WI Newsletter – May 2003

Before going into detail on our busy month of May, just a few more words about our April meeting, which as mentioned in the last newsletter, Helen Stuart organised with the assistance of other non-committee members, including Julia Jenkins who was our speaker for the evening. Julia and her husband Alan re-visited India last year, a return journey they had been promising themselves for sometime. Airline timetables and schedules caused unexpected changes to their well-planned itinerary. However, one diversion via Assam provided them with hundreds of miles of constant views of the magnificent Himalayan mountain range and a spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. This mountain had dominated the view from their garden when they lived in India in the 1950’s. Julia’s comprehensive descriptions and Alan’s slides ensured a most colourful and interesting presentation.

May began with an informal evening at our Secretary’s home to look through documents belonging to the Institute, before they are sent to the Records Office in Winchester. These records, which date back through the decades to the 1920’s, will still be accessible to the Institute, but by being stored safely in the Records Office, can also be shared by others. Everyone found something of interest.

Nineteen of our members attended the Danebury Group Literary Lunch held in the Village Hall at Longstock, the speaker was Dr Anna Cooper, also known as Lady Olliff-Cooper from Channel 4’s television series The Edwardian House. Following an enjoyable lunch, she gave us an informative insight into the programme, explaining how she and her family got to be involved in the project to live the life of an Edwardian family as realistically as possible, as well as how they adapted to normal life afterwards. However, despite being a very modern hard working intelligent doctor, she confessed to relishing her role as “a lady” whose sole aim in life was to reflect her husband’s standing in society. She had to defer to him at all times in all things! How times have changed.

It had taken our speaker and her husband two hours to get ready to attend the lunch, as they both came in full Edwardian dress. She revealed that she had lost half-a-stone during the three months of filming, as she found it almost impossible to eat, and indeed to sit comfortably, “laced in” to her corset, despite being served multi-course meals several times a day! Please have a look at the photographs of this occasion on this website.

Traditionally at our May meeting we discuss the Resolutions which will be voted on at the National Federation of Women’s Institute’s A.G.M., this year being held at the Royal Albert Hall on June 11, and it is Abbotts Ann’s turn to provide a link delegate to attend, who will also be representing the Institutes of Chilbolton, Goodworth Clatford and Upper Clatford. This year the topics of the Resolutions were the care of older people, children’s diets, exercise and health as well as vocational training schemes. For some light relief our guest speaker was John Barlow from the village who soon had us all laughing with his stories and experiences as an amateur actor as well as from his “day job” in the legal profession.

Fine weather is needed for this month’s meeting which is to be a tour round Sparsholt College.

Plans are well ahead for our outing to Arundel Castle on 07 August and we still have a few places left on the coach, if anyone would like to join us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either our President or Secretary, contact details on the Committee page of this website.

Sharon King