Proposed New or Re-formed Groups

Memoir Writing
This group has been proposed by new member Caroline Arnell.  Caroline has published one memoir and is working on another. She writes as follows.
“Writing a memoir gives us insights into our unique lives and the lives of others. A memoir is a memory put to words and can take many forms (about an individual, a lifelong theme, an event or series of events, etc.). In this group we discuss the form, reading some published memoirs, and write one (or more!) of our own. We use exercises to get us started and keep us on track, writing both when we are together and when we are alone with our thoughts and ideas.”
If you are interested in this group please contact the Groups Coordinator:  John McQuistan using our contact form.

Amateur Artists Group
This group has been suggested by Toni Cox. The idea is that amateur or budding artists would get together, say once a week, to dabble together and encourage each other. Let us know if you are interested using the contact form

Classical Music
Thank you to those members who have expressed an interest in reviving this group. Please get in touch if you are interested. We will set up a meeting in due course.
If you are interested in this group please contact the Groups Coordinator:  John McQuistan using our contact form.

Current Groups

You can get in touch with group facilitators using our contact form or using the contact details on the printed groups list available to all members.
If a group has no vacancies your name will be placed on a waiting list. If there is enough demand a facilitator will be sought to start another group.

Amiable Ramblers 1 – Jane Middleton
Walks are chosen and led by members and are are moderately easy, although the pace is brisk so you need to be reasonably fit to enjoy the walks. This group meets every 2 weeks on Wednesday afternoons for 2 hour walk of about 5-6 miles.

Amiable Ramblers 2 – Ruth Madigan
This walking group meets on alternate Thursdays at 10.30 for a 2 hour walk followed by tea, coffee or lunch. New members are welcome.

Art Appreciation – Anne Gullo
This group meets in the morning of the first Thursday of the month and is looking for new members. Meetings vary between visiting exhibitions, local artists or meeting at the house of a member to discuss various topics. Subjects discussed include painting, sculpture, music, textiles, porcelain.
For further information contact Anne.

Arts and Crafts Study Group – Peter Banks
The group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in the afternoon. The Arts and Crafts Movement was not, as so often seems to be suggested now, a ” STYLE ” but an attitude which permeated all aspects of the minor or useful arts and which had implications for how life could be lived to the benefit of all. This group will examine architecture and gardening, town planning, design of household goods such as furniture, ceramics, carpets, wallpapers and tapestries. Design of jewellery, typefaces and books and the private press movement all form part of the movement and the areas to be studied will depend on the interests of the members. Meetings by arrangement. Contact Peter Banks if you would like to join this group.

Birdwatching 1    (New facilitator pending)
This group meets every second Thursday of the month and visits various birdwatching sites around Dumfries and Galloway to see & enjoy a wide variety of bird life.

Birdwatching 2 – Geoff Packard
This group meets the first Thursday of the month to find birds of interest without travelling too far.

Book Club 1 – Lesley Milligan 
The book group (fiction) continue to meet monthly at the Community Centre in Castle Douglas on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.00 in the Castle Douglas Community Centre. We discuss one member’s choice of book at each meeting and this has provided an interesting range of books over the year.

Book Club 2 – Penny Keenan 
This group meet on the second Thursday of the month at the Kings Arms Hotel in Castle Douglas at 10.30 and more members would be welcome.

Canasta Group – Bunty Davies 
If you enjoy playing cards, this is the group for you. The group meet on the first Monday of the month at the homes of members and welcome new members.

Coffee & Discussion 1 – Marilyn Peacock
This group meets on the first Monday morning of the month at the Kings Arms in Castle Douglas from 10.30 till 12.00. Members contribute towards the rental of the room and the coffee and biscuits supplied by the hotel. Members put forward topics for discussion.

Coffee & Discussion 2 – Susan Gillone
This group meets every third Monday of the month at 2.00 in Kirkcudbright. Members take turns to facilitate the sessions and ten to fifteen minutes is spent on each topic. Topics for discussion revolve mainly around current affairs. Members contribute £1 each to the kitty and Susan Gillone spoils us with delicious cream scones, cake and tray bakes.

Cooking & Wine 1 – Mary Newton
This group meets on the last Thursday of the month Kirkcudbright. Members learn new techniques and work according to recipes/themes selected. At least two courses are prepared at each session which members cook together and then sit down to enjoy eating with a glass of wine or juice.

Cooking & Wine 3 – Linda Kinnell
This group meets on the last Friday of the month to enjoy enhancing their cooking skills and try out new recipes.  Contact Linda for more information.

Computing  –  Beverley Jackson
This group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 2.00 in Crossmichael.    This group focuses on general computer use, software  application  and assisting with problems.   For  further information contact Beverley.

Creative Writing – Peter Turnbull
This group meets monthly from 2.00 – 4.00 on the second Wednesday of the month. Short creative writing exercises are done to stimulate thinking and develop skills. Members write essays, short stories or work on longer stories and they have the opportunity at the start of meetings to read some of their writings for comment by fellow members.
This group has recently updated their blog site, we recommend that you visit this site where you can see some inspired writing from the members.

Current Affairs – Mike Lawton
This group meets at 2.30pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month in the Greyfriars meeting room in Kirkcudbright. Members are asked to say which items of news from the morning’s media coverage have attracted their attention and interest, and from this round-table a lively discussion ensues. A back-up subject is agreed for review if time allows, and members can propose this and do some background research on it if they wish. We do consider the UK and international political scene-but avoid party politics!

Family History – Don Cowell
The aim of this group is to research family history and they meet on the first Monday afternoon of the month in Millhall, Borgue.  If you would like to join or need more information, contact Don.

Film Discussion – Glenda Bowman
This group meets on the 1st Sunday, bi-monthly, at 2.30 in the Kings Arms Hotel in Castle Douglas. At the last meeting the group discussed the films Hidden Figures, Denial and Trainspotting2. At the next meeting in June, the films, I Daniel Blake, The Sense of an Ending and Lion will be discussed. Members are encouraged to see the films selected on their own or to make own arrangements with other group members to see the films before the next meeting. New members are welcome.

French Conversation – Sandra Walsh
Enjoy refreshing and adding to your French conversational knowledge. The group meets every Tuesday in members’ homes and have a range of activities including some grammar and vocabulary but also reading magazine and newspaper articles, listening to and watching French news broadcasts and conversing on a variety of topics.

Gardening Group 1 – Colin Milligan
The gardening group has lots of interesting outings during the summer season. We meet in March to put together the programme for the year.

Gardening Group 2 – Mary Clegg
This group meets on the last Wednesday in the month, time and place vary depending on weather and venue. The aim of the group is to visit local gardens and in the winter, meets to enjoy a cup of coffee and swap gardening ideas and tips.

German Conversation 1 – Mau Cormack
This group is for members that have some knowledge of German, would like to learn more about the language and converse in German under the guidance of Mau. The group meets twice monthly, on a Friday afternoon, per arrangement in the home of a member either in Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas or Twynholm. The facilitator uses Deutch Plus as a guide and members are expected to do some work in their own time.

German Conversation 2 – Alison Elkins
To meet demand a second German Conversation group has begun meeting at 10am on a Monday fortnightly in Castle Douglas.

History Group  – Anne Levi
Meetings take place at 10.30, on Thursdays once a month in the home of a member either in Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet or Castle Douglas. A subject in history is chosen, each member takes a specific topic to research and it is then presented at the next meeting to share knowledge and discuss the topic. Outings are planned twice a year during summer to places of historical interest, museums, galleries etc.

Local History Group  – Eileen Johnson
We normally meet at 2pm on the first Thursday of each month at the Kings Arms in Castle Douglas. At our indoor meetings we take it in turns, 3 members each month, to talk about an aspect of local history that interests them. It may be its towns, people or social and economic development. We also visit local sites of historical interest and, in coming months we are planning: Whithorn roundhouse and abbey, a guided walk around Wigtown, and Wanlockhead lead mining museum.   This group currently has vacancies and if you are interested in joining this group, contact Eileen  .

Intermediate French – Joelle Madeley
This new group is now established thanks to the enthusiasm of Joelle Madeley, a native French speaker. This group will meet weekly on a Monday morning in Castle Douglas.  If interested please contact Joelle for further information using our contact form.

Knitting and Crochet   –   Helen Bullock
It is time to get your knitting needles and crochet hooks out again and rekindle that lost skill.   Beginners always welcome.   This group meets on the second Monday of the month, from October to April, at 2pm in the Kings Arms Castle Douglas.

Lunch Club 1 – Anne Levi
This group meets monthly at various restaurants in the area and gives them a rating.

Lunch Club 2 – Sheila Packard
This group normally meets the third Thursday of most months.

Lunch Club 3 – Alison Johnson
This group meets the second Friday of the month for lunch at various restaurants in the area. Contact Alison for more details should you be interested in joining this group.

Lunch Club 4 – Renee Roxburgh
Renee Roxburgh facilitates this group and has asked us to put out a plea for more members. The day of the Lunch Group (currently 2nd Monday of the month) could be changed to suit the members. Please contact Renee directly if interested using our contact form.

Mahjong – June Rham
This group meets fortnightly on Wednesday mornings

Music and Memories Singalong – Ron Newton
This group meets in the afternoon of the 3rd Monday of the month. Ron has an extensive library of songs to suit all tastes and uses his audio-visual system to play the songs, often with words on the screen. Members take turns to choose which songs they would like to sing along to. If you would like to join in the fun contact Ron.

Non Fiction Book Group – Don Cowell
The aim of the Non Fiction Book Group is to read and discuss a range of non fiction books. The group meets every six weeks on a Friday morning at 10.30am. We currently meet at the home of a member who lives in Crossmichael. The group discusses and agrees the books we choose. Members of the group all have the opportunity to lead the discussion of any book they recommend. The group is currently full and has eleven members. Further information from Group Facilitator Don Cowell.

Philosophy – Mike Lawton
This is a long-established Stewartry group which meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month between September and June in the Greyfriars room in Kirkcudbright. From autumn 2015 our approach will be to have a session on a ‘headline’ philosophy topic, such as Knowledge & belief or Morality & Ethics; and then to use the BBC Radio 4 ‘Moral Maze’ programme as a source of input for discussion of how these philosophical concepts relate to the challenges of today’s world. Summary briefing notes are provided and members can also use the ‘listen again’ facility in preparation for our discussions.

Photography – Inglis Lamont
This group usually meets at 10.00 am on the last Monday of each month. Members make their way a venue which has generally been chosen by the members at the previous meeting. After an hour or so of photography we adjourn to a café for refreshment and discussion. ‘Bad weather’ meetings are held indoors, looking at photographs and discussing ways to improve.  New members would be welcome. Contact Inglis for further information.

Playreading 1 – Carol McQuistan
This group meet in Kirkcudbright on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month to read a wide variety of plays for pleasure. If you would like more information contact Carol.

Playreading 2 – Renee Roxburgh
Renee Roxburgh facilitates this group and has asked us to put out a plea for more members. Please contact Renee if interested. using our contact form.

Poetry – John Mantle
This group meets monthly on the last Thursday afternoon at Barhullion, Tongland, to read and discuss poetry. A member introduces a different poet each month and poems chosen by the members focus on a monthly topic. Some members write poetry; most do not. The Poetry Group welcomes new members.

Reading for an Endangered Planet – Margaret Elphinstone
Our generation grew up believing the world could become a better place. Now we are all too aware – however much we would like to deny it – that we are leaving our grandchildren a world of danger and instability. This group will select and discuss work in a range of genres – science and nature-writing, poetry, fiction and political analysis – that address the environmental and political predicaments of our time and how best to respond to them.
1st Monday of the month 2.30pm – members homes.

Rummikub  –  Marthie Clark
Rummikub is a tile based game for two to four players and combines elements of the card game rummy and mah-jong. A fun game to play while keeping your brain active. This group meet on the second Monday of the month (September to May) in the Parish Church Hall, Castle Douglas from 2-4 and is proving very popular with members. New members are welcome and need not to have played the game before. If you are interested and would like to attend a meeting, please contact Marthie.

Science Discussion Group  –  Chris Leamy
This new group usually meets on the first Friday of the month at 2pm. Discussion topics are suggested by members and while one member usually prepares for and leads the discussion all members are encouraged to do their own prior research. Recent topics have included climate change, antibiotic resistance, fracking, left/right handedness and a local geological site visit

Scrabble Group 1 – Alison Johnson
Meetings take place weekly on a Tuesday morning in the King’s Arms Hotel, Castle Douglas starting promptly at 10.30.

Scrabble Group 2 – Rita Hamilton-Grant
To meet demand a second group has been formed. This group meets on a Friday morning at 10.30am in the Kings Arms Hotel, Castle Douglas. New members are particularly welcome to this group.

Social Bridge  – Mike Craig
We welcome both beginners and more experienced players, together with those who have not played for some time, to enjoy a game and improve their skill by playing Social Bridge (Rubber Bridge).  We meet on the 1st Friday and 4th Friday at 2pm in Daar Lodge Kirkcudbright

Spanish Group – Jo Westwood
This group has been reformed and is for those with some competency in Spanish and who would like to improve their conversational skills.  Contact Jo for more information.

Sunday Outings – Charles Keal
This newly formed group is proving very popular. Members take it in turn to select a location of interest which can be outwith the Stewartry. Usually a lunch will be arranged and car sharing is encouraged. For information about the current programme please contact Charles.

Touch Typing – Jo Westwood
This pop-up group follows a short course of 6 weeks for members who already have a lap-top. Software and training are provided. Learning to touch type not only greatly speeds up your typing ability but also improves general brain activity. The current group has finished but Jo would be prepared to run another class later in the year if there is sufficient demand.   Contact us if interested

Trees and Woodlands – Chris Ingram
This reformed group (formerly Plants and Fungi) makes field visits to different locations to find specimens and spend some time in their identification. Activities are geared to take account of the interests of the members. Outings are held on the afternoon of the third Monday bimonthly.

Wine Tasting – Magnus Johnson
This group meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month, in members homes to taste and discuss wines selected by a member of the group. The main objective of the group is to introduce members to wines they may not be familiar with or would not select from a supermarket shelf.