WI Newsletter – January 2004

For those attending the first meeting of the year it was a chance to forget the icy conditions outside and be transported to South America, Easter Island and French Polynesia, courtesy of Diana & George Nelson.

Despite the short-lived, but spectacular, snowstorm of the previous evening, which as mentioned had turned to ice, this was not a deterrent and we had a great turnout. We were delighted to welcome four new members and numerous visitors, some of whom had come specifically to hear the exploits of our speakers.

Diana is a member of our Institute and together with her husband, spent six months back-packing round the world last year, keeping us up-to-date with their travels by email: it was now time to see the results. They came dressed as they travelled; their tiered zipped long trousers were multi-tasked, becoming three quarter length or shorts as the weather dictated. George joked that their only argument had been when he discovered Diana had packed him a second pair of trousers! We were shown just how lightly they had travelled, with just one large rucksack each, plus one small backpack.

With the assistance of their son David, himself home from his own travels, they had put all their photographs onto a CD and showed it to us via a laptop and projector in an impressive PowerPoint presentation. Their photographs had us gasping with admiration – although they had booked their flights and had an organised itinerary as far the countries they intended to visit were concerned, what they did at each point was left blank until they arrived. However, their constant companion was the Lonely Planet Guide which turned out to be invaluable. It was a mine of useful local information and gave them advice as to where to stay, what sights to see and how to find them. They also talked to fellow back-packers who, as Diana & George admitted, were mostly somewhat younger, who were only too delighted to share their experiences.

Although they did a great deal of walking, they also used local transport wherever possible. There was an opportunity to sail around the numerous islands off the Chilean coast and George managed to get the trip of a lifetime – flying across and around Cape Horn. Their grand finale had them hang gliding and sky diving! Need I say more.

However, it was then revealed that we had only seen the first half of their travels, so they are now booked to return next year to share part two with us.

Earlier in the evening, amendments to this year’s programme were announced, the visit to Amport House will now take place on 17 June, but Judy Wickham has kindly offered us the use of her garden for our monthly meeting in June.

There are plans for a national database to record all the needlework items owned by Institutes across the Country and we now have all the necessary paperwork, so there will be a great deal of reading through our records in order to research the history of our items.

It was agreed that the social evening in the pub earlier in the month had been a great success, despite the awful weather, which had been very wet and windy, 19 of us turned up and we had an enjoyable evening.

Next month our meeting is on 26 February and we have two ladies coming along to talk to us about rallying for those of a pensionable age, this sounds rather intriguing, so if you would like to join us please come along, you will be most welcome.

Sharon King