Wednesday, 19 January 2022

WI Roundup

WI Roundup


THE end of 2021 was a little better for our WI.

We were able to have a speaker at our December meeting with a lively and interesting talk on millinery.

After the talk, members tried on various hats made by the speaker.

To round off the afternoon, a raffle was held and there was some cake and bubbles to toast Christmas.

We hope that 2022 is much better than the past year and everyone feels able to come to coffee, lunch and our monthly meetings.

Happy new year to you all.

Carol Briscoe


WE had an excellent turn-out for our Christmas party and were wonderfully entertained.

Ted Morse led the carol singing on the accordion. Many of the carols were not the usual fare and included two from Broadside Ballads.

We also had amusing readings and short funny sketches from members, all co-ordinated by our chairman Chris Cox, and we finished with a noble attempt at a sword dance.

A buffet supper was demolished and wine and fruit juice slipped down nicely to help the evening go well.

It was a good finish to a busy autumn season of meetings and walks.

The new year’s programme is finalised and features a full season of talks and other activities, including our 60th birthday party in the spring, so there is plenty to look forward to.

At our meeting in January we will have a talk from the first responders, who provide such an essential service to the local villages.

Katrina Cooper


MEMBERS were greeted at the Horns pub in Crazies Hill by Helen Perry and Judi Rowlands, our joint presidents, on Wednesday, December 8.

We wore masks and had taken lateral flow tests and sanitised our hands.

Fortunately, the day was mild so we were able to have a flow of air.

We gathered in the beautifully decorated barn room to have our Christmas meal.

We were entertained by Amanda Shora, who arrived while we were finishing off the delicious meal.

With her pure voice, she entertained us with carols and the history of wassailing.

Amanda was wearing medieval dress with a pretty floral wreath on her head.

It was amazing how we sang quite so effectively while wearing masks.

After joining in our favourite carols, we heard three wassailing songs while swaying our glasses of a warming “wassail cup”.

We had pauses so we could take a swig, which was quite comical with masks pulled down and then put back in place.

Sue Griffiths had found a recipe for an alcohol-free wassail drink and, together with Sheila Williams, our treasurer, had organised this successful Christmas celebration.

A big thank-you to Owen Hardy and his team at the Horns for their hospitality and for creating a splendid atmosphere.

Our next meeting will be held at Crazies Hill village hall on Wednesday, January 19 at 2.30pm.

We look forward to seeing you all again.

Judi Rowlands


THE committee scrambled to decorate and prepare for our Christmas party on December 15 without Merryl, who was awaiting the result of her PCR test.

Joyce, Millicent and Val arrived early to set up our wonderful raffle, the principal prize being a hamper to which everyone had contributed.

All was ready by 2pm and our entertainers, Jane and Phyl, had tested their sound system. But where were our members and guests?

Finally, they appeared after being held up by roadworks and so the fun began.

Jackie, our president, welcomed everyone and introduced our guests, Janet Kingdon, our Oxfordshire Federation adviser, and Penny Noble, convenor of the Beechwood Group of WIs.

We settled down to the Christmas trivia quiz, which was a happy affair with most people cheating outrageously!

It was won by Janet Kingdon but everyone was offered a chocolate for their efforts.

Jane and Phyl then took their places on the stage and led us in a rousing programme of traditional carols.

By the end we were ready to quench our thirst with a glass of bubbly before tucking into our Christmas tea, provided by members.

But the singing was not over for Janet’s birthday is on Christmas Day and Jane’s on Boxing Day, so we raised our voices once again to wish them both happy birthday.

All too soon it was time to draw the raffle, which raised an astonishing £76.

Everyone received a prize but Val, our president for many years, was the worthy winner of the hamper.

Time to wash up, clear up and wish everyone a healthy and happy new year.

A special thank-you from the committee to those members who helped with transport and with clearing up afterwards.

Thanks to the generosity of our members, we have been able to donate toiletries, toys and household goods to Afghan refugees in the Henley area.

Our knit & natter group has been more busy knitting than nattering lately, making items for premature babies at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, including bonding bears and tiny matinée jackets, bootees and hats.

On Wednesday, January 19, Keith Appleby, who teaches art for the U3A, will tell us about unsung female artists who produced their art in the shadow of male artists.

We shall also be voting on the 2022 resolutions. Guests are welcome to our meetings, which are held in Greys village hall and begin at 2pm.

Greys WI wishes the readers and staff of the Henley Standard a healthy and happy new year.

Jennifer Smith


ON the approach to Christmas, 30 of our members came together at Leander Club in Henley for our Christmas party.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with good food, friendship and fun, so everyone left feeling very much in the festive spirit in spite of more potential restrictions to come.

Our raffle raised £132 and we will make a donation to two local charities, Nomad and Cowshed.

Thank you to everyone who bought tickets and donated prizes.

Both the book club and walking group met in December and we will notify everyone of their next meetings via email.

Ruth and Sally-Ann also ran a most enjoyable and instructive wreath-making workshop in the village hall. Ten of us made wreaths under their expert tutelage.

Mulled wine and mince pies were served and there were carols, too, to mark the start of festivities for many of us.

January’s meeting will feature a yoga session with chair-based exercises.

This will involve learning and experiencing various Pawanmuktasanas, which are exercises synchronised with the breath.

Claire, our instructor, will explain the benefits of these so the session promises to be most enlightening.

We will meet on Thursday, January 13 at 7.30pm.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. For more information about our group, visit our website,

Jo Martin


OUR December meeting had a distinctly Christmassy flavour.

Tables were laid with red and white cloths and with table decorations.

The committee provided tea with sandwiches, sausage rolls, mince pies and other seasonal goodies and we had a rich iced fruit cake, which had been left over from our 80th birthday celebration in September.

Sadly, we were forced to cancel our entertainment due to covid-19 and the Omicron variant rearing its ugly head but we hope that the Harmony choir will be able to come on another occasion.

Sue Beswick presented an excellent quiz full of topical questions.

She said it was amazing what the internet could do for you when challenged.

The secret Santa baskets were taken around and the raffle was drawn.

Notices were given out regarding the walking group and the book club.

Members had brought a bumper selection of toiletries for local charities, which were delivered to the d:two centre in Henley

The competition was for a handmade Christmas card which was won by Rosemary Musselwhite. Judith Young was 2nd and Jasmine Weaver 3rd.

The next meeting will be held at Harpsden village hall on Wednesday, January 12, commencing at 2.30pm.

In a change of speaker, we will be enlightened by Suzanna Beard on the subject of “Wrestling with the octopus: How I became a published author”.

The competition is for a childhood souvenir.

Harpsden WI sends very best wishes to everyone for 2022 and may it be a happier and healthier year than 2021.

Judith Young


SOME members went on a walkabout between Christmas and new year to have a closer look at the Christmas lights in Henley.

Starting from the town hall, we first went along King’s Road, where lots of the residents had made a great effort with a huge variety of wreaths and pretty lights.

Then it was on to Bell Street and Northfield End where the door wreaths became larger and more ornate. We particularly liked the feathers and hydrangea combination and one made completely from multi-
coloured baubles.

We found the top three from the business window display competition. The winning display at Hamptons estate agents in Hart Street featured a gingerbread street, which has inspired us to try gingerbread house-building next year and Nicola will look forward to teaching.

We continued our stroll, led by Kristina, up Greys Road, past the always pretty, sparkling cottage of Tony and Sue Wright, then into Church Street when it was darker so we could see through the windows and admire the Christmas trees within the houses.

The advantage of having large porticos and entrance ways enabled more lights to glow.

Then we went to Riverside Terrace, where a very stylish combination had been created at number 4. We all agreed this would be the perfect Christmas home.

Our wander continued up Friday Street where we disturbed the owner of the Old Granary, which had such a cosy, inviting interior viewed through the diamond panes.

We were all impressed by the effort that so many people had made, adding so much joy and wonder to the winter darkness at Christmas.

We completed our jaunt with a team photo back at the Christmas tree in front of the town hall.

Some of us retired to Bijans, the new Persian restaurant, where we received a very warm welcome and some delicious refreshments.

We all agreed it was a lovely walk around the town and an inspiration for us to be more creative at home.

Well done everyone, especially the town council and the businesses for making a great effort to make our town even more beautiful.

We are looking forward to our Scottish-themed event on Friday, January 21.

Nicola Taylor


OUR last gathering of the year was a great success, with a very good turnout.

We played pass the parcel, with each unwrapping revealing a sweet treat.

This was followed by an informative quiz and then the Harmony choir sang enthusiastically to us all, generating a welcome seasonal spirit.

Thanks to Sandra Rhodes, we were able to purchase our recently published Favourite Recipes from Peppard WI 2021, which is packed with recipes from soups through to preserves and charmingly illustrated.

It is accompanied by small page markers in the form of condiment jars and a bookmark in the shape of a cut-out rolling pin.

Something for everyone to enjoy from many of the WI members.

All the activities were followed by a special seasonal afternoon tea for which the tables were decked with beautiful decorations.

On departure we each received a small wrapped present to put under our Christmas trees.

A lovely way for us all to end our year.

Our next meeting will be at Peppard War Memorial Hall on Wednesday, January 12 from 2pm. We shall have a talk from Geraint Thomas on Richard Burton. Visitors are most welcome.

Elaine Douglas


WE were pleased to welcome many members from other local WI branches to our Christmas meeting in December.

The hall looked very festive with tables covered with Christmas items ready to buy.

Members had been busy with sewing and knitting needles, making many beautiful gifts.

Chutney and preserves had been made and bottled and individual Christmas cakes cooked and iced.

There were handmade table decorations and other gifts as well as several Christmas plants.

A Christmas bring and buy stall was kept busy, as was the book stall and pen stand provided by Tony Parker.

Everyone was a winner at the bottle stall, resulting in many smiles.

Toni Kent entertained everyone with her amusing talk, entitled “I need a wife”. All those present were able to empathise and enjoyed the many poems she read from her collection.

This was followed by a delicious Christmas tea, creating a delightful camaraderie and much friendly chatter.

The afternoon ended with a visit from Father Christmas, who asked everyone if they had been good and then rewarded them with chocolates.

The year ended with a marvellous Christmas lunch for Remenham members and guests at Hennerton Golf Club, near Wargrave. This was very much enjoyed by all those present.

The first prize of a Christmas gammon in the raffle was won by Rosemary Pratt with other members also winning many seasonal prizes.

At the end of the lunch, the WI programmes for 2022 were distributed.

Daphne Austen


WE met in early December, with Christmas almost with us, determined to make it a happy one.

As usual, our president Arlene Riley welcomed all present and said the minutes of the November meeting were available for all to see.

Ryszarda, our secretary, informed members of the five resolutions put forward by the National Federation for 2023 and asked us to consider these, choose one and let her know our choices at the next meeting.

Cards were handed out to members with December birthdays.

The book club met at Barbara Wood’s house on December 6 and Ladies That Lunch had their Christmas lunch at the Griffin in Caversham on December 14, when everyone had a good time.

The cinema group will restart in the new year.

There will be a visit to the Bombay Sapphire distillery and silk mill in Whitchurch, Hants, on May 17.

Members were informed that they could pre-book lunch (sandwich, cake and tea) at a cost of £7.50.

The cost of this lunch and a deposit for the coach will be collected at the meeting in February. Pat Denney is arranging a meeting to discuss choosing our future speakers and anyone interested in joining this group should speak to her.

Brenda Thames and Barbara Wood will be stepping down from the committee in March.

Linda Hughes has kindly offered to make the tea and coffee. Thank you, Linda.

Unfortunately, our speaker, the tenor Martyn Harrison, was unable to attend, so instead we had a very interesting and amusing talk by Irene Manson called “One, two, buckle my shoe”.

Irene showed us a varied selection of shoes from the ridiculously absurd to the most beautiful and we all wondered how on earth we could have walked in some of them.

Thank you, Irene.

Tea was followed by the raffle and members paid £1 for two tickets.

Sadly, our January meeting has been cancelled. We had been due to hear from Michelle Siddall on “Way of life in South Africa”.

We hope to meet again on February 2. We normally meet on the first Wednesday of the month at St Barnabas’ Church Hall in Emmer Green at 2pm. All are welcome.

Jean Hewitt


PRESIDENT Joan Jolley welcomed ladies to our Christmas party meeting.

Covid precautions were adhered to again; no singing of Jerusalem, but a nice selection of carols played on entry; masks worn when moving around the hall and open doors wafting in fresh air.

Joan thanked Ursula Davis and Irene Crawford for the lovely table decorations and Rosemary Appleby and Fiona Cooke for decorating the Christmas tree.

As usual, the Christmas card table was a hit. It’s a good way to “deliver” cards and saves on petrol and postage.

Joan thanked Pam Hudgell for her help arranging the Christmas lunch we had enjoyed at Badgemore Park earlier in the month.

Sue Lines reminded us that our visit to the Mill at Sonning to see Top Hat is early in January.

Something to look forward to during the usual lull after the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

This month, instead of downloading our copy of Oxfordshire Inspires, we were handed it. Good to be back to normal.

I really enjoyed the chairman’s letter, especially as Pauline wrote about things that may resonate with some of us this year.

There is an article from the National Federation’s vintage library about a 1969 book of party recipes.

I still have this on my bookshelf, although I don’t remember my entertaining ever reaching such culinary heights.

Our speaker this month was Erica Cunningham, of Brambles Floristry in Sonning Common.

She regaled us with lots of amusing anecdotes while arranging some lovely Christmas wreaths and flower arrangements, which she very kindly allowed to be raffled. Tea in December was hosted by the committee, with a glorious selection of sandwiches, savouries and cakes. A great start to seasonal festivities.

Finally, Joan wished us all the happiest of Christmases, and, as we left the hall, we had the deliciously agonising choice of which present to pick from the secret Santa baskets.

We meet at Shiplake Memorial Hall on every third Wednesday from 2.30pm. Visitors are always welcome.

Rachel Lloyd


MINDFUL of keeping safe and following covid guidance, members still managed to enjoy the meeting in December.

Carol and Jane organised our annual Christmas lunch at Badgemore Park. The food was delicious.

The craft group made fresh foliage Christmas wreaths.

Alison Bishop and the committee were responsible for a jolly party at the village hall. Wine and soft drinks were served and members received a free raffle ticket each.

President Sue Frayling–Cork had made a scrumptious Christmas cake.

We were entertained by Timeless Quartet, an a cappella singing group, with an excellent selection of Christmas and other songs.

Alison was celebrating her birthday so the group and members sang a resounding “Happy Birthday” to her.

The party programme also included a game of heads and tails, an English counties map challenge and a quiz.

Jane Handley and Beverley Porteous amused us with their poetry readings.

Members wore festive hair slides and Jane Jones was awarded a prize for her very attractive hairpiece.

Alison Bishop was presented with a gift in appreciation of the extra work she has done throughout the pandemic.

She has kept us all in touch and published a colourful and informative monthly newsletter.

Alison delivered copies by hand to each member who is not online.

Thanks to Sue Frayling-Cork, who ensured every member left the party with a mini jar of home-made jam and a chocolate Santa.

Alison and the committee were warmly thanked for putting on such a safe but very enjoyable party.

The next meeting will be held on January 20 when we welcome back Jeanette Hughes, who will lead us through some gentle exercise, with laughter along the way.

We wish WI members everywhere a safe and happy new year.

Sue Hedges


WITH December came our Christmas meeting, our second successful “hybrid” meeting.

It was a little toned down on previous years to keep our members as safe as possible but nonetheless very festive and highly enjoyable.

On arrival at the hall, we were greeted with a glass of wine. There were refreshments, including home-made mince pies and shortbread (thanks Alison and Sandra), at the interval.

Jean Hill, a poet from Wokingham, stepped in at the last minute to provide “an evening of humour and laughter”.

She was very entertaining with her amusing take on all aspects of life, drawing lots of laughter from the audience.

Steve and Mary Daniels were not able to play for us due to illness so we wish them a speedy recovery.

Our last event of the year was an organised walk around the Checkendon area, finishing at our president’s house for mulled wine and mince pies served outside on a very festive verandah.

There was a choice of a long or short walk with some of our members joining us at the end for refreshments.

There was a great turnout with nearly half our members attending and we were so busy sharing our hopes and plans for Christmas that, before we knew it, it was getting dark,

As the year ends with high infection rates and the threat of lockdown measures, it’s good to reflect on what we have achieved in the WI, about the friendship and support we have provided each other over this last difficult year.

It’s not just the company that comes with our monthly meetings, our interest groups such as craft, book group, games, walking and dining, but also the less obvious things that go on.

These include checking in on members we haven’t heard from in a while, flowers on birthdays, cards when we’re sick, making little gifts to cheer people up and not forgetting the generous donations our members have made to local charities. Keeping with our very positive outlook, we wish you all the best as the new year dawns and we look forward to whatever 2022 will bring.

Our next meeting will be on January 16 when we will hear from Hayley Scott about her life as a crime scene investigator. To be confirmed if this is via Zoom only.

If you are interested in what we do, please call our secretary Pam on (01491) 681723 or email her at

You are most welcome to visit us.

Denise Stanworth


THE past month was a busy one for us.

First there was the dressing of our Christmas tree at St Leonard’s Church.

It looked very nice, so congratulations to our members for the lovely snow baubles they made.

Thank you to everyone who braved the cold and helped make our stall at the Watlington Christmas fair such a success.

The cakes, preserves and handicrafts were gratefully received and they sold very quickly.

Eleven members staggered out of the Granary on a Wednesday evening after learning all about eight delicious cheeses and wonderful wine, some of them locally produced, that proprietor Robin Holmes-Smith had chosen for us together with lovely crackers and grapes to eat with them.

The wines included a sparkling white (local) with parmesan, white wines and a red with stilton.

We are so lucky to have this lovely shop in our village. A big thank-you to Robin for an excellent evening.

We held our Christmas afternoon party, which was very much scaled down owing to the new covid variant.

Members brought a lovely selection of party food, which was washed down with Prosecco or a soft drink.

We had a big raffle and two very brain-teasing quizzes. Thanks to you all.

Our next meeting will be held in the West Room on January 13 at 2.30pm. Our speaker will be Ian Keable talking about “The art of deception — a link between magic and art”.

Our art and craft group will meet in the West Room on February 16. For more information, call Diana Young on (01491) 612926.

If you are interested in meeting us, please call Dawn Matthews on (01491) 612023. You will be warmly welcomed to our meetings.

Dawn Matthews


NOW you see it, now you don’t — Christmas that is.

We hope everyone reading this had a healthy and enjoyable time.

Whitchurch Hill WI has about 30 members, not all of whom have yet returned to indoor meetings. All are active in the group, however, either in person or behind the scenes.

It made our lead-up to Christmas a positive one.

Angi offered to represent the WI at our local church service. Frances, Jane, Liz and Sally assisted members of Pangbourne Rotary Club with their charity collection during their visit to Whitchurch Hill with Santa’s sleigh.

Looking ahead, knitting training was offered to members in readiness for our knitting challenge to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee by festooning a couple of landmarks in the village with knitted bunting.

At our pre-Christmas meeting we raised money for Associated Country Women of the World.

Members donated money to this worthwhile cause instead of giving Christmas cards to fellow members. We raised around £70.

The highlight of our meeting was a food demonstration by our very own Sandra Atack. She gave four informative demonstrations (complete with recipes) and two tasters (spiral scones and a tiramisu terrine).

One of our members summed up the morning as one of our best demonstrations ever.

Glad I am not the one to have to follow that. If you fancy knowing more about us, please call Frances on 0118 984 2162.

Sally Bergmann


PATRICIA SOLOMONS welcomed members to our Christmas meeting.

It was lovely to get together at this time of year.

We were entertained with music from a very talented member singing. We even had a solo from Sally as well as poems.

Ann Larden organised a quiz and we had a secret Santa.

Good wishes were given to Marlene Du Toit who celebrated her birthday in December.

Patricia thanked Ann
Larden and Debbie Black for their work in organising the theatre trip to see My Fair Lady at the New Theatre, Oxford.

Our new year lunch will take place at The Caversham Golf Club.

Thank you to Sally Lambert and Carole Shelley-Allen, who are busy with the menus.

Our speaker at the January meeting will be Graham Horn, a Blue Badge guide, who will talk to us about the “Anniversaries of 22”.

The competition will be for a photograph of the Queen, who is celebrating her platinum jubilee this year.

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

Judy Williams

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