Tuesday, 16 October 2018

WI Roundup

WI Roundup

BENSON

JUNE’S meeting took the form of our annual summer garden party, which was held in the garden at the home of one of our members in glorious sunshine.

The meeting began with the usual business. There were opportunities to sign up for a number of Oxfordshire Federation outings and events as well as some more local ones as organised by our own social secretary.

We concluded our meeting with lots of social chat while enjoying an array of delicious cakes, nibbles and sandwiches as supplied by the members.

During June, our members were again baking cakes and manning the teapot in support of the Benson History Group’s Dines Day exhibition.

This was the day when our village had its first Blue plaque installed to commemorate William Dines, the pioneering meteorologist.

Also during June, Benson held a by-election for a seat on South Oxfordshire District Council and a referendum on its neighbourhood plan. Our members took a keen interest in both these events.

On July 18 we will be back in our usual meeting place, Benson parish hall, when we will be given an update on the work of the Benson patient participation group and what the future may hold for our local surgery as well as feedback from May’s Matters of Life and Death event where members assisted in the dispensing of refreshments.

Visitors are more than welcome to our meetings. More details can be found on the National Federation of WIs’ website, in our local Benson Bulletin or from our secretary Sue Brown on (01491) 837885.

CAVERSHAM

AT our June meeting, we welcomed Irene Manson who told us all about the art of flower arranging.

She had made a few examples of arrangements prior to the meeting which were absolutely stunning.

We learnt much about the symbolism in the choice of flowers, other decorations and colours — not just today but also how some of the early cultures used them.

Next month will have another meeting in before we take a summer break in August.

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.

For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/hwzj6zy or search for “Caversham WI”. For enquiries, please call our secretary on 0118 947 5176.

CHAZEY

OUR June meeting took the form of an outing to Waterperry Gardens, near Oxford.

Fifteen members enjoyed a really good day with not too long a journey.

The weather was perfect and the gardens, particularly the roses, looked great.

The members had voted to change the timing of the annual outing from August to June, hoping that the weather would be better and venues not so crowded, and this proved to be correct on both points. Tea was taken at the café by the river at Benson instead of meeting for coffee.

Again, the weather played its part with a stroll by the water for some — all very enjoyable.

The art group continues to meet at a member’s house, the book club at a local hostelry and the needles click along at the knitting group.

Chazey WI meets at the Caversham Methodist Church hall on the corner of Highdown Road and the Woodcote Road on the first Wednesday of the month, beginning at 2.30pm.

All visitors are welcome. For more information, email chazeywi@gmail.com or search for our page on
Facebook.

COCKPOLE GREEN

ON Wednesday, June 20, president Adrienne Rance welcomed members and guests from other local WIs to our garden party at the lovely home of Diane Bush in Crazies Hill.

It was so hot that members were glad to see that a gazebo had been put up, which offered cool shade.

Conversation flowed as members chatted over a delicious tea prepared by the committee.

Hilda Freeman happily sold raffle tickets on behalf Denman College, the WI’s centre for learning which offers a wealth of opportunities to learn a multitude of new skills and attend interesting lectures.

As a thank-you, Diane was presented with a garden voucher.

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, July 18 at 2.30pm, when member Sheila Williams will give a flower arranging demonstration. All are very welcome.

GREYS

ON Wednesday, June 20, a sunny, blustery afternoon our president Val Mundy welcomed us all to the meeting at Greys Green village hall.

She announced that Varina Clark, who was a member of Greys for more than 20 years and president twice, had sadly passed away.

She will be remembered for her kindness, efficiency and love of nature. We will all miss her and signed a card of sympathy for her family.

Suzanne Thetford had visited Shirley Bates, a former president and treasurer, who was unwell. We all sent our best wishes.

Four members had sent their apologies and three members were given a posy to celebrate their birthdays.

Val reminded our members that our annual summer outing will be on July 18 to the John Lewis Heritage Centre in Cookham. Members who need a lift were asked to leave their names so they can be picked up at home.

Val then introduced our speaker, Alan Copeland, who has been a licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society since 2002 and specialises in interesting photographic tours around the country.

This time his talk was entitled “Curiosities in the Chilterns part 2”, looking at the odd, rare and unusual aspects of life many years ago.

We started in Marlow, took in Fawley and Hambleden, dipped into Henley and called in at
Watlington and Ewelme before returning to Reading via Ipsden, Stoke Row and the countryside around Pangbourne.

On the way we heard about unusual milestones, wells, memorials and signposts to name but a few.

Alan is an excellent speaker and funny, which is probably why this was his second visit to Greys WI.

During a delicious tea (thanks to member Gill Dowling) he had little peace as members asked questions and chatted about similar curiosities.

The competition was won by Millicent Gibby.

Our next meeting will be held at Greys Green village hall on September 19 at 2.30pm when Jane Stubbs will talk about “Sex, power and politics — how women won the vote”, an interesting and topical subject from a published author and a favourite of Greys WI.

As ever, our welcome is warm and friendly and the teas very tasty. Why not drop in?

HAMBLEDEN

OUR June meeting took us out and about. We all enjoyed a fantastic visit to the wildflower meadow at the Tree Barn in Christmas Common.

Andrew Ingram, the owner of the Tree Barn, gave us a guided tour of the meadow, which included a fascinating commentary on how he has developed it over the last two decades.

He was able to describe and show many of the flowers and grasses that grow there, along with the many species of butterflies and other insects that are attracted to the plants.

We were blessed with perfect June sunshine and rounded the evening off with tea and refreshments provided by Inger Osborn, Jane Mann and Pat Eldridge.

We were to visit the Blenheim flower show on June 22.

Small groups of members are working to bring together projects to celebrate our centenary in 2019.

Our annual summer party will take place at Hambleden village hall on July 12 from 7.30pm.

Hambleden WI has more than 60 members. In addition to our monthly meetings, members are involved in our drama group, book club, art group and Hambleden Hikers. Groups generally get together once a month.

We welcome new members. For more information or to see our programme for 2018, please visit www.hambleden-wi.org or like us on facebook @hambledenwi

HARPSDEN

PAT EADES opened the June meeting in a rather breathless way having rushed from a morning meeting in Tackley, where she is now the county treasurer.

Her table was decorated with photos of pretty gardens as the speaker would be talking about plants later on.

Pat announced that help is at hand from the Oxfordshire Federation in the digital world and members were invited to sign up for an afternoon of helpful hints from the digital team.

Three Denman bursaries were on offer and the lucky winners in the draw were Lindsay Watts, Janet Wise and Di Painter.

An invitation was received from Shiplake WI for two members to attend their meeting on July 18 and this was happily accepted.

News & Views offered a poetry reading morning in Oxford on September 23 and a visit to Coughton Court, a National Trust property, with pick-up in Nettlebed.

On July 4 a cruise and cream tea are incorporated into a visit to the William Morris Georgian Manor House in Walthamstow, a drive through Epping Forest with a stop for lunch in Epping. The one-and-a-half hour cruise takes place along the Lee Valley. The cost is £47.50.

The BBC’s Pippa Greenwood will be giving a talk called “Grow Great Veg” at Stanford-in-the-Vale village hall on October 10.

The outing to Kelmscott Manor, organised by Patricia Williams, was held on a day when the weather forecast was for torrential rain and thunderstorms.

However, all was well as light drizzle didn’t arrive until late in the day and the visit was a great success.

Pat gave her report as a delegate at the national federation’s annual meeting in Cardiff where she was one of the 220,000 members present.

The “top table party” all wore corsages in the colours of the Suffragette Movement.

The resolution regarding mental health issues was passed overwhelmingly.

Stella Rimington gave a fascinating talk and Huw Edwards was amusing and showed interest in the resolution.

The 2019 meeting will be held in Bournemouth.

Our book club will meet on July 18 and the next Sunday lunch is on July 22. Martyn Sheldrake, general manager of the Toad Hall Garden Centre in Henley, was the speaker for the afternoon and had brought along a myriad of plants to discuss.

He has worked at the centre off Marlow Road for 32 years.

The business was started in 1952 by the Stubbs family when they specialised in the “3 Ps” — polyanthus, potatoes and primroses.

Now there are at least 2,500 different species of plants to be found there.

Martyn explained the stages of planting a hanging basket. His partner Lynn Burgess is in charge of all the baskets at the centre and every spring about 750 baskets are pre-ordered, then 800 extra ones are prepared and subsequently 1,500 smaller ones are put together.

Once Martyn had completed the planting of the hanging basket he proceeded to show the plants he had brought — petunias, osteospermums, verbena, geraniums, salvia, begonia, primula and many more — and gave hints for successful cultivation.

He explained the breeders’ rights for producing new plants and showed a beautiful David Austin rose which would have taken many years to produce.

There were many questions from members before Ann Lincoln proposed the vote of thanks.

The winners of the garden photo competition were Joan Hoyes, Audrey Fox and Judith Young.

The next meeting will be on July 11 when Sue Drage will talk about “Recycling with a difference”. The competition will be for a new article made from something old.

Our monthly meetings are held at Harpsden village hall, commencing at 2.30pm. Do come along as a visitor and find out about something new from something old — you never know where it might lead you.

MILL GREEN, WARGRAVE

ON June 6, a perfect early summer day, members and friends had a full day outing by coach to the National Trust property Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, home to the national collection of pre-1900 shrub roses which are in full bloom in May and early June.

On arrival we were given a comprehensive walking tour of the grounds by a well-informed guide who told us the history of the house and gardens.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds, garden and house. The rose garden was, as expected, in full bloom and quite spectacularly beautiful.

Mottisfont, a large country estate is sited in the valley of the River Test. An Augustine riory was founded there in 1201 by a courtier to four Plantagenet Kings named William Briwere.

The waters of the river attracted the first settlers and the name is derived from the font around which the local population held its moots or meetings.

The name was altered to abbey several centuries later as it was considered more romantic than the historically correct priory.

The canons welcomed pilgrims on their way to Winchester calling to worship Mottisfont’s relic, said to be a finger of St John the Baptist.

The priory was dissolved during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and was turned into a country home by Sir William Sandys who chose not to demolish the existing priory so many of the original features are visible to this day, including the cellarium and church nave.

After many owners and much alteration to the house, the arrival of Maud and Gilbert Russell in 1934 made Mottisfont the centre of an artistic and political circle.

Painters, politicians and writers were entertained in the substantial country house. Rex Whistler created an illusion of Gothic architecture with trompe-l’oeil in the salon recalling the medieval origins of the priory and these paintings still remain.

The house is furnished on the ground floor and there are exhibitions and art galleries on the upper floors.

In June the BBC’s Woman’s Hour competition winners’ works were on display. Maud Russell gifted the house to the National Trust in 1972.

We returned to Wargrave in the early evening after a very enjoyable visit.

Please join us at our meetings, which are held in the Hannen Room on Mill Green on the first Wednesday of each month.

PEPPARD

SUE MILTON held us captivated as she told us the history of swan upping, which began around the 12th century.

It is carried on today when the Watermen and Lightermen belonging to the Crown, the Vintners and Dyers take to the water in the third week of July each year to monitor the welfare of the swans on the River Thames.

Many overseas visitors are drawn to watching one of the old traditions in England.

Members provided tea and Pamela Davis brought a summer flower display.

Our next meeting will take place in the garden of the home of Katie and David Anderson on July 11 at 2pm.

REMENHAM

AS our president Daphne Austen and our vice-president were away, Enid Light took the chair.

There were further apologies from Belinda Fitzwilliams, Caroline Leeming, Rosemary Pratt, Irene Parker, Sue Sharp, Jackie Stevens, Yvonne Stevens, Joyce Tivey and Carol Wissett. Twelve members were present. The minutes of the May meeting were read and future plans were gone through.

Our July outing is to Hughenden Manor and in the afternoon a visit to Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

In August our president is hosting a summer tea party at her home. Sunday, September 2 is the date of the Remenham country fayre and our WI will do the teas as usual.

As so many of our members were away, the previous booking of an afternoon on tai chi has been postponed.

Enid then gave us a fascinating and amusing talk about her life as an air stewardess, in the late Fifties when it was the golden age of stewardesses.

Enid started with Lufthansa as she had a degree in German. In those days the requirements to be a stewardess were to be 5ft 5in, not beautiful but presentable, and not married.

After spending some time with Lufthansa on the next desk to the BOAC desk the girls there said to her ‘come and join us’.

They were trained at Heston in an old convent in cubicles on a long corridor with women on one side and men on the other with bathrooms between.

They were taught silver service (absolutely no trolleys), first aid, midwifery and rescue survival both at sea and in the desert. They also had a treat of two days at Elizabeth Arden.

At first Enid was on the route to Johannesburg. They refuelled at Khartoum, when the local high chief blew his horn to rid the locals of the evil spirits. He also blew it as they left.

Then she was on Britannias to the Far East. This was a three-week journey with many stops along the way. There were 60 first class seats with 10 crew and only one stewardess.

There was a lot of romances as young chaps from the RAF and Fleet Air Arm applied to be BOAC pilots.

Enid’s male friends were determined to find her a husband. Jim Light was the one but, of course, once married Enid could no longer be a stewardess.

A friend wrote a book about the beginning of stewarding called Dream Flight. All profits from this and many other monies, including those from Enid’s talks, go towards the Dream Flight charity, which takes disabled and dying children to Disneyland.

Enid was given a sincere vote of thanks.

Members enjoyed a lovely tea thanks to Pat Sly, June Shelton and Jen Terry.

ROSEHILL

VICE-PRESIDENT Barbara Wood welcomed all members and visitors to our 55th birthday meeting.

We especially welcomed those visitors from Caversham and Sonning Glebe WIs.

Barbara also told us that the record of the May meeting was available for everyone to read.

She also told us that the various clubs continue to flourish with the Scrabble group meeting twice in June and the book club once.

Members of the cinema group saw the film Book Club and enjoyed it very much.

They are planning to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which will be on general release at the end of July. The ladies did not lunch in June! Margaret Seal then gave out the birthday buttonholes.

Barbara also told members that our president Arlene Riley’s hip operation had been more complicated than originally thought and she would be out of action for several weeks.

On June 16 a group from Rosehill went to The Mill at Sonning to see The Unexpected Guest, a play by Agatha Christie directed by Brian Blessed, which was enjoyed by all.

Another successful outing — can we go again next year, please?

Our speaker was Emma Stiles who gave a very interesting talk (with slides) on nutrition.

Emma explained the workings of our gastric system and how we can all help ourselves with sensible diets and very gentle exercise. Thank you, Emma.

Next year will be the centenary of the Berkshire Federation of Women’s Institutes and it is planned to plant a tree somewhere in the county with a time capsule beneath it, so if you have any bright ideas of what could be placed in the capsule, please contact the committee.

Barbara announced that the monies from the sales table and raffle would be split between the Royal Berkshire Hospital courtesy packs and Associated Country Women of the World — thanks to all those who contributed.

Just before the meeting closed we had our celebratory selection of birthday cakes which were absolutely delicious. Thanks to everyone who made such lovely cakes.

Finally, the raffle was called and the meeting was closed.

We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at St Barnabas’s Church hall, Emmer Green at 2pm.

SHIPLAKE

PRESIDENT Joan Jolley opened the meeting with her usual warm welcome.

She told us about the lovely evening we had had touring Leander Club in Henley and how we had all enjoyed the dinner laid on for us.

Quite a few members are singers in the Shiplake Village Community Choir. Joan commented that it felt like all the remainder of us were in the audience at their recent concert. It was a great evening.

Irene Crawford read our representative Pat Eades’s report of the National Federation’s annual meeting held in Cardiff earlier in the month.

Our speaker was Julian Clare, a paper conservator.

Julian has had the most remarkable career, beginning as a 17-year-old apprentice museum technician at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (glorified tea boy/sweeper upper) and ending as an art courier for the Royal Collection in Windsor.

Who knew that you could clean paper in water?

He told us of the different techniques for paper cleaning and conservation and with the help of his wife Catherine showed us some of his work.

Obviously he could not bring along any of the masterpieces he had worked on but we were nearly able to get an impression of how it felt to have the daunting task of handling art worth many millions. He is very proud to say that he has “washed” 34 works by Canaletto.

In 1992 he helped save many of the works of art, tapestries and books from the Royal Collection when fire broke out in Windsor Castle.

He answered a lot of questions from members, and his talk was very much enjoyed.

Carol Willson and her husband Eric celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in June and, much to everyone’s delight, they treated us all to tea.

Hostesses Belinda Fairthorne and Robbie Friendship supplied a lovely array of sandwiches and cakes in their honour.

The Associated Country Women of the World flower of the month competition was won by Robbie Friendship with a beautiful red rose.

The competition for “an old book” proved to be popular and attracted 20 entries. Susan Partridge’s Clavis Campanologia: The Art of Bell Ringing, published in 1788, won.

Meetings are held at Shiplake Memorial Hall every third Wednesday of the month (except August) at 2.30pm. New members and visitors are always welcome.

For details, please call the Secretary on (01491) 410256.

SONNING COMMON

AT the start of the month five members travelled to Cardiff for the National Federation’s annual meeting.

This year’s resolution was “mental health matters as much as physical health”.

Each WI in the country has one vote and the resolution was carried with 5,945 votes in favour.

This now becomes a campaign to make it acceptable to talk about mental health and to lobby the Government for better support for mental illness.

There were two speakers. Stella Rimington gave a fascinating account of her time with MI5.

When she joined in 1968 women were rated as “other ranks” as only men could be “officers”.

The next 25 years saw many changes and she was appointed director-general in 1972.

Huw Edwards, the BBC journalist, presenter and newsreader, spoke of the huge impact of technological changes on the speed of news reporting and about his enjoyment commentating to 26 million viewers on the 2012 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony.

Finishing, he was asked to make his “would I lie to you?” face. He raised his eyebrow to thunderous applause.

On the same day our WI held its monthly coffee morning.

The usual sales tables were supplemented with bedding plants and perennials grown by Sandra Rhodes.

In the evening members served drinks at the Sonning Common patient participation group’s presentation “A day in the life of a GP”.

Later members of the craft group were seen to be busy with hammers, nails and bean tins filled with frozen water, crafting them into lanterns.

At our members’ meeting we enjoyed Biff Raven-Hill talking about “The wartime housewife: old values in a modern world”. She had a variety of objects from the wartime period for us to identify, from washing dollies and curlers to shrapnel and ammunition boxes.

Reports were given on a trip to Wimpole Hall and a residential course at Denman College enjoyed by a member who had won a bursary last year.

A draw for this year’s bursary took place and was won by a delighted Pam Gross.

The competition for a Ladybird book was won by Lillian Dewar with her classic book Ginger’s Adventures and the flower of the month was won by Christine Marsh with a passion flower.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, July 19 when the speaker will be Carol Mackay, Oxfordshire’s emergency planning officer, with a talk covering responses to emergencies, how the community will become more resilient and some examples of emergencies recently attended. Visitors are welcome.

SOUTH STOKE

THE president Rita Mann welcomed 30 members and guests to the June meeting.

In the business section of the meeting she encouraged everyone to read the county newsletter, which is a mine of information with news from around the institutes as well as trips and events.

Rita then gave us an account of her day as a delegate at the National Federation’s annual meeting held in Cardiff.

Delegates represent a group of WIs and vote on their behalf on the resolution chosen each year by the members.

In the past these have included “plastic soup” and equal pay for women.

This year it was mental health and the vote was 98 per cent in favour, an overwhelming outcome.

The speakers this year were Dame Stella Rimington, former director-general of MI5 and the first to have their name publicised on appointment.

She was followed in the afternoon by Huw Edwards, the BBC journalist and broadcaster.

What a fantastic opportunity to listen to speakers of their calibre and a wonderful day out.

Our speakers for the afternoon were equally enthralling as they gave us facts and figures to illustrate their talk, entitled “Victims of domestic abuse”.

The figures mentioned really took most of by surprise — one in five children and one in four women across the country is a victim.

Agencies work with women and children and can offer support in many ways. It sounds so simple to say why not just leave but very often the confidence to do this is so eroded by the perpetrator perhaps over many years that it takes great courage to do this.

Many do leave home, usually with just the clothes they are wearing and nothing else, leaving behind everything including personal possessions, such as photos and keepsakes etc. not knowing if they will ever be able to get them back.

Refuges offer a safe place where everyone can be together but in a different area that means uprooting vulnerable children from their school and their friends and perhaps also extended family.

The trauma is intense and added to this is the fact that there will be other families in the same position, all living in a communal safe house.

Multi-agencies are available to help with finding schools, doctors, claiming benefits and all the other support needed to help each individual or family on the long road to making a new life.

We sometimes forget that men are also victims of abuse and there is a lot of work going on to provide safe places for them as well.

This talk certainly lived up to the founding ideals of the WI, which was to inform and educate women.

The afternoon was rounded off by a scrumptious tea which was enjoyed by everyone, more so because following such a talk there was so much discussion and awareness of just how lucky we were to be in a safe environment surrounded by loving and helpful friends — a stark contrast to what is happening to so many in our communities.

South Stoke WI meets in the village hall on the second Tuesday of the month at 2.15pm. Pop in sometime and see if it is your cup of tea. Visitors are always welcome.

STOKE ROW

OUR June meeting was held in a member’s garden in Stoke Row on a lovely warm evening.

Business was kept to the minimum with reminders of forthcoming craft, book and games days before our July meeting which will be a talk about royal weddings and “what could possibly go wrong?”

Penny told us about the pony our WI has sponsored following the talk from Wyfold Riding for the Disabled and showed us a lovely photo of him after she had visited the stables to choose “our” pony, Lucky.

Lucky is a carriage pony who pulls the carriage that transports wheelchair users round the wonderful grounds at Wyfold.

She also told us that two members are featured in the new Denman hardback book of quotes from course attendees. She and Judy are featured after their courses on singing and mosaics respectively.

Some members will be going to Denman for the second Everest-sponsored day later in the month. One member attended the first day.

These free-to-attend days are very good and Denman looks after you well with lunch and tea breaks in-between the presentations from the sponsoring companies and Marcham is not too far for us to travel.

We shall be going to Bicester for a talk on waste disposal and tour in July.

We have a lunch visit from our regular customers from Wargrave coming up and also the coffee morning in Woodcote. Both are fun to do and bring in some welcome funds for our group.

We are grateful to those members who always help out at these events.

With no speaker in June, our president Sandra had set us three different quizzes which involved walking round the garden to find and identify plants.

Two teams scored highly and thoughtfully Sandra had a tricky tie-breaker question ready, which took some time to answer but the winning team were rewarded with sweets.

We then enjoyed a bring and share supper which was excellent with wine too! Some members had put together flower arrangements to represent the Suffragette movement in mauve, green and white and these were admired.

We reluctantly packed up our picnic chairs and made our way home after a very enjoyable evening.

WATLINGTON

ON June 13, our WI celebrated its 85th birthday.

We had a garden party at Kath Gomm’s house and garden.

Tom cooked delicious food on the barbecue. This was accompanied by various salad dishes and fresh poached salmon.

All this was followed by yummy desserts, all contributed by our members.

Later we were entertained by the Watlington Band, who played Jerusalem, themes from James Bond movies and several other well-known tunes.

Steve Craddock had made a superb 85th birthday cake and after it had been cut by Kath and Maggie we all had a slice. Very good!

Our new banner was also on display along with flower buttonholes made by several members.

Flowers were presented to our president Kath and a bottle of wine for Tom for cooking our food.

A plant was given to Amy Drummond for her many years of keeping the WI register and another to Eleanor Holden for her time as a committee member.

Members invite you to their meeting on July 11 when Alistair Hodgson, curator of the De Havilland Aircraft Museum, will give talk on the history of Salisbury Hall, which houses the museum.

The talk will include all aspects of the development of the Mosquito aircraft.

At our August meeting, Julia Miles will be giving us a talk on “Ragbag and cocktails: 28 years as a diplomatic wife”.

September will be a social evening.

We meet at Watlington town hall at 7.30pm. For more information, please call Kath Gomm on (01491) 612939.

WHITCHURCH HILL

EARLY in June our annual outing took us by coach to Mottisfont Abbey, a National Trust property. We had a fine day in the delightful garden, all in full bloom, particularly the roses.

The house is fascinating with a long history.

Later in the month Ray Broughton gave us a talk called “Topical tips and new ideas for your garden”, a light-hearted look at gardening with plenty of useful and practical ideas.

Our speaker at our July meeting will be Catherine Crabb on “The life and times of canal people” about the history of canals and the art of painting as used on canalware.

In August we look forward to our annual evening when we welcome members, family and friends to a social evening with food and drink. This will be in the garden of Goring Heath parish hall, weather permitting.

We will have our usual business meeting later in the month with members’ talks on subjects of their own choosing.

In September we have a replacement speaker for the one we originally booked. This will be historian Bill King talking about “Women in World War Two”.

We are still making up emergency bags containing basic toiletries for people who are whisked into the Royal Berkshire Hospital at short notice.

We calculate that we have delivered well over 100 of these and we propose to continue. There is no charge for these as they are donated by our members and we are told that they are much appreciated.

Monthly meetings take place at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471, on the third Tuesday of most months except December, starting at 10.15am.

We also have a social or craft morning, usually on the first Tuesday.

Visitors are welcome. For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.

WOODCOTE

ANN LARDEN welcomed the members and visitor Wendy Muchamore, who we hope will join us, to the June meeting.

The birthday girls were Sylvia Atkinson and Gillian Seymour, who were busy celebrating!

Several of us are going on a homes and gardens trip to Runnymede and for a boat trip to Windsor. If it gets any hotter we may end up in the Thames for a swim!

We had a wonderful tea thanks to Jo Sutcliffe, Jean Taplin and Ann Rossiter. Thanks to Hazel Tagg for being tea hostess in June.

There is a new trip with the Oxford Federation to Coughton Court and a poetry morning in St Giles.

Margaret Carter will host a “chance to chat” in July when the world will be put to rights!

Our speaker this month was Erica Cunningham, from Brambles florists in Sonning Common.

She told us how her business started and told lots of entertaining anecdotes, all the while making stunning arrangements and making it look so easy. We all had a lovely afternoon.

The bloom of the month winner was Jo Seymour.

Please come and join us at Woodcote village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm, except August, when we have our garden meeting. Just turn up.

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