This morning representatives from all the BFWI sub-committees met at Stuart Lodge to organise the calendar for 2014. This is when they reveal what they have been planning so that dates can be fixed. It is also important not to have too many similar events in the same months and to avoid clashes.The chairmen try to offer events on days, whenever possible, when few WIs hold their own monthly meetings and juggle around school holidays and public celebrations. Of course there is also the problem of when a hall is available and not being used as a playgroup or a polling station.
In the evening the local WI met for its discussion group. The topic was pagan festivals but we were soon discovering how different areas celebrate on the same day in completely different ways something derived from the same custom.As an example look what happens on 1st May across the British Isles: there are people attending Miners' Rallies, others singing at the top of towers and the children of Bucks and Oxfordshire progressing with May garlands.
A very enjoyable day was arranged at Cheddington today by the Art and Crafts sub-committee. Professor Anthony Slinn returned to BFWI to talk about the Post-Impressionists and Salvador Dali. Clare Richardson joined him to describe the restoration Constable's paintings and showed us some of his working sketches to reveal how the finished picture was produced. It was all fascinating but perhaps the best part for me was to really look at the Dali paintings and be led into seeing what I had never recognised in them before. The lunch was good and the competition entries were impressive and very different in conception of the theme "Fruits of Autumn".
The monthly meeting was about the history of magic as practised on the stage for many years and before that in the great halls of ancient times.There were some ghastly jokes as well thrown in and the members were completely defeated by the tricks which the speaker performed. We need some magic to find ourselves a full committee for next year which we will have to do for the November meeting. Twelve of the members attended the Great Food Debate and a favourable report was given.We are looking for a team to tackle some work on saving and supporting the local High Street as a back-up to last year's national mandate.
Today I joined members of the Current Affairs sub-committee in a de-briefing session after the Great Food Debate which I had been unable to attend. However I was able to listen to the recording which was done. Together we were able to piece together a press report because as usual the press had not attended in spite of being invited and reminded of the date. What's new? I am sure that the keynote address by Professor Charles Ainger will make it to the papers and perhaps some of the points made by Brian Edgley from the NFU but quotes such as Steve Sidhu's (Ten mile Menu) saying that sausages in the supermarket only share the same name with his for sale which "were made yesterday, hung today and delivered tomorrow" will not get a mention. Nor Virginia Deradour, the local farmer describing school visits to her farm in Prestwood where "Our food grows in poo"! but the children stay to make pizzas from that very food.The manager from Sainsburys was not thanked for telling everyone the truth that it is we, the customers, who demand the packaging that we also complain about. And she's right you know---stand by the shelves and watch the buying public go for the wrapped produce and think about getting loose yoghurts home in your shopping before you consider the lorry stackers transporting hundreds to the shelves!
Food for thought indeed...