I cannot say that I was looking forward with a great deal of enthusiasm to this month’s speaker but actually Graham Andrews’ talk on “Your feet are your foundation” was very interesting and full of good advice. When one views feet in sandals in trains and buses in hot weather, one realises how abused these vital appendages are. The link WI delegate gave her report on the National Federation’s AGM in Liverpool which she had enjoyed and found an inspiring experience. The members had just received the WI Life magazine for July which contained very full coverage of the proceedings. The Buckinghamshire resolution on Plastic Soup had sparked off several articles in the national papers such as the Daily Telegraph, the Times and the Independent which is proof that it has captured the imagination of the public and that the health of the oceans is something we all care about. Perhaps the passing of the mandate will encourage WI members to do at least one thing to make a difference. We were successful with plastic bags and litter. I think a lot of the progress made on the treatment of mental health problems in prisons and domestic violence is the result of WI mandates.
Reports were given on the outing to Windsor and on a member’s visit to Denman College on the WI bursary. Plans were made for a visit to the Greatmoor Energy recycling plant and the summer garden event. Happy Stitchers are going into summer recess until September. The WI is booking the community stall at the November Farmers’ Market.
I decided to enrol on Facebook because I felt that my husband and I had somehow been ousted out of our position as the hub of family news by the use of social media. We had become the last to hear of plans and achievements which were appearing first on Facebook. Also, I wanted to know exactly what had happened at Liverpool at the National AGM. Against my better judgement I thought “Here goes. I just need to follow instructions”. Dear Reader, it isn’t as easy as that: there are all sorts of abbreviations to know and one worries that one’s decisions are being broadcast to the world for comment. What a complicated busy screen where lots of things seem to be happening at once! Do I have to “like” someone’s post even if I don’t agree with it in order to be seen to have received it? Do I want all these friends whom I have never heard of? Do I need to wave back to someone who is inexplicably waving at me? How do I get rid of this endless flow of posts? Why hasn’t Mr Trump asked to be my friend? After 4 days, I decided it was all becoming too much for me and I would stick to my e-mail, blog, old-fashioned telephone line and the joy of writing letters. I came to the conclusion that my family knew far too many people all over the world and the only possible use for my knowing would be in case of disaster (and I wouldn’t test Fate in that way). I know when I was living life to the full I wouldn’t have wanted everyone to watch on social media and certainly not to comment.
The reading group had mixed reactions to “The Flight of the Maidens” by Jane Gardam. Some members considered it inconclusive and that there were too many coincidences in the plot. Others enjoyed the characterisation and the humour which were reminiscent of Victoria Wood and the description of Britain immediately post-war. Three young girls set out to explore what it is to be grown-up, finished with school and waiting to start university on scholarships after the restricted life of wartime. There is the contrast between the social classes, the experiences of the rural communities as opposed to the cities and the differing faiths dealing with the aftermath of two world wars. It is a fairly short novel which certainly cannot be said about our next set tome which is about seven centimetres thick.