After an introduction in the reception area we entered the impressive main Ceremonial Hall. Zoe explained the many facilities available to families and to funeral directors, and then expertly fielded a lively question and answer session. We then moved to the smaller ‘Oak Room’ which is used for smaller ceremonies but can also be used for streaming live video from the Ceremonial Hall so that family members including young children and distressed or autistic adults can view the proceedings without disturbing others.
We then moved into the Cremator Hall to see what happens ‘behind the scenes’ and this was the highlight of the visit despite the two piles of ‘tester’ empty coffins and the cold room full of Pure Cremations customers waiting their turn. There are currently two cremators, which cost £1M each, and there is capacity for two more. There is a small viewing area for those faiths such as the Hindus whose funeral rites include watching the coffin in the flames. We were able to watch the coffins being loaded into the cremators and then look through the viewing glass to see the effect of the 800 degrees heat. The less squeamish members were then able to see the ashes being raked out and prepared for storage (a unique fireproof ceramic identity disk is placed in every coffin). This reinforced our impression of the care and consideration given to every aspect of the cremation process. On a lighter note, Zoe did also show us the fascinating collection of heat-proof artificial hip and knee joints which they have collected from the cremators.
Our visit ended with refreshments and a vote of thanks for a most interesting and informative visit.
Most of us had never heard of Arqiva prior to the visit, but that did not deter a near capacity (for them) group gathering at the premises for a keenly anticipated visit. Some of us vaguely knew that they were involved with some sort of ‘communications’, so we had everything to learn; and what an informative & interesting visit it proved to be. The company is involved with digital radio, digital ground & satellite TV plus mobile phone communications.
After coffee our hosts comprehensively explained the various business sectors they cover commencing with mobile ‘phones and the change to a higher frequency necessitated by the advent of ‘5G’; this involved them in considerable (millions) of additional expenditure to duplicate the existing network to ensure continuity of service. They showed us film of mast construction using helicopters to fly in the pre-fabricated components, giving a clear impression of what it is like to work at 1000+ft. the network of a small number of very high masts host receiving & broadcasting dishes for most of the phone retailers such as Vodaphone, O2, etc which then pass on signal traffic to a larger number of smaller masts which in turn pass it down to the local masts from which we take our messages and calls.
Similarly with digital radio in which they appear to own critical patents which allow them to be monopoly broadcasters for the BBC, Classic Radio & all the many small local stations. The TV relaying service was graphically illustrated when we visited one of the control rooms where a dizzying wall to ceiling display of hundreds of small screens gave a snapshot of then current traffic. We learned that some stations readily available on our TV sets at home are based abroad & the entire content channelled via satellite & Arqiva masts to our living rooms. Foreign correspondent features & interviews on news programs in real time are also facilitated by Arqiva.
Our hosts provided an excellent buffet lunch, for which we were very grateful and we eventually left at about 3.00pm with greater knowledge than when we entered. A truly educational & entertaining visit.
Posted by Norma Bryan
AHA Committee thank all Members for joining us during 2019, and please note we will not be reconvening until 2020. Information regarding 2020 will be issued later this year.
However, the additional attraction of the many different types of models, all exquisitely built, included ships in just about every form imaginable. There were remote tanks which staged a reproduction of a well known battle shortly after the D-Day landings, and a huge variety of steam engine applications. This was certainly not just a day for steam enthusiasts, because there was something to suit all tastes. Conclusively the opinion was definitely a day to be remembered and a timely reminder of just how important steam was to the Industrial Revolution.
After a gentle day strolling around the attractions, some of us stopped off for an early dinner giving us another opportunity to reminisce before arriving home.
Ron Bryan & Rosemary Crumplin
In July a group of A-HA Members visited the Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne, Dorset. A weekend visit was chosen as the Centre was holding open days, focusing on the Dark Ages.
Exhibits included several demonstrations of ancient crafts. Among them was an Alchemist using minerals, salts and plants to produce medicines, poultices and ointments. In addition, there was a Smith (Blacksmith) skilled in making swords using ancient techniques, plus a Bowyer making bows and between the two of them they had the skill of being a Fletcher/ Flights. Several members tried to draw a long bow with a pulling force of 70 to 80 lbs. albeit
All the participants were dressed in costume of the appropriate period, they were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable on their subject. The arena displays included an amusing yet informative display of the use of Viking weapons and forming a shield wall. There was also a display of falconry.
Anton U3A Group News
Reports and records of Groups' activities.