Monday, 16 May 2022

WI Roundup

WI Roundup


IT’S a mystery worthy of Miss Marple — and one that has fascinated Jaye Windmill since she first read the stories of King Arthur as a schoolgirl.

Most of us know more about this king than most monarchs — the court at Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, the sword Excalibur and Arthur’s lovely queen Guinevere are still portrayed on stage and screen to this day.

But did he really exist? Jaye has spent years researching King Arthur and her answer is both yes… and no.

It is said that Arthur was the king who defended against invading Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries, though he was actually brought to a wider audience by the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth 600 years later.

The history of thwarted Saxon invasions fits with the historical timeline and the ensuing battles were certainly won by somebody, although he could have been anybody, says Jaye — even a Roman nobleman.

The name Arthur is thought to derive from Man Bear or the Welsh for High King, both of which could apply to any charismatic warrior leader.

So, Jaye explained, King Arthur was not really a king and probably wasn’t even called Arthur!

And the idea that he lived in a magnificent castle and court somewhere in England is debunked when you realise that a 6th century leader — however illustrious — would most likely have been living in a thatched hovel.

Jaye says that the original story of whoever King Arthur really was was told by travelling bards who spread the story in the oral tradition and that all the more fanciful details reflected the times the later writers were living in.

Hence Camelot is a lot like a Norman court and all the characters we know from the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth and others, such as Sir Lancelot and Sir Gallahad, Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, are pure fiction. The Holy Grail element was added to please the Church.

Our heads were spinning by the end of Jaye’s fact-filled talk so how appropriate that it was followed by members wearing their favourite hats!

We also welcomed four new members at our August meeting at St Andrew’s Church hall in Caversham Heights.

Care to join us? Email us at or find us on Facebook.


ALTHOUGH we did not have a meeting in August we were very busy as usual.

On Sundays, August 18 and 25 we held our annual tea and cakes event beside Goring lock.

On the first Sunday we had the added benefit of members of the Goring and Streatley Band playing beside us, which is always very popular, and we sold out of cakes.

On the following Sunday we were alone but still had plenty of customers and over the two days we managed to raise almost £1,000, which will be donated proportionately to the band, our local community bus service (Going Forward) and the Goring and Woodcote medical practices’ equipment fund. Thanks for help with the cakes are due to the Chocolate Café, Pierreponts and Tesco.

Thanks, too, to Diana at Mill Cottage for letting us use her electricity for heating water and Yorkshire Tea for supplying tea bags.

We also had a relaxed social evening where we enjoyed a demonstration and a talk by Jen of the Cheese Shop in Pangbourne.

Cheese tasting and glasses of wine were enjoyed by members followed by accounts of their first jobs, which ranged from a milk round to teaching cookery with other interesting accounts in between.

A lovely evening catching up with each other.


ON August 11 Shirley Weyman welcomed 22 members and three visitors to her home for a garden meeting.

Alas, the day was a very wet one sandwiched between sunny days, so the meeting had to be held indoors.

However, members enjoyed themselves by taking part in quizzes, playing shove ha’penny and bagatelle and guessing items concealed in the ever-popular “feely bags”. Winners were rewarded with chocolate treats.

The tea was bring and share and provided a vast array of savoury and sweet delicacies.

Thanks were expressed to Shirley for making her house available on such a wet day and for the opportunity for members to circulate and mingle.

The next meeting will be on September 11 when the speaker will be Julia Blackburn and her subject is “Antique face screens and folding fans”. The competition will be for a fan.

The meeting will be held in Harpsden village hall, commencing at 2.30pm.

It is hoped that the three visitors in August will be coming along to join the WI.


OUR August summer garden party was held in the beautiful garden of Jean Phillis.

We welcomed visitors from four local WIs, Cockpole Green, Knowl Hill, Remenham and Twyford.

Fortunately, after a rainy morning, the sun shone all afternoon, so members and visitors could admire
and fully appreciate their surroundings.

Jan French had devised a superb artistic task to both amuse and challenge us.

She arranged five sunflowers in the style of Vincent Van Gogh and we were invited to draw them in whatever style we wished.

The drawings produced were wonderful, showing that we had an amazing amount of artistic talent in our midst.

The pictures were judged by Jan and president Frankie Macmillan. Sue Drew’s delightful drawing was declared the winner.

After our Van Gogh venture, it was time to chat and relax over a delicious afternoon tea provided by the committee.

It was a most delightful way to spend a lovely summer afternoon.

Our meeting on October 2 will be a special evening in memory of Mill Green WI founder Sheila Carruthers. We will enjoy a tutored cheese tasting with wine. Members and friends are welcome, especially previous members who remember Sheila.

We meet in the Hannen Room on Mill Green on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm, unless otherwise stated.


PEPPARD WI was formed on February 27, 1919 and, as one of our last events in our year-long centenary celebrations, we are holding a centenary exhibition in Peppard War Memorial Hall on Wednesday, September 11 from 2pm to 6pm.

On display will be our archives including minute books from 1919, photographs from throughout the years and members’ own art and crafts.

There will be demonstrations of flower arranging, cake icing and flower craft and there will be a well-stocked produce stall.

The last of our grand raffle tickets will be on sale and the draw will take place towards the end of the

The prizes, which include a case of wine and a free MOT, have been generously donated by local businesses.

Entry is free and everyone is invited to drop in during the afternoon. Tea and cakes will be on sale throughout.


WE were welcomed to the August meeting by Margaret Pyle, who was standing in for Arlene Riley.

She said that the record of the July meeting was available for all to see.

Our secretary Ryszarda said she had details of the WI summer online ticket offer for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

We were also told that spaces were available for a coach trip to Hampton Court on September 24 with Chazey WI and anyone interested in going should contact the secretary of Chazey WI.

Our treasurer Judith reported that the July meeting sales table raised £12 and the raffle £30.

Members with an August birthday were given cards.

The various clubs continue to meet.

The Scrabble group met twice in August and Ladies that Lunch met at Ask Pizza.

There was no book club meeting. The next one was to be on September 3 at Arlene Riley’s house as Barbara was unable to host this meeting.

There was also no cinema group outing in August but Barbara will continue to keep a look out for any suitable films that are being shown.

Margaret announced that tickets for the Harvest lunch in October will be on sale at the September meeting at a cost of £3.50, so remember, no ticket, no lunch!

Margaret reminded members that we will be hosting Adelaide, one of the WI centenary dolls, in September and photographs will be taken at the meeting.

She then introduced our speaker for the afternoon, Simon Jones, an auctioneer with Jones & Jacob in

Simon gave a very interesting talk about the antiques trade and then went on to value some of the items brought along by members. These included a carriage clock, a Victorian christening gown, holiday souvenirs, a silver fish slice and server and several items of jewellery.

After the talk, Barbara Wood gave a vote of thanks. Finally, there was a cup of tea and a chance to devour the lovely scones and cakes made by members.

Margaret thanked those members who had provided such lovely fare.

Rosehill WI meets at St Barnabas Church hall, Emmer Green, on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm.


OUR August meeting was a fun day out in Wallingford.

We do not have an indoor meeting again until September so, as August is supposed to be sunny, we normally plan to spend a day exploring local villages and towns with a drop in or out of events as members wish.

Of course, the day we had chosen dawned very wet and we got thoroughly rained on during the morning guided walk.

However, it was fascinating for the 14 or so that made it.

Of course Wallingford castle dominated the town’s history but we also learned about numerous pubs and churches that have disappeared.

Some interesting fire precautions were pointed out to us as many houses were made largely from wood and/or had thatched roofs.

We dried out over a very good lunch in the Old Post Office.

Some then moved on to the museum, which was equally interesting.

The day finished with tea taken in the pedestrianised part of town, which was the main road through before the crossroads were rerouted.

We will be back indoors for our September meeting, when we will have a talk from the First Responders service. In the following months we will have a barn dance and a pilgrimage to Ethiopia and then Christmas comes around with our party.

We enjoy our extra meetings of the craft group and book club as well as the games afternoons and other odd extras.

Walking netball will recommence in September. Any member of another WI is welcome to join us in this fun way to keep fit.

We recently had our largest group visiting us for a grand lunch.

Forty guests sat down to a splendid lunch, an introductory talk about the Maharajah’s Well opposite our hall and a quiz, all of which they thoroughly enjoyed.


THE August meeting started with our speaker Jennipher Marshall Jenkinson giving us a cookery demonstration entitled “Healthy eating for ones and twos using the microwave”.

She made two main courses, one chicken, one fish, rice and vegetables, plus a pudding and some small cakes.

Nothing took more than six or seven minutes and then we all had a chance to taste the dishes.

Hopefully, some of us will make more use of our microwaves as a result of this talk.

A delicious tea was provided by Marg Charman and Maureen Strike.

We then dealt with WI business.

Members were asked to make cakes and help with teas at the forthcoming South Stoke open gardens event. Names were taken for a celebrity evening with Dame Stella Rimington at Oxford town hall in October and a speakers selection day at Cassington.

Six members celebrated their birthdays in August and we finished the afternoon with a raffle.

There will be no meeting in September. Our next meeting will be on October 8 when our speaker will be Professor Chris Rhodes with a talk entitled “Fracking — friend or foe?”

Any visitors interested in coming to this talk will be welcome.


OUR August meeting was a social quiz evening.

Rosemary Lewis provided the questions and refereed the teams. It was a closely fought contest.

After we had exhausted our brains, we had tempting nibbles provided by the members and drinks by the committee.

At our meeting on September 11 our speaker will be Jan Warner on the subject of “Survival of the fittest — how our forebears raised their infants”.

In October our local
Co-op shop manager, Gordon, will tell us the history of the Co-op and answer any questions we have about his shop.

November’s meeting is to be a craft evening led by Dawn Matthews and in December we will hold our Christmas party. We meet at Watlington town hall at 7.30pm and would be delighted to meet you.

Perhaps you have some ideas that you would like to share with us? If so, please call Dawn Matthews on (01491) 612023.


TWENTY-ONE members joined president Frances and one visitor at our August meeting to hear about police dog handling and training. The demands made on these animals and their handlers are changing all the time, with more emphasis on terrorism and drugs. Denyse gave the vote of thanks.

Members were pleased to receive an accolade from our previous month’s speaker who said that Whitchurch Hill WI was the best they had ever been to!

Birthday greetings and flower posies were given to our president Frances and our treasurer Tricia.

The winner of the Flower of the month competition was president Frances while Mavis won the raffle. During recent months a doll called around Berkshire to help celebrate the centenary of Berkshire WI.

During the week she spent with us she was taken to golf, croquet and flower arranging, among other places. She has had a photographic record made of her adventures.

Two of our members represented us at the WI centenary tea at Easthampstead Park and reported on a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Our programme committee met at the end of August to plan a lively selection of speakers for 2020 to 2021. More details are to follow.

Our next meeting will be on September 17 when Dan Allen will be telling us about “Women and the Victorian army” and we shall have a competition for Victoriana.

Looking forward to October, speaker Debi Evans will tell us about dragons and rescue dogs, the inspiration which led her to write children’s books. There will also be a sale of books in aid of Denman College.

On October 3, members will be visiting the food waste plant at Wallingford. The October meeting of the Pang Valley Group, which includes Whitchurch Hill WI, has had to be moved to April 1 2020.

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

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

Do come along and see what we do. For more information, please call 0118 984 1696.


PATRICIA SOLOMONS welcomed members to the Shillingford Bridge Hotel for our garden meeting.

We were celebrating the Oxfordshire Federation’s 100th birthday and Woodcote WI’s 75th.

Patricia had collected the new centenary banner from Tackley. All the WIs in the Federation embroidered a leaf which was applied to the banner with the WIs in order of their formation.

Birthday buttonholes were presented to Ann Larden, Jo Sutcliffe, Raye Roberts and Judy Williams.

We had a lovely afternoon tea. Thank you to all the staff at the hotel who also helped with putting up the banner.

We had a celebration cake which was cut by Audrey Hawthorne, a previous president, so we had more cake to take home!

Our meeting in October will be our Harvest bring and share, so come along to Woodcote village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm

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