Members of the local WI sat about in the garden for most of today. The sun shone and the wind blew; there was plenty of gorgeous homemade cake and strawberries and cream and time to do just that.However the two WI hostesses had a thinly disguised purpose to this idle life. They quite shamelessly relieved their guests of their money with tempting stalls and a raffle. It was all in aid of the Life Skills Flat at the local special school and I am happy to say the plan worked because almost £300 was raised but the really pleasing thing was that some of the students came down to thank everyone and explain what it meant to them.
Did you see in today's newspaper that the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry drew attention to the campaign against female genital mutilation in an on-line Q&A session at Buckingham Palace? They met the girl who persuaded Michael Gove to contact every school about the problem of FGM. What a pair of unlikely champions we have in them! That takes a lot of nerve for such young men.
We listened to pearls of wisdom about pearls from the speaker this evening. It was a really interesting talk and the display of jewellery was very beautiful. Several people were tempted to buy either for themselves or for family as presents. There were visitors again and two new members received their welcome packs. We listened to a good report of the June Annual Meeting in Leeds from the delegate who belongs to a neighbouring WI. She was most impressed by the meeting and urged anyone to volunteer to be delegate in the future. We also heard all about the plans for celebrating the WI Centenary next year. With a bit of luck our new WI tablecloth will be ready for 2015.
Great rejoicing because we heard that our WI came second in the Inter-County Quiz, only 4 points behind the winners.
The Book Group thought that they had read this month's title before but we discovered that the whole story had not been included in the "Untold Tales" of Alan Bennett. So "A Life like Other People's" was enjoyed. One can hear the voice of the author speaking the words as one reads them on the page.Although the author makes fun of his family and the characters who filled his childhood, it is basically a sad autobiography .He was restricted by his upbringing and the narrowness of his parents' lives.The treatment of depression was horrific for decades and then Bennett's observations on the lack of care and sympathy for the elderly is very topical: nothing much has improved. The description of Leeds and the Yorkshire industrial scene is wonderful and the book finishes with a lyrical picture of the rural cemetary around the village church in contrast to the bleak crematorium with its soul-less funeral service.