.30 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Psychology
Learning about personality, behaviour and relationships by looking at different psychological theories that have helped shape our lives. We hope this year to make use of various sources for our discussions including video, radio and of course the wonderful resource of the internet. Group participation is encouraged. Meets Wednesdays – 2nd & 4th of the month 2.00 – 3.30 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Geology
Geology is ‘the science which deals with the physical structure and substance of the earth’. How, when and what are the questions the group is asking. The answers come by way of illustrated talks, videos and guided museum visits in the winter months, but mainly by short field trips in the summer months to places of particular geological interest in and beyond East Lothian. Meets 1st and/or 3rd Tuesdays am and/or pm  in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Science
We offer a programme of talks by visiting speakers on a variety of topics in sciences, medicine and the environment. Visits to places of scientific interest are an occasional feature. Suggestions or contributions from group members are always welcomed for inclusion in our programmes. Meets monthly (September – June) 4th Monday (excl. Dec.)  2.00 – 4.00 in the Bridge Centre, Haddington (Upper Hall).
Visits
Gardening
Spring and summer events are usually visits to a member’s garden or to a public/private garden or nursery . These are mostly in East Lothian, but can be a bit further afield. Plants, information and questions are exchanged throughout the year using email. Over the winter, we meet less frequently, approximately monthly. We use the sessions to view DVD’s, practical demonstrations, discuss books and have brought in speakers. We aim to share our own knowledge and ideas within the group. Meets fortnightly, Mondays 10.30 – 12.30 April – September. Winter meetings approx. monthly.
Lunch Club
The Lunch Club has been running since 1999. Between 15 and 20 members attend once a month at various venues within East Lothian. Meets monthly on consecutive weekdays in various venues.
Museums and Places of Interest
Volunteers then take turns to arrange one visit each per year, collecting all the information required and organising a guide to take our group if possible. A programme is arranged for the year. Meets monthly, 2nd Thursdays, am and/or pm, February – October.