Gransnet forums


Intellectual Stimulation

(105 Posts)
hillwalker70 Fri 20-Jul-18 06:49:12

Where do other GN’s get their Intellectual Stimulation from please. Those of us who live alone do not have the benefit of conversation with another, I loathe TV, find it banal and infantilised and even find myself shouting at Radio 4 these days. Newspapers are expensive and full of supplements I am not interested in. I am interested in environmental matters, the countryside, music and books, not remotely interested in clothes or food. Any ideas on good publications or other ideas to keep me motivated and stimulated so I can make intelligent conversation in company. Many thanks.

winterwhite Fri 20-Jul-18 07:05:25

The ‘i’ is not expensive and doesn’t have supplements. Many U3A groups have sessions on environmental issues. Good luck, whatever you choose.

stella1949 Fri 20-Jul-18 07:18:45

I regularly do courses though various online learning sites and U3A online courses . I'm currently doing one on Jane Austen's life and times, really interesting. That one was through Future Learn, which has a lot of really interesting courses which are all free and last anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. The previous one I did through them was about the finding of Richard 3rd's remains and how the archaeologists managed to find them. Here is their website

You do it in your own time, and communicate with others through the forum.

U3A has local branches where you can do courses and meet other people as well - or they also have online courses, hundreds of them.

Have fun !

Azie09 Fri 20-Jul-18 07:19:47

Podcasts can be good. The Guardian carries a weekly guide to the newest or go to the BBC website where you can find a complete blizzard of programmes which align with your interests. I like Laurie Taylor, Thinking Allowed, Crossing Continents, File on 4 and there's an excellent environmental one the name of which escapes me but they are organised by category. The Irish Times has an excellent current affairs podcast and also a Women's podcast with a wide remit.

I'm sure there will be lots of recommendations of the U3A. I do courses with Future Learn online, these are free short courses provided by various universities. If you Google MOOC courses, you'll find that there are a lot of providers. You can study at your own pace (most require 2-5 hours a week) and there are usually lively forums if you want to join.

As to publications, I don't really have time to sit down and read lots of words but I buy New Statesman or Private Eye occasionally and like their reporting of things not automatically'front page'. My husband likes Twitter which I struggle with but I can see that if you can find a few politicians or public figures who are of interest, it is quite interesting to see what's key at the moment.

Good luck though. I'm not interested in clothes or shopping or make up or tales of other people's grandchildren told ad nauseam and I often feel like an alien in British society!!! Maybe we need a serious thread that bans the argumentative who so quickly descend into opinionated slagging off! grin

PamelaJ1 Fri 20-Jul-18 07:27:30

You could start one Azie but how you would stop the arguments I couldn’t possibly guess.
Now there’s something to think about😂

RosieLeah Fri 20-Jul-18 07:36:57

This has been very informative. I have the same problem. I'm quite reclusive, by choice, and live alone, so conversation is restricted to a quick chat in shops, which suits me as I don't want to get deeply involved with anyone. However, I am in need of intelligent discussion. I thought I would find it on chat sites which have forums, but, whatever the topic, they always seem to decline into arguments and bullying. I'm sure there are people who do it deliberately. I'm going to look at the sites you have recommended.

MawBroon Fri 20-Jul-18 07:40:43

I do miss conversations with Paw Who was enormously well read and had a deep and informed interest in all things political, historical and philosophical. However, I belong to a book group of intelligent women, read the Telegraph online every morning and the Guardian when I go to Waitrose, I go to classes in Art History and Literature each week and the Arts Society once a month. The AS also runs Special Interest where the day is given over to painter/sculptor/topic.
I would recommend looking at your local U3A also WEA if there is one and similar organisations. Are there not Environmental groups near you such as the Canals Trust? You could volunteer at a NT property (or just enjoy visiting)
However, classes, AS lectures etc do not come cheap but you stand a good chance of meeting like minded and interesting people .

hillwalker70 Fri 20-Jul-18 07:42:44

Thank you so much for replies, yes to everything you have all said. I have heard of podcasts but don’t really know what they are, will give it a go and Future Learn sounds good. I tried my Local U3A, too many opinionated men for my liking. You have set me on a new course.

MawBroon Fri 20-Jul-18 07:42:54

Sorry, missed out a word “Special Interest Days”

Not knowing whether you live in a town, city or village, but there are usually Local History groups and if in a city, talks and lectures at museums and galleries.

Nannarose Fri 20-Jul-18 07:59:13

The University of Warwick has free on-line short courses. I think others may do.
One of my friends loves TED talks that you pick up on-line as well, but I haven't got around to them yet.

I wish you luck, but would add that I though shouting at the radio was normal behaviour! Oh and I'd suggest really digging around in the TV schedules.

Maggiemaybe Fri 20-Jul-18 08:00:14

I don't think anyone's mentioned TED talks.

Bluegal Fri 20-Jul-18 08:00:33

I don’t know where you live but if appropriate why not volunteer at a local stately home/castle/Museum to be a guide? I was talking to someone who did just that and he said it was his passion; he had to learn up in detail about the history and met people from all over the world. Plus everyone else’s suggestions too. Good luck

janeainsworth Fri 20-Jul-18 08:00:44

I would second Maw’s suggestion of a book group. I joined one when I retired and I really look forward to the meetings. We take it in turn to choose a book and this has meant that I have been introduced to all sorts of books I might not have chosen for myself. And I have to read them far more critically than I might otherwise have done.
I don’t know where you live Hillwalker but Newcastle University has a series of public lectures on varied topics which are free to attend and the Laing Art Gallery and the Lit & Phil have things too. A bit further south there is the Bowes Museum in County Durham. It might be worth looking for similar things in your area.

Maggiemaybe Fri 20-Jul-18 08:01:33

Cross-posted, Nannarose. smile

hillwalker70 Fri 20-Jul-18 08:11:21

Thanks once again. I live in a very small village in Dorset and do 3 morning school runs and 4 afternoon pick ups and supper for g.children, so time wise committed. I do attend an Art class funded by Agewell so inexpensive, sing in women’s singing group, circle dance and belong to a film society in the winter. I just wanted something to read/listen to during the day that is not BBC or newspaper based. You have given me brilliant pointers and I will follow them up.

Azie09 Fri 20-Jul-18 08:16:07

Hearing about your school runs, Hillwalker, reminded me that I often tune the car radio to the World Service. The programmes that are then chanced upon are often riveting!

MawBroon Fri 20-Jul-18 08:33:33

Have you ever read “The Week”?
A really good summary each week of current affairs etc.
DGS1 (8) gets the children’s version and I learn loads from it!

Grandma70s Fri 20-Jul-18 08:37:04

I find there is a lot of intellectual stimulation online. Most newspapers are available, though most make a small charge. The Guardian still doesn’t. There are discussion groups, too.

I get impatient with Radio 4, and when I tried U3A I became impatient with that too. I prefer to choose my own topics and follow them up with research. For music, I now rely on Radio 3, which has dumbed down a little but is still a good source of both performance and discussion.

I don’t despise television. I have seen some excellent documentaries, particularly on BBC Four.

I am lucky that I still have a few good friends who enjoy discussion. My family are good for conversation, too. I have already this morning had a big argument with my brother about a literary topic!

Grannyknot Fri 20-Jul-18 08:39:26

hillwalker discover and investigate the wonderful world of podcasts.

Here's an article to whet your appetite:

Grandma70s Fri 20-Jul-18 08:39:39

PS MawBroon, my grandson (9) also reads The Week Junior.

Eglantine21 Fri 20-Jul-18 08:50:26

Do you play an instrument, hillwalker? You might like to try the Rusty orchestra, down there in Dorset. Mildly competent is good enough andI think it would fit in with your other commitments quite nicely.

Fennel Fri 20-Jul-18 09:00:37

I used to like going to the library and browsing.They used to have current newspapers and magazines too.
But I've heard they've changed and many have closed.

GrandmaMoira Fri 20-Jul-18 09:05:34

Openlearn also provide free online courses. Many museums and art galleries provide courses, though they can be quite expensive. The WI often has interesting topics. There is no U3A very near me but I attend an adult education class and am doing a degree with the Open University.
The OU degree certainly stimulates the brain!

M0nica Fri 20-Jul-18 09:19:03

DD lives alone and, currently, mainly works from home. About once a week she rings me and we are on the phone for at least an hour putting the world to rights. Among the subjects discussed last night were nanotechnology, the skills needed to be a good writer. The effect that having a rural drive to work has ones mood - and a reminder to pack the Scrabble set when we go on holiday.

hillwalker70 Fri 20-Jul-18 11:03:20

Have you played Upwords MOnica, I prefer it to Scrabble, you can go 5 tiles high and changing words gets interesting!