The Newsletter of the U3A in Oliva
From our President.
I hope you have all had as good a Festive Season as the Covid restrictions allowed and are looking forward, hopefully, to seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Our morale and general outlook has certainly been tested over the past months but, with the news of a vaccine on the near horizon, we can begin to look forward to 2021.
There have been various initiatives by members to try to keep the spirit of the U3A Oliva alive and these are to be encouraged. There are also websites and YouTube videos which can be used in an effort to keep ourselves both mentally and physically engaged. One of these I have found particularly useful and interesting is the Virtual Village Hall which is run by the Royal Voluntary Service, web address http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/virtual-village-hall
The news that Oliva is now in lockdown did not come as a complete surprise after the recent celebrations and it is to be hoped that this will have the desired effect of helping to control the spread of this virus.
Please take care of yourselves and may I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year from myself and the members of your Committee
SOS Crag Martins: Guide to saving a Crag Martin during a cold snap
Storm Filomena brought with it some of the coldest weather Spain has seen for a while. The effects have been fatal for many insect-eating bird species which could not feed during this period.
One of these is the Crag Martin. This bird is very similar to a Swallow or a House Martin in size, shape and behaviour, but its colours are more ash grey. Unlike the Swallow it over-winters in Spain. In the summer the bird lives all over the peninsular, but during the winter it congregates in Mediterranean Spain in towns, wetlands and rural areas, forming large roosts in buildings. The recent cold weather has brought mass mortality, and up to 70 birds have been found dead together in one place.
Analysis has shown that these deaths are caused by a combination of low temperatures and rain or snow falls. The birds can not feed during the day when there was snow or rain, whilst the cold increases the energy they need to regulate their body temperature to keep vital internal organs working. Whilst some survive, many use up their energy reserves and can not.
As the cold weather continues Faunatura, a nature charity, published a guide with advice on what to do to save a dying bird. This note is a shortened English version of that guide.
The current Covid situation unfortunately delayed to start up of the new service in Oliva from Ambulancias LaPena. Their new launch date is now Jan 4th. They have sent out an appeal to try and get customers signed up ready for the start. This is a great service for Oliva.
Ambulancias LaPena will be at the Polivalent on the 18th December between 10.00 & 12.00 to answer your questions.
Earlier in the year we organised a discount for U3A members and they are not only going to keep that discount going ( €94 not €99 per Household), but they have also offered to hold off on charging the full amount (for our members)until January, rather than on sign up.
Our Group Leader and Astronomer Extraordinaire would like to offer anyone interested the opportunity to join him in Zoom meetings!
If you are interessted, please click here and drop us an email.
The Night Sky
The year has started with little good news, the impact of Corona Virus foremost in our minds. There is however the welcome news of a vaccine to protect us once it is rolled out to large numbers of the population possibly during this month. One pastime which many can engage in without too much restriction is to view the night sky from your garden when the sky is clear of clouds. The brightest planets have left the evening sky for now returning in mid-summer, but still the bright stars of Orion, Canis Major and Taurus are still visible in the evening. The ever-changing Moon is an interesting target visible with some features visible without optical aid. Steadily held binoculars are able to show an enormous array of detail, the “Seas”, large craters and some mountains. If you have a telescope take the opportunity to take a look at its incredible features.
The weather may be cold but the generosity of U3A members and friends is most certainly warm!
Despite the restrictions, we all managed to produce over 60 ‘shoeboxes’ for the children of El Bastidor in Oliva Old Town.
The shoeboxes are full of presents, goodies and…love! and are prepared on an allocation basis for boys and girls aged 6 to 12 years old, keeping within a budget so that all children receive similar value gifts.
The boxes are usually distributed at the U3A Oliva Children’s Christmas Party, but sadly not allowed, this year.
Shown handing over the gifts to Sister Mari Carmen (second from the right) are U3A members Kathleen Moloney, Elaine and Stephen Hems.
A great new service for expats who can’t see their doctor and have translation problems when seen.
New English speaking medical clinics have recently been launched by Dr Margo Livingston, Doctor of Immunology and Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Masters degree) with her business partner Helena Davidson. This pair recognised the urgent need that many expats currently have during the pandemic with COVID-19, that they can’t easily get doctor’s appointments and also have difficulty understanding the conversation with a doctor during a telephone interview, if they don’t speak Spanish. Many people need basic medical care and follow up for illnesses unrelated to corona virus but these needs are sadly not being met due to the clamp down in services and focus on COVID-19.