This afternoon's meeting of the Book Group resulted in the local organiser having to fight her corner for offering up The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath as the book of the month.Why are we asked to read such depressing books was the query from several readers. This novel is looked upon as a modern classic and is even set as a book to study for school exams but it was not a popular choice. It is autobiographical and it is a witty commentary on life in the sixties and it is beautifully written but that didn't help its reception with the more vociferous of our readers.There cannot always be happy endings and at least we could agree that there had been improvements in the treatment of mental illness, away from the near torture of not so long ago.
We spent a jolly evening playing cards in the local pub which did have a happy ending. Next month we are going to descend to the euphoric depths of playing bingo which should prove a rather noisy activity but I don't suppose the members will shoot the messenger here.
There has been a lot in the media about the WI's campaign to save the High Street. Some people think it is a lost cause: the high street is already dead for basic food shopping. The only way to rescue it is to introduce a change of use, to emphasize its social side and make it the centre for the local community.That would mean more eating places and more living accommodation right in the middle of town.Perhaps WIs should at one meeting sit down and ask every member to make one change in their lives which would benefit the high street; it wouldn't need to be a large thing but something, because we have voted this year to act on this issue and I bet 98% of us visit a supermarket at least once a month.
The local WI is planning its August meeting as an open garden party so we met today to work out stalls and activities for that. It sounds as if it is going to be a super event which we hope will attract lots of visitors from neighbouring WIs and villages but we need to stress that it isn't just for WI members.
Today two coaches filled with WI members descended on Broughton Castle, the home of the Fiennes family and Banbury town.The guides in the castle were excellent and we were privileged to be there when it was closed to the general public. Many of us had read the Music Room about growing up in such a lovely place and swimming parties in the moat and now we are looking forward to reading The Snow Geese by William Fiennes.The castle itself is still very much lived in and it felt warm and inviting, full of well-used treasures, paintings and photographs. Banbury is an interesting town with a busy high street and not too many charity shops: several of the shops were independent cheek by jowl with the usual chainstores. A lovely day out and another well organised outing.
The local WI was called upon to provide refreshments for the Winslow in Bloom event today. This meant lots of cakemaking of course and standing about serving teas. Unfortunately the number of people visiting the gardens this year was down so we had rather a lot of cakes left to sell but that is not a real problem as we can always fall back upon our good reputation for producing lovely cakes.The weather hasn't helped summer activities of this kind this year.