WI Newsletter – January 2010

For those of us who like nothing better than settling down on a Sunday evening to immerse ourselves in the world of the inhabitants of Lark Rise & Candleford, then we were certainly in for a treat at our January meeting. John Owen-Smith has become an expert on the author Flora Thompson and for some of us it came as a delightful surprise to discover that Flora spent many happy years in Hampshire.

Flora had always enjoyed writing, and during her time as assistant postmistress in the village of Grayshott two of her illustrious customers were Arthur Conan Doyle & George Bernard Shaw, who at that time lived in the neighbouring village of Hindhead, which was too posh, apparently, to have its own post office. She was in such awe of their literary prowess, that she actually destroyed everything she had written up until then. Such a shame, as who knows what more gems we would have been able to read.

We were particularly saddened to hear that Flora had lost her favourite brother in the First World War and her younger son in the Second World War, a loss which she never really recovered from, as she died in May 1947, but by which time she had herself become a published author.

Unfortunately, our President Val Downing was called away at the last minute, but stepping ably into her shoes was Vice-President Sue George. There was a variety of events for Sue to tell members about; the Danebury Group Meeting in March, the Federation Council Meeting in Portsmouth later the same month, where the guest speaker is Bernard Ingham. Later in the year, there are visits planned to the home of the late Sir Edward Heath and Windsor Castle. Invitations had also been received from other Institutes.

A new system of advising members of all there is to offer had been introduced, and there was certainly a buzz around the table as members picked up the numerous clipboards to add their names to many lists, diaries were in abundance as they discussed who was going where, when and with whom!

Thankfully, the snow had all disappeared by the time we met in the Village Hall, but earlier in the month, it had forced the walking group to abandon their plans, however, the coffee morning was able to go ahead. Our hostess this month was Evelyn White and rumour has it that on this occasion there was a glass or two of sherry on offer as well!

The lunch club met in The Willows at the top of Andover High Street and enjoyed a varied selection of choices from the menu – several were indulgent enough to have a pudding, whilst others were more virtuous.

Not having had a fund raising event for a few years, we are reviving our successful Pancake Morning so please make sure you have the 16th February noted on your calendar – 10.30 a.m. in the Village Hall where for £2.50 you can have a pancake and hot drink. Accompanied children are welcome at a reduced charge of £1 – there will activities especially for them. There will also be a selection of home-made cakes and greeting cards from Phoenix Cards available to purchase, as well as a bookstall to browse. It probably goes without saying there will be a raffle as well.

There is so much that could be written here, but really this newsletter is only meant to whet your appetite, so if you would like to hear more then come along to our next meeting on Thursday 25th February. Our programme tells us that T.S. Strafford is going to be talking about Bishops, Sex & Money – surely that has you intrigued enough to come along.

Diary Dates: 2010:

13 February – Walking Group 10 February – Coffee Morning

16 February – Pancake Morning – 10.30 a.m. Village Hall (entry charges apply)

24 February – Reading Group (Bowl of Cherries by Shena Mackay)
(please note this date has been changed from the 23rd)

25 February – Meeting at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall : Bishops, Sex & Money – T S Trafford

27 February – Lunch Club

01 March – Danebury Group Meeting

13 March – Walking Group

24 March – Hampshire Federation Council Meeting – Portsmouth

25 March – Meeting at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall : Choice Plants – Roger Savage

Sharon King