Saying Goodbye to our Queen

By Rudi Liney

I first came to the UK from Germany, where I was born, in 1954 and learning about the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is one of my earliest memories of living here. After the Queen’s death, it seemed fitting to me that I should say my goodbyes. So I planned a visit to her Lying-in State. Well aware of the length of the queue, I booked a next day return ticket from Tunbridge Wells Station expecting an overnight trip.

Then fate intervened to make my visit easier and for me to make a new friend! I got talking to Jo, a disabled lady from Heathfield, who was making the same journey. She asked me if I would come along as her helper and I agreed. We travelled together by train and taxi and, as we entered by the disabled route, we had a shorter queue and a
superb view. The photo was taken from the same viewpoint as that from where we entered, but it was taken later from the television as no photos were allowed inside Westminster Hall. We shared a wonderful and moving experience and afterwards a meal together. Arriving back later at Tunbridge Wells, Jo drove me home and met my wife Anne. We have kept in touch and met for coffee and a chat in October. All in all a day to remember!

Ostlagie

by Chris Rock

I brush away the dust masking my memories of the DDR and East Berlin to reveal a city for which, thirty years after the Wall was torn down, I have an undeniable sense of nostalgia and loss.The metaphors that come to mind are to do with contrast. Magdeburg, just thirty miles from the West German border, with its twin hemispheres joining the two Germanys at the hip, while their limbs pulled in opposite directions. The brashness and vibrancy of West Berlin, which in 1989 flooded the drab austerity of the East. And not just one but two paradises: the Workers’ Paradise, which is how Westerners typically characterised the DDR; counterbalanced by a tapestry of individual paradises across the country that, together, gave East Germany the highest concentration of allotments and dachas in the world and the East Germans, a means to escape. Dig further into “paradise” and you arrive at Old Persian, where it signified a walled enclosure or garden. In East Germany the enclosure was the Berlin Wall, which was monolithic and real. The garden one, made up of the multiple paradises, was notional but, I like to think, rather more benign and no less effective. For life in the DDR, like the rest of Eastern Europe, was conducted externally and internally. External meant a heavy-handed, intrusive state requiring compliance and uniformity, compensated with jobs for life, free education and child-care, and a seven-year wait for a new Trabant. Meanwhile, real life went on behind the symbolic wall, in cramped flats and bucolic gardens, among groups of trusted friends and family.
The implosion when it came was inevitable. All the same there was much to regret. It is the solidarity of shared hardship that today’s older East Germans miss most. They must surely miss, too, the post-war, 1950s feel of East Berlin’s streets, the unmistakable smell of Trabis and Wartburgs spewing out their low-octane petrol fumes, and the charmingly below-par goods in the shops. I was once asked to compare the two Berlins. West Berlin, I said spontaneously, was bunte – colourful. But then I remember a more intensely evocative November evening in the East, on a deserted Unter den Linden, accompanied by the wind and fallen lime leaves. Voltaire tells us at the end of Candide to cultivate our own garden, without saying whether the garden is metaphorical or real. For East Berliners, it was surely both.

Pembury u3a sends condolences

Our Condolences

We, the members of Pembury u3a, in Kent, wish to pay our respects to Queen Elizabeth II and to send our sincere condolences to her family and those close to her, at this sad time.

We acknowledge with gratitude her integrity, strength, public spirit and belief in the unifying force of living and working together.

Updated Data Protection Policy

The Pembury u3a Data Protection Policy has been revised to reflect the adoption of the Third Age Trust Beacon management system for storage and administration of membership data. You can find the revised version of the document in the reference section of this website. 

New Facebook Group

Our Vice-Chairman Chris Rock has organised a Facebook Group for Pembury U3A members. This group has been set up to enable members to stay in touch during the current restrictions. You can apply to join the group by clicking this link

Review Your Internet Security

Time to Review Your Internet Security

The current trend for more and more organisations to operate mainly (or even exclusively) online means that we are forced to share some of our information via internet websites. Cyber criminals are keen to take advantage of this and we all need to be aware of the risks and how to avoid them.

By observing a few fairly simple rules we can very much decrease our chance of being ‘hacked’ and bring us some peace of mind while operating online.

In addition to the information below, the website at https://getsafeonline.org has very comprehensive advice to help you review and secure your system. Continue reading “Review Your Internet Security”