This morning one of the local WI members held a Bring&Buy coffee morning to raise funds for our project to help provide a Life Skills flat at the Furze Down School.A good crowd attended which included a party from the school who were made very welcome.It is hoped that the proceeds will be in the region of £300 which will bring our efforts to a close at about £1000. We have enjoyed the various activities offered over the summer so it has never seemed a chore to fund-raise.In return for our contribution, our President has been asked to "top out" the building.
The speaker at the monthly meeting was a slim and attractive young lady who is a fully trained and self-employed blacksmith. We had thought of this as being a male province which she told us is exactly the expectations of the majority of people whom she meets at craft shows and exhibitions.When she described the processes we were amazed that she hadn't the muscles of a prizefighter. She was an engaging speaker and the exhibits which she had on display were very artistic and varied.Obviously items of metalwork were set on another table to the one covered in our new embroidered WI cloth which was proudly revealed for the first time this evening. The members of the craft group were congratulated on the work and the various crafts incorporated were explained. Arrangements were made for the Christmas dinner and nominations were requested for next year's committee. It was a well attended meeting which had attracted some visitors from the town.
The book group has been reading "Twenty chickens for a Saddle" which I must admit I thought was going to be an up-market Western but turned out to be the story of an unusual childhood spent in Botswana. Someone had done research into the author Robyn Scott who is just 33 years old but has built on her upbringing a remarkable list of successful work for health causes especially on the African continent. Those of us who struggled on against the small print and recycled paper used in the production of the book really enjoyed it. There were many topics worthy of discussion viz. home education, the spread of AIDS and HIV and its toll in Africa, the happy-go-lucky attitude to rearing children amongst so many dangers which would make H&S officers quake at the knee and the threats to the beautiful countryside from poaching and de-forestation.
The readers noted the recent death of the Duchess of Devonshire. We had read the obituaries which contained many of the stories of her life which we had shared this year in the Mitford Letters. Of course the Duchess was a WI member and used to make gentle fun of the times when she was a speaker at WI meetings. Also in the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend there had been an article in the Life section about the boom in WI membership and although it is changing in many ways, it still remains true after 100 years to its insistence on good fresh food.
The reading group is now a group of 16 and we will have to call a halt on taking in anyone else as we just haven't the room in our houses to seat more people. Also the sets from the library usually consist of 10 books which means we have to share. If the book is long or concentrated reading it gives the sharers only a fortnight to read and we are all busy people: from now on, we have a waiting list. Good in a way but we hate having to refuse people. We are 10 years old now so perhaps we ought to start again or form an extra one.
Plans were made for the presentation of the new tablecloth at the monthly meeting. It was hoped to attract some publicity in the local press but in case this was impossible it was a good idea to take some photos ourselves.We are a bit concerned about how the cloth can be protected as we want it to be used as often as possible but being cream, it is just waiting to have something spilt on it---probably coffee. Anyway it is finished and we are going to make Christmas decorations for ourselves and then do some different craft in the new year.