Monday, 03 August 2020

WI Roundup

WI Roundup

BENSON

THE theme for the September meeting was “What my WI means to me” and we were pleased to welcome Oxfordshire Federation training advisor Pat Eades as our speaker.

Pat joined the WI in 1964 and is currently on the Federation’s combined arts, home and garden and membership support committees.

She remembered the early days of WI as being very formal with the wearing of hats being obligatory at annual meetings.

She described her Denman College experiences with some humorous incidents and the annual meeting of 1969 when the Queen attended.

She was also present at the meeting in 2000 when, famously, Tony Blair was the speaker.

Pat said the WI had given her both friendship and confidence.

During the meeting Benson members were given templates to write their comments as to “What my WI means to me”.

The common theme among our members was friendship, companionship, opportunities to meet new people and gain new skills and to raise a voice on important issues.

Earlier in September, we held a book and bric-a-brac sale in our parish hall which created a lot of interest.

Members manned the teapot yet again and provided a delicious array of cakes to tempt browsers at our pop-up café.

Two of our members exhibited at the art and craft exhibition in Didcot. Their exhibits included items of jewellery, fabric dolls and an embroidered felt playball. Lots of lovely pictures can be found on the Oxfordshie Federation’s Facebook page.

Our next evening meeting will be on Wednesday, October 16 when our speaker will be Graham Kirby to talk about his family collection of miniature hats.

On October 17 members will be getting together with our local WI group for a supper evening in Clifton Hampden.

Visitors are welcome to our meetings. For more information, please email bensonwi@oxfordshirewi.co.uk

On October 19, the Oxfordshire Federation will be holding its summit “Make time for mental health’ at Benson parish hall, which supports the 2018 WI mandate on the importance of parity between mental and physical health. It is open to all.

To book, call 01865 331081 or email admin@oxfordshirewi.co.uk

CAVERSHAM

AFTER our August break, we met again in September.

The summer went exceptionally well with three fabulous garden parties and running the Caversham Court Gardens tea kiosk.

We also enjoyed our turn at celebrating the history of the Berkshire Federation of WIs with a week-long series of special events and activities.

At this meeting we celebrated the Harvest, with homemade breads and apple pie. A wide variety of produce was brought along for auction.

At our October meeting, we are looking forward to a practical craft workshop in willow working. Ladies are very welcome to visit our friendly group and your first three visits are free.

We meet at Church House in Church Road, Caversham, on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, which helps avoid childcare issues. There is parking nearby and a lift to the first floor meeting room.

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

CHAZEY

SO far this year we’ve been to Hampshire and Hampton Court but for our September meeting we went all the way to the Himalayas!

Well, not literally, you understand, but on a guided tour led by retired army major Gerald Davies from the comfort of a sunny St Andrew’s Church Hall.

Gerald and his military former colleague Richard Morris run a charity to inspire the orphans and disadvantaged children of Nepal by the use of art.

As Gerald explained, children from very poor families often have low self-esteem and encouraging them to participate in art can be the key to building self-confidence and thus a brighter future.

He explained the charity’s motivation by giving us a detailed picture of the country and its people, mostly subsistence farmers, and whose growing population is making working the land an ever more spartan existence.

Nepal is sandwiched between China and Tibet to the north and India to the south and living in the shadow of Everest can be hard.

A quarter of the predominantly Hindu 26 million Nepalese live below the poverty line. The average wage is 1,000 US dollars a year.

But Nepal has two claims to fame. The first is that it contains eight of the 10 highest peaks on Earth, making tourism a vital source of national income.

The second is that it is the home of the Gurkhas, the elite soldiers who have helped fight Britain’s enemies all over the world and for whom being part of the British army represents a way out of poverty for many of the country’s young men.

This need to leave Nepal to make money means women and children are left to do most of the farming — and this is where the charity Kalaa Jyoti, meaning art enlightenment, steps in.

Its aim is to enhance the lives of Nepalese village children by providing a means of self-expression which would otherwise be denied them through lack of both money and opportunity.

Among other things, it will fund the appointment of art ambassadors to teach the children art skills and then encourage those new artists to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

Chazey members were happy to help the project by buying some of the items Gerald and Richard had on sale and everyone agreed it was a very enjoyable armchair trip.

Our next meeting will be on Friday, October 4 at 2.30pm when local author Angela Buckley will introduce us to the art of crime writing with her talk “Murder at Reading jail”.

Care to join us? You can contact us by emailing chazeywi@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.

COCKPOLE GREEN

AT our meeting on Wednesday, September 18 president Diane Bush welcomed members, new member Jean Gimblet and guest speakers Graham and Angela O’Connell, whose talk was entitled “Beyond the garden gate, the National Garden Scheme, past and present”.

Angela gave a fascinating talk about the history of the scheme.

Through the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors, more than
£58million has been donated to nursing charities, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and the Queen’s Nursing Institute, to name but a few. In 1859 the wife of William Rathbone, a successful Liverpool merchant and MP, became ill. He was able to employ a nurse, Mary Robinson, to look after her.

After his wife’s death, Rathbone realised that poorer people would be unable to pay for the nursing which he had found so beneficial for his wife.

He persuaded Mary to visit the people living in poverty. In those days there were few trained nurses so, with the help of Florence Nightingale, he set up a training school for nurses in Liverpool. The school was completed in 1863.

Angela also talked about Elsie Wagg, who in 1926 realised that one way of raising money would be to open gardens to the public. A year later the National Gardens Scheme was founded.

In those days the gardens were open for “one shilling per head”. That year 609 gardens were opened, raising £8,190, a humble start for this amazing charity.

The Automobile Association, which was founded in 1905, chose to support the scheme, which is why all its promotional leaflets and merchandise are bright yellow.

Angela then handed over to Graham, who delighted the members with an illustrated presentation on some local gardens.

We saw snowdrops in Welford Park, the Old Rectory in Farnborough (John Benjamin’s home) and a garden in Pinkneys Green that the owner opens to visitors for several months of the year.

There was also Frogmore House in Home Park, Windsor, which is only open three times a year for various charities, and Eton College, which opens its five gardens once a year.

Lower Lovetts Farm in Knowl Hill specialises in growing a wide variety of vegetables as well as flowers and has a magnificent wildflower meadow.

Members were enchanted by the wonderful photos of flowers, including one of Angela and Graham’s garden in Surrey, which won a gold award from the Surrey Wildlife Trust for being wildlife-friendly.

A delicious tea was served by Mary Clifford and Linda Weal.

Members took the opportunity to look at the NGS merchandise.

There was also a produce stall with a good selection of fruit and vegetables, cakes and homemade jam and chutney.

The next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village Hall on Wednesday, October 16 at 2.30pm. The guest speakers will be Joe and Joy Haynes with a talk entitled “The history of Wargrave Theatre Workshop”.

GREYS

IN the absence of president Val Mundy, our meeting on September 18 was chaired by our secretary Janet Leaver with Jennifer Smith taking the minutes.

A total of 17 members and two visitors were present on a perfect September afternoon. Six members had sent their apologies.

Janet talked about our centenary in 2020. She thanked members, mainly Val, Millicent, Joyce and Doreen, for their hard work raising funds for this and reminded us when the centenary committee was due to meet.

There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we have a lot of plans.

Our speaker was Pauline Brown, who is an accredited and fully trained yoga teacher.

She described the path which led her to her new career. When young, she joined the training section of the Ballet Rambert but injury forced her to give up her childhood dream.

Life took over and, married with two sons, she worked in administration.

As her 60th birthday approached, she found herself assessing her life. She had always been interested in yoga and by chance found a training course for a renowned yoga teacher training school in Tuscany. Taking courage, she joined. It was hard but fascinating and now Pauline happily teaches yoga.

We learnt that yoga is a deep and powerful blend of mindfulness and body exercises. Meditation and learning how to control and use breathing in the relaxation of bodily tension is as important as muscle building exercises.

Her classes begin with meditation followed by breathing and exercises and end with relaxation before we return to the real world, energised.

Pauline led us all in a class of chair yoga, very calm and peaceful, and we all very much enjoyed it.

Yoga is now recommended because of its role in preventing falls, especially in older people, but also to regain peace of mind in the face of the many pressures of this busy and stressful world. We in Greys can second this!

After this, we returned to the mundane business of tea, sandwiches, wonderful cakes and gossip. We call this our social half hour. This scrumptious tea was provided by Gill.

The results of the monthly competition were: 1 Janet;
2 Joyce; 3 Millicent.

Our next meeting will be held at Greys Green village hall on October 16 at 2.30pm and will be entitled “Snowflakes and Christmas trees”.

We will be making paper Christmas decorations. This is a hands-on session led by Barbara Hately and promises to be fun, interesting and very messy. Do pop in and join us as you will be made very welcome.

HAMBLEDEN

AT the September meeting we welcomed many of our members back after the summer break along with Kaye Edmondes, our local WI advisor, and speaker, Dan Head, from Yeldall Manor in Wargrave.

Dan spoke very movingly about both his personal experience and of the work he and his colleagues do. Yeldall Manor is a Christian organisation offering male victims of addiction a way forwards towards establishing a new life.

It runs a carefully structured two-year programme which gives the residents the opportunity to overcome their addiction and to find meaningful work living back in society.

Dan’s passion for his work impressed us all and his talk gave us much to be thankful for in our own lives.

We look forward to catching up with other members next month and encourage all members to bring along a friend to the October meeting with no visitor fee.

Teas were kindly provided by Mollie Carter, Pat Eldridge and Jan Sambrook.

To see our 2019 programme, please visit www.hambleden-wi.org.

If you are interested in joining us at one of our meetings, please call either Jan Connelly on 01628 486344 or Jo Martin on 01628 485305.

HARPSDEN

WHAT a pleasant change it was to have a sunny day for the meeting in September.

President Shirley Weyman welcomed 29 members from the top table, which was adorned with elegant fans for the competition.

The newly-formed discussion group had a successful first meeting when newspaper headlines were discussed. The group’s next meeting will be on October 15 at 1 Rotherfield Road, starting at 2.30pm.

Tickets are still available to hear Dame Stella Rimington speak at Oxford town hall on October 28.

There are two free days on offer at Denman College.

The first, on October 8, is provided by the HSL chair company, which has an outlet in Henley.

The second, on October 23, is provided by the Balneum Cosmetic Range. Both these events commence at 9.30am.

The days will also provide an opportunity to visit Denman and its grounds.

There is to be a stitched Christmas decorations workshop at the Tackley office on October 28 from 10.30am to 3.30pm. The cost is £25.

The Oxfordshire Federation is offering a coach trip to London on December 4 entitled “Food, glorious food — a Dickensian Christmas”

There will be a fish and chip lunch before visiting Leadenhall Market, Borough Farmers’ Market, the Burlington Arcade and Fortnum’s food hall.

The cost is £46, which includes lunch, and there is a pick-up point in Nettlebed for local WIs.

A mental health summit is being held in Benson parish hall on Saturday, October 19 from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Various issues will be discussed, including initial and ongoing treatment, early help and support groups.

Tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits will be included in the £10 entrance fee.

The Beechwood Group meeting is on October 17 and Peppard WI will be the hostesses.

Stoke Row WI has issued an invitation to a barn dance on October 15.

The book and lunch groups continue to thrive.

Our speaker was Juliet Blackburn on the subject of “fans”. She had many fans on show, all taken from her collection of 650. She was dressed elegantly in a 1900s outfit of a skirt which had belonged to her grandmother, a lace shawl and a boater.

She demonstrated how to open a fan correctly before showing on screen fans from the Elizabethan era to the modern day.

One intriguing fan had a spy glass in the centre which enabled ladies to look closely at passing gentlemen or possibly at other ladies.

The fans made of painted goose feathers were particularly attractive.

In the Victorian era there were quite a few black fans produced and there were also marriage fans, often made from painted silk.

Fans could also be used as advertising matter and Juliet showed pictures of fans produced by the airline BOAC.

Juliet belongs to the Fan Circle International and she said that in due course her collection would be given to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Rosemary Musselwhite gave the vote of thanks and said how “fan-tastic” it was to see the display and how in the recent hot weather many of us had searched our cupboards for whatever fan we could find to alleviate the heat.

In the competition Joan Hoyes’s fan was voted the best, with Ann Thornton and Sue Taylor tying for second place.

The next meeting will be held at Harpsden village hall on October 9 at 2.30pm, when the speaker will be Cory Starling, the miller of Mapledurham. The competition will be for an old baking tool.

Do come along as a visitor and see what the WI has to offer.

HoT (HENLEY-ON-THAMES)

OUR September meeting was well attended and Katie, our president, welcomed everyone and talked through the business.

Our guest speaker was Susanna Beard, a local author.

She was an engaging speaker who gave us an insight into writing.

She loves language and is fascinated by human relationships, which helped her to write her first two thrilling psychological novels.

It's that time of year when curling up with a hot drink and a good book is just the ticket and, luckily, Susanna had brought along copies of her books for us to buy - can't wait to read it.

Next month’s meeting will be on Friday, October 18, when we will be having a belly dancing class.

We meet at the Sacred Heart Church hall in Walton Avenue, just off Vicarage Road. Please come along and join us.

For more information, email hotwi2017@hotmail.com

PEPPARD

SEPTEMBER 11 was our exhibition afternoon, continuing our centenary celebrations, and it certainly was worthwhile.

Visitors enjoyed looking at the display boards with facts and pictures from years gone by.

There were sugarcraft and flower demonstrations, sales tables, homemade produce and a display of a members’ craftwork.

Refreshments were served and we finished with a raffle. Everyone attending commented on the warm and enthusiastic atmosphere in bringing the community together.

A big thank-you to everyone who helped set up and to clear tables and equipment afterwards.

Our next meeting will take place at Peppard War Memorial Hall on October 9 at 2pm when Tony King will talk to us about the Sixties. Please feel welcome to join us.

REMENHAM

AT our September meeting we had a catch-up on our summer events.

There was a superb tea party in our president’s garden, with lots of chat and a delicious tea provided by our committee.

We were entertained with songs from the shows by Mandy Shora and it was fun to all join in.

We also had a craft morning in Daphne’s garden, more chat than craft.

Judy Palmer gave a report on the centenary tea at Easthampstead Park, where two members from each Berkshire WI were invited. A very elegant afternoon was enjoyed by Judy and Irene.

Several members of the committee did a recruitment drive outside Tesco. Eight women showed interest and these will be followed up.

The Berkshire knitted doll Emily was entertained around the WIs in the county as part of the centenary celebrations.

She had a great time in Remenham, visiting an hygienist, taking a trip to the River & Rowing Museum and a river trip on Spanish Lady, enjoying a church service and baptism, helping with gardening and finishing with a tea party.

Lovely photos were taken and all will be recorded in a diary for the archives.

Remenham Fayre was held, as usual, in the garden of the village hall and our WI served tea and cakes, which were much appreciated all afternoon. A great success.

A letter had been sent to Theresa May giving our thanks for all her work, courtesy and respect. A reply of thanks was received saying she would continue her work in the constituency.

A trip to the Mill at Sonning is planned for October and our Christmas lunch will be at the refurbished Little Angel pub in Henley in December.

In November we will hold our Christmas “do”. There will be seasonal stalls and tea and entertainment by Jane Hill. Members were asked to get making.

After all the business our speaker Peter Lowes was introduced to give his talk on “Could you swim the Channel?”

He gave us a short introductory TV presentation and was wonderfully entertaining about all the training in cold water swimming at lidos and in the Thames.

He took us through all the huge preparation necessary: book a slot two years in advance and have your team at the ready.

Peter’s slot was brought forward by a month. He arrived at Dover at 7 am and completed the crossing in 13 hours and 58 minutes, having followed the guide boat, accompanied by support swimmers, and being fed every hour with hot carbonated drinks and tiny sandwiches.

The weather was marvellous and the sea smooth, with only stinging jelly fish and patches of seaweed to contend with.

On arrival at a sandy beach near Calais, he was taken back to Dover and was sea sick the whole way!

Peter said he could never have done it without the support of his wife and family and friends.

He still keeps up the swimming and this year he swam the length of Lake Windermere.

After all these dramas, the members were quite exhausted and enjoyed a marvellous tea provided by Carol and her team.

Carol won the raffle and Daphne the best bloom competition.

The meeting closed after a lot of excited chat with Peter as many know his mother, who lives locally.

Our next meeting will be held on October 14 when Belinda Fitzwilliams will tell us about “All angels of Henley Regatta”.

ROSEHILL

PRESIDENT Arlene Riley welcomed all members and visitors to our September meeting held on a pleasant, late summer afternoon.

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

Several items were brought to our notice by secretary Ryszarda, including an open mic event in Woodley on September 20, the Stella Austin Cup competition deadline of November 29 and a thanksgiving church service.

We were also informed that the raffle raised £30.

Birthday cards were handed out to those members with birthdays in September.

The Scrabble group met twice in September and the book club and Ladies That Lunch both once.

The cinema group went to see Downton Abbey. Ten members were present and all enjoyed the film.

Arlene announced that tickets for the Harvest lunch were on sale at £3.50 each. A board was circulated for members to bring either cakes or desserts.

Adelaide, one of the WI centenary dolls, was handed over to us by Chazey WI and photos were taken at the meeting.

Arlene was to look after her until she was handed over to Caversham WI and had arranged a variety of activities.

Arlene introduced our speaker, Annabele Brash, who spoke about Bollywood. This film industry has become very lucrative with its founders making incredible amounts of money.

Annabele explained the actions of the dancers, some of the hand movements being described as “flag”, “fan”, “bee” and “wings” .

Annabele soon had us all doing these actions, which everyone enjoyed, so look out, Bollywood, here we come!

Finally, there was the usual tea and biscuits before the raffle was called.

We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at St Barnabas Church hall, Emmer Green, at 2.30pm.

SHIPLAKE

PRESIDENT Joan Jolley welcomed members back after the summer break and we were pleasantly surprised with a glass of champagne.

Our illustrious outings secretary Sue Lines was celebrating her ruby wedding anniversary and, together with her husband Michael, very thoughtfully included us in their celebrations.

We also raised our glasses to Barbara Ingleby-Williams, who will be a magnificent 90 years old soon.

Joan went through the business, which after two months was quite a lot.

She was pleased to say that we now had a very good selection of items going into Oxfordshore Federation’s centenary art and craft exhibition.

Items on show for us included paintings, pottery, embroidery, quilting, crocheting and knitting.

There were lots of forthcoming events detailed in News & Views.

Jane outlined how the Federation is planning how to go forward into the future of electronic communications available via our computers and smart phones while also keeping the more traditional methods for us technophobes.

Our speaker this month was Marcelle Siddall, who runs a small UK charity called Action for Ingwavuma, which supports the rural community of Ingwavuma in KwaZulu-Natal in her native South Africa.

The people of Ingwavuma live extremely hard lives, struggling against the impact of HIV and Aids, desperate poverty and a severe water crisis.

Marcelle was accompanied by her charity colleagues Carol and Rosie, all very dedicated, driven women, trying to alleviate some of the hardships borne by the women of the region.

The charity has worked in the community for 15 years and funds projects with a self-help women’s group called Fancy Stitch, an income-generating initiative.

Beginning with just 27 members, it is now 400-plus strong.

The women make and sell beautifully beaded and embroidered articles for sale here.

All the money raised goes directly to the people of Ingwavuma and, together with support from large organisations such as Comic Relief, Thames Water and Diageo, it funds many water projects, food supplements, schools and community gardens.

Members were very impressed with the work of the charity. If you want to learn more, visit https://
actionforingwavuma.co.uk

A lovely tea was hosted by Jackie Bryant and Judy
Rolstone.

The competition “Something from Africa” was very well subscribed so obviously lots of our members have connections to the continent. It was won by Mavis Crouch with an exquisitely carved wooden boat.

The flower of the month competition was won by Pauline Watkins with a wonderfully large begonia.

SONNING COMMON

PRESIDENT Jenny Ward extended a warm welcome to a Sonning Common village hall packed with members and visitors, WI advisor Pat Eades and our speaker.

Business commenced with Pat advising us to increase our committee membership.

Jane Handley gave details of the Christmas lunch to be held at Badgemore Park in Henley in December.

Sue Hedges had set up our two exhibits entered in the Henley Farm and Country Show.

The theme was to make useful items and decorations from packaging etc that would otherwise be thrown away.

Team 2 was awarded first place and team 1 second place.

Members had enjoyed working together on the entries and it is hoped that next year other WIs will also take part.

Three more baby blankets and teddies are ready to go to SNAPS at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Jo Denslow reported that members had been to Hungerford for a trip along the Kennet & Avon Canal on a barge called The Rose of Hungerford.

The members were then taken by coach to Marlborough for lunch and some retail therapy. It was a most enjoyable day, blessed with warm sunshine and pretty scenery. On behalf of all the members, Jo gave a big thank-you to Alison Bishop, our programme planner, who had researched and organised the outing.

There is to be a quiz at Sonning Common library on October 11 and our WI will enter a team.

Alison Bishop introduced our speaker, Debbie Lawrence, a holistic therapist from Marlow, who talked to us about natural essential oils.

Debbie explained what the natural oils are, how they work and how to use them.

These natural oils, which need to be pure, have been used for thousands of years.

The oils used by Debbie are sourced from the third world and purchased at a fair trade price.

The different oils were named along with the conditions they could relieve.

Frankincense, lemon, lavender, oregano, tea tree and peppermint oils are all very beneficial.

At the end of her talk Debbie answered members’ questions and gave out samples.

Sue Frayling-Cork thanked Debbie for her interesting and informative talk.

Jane Handley then announced the names of members who were celebrating birthdays in September.

Sylvia Dickins was celebrating her 90th birthday and members sung Happy Birthday and presented her with some flowers.

Rose Prynn had made a variety of delicious pretty cupcakes for the members to enjoy. Sylvia blew out a candle on her cake.

The monthly bulletin listed all the many Oxfordshire Federation trips and other events available for members to attend.

Leaflets on the information table updated members on the National Federation campaigns, the proposed change of law relating to organ donation being one of them.

There will be a mental health summit at Benson on October 19 and a joint National Federation/Textile Reuse and International Development event in October aimed at fast fashion for the next stage of the End Plastic Soup campaign.

With around 300,000 tonnes of textiles thrown away every year, urgent action is needed to tackle the impact of clothing.

Members were reminded of the bus service on Thursdays from Stoke Row to Henley with stops at Sonning Common post office and other villages en route. We must use it or lose it.

Money raised from members’ donations of preloved goods have been sold at boot sales by Jenny Ward and £250 has been sent to the Associated Country Women of the World..

Jenny has also been selling donations from WI members and Sonning Common Youth Club members.

A letter of thanks had been received from the youth club for the £635 forwarded to them.

The money will be used to help with the costs of hiring the premises the club uses.

The monthly competition was won by Patricia Kitt, with Jenny Ward second and Lillian Dewar third.

The flower of the month competition was won by Jo Denslow with Alison Bishop second and Sue Frayling-Cork third. On Wednesday (October 2) Sonning Common WI hosted the village coffee morning, which gives local residents a chance to catch up with friends.

Books, greeting cards and jewellery were on sale together with goods and fresh produce from the Greenshoots charity’s nursery in Peppard.

The next meeting will be at Sonning Common village hall on October 17 at 7.30pm when the speaker will be Emma Hamer, of the National Famers Union, on the subject of “Great farmers, great food”.

Visitors are welcome. For enquiries, call Carol on 0118 972 3738.

STOKE ROW

OUR latest meeting featured a very enlightening talk by a community first responder on a subject few of us knew much about. This was excellent.

The responders are trained volunteers who are despatched by ambulance services to reach patients who have suffered a heart attack, stroke or similar.

They can usually reach patients more quickly than an ambulance as they live close by.

There are some instances when they would not be despatched, such as road accidents and most of their calls are to home situations.

They carry emergency defibrillators and oxygen and their main concern is to calm the situation, both the patient and anyone who is with them, but they can administer some treatment, including CPR.

This was a fascinating and admirable talk from one of these heroes in our midst.

Our nearest responders live in Sonning Common and Kidmore End.

A lovely supper was then enjoyed with lots of questions and chatter.

Our small team put a multi-item display in the art and craft exhibition at Didcot civic hall and several other members took in their own personal items of knitting and paintings.

It was a super day was attended by members and the public from all over Oxfordshire. President Sandra reported back on the well-received lunch we did for 40 visitors who had sent a nice thank-you card, saying they would return.

She also gave out the dates for the various extra groups, with a welcome return to swimming among them thanks to a member.

This month’s walk was around the area near the Herb Farm in Sonning Common so that is where tea was taken afterwards.

Two members at least have been helping with the staging of the Harvest exhibition at Greys Court, which is well worth a visit.

There are some references to the WI in Lady Brunner’s time and it is on until the end of November.

Our talented flower arrangers and jam-makers are greatly appreciated there and enjoy volunteering. There are still spaces for more ladies to join the walking netball events.

Our next meeting is on the theme of barn dancing with a popular folk group of ladies called Pandemonium. It should be fun even if only watching.

In October we will go to the group meeting hosted by Peppard WI, who last month put on a wonderful archive display in celebration of their 100th year, which several members attended.

WATLINGTON

LIZ HARRIS, a local author, stepped in at the last minute because our booked speaker for the September meeting was unwell.

Liz was a talented speaker with a very wide literary background who loves words and language.

Her topic was “Following the clues” using words, language and countries to research the subjects for her books. A most inspiring speaker, she was so enthusiastic about her work.

Unfortunately, our October speaker is also unable to come, so we have arranged for Bayley Eyley to talk on “And you thought talking was easy (a look behind the science of the voice and body language)”. November’s meeting will be a Christmas craft evening led by Dawn Matthews and in December it will be our Christmas party.

To start the New Year, Dee Robinson, a local photographer, will be coming to talk to us on “Solo with camera”. We also have our annual New Year meal in January.

We meet at the Watlington town hall on the second Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm. Visitors and new members are always welcome at meetings. For enquiries, call Dawn Matthews, our president, on (01491) 612023.

WHITCHURCH HILL

MEMBERS heard an informative and entertaining talk about “Women and the Victorian army” at our September meeting.

Apologies were received from 10 members and birthday greetings and flowers were given to four.

Members were told that we are aiming to provide 100 food bags to the Wallingford Food Bank for our centenary challenge, and we have so far achieved 67.

The winner of the flower of the month competition was Tricia Clapp.

The competition for “Something Victorian” was won by Marion Downs, Doreen Pragnell and Jill Green won the raffle.

In October, our booked speaker is unable to be with us, so we have arranged a talk by Debi Evans who will tell us about dragons and rescue dogs — the inspiration for her children’s books. There will also be a sale of books in aid of Denman College.

On October 3, members were to visit the anaerobic food waste plant at Wallingford.

Our Pang Valley Group, consisting of Whitchurch Hill, Purley, Calcot Afternoon, Calcot Evening, Tilehurst Afternoon and Tilehurst Triangle WIs, have had to move their October meeting to April 1, 2020.

At the meeting on November 19th Jeff Rozelaar will be talk to us on “Homeward bound”, a selection of informative and amusing anecdotes about numerous railway stations in the UK.

Meetings take place on the third Tuesday of most months, starting at 10.15am (doors open 10am), at Goring Heath parish hall, opposite St John’s Church on the B471.

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.

WOODCOTE

PATRICIA SOLOMONS welcomed members on a warm autumn day.

A birthday buttonhole was presented to Pat Ferris.

Patricia gave us details of a theatre trip in January to see Crazy for You at the Oxford Playhouse.

The lunch club will be going to the New Inn at Kidmore End and the Chance to Chat group will be meeting in the community coffee shop on the first Thursday of the month.

Our speaker was Russell Cherry who told us about “The Ridgeway explored”.

He told us about its history and geography and showed us photographs of the beautiful villages that he came across as he walked along it.

At our meeting in November the speaker will be Dave Maycock who will tell us about brass rubbing.

We meet at Woodcote village hall on the third Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm. Do come and join us.

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