A story about an iPad and a bursary…

A story about an iPad and a bursary…


This blog post was written by Mary Adams in August 2017.

This story begins in April, 2015, when I received a telephone call informing me that a parcel would be delivered for which I had to sign.  I was sceptical as I was not waiting for any deliveries and began to think this was some kind of scam.  However, the package duly arrived.  I was stunned to find a congratulatory note inside to say I had won an iPad mini from a competition I had entered in the People’s Friend magazine several months before and, not expecting to win, had forgotten about.

I tried to set up the iPad myself but only being used to Microsoft Windows and having no knowledge of Apple products and systems I could not make it work properly so my prize lay abandoned in a drawer until I won a £100 bursary from my W.I. nearly eighteen months later.  It did not take long for me to decide to use this for a course at Denman (where I have been lucky enough in the past to participate in many and varied courses and always a place I enjoy).

In the Denman brochure I found just the right course – iPad for Beginners – and booked myself on it for 14th – 16th August, 2017.  Having decided to travel by train to Oxford (Denman provide a free taxi pick-up at the railway stations serving Oxford, for residential students) I duly booked seats and tickets via The Trainline which provides considerably reduced train fares.  Standing in the foyer of the station waiting for the taxi, I wondered whether I was the only person going to Denman, but it was not long before six other ladies joined me and we soon got chatting.

Not all of us were booked for the same course so it became interesting to know what everyone would be doing and, indeed, we all got a chance to look at the work of the other courses during our time there, including the course run by May Martin, sometime W.I. judge on The Great British Sewing Bee.

On arrival at Denman we were greeted in the usual warm and friendly Denman way with afternoon tea and homemade cake (I can recommend the Denman loaf) then went to our rooms (mine was one looked after by Berkshire Federation and was large, with a spacious ensuite, and a very comfortable bed, plus tea/coffee-making facilities. We then met our tutors and had the usual health and safety spiel etc., followed by a scrumptious dinner.  Our first tutorial began after dinner and it was lovely to discover that our tutor was not a nerdy geek but a man with a wealth of experience of life.  He proved to be humorous and patient, made it fun to learn what could have been a very dry and, perhaps, rather boring subject, and put us all at our ease.  We had one-to-one help when necessary, and it was necessary for most of us.

After a lovely night’s sleep a Denman breakfast was just what was needed. The breakfasts at Denman provide cooked food, and/or, cereals, drinks and toast if wanted.  Various diets are catered for including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan (if asked for), etc.  Lunches also provide cooked food which can be combined with the usual fantastic range of salads (none of your ‘just lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber’ here but a real mixture of tasty food).  We all worked hard at the tutorials so good food was much needed to keep us all fit and alert!

I have come home with a fully working iPad and have learnt a lot about what this piece of equipment can do.  I met some lovely people, one of whom was a 90 year old lady who had come to do willow weaving for her garden.  All the items she made had to be transported home on the train (which included a change at Wolverhampton!) and she was perfectly circumspect about doing this especially as at least two of the items were very large.  We all admired her wonderful enthusiasm and zest for life – she even talked about booking another course for next year – how’s that for optimism and joie de vivre.

On our final morning we finished with lunch after our tutorial and a visit to inspect the work of the other courses, then for seven of us our taxi arrived to return us to the railway station and trains home.  A very happy and contented, if a little weary, crew.

So I thank Shorwell W.I. for the bursary which helped me to improve my knowledge, Steve Green, our tutor, for helping me get my iPad up and running, and Denman, for the most wonderful time, as always.

If you’re interested in embarking on an iPad course, either one for beginners or improvers, then click here and have a look at what we have on offer!

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