7th December

16th December, Christmas Party Special

Xmas break

Back 11th January

Don’t miss it!





As the season of cheerful love and goodwill approaches, we contemplate and consider the most appropriate Xmas presents to send.

While his impatient hovering finger is poised over his admirers’ gift of a gold-plated nuclear button, the rest of us tremble and pray that the president-elect was only bragging. If not, see you on the other side.



Here is a philosophical brain-twister to get your mind around. Imagine – just imagine – that the billionaire president-elect attempts to give Seniors a chunk of money, no strings attached.

This from a man whose every utterance is contrary to Seniors’ credo which we call This is what we stand for.

Do we take it and run (holding our nose)? Or not, which way would you vote?




Before the formal inauguration, we’re able to squeeze in our Annual General Meeting 2016 on Thursday the 1st December at 10:30am. Help make plans and decisions for the coming year while pretending it’s all been a bad dream.

A bracing cup of tea or coffee together with sandwiches and the usual meals will be available from 10 to 4 in the café.

Apart from the election of a new board of trustees for 2017, proposals will be made to increase membership fees to £24 a year (i.e. £2 a month) while making administration much easier by paying fees only at the beginning of April 2017

Full details have already been sent to you as well as Nomination papers if you want to become a Trustee. Keep laughing.



Some of us have been spending hours fiddling with clumsy fingers but also devising ingenious pleasures for you at our forthcoming Xmas Craft Fair on Saturday 26 November from 11 to 4.

This is yet another attempt to raise funds for Seniors for vital work in the interest of all members.

We need you to help set up the show on the previous, Friday 25th but, more importantly, to turn up on the 26th to enjoy and spend.

Seniors survives and prospers only through your efforts. Be there on the 26th.




There’s a great demand for the limited number of places at our Xmas blow out on 16th December.

Tickets at £15 from Tina.

We can also do with your contribution of cutlery which we’re seriously short of. It may be that some diners thought that knives and forks were on last year’s menu, but they’re not supposed to be edible.

As last year, our Quizmeister Michael Harrild will lubricate the event with his ideosyncratic take on questioning your esoteric knowledge. Be prepared for some inadvertent disclosing of stuff you always wanted to know.





There is a mooted concert, more a get-together on the day before our Xmas Dinner. I know no more about it than this bare report.

Much singing is inevitably involved in the apparently ad hoc event on 15 December.

Be prepared to be surprised.



We’ve printed members’ contributions on many occasions before – there’s one in this issue – but we haven’t had, say, letters, opinions, suggestions from you to the Editor.

So we invite you to take part. But please a) keep it short b) keep it polite c) don’t grumble without coming up with a solution d) praise and appreciation are also invited. In case of heavy demand, your piece could find itself in a queue.



Winter draw (er) s on. And so our properly working heating system gives us comfort we haven’t had for years.

But when groups exercise in the Sun Lounge or Stage Room they get hot and sweaty.

So by all means turn down the radiator thermostats if you must, but PLEASE TURN THEM BACK ON AGAIN WHEN YOU LEAVE.

And in the Café: please shut the doors – especially the outside door – FULLY, to prevent the hurricane that comes in if you don’t.



Used to be quite beautiful as a girl. Now she’s eighty and ashamed of it, deluding herself and imagining others won’t notice either. Still has a good head of hair, grey of course, with a yellowish tinge here and there, an attempted dyeing gone wrong but no, a tight grip on her youthful splendour which she refuses to loosen.

Ruth is not downhearted. She toddles into the kitchen to put the kettle on for breakfast. Last night’s dishes are still on the side, and also a few in the living room. But at least she’d remembered to wipe off the leavings into the bin. Better empty it, she thinks. Getting a bit pongy.

Get this porridge ready, too. He’ll be down soon, been in the lav half-an-hour; in the bathroom nearly an hour. Poor thing, he can’t help it but, for God’s sake! What’s he find to do there all this time? Nearly time for dinner by the time we’ve had breakfast. Tesco’s van will be here any minute now.

A slow and heavy tread on the stairs. Creak. He’s on his way down. After breakfast I’ve got to make sure he’s had all his pills. Oh, I’d better get mine too, while I’m about it. Get them now before he reaches the bottom. Eventually.

Sit down there, love, in your armchair, she tells him, I’ll bring your breakfast over to you. Just mind your stick, move it so I don’t trip over. Want me to switch on the telly? You can watch football if I bring over your strong glasses. There you are.

Tell the truth, this place is in a bit of a mess. The kids oh! With their lovely babies, God bless them, I could eat them up, beautiful they are, every one. Where was I? Yes, I’ll ask the home help (if she turns up, the lazy cow) to give the place a bit of a hoover. Then later, when she is gone – he’ll be asleep, I expect, in his chair with the telly still on – I might sneak upstairs to do a bit of painting.

When I was a girl, she remembers with a smile, I went to Art School. Didn’t finish the course, didn’t get any qualifications, but my tutor once said I had talent. He was lovely, and really good looking; I think he fancied me too.

My brother-in-law, he’s clever and really good at painting too. And writing, and music. And he’s just as good at taking the mickey out of me, but I let him, I don’t really mind because it’s quite funny.

Ruth looks proudly at her pictures around the walls. Well, some of them aren’t too bad, she concedes, and the one I did from the photo of my brother-in-law playing the violin is ok – except for the curly bit on the end, I couldn’t quite get that.

When they come for us on Thursday, we’ll go to the Centre and I’ll have a go again at the Art Class.

Might turn out something decent. He’ll sit and go to sleep, of course. Musn’t grumble.



Another reminder about U3A Art Class DI Deudney’s series of illustrated talks on the History of Western Art.

They’re on 22 November, 6 December, 13 December and a date in January next year. All are at 11am.

A small but brave attempt to resist the Philistines in the White House. To the barricades!



I take, without permission, an extract from the Autumn 2016 edition of the Lewisham Pensioner’s Gazette.

“In collaboration with the ‘Go On Lewisham’ initiative, we are working together to spread the message about the benefits of Basic Digital Skills across Lewisham. Our sessions take place on Friday afternoons between 13:00 and 15:00 (1pm and 3pm) and we offer anyone over 50 to attends, regardless of whether they have access to a computer (tablet or mobile phone) or not, the opportunity to focus on any aspect of IT they may need help with. We are also happy to offer a demonstration or first experience to anyone who has not been brave enough to make contact with a computer so far. The venture is in its infancy at the moment which means that we can offer a very personalised experience but it is growing so we invite volunteers to show what they know to others as well as learn what they can. To find out more about using Seniors’ as a function venue, any activity we offer or if we can help you with a particular digital challenge, please drop in any week-day between 09:30 and 16:00 (09:30am and 4pm) –our address is SENIORS, 260 Stanstead Road, London SE23 1DD; or telephone us on 0208 291 1164.


















                                            THIS IS WHAT WE STAND FOR


Our mission is to work for the benefit of older people who live in Lewisham and surrounding areas, and especially, to provide facilities, resources and activities in interests of social welfare.


Our vision is to support and encourage creativity, learning and social projects for our members. To embark on new opportunities and to widen horizons for older people.


Our core values: We welcome and respect people who have religious beliefs and those who have none. We embrace all shades of opinion which are tolerant of others.

We abhor and reject any expression of racism, xenophobia, ageism, sexism, prejudice against disability and other forms of discrimination.


We respect diverse and differing lifestyles. Everybody who follows these precepts is welcome.


















                         THURSDAY 1st DECEMBER 10:30AM



But just in time, I think. We wondered if this month’s production would make it, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed until it appears in the tray in Reception.

Meanwhile, you may keep yourself occupied by looking at our recent Poetry Competition.



No. While we’ve still got you on the hook, we’ve devised another fiendish task for you. Seniors’ 2016 Xmas Card will feature a suitable seasonal secular greeting – I suppose we can’t really call it a Xmas card, more a Seasonal Greetings Card – with designs from our Art groups.

Prizes will be awarded to the chosen one at the Xmas dinner. Closing date December 1st.



And with the heavy hint I’ve given you in the previous article, you’ll want to know more about our Xmas Dinner.

It’ll be on Friday 16 December. It’ll cost £15 a place, and we’ve got room for 65 munchers, maybe a few more. I advise you to book with Tina as soon as you can.

A concert on the previous day, Thursday 15 Dec. is also being talked about. Think about what you’d like to contribute and throw your ideas into the mix, through Tina in Reception, in good time.





A trip to our popular annual indulgence at Polhill will take place in November 17, cost £9.

Book now with Tina.



Do you want to have a bit of fun and keep healthy in mind and body? Angela Rippon is urging us to get dancing. We all remember her appearance on that Morecombe and Wise Christmas Special. But, no, there’s no high kicking and long legs are not needed. Just as well as mine are so short. Angela’s favoured form, backed by research, is

Dancing is an easy way to keep fit. It also helps our bodies and brains stay trim. And the advantage of disco dancing is that you go at your own pace. So we’ve organised our sessions for Mondays 2-3pm. It’s free for members. Come along and try out an easy way to keep totally fit. We’ll teach you some steps you can use anywhere, on any dance floor.



Tom, Dick and Harry, friends, yes, humans no! these were just a few names of my cats and dogs.

Have I a favourite? No, at least I don’t think so.

Tom and Dick were black and white cats, Harry a Yorkshire Terrier.

I love animals but particularly dogs, in fact I have only ever been without a dog for short periods. Scruffy ones, bad tempered ones, charming ones of various breeds. Some even stray dogs, I remember in particular a black almost hairless mongrel I renamed Pompi. I lived in Canterbury at the time and felt particularly lonely. A different house, strange surroundings, missing my Mum. One morning, out of the blue, this half starved, well he looked half starved, dog appeared at my back door. Of course I welcomed him in and he immediately made himself at home. He soon became part of the family. I remember clearly, although it was some 45 years ago, (doesn’t time fly?) how he would spread himself along the back of the sofa. He never did look as though he was well cared for, he appeared to be a neglected animal. I think it was part of his act to get people’s sympathy. There was something about Pompi. I knew the very first day I met him it would be a temporary friendship and after a while, when I made friends with my neighbours, I was told that Pompi had had many homes before my family arrived on the scene. At the time I lived with my children, in army quarters in Canterbury: my husband John was in the Royal West Kent Regiment en route to Gibraltar. I knew, from the beginning of our friendship, Pompi would only be in our lives for a short period, during which I must say he brought my family great happiness.

My next encounter with a family pet was a black and white stray cat named Tom. Once he jumped out of a window of a top floor flat (about 20ft high) and landed on a car roof, but that’s not the end of the story: he was a she, and one morning produced little kittens. Tom became Fluff overnight. A dear little girl, she stayed faithful for many years.

I once had a dog named Oscar who lived with my family for about 14 years.

Every morning he would come sliding down the stairs on his stomach. This particular morning I said “Hello Oscar” and whether you believe me or not he replied in a long growl, “Hello”.

Not only did I nearly collapse, I shouted at him never to say that again, it frightened me so much. However, he often said it and I became used to it.

I’m sure those of us who have pets will support my claim that although at times life does revolve around them, for instance, the high cost of injections/medical care, house training, scratching furniture, obedience training, going on holidays. Was it worth it, is it worth it?

Of course it is! The comfort and happiness animals bring to so many people cannot be calculated.

I recently read about dogs being especially trained to detect illnesses. How incredible. Not only that. What finely tuned senses the chosen dogs have, trained to be the eyes of the blind or partially sighted who rely totally on these wonderful gifted creatures.

Military dogs: another example of bravery and dedication.

Many have sacrificed their lives to protect serving soldiers and been awarded medals posthumously.

Currently Candy lives with us, a Yorkshire Terrier. We rescued her two years ago when she was three years old. Candy is a very well behaved little girl, no trouble at all, I know she loves us, as we love her. She comes everywhere with us, she is our constant companion. How lucky we are to have chosen such a dear little dog.

Tess Culnane.



Although I wasn’t able to be there, our Open Day on 28 September is reported to have been a roaring success.

Joy Swaby and her Vista Reminiscence Group came up with a joy-ful (geddit? Groan!) and well-received contribution, and Poetry Competition winners gave readings of their work. Councillor Alan Till presented prizes and praise. Our success can perhaps be gauged by the 3.5 pages of sign-ins for the event not counting those who didn’t.

You’ll have grabbed your Poetry Supplement from the Reception Desk by now, won’t you? Hot on it’s heels should come this bumper edition of the October Newsletter.





How very dare you? It’s now called table tennis in respectable society.

Yes, we’ve unearthed that lovely folding table from the back of the (dare I call it?) snooker room. It’s mobile, on wheels and, apart from a lack of net, bats and balls, available to be moved into any vacant slot for a bash-around.

Dreams of a thriving league of nimble players straining every sinew in pursuit of that oh-so-elusive white ball.

More later.



This year’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 1st December at 11:00am.

Be there if you know what’s good for you.





What does Seniors mean to you? Do you, as a member, attend only for your class or activity only, maybe only one day a week? Do you, as a non-member come and use Seniors only as a keep fit opportunity?

Without the existence of Seniors, none of this would be available.

Does maintenance, heating, lighting come cost free? How do we do it?

The fee for your activity goes entirely or mostly to pay your tutor. Seniors scrabbles for pennies. Do you know what Seniors desperately needs? Have you got voluntary skills that could help? Do you know of a source of money Seniors could draw on? Do you volunteer? How do you contribute? Do you read and digest the ‘What we stand for’ bit in every newsletter? Do you support our activities such as Open Days? Table sales? Use our Café? Attend our User Group? Do you care?

Are you moved by all this? Or annoyed? Are you crying yet?




Just as we read that History of Art is being dropped at A- Level by Examination Boards, we receive a leaflet headed ‘Art Through the Ages’.

It tells us that U3A (Which organises one of our Art classes) sponsors a series of illustrated talks by Di Deudney about the History of Western Art.

The talks, with lots of slides to look at, will take place at 11am on 22 November, 6 December, 13 December and not-yet-determined date in January 2017.

Let Tina know if you’re interested. We’ll ask for a £1 donation to Seniors for each session. After looking at the fascinating lecture titles, I can hardly wait. Count me in!




























Our mission is to work for the benefit of older people who live in Lewisham and surrounding areas, and especially, to provide facilities, resources and activities in interests of social welfare.


Our vision is to support and encourage creativity, learning and social projects for our members. To embark on new opportunities and to widen horizons for older people.


Our core values: We welcome and respect people who have religious beliefs and those who have none. We embrace all shades of opinion which are tolerant of others.

We abhor and reject any expression of racism, xenophobia, ageism, sexism, prejudice against disability and other forms of discrimination.


We respect diverse and differing lifestyles. Everybody who follows these precepts is welcome.