A member's blog
I have been a WI member for over 40 years in various English counties. More than half this time I have spent in Buckinghamshire. I am interested in all crafts, reading and writing and in travel.
The Resolution Selection Meeting was held at Gatehouse, Aylesbury this afternoon. The WI Advisers briefed us on the 5 resolutions on the short list to go to the Annual General Meeting at Cardiff in June next year. Every WI has the chance to send 2 representatives to hear a little more about the resolutions than is printed in the November WI Life magazine. They can then return to their WIs and hope to bring more information to their members before they hand in their preferred personal selection. In the old days, the advisers had to rely on written notes and do lots of homework for themselves but nowadays NFWI provides screened presentations and videos which can be used along side personal experience and research. This certainly makes the afternoon livelier and helps to lift the gloom induced by the topics under discussion. The two, one on Female Genital Mutilation and the other on Modern Slavery were second visits to previous subjects but more specific in their approach. The one on mental health is certainly very topical and may be a battle already half won. At first, I thought the problems of presenting a positive body image in the digital age was too lightweight to deserve a resolution but having listened to the presentation I could see there was more to this one than I had first considered. (Therein lies the importance of these selection meetings). However, the one on oral health strikes me as too minor to “waste” a resolution on. It is always difficult not to show one’s own bias when presenting the resolutions to one’s WI or indeed to an audience like todays---or on this blog!--- but obviously we will try. It is shaming that so many of the members feel that the resolution process shouldn’t take up part of two monthly meetings in the year. I am going to be very naughty and reveal an exchange in the break which absolutely made my day. A lady who had been travelling in Africa was talking about the abuse rampant against salamis! One of those moments which occur increasingly often at certain times of life. Of course, she realised almost immediately her mistake and we switched our sympathy towards the Somalis.
This morning there was the Jigsaw Swap coffee morning held in a member’s house. It was well attended by mostly WI members but a few Ramblers were there as well. Funds raised were split between the Denman College Appeal and Adoption UK so each charity received £50. One doesn’t need to buy or sell a jigsaw to attend: to sit around and talk is quite acceptable.
I have been meaning to visit the WI shop at Stuart Lodge and finally did so today. I didn’t do my homework beforehand so arrived when the craft people were engaged in a group session of decorating candles. Apparently the second Tuesday of the month there is always some kind of a craft going on. It didn’t matter as I could still browse around the shelves and chat to people I hadn’t seen for ages. Now I know about this activity I might bring some of the local craft group down---those who have never been to Stuart Lodge at all. It was a lovely drive south, past Chequers and under the golden leaves of the trees with the sun shining AND a roe deer stepped out into the road ahead of me, surveyed the approaching cars and returned the way he had come. Of course, I hadn’t got a camera so missed recording a really magic moment.
Tonight was the occasion of the Winslow WI’s first meeting of 2017. It was also its 95th official birthday although this is not being celebrated until the Murder Mystery Evening in March. It was difficult to judge what the membership is going to be this year because there were so many people absent affected by illness or away on winter holidays. We know that several WI members are moving their main membership to the new morning WI because they feel a little apprehensive about winter driving in the dark which is understandable. The speaker was an energetic actor talking about the history of pantomime so the members were soon involved in the traditional audience participation, without the hisses I am pleased to say.
The President then took the lead on the explanation of the short selection list of six resolutions and the votes were collected for sending in to the NFWI via the Bucks HQ in High Wycombe. Plans were made for the Murder Mystery Evening, the Chase Group meeting which we are hosting and the County Quiz which are all happening around the same weekend.
9th January 2017
This is my first entry for the new year after the long Christmas break. All WI members were given the holiday task of completing the membership survey in the December issue of WI Life and the members of the Bucks Federation were also asked in the Bucks Newsletter and on the Bucks website to complete a local survey. If one examines the questions asked, it is fairly obvious what information the Board of Trustees are keen to learn and I really think that the members should take the time to fill it in---especially those who tend to grumble about the location of the County Federation Office and the venues for events. Enough said but if you haven’t looked, do so now. The closing date for receipt of the survey has been extended.
The local WI crochet group was decimated by coughs and colds but those of us who were present spent an enjoyable afternoon returning to our projects and sorting out problems. Unfortunately, two beginners have decided to give up either because of failing eyesight for close work or arthritic finger joints but the rest are planning quite ambitious products and are eager to tackle the mysteries of written patterns or charts.
This month the local WI Reading Group had read "After you'd gone" by Maggie O'Farrell. Although this was the author's first novel we had collectively read her later titles beforehand and enjoyed them, so we felt fairly safe ordering another from the County Library collection. Three readers didn't get on with this one at all but the majority were appreciative. There was a wide discussion on the issues raised by the story eg the stresses that can arise in a marriage between a man from a strict Jewish family and a girl brought up as a loosely committed Christian.We admired the structure of the book from its absolutely gripping prologue right through to its slightly ambiguous conclusion. The switches between the stories of the 3 generations of women meant that one had to concentrate properly so as not to become confused which irritated some readers. The sympathetic treatment of intense grief was wonderfully well done and very moving to read. There were some amusing situations described during the inter-action of the lovers caused usually by Alice's volatile and spontaneous character. Well worth reading.One by-product of reading this novel is that we all now know what an axolotl is even if we are sure we have missed the hidden significance of its presence in the book.
Today there was a slightly smaller attendance at the craft group because of halfterm in the schools. Members showed off their Christmas decorations made during the last fortnight. We are hoping that one of our number will teach us next time how to create a really attractive fluted bell. If we all use the same two materials we can save money by one person doing the buying in advance. We also listened to the account of our three "tutors" who led a day school at a neighbouring WI at the weekend. Judging by the photos of the padded boxes produced, it seems to have been very successful. The instructors returned home absolutely exhausted even though they had done an enormous amount of preparation beforehand so that the students would be able to complete a box in the time available.
Three of us drove down to Stuart Lodge, High Wycombe to share in the Open Day. Most of the Trustees were in attendance and there were organised tours of the building which were appreciated by the new members who were visiting the headquarters for the first time. The WI shop was open and the new practice of selling craftmaking equipment seems to be a welcome idea. Certainly we were soon burrowing among the materials on offer and eagerly falling upon just the bit of red or just the little oddment of embroidery thread which had been sought elsewhere---and the prices were amazingly cheap. The shop is open more often now and the times advertised in the Bucks Newsletter so keep a look out. I'm not sure whether coffees are always available but if you have come a long way...Well worth a visit.