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How a U3A German group became a creative writing group

The Didcot & District U3A German conversation group has been meeting on Zoom since April. We rapidly realised that general chat didn’t work – firstly because of the etiquette of whose turn it is to speak in an online meeting and secondly because the conversation kept returning to the one topic (Covid-19) from which we all wanted to escape.

More by accident than design, we came up with the idea of each preparing a very short story in German about three apparently unrelated objects chosen at random by different individuals in the group. Our storylines so far have been:

  • an aeroplane, an apple tree and a cat
  • a bicycle, a wristwatch and true joy
  • a banana, a book and a surprise
  • a postage stamp, a teapot and a camel
  • an elephant foot umbrella stand (try saying Elefantenfußschirmständer quickly!), a flower pot and sugar.

Group members have enjoyed preparing their stories – which have turned out to be highly creative and entertaining. It has also been amazing that no two stories are ever the same.

For example, the first set of objects inspired stories about enjoying being outside without the sound of aeroplanes during the lockdown; the Second World War (the Flying Fortress bomber film “Memphis Belle”, the song “Don’t Sit under the Apple Tree” and a cat motive on an aeroplane); a pet cat that died and was buried under an apple tree with a toy aeroplane; a parachutist landing in an apple tree – from which the fire brigade rescued a cat but not the parachutist; some discoveries; and a sci-fi story based around an aeroplane grounded during the lockdown.

Zoom meetings are not as good as meeting face-to-face (for a start we all have to provide our own coffee and biscuits!) but they have provided us with some good language practice and plenty of entertainment as well as unleashing creative talents we didn’t know we had.

For more U3A Learning stories  please go to www.u3a.org.uk/learning