Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Around the WI

Around the WI

BENSON

PRESIDENT Sandra Winterbone welcomed 13 members and one visitor to the meeting on June 21.

She issued best wishes and birthday cards to four members and advised us on the forthcoming outings and local talks as advertised in News & Views magazine.

The record of our last meeting was approved and Sandra confirmed that our unanimous agreement to support the resolutions, as discussed at the May meeting, had been passed to the local delegate to take to the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool.

On June 17 four members attended (along with 170 others) the Julie Summers open garden event which was a fund-raiser for the Denman Appeal. They advised that this was extremely enjoyable and a great success.

A letter of thanks regarding the appeal, from Oxfordshire Federation chairman Pauline Goddard, was read out.

Our speakers, Neville Burt and Liz Andrews, had come to talk to us about the Wallingford Emergency Food Bank.

Mr Burt, who is its chairman, and Ms Andrews, a volunteer, talked about how the food bank was formed, its aims, its voucher system, the type of donors and its clients.

The food bank currently operates from a wooden building on Bullcroft Park and is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 11am to 1pm.

History fact sheets and information cards were given to each member and after the talk, Mr Burt and Ms Andrews were presented with boxes of food donations from members.

Our July 21 meeting will be a “bring and share afternoon tea”. There will be no meeting in August before we return to Benson parish hall for an open meeting on Wednesday, September 20 at 7.30pm.

This meeting will feature the “Remarkable story of the windsor chair” as told by Stewart Linford, who has been in furniture-making circles for many years.

This meeting is open to anyone. Entry will be £3 for non-members and will include refreshments.

Details of the Benson WI programme can be obtained from Brenda Hallett on (01491) 838584 or Sue Brown on (01491) 837885.

CAVERSHAM

AT our June meeting, we welcomed Keith Beasley, of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

This was a timely talk, reminding us of the many things we could be doing to keep ourselves safe at home.

We found out that it takes just four breaths of the toxic fumes from an overheated phone charger to make you unconscious (and unable to react to the fire alarm), so we won’t be sleeping beside our chargers from now on!

The WI national resolutions for a campaign to alleviate loneliness and keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans were both accepted, so watch this space as we will be planning a few activities around both subjects soon.

Next month, we will be welcoming a true local to share his experiences as a fishmonger.

Ladies are very welcome to visit our friendly group. We hold meetings at Church House in Prospect Street, Caversham, on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, which helps avoid childcare issues.

There is usually easy parking and a lift to the first floor meeting room (some building works may temporarily affect this though).

For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/hwzj6zy or search for “Caversham WI programme”.

For enquiries please call our secretary Romayne Flight on 0118 947 5176.

COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, June 21, president Adrienne Rance welcomed members to our garden party at the lovely Crazies Hill home of Jill Tomlinson.

“Calling all flower arrangers” was a headline in the Berkshire News, which caught the eye of Sheila Williams.

As a keen arranger, Sheila applied to take part in this national WI competition as the Berkshire representative.

She was delighted to be accepted and will attend the Bakewell show in Derbyshire on Tuesday, August 1 to stage her exhibit.

All she has to take is her secateurs as it is an “imposed exhibit”, which means all the competitors are given the same materials, sundries and containers.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for Sheila to show off her skills and we look forward to her report in September.

The display of entries will be open to the public on the following two days.

Last month Sheila created a a flower arrangement for the Wargrave Village Festival.

Our next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, July 19 at 2.30pm. Our guest speaker will be Tony King, with a talk entitled “From Hollywood to Broadway”.

GREYS

IT was garden party time for Greys WI as we moved out of our beloved village hall for our June meeting to the garden of our president Val.

Expectations that the English summer would be kind to us, based on previous experiences, were low, so we made plans in case of rain.

In the event, the temperature hit 34C, so it was a sweltering but determined group of members who gathered in the wonderful sunshine.

Most were festively, indeed elegantly, dressed (let down by Merryl, who was in shorts and a T-shirt!) and wearing their competition “Decorated for Ascot” hats.

Formal business did not go away just because we were in a very pretty garden, so Val formally welcomed us.

Janet (secretary) read the minutes of the last meeting and Doreen (treasurer) was prepared for any questions.

Stalwartly, two members — Jo, in charge of the book stall and the raffle, and Suzanne, the produce stall (marmalade and tomato plants) — stayed on duty.

The rest of us relaxed in delightful shady spots, clutching our glasses of Pimm’s.

Some attempt was made to grapple with the quiz but it was really too hot and eventually we moved inside to demolish the delicious tea and to chat, discuss future speakers and plot a new “over to us” session.

The decorated hats were voted on and the winner was Joyce Robins.

We had a wonderful time and would all like to express our thanks to Val for opening up her garden and being such an excellent hostess.

HARPSDEN

IT was a very hot summer’s day for the June meeting, which had a slightly depleted attendance, most probably due to holidays for the lucky ones.

Pat Eades presided and wished “happy birthday” to Peggy Burchell, Miriam Gilmour, Margaret Stevens and Joan Mills.

Pat attended the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool on June 7 and had an early start, catching the coach in Nettlebed at 7.45am.

After many stops to pick up other delegates and observers, she reached Liverpool in the late afternoon.

The meeting the following day was the final one for federation chairman Janice Langley.

As there was no report available from the member who represented Harpsden WI at the meeting, Pat was able to mention that the two speakers were very interesting.

One was from Green & Black’s chocolate and the other was Susie Dent from TV’s Countdown.

The two resolutions, one on loneliness and the other on microplastics, were both passed with good majorities.

The meeting concluded with some lively music from The Retros, playing Sixties songs and especially the “Liverpool Sound”.

It had been an exhausting two days as Pat did not arrive home until 1am the next day.

News & Views mentioned a literary tea/evening on August 10 and 22 at different venues in Oxfordshire.

There is an opportunity to hear possible new speakers at a selection day on October 5. The popular ”Music Tasters” will take place in Benson parish hall on October 17 at 10.30am.

“Secret London” can be experienced with an outing on September 13 and 14. Coach pick-up is available in Nettlebed. The cost is £46.

Following a talk at the May meeting by Robert Treharne Jones, press and public relations officer at Leander Club, 20 members were able to lunch at the club and tour the facilities.

They were led on the tour by Callum Johnson, one of Leander’s top rowers, and he took them into the gym where handsome 6ft-plus, bare-chested young men were honing their skills on the apparatus.

Tearing themselves away from the gym, the ladies continued the tour with a look at the crew rest room, where they noted that the rowers consume 7,000 calories a day, the honours boards, the boat sheds and, finally, the shop where pink hippos, the club’s mascot, could be purchased — fluffy ones, of course.

The reading group will meet on July 19 at the home of Shirley Weyman.

John Harrison gave a talk on his “Evolving garden”.

Unfortunately, he began by reading his notes but once he was into his stride, describing all his plants, he became more interesting.

He has one-fifth of an acre of garden which he began cultivating in 1975 and now has a wide variety of trees, including sumac and smoke bush, and plenty of fruit and vegetables as well.

His pictures were not very clear on the screen but he ended his talk with photographs of a variety of animals visiting his garden.

Although it appears to be a “wild” garden, he said he preferred to call it a “natural” garden.

Mr Harrison was thanked by Ann Kelly.

The competition was for “A rose” and was won by Pam Hails with Joan Hoyes second and Judith Young third.

At the July meeting, Virginia Lawrence will speak on “The history of Denman College”. Two £100 bursaries will be available for members who are interested in attending a course at the college.

This meeting will be at Harpsden village hall on July 12 at 2.30pm. The competition will be for “An historical item”.

HOT HENLEY-ON-THAMES

OUR June meeting was a sociable cheese and wine evening with speakers Derek Barton, who owns Neustift, a local goats’ cheese company, and Jennifer Crane, who is a vineyard owner from California. We were also very pleased to welcome more new members and guests and hope this trend continues.

Katie, our president, introduced our first speaker, Derek Barton.

Derek started keeping goats with his wife more than 29 years ago and the cheese-making was a hobby that kind of exploded into a full-time business.

He had a herd of more than 60 British Saanen until recently and all of his cheeses have won gold medals.

We couldn’t believe how many different flavours of cheese there were (eight or nine in total) and happily tried the samples he had brought along.

The company name Neustift, in case you are wondering, comes from the Austrian village where Derek’s wife is from.

Our second speaker was Jennifer Crane, who lives partly in Henley and partly in Sonoma County, California, where her family has been farming the same land since 1852, growing the famous Crane melons.

She planted her first vineyard in 2002 and it takes three years from planting to first harvest.

Now Jennifer has 11 acres of Pinot Noir grapes growing.

The fruit is sold to several Sonoma County wineries and produces award-winning wines.

We all had a lovely evening drinking wine, eating cheese with freshly baked bread and chatting — what could be better?

Our next meeting will be at King’s Arms Barn in Henley on July 21. New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information, email hotwi2017@hotmail.com or just come along.

MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

MEMBERS welcomed Hayley Scott to the meeting on May 3, when she spoke on “Forensics in the Metropolitan Police”.

Previously an officer in the Met, she is now at home spending more time with her husband and family.

As her son was about to start school and as she and her husband were both working at least an hour-and-a-half away from home, she decided she needed to be nearer home.

She really enjoys talking about her job as a scenes of crime officer working across London and she feels it keeps her in touch.

Training at Hillingdon, she started with a mentor, examining thefts of cars and shop burglaries, and then returned for more training.

Then she was able to examine sexual assault and robbery scenes and, after more training, she was qualified to examine all scenes apart from those of terrorism incidents.

The scenes which really affected her were those of murder, especially those involving children.

She took samples for DNA breakdown, body fluids, fibre samples, hair samples, shoe marks and impressions with a light source. Taking fingerprinst is done with with a brush and and she also takes photographic evidence.

We were shown evidence bags with tamper-proof labels — samples are sealed and labelled at the scene.

We were also given an example of retrieving fingerprints from a window pane.

Hayley did point out that processing a scene of crime can take hours of painstaking work, unlike some of the scenes on TV programmes. Many more resources are put into murder crimes.

She then gave us a brief history of forensics, explaining that Edmund Lockhart was the founder.

He pointed out that every time two surfaces come into contact a trace is left, leaving deposits of DNA from skin or hair or impressions from, for example, shoes. This is how forensics came about.

Thomas Berwick discovered that every fingerprint is unique.

In 1901 Sir Edward Henley set up the first fingerprint bureau in the UK at New Scotland Yard and now the bureau and the Met in general has one of the best informed police forces on the planet.

The Met often gets involved when crimes are committed in other parts of the world.

Unable to fit all the information into one talk, Hayley promised us a follow-up visit.

On Wednesday, June 7, members, husbands and friends enjoyed an outing on to Loseley Park House and gardens at Artington, near Guidlford.

Home to the More-Molyneux family for 500 years, Loseley Park was one of the first stately homes in England to open to the public.

The estate is set in the Surrey hills in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the house was built beside a lake in 1560.

It has many unique features, including panelling form Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace, fine works of art from the 17th century, a huge chalk fireplace and Elizabethan windows.

After a warm welcome by a voluntary member of staff, we were shown around the extensive gardens which were redesigned by Gertrude Jekyll from the formal gardens of 1661 and redesigned again in 1991 with the addition of a rose garden, which has a mulberry tree planted by Elizabeth I.

There is also a herb garden, a white garden, a flower garden and an organic vegetable and cut flower garden, all set alongside a moat.

Lunch was taken in Chestnut Lodge and a house tour was conducted in two groups.

Many of the party enjoyed the famous Loseley ice cream, originally made on the estate but now it is a franchised business and made elsewhere.

It was a happy group that returned to Wargrave.

A successful bridge evening was held at Wargrave Village Festival on June 14. The winners were Pat Darwent and Kate Emerton.

Mill Green members took part in the flower festival, held a cake stall at the festival fete and served teas in the church for both events.

Sue Drew will speak at our July meeting on the subject of “This thing called ballet”, the second in her series on her favourite subject.

There will be a garden party on August 2. Please do come and visit us if there is a subject which interests you.

PEPPARD

MAUREEN HAY gave us detailed information on the annual meeting held in Liverpool and it was decided that the resolution on “plastic soup” be put forward as the resolution to alleviate loneliness could be dealt with locally.

After a brief discussion on future plans, we were treated to an entertaining and informative talk by Kevin Little called “Donkeys, dolphins, foxes and fish”.

A truly traditional tea was provided by Di Ducker and Gwen Foster and enjoyed by everyone.

Ann Holt brought a lovely flower display for the table.

Next month we are invited to visit the new home of Liz and John Waterfall for our garden meeting.

REMENHAM

SIXTEEN of us met as usual at Remenham village hall for our June meeting.

Our president Daphne Austen was in the chair and welcomed all.

There was the usual business and details of our summer outing to the Sandham Chapel and the Textile Museum in Newbury.

Birthday posies were given to June Shelton and Shirley Behan who also won the raffle.

Daphne then welcomed Marie Brugner, community champion for the Tesco store in Henley.

She said that every Tesco store has a community champion who is responsible for their shop’s waste handling programme.

In Henley’s case, this has been developing over the past four years.

Every day waste food is collected to be handed out locally at, for example, Checkendon Primary School and Christ Church, Nomad and the d:two centre in Henley.

Dave Edmonton will take the rest and distribute it to any needy people in the community that he knows, including food banks. There are also two extra slots each day for the desperate.

The food is mainly fruit, vegetables and bread. The meat goes into dog meat. Tesco also has its own food bank, where customers can donate items when shopping.

Marie told us she has a £200 monthly expenses card which she can use for charities and a store of surplus goodies, such as alcohol and chocolates, which she can donate to charities for raffles etc.

Marie was profoundly thanked for her super talk by Anne Francis and we all decided she is a great advertisement for Tesco, especially when she treated us all to a sparkling glass of fruit juice and platters of various cheeses, biscuits and grapes, which were much appreciated.

Daphne gave us a quiz while an excellent tea was prepared by Pat Sly and June Shelton. We look forward to our craft day at Daphne’s house.

On July 10 our meeting will be called “police witness” and Simon Williams will test us on “what did we really see?”

ROSEHILL

PRESIDENT Margaret Pyle welcomed all members and visitors to our 54th birthday tea.

There were representatives from Chazey, Caversham and Sonning Glebe WIs and we thanked those who had sent birthday cards.

Apologies were received from Marlene Voke, Berkshire Federation chairman, and Wendy Robinson, our WI advisor, who were attending the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool.

Margaret said the record of the May meeting was available for all to see.

She went on to thank Jean Hewitt for the table flowers (later the raffle prize).

She also thanked all members for the lovely cakes and goodies that would be devoured at the end of the meeting.

Treasurer Judith Sharp told us that our finances were in a healthy position.

The Scrabble club met twice in May and the book club once. The film club went to see My Cousin Rachel — 10 members enjoyed the film and six of them went on to have a cup of tea/coffee and a chat!

Arlene Riley has kindly agreed to arrange a visit to Riseley village hall for a cream tea in September, plus the possibility of forming a lunch club. Boards were sent round for those interested to register.

We then came to our speaker — in fact there were six of them — together known as The Tuesday Girls, who entertained us with a medley of songs, some serious and some comical.

One of the ladies also played the guitar. We were asked to join in at any time if we knew the words.

At one point someone made a mistake and this was put down to the fact that they were performing on a Wednesday!

Well done, ladies, we all enjoyed it very much. After all the singing came a very welcome cup of tea and some of those delicious cakes.

On Wednesday, May 24 a group of us attended the Caversham group meeting, it being our turn to act as hosts.

It was a very enjoyable evening hearing all the reports from the other groups (Chazey, Caversham and Sonning Glebe WIs).

The speaker for the evening was Philippa Bilton, who gave a very interesting (sometimes sad and sometimes humorous) talk about the suffragette movement.

Philippa had dressed herself in a costume of the time with the suffragette colours. She also had with her documents and books about the movement for all to see.

We were told at the end of the evening that the raffle and book sale table netted £50 between them. Well done, all.

On June 22 a party of 26 members attended The Mill at Sonning for lunch and a matinée performance of Don’t Dress For Dinner.

The president closed the meeting after the raffle had been drawn.

We meet at St Barnabas’ village hall in Emmer Green on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm.

SHIPLAKE

PRESIDENT Joan Jolley opened the June meeting with her usual warm welcome on what was a very, very warm afternoon.

Outings secretary Sue Lines gave an update on forthcoming events and told members that the trip to Wisley RHS Gardens had been a great day out.

At the Oxfordshire Federation’s recent annual meeting, Shiplake won a free bursary to Denman College.

A draw was held for this prize and the very lucky winner was Hannelore Donohue. Her course choice is “Neapolitan pasta and pasta sauces”.

Our speaker was Dr Lynda Ware, a retired GP and now a senior fellow in general practice with Cochrane UK, which is (I quote from their website) “a global, independent, non-profit making network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and anyone interested in health, producing credible, accessible evidence-based medical research to inform decisions about health”.Although the subject was technical, and would normally be over this correspondent’s head, Lynda made it interesting and easy to comprehend.

Evidence-based medical research has been carried out for centuries, the first recorded clinical trial being that of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of ancient Babylon.

He decreed that all his subjects should only eat meat and drink wine but this was challenged by some of his advisers who claimed that vegetables and water were better for people.

A trial was carried out with two groups and it was proved that the people who ate vegetables and drank water were the better nourished. The king then allowed everyone to choose their own food.

Although a simple example of EBM, it is the basis of all clinical trials even today.

Lynda also told us to beware of misleading newspaper headlines. When we read that “Two bars of chocolate a day can slash the risk of heart disease and stroke” beware!

EBM research found that the flavonoids in super-dark chocolate may be beneficial in heart and stroke problems but the sugar and fat content of all chocolate is bad for you. Lynda’s answer was “everything in moderation”.

A lovely tea was served by hostesses Sue Williams and Carol Willson.

The flower of the month competition was won by Ursula Davies and the competition for “A good one-liner” was won by Pam Hudgell.

Meetings are held in Shiplake Memorial Hall every third Wednesday of the month (except August) at 2.30pm. New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information, please call the secretary on (01491) 410256.

SONNING COMMON

OUR June meeting was opened by the president Jenny Ward and she welcomed the 43 members, three visitors and our speaker Jenny Mallin on a warm summer’s evening.

This was followed by the usual business announcements, which included the treasurer’s report.

Jane Handley told members that she had been to the funeral of one of our newer members, Moira Saxon, and that there was a copy of the order of service, together with a small basket of flowers from Sue Hedges, on the information table. The flowers would be given to Moira’s daughter.

Jenny Ward, Sue Hedges and Gill Hayward had attended the National Federation’s annual meeting in Liverpool on June 7 and a report on this would be given at our July meeting.

A report from the craft group included a thank-you from the neonatal unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for the lovely knitted cardigans and expressing bags made by our members.

These items were much appreciated and invaluable to the babies and mothers.

Ongoing craft projects include sugar craft icing flowers, knitting, crochet, sewing and adult colouring books. Members are welcome to bring along any craft project they are working on.

The darts club is still holding meetings at the Hare and Hounds pub in the village. Midday sessions start with lunch and lots of friendly chat. Evening sessions are also available to accommodate those members who are not available during the day.

All sessions are very much enjoyed and members were asked to come along and have a go — the scoreboard is electronic so you don’t need to be a whizz with maths!

A fund-raising event for Bishopswood Special School will be held at the Abbey Rugby Club on August 19 and our members have been asked if they would be prepared to make a cake or help on the day. Names were taken of those members who agreed to participate.

Alison Bishop outlined details of our summer outing in August. We will be visiting the Thames Valley Police museum in Sulhamstead followed by lunch in a local pub.

For those wishing to extend the day, there will also be an opportunity to visit the gardens at Englefield House.

Gill Hayward gave a report on the June coffee morning, which she had not attended as she was at the meeting in Liverpool.

The fund-raising team did a splendid job as usual and once again it was another successful morning.

There was a plant theme on the sales tables and one of our members, Sandra Rhodes, produced an amazing array of plants she had grown, together with beautifully hand-decorated flower pots.

Thanks were given to Sandra for her hard work and members gave her a well-deserved round of applause.

Rose Prynn and Wendy Dean ran a garden-themed tombola which was also very successful.

The other usual sales tables of books, crafts, costume jewellery and hand-crafted greetings cards were also available and everyone was thanked for their hard work and contribution.

From the funds raised at our monthly coffee mornings, donations are made to local community projects. Gill reminded members that the main purpose of the coffee mornings is for them to come along for a social morning to meet up with friends and make new ones too.

The next coffee morning is in Sonning Common village hall on Wednesday, July 19 from to 10.30am to noon and is open to all. Members of other WIs are very welcome.

The winner of the Sonning Common WI bursary was Lesley Davis and this will go towards a course of her choice at Denman. Lesley was extremely delighted to have her name drawn.

Alison Bishop then introduced our speaker. Jenny’s story was a very personal history about the last five grandmothers in her family.

It started in 1798 when the first grandmother left Mirfield in West Yorkshire to join her husband who had already left for India.

They settled in India and became members of the society who lived in the times of the Raj.

During this time, she learned how to communicate with members of their community and staff, particularly in relation to buying, organising and cooking meals.

This led to her handwritten recipe notes, which we saw examples of as well as photographs of some of the original pages to survive.

The names of some of the ingredients were very familiar as the spices we use today but the units of weight and measurement were sometimes very different.

As the generations came and went, each of the five grandmothers in turn continued to record the recipes they regularly cooked during their lives in India and these incredible documents survived and were in turn passed on to Jenny’s mother and then to Jenny herself. Jenny was encouraged by friends to write a book containing this story and all the recipes passed on to her.

After many years, her book titled, A Grandmother’s Legacy, was finally written by Jenny and self-published.

Jenny was very proud to tell us that she had won the best cookbook in the world 2017 award for self-published books given by the Gourmand World Cookbook Society. Copies of her book are now available worldwide.

Jenny is an extremely warm person and her talk was given with so much enthusiasm and genuine love for her family, so that their incredible story really came to life.

Her colourful clothes, personality and unique story were much enjoyed and marvelled at and we all gained an insight of what life was like in India during the days of the Raj.

We were also treated to some of Jenny’s delicious Indian-inspired cooking with various samosas, bhajis and mildly spiced delights.

A vote of thanks was given by Ann Chivers which conveyed our enjoyment and appreciation of this excellent speaker.

The competition for “A cookery book that is special to you” was won by Caroline Gough with Ann Driver in second place.

The flower of the month was on by Jenny Hermon with one of the WI centenary roses.

Jenny closed the meeting, thanked everyone for coming and invited members to stay on for the social half hour.

STOKE ROW

OUR June garden meeting was on a beautiful sunny evening at the house of Maureen, a member. The days had been almost too hot but that evening outside was perfect.

We sat round in a giant circle and laid our prepared food out on the table. Three quiz sheets had been prepared for us by our vice-president Sandra who opened the meeting as our president was away.

The questions on one sheet were all on the theme of plants and involved us walking round the garden to find and identify the plants. Another was on anagrams and a third was identifying sprigs of herbs.

We all did surprisingly well in our teams and enjoyed the interaction.

Then it was on to the feast before us with drinks provided too. Lots of informal chatting continued until dusk.

In August we will meet up for a walk, a talk and a lunch centred on Greys church, finishing with a cream tea.

Book and craft groups will continue over the summer so we will not have a summer break at all if we do not want one. Games afternoons and swimming will also continue.

Sadly, we learnt of a previous member’s death and some of us will try to attend the funeral.

Another member has been featured in this paper as she has been made a director of the company she works for.

High praise indeed for Helen, who manages to come to our evening meetings after her day’s work and was present at this one.

The competition and raffle concluded the evening and we reluctantly packed away our chairs still in some light.

How welcome the summer evenings are. We are back in the village hall for our July meeting, which will be about keeping mobile.

Our glam sale will be in the village hall on July 15 from 10am to noon with refreshments available among the accessories and bargains. Do join us if you can — everyone is welcome to come and see our refurbished hall.

Donations of ladies’ accessories can still be made to village store up to the day before. All goods are welcome.

WATLINGTON

KATH GOMM, our president, hosted a summer garden party at her home in Pyrton on the evening of June 14.

It was a perfect evening with lovely weather and our members enjoyed the chance to catch up with each other on the local news.

Kath’s husband presided over the barbecue, cooking spare ribs, sausages and homemade burgers from Eleanor Holden.

Kath had also cooked a very tasty salmon to accompany the salads and side dishes provided by the members. To follow there were delicious desserts and a good cheese board.

For our entertainment, the Watlington Concert Band played a selection of summer music.

Thanks to Kath and Tom for hosting this great evening.

Our next meeting will be on July 12, when Louise Shaw, of Babylon Plants, will be giving us a talk on “The story of a growing business”.

On August 9, we have Jane Stubbs talking about “Corsets, crinolines and mangles — women’s lives in the 19th century”.

September 13 will be a social evening and on October 11 we will have John Sennett giving a talk called “Life after the BBC”. Our WI meets at Watlington town hall at 7.30pm. If you are new to the town or would like to make new friends, do come along and meet us. For more information, please call Kath Gomm on (01491) 612939.

WHITCHURCH HILL

ON the hottest day of the year so far, members and friends took a coach trip to the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park for their annual summer outing.

In spite of the heat, they enjoyed the day. Comments included “admired the delphiniums in the Golden Jubilee Garden”, “in spite of the heat, the plants were all in superb condition” and “superb café and shop”.

Many were tempted to purchase plants from the garden shop and they returned to their coach for the journey home well-laden.

It was with sadness that members were notified of the death of our member Margaret Palling, who had belonged to various WIs since 1957. She was well known in Berkshire and Oxfordshire and will be much missed.

The National Federation’s annual meeting took place in Liverpoool in June and both the resolutions — “Plastic soup, keeping microplastic fibres out of our oceans”, and “Alleviating loneliness, to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness” — were passed.

At our meeting on July 18 we shall have a talk from Roger Shaw on “The Oregon Trail 1840-1860”. There will also be a book sale in aid of Denman College.

Looking ahead to August we shall welcome members with their families and friends to our evening barbecue.

Hopefully the weather will be fine for us to have it in the garden at Goring Heath parish hall.

We have a business meeting with a speaker on the third Tuesday of most months and we also plan a social or craft morning, or possibly a walk and pub lunch, usually on the first Tuesday of the month.

Our monthly meetings take place at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471, starting at 10.15am and visitors are welcome. For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.

WOODCOTE

ANN LARDEN gave a warm welcome to the members on June 21, the hottest day of the year.

The birthday girls this month were Jan Clegg, Sylvia Atkinson, Gillian Seymour and Stephanie Toole, who all received a lovely buttonhole made by Hazel Tagg.

Marianne Adams had hosted a “Chance to chat”, which was enjoyed by all those who attended.

Our delicious tea was prepared by Jean Taplin, Isobel Lomax and Pat Ferris. Thank you, ladies.

The lunch club in July is going to the Barley Mow at Clifton Hampden.

Several members attended a cream tea at Iffley village hall and a tour of Julie Summers’s beautiful garden to raise funds for Denman College. We were so lucky with the wonderful weather.

Our homes and gardens group is going to Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Our speaker was Anne Borrowdale who spoke on “Feel your age and enjoy it, how to thrive as we age, how to feel positive at each age”.

We do try by keeping busy so come and join us at the village hall on the third Wednesday of the month. You will be made very welcome.

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