Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Around the WI

Around the WI


ON January 16, vice- president Maureen Rothery welcomed members and made special mention of new member Nanette Solaman.

The president’s table flowers, arranged by Jean Stewart, were a delightful mixture of snowdrops and berries.

Guest speaker Ann Arlidge arrived with two large trays full of her treasured glass artefacts.

Members settled down to listen to the very interesting history of glass.

The term “glass-blowing” refers to any piece created by inflating molten glass into a bubble with the aid of a blowpipe. To shape the glass, a “glory hole” (furnace/kiln) is used with temperatures rising to 2,200F.

Glass-blowing was discovered accidentally in the 1st century at the time of the establishment of the Roman Empire.

One theory is that Phoenician sailors set up camp on a beach in contemporary Lebanon and Israel and placed their cooking pot on blocks of natron (the Arabic word for sodium carbonate or salt), which spilled on to the sand (silica), melted and then fused, forming glass, which cooled and hardened.

Some of the oldest glass found dates back to 2500 BC, when functional bowls were made.

Members were shown photographs of many artefacts and they handled a selection of solid glass beads and vases.

Mrs Arlidge examined the colourful, beautiful glass ornaments that members had brought along — eight out of 10 were glass-blown.

She said she loved glass and decided 15 years ago to find out more by attending a three-year course at a college in High Wycombe.

Such was her enthusiasm, that she created a workshop at home, complete with her own glory hole. She buys “waste” glass by the ton from Dartington, which enables her to create many beautiful and colourful items.

Members then tucked into a delicious tea, served by Pam McGow and Mary Lowe.

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall at 2.30pm on Wednesday, February, 21, when Mr S Jones will talk about The Auctioneers List. There will be a competition for the best small antique pre-1920 and subscriptions will be due.


UNFORTUNATELY, due to the inclement weather on the second Monday in January, the meeting was cancelled.

The next meeting will be on February 11 at 7.30pm in Dunsden village hall when Mrs Boddington will be talking about The Victorian Language of Flowers.

Please be assured of a warm welcome if you would find the “translation” interesting.


OUR December meeting was much enjoyed by all members and nine visitors.

After welcoming everyone, president Varina Clark introduced John Brearley whose entertainment programme, entitled In Tune With Christmas, proved to be very popular.

He played seasonal music on his keyboard, interspersed with poems and stories as well as carols for us to join in with. Janet Leaver gave the vote of thanks on behalf of everyone.

We then enjoyed a delicious spread of refreshments, had a table-top quiz and made the most of the sales table, which did a good trade.

The competition for a home-decorated candle was popular and resulted in a win for new member Joyce Robins with Suzanne Thetford and Jennifer Poska joint second.Nearly everyone had a prize in the raffle and this ended the afternoon’s activities.

The president closed the meeting with Christmas wishes to all.

In spite of it being a bitterly cold day for our January meeting, we had a good attendance and four members received birthday flowers.

Following the usual business matters, the president introduced our speaker Amanda Wood who related her travels on a 6,000-mile journey across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

There were many “events” and, after outlining the various changes en route, Amanda showed us slides.

Val Mundy gave the vote of thanks for an extremely interesting talk.

The tea had been prepared by Shirley Bates and Margaret Bowles. The competition for a winter scene picture was won by Doreen Howells with Val Mundy, Jennifer Poska and Vera Stanger tied for second place.

The meeting closed with New Year wishes to everyone.

Our next meeting will be on February 20 when Colin Parrish will speak about Queen Victoria’s daughters. Visitors are always welcome.


PRESIDENT Frances Emmett welcomed members to the first meeting of 2013 and introduced Suzy Livesey, who will be starting a new craft group in the village hall.

Suzy showed several pieces of collage and tie dye which members had tried their hands at during an earlier session. She had arranged a visit to the warehouse of Lady Sew and Sew when the new group could purchase materials.

Maureen Cleary appealed for new members for the choir, which will be holding a singalong in the village on May 6 from 11am to 2pm.

Voting slips were distributed for the resolutions to go to the annual meeting and the result will be known at the next meeting.

Margaret Spratley has arranged a coach to go to Kensington Palace on Tuesday, March 5, leaving Hambleden at 9.30am. There are some seats left, so please contact her if you would like to go.

Julia Fairey, a member who runs several pilates groups locally, then gave an appropriately timed talk on healthy living.

She divided it into three main themes — diet, mind and attitude, and exercise and fitness.

As research shows us that more than 26 per cent of the public is clinically obese and two-thirds of men are overweight, it becomes more and more important that we try to improve our diets and fitness.

It costs the NHS £6.3billion a year to tackle the problem. Julia showed a chart detailing the fat and sugar intake of a normal diet and suggested ways to cut down.

One of the easiest ways to keep fit, of course, is to walk more. Remember, too, the wartime days when everything was rationed and the public had to cut down their intake of food. Julia showed how the excess weight being carried can cause osteoporosis and arthritis and knee and hip problems. To encourage members to take part in more exercise, she had them all join her in a 10-minute workout to fun music.

Cath Dinsdale thanked Julia, on behalf of all the participants, for her talk, which she felt sure would turn everyone into slimline versions of themselves before the end of the year!


THE January meeting was held on a bright but very cold day. Mary Burton welcomed several visitors, who will hopefully return for future meetings, and wished happy birthday to Marion Brockway, Shirley Durrans, Pat Eades and Joyce Nicholas.

Members were pleased to hear that from the £33 annual subscription the sum of £14.80 will be retained by each WI.

The “music taster” day at Benson on April 9 is an event to look forward to. Barry Collett will speak about the composer Weber and play some of the music of the Romantic Age. Weber was a great pianist but most of his work was in the opera houses.

Oxfordshire WI has two day visits to Denman College available, on March 11 and May 13, when members can arrive in time for coffee, see a demonstration in the cookery room, have lunch, tour the college accommodation and finish with a cream tea — all for the cost of between £25 and £30.

The Oxfordshire federation’s annual meeting will be held at Oxford town hall on March 26 from 10.45am. The speaker will be Mark Stacey, from the BBC shows Bargain Hunt, Flog It and Antiques Road Trip.

Although the federation is organising a visit to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, we have our own outing on May 9, leaving Henley at 9.45am. We will also be visiting the British Legion poppy factory later in the year.

The competition for an unusual Christmas card was won by Rose Musselwhite, with Shirley Weyman second and Barbara Steele and Christine Davidson tied for third place. Following the business, Ken Fitt entertained members with the music and life story of Richard Rodgers.

To illustrate his talk, Ken played selections on his tenor saxophone and clarinet as well as singing along to the music in his delightful, melodious voice.

Rodgers had originally teamed up with Lorenz Hart and then latterly with Oscar Hammerstein.

When Rodgers got married to Dorothy, Hart came to live with them but when Hart became a depressive he was asked to leave the marital home.

Although writing mainly for big musical shows, Rodgers and Hart did write Blue Moon, the only song they composed for Tin Pan Alley.One of their big hits was Pal Joey, which ran to nearly 1,000 performances.

In 1942 they wrote Green Grow The Lilacs, which was re-christened and became known as Oklahoma.

Then came Carousel, Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, The King And I and, finally, The Sound of Music with Irving Berlin having teamed up with Rodgers by this time.The Sound of Music had the big star, Mary Martin, ran to 1,343 performances and had the well-known song Climb Every Mountain.

Rodgers died in 1979, aged 77. Ken finished his excellent talk by singing With A Song In My Heart.

The February meeting will take the form of lunch at Henley Golf Club. The following one (on March 13) will be the annual meeting with light-hearted entertainment and a competition for a holiday memento. This meeting will be held in Harpsden village hall, beginning, as usual, at 2.30pm.


JANUARY’S meeting was held at Peppard Memorial Hall and president Di Ducker welcomed members and wished them all a happy New Year. She then read an unusually long list of apologies before inviting everyone to stand for Jerusalem.

As our bursaries for the current year have not all been used, a draw was held and five members will be attending a taster day at Denman College later in the year.

The president reminded members that nominations for the new committee would be needed next month and as several members, including the officers, were resigning, every member should seriously consider offering their services for at least one year.

The speaker was Christine Brook who told us of the work of the first responders, a group of local volunteers with basic medical knowledge and equipment, who are sent to patients in distress to assist until an ambulance can reach them. Christine herself had been called to several members in the audience.

She said more volunteers were always needed and basic training was given to anyone who felt they could help.

Denise Tyro warmly thanked her for an interesting and reassuring talk and many members left for home clutching a “message in a bottle”.

Tea was provided by Pamela Davies and Rita Williamson. Ann Treglown won the flower of the month competition with her Christmas box.


AT our first meeting of 2013 vice-president Margaret Seal welcomed members and visitors and wished everyone a Happy New Year as president Margaret Pyle was on holiday in Spain.

Margaret reminded members that all resolution forms and Denman College questionnaires should be passed to her for onward transmission. Our speaker was Steve Moll on the topic of the Incredible World of the Honeybee. He started bee-keeping about six years ago and now has 70 hives.

Mr Moll explained how the bees make the wax honeycomb and the temperature inside the hive is about 35C all year round. The drones live for only about six months, whereas the queen lives for two or three years. She will lay up to 1,000 eggs per day.

Mr Moll explained the need for bees to be able to gather pollen throughout the year, starting with snowdrops in the early spring and on to ivy in the late autumn. He said we could help by growing flowers all year round.

Mr Moll had some honey and candles made from the wax for sale.

The vote of thanks for this excellent talk was given by Margery Weaver. We then had a cup of tea and a biscuit, followed by the raffle.

Meetings are held at St Barnabas’ Church Hall, Emmer Green, on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm and visitors are welcome.


OUR January meeting was held in snow and ice but this did not deter our members who can be sure of a warm greeting whatever the weather.

With a few committee members absent at the last moment, the evening was run by a capable B team, led by our secretary Jane Probitts.

After a few notices, we heard all about The Grand Tour that noblemen used to undertake, sometimes for two years or more. They were studying the classics and visited Italy and other European countries, bringing home ideas and furniture with which to enhance their English houses, usually with great lavishness.

Our speaker Simon Jones had slides of the houses, gardens, statues and furniture that resulted from these tours.

Over refreshments we booked up for outings, walks and teas. The book and craft clubs reported on their latest activities, which included making pretty fabric rings and reading Call The Midwife, which is very appropriate as our latest resolution had been to campaign for more midwifery training.

Four members had managed to find flowers in their gardens amid the snow for the competition and a miniature souvenir vase from Rome won the competition for a European souvenir, chosen by our speaker from the 12 entries on display.

The year’s subscription was paid by those present and we were pleased to see some new members. Our next meeting will be our birthday celebration, when the committee will provide refreshments and Three Pressed Men will provide musical entertainment.


MORE than 50 members attended the Witheridge Group lunch on Monday, December 3 to celebrate 55 years of the formation of the group.

We enjoyed an excellent Christmas lunch with all the trimmings plus crackers. Group convenor Julia Ratcliffe was presented with a beautiful bunch of flowers from the members in thanks for organising the event at Badgemore Golf Club in Henley.

The group continues to hold two meetings each year and in-between meets up for various other activities.

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