W.I. Newsletter October 2019

A busy month for our members – all groups met except for the walkers who had to call off their planned ramble due to the weather.  Nine of us travelled to Basingstoke for Hampshire Federation’s Autumn Meeting at The Anvil.  We all enjoyed the morning session, especially the guest speaker, Sally Becker an inspiring woman who became known as The Angel of Mostar.  Most of us listen to the news and do nothing, but Sally heard a news report from Kosovo asking why no one was helping the children who were sick and injured.  She thought why aren’t they and decided she might see what she could do and travelled to the area concerned.   All those years later and despite being shot at, imprisoned and tortured she is still helping children of conflict around the World.  Less said about the afternoon entertainment the better.

Some members also attended and enjoyed the Anton Danebury Group’s afternoon meeting at Weyhill and heard about the History of Southampton from Andrew Negus. 

Our speaker this month was Dr. Francis Burroughes who it turned out had a very dry sense of humour which kept his audience amused as he described the life of a Victorian Head Gardener through the eyes of his father who rose from pot boy in the late 1800’s on a large Norfolk estate to a self-employed nurseryman in Somerset.

It turns out that a Head Gardener was more valuable than a Butler, to those who were fortunate to own an estate, as they had to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to feed family and guests throughout the year – no supermarkets in those days.  He also had to supply flowers for the house to be used for various elaborate floral arrangements.

Mr. Burroughes was called up for service in World War One, but spent many months in hospital suffering from Spanish Influenza. After the war, he secured positions in Sussex and Cornwall before starting his own nursery near Yeovil.  By the time WWII arrived he was too old to be conscripted and was in a reserved occupation.  His contribution this time was to approve growers in the Yeovil area for receipt of cauliflower seeds which were in short supply. He was also a member of the Home Guard and one of his duties was to guard Sutton Bingham railway bridge, south of Yeovil with nothing more that stirrup pumps!

After the War he continued to grow lettuces and tomatoes distributing them via the railway network throughout the south and south-west, up to Birmingham and Covent Garden in London.  Helping his father pick and pack lettuces and brussel sprouts put Dr. Burroughes off the life of a horticulturalist and he is a Doctor of Music.  He has a large repertoire of topics to entertain his audiences.

Next month Judy Theobald is making a return visit and this time she is sharing Christmas and other problems with us.  Our meeting is on 28th November at 7.30 p.m. in the village hall.


Diary Dates

09 November    – Breakfast Club

09 November    – Walking Group

14 November    – Supper Club

28 November    – Monthly Meeting Village Hall 7.30 p.m.

30 November    – Lunch Club

17 December    – Monthly Meeting (Tuesday) – PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE