BFWI held its Annual Council Meeting at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury today. It was a good meeting which encompassed all the business side of things mixed in with layers of interesting presentations and speakers. We watched a video presentation of the past year’s BFWI Centenary Celebrations when the NFWI baton was circulated around the county. We learned that the BFWI funds are financially sound but that Denman College wasn’t so happily secure: we were encouraged to contribute to its appeal in any way we could. We learned of the progress with the ACWW project and of various events coming up on the calendar. The two High Sheriffs for Bucks talked about their role. Each has given herself a cause to support during her tenure: Francesca Skelton’s was care not custody and Millie Soames is to try to overcome isolation and loneliness at all stages in life. Both of these topics are covered in WI mandates.
In the afternoon His Honour Judge Sheridan spoke about the way in which the courts and the police are trying to save money and time and to be more understanding in the treatment of the mentally ill who fall foul of the law---another part of the WI’s campaign Care not Custody. This was followed by an exciting talk by Mandy Hickson about her life as an RAF Tornado fighter pilot, the training and the actual service in Iraq. Her short film showed us what it is like to sit in the cockpit travelling at 700mph and refuelling in mid-air…and we have problems threading a needle! I can imagine how inspiring her talks must be to school children, especially girls. The meeting closed on time and there were very favourable comments being made as everyone left the theatre.
It was rather difficult at the local WI book group today as some readers had given up on the novel, others had found it tedious so it was left to about 3 people to speak in its defence. The novel was “Home” by Marilynne Robinson which had won literary prizes and was part of a trilogy about a small town in Iowa where a dying minister had brought up his large family. The prodigal son had returned and a daughter nursing a broken engagement had come home to care for her father. OK put like that it does sound pretty dire but some of us admired the writing and the description of life ignorant of the importance of the race riots in Southern America---a very good picture of a small community where everyone knows everyone else’s business and has long memories.
It was a small meeting of the craft group this afternoon when arrangements were made to go to Cheddington for the Glad Rags meeting on May 11th. We also planned a display of craft work for the local WI’s May meeting to encourage the formation of a second craft group because there was a demand for this and ours had run out of space. We admired a recently made baby quilt and a wonderful padded bedhead, both of which were destined to be family heirlooms and are definitely not for sale. Several twiddle muffs have been completed: they are all very different and I am sure will be appreciated in hospitals and care homes.
Two coach loads of Bucks WI members travelled down to London to see the “Painting the modern garden: Monet to Matisse exhibition at the Royal Academy. This outing was arranged by the Leisure and Performing Arts sub-committee and it was very well supported. The members really appreciate being able to board the coach fairly close to home and be delivered to the door of the gallery. The routes have to be worked out to serve this strangely shaped county of ours but even so it is much more convenient than struggling with public transport. The exhibition itself was wonderfully staged and we were made aware of artists that we had never heard of before eg.Caillebotte, Rusinol and Nolde. It was wonderful to see the enormous waterlily triptych displayed together for the first time which took up a whole wall of the gallery. It was crowded in the main rooms but we were all able to see every picture by spotting gaps in the crowds.