In a heavy rain storm at 7.30am a coach left Winslow on its way to visit the Hindu Temple at Neasden in London. This was the last of four outings planned by the BFWI Education and Current Affairs sub-committee which proved to be very popular with the county WI members. It was most interesting to see the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, to admire its architecture, to move around its wonderful interior and be told a little bit about the Hindu faith. We enjoyed a vegetarian lunch and a look around the adjacent superstore of Indian foods. Unfortunately, we couldn’t view the temple gardens as they were hidden by marquees which were being prepared for the Diwali ceremonies next week and the following festivities to mark the start of the new year. Most of the actual building of the temple was done by volunteers, most of the running of it and the staffing of it is done by volunteers and people of all ages drop in and out to offer up prayers as part of a normal day. It is a busy place but there is an element of peace inside as well. We were told that part of the Hindu faith is to give 10% of one’s wealth and of one’s time in service to God. Sixteen hundred volunteers will be working next week to provide a welcome and food to 40,000 plus visitors---Big Society eat your heart out. It is a pity if you had to miss this experience for a good reason; but if you just couldn’t be bothered…well, shame on you. We need all the international and inter-faith knowledge we can get these days to understand the world around us. Let’s thank BFWI for organising these visits.
We had a very easy return so were in time for the Chase Group meeting held at Great Horwood. Here we listened to the musical duo called Cantlos. They sang traditional tunes and folksongs accompanying themselves on a variety of instruments, guitar, cittern, dulcimer and harp. We were invited to sing along but most people didn’t want to drown out the entertainers’ voices. The reports from the WIs in the group were interesting. We were pleased to welcome Winslow Early Birds WI and the refreshments as ever were excellent. We are now looking forward to a Group outing to the Christmas Market at Winchester.
A small attendance at the craft group when the members worked on their own projects and we discussed future activities. We have decided not to proceed as a group with making wrap pyjamas for children in hospital because the majority was not keen on dressmaking but preferred to spend time on embroidery, knitting and patchwork but individuals may undertake the sewing. It was decided not to have a display of Christmas crafts this year at the WI meeting. There would be a social get-together in late January or early February.
The opening meeting of a new interest group was held in a member’s house this afternoon. Ten members had been expected to come along to either learn to crochet or just crochet together but only five turned up. In one way, this proved fortunate as the attendees were all absolute beginners and they kept the instructor very busy. There was a lot of laughter mixed with deep sighs as we all wrestled with fingers that would not manipulate the hooks in the desired manner and strange shapes that refused to look like squares. However, we agreed to meet again in two weeks’ time and see what a bit of homework will achieve.