The re-vitalised WI craft group met in its new leader’s house with a healthy attendance of ten amongst whom there were four first-timers. We are calling ourselves the Happy Stitchers because we plan to spend time doing any craft work involving needles: to happily swap ideas and expertise and to sort out craft problems together. The crochet group has been assimilated into the craft section so that there will be a meeting every fortnight alternating between two venues. There was a happy atmosphere today so I have great hopes for the success of this re-shuffle.
The members arriving by car this evening were thrown by the electronics of the new security gate but once that was mastered they enjoyed the monthly meeting when two ladies from the local fashion shop came and talked about rejuvenating our wardrobes ready for Spring. We were shown different ways of tying scarves which had people in the audience immediately experimenting with theirs and was very welcome to me because I always seem to look as if I am treating a sore throat rather than embellishing my outfit. The result of the resolution vote was for the one on Women’s Refuges but our secretary had received only 21 votes which was rather low, even considering our reduced membership this year. A member volunteered to take over the revised craft group following the unilateral declaration of independence from any WI of the former one. More people were needed to go to Alexandra Palace for the NFWI Fair but we have a quiz team and delegates for the Annual Council Meeting and the Resolution meeting ready and waiting. We enjoyed hearing about the course at Denman College which a member had taken on the WI bursary. Dee had studied portrait drawing and we were impressed by her achievements when they were circulated. Dee herself had been so taken with her experiences at Denman that she has booked herself in for another course: she encouraged everyone to go on a course if possible.
Having missed a meeting of the Book Group in December, the members had to report on two titles this afternoon. We had read the classic novel by Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” written in 1859 and “Revolutionary Road” by Richard Yates written in the 1960s which was billed as another classic of its time. Both novels wanted to get a message across to the reader about upheavals in society and about its ills and injustices. Nowadays the style of Dickens seems unbelievably florid but what a story in spite of the melodrama! The dashing Charles Darnay , the martyr Sydney Carton and the brave little Victorian wife and mother are lively characters set against the blood and gore of the Defarges of the Revolution and the badly used powers of the English Establishment. Then it was off to America in the 1960s for some dark comedy at the expense of a couple living in suburbia but thinking they are capable of greatness and rising above the social level of those around them. Here again the author was rebelling against society, against the treadmill of earning a living and the politics of the World. It was funny but very, very sad too. It is a tragedy because all hope is extinguished for all the characters even if the reader can feel no affection for any of them. The reader too is left in despair.