I must admit that everyone's immediate reaction to the sight of our chosen book for this month was a mixture of alarm and dread. It was certainly the longest we have ever attempted. The Letters of the Mitford sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley cover hundreds of pages. How to tackle this? Some focussed on the letters written by one sister, others broke it down into decades ie the 1920s or the 1960s but amazingly the majority of the group found themselves dragged in and read nearly the full series. What an interesting and talented family it was! The girls knew everyone in British political life, and artists and stage personalities from across the world.Some readers could not ignore the snobbery of the U and Non-U and see how a lot of this was a surface gloss which was amusing to them as well as to us;again, some readers found it difficult to believe and accept their emotional attachment to people such as Mosley and Hitler in the 1930-1950s. The Mitfords seemed to be attracted to strong males and in our eyes they were not very good pickers. Was all this Left wing politics a reaction against their privileged background? Whatever cause they each embraced, they gave it their all. They were all hard workers and good writers and had a great sense of humour. It was lovely to read about the Duchess of Devonshire's activities with the WI and some of her accounts of state occasions are hilarious.
A meeting of the local craft group when we were able to show off examples of the work started from the last session on slash patchwork.Some very effective pieces are ready for making into cushions. But the main topic today was our planned new WI tablecloth. A design has been vaguely agreed and everyone has been allocated an area to work. Obviously the whole has got to blend well together so at present it is a case of go away and think and then come back for a group decision. Are you going to watch the new series of the Great British Sewing competition? Amazingly enough it is good television.
I also heard about our Green Gym's launch into geo-caching on Wednesday mornings. It sounds great fun--- a cross between those round robin things we used to do and orienteering! Anyway, somehow or other there was talk of linking Bucks with Iceland. Maybe I've got that wrong! Thinking of the wider stage and the WI it was good to see letters from Bucks WI members in both the last two WI Life magazines. It was also heartening that they were not letters of complaint but had a positive outlook.
The discussion group managed to debate the pros and cons of immigration without being in any way party political. It was treated very seriously and the outcome was that the majority did not want to ban immigration but they wanted the system tightened up to avoid abuse. We were against ghettos being established but realised that this problem had to be worked on from both sides. We listed the benefits from immigration and recognised that there were very few people whose family has not at one time or another welcomed new members from other nationalities or religions.I wish the WI could attract more members from different ethnic groups in our society because it would help to fight prejudice and strengthen community links.